Santa, the Easter Bunny and Hot Tips

We listen to the people who hang at the bar and talk about the real hot horse in the feature. The groom betting his weekly check at the windows with a halter hanging over his shoulder as we crane our neck to hear the inside scoop. – If you had to choose one of the above which has the best chance at being real ? – Go ahead, give it your best shot !


There is no way one man can fly around the world with a sled full of toys. We stopped believing right about the time we didn’t get our Red Ryder BB gun as we would have “shot our eye out.” – Santa lives in the North Pole dressed in a full coat; how could he stand the heat of India, Africa and Saudi Arabia ? – And the capper that seals the deal. How many fat men can slide down a chimney ? – The end result there can be no Santa.

Easter Bunny

First off this guy gives me the creeps ! – How many bunnies are 9 feet tall and hop around the world delivering our favorite candy without a large bag ? Did you ever see a picture of him with one over his shoulder ? Me neither. – There can be no such animal.

Hot Tips

If you had a secret that could make you a great deal of money would you share it with many others to drop the price you stand to gain ? – No way ! – Why would others hanging at the bar putting in long hours tell you for the low-low price of free ? How many people in your life have shared a lifetime of hard work give you a hot tip just for the asking ? – The answer is none. It only makes sense.

But there is an answer that will give you an edge. It’s not a secret, and available for all to use. – You’re right here and don’t need to go any further. Winning Ponies does this for a living and the rewards are strong. We are in the business of helping you break down the race and use the Winning Ponies data to make your day a winner. – There is no such thing as a hot tip and I have worked at five different tracks. How many people have you known think they have no chance and are out to lose ? You can’t pay the bills with running poorly and you won’t be in the game for long. We have eliminated Santa, the Easter Bunny and now Hot Tips. – They aren’t real and can’t be trusted. – But one thing you can trust is Winning Ponies:

  • Easy to use color coded tiers that show how the race will take shape
  • The E-Z Win Forms can be used by seasoned gamblers and new players at first glance
  • Handy Icons that draw your attention to details that sometimes elude our handicapping
  • Full past performaces with rider / trainer details and winning percentage numbers
  • Tier levels that show how the runners match up with the rest of the field
  • All info is in real time and you’ll get results, scratches, changes in track conditions as they happen
  • The change of weather tab allows you to adapt to the weather to get a brand new set of E-Z Win Forms for FREE if the track comes up muddy, sloppy, or off the turf for NO additional cost !
  • You are only charged for what you use versus many others who charge one price no matter how many races used
  • There are stories, blogs, free selections, the Winning Ponies Internet Show bringing you the best names in racing to keep you up to speed with what is happening
  • Free handicapping contests, free race replays, and results posted as soon as the race is official to see how the Winning Ponies E-Z Win Forms are doing on the day


You might as well bet with the most reliable system for horse racing. – Winning Ponies wants to prepare you for your day at the races. With over $3,751,025 in exotic payouts to date, why would you look anywhere else ? – Winning at the races takes preparation, and let Winning Ponies do the homework while you decide how you’ll use the data. – Best of luck from your friends at Winning Ponies !


Word on the Street

Nothing like the ramblings of the word on the street. You can’t learn the word from night school, and it doesn’t come in a book. So we have to rely on the whispers and rants from the folks on the scene. – Just remember you heard it right here as we make our way down the back alleys to find the best info. Or, just cruise the grandstand or Race Book and you’re sure to hear the truth.

Hit it with your purse next time

Now this may be a little too much at times; but it may be the rare occurrence when it fits like a glove. – Julien Leparoux was riding the second choice Classic Empire in the 142nd running of the Preakness. He was sent off at (2-1) and broke from the gate with gusto. He was on the outside shoulder of Derby winner Always Dreaming and never let him have a breath. – As they hit the 3/8th’s pole he ranged up and put a head in front. This is when the wagering world took a big gulp and swallowed their wagers as the writing was on the wall. Classic Empire, the two-year-old champion was back and it was going to be good to see him score. – They hit the top of the lane and he drew off by a couple and looked good as gold. Well, except for the fresh-leg runner Cloud Computing who was being ridden like he broke out of jail. – Leparoux sat chilly and gave some swats to keep his mount running. Most of the time this would have been good enough to get the job done but the colt chasing was being ridden by top-money rider Javier Castellano. Julien rode with soft hands and simple strokes of the crop as Javier looked like his tail was on fire and he was in hurry to get to the wire.

