Lucky Number 13

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The Triple Crown has been won and “lucky #13″ is in the books. – Justify is undefeated and has done nothing wrong to date. But after the race there’s usually some hullabaloo about something that transpired. – He jumped from the gate, drew off quickly and settled in for a 1 1/2 gallop into the history books. – I can hear the intro music of Law and Order keyed up in the background and that means the talk begins.

According to the New York Post;

Queens native Mike Repole, co-owner of fourth-place Vino Rosso and last-place Noble Indy in the field of 10, hopes Belmont Park stewards will question jockey Florent Geroux about his handling of Restoring Hope, Justify’s stablemate, for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert.

“Justify is a super horse. He is a Triple Crown winner and he’s undefeated,” said Repole, emphasizing his admiration for the powerful, 6-for-6 colt. “But I can see the stewards looking into this over the next couple of days. I probably expect them to look into reckless riding by Florent and bring him in to question him about what he was thinking and what his tactics were.”

While Justify and Mike Smith, his Hall of Fame rider, smoothly accelerated after breaking from the rail to seize the early lead, Geroux rode vigorously to hustle Restoring Hope toward the front. He soon assumed a position just behind Justify and to his outside.

“It definitely seemed to me he was more of an offensive lineman than a racehorse trying to win the Belmont,” said Repole of 37-1 Restoring Hope, “and Justify was a running back trying to run for a touchdown.”

Gary West, who owns Restoring Hope, was livid about the handling of his horse.

Once upon a time this would’ve been called “race riding.” – Jockeys rode in tight company with midnight tales of riders locking boots and using the stick to intimidate other horses. – I guess those times have gone by the wayside for the most part and when we see or read about a questionable tactic. It makes us cringe and wonder if there’ll be an asterisk next to the name of the 13th Triple Crown winner.

When I watched the race I saw a little race riding going on. – I dismissed it, and thought it was me over-thinking the race. So much on the line and history weighed in the balance. – Sometimes we see things that aren’t really there. – We’re not wishing for things, but we can be guilty of watching too closely. – But in this case, maybe my first initial thought held some validity. Take another look and watch them down the backstretch.

Florent Geroux has been the newest name on the up-and-coming rider list. The French-born rider has been as talented as anyone and his talent was garnering him live mounts on some of the big name runners. – D. Wayne Lukas has been the “Coach” for as long as I remember and as the elder statesman of racing his words are gold. – ” D. Wayne Lukas, who trained sixth-place Bravazo, does not believe Restoring Hope’s presence mattered. But he acknowledged: “That was strange the way they sent him up there. I mean, he compromised a few horses with blocking and so forth.”

I guess the New York Post was on to something as I went back and re-thought the entire race. – In the end I came out with this. If the Stewards need to chat with him, so be it. If there is a fine. Pay it. – But the results will remain the same and there is a 13th Triple Crown winner. – In sports there has been numerous plans to gain an edge. – How many “spitballs” were thrown in baseball? – How many unsportsmanlike hits in the NFL? What about NASCAR where teams of racers run “block” for a teammate? – If there is an edge to gain many will take it. Did this happen, you make the call. – In the meantime congratulate Smith and Baffert. They ran a hell of a race and Justify is in the history books.

The Happy Horseplayer

Another month passes, and racing action is beginning to heat up. There’s nothing like Thoroughbreds thundering home in the summer sun. – The Triple Crown is upon and my excitement is at a fever pitch. But when a Triple Crown hopeful is on the line, the joy of watching the historic event is that much sweeter. – What makes your inner-racing fan happy? Is it the beauty of the majestic horses? Could it be the history that weighs in the balance? Or maybe you’re looking for a big score at the windows. Any of the above would be just fine, but for me, it reminds me of the many years of standing in the summer sun with my dad. The ride to the track and the post-race trek home. There was nobody more in the world I wanted to go to the races with, and this Saturday is more special than others.

