Small Tracks; Big Excitement

by Ed Meyer

posted on September 25, 2022 in Blogroll, General Discussion, Horse Racing, WinningPonies.com | Comments Off on Small Tracks; Big Excitement

The wafting smell of fresh popcorn as you walk through the gates. As you make your way to the program stand and purchase your book for the day, tip sheet hawkers yell out their sales pitch of winner’s from yesterday, and the ones that await today. – You have made your way into the massive confines of the racetrack. Some are monsters that once held the larger crowds of yester-year, and the new, more streamlined tracks are a bit smaller but offer up just as much excitement. In my opinion, smaller tracks are like the long-ago slogan for Avis Rental; “We try harder.”

Smaller tracks offer up a close-up view of the paddock where the horses are saddled. You can almost reach out and touch them as they take the track. – Before the races I saw a security guard tossing football with his grandsons in the winner’s circle. Not a sight at Keeneland, Belmont, or Churchill Downs prior to the races. – The smaller ovals offer a bevy of family fun and make it a complete day of entertainment.

There are pony rides in the paddock for the kiddies, as they wear the silks of a jockey with safety helmets walking in circles led by a lucky intern. – Father’s Day was a free track cap with the purchase of a program, and Mother’s Day was track logo T-shirts with a red rose for everyone. – Beer mugs with the past winner’s names printed the year they won the marquee race on Labor Day, and family fun day with games for the kiddies and entertainment all day long. – Free tickets to be drawn for a big concert right next store, and a host of constant fun on a daily basis. – I learned more from River Downs than any other track I’ve worked put together. – Treat people to a day they will remember, and we’ll make fans, friends, and players to last a lifetime.

I think it’s a tough time to compete for the discretionary dollar. A million casino and racinos, lottery, and even bingo halls with loaded with scratch-offs with a bevy of games cut into the profit. Add-in 700 channels on TV that offer up movies, sports and bring the races right to you without leaving the comfort of your home. – If we’re going to survive and plan for the future, we have to distinguish ourselves from the others.

The other day a high-ranking casino manager came up to see me and was asking questions. Most were great fodder for discussion while others came from a handbook he must have read. Then came the $10 question; “Why is racing such a special thing? I don’t understand why it’s such a big deal?” – The answer was easy. We are an entertainment destination. “What do we have that the others don’t?” – He shook his head and looked lost. – Racing; We offer something the others don’t and won’t have. – He still looked lost probably trying to figure out the profit margin which sways highly to the rapid-fire slot machines. But it’s still something completely different they’ll never have. That what makes us special.

Smaller tracks are a gem. The oyster hidden in the smaller grandstand with incredible views and the best soft serve ice cream around. – If you’re looking forward to your once-a-year trip to Keeneland, Belmont or Churchill. Make a couple of trips to your local track. It may be smaller, and you won’t see a Derby winner. Wait. The rider who won this year’s Derby and the trainer have horses on a daily basis at our place. But I digress.

Take the time and make the trip. You’ll probably see some of the old faces from long ago and go ahead and introduce someone new to the game. Best action in town by a mile. How many times have you seen a hundred people cheering for a slot machine? Never. – Go ahead, make the trip, you’ll enjoy yourself if you’re not careful. Who knows, maybe you’ll see the 6th all-time leading rider in the world, or the rider who won the Kentucky Derby this year, or a new jockey plying their trade climbing the ladder to bigger and better things. – Sometimes the hidden gems are right around the corner. The popcorn is still hot and fresh, and the action is second to none. Hope to see you at the races!

 

 

 

The Sound of Winning

by Ed Meyer

posted on September 25, 2022 in Blogroll, General Discussion, Horse Racing, WinningPonies.com | Comments Off on The Sound of Winning

My son and I were watching a day of college football. He’s not a big fan like the old man, but still enjoyed it. “Why is it such a big deal with the fight songs and music when they get close to scoring?” – It really didn’t hit me until the game was over and I was on my way to bed. Music makes the sport, game, or event build into a fever pitch. Your excitement levels reach new highs, and you find yourself leaning closer to catch every moment. As he was walking away, he was humming the Ohio State fight song and didn’t even know it…

(1883) Ohio State University Fight Song- “Buckeye Battle Cry”, and “Across the Field” – YouTube

Racing is not above the absence of music and emotion. When you hear the “Call to the Post” at the races you can feel your hair stand up on your arm. It signals the excitement of things to come. – The call dates from the French cavalry- “Pour la Reunion des Trompettes”-1804 by David Buhl. The first U.S. usage is found in 1834 as a trumpeter’s call, according to Taps Bugler: Jari Villanueva.

