Happy 66th Birthday, Perry Ouzts!

by Ed Meyer

posted on July 6, 2020 in Blogroll, General Discussion, WinningPonies.com | Comments Off on Happy 66th Birthday, Perry Ouzts!

Image may contain: Perry Ouzts, outdoor









51,317 – 7,084 – 39% 


I guess you’re wondering how many times you’ve done anything in your life 51,317 times? Blink? Heartbeats? Smile? – Or, watched Perry Ouzts climb onto the back of a 1,200 lb Thoroughbred. – How about 7,084? The number of times he sauntered back slowly on his winning horse, enjoying every time like it was his first time to the winner’s circle. 39 is the percent from all of his mounts he has finished in the money. Not a bad career at the office, huh? – Well, on July 7th, the 7th all-time leader in Thoroughbred history has a birthday. He turns 66-years-young and has no plans to sit on the porch in a rocking chair. Who knows? He may just be getting started.

On July 7, 1954, Perry Wayne Ouzts was born in Lepanto, Arkansas. He was primarily raised in Rivervale with his cousins Earlie and Jackie Fires. Earlie is in the Hall of Fame, and Jackie’s career was cut short as his body was crushed during a race, leaving him paralyzed.  Perry took his tack to Beulah Park in Grove City, Ohio where his storied career began with his first winner aboard Rablu in 1973.  There have been many miles since that day in March, but the man has remained pretty much the same. He’s mainly ridden on the smaller circuits of Beulah, Latonia (now Turfway Park), River Downs (now Belterra Park), and occasional ventures to Mountaineer and Thistledown in Cleveland.





Image may contain: 1 person












I’ve had the pleasure of watching Perry ride for years. – It first started by tagging along with my dad and seeing this man ply his trade tirelessly. Then I was the marketing director at River Downs, player development manager at Turfway Park, and casual visitor to Beulah Park where I would see him venture to the winner’s circle. Every mount, he’s the first rider out of the jock’s room, and when he wins, he slowly jogs back to the winner’s circle savoring the moment like a fine wine. “Every winner means the world to me. There’s nothing that I enjoy more than winning a race”, according to Ouzts.

According to many trainers, he could have ridden anywhere in the country and competed with anyone. But he chose the smaller circuits close to where he called home in Hebron, Kentucky.  He still works eight or more horses in the morning and rides in the afternoon. Perry feels many of the younger riders don’t understand that’s the way you get your mounts. Work in the morning, ride in the afternoon.  After that, he goes back and helps his wife muck stalls and feed. After 30-plus years of marriage, something must be working. “It ain’t always in life you can find someone you can get along with that well. I’m going to keep her and do everything I can to try and help her.”

Perry Ouzts is a man of few words. He lets his riding do the talking, and with that being the case, he’s said a great deal. His enthusiasm to get up every morning and give his all is not a common effort found in racing anymore. He’s healthy, he’s happy, and can be a real motivation for the younger riders in the room.  Perry chose to stay close to the people who were loyal to him and he’s loyal to them. That has been a recipe for success he won’t regret.

Last summer he had a pretty bad injury. It had him in the hospital for multiple surgeries and he was on the sideline for last summer and winter. – Perry started walking horses in the morning to help his wife and beating the boredom of rehab. Staying fit and eventually started working horses in the morning at Turfway Park before the COVID-19 quarantine. He was ready and wanted to come back to Belterra Park. He rode a few mounts at Churchill Downs for longtime friend Barb Riley and hung his tack in Ohio.

He’s always close; and if you’re not for sure who’s on the lead. Nine outta’ ten it’s Perry. – On June 25, 65-year-old Ouzts rode five winners from eight races. For a feat that is usually mentioned with the Ortiz brothers, and some of the top dogs. Perry Ouzts came to work and rolled them off in fine fashion. He then jumped on his Harley and headed back home to be with his wife Toni. Just another day at the office.

I’m still in awe of his ability and tenacity. – He loves winning races as much as he did as a kid back in Arkansas. Best of luck my friend. Enjoy your birthday. I sure hope you have a piece of cake and put up your feet. After all, you’ll be riding races the next day.


