Turfway Park / First Glimpse

I grew up going to old Latonia race course. Originally built in 1959, it was home to a first of many for me. – I attended the races with my Dad, and when the track re-opened as Turfway Park I was a young man in the parking lot. The Florence, Kentucky oval was one of the first tracks in the nation to offer night time Thoroughbred racing action, and once upon a time was home to Harness action. There have been many incredible moments, and a bevy of changes. I have been there for many, and this is the track where I fell in love with racing.

I was chatting with long time friend Tyler Picklesimer, Director of Racing / Racing Secretary. He is one of the few who have done about every job at the track. He was in the same parking lot many moons ago, and has learned the game from some of the best to pass the torch. We spoke about the upcoming meet and he provided me with some information for the fans and players who follow the winter circuit in Northern Kentucky.

The meet will kick off on Wednesday 11/30, and there are 22 days in the Holiday meet. Post time will be 6:15 pm ET Weds – Saturday, and 3:00 pm ET on Sunday. The daily purse structure offers a generous $100,000, and horsemen are happy to be racing in Florence. There will be 9 races carded daily and the poly track surface offers a safe and durable surface for the horses to run. The surface is around 4 – 4 1/2 inches in depth, and the Gallop Master is not the typical tractor you would see on the track as it is more compact and harrows the synthetic surface to a “fluff.”  – The Northern Kentucky area is prone to the freeze-thaw temperatures of Mother Nature, and the poly track is a friendly surface that keeps the equine and human athletes on a consistent surface.

If you’re looking for some big name trainers you won’t be disappointed, according to Picklesimer. Wesley Ward will have around 20 head, Mike Maker will be loaded for bear with 40 runners in his barn. – The usual winning conditioners of Jeff Greenhill, Bill Connelly, and Tom Drury will be factors when they send a runner to the paddock. – Look for solid riders such as Jesus Castanon, David Flores, Albin Jimenez, Perry Ouzts, Cory Orm, John McKee, and Abel Lezcano to name a handful of talented riders. There is always a “new face” that arrives under the radar and it is worth keeping tabs on the entries. Turfway Park has always been kind to apprentice riders and a few names to keep handy are Euclyn “Pede” Prentice, Katie Clawson, and Arturo Aparicio.

The barns have over 900 stabled on the grounds, and more will be shipping in from Lexington, Louisville, Chicago, Florida and West Virginia. According to Mr. Picklesimer, “there were an average of 10 runners per race last year, and you can expect the fields to be solid.” – There will be two stakes in the first few weeks with the Holiday Inaugural and the Prairie Bayou.

From a handicapping standpoint here are some tidbits you’ll want to keep your eyes peeled and utilize before heading to the windows:

* Pay attention to the flags when the video feed shows the runners on the track. – If they are blowing strong to the right, it will be a headwind right in the faces of the runners. As long as the pace is not too salty, this is a benefit to speed style runners. – To the left is a tailwind that can benefit stalkers.

* The track plays honest overall, and if you see runners carry speed to the winner’s circle you’ll want to pay strict attention.

* If you don’t see a blistering pace in the race, you want to be on the lead or very close to the front.

* Here are some bloodlines who have enjoyed the synthetic: Old Forester, Forestry, Kris S, Philanthropist, Giant Gizmo, Giant’s Causeway, Seeking the Gold, Where’s the Ring, Court Vision, Gulch, Milwaukee Brew, Wild Again, Niigon, Unbridled, Sligo Bay, Sadler’s Wells, Victor’s Cry, Street Cry, Speightstown, Kitten’s Joy, City Zip,Tiznow, and Midnight Lute.

* Playing the hot rider / trainer combo is always a plus, but at Turfway Park you’ll see the hot tandems in the winner’s circle on a regular clip.

* Chicago dirt runners do well, turf runners making the change in surface, and class droppers coming from everywhere.

* Look for a work over the track.

* Past efforts over synthetics.

* If you see a layoff runner targeting a race, this may be a note to watch as the poly can be kinder to a horse off the shelf.

* Pay attention to horses who work away from the pony and get a strong gallop prior to the race. – Mother Nature can deal out some cold temperatures and riders like to have their mounts warmed and ready.


