John C. Oxley's 2001 Kentucky Derby winner Monarchos died the morning of Oct. 22, after displaying signs of internal discomfort Oct. 21 and undergoing emergency surgery to repair a ruptured intestine. He was 18. "He made it through the surgery and we were very hopeful for his recovery, however his age was not on his side, and he was just not strong enough to survive," said Charles Nuckols III of Nuckols Farm, where the son of Maria's Mon stood from 2007 to 2016. From 512 foals and 349 to race to date, Monarchos produced 244 winners (48%) who earned more than $19 million. He is the sire of 2009 champion female sprinter Informed Decision, 2009 Scandinavian champion 2-year-old colt Aces Star, and 2014 Brazilian champion older mare Estrela Monarchos. Bred in Kentucky by J.D. Squires out of the Dixieland Band mare Regal Band, Monarchos was offered at the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga yearling sale in 1999, but did not sell until his juvenile season when consigned by Murray Smith to the Fasig-Tipton Florida February sale of 2-year-olds in training. There, Oxley went to $170,000 for the striking gray and sent him to trainer John Ward. Unplaced in his 2-year-old debut at Keeneland, Monarchos was next entered at Churchill Downs, where he ran third to eventual graded stakes winner Dream Run. He did not race again until his 3-year-old season in Florida, reeling off three consecutive wins, a maiden special weight, an allowance, and the Florida Derby (gr. I) by 4 1/4 lengths.

Shipped to New York for the Wood Memorial Stakes (gr. II), Monarchos finished second to Congaree . His game finish set up perfect for a thrilling victory in the Kentucky Derby, where he stopped the clock at 1:59.97 with a 4 3/4-length winóthe second-fastest in Derby history. After a disappointing sixth in the Preakness (gr. I), Monarchos returned to run third in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I), won by eventual champion 3-year-old and Horse of the Year Point Given . Monarchos made one start at 4, finishing third in a Gulfstream Park allowance, and was retired with earnings of $1,720,830 to stud at Claiborne Farm near Paris, Ky. Later in his stallion career he moved to Nuckols Farm near Midway, Ky. He stood the 2016 season for $2,000. "We are very grateful to John and Debbie Oxley for entrusting their Kentucky Derby winner to our care," Nuckols said. "He was the first horse I saw every morning and the last every night. It's going to be a long time before we put somebody in that paddock. "Our longtime devoted employees are deeply saddened by this news, as are the many, many fans who visited Monarchos at our farm. He was such a great horse to be around and had the best of temperament. He will be sorely missed."


The Athenia Stakes



For your information folks, the Athenia is named in honor of Hal Price Headley's winner of the 1946 Ladies Handicap. Here in the 40th renewal of this stakes test,#1 STRIKE CHARMER qualifies as a TrackMaster PLUS "PowerPony," takes a class drop (-6), and has produced "POWER RUN PERFORMANCES" in each of her last fie outings, including a pair of "POWER RUN WINS" being embedded in this recent streak of racing consistency. #4 SEA COAST, an Irish-bred entry, and a 12-1 BOMB, has hit the board three of her last four "adventures," winning twice, including a "POWER RUN WIN" in her last start.

RACING NEWS: Maybe it was the extra distance or maybe it was the sloppy going, but in his third start Hotfoot became freshman sire Aikenite's first winner with a 9 1/2-length gate-to-wire romp in a $62,500 maiden claiming race Oct. 21 at Belmont Park. Hotfoot is raced by Dogwood Stable, which also raced multiple grade II winner and grade I-placed Aikenite. Trained by Gary Contessa, the 2-year-old gelding was unplaced in his first two starts on grass, first at six furlongs and then a mile. Friday's race at 1 1/16 miles was taken off the turf. Bred in Kentucky by High Peak Farm, Hotfoot is the first foal out of Hotazel, an unraced daughter of Unbridled's Song. Hotazel is a half sister to stakes winner Dancing On Fire (Philanthropist). She has a yearling colt by Americain and had a filly by Take Charge Indy this year. Aikenite,by Yes It's True, was bought by Dogwood for $225,000 out of the 2009 Ocala Breeders' Sales Co.'s select February 2-year-old in training sale. He was twice grade I-placed at 2 in the Three Chimneys Hopeful Stakes and the Dixiana Breeders' Futurity. At 4 he won the Churchill Downs Stakes and the Commonwealth Stakes (both gr. II) and placed in the grade I Forego Stakes. The 9-year-old stallion stands at Calumet Farm in Kentucky for $7,500.





RaceAnalyser Software

Wagering Mathematics Software

Rick has added these software products to his handicapping arsenal! They use TrackMaster Past Performance Files! Check 'em out!