 

Belmont Birthday Boy

 

My dad, August E. Meyer turns 75-years-young this Saturday. – He’s seen many races, photos, and excitement that only horse racing could provide. He was the guy who took me to my first races. We would drive the backroads to Latonia or River Downs and catch the last few races. – I would relish every moment and celebrate every win. – He taught me to read the program and understand his passion for the sport. Speed. He loves to play early runners who break from the gate and play a little game called “catch me if you can.” – You won’t see his wagers with the “Silky Sullivan” type runners. His philosophy about speed could harken back to his days as an athlete, or maybe it’s just his nature to jump out and take control. – Either way, this Saturday my handicapping buddy has a birthday. He’ll be 75 and I sure hope he gets to see a Triple Crown winner. But I’m sure he won’t be cheering for the chalk as he loves to beat the favorite. – Happy birthday, Dad. We all love you…

 

Pass it on

 

I see people every day at the track, and nothing does my heart good than to see one passing to another. – I work with some people who are new to the races and they stop and ask questions. – Nothing better than to share your love of the game. – There is one young lady who has no clue about horse racing. When she sheepishly started asking me questions; I told her just relax and let the game come to you. – I’ll help along the way, and as the old saying goes “there are no silly questions.” I told her my love of the sport came through years of watching and wagering. It’s not something you can learn in a day and night school won’t help. – You have to be there. Experience the races and go from there. – I’m watching as she learns, and her questions show interest in racing. I think before long she’ll make her first trek to the races with her friends, and her plans to see Keeneland in the fall will only add to the love of the game. – “You keep asking and I’ll keep answering.” – I think she’ll be pretty excited this Saturday when she witnesses the Belmont Stakes. The chance to see history in the making with the backdrop of a packed crowd at the track will light her inner-racing fan. Good luck, kiddo!

 

It wouldn’t do the game justice if we didn’t show the 1973 Belmont. – Just watching Secretariat draw off and win by 31 lengths is still enough to give chills. – Sit back and listen to the late-great “Chic” Anderson as he paints the canvas on this historic day. It’s been 45 years to the day, and it still feels like yesterday. - Best of luck from your friends at Winning Ponies!

 

 

Can History Repeat?

It was 45 years ago when five horses lined up at Belmont Park. Only one stood to be the Triple Crown winner and take down the “Test of the Champion.” – It was 2:24 later and a colt who went by the name of “Big Red” not only set a track record, he broke the world record by nearly two seconds. That sunny day in 1973 seems a lifetime ago. Or, could it be another page in history on the exact date 45 years later the 13th Triple Crown winner could be crowned. – I guess we’ll have to wait and watch.

Ron Turcotte said, “the horses behind him looked like little dots getting smaller.” – He never pushed him in the stretch and drew off almost a 1/16th of a mile on the rest of the field. The final margin of victory was 31 lengths. – Chic Anderson couldn’t have said it any better than “he was moving like a tremendous machine.” – As we look back on the old CBS video and the eternal words of “The World’s Greatest Racing Announcer” according to Sports Illustrated; it was a moment that was captured in time forever. – Take a look back and relish the moment one more time before Saturday.

Fast forward 45 years, and we have another shot at the next. – There’s something magical about a Triple Crown winner. No matter where they finish in any another race, they are etched into history. – This Saturday will be 6/9/18. It will be 45 years to the day when the 13th Triple Crown winner could enter the pantheon of racing.

Mike Smith first came into my view when Turfway Park invented itself from the ashes of Latonia Racecourse. He was in town to ride the fall meet and find his next career step. – After watching him ply his trade over the Florence, Kentucky oval it was a glimpse of only what was to come for this young man. – He’s 52 and has the build of a rider 20-years his junior. A win in Saturday’s $1.5 million Grade I Belmont Stakes with the imposing Justify would bring with it a Triple Crown title; only the 13th time it would happen since the first one in 1919.