The Happy Horseplayer – July 2020

by Ed Meyer

posted on July 5, 2020 in Blogroll, General Discussion, Horse Racing, WinningPonies.com | Comments Off on The Happy Horseplayer – July 2020




As the cooler month of June expired it left us with hope. As we begin to gather, visit, and start the process of returning to living openly. Cherish every moment. What was a “had-to-do” has turned to a “get-to-do.” As horse racing is beginning to open the doors and welcome back fans. Take a moment to realize how good we have it. A simple pleasure in the grand scheme, but an important part of sharing life. – Take the time, and go back to the races. Follow and adhere to the rules of safety, and we’ll be good to go. Enjoy the minutes between races as we watch the horses walk to the paddock. See the bright colors of the silks when they take the track, and when the horses break from the gate you’ll feel your heart start racing. – What are ya’ waiting for? It’s almost post time!


View from the Booth

I have the best seat in the house. It’s not because I bought a high priced ticket. It’s because I have the unique position of calling the races at Belterra Park. There has not been a morning that my car pulls into the parking lot that I wanted to be anywhere else. Now, most would be first to say it’s not Belmont, Del Mar, Monmouth, or anywhere else. And that little smile you’ll see on my face is gratitude. “I know. That’s what makes it special.”

As we first opened on June 4th, the excitement returning to the races was incredible. As the horses took the track there were about 40 people total on the apron. Mostly grooms, trainers, or handlers who would take the horses back to the barn following the race. The paddock workers all wore protective masks; the starting gate crew; and every person who was near others. There were no fans allowed, and the silence was deafening. But, the show must go on. It went on for the fans who would watch and wager on their favorite ADW, or if they were lucky enough to be betting at the track with full-card simulcast. Some call this the “new normal” but I’m calling it what we have to do for now. – Eventually, fans were allowed back on track, and I must admit it did my heart good.

As long as we follow health directives, we’ll be looking toward a new beginning. Fans of all walks of life just talking horses and watching the races together. That will be worth the price of admission.


5 Days of Keeneland 

In this unique environment, Keeneland invites you to take in the excitement and carry on your race-day traditions from home during the Summer Meet at Keeneland, which covers Wednesday, July 8 through Sunday, July 12. Keeneland is offering this unprecedented spectator-free five-day race meet as a celebration of the finest traditions of Thoroughbred racing in the heart of horse country. The Summer Meet at Keeneland will be held Wednesday, July 8 through Sunday, July 12. The first post each day is 1:05 p.m.

If you’re looking forward to this one-of-a-kind meet, here are the races you’ll be following: https://www.keeneland.com/racing/horsemen/2020-summer-meet-stakes-schedule.

I can’t wait to watch the horses’ thunder down the stretch with the melodious sound of Kurt Becker doing what he does best. I applaud Keeneland as they have turned from the “old guard” who didn’t embrace change to being the innovator of the industry. – I will be watching the racing action and I’m sure I’ll make a few bets along the way.

Keeneland always had the 30 best days of racing. 15 days in the spring, and 15 days in the fall. – The weather is perfect and its like Heaven on earth for horse racing fans. – No spectators will be on-track, but you can bet dollars to donuts we’ll all be watching. – The weather in the Kentucky area is forecast to be hot and the action on the track will be sizzling.

As Belterra kicked open the live racing meet it’s been a labor of love helping anywhere we could. – But, we’re up and racing and every day is a gift. You’ll start seeing more stories, blogs, and free selections. So stay tuned as The Happy Horseplayer will be making some regular appearances with one of the best sites in racing with Winning Ponies. Until then, best of luck and I’ll see you at the races!



Guest, Player, Bettor, Gambler – What’s in a Name?

by Ed Meyer

posted on July 1, 2020 in Blogroll, General Discussion, Horse Racing, Uncategorized, WinningPonies.com | Comments Off on Guest, Player, Bettor, Gambler – What’s in a Name?





The names are all the same, and no matter which, it all means the same to a degree. Well, sort of. – As we ventured in long ago to a world of full-card simulcast wagering, VLT’s, Historical Gaming Machines. The landscape has changed quite a bit.


Guest = Immediately I get the mental picture of inviting someone to your home for dinner. Friendly and fun. But, when it comes to betting money into slot machines, VLT’s, or anything else. I really don’t like the term. We didn’t invite you in to lose your dough and hit the doors happy to be invited. This is sanitized for your comfort, and it removes the evil word of gambling. If you are “playing,” you’re frolicking, hanging with friends, and have that golden look of a happy couple high-fiving while winning $3 on every poster showing the fun of gaming as our guest. – Gambling is legal, it has been a part of our history, and since the Roman soldiers rolling dice in centuries past. It’s really fine to use this word. It’s not evil, and you have the ability to seek your own entertainment for your discretionary dollar.

