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Breeders Cup 2015
Royal Ascot 2017

HRN Original Blog:
Maryland's Own GQ

Pimlico Day 2: I-Rod May Be Next Top Apprentice in MD

Israel Rodriguez
Photo: Gary Quill

At least one thing was clearer than the skies over historic Pimlico Race Course after the first race on Opening Day of the 35-Day Spring Meet. That a 7 lb. apprentice jockey named Israel Rodriguez (aka I-Rod) might be the next top young rider on the Maryland racing circuit.

The 18-year-old native of Puerto Rico made the most of his only mount, #3 – Sea Lord (M/L 10-1) in the 1st race with a gate-to-wire victory by 7 1/2 lengths. He seems to have the poise and “clock in his head” that often takes years for a jockey to develop, as he demonstrated in this 1 1/16 mile race, sprinting clear of his rivals in a 24.82 first quarter, then slowing down the next two quarters to 25.42 and 25.86, respectively.

Just 35 days ago at Laurel Park he rode his first winner with his first mount in this country, Inspeightofthegold, trained by Juan Vazquez. “He will be the next Carrasco,” said Vazquez in the winners’ circle, referring to Victor Carrasco who last year became 10th Maryland-based jockey to earn the Eclipse Award for outstanding apprentice.

Prior to coming to Maryland, I-Rod began his racing riding career at Camarero in San Juan, where he had won three races from 36 mounts.

 photo by Gary Quill

An ecstatic I-Rod is all smiles after 1st race victory AND scoring a #PimlicoSelfie with GQ.

Recapping posted selections from Thursday, April 3rd (Opening Day) at Pimlico, had 8 winners from 9 races (4 Top Selections; payoffs in BOLD) having $2 WIN pay-offs of $12.00 (1st race), $4.40 (2nd), $16.60 (3rd), $6.40 (4th), $4.00 (5th), $9.80 (6th), $6.40 (8th) and $5.60 (10th).

The BEST BET of the Day (11: 2-4-3) Warrioroftheroses (8th race: 8-1 M/L; 4-1 PT) cleared soon after the break and set a rated pace two wide, turned away a brief inside challenge leaving the five eighths pole, dropped in around the turn and gave way grudgingly through the final sixteenth to be second best, returning $5.40 to PLACE and $4.20 to SHOW.

The LONGSHOT PICK (12: 4-5-0) Sea Lord (1st race: 10-1 M/L; 5-1 PT) sprinted clear soon after the break, set the pace along the rail, was under brisk urging in the stretch drawing away to a 7½ length victory to return $12.00 to WIN, $4.40 to PLACE and $2.80 to SHOW.

FYI – the BEST BET of the Day selection will never be a M/L favorite and the LONGSHOT PICK will simply be the runner having the highest M/L odds among my top picks for an entire card.

PLEASE NOTE: Statistics provided for the BEST BET and LONGSHOT PICK in parentheses represent the Number of Picks: Wins-Places-Shows. For example, the BEST BET (10: 1-2-3) was picked 10 times resulting in 1 winner, 2 places and 3 shows. In the past, I would reset these numbers at the start of each meet. For 2014, I reset these numbers on Jan. 1st in order to chart results on a yearly basis.

Selections for Friday, Apr. 4th at Old Hilltop Top are posted below. Main Track is FAST but OFF TURF. Selections posted were handicapped based on making multi-race wagers such as DOUBLE’s, Pick-3’s and Pick-4’s using all three (3) listed for each race in each leg.

Soup of the Day at Pimlico: Maryland Crab

1st race – $8,000 Maiden Claiming for 3 y.o. and up – 6 furlongs
#2 – Kid Terrapin (4-5)
#5 – Got the Moves (5-2)
#3 – Georgie Porgy (7-2)

2nd race – $5,000 Claiming N2L for 3 y.o. and up – 6 furlongs
#5 – Vanna Go’s Point (3-1)  *** BEST BET ***
#3 – Bocono (5-2)
#1 – Ronto’s Code (7-2)

3rd race – $12,500 Claiming for F&M 3 y.o. and up – 5 furlongs OFF TURF
note: M/L were based ON TURF
#1 – Wildcat Appeal (9-5)
#13 – Sheza Classy Lady (8-1)
#5 – Star Holiday (10-1)

4th race – $6,250 Claiming for 3 y.o. and up – 6 furlongs
#3 – Poppa’s Pick (6-1)
#6 – St Liams Halo (15-1)
#1 – Bail Bondsman (5-1)

10 cent Jackpot Pick-5… Carryover: $5,317
The Play: 1,2,7 / 1,6,7 / 2,4,12 / 1,6,8 / 2,5,7 ($24.30)

5th race – $12,500 Claiming for 3 y.o. and up – 1 1/16 mile OFF TURF
note: M/L were based ON TURF
#7 – Pearl of Wisdom (8-1)
#2X – My Sonny Boy (2-1)
#1 – No Shenanigans (9-2)

6th race – $40,000 Maidens for 3 y.o. fillies – 6 furlongs
#7 – Miss Sparks (6-1)  $$$ LONGSHOT PLAY $$$
#1/1A – Angel of Mercy / Sawitinyoureyes (8-5)
#6 – Smittenwithsmarten (9-2)

7th race – $42,000 Allowance N1X for F&M 3 y.o. and up – 1 1/16 mile OFF TURF
note: M/L were based ON TURF
#4 – Litigious (4-1)
#12 – Deputy Fancy (8-1)
#2 – Bumpy Ride (8-1)

8th race – $25,000 Starter Allowance for 3 y.o. and up – 6 furlongs
#1 – Rojo Perfecto (5-1)
#8 – Exclusively Greek (6-1)
#6 – Silver Legend (4-1)

9th race – $5,000 Claiming for 3 y.o. or N4L 4 y.o. and up – 6 furlongs
#7 – Starforaday (5-2)
#2 – Kens Cape (4-1)
#5 – Pot of Gold (5-1)

Food for Thought: Baseball Hall of Famers were typically successful in only 3 of 10 plate appearances. Think about it… Good Luck!


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Hoping you can bat at least .330 this meet, GQ!

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                Meet Gary Quill

  I am the most passionate person on the planet when it comes to thoroughbred horse racing! One sunny summer day in 1964 at Timonium Race Track is where my Dad and mentor introduced me to “The Sport of Kings”. Since that day, I have had the pleasure to visit over 40 different tracks across North America. Though an IT professional by trade, I’ve had a part-time gig with the Maryland Jockey Club since 1988.

here are thousands of rail-birds who claim to be great handicappers. Well, I don’t claim to be the best… just the most passionate and one that won’t tout “chalk”. Like a savvy stock broker, I look for value and often find it. Unlike the talking heads on horse racing television networks and the dozens of websites featuring handicapper’s opinions, I’m ACCOUNTABLE. That is, good or bad, you’ll always know how my previously posted picks performed along with a running record of my BEST BET and LONGSHOT Play of the Day selections for Maryland tracks (Laurel and Pimlico) at TheRacingBiz, see "The GQ Approach".

   In addition to focusing on the Maryland thoroughbred racing circuit, each year I follow the Derby Trail and post “GQ’s Derby Double Dozen” in early February. 

   My personal mission is to rejuvenate interest in thoroughbred horse racing. Being able to share my energy, thoughts and opinions on this sport via HRN will certainly help the cause.


"I lost $2 at Santa Anita and I've spent $3 million trying to get it back." - Mickey Rooney

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