WagerMate Thoroughbred Handicapping Software

RaceAnalyser Thoroughbred Handicapping Software

Disclaimer: Every attempt has been made to insure accuracy, however since this report is prepared and typed by hand, errors, including typographical and numerical, can be made. It is the responsibility of the end user to "cross check" these selections against the actual entries and program numbers.



RACE #1: #1 ALL RIGHT NOW, a 9-2 shot, has scored with a trio of "POWER RUN WINS" in his four outings.


RACE #1: #1 WOODFORD PINE, a 6-1 shot, is the overall speed leader in this claiming field tonight racing at the mile distance no the dirt, and has posted a a pair of "POWER RUN WINS" in his last five starts.

Ultra Longshot Angles

NOTE: The entries listed below have been "found" utilizing TrackMaster's fantastic new product Ultra Angles ... I have utilized this product to scan EVERY TRACK in North America for entries today meeting the following 3 criteria:

a. Odds are AT LEAST 4-1
b. The entry must be the TOP POWER RATED entry in the field
c. The entry must also have the BEST SPEED in this field for today's distance and surface!

Laurel Park - Race #9 - 4:30PM - #1 THIRD BRIGADE 20/1
Mountaineer Park - Race #4 - 8:06PM - #5 WEEKDAY WARRIOR 4/1

NOTE: Listed Post Times are given in the local time zone of the track.



NOTES ON CLASS: The TrackMaster PLUS software uses a sophisticated mathematical formula to calculate the "class" of a particular race. It is important to note that this calculation is NOT based on purse structure, but on the competitive level of the entries in today's field. Therefore, it is possible (and not uncommon), that an entry may be racing for a higher purse today than in his or her last race, but in a "TrackMaster Sense" is dropping in class, because the overall abilities of the entries in today's race are not as competitive as the entries in his or her last race. The TrackMaster class scale is numeric, and basically ranges from 50 to 100, and is particularly helpful in judging entries that are "shipping" in from another track. In my analysis of a race, I often note that an entry is "dropping in class," or "stepping up in class." Following this statement, you will see a (number in parenthesis). The value of that particular number indicates the degree of the class change. EXAMPLE: "#4 SIN CITY takes a fairly significant class drop (-8) this evening." This indicates that this entry is dropping by 8 TrackMaster Class Levels from his or her last race. It does not necessarily mean that this entry is racing for a lower purse, only racing against a less competitive field.

NOTES: I frequently use the term, "POWER RUN" in this column. It is my terminology for a previous race run at a speed, which if duplicated today, should compete for the winner's circle at the class level in which the entry is competing today. Space requirements do not allow for a thorough discussion of this calculation, however, if you would like a short essay on how the "POWER RUN" is calculated, kindly send me some EMAIL at rneedham1@yahoo.com and I'll send you a copy of my "POWER RUN" file.

Do you want some handicapping tips? Select an "essay" below, and I'll return some comments to you via email!

Kindly enter Your Name:

    Power Run/PowerPonies
    Maiden Starters
    LASIX Runners
    Three Star Sires
    The Value of Class
    Reading PS's
    Exotic Wager BOXING
    Aqueduct's Inner Track
    Down and Dirty Quick Pick Longshots
    How to qualify for The Breeders' Cup
    The Psychology of Pari-Mutual Wagering

Rick Needham - Football 2016-2017


Well folks ... the 2016-2017 Football Season is rapidly approaching, and Rick is now accepting "subscriptions" for his analysis of the upcoming college and N.F.L. seasons ...for the 14th consecutive year!

Some comments ...

  • Rick does not handicap pre-season N.F.L. games
  • Rick uses a "personally archived version" of the "SportsMaster for Football" software product to analyze weekly college and professional games ... this software product is no longer being sold by TrackMaster/SportsMaster
  • Depending on schedules, and "line changes," weekly reports are usually e-mailed to subscribers on Thursday or Friday of each week.
  • SportsMaster for Football Software is a database requiring "data" ... Rick's analysis improves significantly as the season progresses, as the resulting "data points" progress and increase.
  • A subscription to Rick's analysis not only includes his N.F.L selections through the "Super Bowl" .. .but also his complete analysis of ALL College Bowl Games, which last year resulted in a 73% winning result!
  • Unlike other "pundits" that offer "discounts" as the season progresses ... Rick's reports increase in price weekly .. so it is to your advantage to subscribe early!
  • 100% of the "subscription monies" received are used to support Rick's former students at The Nativity School of Harrisburg - a middle school for poverty level boys in Harrisburg, PA!
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    Kansas State at Oklahoma (Minus 9½)