Player = This is someone who uses your loyalty card to accrue points to win a waffle maker, beach blanket, or a grilling set. – Fun times for sure. – But after examing the cost of what it takes to gamble to win your NFL ball cap. You’re grinding about $500 in and out of your favorite machine. Not giving advice, but it would be much cheaper to purchase the $20 cap and wear it with pride. – This is a dangerous perceived value and can send you to the doors not feeling as special as the guests.

Bettor = This is basically a gambler who is cherished as they hammer away on machines and don’t ask for anything. – They may ask for a buffet or two and hit the cheap food counters fueling up to rumble back to the machines to bang on the buttons until the sun goes down.  This gambler is a low maintenance player. They usually ask for something to eat so they don’t have to leave the facility. The casino/racino loves these folks.

Gambler = I cam remember the track being filled with these folks. Cigar chomping, and standing in a line to bet with smoke wafting through the air. Loud and energetic. It immediately grabbed me to be a part of the fraternity. – It spoke to me and I loved it from the first visit. People were there to win money. Plain and simple. – No harm, and no pretense.

Some of the best friendships of my life came from knowing gamblers. We were all there for the same reason and it was all good. – You shared knowledge and got to know people. – These are things you won’t see at a slot machine unless you count the lady playing three machines at once and craning her neck to watch how you’re doing. – They are not creating friendships, but jealously hoping she was the big winner next up. – This never caught my gambling soul. I liked knowing people and being there for the same reason. – When tracks started having loyalty cards to reward gamblers, it wasn’t about winning a four-piece dining set. You could exchange your points for a free program, DRF, tip sheet, or even a betting voucher. It was a thing of beauty.

I’ve always liked the straight forward idea of not sanitizing the word to make you feel like you were frolicking in the park playing. No dressing up in your finest while you and a group of people high-five over a 50-cent win. – I love playing horses and gambling. The words denote someone who is trying to win money and not win a trip to a faraway casino to spend the house payment. – I’ve been a horseplayer for the majority of my life, and I’ll probably play the ponies until the end. What a great journey. – I stay in contact weekly with other fans and gamblers as we share out stories about the big win. We go to the track and talk between races. Let me know the next time you find yourself in a deep conversation with someone betting a high-stakes poker machine. – I’m proud to be a gambler, and a little later today I’ll be playing some incredible races from around the country.

See you at the races. – What are ya waiting for? – It’s almost post time!

The Happy Horseplayer – June 2020

by Ed Meyer

posted on June 11, 2020 in Blogroll, General Discussion, Horse Racing, WinningPonies.com | No Comments >>

Hello, and welcome back to the races my friends! – Well, if not right this minute, it’s coming shortly. For the time we stayed at home and wondered if the world would return. It appears we are coming out of our shell and getting back to living. – I pray we take our time, keep many safeguards in place, and listen to the powers that be on what we should be doing to return to life. – The HH is confident and hopeful,  and so should you. After all, we’re all in it together every day.


The silence is deafening

I’ve been given the opportunity to return back to work! – Walking into the track had me moving at a quicker pace and a smile from ear-to-ear.  I work at Belterra Park, calling the races, creating the morning line, social media, and take part in any interviews about racing. – Life is pretty good for this lifelong fan.

There was a feeling that cake over me as I looked out the windows for the first time. – The flowers in bloom, the manicured turf, and the horses were walking to the paddock to be saddled. There was only one thing missing. – You.

No fans, no friends, and no visitors. – It was shocking and seemed like a Twilight Zone episode. But submitted for your approval was a new reality. One where we stayed away from each other, no handshakes or hugging. We wore masks to protect each other yet concealing our faces. – Yeah, it was quite different, but after the first race went to post I felt normal. – We were doing this for the fans at home, OTB’s, and other tracks. – I had the opportunity to be the eyes of the players. I let them know about the weather, track conditions, and if there was anything important happening at the track. How many times did the water trucks make rounds? How many wins did John McKee notch along the day? – Who looked good on the track and why? – Yes, it was a job of great joy. I wanted to keep the fans informed. It’s what I would want to hear, and as a fan of the truest form, I am ready to re-start 2020. I doubt if we can really turn back the clocks as many are still battling, recovering, and for the ones who have left us. We will always remember.