There is a large race book on the first floor, and the paddock is accessible to watch the runners saddle. Full-card simulcast from around the country is available for guests on track, and be sure to take a glimpse at some old Equibase charts from last meet to get a feel for the action. – Turfway Park has been racing since 1959 and the signature “Spiral Stakes” can be a springboard for Derby hopefuls in late March. – Winter racing is not the end of the action, it is just the revolving springboard that will take us into Spring and the starting gates to the Derby. – Enjoy the racing action, because with full fields expected, this translates to bigger pools with better odds for racing fans.



Problem Ponies – Horses to Watch – 11/21/16 – Fair Grounds













The Fair Grounds opened their doors for the 145th racing season. – There is nothing like the “Big Easy” as the city wraps it’s arms around you and gives you a big welcome hug. The food, the night life, and of course some of the best racing action of the winter. I can remember when the Fair Grounds opened on Thanksgiving and I used to tease my Louisiana friend it was a “Cajun-Homecoming.” – So make it a point to put FG on your list of tracks to follow. Here are some runners on the opening weekend that could use a playback next time they hit the track. – Best of luck from your friends at Winning Ponies !


Fair Grounds



Race #1 – Supreme Bean – 6f

First time starter who was off slow and finished up with a strong 3rd place effort.


Race #3 – Cajun Flyer – 5 1/2f

A first timer LA-Bred who ducked in at the start and was forced three wide on the turn finishing 3rd this day.


Race #6 – Smittys Cougar – 6f on the main

Filly was tough to load in the gate but managed to break alertly and show the way. She got a bit leg weary down the stretch to finish 2nd.


Race #7 – A We Bit Flirty – 1 mile and 70 yards

Delta Downs shipper who was blocked and forced to steady sharply at the 3/16th’s pole.


Race #9 – Midnight Moonlight – 1 mile on the main

Odds-on favorite who bobbled at the start and still grabbed the lead and impressively to draw off at will. – Play this two-year-old right back as this was a very impressive effort.


Fair Grounds



Race #2 – Moon Blossom – 1 mile

Filly was closing steadily and was forced to steady at the 7/16th’s pole. – Maybe a cleaner trip gets her to the winner’s circle.


Race #5 – Ur My Last Chance – 1 mile on the turf

Off a step slow at the break and dropped over to the rail to make an honest effort down the lane.


Race #7 – Gimmeadrink – 1 mile on the turf

Keeneland shipper closed with a rush going four wide. Coming into the stretch he was still forced wide and made a strong lunge to get up and score. – This runner is one to play right back.


Race #8 – Big World – 1 mile and 70 yards on the dirt

Beaten favorite was bumped at the start and had to be taken off heels. She still managed a game effort to finish an honest third.









Racing Needs a Makeover

by Ed Meyer

posted on November 18, 2016 in Blogroll, General Discussion, Handicapping, Horse Racing, WinningPonies.com | No Comments >>

As I walked up to the gates there were throngs of people chatting and handicapping. Some smoking cigars or sipping a coffee in the swirl of humanity. All were patiently waiting for something to come, and I couldn’t wait until I could get close enough to see what the hullabaloo was all about. – When we arrived at the admission gate, I was allowed to duck under the chain held by the gate worker. As I walked in the first few steps I was overwhelmed by the massive size and sounds of this new place. People walking quickly, the sounds of the tip-sheet barkers advertising best bets, and players standing in another line to buy these oversize papers. They must have been important as everyone was buying one. – There was something about being in this place. It had a sense of excitement and even as a young boy, it captivated my senses and drew me in like a moth to a flame.

Many of us have a similar story on how we started going to the races. – It may have been grandpa sneaking you out to the track skipping the park, or maybe it was a family tradition. Either way, it was how many of us fell in love with the sport of kings. – Legal gambling was mainly held at race tracks because many lotteries hadn’t been created, and casinos were in Atlantic City or Las Vegas. If you liked action and the one-of-a-kind thrill of horse racing, there was only one place you could find it. Racing was a “build it and they will come” type venue. There was no competition and the good days were great. This entertainment was passed down a few generations, and began to change when other forms of gambling arrived.

Simulcast arrived, and what was held in Las Vegas was now at every track. This process was not so simple as it came in stages. We could bet on races in-state only, and little by little the other tracks started being a part of the daily menu of action. These times were good and people still continued to attend at great numbers, but little by little there was a slow trend of not passing the torch of knowledge. You didn’t bring your son or daughter and show them the beauty and pageantry. The landscape of gambling had begun to change and there were plenty of choices to spend your entertainment dollars. – This was the first sign of the decline.

