Telephone Man

by Ed Meyer

posted on January 14, 2021 in Blogroll, General Discussion, Horse Racing, WinningPonies.com | Comments Off on Telephone Man

He waits outside for his ride. Dressed like he’s going to the office, and in a sense. He will be. – His office is seven betting parlors in Las Vegas. You may see him at one or more when there is action, and there’s always action. – The car just pulled up, and it’s time to go to work.

For the longest time, our friend has a history of working in the gambling industry. Race tracks, OTB’s, and even a few casinos over the years. Prior to that, he was in the banking industry. That was until the doctor told him to change occupations or the stress would be his end. – He didn’t need to be told twice and sought out a new occupation. One that would fit his interests.

Every morning at 5:30 a.m., a cup of coffee and a morning jog. A lite breakfast and ready to start the day. – During his banking years he met many interesting people. The folks you or I would call to make a wager on the big game. These were not $10 bookmakers, but the ones that had a select clientele. Far from the Vegas tales of intrigue and action, but a job that would be a rather low key quiet way of life.

A lifelong bachelor dedicated to his work. He never made mistakes and would always double-check his numbers. The kind of job that doesn’t get advertised in the papers or the internet. – His condo is about four miles from the strip and always uses an Uber to take him to his rounds. The majority of the time it’s an older gent who moved to Vegas after his wife passed many moons ago and became a cab driver after retiring from the post office. Fred loves his job, and over the years they’ve become friends.

The job is easy by definition but requires the patience of an older man. – He’s the “call-off” man for five big outfits who take wagers. – Where there’s a big wager in the five digits he gets a call. Sometimes to shop around for the best spread, and other times just to make wagers and head home a few hours later. He’s in charge of the money and takes care of betting and cashing. The records are kept at home and his legal occupation allows him a great deal of free time. – “No room for errors when you play at this level, or you could be replaced the next day.” – But his meticulous dedication will have him here as long as he wishes.

Twice a month he’ll have a visitor that will fly out and pick up the money, or give him more for the wagers. Good work if you can find it, but it’s not for everyone. “I make the wagers and keep track of the records. Not hard work by any means, but it keeps me active and happy.”

I don’t bet. Gave that up long ago. Too much stress and I get to see enough action by doing my daily trips.” – On the strip, he is one of the high rollers according to the racebook managers and gets plenty of free comps and respect. – When he walks in there’s no standing in line as the manager takes him aside and writes his wagers.

I like what I’m doing and I have it pretty good. – For a non-gambler, it’s easy work. But if you have the betting bug I’m sure it could get tough. Well, I’ll see you when I’m back in Ohio for the races. It’ll be good to watch the ponies with old friends and catch up.”

 

Free Selections – Wednesday, 1/6/2021

by Ed Meyer

posted on January 5, 2021 in Blogroll, Free Picks and Tips, Horse Racing, WinningPonies.com | Comments Off on Free Selections – Wednesday, 1/6/2021

Nothing like a little “hump day” free selections to get your inner-horseplayer hankering for the weekend. We’re going to take a look at some plays from Gulfstream and Fair Grounds to get your bankroll ready for the weekend. – Best of luck from your friends at Winning Ponies!

 

Gulfstream Park

 

Race #3 – #5 – Skyfly = She adds Lasix and just missed last out. She was closing strong last out and gets an extra furlong to run. Jaramillo retains the mount looking for graduation today.

Race #4 – #2 – Noble Indy = 2nd time off the layoff where Todd Pletcher wins 20% and Luis Saez in the saddle where he wins 30% for the Todd-Squad. Blikers back on where they score 20% with the hood and he is 2/2 ITM at GP.

Race #6 – #1 – State Crown = is a daughter of Blame who gets 2nd Lasix where Mike Trombetta wins 23% and draws the golden rail which is winning at a 24% clip under Jose Ortiz.

Race #8 – #2 – Pleasecallmeback = is a beaten favorite who comes back to score 23% turning the tables. Fresh off the claim for Mike Maker who wins 16% with new runners in his barn. Jose Ortiz has the call.