“I always told myself that one day I was gonna win a Triple Crown,” Smith said by cellphone from California, where he has been riding regularly since 2000. “Now, here I’m in with a chance with a serious contender. If the good Lord is willing, and it’s meant to be, it will happen,” according to the Times Union. – “I’ve waited for this a long time,” Smith said. “I am excited for it. I’m happy. I’m humble. The hard part is the waiting. I’ve got a horse that I would not trade for nobody.” If Smith and Justify do win, the rider will be the oldest to ever sweep the Kentucky Derby, Preakness, and Belmont. Smith is 52, will turn 53 in August. The oldest Triple Crown-winning jockey is the most recent; Victor Espinoza was 43 when he rode American Pharoah into the history books.

Justify is a perfect 5/5 and didn’t have a race as two-year-old. He broke the “Curse of Apollo” being the first to do so since 1882. – His first race wasn’t until February 18, 2018. Ever since then his strides have taken us on a journey that legends are made. His trainer is the one and only Bob Baffert and his rider is known as the “Money Man.” – When they team up good things happen. The million dollar question is can it happen this Saturday 45 years later to the day from Secretariat? – Waiting is the hardest part. – Just to whet your appetite for things to come, here’s a glimpse of his Kentucky Derby victory. – Will history be made? We’ll just have to wait a few more days.

 

The Next Big One?

 

With two legs of the Triple Crown in the books, the chatter is in full-swing about the next name to be etched in the history books. – Is Justify the horse hailed as the next “big one?” – He broke apart the “Curse of Apollo” and even overcame the video where he looked sore the day after the Derby. – Bob Baffert looks calm and cool. Maybe because he’s been here before, or maybe it’s because he’s just that good. – The talk will continue right up until they load in the starting gate at Belmont

When the Derby trail began he wasn’t even on the scene. Matter of fact he hadn’t even raced. But that didn’t deter the connections as they liked what they saw. – I can remember watching the Santa Anita Derby talking on the phone with my dad. As we yacked, I could see there was something big happening that caught my eye. – ” Hey, Dad. You may want to watch this horse. He has something special.” Maybe it was his stride, his gleam or the way he carried himself. But he caught my eye that day. He needed the points to make the starting gate and running 2nd wasn’t going to cut it. – As he dismantled Bolt D’ Oro, he stamped his ticket that day.

As 52-yr-old Mike Smith looked 21 in the saddle on Derby day, he seemed to communicate with Justify. – He’s had plenty of great runners and this was just the latest. But could it be one of his special runners? – Smith keeps himself in shape and humbles himself to God after each win. – I guess there’s a message for the non-believers in Justify. It’s not luck, it’s all about preparation and thanking a higher power for an equine gift as Justify.

Baffert used to be the clown in years gone by. – I watched him toss the flowers into the crowd and hold the trophy on his head as a hat. – No more. – He’s now one of the best who’s ever led a horse to the track. I guess elder statesman could be used, but he may lay a little “California Cool” on you and show he’s still that young gun. – Bob Baffert is timeless. When he ran into his heart problems, he seemed to recover and enjoy every second. His family, his life, and love of horses. – Where he used to have that cocky wry smile, has now been replaced by a voice that sometimes cracks with emotion when asked the media questions. – That’s the mark of a maturing trainer. If he were a bourbon he’d be aged and smooth.

We are seeing something special. Two men at the top of their game aging gracefully. A colt who has come around just at the right time. – Some would call it the perfect storm, but I guess we’ll have to wait and see until they break from the gate at “Big Sandy.” I’m on board and for the first time in years, it’s not about making the big score. It’s about beauty and pageantry. Watching as a longtime fan as an event that may not come around for quite awhile. – Good luck, Justify. We’ll be rooting from this side of the TV screen.

 

He’s Just That Damn Good

by Ed Meyer

posted on June 1, 2018 in General Discussion, Handicapping, Horse Racing, WinningPonies.com | No Comments >>

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Some things are over buffered with big words, fireworks, and smoke. – Who can blame you when you feel so emphatic about anything? – On Memorial Day of this year, I saw something take place I’ve seen a thousand times before and still was amazed. Well, maybe not 1,000 times; 6,927 times would sum it up more precisely.