We have blamed everything under the sun about the decline of the sport. The truth is there is one entity to blame and they are the same folks who subscribed to build it and they would come. We cannot assume anything about the next generation if there is to be one. – There was an epiphany that the crowds were thinning and the golden years of watching the regular crowd attend began to thin out as they were getting older and moving away from the races. The simple answer was we didn’t continue to build a new demo to serve for the future. – I have had the greatest opportunity to be employed in racing. I have seen the best times, the good days and the decline of the sport. In my honest opinion we have become complacent and haven’t tried anything new in fear of being wrong. I have watched the big tracks, the small, and the fair circuits. – There is no one easy fix, but this may be a step in the right direction.

These are far from an easy fix, and they won’t be billion dollar investments. Many are common sense and we have to replace the word “Customer Service” with patron relations. Every person who works at the track is now a part of the system and not pointing to someone else in another department. Get rid of the “I don’t know the answer” and get to know your most valuable asset. – Sit back and see if any of these would be of interest, and if they are. We just might see the changes to build on for the future.

* There should never be a charge for parking, admission, or general seating. Dining areas must have reservations and make it easy to stop by and watch a few races.

* Have QR codes at every entrance. They are two dimensional bar codes that hold information and offers. – In the times of everyone having a smart phone, they can scan the code and get a free tip sheet, on-track program, special food and beverage offers, and even advertise marquee days and events to come. You will be surprised that when regular players start seeing the folks getting things for free, some will break through the barrier and start scanning. It will be great for the new crowd, and will create an aspiration for other players to get in on the offer. – Every entrance, everyday, and make it easy to find. If you’ve never seen one, they are the small boxes that look like their filled with blotches.

* Wi-Fi has been used at tracks over the years and it can be really helpful betting from a tablet, iPhone, or computer. The only draw back is that players would wager on tracks through an ADW or betting site, and tracks would lose money and source market fees would take a hit by players not wagering at the track and betting on a computer or electronic devices. – The track can block all wagering sites and open the informational sites that offer data. – At Belterra Park there is an on-track option called MBET. Am Tote has designed an account where you can go to any window and ask for an MBET voucher for whatever dollar amount you desire. – The voucher has a user code and a password printed on the voucher. Once you start this easy process on any mobile device, you tuck the voucher into your pocket, and you can bet from anywhere in the track at your leisure. “No more long lines and no more missed bets.” – At the end of the day, you make your way to the cashier and cash in your voucher. If you leave and have money on your voucher, it may be redeemed the next time you come to the track. You have to open a new account each time you come as it is not an ADW. – Make it easy to wager and you’ll start serving more folks than you know. Maybe there’s a bonus reward by starting an MBET account for the day. Just another way to keep players betting at your track and allowing ease of motion. – Everyone wins.

* For new players and regulars. Employ the talking heads. – This is on-air handicappers who offer out a concise view of the race and may spotlight a few good handicapping ideas. This works for new players and players from all walks. Make it quick and to the point. Handicappers don’t want to hear jokes and comedy, they are there to watch and wager. Give the info, and even if it not used by everyone, I promise there are on-track fans who listen and your simulcast players can tune in. Nothing like being in California and watching the blustery days in New York. The “talking heads” bring the little things to the attention to all players. Get it out there and let them make up their own minds to pay attention or not. – 90% of your track handle comes from off-track sites, and I enjoy listening to a quick handicapping of the race all the while talking about track biases and weather. Give them info and turn them loose. – Take a look at Mountaineer Park. They talk over the horses on the track while they are jogging in the minutes leading up to post. This is good stuff….

* Have the free bands and dollar beer Fridays. – They showcase your facility as an entertainment destination and not just your grandpa’s place to hang. – Concerts, car shows outside, food trucks, free handicapping seminars from the marquee names in the industry. Man, this is starting to sound like a place to visit. Have a little something for everyone and the hard part is keeping them separate as to not interfere with other players who may or may not want to take part in the event.

* Free coffee and danish for the early birds who arrive at the track. – Have a few urns of hot coffee and a table set up with danish. This is a little thank you for the early birds, and it can last the first two hours before the first post. – Doors open at 11:00 am and first post is 1:00 pm.