Race #9 – #1 – Lookin At Roses = Draws the rails and drops down in class. He is 2/2 ITM at GP and sports a sharp work to prepare.

 

 

Fair Grounds

 

Race #2 – #8 – Crazy Good = makes her 2nd start dropping down in class. She tries the turf where her dam Summer has 8 starters with 7 winners and 2 turf winners.

Race #6 – #1 -Born Great = makes his 2nd start off the layoff and was a beaten favorite where Brendan Walsh wins 28%. Adam Beschizza in the irons and and he teams up to win 33% with the connections.

Race #7 – #4 – Guided Missile = makes his 2nd start over the track for Bret Calhoun and they stretch out in distance. B. J. Hernandez stays aboard and wins 22% with Calhoun.

 

With each passing week you’ll start seeing racing cranking up for the 2021 run to Louisville. Be sure and check back for free selections, blogs, stories, and the Winning Ponies Internet Radio Show with John Engelhardt. And while you’re here, be sure and download the Winning Ponies E-Z Win Forms for a comprehensive look on how the race will take shape. Make Winning Ponies your one-stop-shop for all things racing!

 

 

 

 

 

Three Wishes for the New Year

by Ed Meyer

posted on January 5, 2021 in Blogroll, General Discussion, Horse Racing, WinningPonies.com | Comments Off on Three Wishes for the New Year

We stayed at home and tried to watch the ball drop with anticipation. But, 2020 was a tough one. For many, this used to be an evening of wishing the past year goodbye and welcoming the new. – For many 2020 was a year filled with anxiety, worry, and sorrow. But as we get ready to really get rolling, let’s think about three wishes for the upcoming season of racing

– Tracks have taken it on the chin. Some meets were canceled, postponed, and abbreviated. As we ready for the ovals to open the doors and welcome back patrons. Make it a resolution to make the trek to the races. If you use to make five or six trips to your favorite oval. Try adding another 3 or 4 trips instead of wagering from home. The track will thank you, employees getting back to work, horsemen, and your fellow players. Nothing like looking around and seeing fans in the stands. This player looks to the day when I can share some track talk, trade our best bets, and hear the cheers of the fans as the horses turn for home. – Make 2021 a great time to be a racing fan!

– I’ve been seeing smaller groups come together to buy small or mini-percentages of a racehorse. No better way to get in the game than coming out to see your runner take the track. – No big payments out of pocket, but the excitement is still there. There are many great groups to join, and they keep you up-to-speed with workouts, upcoming races, and Facetime with your horse in the barn area. Take a look at Brilliant Racing; Buckeye Racing, and Churchill Downs Racing Club. All great fun, and you’ll be hooked for life!

– Bring a friend when you come. Whether it be a new fan or a long-time lover of the game who hasn’t been in a while. Racing was the only sport taking place when COVID first spread. Many tracks had postponed action or raced with great regulations. What a treat it was watching small circuits race live. It was the only sport going at the time and it gave us a sense of normalcy.- I can’t wait to see new faces reading a program with the sun on their face or veteran bettors returning to the game they love. What are ya’ waiting for? – It’s almost post time!

 

It has been a tough year for all of us. Our country is getting ready to open the gates and start rolling out a sense of new normalcy. Let’s put it behind us and remember the many who won’t be with us this year. Most tracks have a matrix board and would love to memorialize a race posted in the program and on the big board celebrating the wonderful people who won’t be with us this year. Sadly, we all have been touched in one way or another, but we will see better days. – I look forward to seeing you at the races.

 

In Memory of a Friend

by Ed Meyer

posted on January 5, 2021 in Blogroll, General Discussion, Horse Racing, WinningPonies.com | Comments Off on In Memory of a Friend

Image may contain: 2 people, including Stephen Romano, people standing, sky and outdoor

 

 

 

 

We live in times where we date on-line, order groceries to be delivered, and occasionally meet an interesting friend. – For me, it was the latter. A kind and gentle soul who would post wonderful messages, birthday greetings, and words of encouragement. At first, I would peruse at my leisure, but found myself reaching out between the bars of social distancing to feel the warmth of humanity. I enjoyed the kind words and pictures of a fellow horse racing fan doing what he loved. – This is dedicated to racing fans from all walks, and a wonderful man with a big heart.  Stephen Romano.