I’m not one to go on about a rider’s skill set, but this was a weak ride in my opinion. – Put Jerry Bailey on and he would’ve won by three; Irad Ortiz would have drifted out a bit and swung the stick like Jack Nicholas. Gary Stevens would’ve been heard chirping from the next town and going to the whip. Calvin Borel would have dropped to the rail and stayed low like a “lizard on a log.” – You get the idea. There were a 1,000 others who would’ve gotten the job done. When a horse is beat by three or better he may have been facing a  better runner. But when it comes down to a head-bob it falls in the hands of the rider nine outta’ ten times.  He may have taken too much gas out of the tank staying close to Always Dreaming, the track may have been too fast, or the sun was starting to shine. Whatever excuse you choose it comes down to the “Flying Frenchman” not being aggressive when the real running began.


Betting the smaller tracks

I love to bet New York racing plain and simple. The only track I don’t play is Finger Lakes ( no offense please). – I enjoy wagering on Gulfstream and Fair Grounds in the winter, and Santa Anita or Del Mar anytime they run. The big purses, the rider colony and some of the best trainers in the country. You get the message. –  But I’m here to tell you first hand there is some real value to be had wagering on the small tracks.

The smaller ovals offer runners on the way up, on the way out, or looking for easier company. Most of the colony is made up of riders who fit the same as well as the trainers. – They usually have full fields of cheaper company but who cares ? That means better payoffs for you and me ! – I love to see the full fields, and the small six horse affairs. Both offer good value. – I’ve caught more (5-2) shots in short fields, and many races that can be used a “free-spot” for pick-fours. – The pools won’t set a national record but some of the small tracks are showing solid gains in handle. – I enjoy a full field of cheap condition claimers, and what would normally be (2-1) is now (7-2) and higher. I call that value everyday. – If you saw $7.20 laying on the ground wouldn’t you pick it up ? Yeah, me too.

Nothing like going to Keeneland, or watching historic Saratoga. But the bang for my buck has been playing the small tracks. – This past weekend I was watching Pimlico like most horse players and how many times do we play that oval ? – The smaller tracks have solid meets and runners looking to score. I don’t know many smaller trainers who are giving their horse a race to target a purse in two months. – I was getting smacked around early betting Old Hilltop, and the little track kept me in action with a few winners. – Why not hunker down and stick to my knitting ? – I fell into the trap of being a “One Day Pro” wagering on Pimlico. I won’t make another bet no matter how many days they run, but I’ll be on hand when a field of 12 goes to post going a 1 1/6 on the turf at the smaller oval. Give it a think and see how you feel. Are you going to bet the track you never play because they have the Preakness, or play the oval you follow ? – I have a friend who is a great track announcer. He would pass on the G-1’s and jump right into the mule races at Ferndale. Stick to the races you have a good winning percentage, and shy away from drinking the cool-aid for one day. – You’ll thank me later.



Four Ways to Make More Money at the Races

If it sounds like a pitch from Better Call Saul, relax it’s not. – No fast gimmicks, magic mojo or secret handshake required. This is about you and what you’re doing when making a bet. Some feel they have it all together, and right about now you can stop reading. There’s no pitch, just a checklist on what’s going on with your betting patterns. – A long time race tracker asked me a question the other day as I was walking into work. – “Hey, who do you like today ? ” Simple question that has anything but an easy answer. It’s not quantum math and doesn’t involve going to night school. Just a little restraint, patience and focus. – Who do you like today ?


1. – I never pick up my racing data without learning something new everyday

My Dad used to tell me the defintion of insanity is doing the same things over and over expecting a new result. Well, that is about as close as it gets to nailing it on the head. – Try something new as we are heading toward the second jewel in the Triple Crown. – Look at whatever data you choose and decide if you have enough information, the right type of information, and does it serve your needs. Before you tell me that it has numbers and running lines, that is not the question.  -Does your program, pp’s or data allow you to filter out the pretenders from the contenders ? Does it alert you to the little things that may elude you in handicapping ? – And most importantly does it give you an overview of the race and how it takes shape ?


2. – Time to go on a racing diet

Just like the doc tells us when we weigh in at the office, it’s time to cut back. – You don’t need to have ten tracks to follow. There is no way you can keep up with ten tracks and know all about the bias, the top riders and trainers, and who targets the oval. – By cutting back this allows you to focus on a few tracks. I would use no more than three. From the 3 tracks, you’ll need to cut out the races which drain your bankroll. – Don’t like maidens ? No turf races ? No condition claimers for you ? – No problem. If you have 30 races to examine, cut back to ten races to potentially play. – From the ten races you select make 5-6 your best bets and go from there. Trust me, the “tap dancing” method doesn’t work. You win $30 on a race and give back $42 the next you didn’t even like. – Stop the madness and cut back a bit. – You’ll thank yourself later.