He had a win on the card and it was a perfect early summer day. Fans in the stands, children with ice cream, and bettors hunkered around the paddock looking to pick up any small note of a winner. It was another day at the races. – It was the 6th race and his mount was the odds-on favorite. – Perry Wayne Ouzts from Lepanto, Arkansas was plying his trade ever since he did for the first time at Beulah Park in 1973 with Rablu. – He had a speedy runner for his go-to-trainer Larry Smith. He looked as tough as a nickel steak.

Ouzts broke sharply but dropped back quickly like his legs had frozen. – The horse’s saddle slipped and he bucked off Ouzts like a bronco. (Maybe one you’ll want to keep on your shortlist). – He came back to the paddock and into the jocks room. Nothing big, just another day at the office. – Riders wait until 12 minutes to post to stand outside waiting to be called to the horses. But there was one little man dressed for next race early. He was just standing by himself like many times before. – When they were called down, his 63-yr-old body ran down the stairs and right to his mount. – He was ready, and it was just a bump in the road the last race.

Perry Wayne Ouzts went wire-to-wire and was “tons the best” according to the Equibase charts. He was. – He came right back for the 8th and final and did the exact same thing. – I watched with eagle eyes and could see he was pissed. Not because he hit the ground, he just hates to lose. – He took the last race in the same fashion and powered home to win by nine. – It was just another day at the office as he notched another “hat-trick” for three wins on the card.

He has 6,927 career wins. – I called him when he reached 6,900 to congratulate him. He said; ” Ed, I’m going to get 7,000 right here this summer. I’m gonna’ get it.” – For a man who speaks rarely, this was War and Peace being recited. – We have 73 days left in the meet and needs 73 wins to get his 7,000. – At first, I doubted he would have enough time, but after watching him hit the ground and pop-up to nail the next two. I’d bet dollars to donuts he’ll get his record. – If you like to root for one of the good guys, you have a jockey you should be watching (and wagering) on every time he hits the track. He’s on a mission, and Father Time doesn’t scare him one little bit. – He’s still that kid from Lepanto. You can see that every time he slowly walks his horse into the winner’s circle. He savors it like a fine wine or a steak at a New York 5-star. He’s humble and quiet and lets his horses do the talking. He won his first race in 73′; we have 73 days left in the meet, and he needs 73 wins to get his next milestone.

 

The Shark Ain’t Coming Round’ Anymore

by Ed Meyer

posted on June 1, 2018 in General Discussion, Horse Racing, WinningPonies.com | No Comments >>

His lawn chair that must have been 100 years old, and with notebook in hand, the old man watched the races with laser precision. I’ve been seeing him for over 25 years working at the tracks. Sometimes he would make a trip to Keeneland and set up his shop. We walk past people every day and assume we know a little something about them by a short glance as we hurry through life. – Sometimes there’s a little more to the book than the tattered cover.

I had finished a day of calling the races on Monday and was heading out to my car. I usually stop and shoot the breeze with an old face from time-to-time. The old face is both of ours as I’ve been working at the races for most of my life. – The gent was simply called “The Anvil” as he had a pointed goatee just like his wrestling idol Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart. A steel-worker by trade and horseplayer by love. He always wore his overalls and work boots. His giant arms could have had him in the WWF at the time. – He’s retired now but still wears his overalls and boots like he just came from the job. – “Hey, Anvil. What’s happening?” – “Hey, Ed. Did you hear the “Shark” died this week?” – It didn’t ring a bell at first but hit me like a hammer on the drive home. I just hadn’t heard his name in a while.

Shark was from New York. He was an orphan raised on the tough side of the tracks. – He hated school and did horrible. Except for math. That was his shining glory. The Nuns gave him plenty of pats on the head during his youth. – He went into the service and met his bride upon return. – Little things you pick up along the many years working in the parking lot and eventually inside the track. You get to know some one-of-a-kind people that you don’t read about in a book or find every day.