(1883) Call to Post at Churchill Downs!! – YouTube

 

Once upon a time when at the races as a horse was entering the winner’s circle. You would hear a bevy of different songs playing in a brief blast. This was the rider’s favorite song and it used to catch your attention even when you weren’t watching closely. – Hearing some smooth Latin music or the dulcet tones of Lemmy from Motorhead would immediately let you know who was entering the winner’s circle. – It was popular in the early 90’s, and just faded away quietly. I liked it, and still do to this day.

In between races, as your signal gets sent out around the world, fans are treated to varied sound of jazz, rock, country and everything in between. – Some racinos have a piped in station that sells music to play in the background between races. Many people have told me they love our music and where can they find it. – Easy, just go to the races or watch us on your favorite ADW site.

Music has been an integral part of warfare and the soldier’s life since the dawn of history. Even the instruments on which music is played have themselves acquired great symbolic power — a regiment’s drums are second only to its colors as an emblem of honor and tradition. In the 18th century, the act of enlisting was described as following the drum, according to History Net.com.

Music makes the event bigger. – When you’re standing with 150,000 people and “My Old Kentucky Home” plays at Churchill Downs. I’ll bet dollars to donuts there’s not a dry eye in the house. – It reaches fans in many different ways. – When you hear the fight song at the big game, everyone is on their feet cheering the warriors to do battle in the game of sport. But nothing competes with hearing the “Call to the Post” for me. – It takes me back as a young boy standing with my dad as the horses paraded in front of the grandstand ready to do battle on the track.

Just pay attention as the big game is close, and you’ll hear dueling bands trying to drive their team into a frenzy, or the beauty and pageantry amplified by the long tradition of call to the post. – I bet it will have your full attention.

 

Making Memories and Remembering

by Ed Meyer

posted on September 4, 2022 in Blogroll, General Discussion, Handicapping, Horse Racing, WinningPonies.com | Comments Off on Making Memories and Remembering

I always tell readers to take a new person to the races. Especially if they’ve never been and take the time to explain what’s going on during the day. – This makes it more fun and who knows? Maybe you’ve made a lifelong fan for the game. I have a couple of stories; one from the past and the other that will take place this Tuesday.

Friend #1 – He was never into horse racing and was more of a race car, dune buggy type guy who loved that style of racing. But we’re very good friends and he was willing to try anything new that I loved. I guess it could have been that we were going out afterward as he may have thought of this as an appetizer of having a few beers and watching a few races.

I started to explain what was going to happen in the next 20 minutes, and he interrupted me and asked if I wanted a beer. “No, I’m good for now. I try not to drink and play the horses.” Looking back maybe a good idea for a young horse player, but he was just getting started. As he made his way back from the concession booth, he had two large draft beers in his hands. “I said I’m ok, and I’ll wait till later. – They’re not for you, they’re mine.” – The night was set, and he was getting lubed up for taking in the races.

Race #1 – They took the track, and he handed me a $20. – “ Bet me whatever you’re playing.” – While I was gone, he hit the concession stand for two more Pabst Blue Ribbon drafts. – The race was running, and he stood up and started screaming for our horse with vivid profanity and high fives as he crossed the line first. – “Great job, let’s do it again!”

Race #2 – They were coming onto the track, and I went down to stand in line to make a bet. When I returned there were two more large paper cups filled with the golden nectar that was making him a racing fan for the night. – If we stayed five races he was going to be passed out.

After Race #4 – He was starting to get “Yellow Cab” drunk and began to really show his new interest for the game. – When he took his shirt off where we were sitting, there he was 12 large cups of handicapping juice into the evening, I thought we’d wrap it up a little early and head on out for a few more drinks. – When I asked him what he thought about the track as he walked shirtless to the car; he said, “Man, the beers are really expensive at the track.” – He really tried to enjoy the horses for me, and as my good buddy he took one for the team. – He passed away suddenly this week, and I’ve been reflecting on some of the good old days we spent together in our youth. – He wasn’t going to be a regular visitor, but for me he was willing to try anything. – I’m sure gonna miss my friend. He was one of the good guys. How many friends would force himself to drink 12 beers and watch the races without his shirt for a buddy?

 

Tuesday is a day I’ve been waiting for. – I have a friend who’s going to come up to the races and sit in the announcer’s booth with me watching the races. – She’ll tell me stories of how she fell in love with racing many moons ago with her horse racing loving husband and all the big days she was on hand to enjoy. – She was the receptionist you would hear on the other end of line greeting you with a smile and direct your call to the right place. If you think of all of the important jobs at the track, this one quietly sits in the top five. When Covid hit, she was one of the many let go as the future was in question. When called back, she opted to remain a fan with good memories instead.