3. – A  ladder will help you climb to greater heights

No worries about climbing a 40 foot ladder. – This is about making your bets count. If you make a $5 win bet, make a $10 place wager. I know, it sounds steep. By cutting back on the number of races you play you’ll be able to play within your means. Simply double your wager in the place end. If you are a show player make sure the runner is 10-1 or higher and has at least 7-8 horses in the race before you apply the ladder technique. – If you’re a $2 player it is $2 win and $4 to place; $10 to win, $20 to place. – Remember, you are cutting back on your total number of races and you’ll have the bankroll to cover your day. – Now as you grasp the idea we’ll allow for a small bet or two off the chart. – Diets don’t work and if you keep yourself on too strict of a program you’ll lose interest. – If you are up 20% on your bankroll for the day, have two races chosen ahead of time you would like to make a small wager. Think of it like having a “cheat item” on your diet and you’ll have a little more action. These two races will be your two smallest bets of the day. If you have a built in reward you’ll find yourself having a complete day at the races. – The ladder bet will allow you to cover your wallet. How many times have you bet $10 to win and nothing to place on the runner who pays $4.80 to place ? If you used the ladder it would have been $10 to win and $20 to place. That runner who ran second now has you up $18 on the race and ready to move forward with a profit.


4. – Cut out the distractions

Leave the beer in the bar, the entourage outside, and get ready to focus. You can meet the boys for a brew later. Who knows ? You may even pick up the tab. – Over the many years I’ve worked in racing I’ve watched many try and bring it all together while wagering. It may work every now and then, but it is a losing propostion in the long run. – The commercials and billboards where you see well-dressed pretty people jumping and cheering is a mirage. – The hard truth it’s all about winning unless you’re out for a day with Aunt Sadie. In that case, just enjoy your day and write off your loss as the price of entertainment. But if you want to win, you’ll need to cut out white noise static that absorbs your ability to focus. – Trust me, this has been the iceberg that sinks very good gamblers.

Primetime Derby

I’ve always enjoyed Derby day. – The entire undercard is chock full of value and the day culminates with the “Greatest Two Minutes in Sports.”  Most would say don’t fix something if it ain’t broke, and far be it from me to do anything as such. But there is the inner-horse player that speaks to me. – After reading the Downey Profile and Paulick Report, the racing voice in my heart has to wonder if it could grow beyond our wildest dreams.

Maybe a small tweak here and there could make a significant difference. – We’re not going to change the distance or bring in the hurdles. Just a few small tweaks that may move the bottom line in a big way.

According to the wagering and handle reports it was a pretty good day in Louisville. Here is a glimpse from the Downey Profile:

Kentucky Derby fans weathered rainstorms and unseasonal cold. Announced attendance was 158,070, the seventh highest attendance figure in track history. Wagering from all-sources was the highest all-time on both the Kentucky Derby Day program and on the Kentucky Derby race. Wagering from all-sources on the Kentucky Derby Day program totaled $209.2 million, a 9% increase over the 2016 total of $192.6 million, and an increase of 8% over the previous record set in 2015 of $194.3 millionWagering from all-sources on the Kentucky Derby race increased 12% to $139.2 million from 2016’s $124.7 million and a 1% increase over the previous record set in 2015 of $137.9 million.

Not bad shooting for a sport that has been given a standing eight-count many times over the years. – I work at a daytime track and there are a bevy of others that run during the day as well. – How about sitting down and taking a deep breath ? – What would you think of having EST tracks start at 10:00 am and build into the Derby card ? – You conduct live racing and keep the action building all day long. You have your 8-9 race program and finish in a couple of hours. – Now you’ve probably started wondering how in the heck can all this work as Churchill Downs has always started early. – How about having the Kentucky Derby card in Louisville begin at 2:00 pm ?

All EST tracks must be finshed by the first post time of Churchill Downs. – If the entire country worked around the Chruchill schedule maybe a lower rate could be negotited with CDI. – They will have center stage and most of the country would watch and wager on their product. – OK, if all tracks won’t buy into the process, keep the EST tracks on this schedule. If you take a little glimpse into the top metered markets, you’ll see many fit right into the EST region.



1. Louisville 39.0/65
2. Ft. Myers 21.3/39
3. Cincinnati 18.8/37
4. Buffalo 17.9/31
5. Knoxville 17.0/28
6. Dayton 16.2/29
7. Pittsburgh 15.5/30
8. Cleveland 15.1/29
9. Richmond 15.0/29
10. West Palm Beach 14.8/27
11. Columbus 14.6/28
12. Indianapolis 14.0/27
13. Baltimore 13.5/28
14. Greenville 13.2/21
15. Philadelphia 13.0/24
16. Orlando 12.7/25
T17. Milwaukee 12.5/28
T17. Nashville 12.5/21
19. Washington, DC 12.4/26
20. Detroit 12.2/24



By having early post times at your track and others. You would be finished with racing, and this would cut down on traffic that stiffles the betting lines. When I saw the Derby crowd this year, I knew it could be a nightmare getting your bet down. – The time change would alleviate the traffic in the betting lines and allow your location to focus on making changes for the Churchill card. – I like the idea of building into the big show.

