Archive for Uncategorized

Janesville School District Promotes Devil Worshipping Holiday In Which A Demon Assaults Kids Before St. Nicholas Comes

Janesville School District Promotes Devil Worshipping Holiday In Which A Demon Assaults Kids Before St. Nicholas Comes
By Mark Belling, WISN-AM

The employee newsletter sent to Janesville school district employees urges the celebration tomorrow of something called “Krampusnacht,” a holiday in which a horned demon goes door to door physically assaulting children. The website devoted to the day says it is to be celebrated December 5, the day before the Feast of St. Nicholas which is the beginning of the Christmas season in Germany and elsewhere in Europe.

Here’s the link the Janesville district provides:

Krampusnacht

District spokesman Patrick Gasper says the newsletter was sent only to teachers and other employees and that the district is not requiring teachers to honor the day in school. The district calendar includes no references on marking Hanukkah or Christmas. The only religious day in December that is featured is the day of the drunk demon who goes after kids. The link further encourages adults to do a lot of drinking on Krampusnacht.

Mark Belling
December 4, 2023

EXCLUSIVE: Federal Grand Jury Inquiry Is Underway Into Corruption In Milwaukee City Government; Aldermen Are In Crosshairs

By Mark Belling, WISN-AM

A federal grand jury is investigating corruption in Milwaukee city government with at least two, and potentially more, members of the Common Council involved.

It is unclear how expansive the probe is but part of the focus is on potentially illegal attempts to induce elected officials to deliver public policy decisions. Federal grand jury investigations are led by the U.S. Attorney’s Office and are secret. They normally include investigations by the FBI. But word of this probe is getting as out as the investigation appears to be advanced and a number of individuals have already been questioned.

The entire common council is up for reelection early next year and the filing period to take out nominating papers begins in a few weeks. It is possible that aldermen linked to the probe will not for reelection. This would set off a local political frenzy as council jobs are considered golden with many aldermen serving for decades. They pay is currently $82,000 a year and Mayor Cavalier Johnson wants to jack it up to $94,000. In addition, the pension and other benefits are lavish and laws governing the use of campaign contributions are loose. In other words, these are great gigs.

Over the last several decades, there have been multiple investigations of Milwaukee aldermen and several major criminal convictions. The most recent, involving former Alderman Chantia Lewis, was a state investigation led by the Milwaukee County District Attorney. But most of the others were federal including probes that led to the convictions of Aldermen Michael McGee Jr., Jeff Pawlinski, Rosa Cameron and Paul Henningsen. The most recent conviction was of former Alderman Willie Wade who served four months in prison in connection with a broad investigation into the strip bar chain known as Silk.

Almost all of these corruption cases related, in one way or another, to aldermen receiving money from persons seeking to get what they wanted from the city, or cases of misuse of campaign contributions for personal matters. It is believed the current probe is along those lines.

As no one has been charged, I am not naming any of the officials who appear to be subjects of the investigation. It is common for subjects to eventually be notified by the feds and in some cases the targets become cooperative. That could happen here.

Rumors have circulated for years about which Milwaukee aldermen are being bought off and every decade or so some seem to get caught and convicted.

Mark Belling
November 10, 2023

Milwaukee Man’s Dashcam Video: Says He Was Blocked From Debate Area By Knife-Wielding Leftist

A Milwaukee man says he was blocked from driving near the GOP Presidential debate at Fiserv Forum last night by three leftists, one of whom pulled out a knife and they blocked his car from driving forward.   The man, who I am not naming, captured the incident on his car’s dash cam.

play-sharp-fill
The man says he contacted Milwaukee Police to report the incident.  He says he sent the video to other media outlets but they showed no interest in his story.
Mark Belling
August 24, 2023

