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While Sports Leagues Suspend Games, Horse Racing Goes Forward

Country House Kentucky Derby horse racing

The coronavirus has forced the shutdown of the NHL, NBA, MLB and on Friday NASCAR joined the ranks, but there is one sport that is moving forward and betting is still available.

Let’s play the ponies, shall we?

The horse racing industry had a bombshell land in our laps on Monday with the federal indictment against 27 individuals for a doping scheme that included well-known trainers Jason Servis and Jorge Navarro. Among the horses in the indictment alleged to have been doped with performance enhancers was Maximum Security, winner of the $20-million Saudi Cup (G1).

With the coronavirus and the market collapse making all the headlines, the media did not spend much time on the story, and the suspension of all the major sports leagues took over the headlines over the past couple of days.

Run for the Roses Fast Approaching

Well, now we are less than two months away from the Kentucky Derby and over the next month we have a dozen major Road to the Kentucky Derby points races to be contested.

Racetracks have decided the show must go on, except there will be no spectators allowed. The Rebel Stakes card at Oaklawn Park on Saturday was expected to draw 40,000 fans to the Hot Springs, Arkansas, track to witness the key Derby prep.

With over 80 percent of the betting handle in the U.S. coming from off track, and many of us horseplayers playing from home using online accounts, at least as of now playing the ponies will continue.

For those of you new to betting on the ponies, Odds Shark has a full section of handicapping information for new players.

There are primers to read before placing your wagers this weekend, including on how exacta wagering works as well as how to pick an online racebook.

Odds Shark’s No. 1 sportsbook Bovada has a Racebook taking betting action from all the major tracks as well as future wagering on the Dubai World Cup and the Kentucky Derby.

Racing Going Ahead at Major Tracks

As of now, racing will be conducted at all the major tracks including Aqueduct, Oaklawn Park, Santa Anita, Fair Grounds and Tampa Bay Downs. However, as we have seen during this crisis, things change quickly.

Racing will be nationally televised on FS2 from 3 to 7 p.m. ET on Saturday and 3 to 6:30 p.m. on Sunday.

In addition, players with Roku, Apple TV or the Amazon Firestick can download apps from Churchill Downs and the New York Racing Association to stream live video.

TVG provides an app as does the Racetrack Television Network. RTN is a subscription service available to stream online, using Roku and Firestick, and is also available on Dish Network. RTN provides the live feed from 80-plus racetracks a day.

The Kentucky Derby is scheduled for May 2 and draws over 100,000 fans to Churchill Downs. No announcement is expected to be made in the next couple of weeks. If the key Derby prep races can be contested this month and next, expect the Run for the Roses to be held, even if we must wager from home.

Handicapper Michael Dempsey will be covering the Triple Crown for Odds Shark and his full card reports with selections, analysis, fair odds line and wagering recommendations for major tracks can be found daily at https://turfnsport.com.