You want to know who the special guests who are coming on Thursday, she’ll know. Problems in the office, she knows. – Promotions being planned, she has all the scoops. – Long ago I found out from another track to always bring in candy once a month to the receptionist. My check was always waiting there with a program, and before I would leave, I could write a book on who was doing what. They keep the incoming traffic moving like the Swiss trains. – So, my friend is coming up to spend the day and watch her favorite rider Perry Ouzts make his way to the winner’s circle. I sure hope he has a great day! – Even more, I sure hope she enjoys her trip out to see me.

She’ll speak of the many trips of going to River Downs with her husband. He’s been gone twenty years now, but her tone makes it seem like they were there just minutes ago. We’ll share stories, and I’ll show her the fun of the best seat in the house. – She loves the excitement of the races, and you can bet dollars to donuts I’ll ham it up a bit so we can share a laugh and talk until the next race. – That’s what it’s all about. Sharing your love of something with others.

I’ve always said the best part of racing is the people. Many over the years I have written about in my blogs. – Taking the time to enjoy the day and just share a laugh is worth its weight in gold. Looking back, I remember many stories and incredible people. Many are gone, and still to this day I have met many new faces with a story all their own. If you put my feet to the fire and asked me who I’d like to spend a day at the races it would be easy.

My Dad and I riding out to catch the last three races at Latonia Racecourse in his old rusty white pick-up truck. My grandpa in the front seat and my Dad picking him up with a $20 bill wrapped around an admission pass. My college buddy who would put a Daily Racing Form on the window of my car with a written note “ Meet me here at 11:am, and we’ll go to Keeneland.” – Those days were golden then and even better to look back on. – Well, I’d like to talk more about the good old days, but my son and I are going to watch and wager on some races from Saratoga today. Memories still to be made, and I’m sure they’ll bring a smile now and times to come.

 

See you in the winner’s circle.

Plenty of Room at the Table

by Ed Meyer

posted on August 28, 2022 in Blogroll, General Discussion, Horse Racing, WinningPonies.com | Comments Off on Plenty of Room at the Table

The landscape for wagering is in full effect. There are so many avenues to spend your discretionary dollar – the decisions are getting tougher and tougher. I have seen that gamblers at any level love to play for a jackpot of sorts. – Slots and video poker offer up some sizeable feasts for the rapid-fire players, and this has been just one of the many reasons that racing has taken a shot to the gut. It’s not enough to just compete and open the doors for throngs of gamblers to come running through. We must plan together as an industry and not just assume the biggest bully wins.

If you look at the NFL, NBA, MLB, just to name a few, there is a process of a governing body to allow for a fair and level playing field for all. – It will be the sign of the end of racing when you watch one large behemoth dictate to others what will happen and how you’ll be allowed to play. It’s already happening, and we assume that’s fine. – The above-mentioned leagues try and keep things fair; growing with drafts, TV rights, and penalties for those who don’t play by the rules. Is it fair? I would say it’s a step in the right direction. Everyone has a seat at the table.

Horse Racing right now is being manipulated by bigger entities that push and shove smaller tracks around. Twenty plus years ago there was an article in the Daily Racing Form about the “Ten Super Tracks of the Future.” – I scoffed at the idea at first, but as I watched tracks fall by the wayside, the trend is becoming a reality. The ten super ovals would be the only racing in the country, and we would be playing them if we wanted to get our bet down on the ponies.

So, what to do? – I’m sure everyone that makes a bet will have a sure-fire plan, but as a man who has worked the majority of his life in horse racing here are a few ideas that will start the thinking process. You don’t have to agree with everything, just give it a good think about the future.

Take a look at field sizes. They are shrinking from 12 horse fields to five and six even at the biggest tracks. We could take a cue from Europe and Australia about running a live a race. Take the top three tracks running on a typical day. Now, there can be a governing body that stays in full contact with the track’s stewards and tote operators. They may need to take an additional minute or two to keep from running right on top of the other tracks. This will keep fans from jumping from one to another where somebody is going to lose. – No need, as if one fails it is only a matter of time before another track is next. We really don’t want to see any track fail or become the odd man out when it comes to handle. Keeping the “Big Three” off of each other is a great way to ensuring each will have focus on their signals/handle at the windows or betting sites. Maybe a good start? – When you’re watching the NFL this year and the big decisions on a penalty or review get tossed to New York for a final decision. Tell me it can’t work in racing as well.