MARK BELLING’S BELMONT STAKES ANALYSIS

MARK BELLING’S BELMONT STAKES ANALYSIS

OVERVIEW

I almost did it again in the Preakness! After last year picking the top four horses in exact 1-2-3-4 order, three weeks ago I again nailed the winner and almost hit the superfecta cold as my selections ran 1-3-2-4. The Preakness is an easier race to handicap than the Kentucky Derby because of the smaller field and a few other factors. The Belmont Stakes is somewhere in between. The field isn’t large but it is usually far superior to the field in the Preakness and really is this year as this year’s Preakness lineup was frankly awful. That’s because many top Kentucky Derby horses skip the Preakness and wait for the Belmont, preferring to take a five week break.
The other challenge with the Belmont is the distance. At 1 ½ miles, it is not only longer than any of these horses have ever run, it is likely longer than any of them will ever run again. Breeding matters. I have had some of my greatest handicapping successes ever in this race, picking 73-1 Sarava in the 2002 Belmont and hitting a cold exacta of 30-1 Lemon Drop Kid over 55-1 Vision and Verse. More recently, I nailed 16-1 Creator as the winner of the 2016 race. But there have been misses along the way to counter all that glory.
I have strong opinions on all but one of the horses in this year’s race and I really like a few other races on Saturday’s Belmont Park card. As this is being written, the freakout over air quality on the east coast is is going on. There’s always a chance the races will be postponed which would really be absurd given that horses have been around for thousands of years and have run in all sorts of natural conditions. A note on scratches: I will be able to update this site through Friday. If any scratches occur after that, simply drop the scratched horse from my picks and wagers and move up the remaining horses accordingly.

I’ll assess the nine horse field in post position order.

THE FIELD

#1 Tapit Shoes—Three of the nine horses are trained by Brad Cox who is in position to win his third Belmont in five years. But this one is the least talented and has only one career win in five starts. I wouldn’t be surprised if this horse is sent to the lead to guarantee a fast pace for Cox’s other two horses, both of which come from behind.

#2 Tapit Trice—Same first name as #1 and that’s because they are both sired by Tapit who has had a huge impact on the Belmont Stakes as a sire. This is one of two from trainer Todd Pletcher and I think is Todd’s best shot. He had won four of five races before running a lackluster seventh in the Kentucky Derby. But he had a rather rough trip in that race and I’m willing to give him a second shot. His running style of coming from way back is not the preferred style in the Belmont Stakes.

#3 Arcangelo—Here’s the wild card. This horse was not on the Kentucky Derby trail but is coming off a gutsy win in the Peter Pan Stakes four weeks ago at this same Belmont Park track. He is training very well for this race. His trainer is very low profile and this is by far her best horse. His rider, Javier Castellano, is solid and has been based at this track for over two decades. My fear is that his last race was such an improvement over his earlier outings that it will be hard for him to improve yet again. Nonetheless, he’s a contender.

#4 National Treasure—I picked him to win the Preakness and he did just that. But everything was in this horse’s favor. He’s a front runner and got a very slow pace in the Preakness and was still all-out to win against a much poorer field than he is facing today. Then, there’s the Baffert factor. Trained by the notorious white-haired racing charlatan Bob Baffert, the horse can’t be discounted. For some reason, Baffert horses tend to run very well when shipped to New York. This is the one I’m torn on. I’m not putting him in my top selections but I might be wrong……

#5 Il Miracolo—It would be Il Miracolo if he won.

#6 Forte—He’s the pre-race favorite and was the pre- ace favorite in the Kentucky Derby before being forced to scratch by track veterinarians over the strong objections of his owners. He’s six for seven lifetime and trained by Pletcher who has had tremendous success in this race. But there are bad vibes. He remained on the so-called “vet’s list” for weeks and his last workout, while fast, was unimpressive to me as his exercise rider kept imploring him to get on with it. Handicapping horse racing is not just picking winners but deciding who to throw out. For better or worse, I’m tossing Forte.

#7 Hit Show—The second of the three Brad Cox trained horses and his one is a very live longshot to win it all. This horse was a decent fifth in the Kentucky Derby despite racing rather close to an overheated pace. His breeding is spectacular and the great Belmont influence Tapit is the sire of the dam (mother). The horse is three for six in his career and the rider, Manny Franco, is very good and very experienced at the tricky Belmont track. This is the only 1 ½ mile dirt track in America and has an unusual configuration with very long and wide turns and a relatively short home stretch. Jockeys don’t matter much in some races but they do in the Belmont Stakes.

#8 Angel of Empire—I picked him second in the Kentucky Derby and he ran a very nice third coming from way off the pace. The problem is that kind of running style never works in the Belmont Stakes. Trainer Cox is putting blinkers on the horse for this race. I normally hate that move because I see it as a sign of desperation and frustration with a horse. But in this case, it makes lots of sense as blinkers can focus a horse and get them to run faster earlier on. Angel’s Kentucky Derby speed figure is better than that of any other horse in this race and he has improved in each of his last five races. The five week gap since the Derby is ideal for a top horse. Jockey Flavien Prat is very good and now based at Belmont so he knows the track. Likely winner.