The Shark was a bookmaker in the 1960’s and 70’s. He was a big man who stayed off the streets and back alleys we’ve all heard about. His fortune was making the numbers dance. His ability to do calculations in his head was simply magic. Something you would’ve seen in a movie. – He raised his kids in the suburbs and his wife passed away early. Shark stayed and raised the four kids with the help of his sister. He never remarried and had his work and the kids. He didn’t need anything else. – His end of the operation was balancing and making the numbers add up. Needless to say, he was pretty good at his trade.

I met him when he gave me $5 bill to park. – ” Hold my spot every day and you’ll get the same.” – He never had to repeat that again as his word was gold. – He would walk in with a lawn chair. He kept to himself and treated the races like a business. It wasn’t for fun; it was for making money. I would find him and the chair on the 3rd floor or in a faraway corner in the clubhouse. Close enough to watch the races and close enough to bet. – I always noticed he had a small black notebook and would make a bet or two every night.

Back in New York his kids all went to college and eventually went their own ways. His sister passed to the other side and he was getting older. He used to come to Kentucky and Ohio during the spring and summer and down to Florida winter. – Over the years you get used to seeing the same faces in the same places until you don’t anymore. – This is where loner characters like “The Anvil” had met him in passing. Loners at the track used to be a common practice, but now you see people come in groups and treat it like a party. – Not the Shark. It was all business. – Over the years the clerks would tell me he made a bet or two and they were large. – I’m talking $500 to place and show and he cashed more than he tossed away. I guess that was his many years of keeping focus and being a man of the numbers.

As he grew older I would see him in an old lawn chair with a bigger notebook. – We would trade brief words of “how ya’ doing, or are ya’ picking any winners?” – Quiet man. He was still there for business. But now it was all he really had. – Anvil said he went to the doc complaining of back pain on a Monday and was gone on Friday. – ” The Shark ain’t coming round anymore, Ed.” – Anvil went about his business of watching and complaining but was a little quieter on this day. – I walked away and thought about the many $5 bills over the years and how I would see him quietly sitting in his chair. I guess he was happy. He raised his kids and took care of his sister and she took care of him. – I can still see him this past Derby day walking in early to set up his camp for the day. His words were few and I only knew brief stories of his life from the many years and from chats with his friends. – Yeah, the Shark ain’t coming round here no more. I’ll miss seeing the chair and the old man watching the races.

The New Game in Town ?

Interior View of Race And Sports Book In Caesars Palace

 

 

When the first words came across the Internet about sports gambling being legalized, they were sweet sounds to my ears. – Then came the first shots of “would it be enough and who would handle the wagering.” – After the smoke cleared we received a new blast of ensuring the games would not be monitored enough to ensure integrity and safety for bettors. – Ok, we all get the message. There has been betting since the Roman soldiers were rolling dice, and I doubt the gaming was monitored. – The only thing I walked away with was how we could get anything done without over-regulating the idea to the point of sending it back to the table for more discussion. – But with all the red-tape and complaining. I have a few ideas that may simplify the process.

1. – The only places that could accept a sports betting wager would be legal race tracks, casinos, and racinos. No bowling alleys or 7-11 stores. Keep the gambling wagers where wagering has been licensed and regulated for quite some time. – This would move the process along. – If the lottery was going to be a major player, then they would be added as well. – Keep the new form of gambling to places that accept and handle gambling. There’s no need to have it at your local donut shop. If you notice the places that would have the new betting have age limits for making a wager, enough cash on hand to handle the wagers and have been reporting to the powers-that-be for quite some time. – Simple and easy to get it off the ground.

2. – Sports gaming would offer a new interactive venue for entertainment. – This would create jobs, taxes and take something from the back rooms and bring it to the light of day. – No more “old man” meeting you in bar squaring up from the previous week. – Keep the jobs and taxes growing, and we’ll create jobs and lessen the burden on the people. The number of illegal bets I keep reading about is $150 billion. This would go quite a way in helping growth.

3 – Create a commission that would regulate sports betting just the lottery, racing and casinos. – If there are infractions to the set rules they would be met with heavy fines and possible suspensions. – I promise they’d want to keep everything above table and be open to an audit.