Smaller tracks. They will have a seat at the table as well. – They will start hours earlier, or later if they have a top shelf lighting system in place. – Keeping the small tracks operating will allow a place for horses to run when they no longer are the G1 attraction and keep small time trainers in the game. It’s not a good sign when the smaller tracks are pushed out of business. Horses at the marquee tracks can’t all run or compete at that level. The small track has a certain charm of its own by offering competitive racing at a lesser level. – Generates revenue, job growth, and adds to tax coffers. As the big boys run at 1 pm, have the smaller tracks going to post at 10am. By the time the marquee oval has the first post parade the smaller track is finished for the day. – The smaller tracks will get more focus from the early ADM monies that would have been split on the bigger tracks. Then, after the eight-race card at your local smaller track is over, the bigger tracks will have a more concentrated stream of handle. – Everyone wins and still plenty to go around. You don’t think tracks, OTB’s or ADW’s want racing to fall off the cliff, do you? They still get a good percentage from the tracks running. They don’t mind if it’s home of the Derby or the $5,000 claimer.

Years ago, Beulah Park used to have “Million Dollar Mondays” when not many of the big boy tracks were running. It was a golden time. – Smaller tracks need to take the off-days that marquee tracks don’t seek and start early and be the early bird that gets the worm. Those million-dollar handle days were on super cheap claimers which yielded big payouts. The kind of results gamblers love to chase.  Smaller tracks have a purpose.

There is still room at the table. – But it will get worse before it gets better. – Look for marquee tracks to dump major ovals and focus on mid-level tracks to buy them up and shift dates to another holding where they can empty the competition. – But there is plenty of room at the table only if you are looking to keep racing going at all levels and not have a monopoly on a select few. Just some thoughts from a lifetime racing fan and someone who has worked at many tracks during my working life.

Good Conversations

by Ed Meyer

posted on August 28, 2022 in Blogroll, General Discussion, Horse Racing, WinningPonies.com | Comments Off on Good Conversations

Perry Ouzts early in his career. (Courtesy Perry Ouzts)

 

There are good, bad, and the ones you get early in the morning about purchasing a new car warranty. All serve a purpose, but when you have a face-to-face conversation with a legend of racing you tend to be all ears.

The door opens into the jocks room. Gently as it swings out and a small man enters the room. He doesn’t say anything and just comes into begin his day. He’s been doing it like this since Rablu. Just ask him, it seems like yesterday. April 2, 1973. The track was Beulah Park (Now an industrial park) outside of Columbus, Ohio. It was a cold rainy day, but the beginning of a career that many would be proud to hang their hat.

Perry Wayne Ouzts was born July 7, 1954, in Lepanto, Arkansas. He and a gaggle of cousins of which most if not all had a hand in horse racing. – It was 1965 and his cousin Earlie Fires was riding at Chicago. Perry was small and already had a love for horses. Being a jockey seemed to fit his liking as it seemed “like a cool job.” He made his way mucking stalls in Chicago and learned about getting on horses. Over time, his confidence and ability grew.

Vietnam was going on, and Perry was a little nervous about what could lay ahead for him. As he turned 18-years-old he registered for the draft. He was 5 feet 1 inches and 95 pounds; a little lighter than the backpacks he would carry in war. – But had another calling of moving from Hot Springs to Chicago following in the footsteps of his racing family. In the spring of 1973, he was ready to race, and his love of racing brought him to Ohio where he would spend the majority of his career even to this day.

He can recall with great accuracy the weather of the day and loading into the starting gate. – Looking around as he hit the wire there was nobody else around. “It was like slow-motion, not in real life. And I thought it was a pretty good thrill.” 

The very next day he rode nine races and won two races. “I got to thinking, this is pretty fun and seemed like a great way to make money. Who knows? Maybe I’ll be like Willie Shoemaker.” – As the meet went on, he continued to keep winning races. – He was the leading rider at his very first race meet. – With 7,316 career wins later, he is the 6th all-time winningest rider in racing. – That is where our conversation began.

As Perry walked into the room, I congratulated him on his three wins the day prior. He just nodded and quietly said, thank you. A man of few words who chooses to do his talking on the back of a horse.

I asked Perry a direct question. Something I usually stay away from as he’s not a big talker and would rather focus on work. – “Perry, are you going to hang it up and head to the beach with your wife Toni? Or are you going to chase the record of David Gall for the 5th all-time leading rider? – Ed, I think I’m going to make a run for Gall’s record.” – This was about the most talk you’d get from Perry on any day, but he seemed pretty focused on this next goal as he had just passed career win number 7,300 days before.