#9 Red Route One—This horse ran a so-so fourth in the Preakness against weaker competition than he’ll face here. He is making his sixth start of the year and just hasn’t improved at all. He’s good but not great. And his running style of coming from the clouds is wrong for the Belmont Stakes.

PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH

HORSE PROGRAM ODDS
#8 Angel of Empire 7-2
#7 Hit Show 10-1
#3 Arcangelo 8-1
#2 Tapit Trice 3-1
#4 National Treasure 5-1

SOME WAGERS
(in order of preference)

Adjust dollar amount to your budget; the dollar amount here is used to indicate the strength of the play

$20 to win place and show on #8 ($60)
$6 to win place and show on #3 ($18)
$5 exacta box 7-8 ($10)
$2 exacta box 2-3-7-8 ($24)
$2 exacta box 2-3-4-7 ($20)

If you’re looking for a bigger score I love the end of the Belmont card and suggest playing the pick 5, pick 4, pick 3 and late daily double:

Starting with Race 9 50-cent pick five 9-10-11-12 with 1-6 with 4 with 7-8 with 1 ($8)
Starting with Race 10 50-cent pick four 1-6 with 4 with 2-3-4-7-8 with 1 ($5)
Starting with Race 11 $1 pick 3 4 with all with 1 ($9)
Starting with Race 12 (The Belmont Stakes) $4 daily double 2-3-7-8 with 1 ($16)

OTHER RACES

Great card at Belmont Park. In Race 9, the Japipur, I like #10 Big Invasion (6-1). In Race 10, the Met Mile I like #6 Zandon (5-1) to upset superstar Cody’s Wish. In Race 11, the Manhattan a strong play on #4 Ottoman Field (5-2) and in the finale, Race 13, I like #1 Spirit of St. Louis (5-2).

Evers, GOP Legislature Agree On Deal To Expand School Choice, Raise Milwaukee Sales Taxes Without Referendum

By Mark Belling, WISN-AM

Republican legislative leaders and Governor Evers have reached a deal that will allow both the City of Milwaukee and Milwaukee County to drastically raise sales taxes without voter approval in a referendum. In exchange, Evers is agreeing to support a huge increase in funding for school choice in Wisconsin with private schools now getting $12,000 per year for each choice student enrolled.

The deal will be announced later today. It still needs to be approved by both the State Senate and Assembly. The agreement was reached by Evers, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and Senate Leader Devin LeMahieu.

To reach the deal, Vos and GOP Assembly members dropped their demands that any increase in sales taxes in Milwaukee be approved by voters in a referendum. Instead, Milwaukee County will be able to raise its sales tax to 0.875% with a two-thirds vote of the County Board and the City of Milwaukee will be able to create a whopping new 2% sales tax if approved by a two-thirds vote of the City Council.

In exchange, Democrat Evers agreed to what may be the largest expansion of statewide school choice ever. Legislative leaders say school choice advocates believe the increase in funding for choice students will mean the number of kids attending schools under the choice program could triple.

Mark Belling
June 8, 2023

Mark’s 2023 Preakness Picks

OVERVIEW

The Triple Crown ain’t what it used to be. For decades, it was a series in which the best three year old horses faced off in three classic races spread over five weeks. But racing has changed. Trainers don’t run their horses as much as they used to and most loathe running horses on short rest. While racing has changed, the schedule of the Triple Crown races has not. The Preakness is run a mere two weeks after the Kentucky Derby and the Belmont Stakes three races after that. The schedule is as outdated as baseball was before it banned the shift and introduced the pitch clock.

The upshot is that only one horse that ran two weeks ago in the Kentucky Derby is in Saturday’s Preakness. That’s the Derby winner, Mage, who is primarily running because the only way to win the Triple Crown is to win all three races. Every one of the other 18 Derby horses is absent from the Preakness, including the horses that scratched before the Derby was even run.
A modest fix would be to add an extra week between the Derby and the Preakness but that wouldn’t accomplish much. Trainers just aren’t going to run top horses without at least a month between races, at least not in the United States. My suggestion is to keep the Derby on the first Saturday in May, move Baltimore’s Preakness to the first Saturday in June and New York’s Belmont Stakes to the first Saturday in July. It makes a lot of sense but change in horse racing can take forever. This year’s Preakness mess might speed things up.