I stumbled onto the site Horse Racing Forum of America. I liked it from first glance as it was 100% positive. The vibe was one where you left feeling better before you clicked in. – Stephen would wish members a happy birthday or wonderful words of encouragement. I know. I was battling cancer almost two years ago when I received a personal message wishing me the best and to keep up the good fight. Thank you, my friend.

 

 

Image may contain: Stephen Romano and Katie McCarthy, people standing and indoor

 

 

 

I would see some “racing-related” discussions with a passion that only comes from someone who truly loves the sport. My Facebook friend was cherished by many. Maybe it was his kind words; love for the game, or just being one of the good guys. Either way. I enjoyed looking for it each day.

 

 

Image may contain: 2 people, including Stephen Romano, people smiling

 

 

Just days ago I heard his last message. He was in the hospital battling for his life and having a tough time speaking. “I’m going to be OK. I’m not gonna let this beat me.” – One day later my friend shed his mortal coil to be with his maker. The racing world has lost a true gentleman. He loved his friends, adventures at the races, and his wife GiGi whom he would refer to often. As mentioned in a post on his site; “Blessed are those who die in the Lord. They are blessed indeed, for they will rest from all of their toils and trials; for their good deeds follow them. I think you can rest easy, Stephen Romano.

I’m gonna miss seeing my daily dose of happiness and positive news. For the countless racing fans, riders and trainers, and a family he dearly loved. A void has been left behind. But, he would be the first to encourage and send you positive vibes. “Push on and fight the good fight,” he once told me.

Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your inner-circle for a brief time. Rest in peace, my friend.

 

 

Image may contain: Stephen Romano

 

Free Selections – Gulfstream Park – 12/23/2020

by Ed Meyer

posted on December 22, 2020 in Free Picks and Tips, Handicapping, WinningPonies.com | Comments Off on Free Selections – Gulfstream Park – 12/23/2020

As the holiday season is upon, we have mixed feelings as we celebrate. But trust me, there will be better days ahead. – In the meantime, here are some red-hot selections for Gulfstream as you finish your wrapping, cookie making, and making the best of the season.

 

Gulfstream Park

 

Race#1

#4 – Coworth Park = She takes a big plunge in class and switches to a high % rider with Irad Ortiz for Todd Pletcher. Ortiz wins 22% with his turf runners and 39% teaming up with Pletcher.

 

Race #3

#5- Bella Ciao = She’s a closer for Mike Maker dropping in class off a 49-day rest. She is 12/15 ITM at GP and should be making a late run with Irad Ortiz who wins 29% with route runners.

 

Race #4 

#9 – Julie Bird = She is making a 2nd off the layoff move for Mike Maker and Tyler Gafflione. Maker wins 23% with mdn claimers and they switch to a high percentage rider who wins 21% of his turf mounts.

 

Race#5

#2 – Akor = The filly takes a big drop in class and trainer Cherie De Vaux wins 66% going to post with first-time claimers. Tyler G wins 21% with his turn mounts and should be right near the front from the break.

 

Race#6

#4- Brasstown = Been off for 46 days and comes in for Antonio Sano and Edgard Zayas team-up. Look for quick speed as Zayas wins 21% with speedy runners.

 

Race#8

#7 – Heiressindy = She is 5 for 8 ITM at GP and a beaten favorite for Teresa Pompay with Paco Lopez aboard. – The barn comes back to score 34% off a beaten chalk effort. Lopez is off to the races winning 18% at the meet.

 

Race#9

#6 – Shamrocket = comes in for Todd Pletcher and Irad Ortiz. He’s been off for 3 months since KyD and has a strong closing punch. Irad Ortiz is one of the best finishing riders who wins 22% with late-running horses.

 

 

 

Three Wishes for Christmas

by Ed Meyer

posted on December 22, 2020 in Blogroll, Handicapping, Horse Racing, WinningPonies.com | Comments Off on Three Wishes for Christmas

Rub a genie’s lamp; four-leaf clover, or your lucky rabbit’s foot. Whatever it takes. – Some have a lucky seat, favorite number, or play the #5 in the 5th. – Gamblers have a rhyme and a reason for doing the little things that give them the edge. As Christmas approaches, here are three wishes for the holiday season and the New Year.