    Saturday, October 15th - 12:00 pm - ESPN

    From the K.S. Sideline: Oklahomaís offense has to actually play a defense again. That didnít work out so hot against Houston and Ohio State Ė the other two decent Ds on the schedule so far Ė coming up with 23 points against the Cougars and 24 against the Buckeyes. Those were the two lowest-scoring games of the year, and the two losses. Kansas Stateís defensive front seven might just be the best in the Big 12, led by a veteran linebacking corps and a terrific mix up front. The nationís third-ranked run defense is absolutely for real allowing just 404 rushing yards on the year. The defensive front should be able to hold up against the 1-2 Sooner rushing punch, and forget about Baker Mayfield taking off and doing anything when he gets out of the pocket. Offensively, can the Wildcats do anything possible to open it up? As talented as the OU secondary might be, it gives up yards in chunks and can get dinked and dunked on. Thatís not the Kansas State offense in any way Ė it canít really throw Ė but it wonít beat itself and it should dominate the time of possession. At least thatís the hope Ė K-State hasnít owned the tempo as much as it normally does, but it can grind out drives against the Sooner D.

    From The Sooners Viewpoint: 55-0. Itís a new year and a far better, stronger, more experienced Kansas State defense, but it was supposed to be built to handle the high-powered Sooner attack last year and it got ripped to shreds. OU wonít be able to do that again this time around, but the offense has been humming over the last two weeks thanks to Baker Mayfield. He had a down game against Ohio Stateís defense, but he hit more than 70% of his throws in the other four games highlighted by his 22-of-31, 390-yard, three-score day agents Texas last week. He was in command of the passing attack last season Ė and had no problems against Kansas State Ė but heís got it down this year. And Dede Westbrook is helping the cause. There was a concern about the receiving corps after losing Sterling Shepard to the New York Giants, but Westbrook has blown up after being a midrange receiver in the first three games cranking up 17 catches for 390 yards and five scores averaging over 23 yards per catch against TCU and Texas. Kansas State might have beaten Texas Tech last week, but Patrick Mahomes threw for 504 yards and two scores. Get ready for Mayfield and Westbrook to make this interesting.

    Rick's Bottom Line: The Wildcats are going to throw one massive scare into OU. The Sooner offense will have a hard time getting into a groove, but Westbrook will come up with two big plays to finally break through in the second half. Kansas State will have the opportunists, but it wonít be able to capitalize. I'll TAKE OKLAHOMA to win and cover!

    Clemson (Minus 15.0) at Boston College

    Friday, October 7, 2016 - 7:30 pm - ESPN

    From Clemson's sideline: Just get a few scores early on. The Boston College offense is starting to work, but playing Wagner and Buffalo had a wee bit to do with that. Thereís no pop to the passing game, and the ground and pound style isnít going to fly against a Clemson front seven that stoned Georgia Tech and did a decent-enough job against Louisville. The Eagles are going to want to grind this down, and they have the defense to do it, so as long as Deshaun Watson is patient and doesnít make any mistakes, and as long as the offense is patient, and doesnít get worried when Wayne Gallman and the ground game arenít flying, they should be fine. Itíll help even more of Clemson owns the field position battle. BC canít punt, and the Tiger return game has been terrific. Keep the field tilted, make the Eagles go on long drives, and all will be fine.

    From B.C.'s Sideline Where will Clemsonís head be? Not only are the Tigers coming off the epic game against Louisville, but with Hurricane Matthew due to hit hard around South Carolina on Friday, playing football might be the least of the worries for several Ė if not all Ė of the players and coaches. The Eagles will play their version of stall ball, trying to pound with the running game and hoping to get one or three big breaks they can capitalize on. The nationís No. 1 offense is more than good enough to hold up, especially against the short-to-midrange passing game. Considering Deshaun Watson is hobbling with an ankle problem and probably wonít be as mobile, the BC front seven should have a little bit less to worry about Ė No. 4 isnít going to take off.

    Rick's Bottom Line: Itís going to be a fight for Clemson, but Boston College isnít breaking its long ACC losing streak against the Tigers. The Clemson defensive front is too strong and too good Ė it knows how to crank up the intensity when it has to. Itís going to take more than a half, but eventually the Tiger O will get the two scoring drives it needs to put it away. I'll TAKE THE TIGERS to both win and cover!