Messed up or not, you can still bet on the Preakness. You may recall, and if you don’t I’m reminding you, that last year I PICKED THE PREAKNESS SUPERFECTA COLD!!! I nailed the top four finishers in EXACT ORDER 1-2-3-4. Unfortunately, First Mission had been my strong pick to win the race until he was scratched. The remainder of the field is very mediocre and, by default, I’m ending up in betting bed with the infernal white-haired charlatan from California and his horse who will be the race’s “lone speed.” My plays on this race are only mild opinions

THE FIELD

#1 National Treasure—Trainer Bob Baffert is banned from Churchill Downs and thus, the Kentucky Derby, but he’s not banned anywhere else and he has a legitimate contender to win the Preakness which the old cheat has done an amazing seven times. This is a serious horse who has run with the best in California. He has natural speed and Baffert is adding blinkers, which usually enhances a horse’s early speed. There is no doubt the plan here is to try to win the race wire-to-wire. Not only is National Treasure likely to be in front, he might be way out front and has a chance to simply run away from everybody else.

#2 Chase the Chaos—The longest shot in the field, this horse has been an also ran when facing top California horses.

#3 Mage—I was sure surprised this horse won the Derby. He’s only the third horse ever to win who didn’t race as a two year old and didn’t seem to have the seasoning needed to win. But he not only won but powered away in the stretch in an extremely impressive performance. It was by far the best race that any horse in this field has ever run. But the question of his inexperience is still there and you have to wonder if he will regress on the type of short rest trainers hate to run horses on. On the other hand, the majority of horses that run big in the Derby come back to run big in in the Preakness. If he wins here, he will be in three weeks one of the more unlikely candidates to sweep the Triple Crown.

#4 Coffeewithchris—This is a local Maryland-based horse trained by a guy with a history of bringing in longshots. But the trainer has never won a race like this one. The horse is very consistent and runs well in races about two notches lower than this one. He does have tactical speed and I think he may be running second in the early stages behind National Treasure.

#5 Red Route One—He comes from way, way, WAAAAAAAAY back. This is an improving horse with lots of experience coming off a win in a lesser stakes in Arkansas. But his closing style is not well suited to the pace scenario in this year’s Preakness. The trainer and the jockey are among the best in the country.

#6 Perform—After losing his first five races, he’s won two in a row against lesser competition but he’s clearly improving and is trained by a Hall of Famer. His speed figures are nowhere near fast enough to win the Preakness so he needs to make a major step forward. If you’re looking for a big longshot in a race that won’t have many high priced horses, this might be your guy.

#7 Blazing Sevens—Trainer Chad Brown won the Preakness last year with a horse that skipped the Derby and pointed for the Baltimore race. He’s trying the same thing here. The jockey is the absolute best in America, Irad Ortiz. But Blazing Sevens is a rare Brown-trained horse that hasn’t improved with age. He was one of the top two year olds last year but his two starts this year have been mediocre. He also has a running style that isn’t ideal, coming from well off the pace. But it’s risky to ever ignore a Chad Brown horse and Ortiz has an uncanny ability to make perfect riding decisions during a race.

#8 First Mission—SCRATCHED

PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH

HORSE PROGRAM ODDS
#1 National Treasure 4-1
#3 Mage 8-5
#7 Blazing Sevens 6-1
#5 Red Route One 10-1
#6 Perform 15-1

SOME WAGERS
(in order of preference)

(Adjust bet amounts to fit your budget)
$10 to win place and show on #1 National Treasure ($30)
$3 exacta partial wheel 1 with 3-4-5-6-7 ($15)
$1 exacta partial wheel 3-4-5-6-7 with 1 ($5)
$2 superfecta 1-3-7-5 ($2)
After what I did last year, I have to play that last bet

My opinion in the race is mild as I felt First Mission towered over the field, but alas…….