1.- I’m wishing for a happy and healthy 2021. Racing did an excellent job keeping the game up and running when other sports were dormant. There weren’t many tracks running when COVID was running rampant, but the game went forward. Earlier this year, we were watching Will Rogers and Fair Meadows like Saratoga, Keeneland, or Del Mar. – I wish for a healthy year where horsemen can race without fear, and fans can fill the stands again. Here’s to a great 2021!

2. – My 2nd wish is for racing to make the big comeback. – It was great entertainment when sports were on hold, and it gave us a sense of normalcy when we needed it most. – If you found yourself playing from home during the pandemic, you were in the right place enjoying the sport safely. But, as we get ready to open the world up again, make a few trips to the live races. If you use to make three trips a year, make it six. The tracks, horsemen, employees, and future of horse racing thank you. – See you at the races!

3. – My final wish is for a sense of normalcy. – Not just going back to the way things were, because things have changed greatly. – Take the time to appreciate what we have and be grateful for all in our lives. – We have never known how much sports, enjoying the company of others, and just being together. But, there may be a light at the end of the tunnel that will allow us to adjust our course and plan for the new tomorrow.

Best of luck from your friends at Winning Ponies!

 

 

 

 

 

Ask The Wizard

by Ed Meyer

posted on December 11, 2020 in Blogroll, General Discussion, Handicapping, Horse Racing, WinningPonies.com | Comments Off on Ask The Wizard

 

I gazed into the crystal ball and what I’m seeing will astonish. There are some bright spots and others that need a little help. But, the “Wizard of Odds” is here to answer what nags your inner-horseplayer. So, I’ll wave my magic wand and gaze deeply into the next year.

Q- “Wizard, what will the landscape of racing look like in the coming year?”

Wiz of Odds –“I see plenty of wonderful things coming our way. The new year will see a slow return to normalcy according to world reports, but the pace will be slow. – Good things come in small waves of change as to not upset the balance of life. Be patient.”

 

Q – “Wizard, will more players watch and wager from home?”

Wiz of Odds – ” Yes. Many have enjoyed the ease of motion playing from home, the office, or anywhere you have a device. – I see more doing the same in the future and maybe that’s not a bad thing. Over the years we have seen a decline in attendance and our core audience has been growing older. We need to evolve into a game where playing from home is encouraged. Instead of free hats or coffee mugs as prizes. Offer comps such as free past performances, on-line handicapping seminars, and free online contests. Players should receive a solid rebate betting from home depending on the level they play. Make it as easy as possible to enjoy the game and reward players accordingly. Have an on-line library of how-to-use videos on how to handicap for players to learn at their own pace to educate and build new players – Add in a daily tipsheet of the best game plan of races to watch and wager from the track handicapper and you’ll have players targeting their sites on a winning day.” 

 

Q – “How do we get older players less computer savvy to stay in the game?”

Wiz of Odds – “I have a vision where we provide players with an easy to use phone. No apps, high-tech nightmares. Just a number where they can call into a wager. – They can deposit from a checking account, Green Dot, or head on over to the local OTB or track and fund their accounts. – From what the Wizard has noticed, the act of device wagering has one of our customer segments lost in the wind overwhelmed. 

We need to let them know where they can watch from home while they wager on the easy-to-use phone. – It has one number for wagering and another number for customer issues. Pretty simple. This idea can keep them involved and watching and wagering from the ease of staying home. – Another item that will make this go smooth is allowing players to withdraw any winnings the very next day. – Fund your account, make an easy call, and enjoy the races. – We are leaving a great deal of money on the table by not serving these players. Also, I’d bet dollars to donuts they’ll be heading to the ADW to fund accounts and watch a race or two while they are there.”

Q – “Wizard, is there a need for a huge facility?”

Wizard – “Huge, not really. But a facility where there is ample room to play VLT’s or gaming machines is important. It is an entertainment destination. – Fair priced good food, gaming machines to serve players, an OTB where players can fund accounts or watch and wager. Entertainment as an added attraction and you have a perfect entertainment destination. Don’t forget the attractive bar which will allow the player to enjoy a libation in a top-shelf environment.”