* Have a varied and price friendly concession area. – Back in the day it was limited and expensive. Offer your players an option for good food at a square deal. I’ll bet dollars to donuts they’ll stay instead of heading out to grab a bite. No more cold hamburgers where you had to mortgage your house in the old days. – Well lit, clean, and a friendly staff to keep them fed and happy. – It’s all about the complete experience.

* Just about every track has a loyalty card. Make sure racing fans can accrue points for dollars wagered, and allow them to redeem for programs, forms, tip-sheets, food and beverages, and even wagering vouchers.

* Have a special area designated for new players. They can ask questions and wager at their own pace. – I have found that new players are more inclined to play a video poker machine over playing the races. Racing can be intimidating and by giving them their own place. This will break down the scary part of standing in front of a player wanting to hurry and wager.

* The new generation is a quick learning demo. – Have a library of how-to-get-started videos on your website. It would be an easy way for newbies to educate themselves at their own pace and come to the races more prepared. – I don’t think we live in the times where folks will come over and over and learn slowly. But if they are housed in an easy-to-find location on your website players can learn in stages and come to the races ready to enjoy the sport. – Trust me, there are more that would enjoy the opportunity to learn in quick bites.

* During live racing, all managers are out on the floor. This goes from the top down. – When players feel they can connect with a person instead of an email or phone call the relationship process begins. – When the meet is over, the same managers get out a couple of times a day and greet players and let them know you’re still available.

Quiet Before the Storm

by Ed Meyer

posted on November 15, 2016 in Blogroll, General Discussion, Handicapping, Horse Racing, WinningPonies.com | No Comments >>

As the winds of autumn slowly change into the blustery howls of winter there is a storm a brewing. Let me rejoice the end of one chapter and relish another. – The seasonal changes are a barometer of what we can expect, and as a gambler it is a time of introspective reflection. As I listen to the words of the Leonard Cohen in the background, it reminds me of what once was; and what we have to cherish now that it’s gone. – These times are necessary for a person taking stock and inventory. We would have no gauge of how we’re doing or where we’ll go next without these self-imposed moments of time out.

As Breeders’ Cup comes to an end and the stories fill the void of the building excitement. – I put so much time into the big weekend that I go into a cocoon-like state and rest my thoughts. – I still follow the races and take copious notes on how runners are doing. I find it is during this time my horses to watch seem to do better and my time on the sidelines does me more good than I know. At first I’m glad to catch my breath, and in two weeks, I’ll be ready to move on to the next chapter which is the cyclical nature of our sport.

If you enjoy making a wager or relish the cerebral process of handicapping, take the down time to adjust your sails. – “You can’t change the winds, but you can adjust your sails to change your course.” 

Long ago there was downtime. In between race meets and before the simulcast era, there was a quiet time. No races unless you made a long drive, and you couldn’t wager unless you had a bookie or a “guy” to take your bet. Gamblers could rebuild their bankrolls, fans would wait with baited breath, and the travelling show of Thoroughbred racing would pull into town and pitch their tent for a period of time. – When I was young, this time was like being shoved into solitary confinement. As I aged and my love of racing grew. I used to enjoy this time away. – My grandpa would tinker in his garage and pick up a small plumbing job late in his 70’s. My Dad would paint a house or two as he called this his therapy. – I didn’t catch the drift and was pretty sure they were crazy. But after looking back, this was the secret of finding that second wind. – The quiet before the storm is a time of reflection and planning, and one would switch to the other only when you’re ready.

As a young man, I would make my way into the high school library to read the newspaper. I’m not even sure if they have the dirty ink papers anymore, as students now peruse on computer screens. – Most would read the sports pages, and I had a well-timed visit locked in my noggin when there was a time-out of sorts called study hall. Reading was always encouraged, and my trips to the library would allow me to visit Aqueduct, Santa Anita, Churchill Downs, and follow the daily goings on in the sport of kings. – One must regroup and renew, and it is a quality that is lost with the over-saturation of constant information. For me, it was a time travel to places far away; reading about places that I would visit one day. – Bettors are blessed with a sense of amnesia of sorts where we forget about the past and focus on the future.

Horse players can tell you what time of year it is by which tracks are running. – I often wonder if that still applies today as bettors don’t have the downtime to regroup and renew. – The game has changed and the ability to enjoy the sport can be seen seven days a week almost year round. – For some, maybe the constant contact is their time to reflect on the move. But, I’m from the last graduating class of the old school. Patience is not a punishment, but rather a luxury. I still enjoy a little time away and for some reason unbeknownst to me I come back with a renewed love. Kinda’ like the old saying of absence makes the heart grow fonder. – During my down time I find myself relating to the words of Cohen; “My friends are gone and my hair is grey, and my body hurts where I used to play.” 