So, as I take my seat in the booth. I am ready to let you know everything going on. If it gets under your skin, just keep handicapping. Many do want to know, and it is my pleasure to be your eyes during this time. – By the way, the casino will be opening on June 19th and that means fans will be filling the stands. Talk about the good news! – Until that day, I’ll keep you up-to-speed and make you feel like you’re right against the rail taking it all in. – Best of luck, HH.


Baffert blues

Bob Baffert is the gold standard of what a top-shelf trainer looks like. – If you’re not a fan or part of the conspiracy theory crew. Just keep moving. – He has a couple of runners who won’t be making the Triple Crown, and that is sad for the game. – But, I’ll bet dollars to donuts he’ll have a late-blooming runner that takes our breath away. Charlatan and Nadal; oh the things that may have been this year. Baffert is a consummate professional and for the fans who doubt his abilities. I once heard a statement that fits like a glove. ” It’s the lead soldier that takes all the arrows in battle.” – Best of luck, Bob. Can’t wait to see what you’ll have up next!


Well, hopefully, next month we’ll be talking about the wonderful things ahead. Hope spring’s eternal and so does life. – I’m ready, but I’m gonna practice some new safeguards to protect you and me. It only makes sense, and let’s take it a little slower. – Enjoy every moment, cherish the time we get to spend with friends and family. And, when you’re back at the track, give a big round of applause for the many folks who make the game work. They are the heroes in the sport of racing. There are so many to mention, but I’m sure you have a good idea. – Until next month, let’s all gather at the rail ( 6 ft apart) and cheer and root for our favorite runner. – Best of luck, HH.



Memorial Day Memories

by Ed Meyer

posted on May 25, 2020 in Blogroll, General Discussion, Horse Racing, WinningPonies.com | No Comments >>

Memorial Day Picnic Menu


If I listen close, I can still hear the band. – They are far down Oak street, but music echoes in the distance. – My town was like the one most called home. – Firetrucks and police cars blaring horns and sirens. Girl and boy scout troops, decorated veterans walking proudly waving to the crowds as they walked the streets they protected. – The high school band complete with majorettes and rifle squad followed closely by the kids of the town riding bikes, mini-bikes, go-carts, as others just walked behind. – Pride, display, and memories. They always are with me.

Mom would be up early making fried chicken, potato salad, and other goodies. Complete with drinks and something sweet, it would all be packed into a carrying basket. She was magic. Fifty pounds of food would fit neatly into a basket and nothing left behind. – We would leave early to find our family spot. – It was under an oak tree, and the shade would provide a cool place where blankets and lunch would be served. Kids playing and running around as others just found a place on the grass. – Our yearly trek was at River Downs. My Mom, Dad, and brother. My grandparents were there as we gathered to enjoy the day. – As soon as the parade had finished, my grandpa would hustle back to his car and make the drive to the track. He didn’t want to be late, and God forbid miss the double. – My parents would plant flowers on my Dad’s family graves the day before as my brother and I would walk around and look at the markers. We were always together, and Memorial Day was the official start of summer. With only a few days of school left, kids were ready and waiting for long sunny days and warm humid nights. It was magic. – Gathering at the track was probably not on the list of “Miss Manner’s” places to spend with family, but it was perfect for mine. – Dad and papaw would walk down the apron watching and wagering, as my Mom and mamaw would sit and talk in between naps under the tree. – It was perfect.

The years under the oak tree remain in my fondest memories. – Over the years, people have passed on, and others have gone their separate ways. – But the simple times of going to the track each year where some of the best. – As a kid I loved playing with the others and as I got older I was allowed to venture down the apron to begin my love affair with racing. – When I worked at River Downs later in my career, I made sure to walk down on Memorial Day to remember. – Since those days it had changed completely, but the ghosts from the past remain. I could still smell the fried chicken and the goings-on of the day. – Take time today to remember those that have given so much, and be grateful for these magical times from your past.