    Louisville (Minus 2.5) at Clemson

    Saturday, October 1, 2016 - 8:00 pm - ABC

    From The Cardinal Sideline: The Clemson offense still hasnít really let it rip, and donít mention South Carolina State. The Tigers are 4-0, and theyíve gotten through good road games at Auburn and Georgia Tech, and as it turns out, a better game than it looks against Troy, but they havenít been able to put it all together quite yet. The running game has been okay, but hardly sensational. Last year the Clemson ground game took off for 200 yards or more in four of the first five games and finished the year averaging almost five yards per carry. So far, the Tiger ground game high point against FBS teams came against Auburn with 151 yards, but the big dashes havenít been there compared to last season Ė and itís not going to start this week. The line isnít generating enough of a push, and Watson has had to try carrying the attack all by himself at times Ė and he hasnít quite been Watson yet, even with a good performance against Georgia Tech. As good as the Louisville offense has been, and as great as Lamar Jackson might be, the defense has been almost as solid holding teams to just three yards per carry including Dalvin Cook and Florida State. And why? The pass rush has been phenomenal. The Cardinals are living in opposing backfields with a whopping 34 tackles for loss so far and 15 sacks. Watson might be great under pressure, but heís going to have to operate the Clemson offense at a faster pace and a sharper level than itís been at so far.

    From The Tigers' Viewpoint:The same defensive principles that worked for the Georgia Tech game should work against Jackson and the Cardinal attack. Obviously there are apples and egg salad sandwich differences in the offensive styles between the Yellow Jackets and Cardinals, but the key is keeping Lamar Jackson and the running backs from doing big things in wide open spaces. Against the Georgia Tech option, the linebackers have to stay disciplined, there has to be a pass rush from the outside to slow down things from going wide, and there needs to be the swarm to cut everything off. Florida State was too banged up on the outside and poor in the interior early on against the Cardinal attack, and the ball steamrolled. So far, despite facing that loaded Georgia Tech offense and the Auburn O that Ė in theory Ė is supposed to be able to run, Clemson has allowed just 2.6 yards per carry with Troy the only O to hit the 100-yard mark. For the first time all season long, the Cardinals will have to deal with adversity. How will they handle not cranking out huge run and big play after huge run after big play? The coaches have done everything possible to crank up the intensity for a full four quarters, but thereís a difference between trying to do that against Marshall and Charlotte and in Death Valley against a team coming off a national title appearance.

    Rick's Bottom Line: I probably should not be analyzing this game as a "Better Bettor," since I am an "alum" of Clemson, and may be betting with my heart, instead of my head ... however. it might be the Heisman candidate vs. Heisman candidate moment with Lamar Jackson and Deshaun Watson each making their case, but itíll be the Clemson defense that gets the love. Jackson will show he can ball as a pocket passer when he isnít taking off, but Watson will step up and prove he can play a little, too. The difference will be a second straight phenomenal performance from the Clemson defensive front seven thatíll finally solve the Cardinal puzzle just enough Ė but not stop it cold Ė in a thriller that lives up to the hype and potential. I'll TAKE CLEMSON to beat the spread ... if not winning this game outright!

    Florida State (MINUS 5½) at South Florida - Sept 24, 12:00 Noon - ABC

    From the F.S.U. Sideline: This is still one of the most talented teams in America. Itís still banged up, itís still coming off an embarrassing performance, and it has to pick itself up off the mat after getting housed by Louisville, but itís still good enough to run the table. It was an obviously awful day early last Saturday, but the pass rush is still fantastic, the athletes are there at linebacker to slow down the Bull ground game, and the playmakers and weapons are just too good on offense to be that bad again. Yeah, South Florida is the hot underground pick this week because FSU looked so bad, but Towson, Northern Illinois, and Syracuse arenít Ole Miss and Louisville. This is an embarrassed and well-motivated Seminole team thatís not going to take this game lightly. The Bull secondary got hit hard by Syracuse QB Eric Dungey last week, giving up 350 yards and two scores against a good passing attack. There isnít enough of a USF pass rush to bother Deondre Francois, who just never got comfortable last week and didnít get enough help. Thatíll come this week. If youíve been waiting for Dalvin Cook to shine again, this will be it.

    From the South Florida Viewpoint: Do the Bulls have the right makeup to handle the Noles? FSU might be saying all the right things, and they appear to have the exact attitude needed to bounce back quickly, but this could still be a gassed team playing its fourth game in 19 days. Donít blow off the relative lack of stress USF has faced, to go along with the two extra days of rest so far this year Ė FSU has had to deal with some powerful battles so far and the body blows on both sides of the ball seem to be adding up. Playing its third game of the year away from home isnít going to help, either, even with plenty of Garnet and Gold fans in attendance. And then thereís the other factor that no one seems to notice Ė maybe, just maybe, Florida State is just okay. New year, new team, but going back to the bowl loss to Houston, and over the last three games against FBS teams, the Noles have come up with one really good half against Ole Miss, and struggled the rest of the way. The USF running game has been fantastic so far Ė if Marlon Mack really is hurt, he didnít look it last week. He missed the Northern Illinois game going through the concussion protocol, but came back to average almost 13 yards per pop in the blowout over Syracuse. And itís not just him, with the rest of the offense doing its part over the first three games. All it might take is a few early big plays to put the Seminoles right back into the tank. Confidence and momentum might mean everything.