As I read more about upcoming meets and what circuits will be up next. I find this down time is getting shorter in some years, and others have me on the bench a bit longer. – Is this my therapy of sorts ? – Either way there is no easy answer, but one thing is for sure, this handicapper is getting ready earlier. Maybe I found what I was lacking, or maybe it was there all along and just a brief time-out allowed me to re-focus. Either way, I’m getting ready. I find myself looking at the entries and results. The time spent watching races is not a job, but a labor of love. Yeah, it’s fair to say I’m ready to get back in the game. The brief time away has made my heart grow fonder and I can’t wait until the horses take the track. I’m even contemplating a trip to Churchill Downs. – These are the signs that I look for. – As I prepare to work at Turfway Park this meet, the idea of handicapping has me excited. It’s the same feeling I had walking into the high school library. Win or lose, good or bad. I’m ready and it didn’t take as long as I initially thought. – My therapy must have worked, or maybe I wasn’t as off course as a well traveled vessel out to sea. – I find myself getting up earlier and diving into the information. That is the first step of the next chapter. You’ll want to stay tuned as I’m ready to go on a roll. You’ll start seeing my horses to watch, free selections, and introspective writings about the process.

“It Ain’t Bragging If You Can Back It Up”

by Ed Meyer

posted on November 8, 2016 in Blogroll, Breeders Cup, General Discussion, Horse Racing, WinningPonies.com | No Comments >>

For the record, I’m one of the biggest Mike Smith fans in racing. I have always referred to him in my blogs as “The Money Rider.” – After reading an article in the Paulick Report /Jockey Talk360.com. I must admit I was taken aback. I was a little surprised to hear the words “I’m gonna’ fool him.” – Smith is too darn good to have to fool anyone, and after plenty of time to mull it over. This was not bragging as I first thought, these were the words of one of the best riders I’ve ever witnessed caught at an awkward moment.

The words of Dizzy Dean about the 1934 “Gas House Gang” the St. Louis Cardinals hold true today and will in the future. “It ain’t bragging if you can back it up” referring to him and his brother “Daffy” winning the World Series. – When the winning connections were celebrating and talking, it was heard by the all-knowing ear of social media from the conversation of an excited group of people talking among themselves. Could they have waited to hit The Brown Derby and talk some smack; of course that would have made more sense. But they were enjoying the moment and emotions got away a bit. You take a listen and judge for yourself.

Victor Espinoza has had quite a run, and has been nothing short of exciting to watch. But in the feelings of this gambler he rode a questionable race. – “Chrome” called all the shots and looked to be the real deal. When the rider started looking around instead of just worrying about his horse, the questions would begin to pop-up. – Art Sherman has been one of the best guys to root for. Humble and unassuming and was just happy to have the horse of a lifetime. Here is a quote from the Paulick Report from Sherman about California Chrome’s race. – “It was quite a race. If I had to do it again, I’d like to see Victor (Espinoza) open up turning for home,” said California Chrome’s trainer Art Sherman. He rides him with so much confidence every time. Everybody’s upset that he was looking around. He wanted to see where the other horse was.”

About now I was starting to question one of my riding favorites. I fell in love with Smith’s riding skills when he came to Turfway Park for the inaugural fall meet and he was fresh in from Canterbury Park. – Smith taught many lessons that month and from there his star has continued to shine. – Again, that conversation between Mr. Baffert and Smith could have waited until they were finishing the third bottle of wine at dinner. But, we are all on record these days and things can be mis-understood. – I went back and watched the reaction from one day earlier when two old chaps locked horns and battled to the wire. It was as close as I’ve seen and to hear Larry Collmus call the photo is utterly amazing. – This is what the public and media should hear when the race is over and the interviews begin. Ladies and gents, I present two professionals in the twilight of their careers describe the race. – Just fast forward to 3:40 and enjoy.

In the days of social media where every person with a phone can be reporter of the year. We need to apply the old rule of “divide by two.” Simply put, believe about half of what you hear. – I think Smith and Baffert were just excited and the “Money Man” should have saved that conversation for dinner that night. – Congrats to all in both races, and in my heart there were no losers. When Jerry Bailey quoted Tom Durkin’s famous words of Carson Hollow in the Test Stakes; “a race that doesn’t deserve a loser.” That about summed up the weekend for this fan.