Churchill Downs would have daylight for the greatest part of the day and they installed lighting to illuminate the track. – Is it starting to sound like it could work ? – How about Twinspires ? Here is how they did on the big day: “TwinSpires, the country’s leading online and mobile betting platform and the official betting partner of the Kentucky Derby and the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, recorded $32.8 million in handle on Churchill Downs races for the Kentucky Derby Day program, an increase of 22% over the prior year. TwinSpires’ handle on the Kentucky Derby alone race was $20.1 million, up 22% over 2016.” – I wonder if they would do even better if there was one track, and the big race would go off in primetime ? – Maybe we’ll get to find out if we all sit down and work out a schedule.

No more running on top of each other spreading the wagering dollar thin. – The idea of a prime time Derby would allow many to enjoy the races later in the day. No more pre-wagering just to get your bet down if you’re working, and by having lesser competition there may be a grand opportunity to showcase the day even more. – All ideas as I read positive signs. It’s not a “don’t fix it if ain’t broke” scenario. It’s a focus on the big show and allow your facility to maximze wagering and attendance. By having the later time, racing would dominate the day as a massive celebration. Tracks and OTB’s could offer action from early to close. The ADW’s wouldn’t get bogged down with early track traffic, and the main focus could be on the Derby.

Wagering was up, the weather was nasty and the track still did great numbers. I wonder what it would be like to catch your local oval early and stay for the day ? – Music, contests, and promtions could build during the day and by the time the Derby took to the track there would be a bigger concentration of wagering on the show. – We need to keep an open mind when it comes to changing what we’ve always done. With the track drying out during the day and one of the best track crews in the nation. I have to wonder what would Derby day have looked like with hours more to work the track. – We may have had a fast Kentucky Derby that would have basked in the glow of illuminated Churchill, and allowed many more households to enjoy the “Greatest Two Minutes in Sports.”

Eight Habits of Lucky Gamblers


We would all like the “secret sauce” of being successful and lucky. – There is no magic to the process, and most are common traits and practices for anyone who excels in a chosen field. – Nothing like having a little reminder of keeping the important task at the top of the list. Grab yourself a pencil, make a mental note or just let it fall over you like a waterfall of good fortune.

Cultures for centuries have faith in lucky charms and symbols they feel give them an edge:

  • Sailors: The albatross
  • Chinese: Bamboo
  • Thai: White elephant
  • Japanese: Maneki-Neko
  • Irish: Four-leaf clover
  • English: Horseshoe
  • Native Americans: Dreamcatcher
  • Germans, Italians, Russians, Turks: Ladybug
  • Americans: Rabbit’s foot

Here are some practices we can always take a self assessment to see where we need to focus:

1. – Be mindful of what is going on around you – Take notice of the company you keep. Are they positive, toxic, or just a negative downer that will eventually drag you down. – Mom was right, we are the company we keep.

2. – Be proactive – Lucky people make good things happen. They leave the negative outside in the car before venturing in to make a wager.

3. – Be opportunistic – Many people are blind to opportunities because they don’t notice them or because they are inflexible and stuck in their ways. People who practice opportunism see opportunities all around them and are able to use them to their advantage. Being an opportunist involves being mindfully aware; being flexible enough to change your original plans; and being open-minded enough to take advantage of these new opportunities.

4. – Be insightful –  Making use of this knowledge depends on your ability to access this information and trust in yourself. Having insight involves integrating explicit and implicit knowledge with an understanding of social situations and emotions, both yours and others’. Insightful people have higher emotional and social intelligence.

5. – Be flexible –  “You can’t step in the same river twice.” The truth is that you can’t even step in the same river once, because even as you’re stepping in the river, it is changing. Appreciating the dynamics of life and being able to go with the flow provides enormous advantages to finding new ways of doing things or getting places or creating opportunities. Lucky people are flexible and take advantage of new situations.

6. – Be optimistic – Optimism helps you see the advantages in any given situation. Lucky people with an optimistic outlook are better able to identify the silver lining in any given situation.

7. – Think out of the box –  Out-of-the-box thinking. It isn’t always painful; often it involves looking for loopholes and looking at situations from multiple perspectives. 

8. – Be resilient – Take advantage of new situations. Several of history’s most famous inventors found out thousands of ways to not do something before they finally figured out something that worked. Were they lucky? Most people would think so. Obviously, these individuals were very bright—but there are a lot of bright people in the world. What made these people different was their resilience.