    Rick's Bottom Line: You know sometimes when a pick becomes too trendy? South Florida has become the one team everyone in ďthe communityĒ seems to be in love with this week, but Florida State is still way too good, way too promising, and with way too much to play for. Itís possible Louisville is just that good, and itís also possible the Cardinals just hit the right note on the right day. The Bulls are being overhyped based on playing three bad teams Ė this is where Florida State gets its groove back. I'll TAKE FLORIDA STATE to both win and cover!

    Maryland (Minus 8½) at Florida International - Sept 9, 7:30 CBSS

    From the Terps Sideline: The Terps got their first win under new head coach D.J. Durkin, tuning up with just about everything going right in the lightweight win over Howard. The passing game wasnít fantastic, but it was good enough to complement the loaded day from the ground attack that barreled all over the Bison. FIU wasnít even close to slowing down the Indiana ground attack in the home loss last week, getting hit for 246 yards Ė the Hoosiers rumbled without a problem. Maryland might not have been tested or pushed, but it managed to come up with a clean game with no turnovers and just two penalties. As long as there arenít a slew of mistakes to let FIU get a few cheap scores, the ground game and short passing attack should be enough to get by.

    From the F.I.U. Viewpoint: The Golden Panthers might not have done anything on the ground against the Hoosiers, and they might not have been able to get into the game thanks to a slew of turnovers, but the D got behind the line. There was decent enough pressure to bother the IU backfield a bit to bend, but not break on several drives. The problem? Giveaways. Maryland might have been clean against Howard, but this was a turnover machine last season that still has to prove it can get by without a slew of big mistakes when pressed. Perry Hills might have thrown just fine when he didnít have to push, but will he start giving the ball away if he has to start making more plays? The downfield passing game wasnít tested out too much Ė FIU has to keep everything underneath and canít miss tackles.

    Rick's Bottom Line: Itís a different Terp team under Durkin, but if FIU can somehow force several third-and-long situations, it should be able to keep this from getting out of hand. Itís a Friday night nationally televised showcase moment at home for the Golden Panthers, and theyíll play better than they did against IU. Theyíll lose the turnover margin, though, and Maryland will use the two key plays to pull away in the second. I'll TAKE MARYLAND to both win and cover!


    Date: Friday, August 26
    Game Time: 10:00 pm ET
    Venue: ANZ Stadium, Sydney, Australia
    Network: ESPN

    The college football season "kicks off" on Friday night ... not certain why ... from Sydney, Australia!

    From The Golden Bears' Sideline ... new starting quarterback Davis Webb should have about 19 days to throw. The new Hawaii coaching staff is switching up defensive styles a bit to go with more of an attacking scheme Ė but all new coaches try to do that. The problem is that they donít quite have the personnel to do much about it. The front line doesnít have enough difference-makers or pass rushers to keep Webb from bombing away at will. Expect the Bears to come up with at least 400 yards through the air right out of the gate, if for no other reason than to show thereís life after Jared Goff.

    From "The Rainbows' Perspective ... time of possession never seems to matter to a Sonny Dykes offense, but Hawaii might have the potential to control the clock and the game a little bit by running effectively. When this whole new era of head coach Nick Rolovich football works, itíll be with a high-end passing attack thatís not going to be there right away. Ikaika Woolsey is more of a baller than a bomber, but he should be able to move the chains a bit with his legs. To help settle things down and keep the defense off the field, the Warriors will try to rely on their solid stable of veteran backs working behind an experienced line. The Cal defensive front is fine, but itís being reworked and itís hardly anything special. Okay, okay, okay, so Rolovich is going to come out winging it, but if and when that doesnít work, the Warriors can control the game by getting physical.

    Rick's Bottom Line: Welcome to the new world of Davis Webb. Hawaii will have its moments on offense when it makes something splashy happen, and it has too many veterans to go completely into the tank, but the defense wonít have any answers for the high-octane Bears once the machine gets rolling. The Aussies will have some fun with this one with the two teams combining for 1,000 yards of offense. Cal will have more.

    I'll TAKE CAL to win and cover the spread ... probably in the 45-20 range!