Free Breeders’ Cup Selections – Day #2 – 11/5/16

Day #1 was everything and more for this handicapper. – I’m sitting back like one does after a fine dinner and a Cuban cigar. It was a day that was awfully tough to beat, but in a handicapper’s fashion I find myself digging into my selections before I make my final call with the E-Z Win Forms. – Grab them up, and get to handicapping. Day #2 looks to have some of the same stuff if not better. But we’ll only know if we see it take place. – Best of luck from your friends at Winning Ponies !


Race #4 – The B/C Juvenile Fillies – 1 1/16 – 3:05 pm ET

#5 – Sweet Loretta (6-1) = Javier Castellano in the irons for Todd Pletcher and they win 20% as a team. Two-year-old filly who is a perfect 3/3 with wins. She owns two solid works over the deep Belmont oval in preparation.


Race #5 – The B/C Filly and Mare Turf – 1 1/4 – 3:43 pm ET

#8 – Lady Eli (5-2) = Irad Ortiz congratulated his brother Jose on his first B/C win, and he looks to do the same for the red-hot Chad Brown barn. She is 1/1 at Santa Anita and 8/8 ITM on the grass. It was a long road to get her back in the game much less to the level she was used to showing. I think you’ll be hard pressed to find a chink in her armor.


Race #6 – The B/C Sprint – 6f – 4:21 pm ET

#5 – AP Indian (4-1) = Jersey Joe Bravo in the saddle and he is looking for 6-in-a-row. This son of Indian Charlie has the goods to make it happen, and Bravo is double-dog-tough on the big money days.


Race #7 – The B/C Turf Sprint – 6 1/2f on the turf – 5:05 pm ET

#8 – Washington DC = Ryan Moore in the irons for Aiden O’Brien. They get first Lasix and the barn wins 18% on this move. He ran a beautiful race at Chantilly last out and looks to bring some Euro-style to the day.


Race#8 – The B/C Juvenile – 1 1/16 – 5:43 pm ET

#9 – Practical Joke = Joel Rosario for Chad Brown. They are looking to be a perfect 4/4 with wins today and they overcame a bad trip last out to get up in the shadow of the wire.


Race #9 – The B/C Turf – 1 1/2 on the turf – 6:22 pm ET

#6 – Mondialiste (15-1) = Daniel Tudhope makes the trek across the pond for David O’Meara. Winner of the Arlington Million and second in the B/C Mile at Keeneland last year. Bumped a bit in the stretch and ran a game 4th against a key race field. Son of Galileo and was bumped around a bit and has the goods to make it to the winner’s circle at a square price.


Race #10 – The B/C Filly and Mare Sprint – 7f – 7:01 pm ET

#3 – Tara’s Tango (8-1) = Rafael Bejarano in the saddle for Jerry Hollendorfer. She is 6/8 ITM at SA and 2nd off a brief layoff. She comes into the race fresh and cuts back to 7f from 1 1/16.


Race #11 – The B/C Mile – 1 mile on the turf – 7:40 pm ET

#9 – Ironicus (8-1) = Jose Ortiz comes out of the key race at Keeneland in the Shadwell Mile. This son of Distorted Humor has a late kick that is plain scary. This is my best play of the day and Shug McGaughey knows how to bring them ready. 2nd off the summer layoff and this is time to get a good price and see Ortiz notch another win.


Race #12 – The B/C Classic – 1 1/4 – 8:35 pm ET

#10 – Arrogate (5-2) = Mike Smith up for Bob Baffert and they are looking for five-in-a-row. I’m looking for a race similar to what we saw yesterday in the Distaff and when California Chrome comes calling, it should be worth the wait.


Free Breeders’ Cup Selections – Day #1 – 11/4/16

The wait is over and let the weekend begin ! – The weather forecast is clear and sunny with weather in the mid-80’s. – Santa Anita is expecting crowds to reach 100,000 for the two day event, and seating is extremely limited unless you are watching and wagering at “Man-Cave Downs.” – That’s where this handicapper has seats on the cushy couch, no lines to the fridge, and no lines to the bathroom. Wagering will take place by phone or computer and my E-Z Win Forms will be right next to my side. – If you haven’t downloaded yours, they are ready for the weekend and a FREE handicapping contest is on the Winning Ponies site. What more could a race fan ask for ? – Oh, that’s right. How about a few runners that could light up your day ?