4. – Would you rather have a bookie in the back room or a Vegas-style bad-ass bar where you could make a wager and enjoy a cocktail while rooting for your team in the big game. – A super sports bar, great food, wagering and watching your favorite team all under one roof. Las Vegas is 1,000 miles away from your house. – I would imagine Nevada isn’t too happy, but they’ve been the only game in town for too long.

5. – Racing could receive more patrons coming in the doors on a daily basis. – If there were 2,000 guests who came in and out on a college football Saturday and 10% of the new traffic made a few horse bets. That’s 200 new players we have the opportunity to market and serve. Maybe even some form of subsidy could help the horse racing purses grow to keep the game alive. -Casinos would have the BIG game to drop in and make a wager. – I haven’t heard of a problem yet.

Sports betting has scared players and folks who oppose expansion. They fear the games would be tainted by wagers. But what would be different? – We already have corner bookies operating illegally, and this would bring the betting into the open. – I think sports betting could actually keep a “big brother” type commision watching over the games and those involved. Nothing has changed except for fear and worry that something could go wrong, and it’s OK to have local bookies holding court with no regulation. – I make some sports wagers and I would gladly wager with a state and federal watched venture than betting in the back room of a pool hall.

Preakness by the Numbers

The 143rd Preakness will take place this Saturday going to post at 6:20 pm ET on NBC. – A field of eight will go to post and Justify was installed the (1-2) morning line favorite. – For some of the very best Triple Crown coverage look no further than The Downey Profile. – “The Commish” puts together some of the very best info to read and if you follow along you’ll find yourself enlightened about the Triple Crown.

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On Saturday at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Bob Baffert and D. Wayne Lukas will attempt to establish new marks in the Preakness and the Triple Crown races as a whole.
Baffert, 65, is of course scheduled to start Kentucky Derby winner Justify. Lukas, 82, plans to saddle Bravazo, sixth in the Derby, and Sporting Chance, fourth in the Pat Day Mile on the Derby undercard.

If both Lukas’ horses go to the gate, it will be the 13th time Lukas has had two or more starters in a Preakness. Lukas has started a record 41 horses in 27 runnings of the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown. In addition to his six wins, he also has one second and five third-place finishes.

Baffert made his Preakness debut in 1996 with Cavonnier, who was fourth at Pimlico after losing the Derby by a nose to Grindstone. He’s saddled a total of 18 horses in 16 editions of the Preakness and in addition to his six wins, he has one second and one third. His Preakness earnings are a record $4.4 million.

 

Overall Preakness Wins

Hall of Fame trainers both, Baffert or Lukas could tie a longstanding record at Pimlico on Saturday. With six Preakness wins each, they are second on the all-time win list, one behind Robert Wyndham Walden.

A denizen of racing in the 19th century and elected to the Hall of Fame in 1970, Walden – known best by his middle name – completed his run of seven Preakness winners 130 years ago. He won seven of 13 runnings of the Preakness beginning in 1875 and had a record five-straight wins from 1878 through 1882. All five in the streak were owned by sportsman and magnate George Lorillard.

Walden owned and operated Bowling Brook Farm in Middleburg, Md., not far from Baltimore. He also won the Belmont Stakes four times, and his son, also named Robert, won the 1899 Kentucky Derby with Manuel.

 

Overall Triple Crown Record

Baffert’s 2 1/2-length victory with Justified in the Kentucky Derby was his 13th Triple Crown victory, putting him in a tie for second with Sunny Jim Fitzsimmons, whose training career spanned an incredible seven decades from 1894 to 1963. Fitzsimmons won the Preakness four times and is the only trainer to twice sweep the Triple Crown.

But it is Lukas who holds this record with 14 wins in the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes. Baffert could tie that mark on Saturday.

 

Seeking Fifth Derby-Preakness Double

After a rare absence from Baltimore in 2017, Baffert will try to extend a personal streak of completing the Derby-Preakness double for the fifth time.

Baffert has never lost the Preakness with a Kentucky Derby winner. He opened that run with Silver Charm in 1997 and continued with Real Quiet (1998), War Emblem (2002) and American Pharoah (2015). His other Preakness victories came in 2001 with Point Given, who was fifth in the Kentucky Derby, and 2010 with Lookin At Lucky, who finished sixth in the Derby after drawing the rail.