ONE OTHER RACE

I like a longshot in Race 5 at Pimlico, #7 Amani’s Image (8-1) (no play if race is taken off turf)

MARK BELLING’S 2023 KENTUCKY DERBY PICKS

OVERVIEW

I often point out the Derby is the hardest horse race to handicap.   No other race in America has a field as large as 20 so there are a lot of options.  The size of the field means there is a lot of traffic and bumping and many horses who might have done well have trips so troubled they have no shot.  (It’s almost impossible to predict who those will be.)   Last year, I correctly identified the Louisiana Derby as the key prep race.  Indeed, all top runners from that race fired big in the Kentucky Derby.  Unfortunately, the ultimate outsider, ultra-longshot Rich Strike beat all of them at 80-1.   Somebody may have picked that winner but I’ve never found such a person.

Until the wagering opens Friday morning, the odds quoted are the projections of the track’s oddsmaker.   He has made Forte the 3-1 favorite.  I believe that is dead wrong.  I do not think Forte will be the betting favorite and I think the odds on the actual favorite will be no lower than 5-1.  After Rich Strike’s longshot win last year, lots of casual bettors will be looking for huge scores and betting on also-rans.   This will result in higher odds than normal for the more-favored horses.

A dry track is forecast for Saturday.  The race itself doesn’t have a lot of early speed type horses.   This means there will be a lot of bunched-up traffic and the potential for a roughly run race.   Whoever wins will have gotten an excellent ride from its jockey.

I have narrowed down the likely winner to one of six horses and will lay out reasons in my analysis below.    Scratches are allowed up to late morning Friday.   Two have already scratched as of this writing and two others have drawn into the race off the “also eligible list.”  This is how Rich Strike got in last year.  If there are additional scratches I will not be able to update the copy here.

I’ll assess each horse in post position order.

 

THE FIELD

#1  Hit Show—The rail isn’t as awful a post position as it used to be but it’s still not great.   This horse has improved its speed figure in each of its last five races and is trained by Brad Cox, the “new” Bob Baffert, who hasn’t won a Derby yet but wins everything else and is likely to have about five of them by the time he’s done.

#2  Verifying—The second Brad Cox-trained horse (more to come).   This one has good tactical speed and he’ll need to use it from his inside position.  Got a monster speed figure in his second place finish last out in the Blue Grass Stakes.  His workouts at Churchill Downs the past two weeks have been super.  Possible winner.

#3  Two Phil’s—Another legit contender.   Ran a big race in his Derby prep but that was on a synthetic surface against a weak field.   Trained by the guy that has dominated racing in Illinois the last few years and ridden by the jockey that has done the same.  But neither has won a big national race.  I expect this one to lay six or seven lengths off the early pace and avoiding traffic trouble is critical.

#4  Confidence Game—I have no confidence in my analysis of this one.   He hasn’t raced in ten weeks because of issues after his last start but that was a bang-up effort.   The trainer has struck again and again with longshots.   History says you don’t win the Derby off such a long layoff but things are changing rapidly.   I’m not using this horse but I’m wary of him.

#5  Tapit Trice—One of the “other Pletchers.”  The term comes from the amazing frequency in which trainer Todd Pletcher wins races in which he has multiple entrants but the less touted of his horses wins.   This is Pletcher’s best shot this year, not the hype horse Forte.   This one comes from off the pace so traffic issues are again a concern but he’s won four races in a row and it looks the 1 ¼ mile distance of the race will suit him.  He has looked very good on the track at Churchill this week (I watch all the works and use the services of a private clocker).

#6  Kingsbarns—The second Pletcher horse, or the other other Pletcher.  This one is making only his fourth career start but his last race was a crushing win in the Louisiana Derby.  He has excellent early speed and may avoid the traffic issues that could compromise so many horses in the race.   The horse is very well bred.  The big problem is he never raced last year as a two year old it is almost impossible to win the Kentucky Derby without having a two year old foundation.

#7  Reincarnate—This is one of those horses that was trained by the notorious cheater Bob Baffert.  Baffert is banned from the race by Churchill Downs (a great thing) and transferred the horse to trainer Tim Yakteen.  Not surprisingly, the horse has regressed a bit since.  But his races aren’t bad.  His program odds are 50-1 and that’s too high.

#8  Mage—This is a very talented horse but he didn’t start his career until the end of January and he is being unwisely rushed into this race.  If his owner/trainer had waited two weeks to run in the Preakness, they might have won it.