Race #6 – The Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf – 1 mile on the turf – 5:25 pm ET

The race should have plenty of pace and the turf has played kind to stalkers and closers to date. If you’re caught on the fence about how the Euro-runners have fared, they do extremely well in the So-Cal heat. – This race kicks off a $1.5 million guaranteed pick-four pool.

#6 – Big Score (8-1) = Flavien Prat is in the irons for Tim Yakteen. This son of Mr. Big is 3/3 ITM on the grass and owns an impressive score in the Zuma Beach. His last two races are good enough to get him home and I love the rider on the green. He’s a gamer and should enjoy a solid pace in front. You’ll hear his name down the lane.

#5 – Made You Look (12-1) = Javier Castellano in the irons for Todd Pletcher and they have this son of More Than Ready at (12-1) ?? – I’ll take that all day long. New York runner shipping to the left coast.

#1 – Lancaster Bomber (6-1) = Aiden O’Brien trainee getting first Lasix and draws the rail. Son of War Front should be a major player in this race.


Race #7 – The Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile – 1 mile – 6:05 pm ET

#3 – Dortmund (6-5) = Martin Garcia and Baffert are back in business and they bring this ultra-tough son of Big Brown. He is 12/13 ITM lifetime and is probably the most deserving of getting his picture taken. Cuts back from 1 1/8 to a mile where he is 2/2 with wins and he loves SA with 6 starts, 5 wins, and 1 second.


Race #8 – The Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies – 1 mile on the turf – 6:50 pm ET

#3 – New Money Honey (10-1) = Javier Castellano is aboard a monster. The Ms. Grillo is a key race, and this gal is just getting started. – I think she has a bright future and hails from the red-hot Chad Brown barn.

#6 – Coasted (20-1) = Exits the Ms Grillo as the beaten favorite. Mike Smith takes over for Jose Lezcano and she was SQUEEZED against the rail and just mailed it in from the 3/16th’s pole. She kept plenty in the tank and Smith is the undisputed money man in racing. Buckle up for a sweet price coming your way.


Race #9 – The Breeders’ Cup Distaff – 1 1/8 – 7:35 pm ET

Songbird has done nothing wrong and is a perfect 11/11. Mike Smith is aboard and he rides about 1/3 of the top money winners on the year and still makes the bettors happy. Think back to Eddie Arcaro and he did the same thing back in the day, but I digress. She has bounced around and had one heckuva’ year. But, me thinks I’m going to go in search of a wee-better price. – No offense, and if she wins the racing world will be glowing. But this bettor is gonna’ be looking for her to get gunned down in the shadow of the wire.

#5 – Stellar Wind (5-2) = Victor Espinoza should have a couple winners over the two days, and this could be the big kickoff. This daughter of Curlin is 10/11 ITM and is making her second start off the layoff. She loves SA and is 5 = 4,1,0 and owns a couple of nice works. She fits, and looks fresh and ready.


Just a first thought before I hunker over the E-Z Win Forms and make my final decisions. – I like to examine the races and then jump into the data. It helps me see how the race will take shape and where the hidden value can be found. – Winning Ponies is always dialed in everyday, but they do exceptionally well on the marquee events. Come to think of it, is there any weekend during the year where you’ll find the world converge to do battle to the wire ? - Best of luck from your friends at Winning Ponies !





Problem Ponies – Horses to Watch – 11/2/16

The Cubs and Indians square off in November for game 7, the Breeders’ Cup is just days away, and the process of finding your winners has begun. – There is nothing like this time of year even if it seems like it’s a little later. No worries, Santa Anita will bring sunshine and a blue sky all weekend long. – Be sure to download your E-Z Win Forms and come prepared to the betting windows. They are always dialed in for the marquee weekend and you can bet your boots they’ll have your back. – Grab a pen and paper, commit to memory, or use a stable mail. These following runners need to be followed right back to the races next out. They offer an excuse, a bad trip, or it just wasn’t their day. – Best of luck from your friends at Winning Ponies !


Belmont Park



Race #2 – #2 – Carnarsie Kid – 6f on the turf

Beaten chalk who led most of the way. He was caught on the inside when the others made a run and he weakened down the stretch.

Race #3 – #4 – Micozzi – 6 1/2f

Pinched back at the start and was forced wide on the final turn.