The Wizard is retiring back to his mountain lair where slumber and good ideas percolate. – This year we need to re-examine our needs, and who is not being served. Don’t worry, I’ll keep my ear to the ground and pay attention to what the players need.

Best of luck, and remember; “You can’t win unless you get in.”

Fresh Starts and Fantastic Finishes

by Ed Meyer

posted on December 7, 2020 in Blogroll, General Discussion, Horse Racing, WinningPonies.com | Comments Off on Fresh Starts and Fantastic Finishes

 

Racing is a great way to spend the day. Especially if you’re sheltering in place. – There is something about making a few bets and watching the action that makes life feel normal for the gambler.

So, your favorite ADW is open, or you’re tuning into your favorite oval. The graphics and enhancements have made the experience second to none. This isn’t your grandpa’s game anymore.

Turfway Park opened on December 03, 2020, with a brand new surface, top-shelf outfits, and a rider colony that is one of the best I’ve seen in years. There are only a few things missing. – There is no building, grandstand, patron viewing area. You can’t come out and watch the races for now as the entire property is surrounded by a huge fence and everything has been demolished for the new facility that will be open in December 2021. Good things coming to Northern Kentucky!

In the winter, I work in the racing office and hold down the position of a placing judge. – It’s a split shift, but the sport is well worth it for me. We have “pods” or the suite pods that are located on the inner turf at Churchill Downs for Oaks and Derby. – Quite a step up from the 1959 building which is a memory.

One for the stewards; one for placing judges and teletimer/photo finish; and the other for Equibase and the announcer. The cameras are mounted on top of the large pods, and temporary lights illuminate the darkness. If you’re watching from home, you can’t tell one thing has changed. But for me, it is a brand new feel  – No stands, no cheering fans, or buzz of humanity on the apron.

I walk out onto the steps leading to our pod and look into the darkness; which was a well-lit aging building that horseplayers called home since 1959. – It’s the dark that catches my attention as I still can see the large antiquated building in my mind. There are large fences that circle the entire property, and even one around the paddock. But you won’t see this at home. Everything looks perfect.

Next year will be home to a brand new facility owned by Churchill Downs Inc. I have to admit, I’m looking forward to seeing this glimmering building with gaming, racing, and entertainment. It’s, going to be top-shelf. But, I digress. – I’m still seeing that old building in my mind where I spent so many days with my grandpa and dad as a boy. I learned to hone my craft as a handicapper, and took about every single first date to share what I love. – I have made friends of a lifetime and said goodbye to many who have passed this way. – I started in the parking lot and had the opportunity to build my resume by learning the sport from many angles. I’m still learning.

The track is on target as horses and handle reflect an interest in the Kentucky oval. – I love the idea of the shiny and new but still look back for the old and historic oval which was a big part of my life. – So, here’s to a great meet, new Tapeta surface, and some of the biggest connections in the land. But, the new Turfway is going to be a showplace. One you’ll want to add to your race track bucket list next year.

 

 

Horse Racing Graded Stakes Analysis – 12/5/2020

by Ed Meyer

posted on December 4, 2020 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Horse Racing Graded Stakes Analysis – 12/5/2020

Horse Racing Graded Stakes Analysis – 12/5/2020

by: Ed Meyer

 

Aqueduct

 

Race#4 – The G-2 Remsen – 1 1/8 – 1:00 pm

BetPTC.com Selections / #2 – Known Agenda / #5 – Ten for Ten / #3 – Brooklyn Strong

#2 Known Agenda is a son of Curlin and 1 for 1 at AQU. An impressive closer and Todd Pletcher is winning 31% with John Velasquez in the irons. He is 2 for 2 lifetime and should come rolling quick down the lane. #5 Ten for Ten is a speedy son of Frosted for Shug McGaughey and Jose Ortiz in the saddle. Look for Ortiz to send right from the break as he wins 19% with speedy runners. #3 Brooklyn Strong is a perfect stalker and has Joel Rosario in the driver’s seat. This gelded son of Wicked Strong should be sitting in the catbird seat turning for home.