Days After Derby

Image result for pictures of a roller coaster




The build up was like a giant coaster climbing the big hill. You feel the momentary slow roll stop as you look at the fall that awaits at the bottom. – Then the coaster starts drifting and WOOOOOOOOOOHOOOOOOO ! – You are in for the ride of your life. That’s the way the Oaks / Derby weekend feels for me.

It’s not just the up and downs of playing the races. – There are good days, bad days, and ones we’ll never forget. – This Derby weekend had me working at the track. Now most would have rather had the day off, but working at the track when the big races are on tap is a pure day of fun. People came in and out and some dressed to the nines. The stories, the talk, and waiting for the big race had me chomping at the bit.

My work was a double pleasure people watching, seeing the sights and calling the races. Not a bad day if I say so myself. – I enjoy meeting visitors who come up to see me. Some are old friends and others are visitors who ask if they can watch a race. – For me it’s  the best part of the day when someone comes up and gets to see the best seat in the house. I give them the binoculars, let them sit and spin around people watching and talk horses. – Not much better for a kid who once stuffed the entry box at the track with thousands of entries to call a race. – I took booklets to school and filled them out all day long. When my Dad took me to the track I stuffed them in three different boxes. – I didn’t get my name called and always looked to the sky at the announcer’s booth. For me it was the place I wanted to visit. – When I have the chance I always invite guests to share the ride. It’s not half as much fun if you don’t share with others.

On this day I was a visitor of sorts. I was in the company of a different breed of gamblers and the stories of their day. – The big players’ room had a bevy of big time bettors who fire as much in a race as I make in a week. I heard the cheers and jeers about the last race as I walked in to make a small bet between those who were betting as much as my car cost. But I digress. – It was at the end of the day as I gathered up my gear and walked to the car. I passed the big players’ room when a couple of gents were walking slowly to the elevator. They spoke of the bad beat and what cost them a life-changing score. They didn’t look as happy as when they started the day, but that’s gambling. As we were riding down to the parking garage I overheard one player quote a line from the movie Fight Club; “It’s only after we’ve lost everything that we’re free to do anything.” – I was trying to decide if that was true or just the ramblings of a bad day. But when I saw him the next day I was pretty sure he was just sour.

My buddy in the next room is the camera operator. He’s one of the good guys for sure and loves to make small bets shooting for the moon. He loved his $1 exacta that paid $21 earlier in the day, and when he made a score for $2,000 on a $4 bet earlier in the year I knew he was going to be a horse player. – His energy and happy-go-lucky ways are infectious. Never gets down and always looks up. – In between races he ran downstairs to put $2 in a 50-cent slot machine. Usually he comes up with a good story, but this day he came running back with $1,000 ! – He was laughing and high-fiving the guys and bought lunch for everybody. – The next day we started with $5 and ran in up to $160 in five bets. When he split the money with me he was just as happy as when he nailed the big slot hit.

A longtime friend of mine came to the races and made his bets. He was part of a ten man team who put up $500 each and made some blowout bets. – After his bets were made he came up to the booth to hang with me. We talked about horses, the big scores, and the many handicapping contests we played in together. – Another good guy and quite the handicapper. We talked about my pick who won the Oaks and paid $20 and he asked what I liked about her. “Did you take down the big cheese ?” – “Not really. This has been the least amount I have played on Derby weekend since I’ve been 18 years old.” – When they turned for home in the Derby he needed about five mid-range longshots to close out the pick four. When Always Dreaming drew off and looked like gold, he turned and said; ” There’s only two weeks to the Preakness, Ed !” – Now that’s a gambler. Not crying in his beer but planning ahead for the next score. – It still seems like yesterday when we both went down to Churchill to play in a big handicapping contest. In the first race we both took a big price and both were over 20-1. – As they turned for home our two horses were running together and drew off from the field. – This is the kind of score that puts you in the money right off the bat. – He looked at me and said; “Ed, if I have to lose to anybody here I would rather it be you my man.” His horse beat me by a dirty nose at the wire. But I’ll never forget the honest words of a gambling friend.

We hope you did well on Derby weekend and if you used the top three tier level selections you did pretty darn well. We just hope you were on board. – When our second tier selection ran off down the lane in the Derby, the $11 winner could have been the capper for your day. – As my good friend stated, “there are only two weeks til the Preakness.” But don’t wait until then as Winning Ponies is locked and loaded and ready to get your bankroll in tip-top shape for the next big weekend. – Best of luck from your friends at Winning Ponies !