Passing the Torch

by Ed Meyer

posted on May 22, 2020 in General Discussion, Handicapping, Horse Racing, WinningPonies.com | No Comments >>

Person Typing On A Computer Clipart



I was contacted by an old friend. – She was my intern at River Downs long ago and was a great addition to the team. One day she brought her younger brother to work, and he was a true gent. The young man loved the game and asked many “sheepish” questions about learning how to read the program. – This was a dream come true to be able to share my knowledge of many years.  I enjoy giving new gamblers an edge into making sense of all the data. – He was like a wet sponge and soaked up everything. – Since that day, my ace intern graduated and went on to get married to begin a happy life. – When I was contacted by her younger brother it was an enjoyable conversation. When he told me he was a financial analyst who loved digging into the data. – I had another idea for my new friend.

I must admit, I can handicap pretty well and have a grasp of all things the data is trying to show us. – He’s a mid-level player who enjoys digging for the truth. – After a long conversation, I had an idea. – If you are a gambler worth his salt, you’ve tried your hand creating your own speed figures or finding a numerical meaning behind the data to mine for winners. – Sounds easy, but it takes a perfect understanding of the information and someone who has the ability to write a program to break down the info into an easy to understand system.

Stephen is a brain. He knows how to create a program, but lacks the knowledge of what to look for. – I lack the ability to write a program, but I could break down 25-30 weighted handicapping pieces of the puzzle. – Apart we are two guys who handicap, together we could make interpreting the data much easier. – This isn’t going to solve the dilemma of the Triple Crown, but it will take a new handicapper to the next level and beyond.

I’m in the process of finding the most important 30 handicapping ideas, and he’s writing a program. – This is the way he wants it to work, and with a little sweat, we’ll have a fun system to handicap the races. – To be honest, I’ll probably stick by my guns and pour over the info as I have for decades, but he will have a tool that may give him a little boost in his handicapping education. – I tried to shortcut him to the Winning Ponies E-Z Win Forms and he told me he had dabbled with the site and that’s what gave him the idea to take his game to the next level. – ” Oh, I’m not going to set the world on fire, I just want to handicap my favorite track and enjoy.” – I must admit, the idea has bounced around in my noggin, and has always interested me. – ” As long as you have fun, and send me a copy I’ll be rooting for you to be a better handicapper.” – He’s on his way, and I must admit. It never gets old sharing a lifetime of knowledge breaking down the data for new handicappers taking them to the next level. – I doubt they’ll be half as good as the E-Z Win Forms and over time he’ll tire of putting in the time to find the winners. But, in the meantime we’re creating a thinking player who wants to find the truth. – My bet is he’ll be back to Winning Ponies saving him oodles of time that yield a much better percentage. Best of luck, Stephen! – See you in the winner’s circle!


Get in the Game!

If you’ve ever wanted to own a horse. Now is the best time. – A few friends have called and asked questions about how to get started. I’m sure it sounds simple, and with a little guidance, this can be an exciting time for you.

Local tracks have been trying some programs. – They have horses ready with longtime trainers, vets, farriers, and grooms. They are ready to get you started in the Sport of Kings. All you have to do is get in the game.

Being a part of a syndicate may be the most economical entrance into the sport. – “Shares” are sold to own a part of a Thoroughbred.  Your shares range in what type of horse, and you’ll be teamed up with others just like you. – Trainers that take part are seasoned veterans who know the game. They go “live” on FaceBook and keep you up to speed with morning workouts, daily routines, and even watching your runner get a good bath! – If it sounds like fun, you can bet dollars to donuts it will be a blast.

You’ll be kept up-to-speed with everything about your runner. – You will receive a bill for monthly costs, and it will be broken down to your share. No more, no less, and you’ll be informed when they work and races that are on the horizon. – Just like the big outfits, you’ll know the feeling of watching your runner take the track.

The first time I owned a claiming horse with a couple of friends, it was like having my own professional team take the field. – The rider carried our colors (silks) and the excitement just kept growing. – By owning a “share” it was easier to absorb the costs. And, when there was purse money coming your way. The check made the game worth the effort. – There is nothing like owning a racehorse. And if you’ve been on the fence, now may be the time for you!

Here are a couple of sites you can visit or contact about getting into the game. – Racing could use dedicated owners like you and it is more fun going to the winner’s circle with a large group! – Read it over, make your decisions, and get in the game. – After all, “you can’t win unless you get in it.”




I remember the first time our claimer circled the field and went to the winner’s circle! – There were 50 people in the winner’s circle and the moment will last a lifetime! – We had plenty of success and being an owner was one of the best times in my racing life. – Best of luck, my friends!