Lukas won with his first Preakness starter, Codex, in 1980, defeating the Derby-winning filly Genuine Risk in a highly controversial race. Many observers felt that jockey Angel Cordero Jr. was far too aggressive in the stretch and carried Kentucky Derby winner Genuine Risk wide, inhibiting her chances of winning. She finished second by 4 3/4 lengths.

His other winners were Tank’s Prospect (1985); Tabasco Cat (1994); Timber Country (1995); Charismatic (1999); and Oxbow (2013).

Of Lukas’s six Preakness winners, only one, Charismatic, was victorious in the Kentucky Derby. On Saturday, Lukas will try to pull yet another upset while Justify is likely to be the odds-on favorite.

 

Preakness Selections:

Justify looks to fit and even has the same post position as the Derby. At (1-2) he has to be taken seriously after reading Baffert’s numbers from above.

 

#7 – Justify (1-2) – This son of Scat Daddy is a perfect 4/4, and won impressively over a sealed-sloppy track at CD. – He is facing 8 runners versus 20 and breaks from the exact post as in the Derby. Being a lightly raced colt may weight in his favor and rider Mike Smith is going to look to keep trainer Bob Baffert’s record of never losing a Preakness with a Derby winner. He’ll break close to the pace and be a major player in the early fractions. There is plenty of early speed, and I look for him to stay a little wide off the rail keeping out of the mud and pouncing on the far turn before they turn for home.

 

#5 – Good Magic (3-1)- Looks to make his foes disappear in the lane, but he’ll have his work cut out facing the Derby winner two weeks later. This son of Curlin is a perfect 6/6 ITM and done very little wrong since winning the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile as a two-year-old. Trainer Chad Brown is known for turning the tables, and if Justify makes any small error from the gate break he’ll be right there to move into action. Rider Jose Ortiz is one of the best tactical jockeys in the country and he does excellent work when he teams up with Chad Brown.

 

#2 – Lone Sailor (15-1) – This son of Majestic Warrior is a stone cold closer. He’ll relish the off going if the rain continues as he won his 2nd lifetime start in the slop at Saratoga. Irad Ortiz in the saddle and he’ll come rolling late in the lane. Ortiz is one of the best closing riders with a very strong late kick. Look for him at the top of the lane fanning wide under a full head of steam. He was off slow in the Derby and tried to put together a late run but was blocked around the far turn.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Day the Bookies Cried

by Ed Meyer

posted on May 15, 2018 in General Discussion, Horse Racing, WinningPonies.com | No Comments >>

If you wanted to bet a sporting event you had to call your “man.” – You know, the guy who gave you some lame spread on the big game. – You had to bet 11 to win 10 and then fight the line. I guess the fun was worth it, but there may be some good news that may not only expand betting but could help other forms of gaming taking place under the same roof. – Yeah, there’s a lot of bookies out there who will need a box of kleenex today. But not to worry, if this all comes to full light they may even find themselves in line to make a wager on real lines with the rest of us.

According to the Bloodhorse.com;

In a decision that was largely anticipated by the horse racing industry—as well as other gaming experts—the U.S. Supreme Court on May 14 found the federal law that had kept sports gambling in check—largely to Nevada—to be unconstitutional. The decision, as reported by a number of news outlets including NBC News and the New York Times, will open the door to allow states to determine if they want to allow sports gambling. The Times reports Americans illegally wager about $150 billion on sports each year.

The horse racing industry was largely expecting Monday’s decision and the impact of expanded legal sports gambling has been a topic at industry meetings this year, like the National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association convention and the Association of Racing Commissioners International convention.

Experts believe sports wagering could be a good fit for tracks and online advance-deposit wagering outlets, as it’s more complementary to pari-mutuel wagering than slot machines. On the other hand, it’s a similar game to betting horses and typically features a lower takeout than pari-mutuel wagering.