Free Oaks and Derby Selections


The big weekend is upon us and the weather looks to be favorable if you’re a duck. Heavy rains are in the forecast for both days, but the historic oval has been known to be able to handle a great deal of water. If we could get a window of a few hours of sun and a breeze. Just watch and see what magic the best track crew in the nation can do for the deep Louisville surface. – Use these selections as an appetizer for the Winning Ponies E-Z Win Forms. Nothing like some frees selections to whet your handicapping appetite for what waits ahead. – Best of luck from your friends at Winning Ponies !

The 143rd running of the Kentucky Oaks goes post ward at 6:12 pm EST. – A race that is affectionately known as the “Fillies for the Lillies” has a field of fourteen set to do battle for the Kentucky Oaks trophy. – The weather calls for heavy rains at times for the weekend and handicapping for a wet surface may be just what the doctor ordered.

Kentucky Oaks selections

#13 – Abel Tasman (5-1) = Mike Smith in the saddle for Bob Baffert, and he doesn’t have a Derby runner this year. His plans are winning this race and enjoying the Derby tomorrow. She is 5/6 (ITM) making her third start of the year. She was off slow last time as the beaten favorite. Two angles handicappers look for the next time they run. This race shapes up nicely and with heavy rains in the forecast she’ll do her running late in the lane.

#2 – Lockdown (20-1) = Jose Ortiz in the irons for trainer Bill Mott. They are winning (20%) as a team and bring a filly by First Defense to post. This is her 2nd start off a layoff and she has shown excellent works over the Churchill Downs oval.

#1 – Ever So Clever (20-1) = Luis Contreras is the reinsman for Steve Asmussen. She is 3/3 (ITM) at Churchill Downs and is bred to enjoy the deep Louisville surface and wet tracks may be her strong suit. A very solid price runner who looks to wreak havoc deep in the stretch.

Kentucky Derby selections

Kentucky Derby 143 takes place this Saturday with twenty hopefuls looking to etch their names into the history books. As Mother Nature has plans for a soggy weekend, this rite of spring will go to post at 6:46 pm EST. – For what shapes up as a wide open affair, here are a few runners that promise to bring their “A” game for the “Greatest Two Minutes in Sports.”

#14 – Classic Empire (4-1) = Julien Leparoux in the saddle for Mark Casse. This son of Pioneer of the Nile loves the Churchill surface with a perfect record of 2/2 over the track. This is his 2nd start off a brief layoff. He enters the race with an ultra-impressive win in the Arkansas Derby. In 2016, he was the Juvenile Champ of the Year, and broke his maiden over a sloppy track at Churchill. He looks to a have a slight home-court advantage and has the skills to get the job done.

#15 – McCraken (5-1) = Brian Hernandez in the driver’s seat for trainer Ian Wilkes. This son of Ghostzapper relishes the track going a perfect 3/3. He has a lifetime record of 5/5 (ITM) and has overcome injury and many hurdles to make it to the starting gate. According to the rider he is training lights out and bred to get the distance. If the sky opens up he’ll enjoy a gallop over the wet going.

#18 – Gormley (15-1) = Victor Espinoza (Mr. Derby) has three wins to his credit and is the pilot for trainer John Shirreffs. This is his third start off a layoff and this has always been a handicappers’ angle looking for a peak effort. This son of Malibu Moon looks to be hitting his best stride. If he can duplicate his victory in the Santa Anita Derby he could give them fits in the final furlong.


The road to the Derby has been pretty murky all season long, and add in the weather and we’re all still guessing. – That’s where Winning Ponies steps up. The color coded tier levels are a comprehensive look at how the race will take shape. The handy icons and complete past performances give you the true vision of the players. Each horse is ranked and the tier levels give you an insider look as to how the Derby will take shape. One of my favorite tools has always been the change of weather tab. You can adjust your weather tab if the track is fast, muddy, sloppy, or off the turf. This will generate a brand new set of E-Z Win Forms at no cost. There aren’t many if any data services that can give you the option to adjust to the weather. But that is just one thing that sets Winning Ponies apart from the rest. If the weather is anything as predicted it may be the difference between a big winning day and guess work. – Best of luck from your friends at Winning Ponies, and enjoy your Derby weekend !

Derby by the Numbers

There are folks who pick a name out of a hat, favorite color, or employ a complex computation where they ask everyone in their family who they like and toss them out. Either way, everyone has a little Derby madness pulsing through their veins. This Saturday you’ll hear every theory in the world and the method to their madness. Here are a couple of do’s and don’t’s for picking the winner. Breaking from the starting gate going 10 furlongs is a mad dash for cash. So, take this in an add it to your process.

There are two starting gates used for the run for the roses. The regular gate holds 14, and an auxillary gate adding another 6 spots. The 20 slots available for horses have trainers and connections wishing for thier favorite spot. Some like the middle posts from 5-15, and other trainers enjoy the outside draw in the auxillary gate according to America’s Best Racing.