The Time to Build Tomorrow is Today

What better place than here what better time than now.” – Race Against the Machine

I’ve spent a great deal of my time watching Thoroughbred action and listening. Yes, that’s my escape from binge-watching, and wondering what to cook for dinner at 10 am in the morning. But, that’s OK. We’re all doing the same things right now. – As usual, I always start to think about what we can do to better our sport. How do we take a seat at the big table again and not be an afterthought to other forms of gaming? – I think the above quote says it all, and more than ever it applies to now.

Here are a few ideas that have popped into my noggin – We always talk about marketing and advertising. – That’s all good, but it doesn’t hold the panacea for what ails the game now. – It promotes racing, events, and future goings-on. – It serves a great purpose but there is no education. Yep, you heard it right. We’re not educating new players and answering questions. You can give a player a winner, or teach them to enjoy the handicapping process.

We need to do a video series of explaining the game. – They can be archived, and fans may view them at their leisure. College and high school students are still continuing education on-line. – How about horse racing?

Start with talking about when horses walk to the paddock and what goes on and why? Many have plenty of questions and I would even venture to say regulars would enjoy this as well. – Explain the process with a fun and light demeanor. It doesn’t take a blah-blah-blah attitude. More upbeat and fun. Just like the game itself.

How about what to look for in horse body language? – Ears pricked up? Lethargic motions while walking the paddock. What if they are on bouncing on their toes? – Break it down. – Have a couple of trainers talk about what they want to see from their runners.

Break down the betting. – Start with win, place, and show wagers and what they mean. We all started here, and so will many more. – You can have other segments that move from a 101 series to a 202 level learning. – Go as high as you want, and allow players to learn. – Just because you can count to 21 doesn’t mean you can play blackjack. – Take it slow and progress.

Talk about odds. – What does (2-1) pay for a $2 win wager and why? – Many players are intimidated by the process of handicapping and have that fear of raising their hands in the back of the classroom.  – Discuss the odds and how they are created. Most know it’s about money, but take the time to recognize what’s going on with the tote board prices. Taking about betting and the odds will get the game moving for new players.

What is happening on the track as they warm up? – Who determines the order of finish? – What is the job of the stewards? – Can we go down and watch the horses saddle? – What happens if my horse unseats his rider? – Who gets the purse money and how much? – All good questions that would apply to players from all levels. No such thing as a silly question and taking time to educate players is gold. You are investing in the future of the sport.

I’ve been watching the on-air talent do a great job of talking about details such as these. – There are new players out there who want to know, and they’ve been taking extra time. – This has really gained traction and I’ve noticed new players chiming in on social media about racing. The process has begun.

During these trying times, we need to examine what we’ve been doing and what needs to change. – When the fog lifts we’ll either be doing the exact same expecting new results, or we’ll approach the game from a fan education perspective. – I sure hope we see the amount of handle that comes from other locations and strive to give the players as much info as possible. How about the temperature in the upper left corner of the screen. Have the announcer or handicapper talk as the cameraman focuses on horses warming up. – How about running a previous package on a horse who had a bad trip, stumbled at the start, or was closed off from getting the rail? – We need to treat the video signal as an educational tool that may give handicappers an edge while they bet from home or OTB’s.

When horses are on the track give the gamblers any information that may help them in wagering. Giving players an on track view with incredible video and handicapping points will help the bottom line. Use social media (Twitter) to get out the word for players to engage and share viewpoints. – While we have no fans on-track we are speaking to the simulcast world. Let’s examine this as an opportunity to communicate more fully. – As horses are on the track fans will enjoy watching as they warm up. Tidbits on red-hot riders for the day, ship in trainers, and selections from the announcer or track handicapper can keep the players interested. – Let’s use this time wisely. We have the opportunity to educate, inform, and promote racing.





The Happy Horseplayer – May

The Monday after Derby is here. Normally, we would be talking about what happened, and how the horses came back. – There would be plans, next race preparations, as well as small adjustments to solve any problems. But, not this year. – The good news is that we will be talking about this in four months. Hang in there, the horses will be taking the track soon enough. – The Happy Horseplayer.


Saturday / Derby Day

The H.H. had a full day of action Saturday. – Racing was on three channels without any other sports to watch and wager. Thoroughbred racing had taken center stage. – I watched and remembered past winners and stories as TV talent made us feel it happened just a moment ago. There were oodles of comments about days gone by, and the incredible live racing taking place at Oaklawn Park.