At the National HBPA meeting, tote company executive Michele Fischer said horse racing needs to make sure sports bettors place their wagers on-site at tracks or through ADW outlets.

“Having sports wagering at our tracks and on our ADWs is very important,” said Fischer, the vice president of sales and business development at Sportech Racing and Digital. “If they’re not in your building, they’re somewhere else.”

Think of going to the track where you’ll be surrounded by a huge sports bar. All of the traditional fare and the walls covered with big screen TV’s. – Clerks would be selling you tickets on the games of your choice and you sit and enjoy a few adult beverages watching college and professional games. – The place which has become a ghost town would come back to life. – Horse Racing taking place and for some, the VLT’s or Casino atmosphere makes your old race track an entertainment center. – No more 4-hour flights to Las Vegas as we could have everything we wanted to watch and wager miles from home. – The only loser I can see from this point are the bookies. They’ll be forced to take wagers from punters who bet today and pay next week. The rest of the bettors will be at the track or casino enjoying the electric atmosphere. – I’ve been waiting for a long time for this, and hopefully, tracks will jump in and make this happen.

Racing may benefit greatly from adding hundreds of people coming into the building every day. – Think of college Saturday’s and the all-day action. Racing couldn’t buy this type of advertisement to attract new players. – I’m optimistic and hope for the best. I am a little worried about the bookies. This may be “Black Monday” for those who enjoyed taking wagers on the cuff. – It’s just been announced and there are some that have had plans for million dollar additions to your old track and transform it into Las Vegas-style gaming. – Gaming, gambling, and betting may have just received a shot in the arm to revive and reinvent itself.

Family Fun !

Racetracks do not have the feel of your grandpa’s place anymore. – Where there was once a smoke-filled grandstand has been replaced by a more friendly environment. If you doubt my words, just pack the kiddies in the car and make the trek. You may be surprised.

Kids at the track back in the day was a pain in the butt for other gamblers. They didn’t come to hear kids asking for ice cream or when were we leaving? – These were the days of old. Now when you walk in the track you may see families enjoying the day at the races.  – Why not? There’s nothing to hide except a day of fun and getting up close to the action.

Tracks are having special family fun days. The track I work offers this Sunday-Funday the last Sunday of the month. It has inflatable rides, free ice cream and popcorn, games and face painting, and a petting zoo. Not too bad for a day at the races if you ask me. – The change is to bring people closer to the action and have a little something for everyone to enjoy. – Some may argue this is a ploy to create kids into a growing class of next-generation gamblers. – Not the case. Tracks are showcasing the facility in a new light. It’s not that smoke-filled venue anymore. Matter of fact most if not all tracks have non-smoking areas where the family is free from smelling like a Dutch Master cigar.

I think it’s a great idea and kids naturally fit in well with animals. – How many places can kids walk up to the rail and feed the out-riding ponies peppermints? Not many. – There are some youngsters where this may be their only opportunity to be close and friendly with these majestic animals. They may get to see fast Thoroughbreds whizzing past going 40 mph, or maybe it’s the jockey who hands the kids a pair or two of his racing goggles. Picture opportunities and a day where mom and dad can bring the kids to something they enjoy. What’s wrong with this? – Nothing. Unless you’re not much into having fun.

I have about 20 or so kids stop up to the booth each year and I let them put the headsets on and sit in the big chair. – They get to make an announcement, and when they hear themselves over the sound system their eyes just light up. Even Mom and Dad have had the same feeling believe it or not when I push the button and they come out loud and clear. – Just having fun. That’s what it’s all about. – Tracks are not the place where the whirl of gamblers jet in and out of betting lines and smoke em’ if they got em’. There’s a kinder feel, and if you’re anywhere near Belterra Park the last Sunday of each month make the trek and enjoy the day. – You can even stop up and make an announcement or two. I keep hats and candy upstairs and kids have a little keepsake to remind them of a fun day out with Mom and Dad.

C’mon out and see for yourself. It’s good clean fun and who knows. Maybe the kids will be asking Mom and Dad when they can go back again. – Best of luck from Winning Ponies!