Here’s a little something to think about before plunking down a few bucks or having a family party where names are drawn out of a hat. The Derby is a rite of spring and if you watch one race a year let it be the Kentucky Derby. – As you hear the University of Louisville band play “My Old Kentucky Home;” I’m sure you won’t see a dry eye around. It takes us back in history, the beauty and pageantry, and the long road to get here was nothing short of incredible. – Take a look at the info compiled by America’s Best Racing  for fans who have subscribe to a favorite number theory.


#1 post = The last horse to win was Ferdinand in 1986.

#2 post = Affirmed in 1978

#3 post = Real Quiet in 1998

#4 post = Super Saver in 2010

#5 post = California Chrome in 2014

#6 post = Sea Hero in 1993

#7 post = Street Sense 2007

#8 post = Mine that Bird 2009

#9 post = Riva Ridge 1972

#10 post = Giacomo 2005

#11 post = Winning Colors 1988

#12 post = Cannoero II 1971

#13 post = Nyquist 2016

#14 post = Carry Back 1961

#15 post = American Pharoah 2015

#16 post = Animal Kingdom 2011


#18 post = Gato Del Sol 1982

#19 post = I’ll Have Another 2012

#20 post = Big Brown 2008

The top the winning postions = #10 / 11.3%, #5 / 10.3 % / #8 / 9.3%

The top three ( In the Money) finshes = #10 / 30%, #2 / 28.7 % / #13 / 24.3%

If you’re a number / percentage player from historical data. Make a 3 horse exacta box with #2, #10, and #13. – Bet your $2 to win on #10 as it leads the winning percentage and (ITM).

Or, if you enjoy a data driven process. – You are in the right place. – Download the Winning Ponies E-Z Win Forms and use who they identify in the easy-to-use color coded tier levels. The data is up-to-the minute and everything is in real time. You can see how the E-Z Wins are doing by following the races, and see who won and how the E-Z Win Forms ranked them. – I’ve looked at every type of data out there and Winning Ponies can be used easily by the new player and seasoned professional. – Our data does not tell you who to bet three days in advance. It shows you how the race will take shape, and ranks them in color coded tier selections. There are handy icons to remind you of important bullet point info such as; Fast Workouts, Change of Equipment, and cutting back in distance to name a few. – It is up to you to decide how to use the data as it breaks down the numbers in an easy to use format. – If the weather becomes a factor and you have been handicapping for a fast track; No problem. Winning Ponies will allow you to change the track condition and receive a brand new set of E-Z Win Forms at NO COST – We don’t tell you who to play and walk off. – Winning Ponies takes the runners and breaks them down in a one-of-a-kind format that you’ll find easy to use at first glance. – So what are ya’ waiting for ? The post draw happens on Wednesday afternoon, and shortly after you’ll be able to download the best data a horse player could want. If you’re doing any job you need the right tools, and this is a must for all handicappers to keep in their arsenal. - Best of luck from your friends at Winning Ponies !


Start Thinking Derby – 9 Days Away

As we enter the 9 day warning, it’s really time to start thinking about who you like. No, really, I’m serious. No more putting it off and waiting. – I have spoke to handicappers from around my area and this is the mode of thought. I would venture to say that 8 out of 10 horse players I know don’t have a clue who they like. Well kiddies, if you’re going to bet the Derby, you’ll have to start some deep thinking. The picture was never really clear for the run to the roses, and believe it or not this may be a very good thing. That elusive price you’ve been seeking may be just around the corner. – I’m going to give you a little something to think about. A reason why they fit or why they don’t. Sit back, and keep an open mind. We’re going to start handicapping the Derby.


Lightly raced son of Tale of Ekati has yet to run a bad race. He is trained by up-and-comer Joe Sharp, and has the services of one of the best morning workout hands with wife Rosie Napravnik. – He has 4 races to his credit and was only beaten 3/4 in the Keith Gee Memorial on the turf last year. He is peaking at the right time and his works are very solid. I would have liked to see three races in 2017, but he may be doing just fine without the road work. He gets Mike Smith and his chances have shot right up the charts. – Bottom line, this colt fits nicely.

Classic Empire

Very strong son of Pioneer of the Nile and is 6/7 ITM (his off the board effort was when he tossed his rider in the G-1 Hopeful at Saratoga). I had questions about distance, but his commanding victory in the Arkansas Derby was impressive and stamped his ticket as a legit player.


Son of Malibu Moon, has had an up and down journey. After a short break in January, he looks to be getting his game together at the right time. Mr. Derby Victor Espinoza in the irons and may be coming of age at the perfect time. I have always had a close eye on the left coast and love to see them travel back to Churchill. – He won’t surprise me one bit after his fast closing effort in the Santa Anita Derby.