#9   Skinner—There are a lot of reasons this horse can win including that his trainer has already won the Derby.   He has a stalking style that is ideal for this year’s Derby and he keeps improving.  This horse has been on my radar as a potential Derby winner for weeks and he is coming into the race perfectly.   The owner and trainer made a gutsy decision and booted off jockey Victor Espinoza who has won three Kentucky Derbys.  They replaced him with Juan Hernandez, who has never won the race.   But right now Hernandez is a far better rider than the aging Espinoza and the upgrade in rider ability is significant.   I’m just not sure if the horse is good enough but this is the most perfectly prepared horse in the race.

#10  Practical Move—SCRATCHED.

#11  Disarm—Trainer Steve Asmussen has won more races than any trainer in horse racing history!  Yet he has never won the Derby.  This one doesn’t look like he’ll be the one to do it.  He showed ability early in his career but hasn’t improved.   He does have an excellent jockey.

#12  Jace’s Road—The third Brad Cox-trained horse and seemingly the least talented.    It’s possible his rider will gun him to the lead and try to steal the race on the front.

#13  Sun Thunder—The trainer is very hot right now but this horse would have to improve by eight lengths over  any of his previous races to win here.   Rich Strike did that last year but hardly any other Derby runner has.

#14  Angel of Empire—The fourth Brad Cox-trained horse and the likeliest to give him his first Derby win.   There are no knocks on this horse at all.  He’s coming off an impressive win in the Arkansas Derby and keeps getting better as the races get longer.  He may improve again here.  He has one of the best riders in America in Flavien Prat whose great strength is positioning horses to get clear runs and that is critical here because this one will come from off the pace.  His Churchill Downs workouts have been very strong and effortless.  He looks good.

#15  Forte—Until a few weeks ago he was my pick (and everybody else’s) to win the Derby.   He’s won six in a row and is last year’s two year old champion.   But I was at the Florida Derby this year and watched Forte, for the first time, struggle and show not so much an explosive burst but a grinding all-out run to the finish line.  He won but he won ugly.   I think the horse has peaked.  He has been the best horse in this field so far but the Derby is in the future and not the past.   I’m taking a big stand against him despite the fact that he is trained by the great Todd Pletcher and ridden by hands-down the best jockey in the United States, Irad Ortiz.

#16  Raise Cain—Upsets happen.  And if this one wins, it’ll be a big upset.

#17  Derma Sotogake—I will spend a long time writing about this horse because there is a lot of evidence both for and against him.  I’ll start with the positives.  He’s a Japanese based horse and Japan horses are the best in the world, especially on dirt.  Japanese horses rarely run in the United States but they have taken down some of our biggest races in recent years and are killing it in Europe and the Middle East.   Second, Derma’s win last out in the UAE Derby was by far (I stress that) the best performance by any of the Derby horses in a prep race this year.   He got a huge number on the private Thoro-Graph speed figure system.  In short, he’s run better than anybody and comes from the toughest and best racing circuit in the world.  Now, the negatives and there are a lot.   1.  No horse has ever used the UAE Derby as a prep to win the Kentucky Derby.  2.  No Japan based horse has ever won the Derby or even finished in the top three.  3.  His sire was a sprinter and so was his sire’s sire.  The Derby is the opposite of a sprint.  4.  His jockey, one of the best in Japan, has no experience with the rodeo that is the Kentucky Derby and the unique pace and traffic challenges.   5.   He’s looked so-so at best in his appearances on the Churchill Downs track the last two weeks and has resisted his rider’s urges to settle and not run off.  Reasons 3, 4 and 5 actually trouble me.  Reasons 1 and 2 do not.  The reason no horse has come from the UAE Derby to win is that most horses from that race are second tier.  This one is at the top of the first tier.  As for reason number two, while no Japanese horse has ever won the Derby, few have tried and most were not top caliber.   I swear, if you did nothing all year but bet Japanese horses in races somewhere other than Japan you’d come out ahead.   One other point: this horse has excellent tactical speed and if properly ridden (a giant if) can avoid trouble and cruise away in the stretch.  Don’t be shocked if this horse is the betting favorite.  Lots of people agree with me on him and Japanese bettors are known to bet lots of money.

#18  Rocket Can—Well, I suppose Rocket can.  But maybe he can’t.  He’s going to be gunned toward the front from his outside post position and will have identical running style to Derma Sotogake.

#19  Lord Miles—SCRATCHED.   Trainer Saffie Joseph has been banned by Churchill Downs.  Good riddance.