Yeah, it was Derby Day. – The race will be run on the first Saturday in September, but the feelings were still there. – A virtual Derby gave new and regular fans a digital treat, and when Secretariat kicked clear and won the race, it was a reminder of just how great “Big Red” was on that day. – If you’re new to the game, welcome! – If you’re a regular fan it was a day at the races betting on Gulfstream, Tampa Bay, and Oaklawn Park. For this racing fan and gambler, it was business as usual with thundering action to keep me glued to the TV set.

Many are wondering when their favorite ovals will open and if fans will be allowed back to watch the live races?  Yeah, it’s on every fan’s mind. – As I keep up on who is opening without fans we have to remember to take it slow. Let’s see how things are going and with a little racing luck, we’ll find ourselves being “Railbirds” soon enough. – We have to keep everyone involved safe and ensure all protocols and practices are in place.

With the added coverage it’s a trip back in time to when racing was king. – It was the only legal place to make a wager. These were the golden days from long ago. – I didn’t think we’d ever have a trip back to these days, but during these uncertain times, there’s a timeout to get re-acquainted. – There are some ideas to bring in new fans and grow a new fan base. Here are a few ideas from the H.H. to help bridge the gap for new fans to grow.

Once upon a time, we had ten races and 30 minutes between to wait. It gave you time to handicap, watch the post parade, and get in line to wager. Sometimes you would be “shut out” and there was no wager that race. – But, these days are gone. We have rapid-fire slot machines that will allow you to play 100 games at the same time. You can lose the rent in a matter of minutes. – The H.H. is well aware of the casino-style games. I even enjoy a little bit of fast play, but not much. I’m a tried and true racing fan. With the simulcast menus out and about, it makes for a full buffet of racing action.

After this past weekend, I am confident all will be well. – Some states will be a little slower than others to open. – Even without fans, gamblers can bet from home and enjoy a full experience of being at the track. – This too shall pass. As we hear every day; “We’re all in this together.” – We will come out stronger than ever and hopefully, we’ll relish each and every time we pull into the track to watch the ponies. – Until next month, best of luck from your good friend The Happy Horseplayer and Winning Ponies!




Free Selections – Arkansas Derby Day – 5/2/20

As we ponder what could have been, we should relish what we have. Saturday is usually Derby Day, but it has been rescheduled to the first Saturday in September. – There is an incredible card at OP and it is Arkansas Derby Day! – Add in the “Virtual Derby” and we have a fun day on tap. – To get your weekend started, here are some free selections for the “Festival of the South.”


Race #1 – #3 – Miss Imperial = Fresh off the claim and is 1/1 at OP. – The trainer wins 25% after a claim.

Race #2 – #8 – Take Charge Glenda = The daughter of Tapit is bred to fire at first asking.

Race #3 – #4 – Tempt Fate = 3rd off the layoff and takes a drop-in class. – He is 3/3 ITM at OP.

Race #6 – #4 – Friar’s Road = Blinkers on this son of Quality Road and has a sharp work under her belt. ***** Best Bet ******

Race #8 – #5 – Fra Mauro = Asmussen and Santana team up and they win 19% as a team. – 2/3 ITM at OP and ran a game 2nd last out.

Race #10 – #11 – Rushie = Ships in from SA and ran 2nd last out to Charlatan. – His first effort he faced Thousand Words. – facing lesser makes him dangerous.

Race#11 – #8 – Anneau D’Or = Toss out the last race and this is a tough player. – Blinkers off get the barn a 31% win clip.

Race  #12 – #4 – Mr. Freeze = A true speed demon who can wire the field with a clean break. This Romans trainee was very impressive at GP last out.

Race #13 – #8 – Fast Enough = Been off 2 months and should relish the added the distance. Check out the last bullet and you’ll see a ready runner.

Race #14 – #14 – River Echo = 2nd off the layoff and fresh off the claim. – He is 1/1 at OP and made his way through traffic to get the win.


Enjoy the day and you can start the countdown of 128 days until Derby 146. – Best of luck, and be sure to download your Winning Ponies E-Z Win Forms for the most definitive data. You will get a glimpse of how the race will take shape with the easy-to-use color-coded tiers that can be used by hardcore players and first-time users. – Best of luck from your friends at Winning Ponies!