Irish War Cry

This son of Curlin has been on the road since he’s been racing. He has three races in 2017 and you can toss out his Foutain of Youth as it was a clunker. Other than that he is perfect. Hard to scratch that record, but his win in the Wood Memorial. A perfect stalking trip but did he beat a strong field? You be the judge.











People You Meet ‘Long the Way

Coffee is steaming on the kitchen table. Birds are fighting over the seeds on the post outside, and the sun is starting to burn off the morning fog. The prefect way to start your morning. I look at results, stories and promising runners. The usual goings on of the morning turns into a Zen-like moment of quiet. – I used to get up gobble down something full of sugar and turn on the tube. I would try and read, but there are just so many things you can do at one time. This took me back to conversations long ago. Where my hair was thick and brown and my love affair with the sport of kings was just beginning.

Paul was a hard-core handicapper. Maybe that sounds a bit tough and gives you the vision of a man who bet every race offered. Far from the truth, as he would arrive late at the track and catch the last four races on the card. He lived in the same small town of Ludlow; as in most small towns he knew my entire family. Paul worked as an auditor in Cincinnati, and did some bookmaking on the side. The kind of low key bookie that flew under the radar except for the guys who called him for action. – He was known as “The Fox” by his friends and longtime acquaintances, and was a father and husband from our little town. – He used to see me at the track. Fellas like us would arrive after they stop charging for parking and the admission gates were open. – Funny thing about gamblers as they don’t mind betting $10 on a race, but try and peel that $2 out of pocket for the admission turnstiles and they would’ve rather gone home. – Fox used to see me betting. I would have a nice winner or three from the four races and we would talk about who we had after the race. Gamblers are a cagey sort and tipping your hand prior to the race was off limits. – I had just scored a very nice hit with $20 to win and place on a horse who paid $22. That was $220 on the win end alone and time has faded the place price. – After watching me go through a bad streak going 0 for 4 two nights in a row, he offered some sage like advice that comes from people who’ve felt the same. – ” Eddie, you like playing the horses and there is nothing wrong with that. You make good money, but when you bet $40 a race and lose, it won’t be long until you’ll be making less trips. Nothing wrong with coming every night for a single young man, but you may want to drop your bet amounts.” – Simple words from a far from simple man. His words of wisdom helped me gauge my betting plan. Thanks, Fox. I still use it today when I’m making wagers. When a 19-year-old young man learned to throttle back his wagers to stay alive, this was a sign that the learning process was growing along with a lifetime gambling education.

Dad has always played speed. Myself, I loved the closer. Two handicappers with completely separate styles. – The shorter the race the better according to my Dad. – He wouldn’t play the top-notch riders, and would find the low percentage jockeys looking for the big score. – For me the closer offered a plan to make up ground even with a compromised beginning. His speed runners would jump to the front and in his own words give him his money’s worth. He loved to use the phrase ” Catch me if you can.” – Words that may have hearkened from days as an all-star athlete. The kind of kid who would play from sun up to sundown. He honed his skills by playing with much older kids, and the younger player would soon become better than the older kids. – Catch me if you can were his words in action. Not only did it describe the small wager, but a declaration of his life. – I learned to keep an open mind from this style, and I keep an eye on the long-shot runner with the small percentage rider. When I see one jump to the front it takes me back to the guy who would run down the stretch chasing the horses. – It was as much about racing as it was his life. – “Catch me if you can.”

My Grandpa was a small-time bettor who always looked for a long-shot. If he took $25 to the races, he would’ve $18 bet in the Daily-Double. There were not as many exotic bets back then, and the DD was a staple of the gambler. – He met my Grandmother at the races at old Latonia Race Course. – There were some big horses who ran there over the years: Black Gold, Seabiscuit, and a long-shot named Wishing Ring who on June 17, 1912 paid a record breaking payoff to this day of $1,185.50 for a $2 win bet. They just picked out their horses and bet their two dollars on it. – He married my grandmother in the Carroll County courthouse on the way to the Kentucky Derby in 1938. The winner was Lawrin with Eddie Arcaro in the irons. I still have the program from that happy day in my racing cabinet. It’s the center piece, and when the cabinet is lit is shows the program in pristine order.  – He never employed complex betting strategies and was just a fan of the action.  – His words of wisdom were more than just having lunch. – “If you’re hungry at the track, go ahead and get yourself a hot dog.” – This was his way of putting things in perspective. If you had money to bet, don’t walk around hankering for a bite to eat. This was his simple logic of doing the right thing and it must have been hard. He loved to bet the big prices and also had a penchant for eating. Sometimes the truth lays just behind the words. – It’s all about priorities.