#20  Continuar—This is another Japanese based horse and if you read above you know what I think about that.  The trainer has run two horses in United States stakes in his career and won both of them.  But this horse has looked absolutely terrible in his training and was annihilated by Derma Sotogake in a joint workout.

#21  Cyclone Mischief—He draws into the race because of Practical Move’s scratch.  He hasn’t done enough to suggest he’s a win candidate. in if there’s a scratch.

#22  Mandarin Hero—This horse draws in because of the two scratches.  He is a contender to win the race.   He is a Japan-based horse and was unbeaten there but ran on a minor league circuit and not the top tier Japan Racing Association.   In his only American start he finished a very close second in last month’s Santa Anita Derby.  His wide post position hurts but his American race merits respect and any top horse from Japan must be closely considered in an American race.

#23  King Russell—Needs an additional scratch to draw into the race.  If he does and if he wins, it will be as big a shock as Rich Strike’s victory last year.  Needs three scratches to get in and that is almost certain not to happen.

 

PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH

Horse Program Odds
#17  Derma Sotogake 10-1
#14  Angel of Empire 8-1
#2  Verifying 15-1
#9  Skinner 20-1
#5  Tapit Trice 5-1
#22 Mandarin Hero 20-1

 

SUGGESTED WAGERS

These are listed in order of preference.   The very best value and smallest house edge on bets in the Derby is old fashioned win place and show.

Adjust dollar amounts to your budget.  My numbers are simply a ranking for evaluation purposes

 

A large bet to win place and show on #17

A bet half that size to win place and show on #14

$4 exacta box 2-5-9-14-17-22 ($120)

$3 exacta 17 with all ($57)

$2 exacta All with 17 ($38)

50 cent trifecta box 2-5-9-14-17-22 ($60)

FRIDAY

In the Kentucky Oaks, I like #6 Botanical (4-1), #4  Southlawn (8-1), #7 Wet Paint (5-2) and #1 Mimi Kakushi (20-1) in that order.   Also Friday, I like #9 Undervalued Asset in Race 2, #1 Smokin T in Race 3,  #2 Search Results in Race 9, #5 Preliminary and #11 Revalita in Race 10 and #1 Curl Girl in Race 12.  Longshot Play: Race 1 Friday take a small stab at #4.

BETTING AND TV

To legally bet, you need to establish an account with one of the many legal US-based companies.  In no particular order, some are: Xpressbet, 1stBet, NYRA Bets, DRF Bets, FanDuel and Twin Spires.   Coverage of the races throughout the day Friday and Saturday is on Peacock (a streaming service).  The Derby itself airs on NBC (Channel 4 in Milwaukee).

MARK BELLING’S 2022 BREEDERS’ CUP SELECTIONS

OVERVIEW

This year’s races are held at Keeneland in Lexington, Kentucky. The weather is expected to be very good. The turf course is lush which is the type European horses do well on. The dirt course has a tendency to favor early speed but that isn’t always the case. The big caveat on my picks: I am making these selections on Wednesday and unable to update them. If the track is excessively favoring early speed, or, for that matter, closers, I will adapt in my own wagering. Use these picks as an insight into my thinking and not necessarily my final opinion at race time.

Longshots often win Breeders’ Cup races. That’s because most of the horses are very talented and there isn’t a big gap between the longshots and the favorites. Rather than playing my top selection, consider choosing one of my lesser picks that presents greater value.

My favorite Breeders’ Cup bet is the pick three. It can be bet in as low as 50-cent increments. Consider using all of the horses I list and each race and bet rolling pick threes or daily doubles.

The big story of the weekend is Flightline. The overwhelming favorite in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, he has run the fastest speed figures of any American horse since Secretariat in 1973. The problem is that he raced only five times in his life. Modern trainers believe horses should run very little in order to produce top results each time they run. For this reason, I refuse to, so far at least, lump Flightline in with Secretariat. But if he romps Saturday, I may have to reconsider. The field in the Classic is very strong and Flightline is facing the best competition of his career.

I am only listing in my selections the horses that I think are the likeliest to win. If you bet exactas, trifectas or superfectas, consider horses I don’t have on my list of contenders. I’ll run through the races in the order in which they are run. The first Breeders’ Cup race Friday is Race 6 on the card and the first BC race Saturday is the third on Keeneland’s card. I will use the race name and not the number. Selections are listed in order of likelihood to win. The odds listed are from the track program. The actual betting odds will fluctuate, depending on the wagering.

