Blood-Horse Byron King & Thistledown Racing Secretary Hugh Dexler
June 24, 2021
Hosted by John Engelhardt
The “King” of Louisville, Byron King, is here to discuss the season under the Twin Spires in 2021. The Blood-Horse’s Associate Editor will join John to handicap the stakes-laden card. Saturday’s closing day stakes spectacular has an 11-race program and scheduled to be headlined by Godolphin’s GI winner Maxfield in the featured $600,000 Stephen Foster (GII) – one of seven stakes events on the card. Maxfield, trained by Brendan Walsh, enters the Stephen Foster following a convincing 3 ¼-length win in the $400,0000 Alysheba (GII). The talented son of Street Sense is slated to be joined in the gate by fellow graded stakes winners Chess Chief (Dallas Stewart), Silver Dust (Bret Calhoun) and Warrior’s Charge (Brad Cox). All three horses completed their major Stephen Foster preps Saturday at Churchill Downs. The Stephen Foster is a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” race for the $6 million Longines Classic (GI) on Nov. 6 at Del Mar. Here are the other probable runners for the undercard races to the Stephen Foster we will handicap the $300,000 Fleur de Lis (GII), run at 1 1/8 miles for fillies and mares 4-year-olds and up, Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” Distaff Division: Dreamalildreamofu (Brad Cox); Envoutante (Kenny McPeek); Point of Honor (Shug McGaughey); Singita Dreams (Phil Bauer); SpiceIs Nice (Todd Pletcher); and Vault (Brad Cox). · $300,000 Wise Dan (GII), run at 1 1/16 miles on turf for 4-year-olds and up: Field Pass (Mike Maker); In Love (BRZ) (Paulo Lobo); Ride a Comet (Mark Casse); Set Piece (GB) (Brad Cox); and Somelikeithotbrown (Mike Maker). Possible: Spooky Channel (Jason Barkley). Hugh Drexler, the Racing Secretary at Thistledown will make his first appearance on the show as he lends his insights to Ohio’s biggest day of racing, anchored by the $500,000 GIII Ohio Derby. Drexler was born into racing as his father was a jockey and his grandfather and great-grandfather were trainers in Puerto Rico. A graduate of the Racetrack Industry Program in Arizona, he had internships with the Breeders’ Cup and Santa Anita. He eventually did the paddock shows at Sunray and Rillito Park. Even old-timers familiar with the Cleveland area track, are saying that this year’s edition is the strongest ever. In our era of small fields in stakes races, Drexler and his crew in the racing office drew a highly competitive field of 11. Nine of the eleven 3-year-olds will draw their regular riders or top jocks from major venues. Three graded stakes winner and two graded stakes-place runners are set to travel the 1 1/8 miles on the dirt. Weather sources indicated a 50-50 chance of rain. Breaking from the inside post Promise Keeper was made the tepid favorite, trained by Todd Pletcher and ridden by Luis Saez. The $250,000 Lady Jacqueline at 9 furlongs has drawn together a talent-laden field of nine fillies and mares. Pletcher has Spice Is Nice entered here and at Churchill Downs with John Velazquez slated to ride.
Thursday at 5 PM Pacific Time on VoiceAmerica Variety Channel
On the show we will talk about the Sport of Kings. We will delve into the different features of the WinningPonies.com website. John Engelhardt will talk about the issues of the day that affect horse racing, such as synthetic surfaces, medication rule changes, the fate of the industry as a whole, VLTs and Casinos, and human interest stories of triumph and defeat. You will also hear our spot play of the week, where John will handicap the feature races for the upcoming weekend, and will give out his best plays. We will keep you abreast racing’s big events. Featured on the show will be guests (trainers, jockeys, owners, celebrity handicappers and industry insiders). Promotional giveaways will be featured, such as brand merchandise and free WinningCredits.
"Winning Ponies" is broadcast live every Thursday at 8 PM Eastern/5 PM Pacific on the VoiceAmerica Variety Channel.
You may recognize him as "Racing's Regular Guy." For ten years, John Engelhardt hosted the informative and sometimes irreverent handicapping show from his base at River Downs in Cincinnati, Ohio. He developed a passion for thoroughbred racing as a youngster at Saratoga, and has been able to make his love of the sport his life's calling.
Engelhardt, a native of Syracuse, New York is a graduate of the University of Dayton. His professional career in racing began as the track photographer at Beulah Park in 1983 and he has worked in racing ever since. John produced "The Stretch Run" for eight years, which aired on the CBS affiliate WCPO-TV in Cincinnati. For four years Engelhardt co-hosted "The Regular Guy Handicapping Show on HOMER 1530-AM in Cincinnati with former "Winning Ponies" host Ed Meyer.
John served as the President of the Turf Publicists of America in 2009 and 2010, after serving several years as the Midwest Vice-President of that organization. He is currently a consultant for Pinnacle Entertainment handling publicity, public relations, marketing, advertising and special events for River Downs. Under the "nom-de-course" of Heart of an Angel Stable, he has bred and owned thoroughbreds for 18 years.
"Racing's Regular Guy" has been exposed to racing on many levels and greets the sport with enthusiasm and well-rounded knowledge. Tune in Thursdays at 5PM PT, as he welcomes nationally recognized guests, who will help you find those "Winning Ponies.”