Race #5 – #12 – Compromised – 6 1/2f

Beaten favorite who was pinched at the start and forced wide into the final turn.

Race #7 – #5 – Adonis Creek – 6 1/2f

First time starter bumped around at the start for the Kiaran McLaughlin barn.

Race #9 – #4 – Economic Model – 7f

Beaten chalk who was forced wide into the final turn all the while mounting a strong bid.


Churchill Downs



Race #1 – #3 – Chief Know it All – 6f

Bumped, steadied, and blocked. I think this rates as a horrible trip and he still managed a solid 3rd when most would toss in the towel.

Race #2 – #4 – Dawn the Destroyer – 7f

Beaten favorite had to await room until late and made an explosive late run.

Race #3 – #4 – Song of Spring – 1 mile

Loomed boldly and got a little leg weary down the lane for her first time start. – Big improvement is coming very soon !

Race #7 – #5 – Cash In -6f

1st timer who was a beaten chalk. Bumped around like a pinball at the start and had to circle runners to get bested at the wire.




Breeders’ Cup – First Glimpse – Day #2 – Part #5

This may be the best field assembled in recent memory, and a race you won’t want to miss. If you are a racing fan who enjoys a wager and more importantly a shot at taking down the big win. You’ll want to have your E-Z Win Forms in hand as soon as they are available. Take a good look at the big race and drink it in. The replays you’ll see will whet your appetite and get you ready for the big weekend. – Best of luck from your friends at Winning Ponies !


The $6,000,000 Breeders’ Cup Classic – 1 1/4 – 5:35 PDT


Arrogate - Bob Baffert brings in a lightly raced runner who has no two-year-old foundation. But not to worry, he shocked the racing world with an ultra-impressive win in the (G-1) Travers and is seeking his 5th straight victory from six starts. – I don’t think he is a secret anymore.

California Chrome – Art Sherman saddles the Kentucky Derby winner with an impressive resume. He has been the poster horse of consistency and 19/24 ITM lifetime is proof in the pudding. He is 7/8 ITM at Santa Anita and looks for his 7th straight victory facing some of the best in the game.

Frosted - Kiaran McLaughlin has this son of Tapit firing on all cylinders. He’s a real gamer and my only question is will the distance be too much ?

Melatonin - David Hoffmans is the conditioner for this son of Kodiak Kowboy. He loves Santa Anita and is a perfect 4/4 with wins. His works are strong and he has a tactical edge that has to be respected.



Breeders’ Cup – First Glimpse – Day #2 – Part #4

The races are getting better and the fields assembled are some of the best in the history of the Breeders’ Cup. Be sure to take a look and get a good visual image of some of the runners and use this as an appetizer. Download the Winning Ponies E-Z Win Forms to see how the race shapes up and where some of these runners fit. - Best of luck from your friends at Winning Ponies !


The $1,500,000 Breeders’ Cup Sprint – 6f – 4:01 PDT

Drefong – Baffert brings this son of Gio Ponti to post, and this runner is looking for five-in-a-row. He was ultra impressive in the King’s Bishop and working very nicely in the mornings.

Joking - Gelded son of Distorted Humor and he is looking for his fifth straight. 2nd off the layoff and owns a solid effort in the (G-1) Vosburgh.

Lord Nelson – Baffert trainee is a very nice son of Pulpit. He’s seeking his 5th straight and is 6/8 ITM at Santa Anita.

A.P. Indian - Arnaud Delacour brings this son of Indian Charlie to post. He is seeking his 6th straight victory. He is one tough customer and all you have to do is examine his last effort at Keeneland.


The $4,000,000 Breeders’ Cup Turf – 1 1/2 on the turf – 4:40 PDT

Da Big Hoss – Mike Maker brings a son of Lemon Drop Kid to post and he is 14/17 ITM on the greensward. He should relish the distance and is looking for his fifth straight win.

Flintshire - Chad Brown has become quite a trainer in his own right. Doing his apprenticeship under the tutelage of the late Bobby Frankel is enough to make any trainer ready for the game. – This runner is a turf machine and his last race did not take anything away. He’ll be ready and the field better bring their running shoes.

Found - Aiden O’Brien brings the Arc winner to the post. This filly is by Galileo and she is a monster. She cut back to 1 1/4 last out and goes back to 1 1/2 where she is 3/3 ITM at the distance.