FRIDAY

JUVENILE TURF

#5 Mischief Magic 8-1
#6 Persian Force 15-1
#2 Love Reigns 4-1
#11 Speed Boat Beach 6-1
#12 The Platinum Queen 7-2

JUVENILE FILLIES

#10 Chocolate Gelato 7-2
#9 Good Love 20-1
#3 And Tell Me Nolies 8-1
#5 Wonder Wheel 5-1
#14 Raging Sea 8-1

JUVENILE FILLIES TURF

#10 Meditate 10-1
#5 Pleasant Passage 12-1
#9 Delight 6-1
#6 Be Your Best 8-1
#11 G Laurie 12-1

JUVENILE

#3 Cave Rock 4-5
#5 Verifying 10-1
#10 National Treasure 8-1
#4 Forte 4-1
#6 Blazing Sevens 6-1

JUVENILE TURF

#4 Silver Knott 3-1
#1 Victoria Road 8-1
#8 I’m Very Busy 9-2
#6 Andthewinneris 5-1

SATURDAY

FILLY AND MARE SPRINT

#8 Goodnight Olive 3-1
#5 Frank’s Rockette 6-1
#13 Echo Zulu 6-1
#4 Ce Ce 9-2

TURF SPRINT

#8 Golden Pal 2-1
#11 Casa Creed 6-1
#12 Bran 15-1
#4 Campanelle 8-1
#1 Creative Force 10-1

DIRT MILE

#6 Laurel River 9-2
#9 Cyberknife 9-2
#7 Cody’s Wish 5-2
#3 Pipeline 8-1
#11 Three Technique 30-1
#5 Gunite 7-2

FILLY AND MARE TURF

#5 Tuesday 8-1
#11 In Italian 7-2
#3 Nashwa 5-2
#4 Above he Curve 9-2
#12 Moira 10-1

SPRINT

#9 Jackie’s Warrior 4-5
#2 Kimari 4-1
#11 Flash of Mischief 30-1
#6 Elite Power 6-1
#10 Willy Boi 30-1
#7 Super Ocho 30-1

MILE

#4 Modern Games 7-2
#13 Kinross 9-2
#14 Domestic Spending 8-1
#8 Regal Glory 6-1
#3 Dreamloper 6-1
#10 Order of Australia 12-1

DISTAFF

#6 Nest 9-5
#1 Malathaat 3-1
#7 Search Results 9-2
#8 Society 6-1
#4 Clariere 4-1
#2 Blue Stripe 20-1

TURF

#2 War Like Goddess 9-2
#11 Mishriff 6-1
#7 National Pride 7-2
#5 Rebel’s Romance 3-1
#13 Highland Chief 15-1

CLASSIC

#4 Flightline 3-5
#6 Epicenter 5-1
#1 Taiba 8-1
#2 Life Is Good 6-1

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Democrat State Assembly Candidate From Racine County Has Changed His Name Twice In The Past 20 Years

By Mark Belling, WISN-AM

The Democratic candidate for the state Assembly in the district that covers northern Racine County has used a different legal name for most of the past 18 years. The candidate, Anthony Hammes, changed his name in 2018 from Anthony Jacoby Mielcarek. The name change occurred shortly before Hammes/Mielcarek ran for public office in Racine. Hammes is actually his given last name. Hammes was born Kelly Hammes and was a female throughout her elementary and high school years. Kelly Hammes evidently changed gender identification in 2004 and legally changed name to Anthony Mielcarek in 2004. Court records indicate Anthony Mielcarek was the legal name from 2004 to 2018. That’s when the name was changed again to Anthony Hammes, reverting back to the original last name.

Hammes’ campaign website contains a brief biography of the candidate but none of it mentions anything about the name changes or former identity. There have been cases in the past where candidates changed their names in order to cover up trouble in their lives but there is no indication of any of that with Hammes.

Hammes is running as a Democrat in the district currently represented by Republican Robert Wittke. The district, which includes much of ultra-Republican Caledonia, is considered a safe GOP district.

Hammes’ website says he has been married for 15 years to local physician Dr. Diana Hansen. I have emailed Hammes with questions about the recent legal name change but have not received a response.

Mark Belling
July 12, 2022