Race #9 – The G-2 Demoiselle – 1 1/8 – 3:44 pm

BetPTC.com Selections / #1 – Malathat / #5 – Dollar Mountain / #6 – Cafe Society

#1 Malathaat is a daughter of Curlin and sports good early foot for the Pletcher barn. John Velasquez has the call and should come out swinging from the #1 hole. Johnny V wins 22% with early style runners. #5 Dollar Mountain is a stalker who moved off the turf last time for George Weaver. Jose Lezcano in the irons for the stalker and looks for a trip just off the speed. #6 Cafe Society hails from the Shug McGaughey barn with Jose Ortiz getting the nod. Speedy daughter of Empire Maker moving up the ladder and might be dangerous if able to find the front.

Race#10 – The G-1 Cigar Mile – 1 mile – 4:13 pm

BetPTC.com Selections / #1 – Performer / #4 – Firenze Fire / #5 – Mr. Buff

#1 Performer comes in for Shug McGaughey and Joel Rosario. Been away for 49 days and may fire fresh off the shelf as the barn wins 19% on this move. He is seeking his 6th straight and will be dangerous breaking from the rail where it is winning 29%. #4 Firenze Fire goes to post for Kelly Breen with Jose Lezcano in the saddle. A solid stalker with a sharp late punch and 3 for 5 ITM at AQU. Should be in the second flight working out a good trip. #5 Mr. Buff is a speedster from the John Kimmel barn with Junior Alvarado between the ears. 2nd off the layoff and moving up in class. Will be dangerous if left alone on the lead.

Thanksgiving Free Selections – 11/26/2020

by Ed Meyer

posted on November 25, 2020 in Blogroll, Free Picks and Tips, Handicapping, Horse Racing, WinningPonies.com | Comments Off on Thanksgiving Free Selections – 11/26/2020

Pass the drumstick and I’ll have some more stuffing. – Oh, and while you’re at it, how about some free selections to cap off a great day watching horse racing on Thanksgiving? – You got it. – Best of luck, and Happy Turkey Day from your friends at Winning Ponies!

 

Churchill Downs

 

Race #2 – #5 – Reason to Soar = He looks for 3 in a row for Robertino Diodoro. – The barn is winning 22% on the year and 4 for 6 ITM at CD. David Cohen in the irons and fits well winning 18% for Diodoro.

Race#4 – #6 – Hardly a Secret = hails from the Diodoro barn fresh off the claim where he wins 24%. He just missed last and switches riders to Cohen. He is 7 for 11 ITM on off tracks.

Race#5 – #11 – Pappy’s Best Girl = a daughter of Constitution who wins 20% with his first-timers. She was off slow, adds blinkers this outing, and I’m tossing out her first effort to bad luck. Maybe this filly will light up the tote board (20-1) on the morning line.

Race #10 – The G2 Falls City – #3 – Bonny South = She was a beaten favorite in the G2 Black Eyed Susan for the Brad Cox barn. Churchill is home base and will come rolling late in the lane.

 

Fair Grounds

 

Race #3 – #1 – Foldover = Speedy gelding under Angel Suarez who has been off 56 days. Ships back to FG and is 3/6 ITM over the course. Catch him if you can.

Race#6 – #2 -Proxy = Draws the golden rail where it’s won 21% in the past. Son of Tapit adds Lasix and just missed last out with respect at the windows. Angel Suarez in the saddle for Mike Stidham and Godolphin LLC. – Look for a solid closing effort.

Race #8 – #2 – Nitrous = Hails from the Asmussen barn and been off 56 days with a drop down the class ladder. This son of Tapit is a closer and there is plenty of speed to keep the pace honest. He will kick in for the long stretch run.

 

Use this as a nice appetizer for a grand day of grubbing! – For the most comprehensive view on how the races will take shape. Be sure and download your easy to use Winning Ponies E-Z Win Forms. Color-coded, easy to read tier level ratings, and your best tool in the handicapping arsenal. Best of luck today – Happy Thanksgiving from your friends at Winning Ponies!