Perry Wayne Ouzts is only 80 wins away from David Gall’s accomplishment of 7,396 career wins. – With a little over a month in the Belterra Park meet, he’ll shift his tack to Turfway Park where the rider colony is much tougher. But he’ll still notch some wins over the cold winter. – I have a mental count going for the rest of the month and some winner’s at Turfway, he’ll pass David Gall next season at Belterra Park, which took the place of the historic River Downs that has faded into history. Belterra Park is his new home.

He’ll be 69-years-young and move into the 5th all-time place in riding history. Kind of like having your own Mickey Mantle playing in your own back yard. – Perry is a quiet, humble, family man. His dedication is what kept him to task. His love of winning hasn’t changed one bit from his first win on that cold spring day in Columbus, Ohio at Beulah Park. – His love for winning hasn’t lost one bit of luster. If anything, he savors every win with a slow jog back to the winner’s circle like a fine wine or an expensive cigar.

In the short time we spoke; many words were said without uttering a sentence. – He is focused and sees the goal. His love of winning is a thing to behold. The look in his eyes said all that needs speaking. Each win is like the first, and his dedication to being on the backside before sunrise is the stuff that winners are made from.

Perry, best of luck chasing down your next big goal. – One thing is for sure; we’ll all be rooting you on as you cross the finish line that day. I wouldn’t miss it for anything, and hopefully I’ll be the one to call you into the winner’s circle on this day.

May be an image of 1 person, riding on a horse, standing, horse and outdoors

The Right Tools Make All the Difference

by Ed Meyer

posted on August 16, 2022 in General Discussion, Handicapping, Horse Racing, WinningPonies.com | Comments Off on The Right Tools Make All the Difference

Some players like action. Others want to turn a profit. But the real gamblers like to use good information to keep them ahead of the curve and make consistent money. So, which group do you find yourself?

 

Forget the sheets, data, or information that tells you exactly who to bet and how much. These are created for the players who want the magic potion and key to the vault. – Dismiss these immediately. I have a good friend who once used these, and they had wrong horses running and even a few races missing. Garbage.

Stear clear of sites that you pay by the month and receive “Eddie Mush” plays of the day. – Most are shooting from the hip and once they have your money only want to retain you for the following month.

Stay away from big monthly subscriptions that use algorithms that will give you a headache. I have plenty of contest friends who like the subscription route, and they swear by it. Fine and dandy. But I’m not going to pay an arm and a leg for something to tell me which races yield a better chance at a profit. This may have a slight edge in contest play where you look for double digit swings for the fence. Playing for money on a daily basis is a whole different game.

Now that you have the bad news. Here are some items you’ll want to keep in your handicapping toolbox for real gambling profits:

Look for information that identifies key facts. Not wild guesses in the dark but offer up concrete evidence of what to look for.

Using the data should not take an upper-level college degree to understand. Strong information should be able to be used right off the bat. They do the hard work, and you have a tool to make your day a winner by identifying key factors. The reliable creators of betting information want you to feel comfortable from the first day of use. Once again, they do the hard work which allows you to spend more time deciding who you’re going to bet and what type of wagers fit your budget.

 

Look for information that allows you to exclude certain runners. Not all systems have a formula that allows you to pass by runners who don’t fit into the game plan. This is saving you time which can be better spent deciding on how you’re going to make your wagers instead of wheedling between which horse can be eliminated. Saving you time better allows you to focus on betting instead of who doesn’t fit. 

Focus on plans that charge you for the info used instead of a blanket cost. – The information for playing two races shouldn’t cost the same as playing a ten-race card. 

I have been playing horses for thirty-five years. There are only a handful of data providers that are worth the investment. – I’m looking to better use my time deciding on how I’m going to put the information into play. When it all comes down to finding a one-stop-shop for your gambling needs. It all comes down to the group I have been following, working with, and using their information since 2008.

 

www.winningponies.com

 

The best part if you’re reading this you’re already here. Just dial it up and give it a try. – Then when you start seeing your game move to the next level, drop us a line in the testimonial section. We love to hear how you’ve been doing and the big scores you’re taking down.

 

Best of luck my friends! – See you in the winner’s circle!

 

 

 

Enjoying My Time

by Ed Meyer

posted on August 15, 2022 in General Discussion, Horse Racing, WinningPonies.com | Comments Off on Enjoying My Time

I made my way down to the race book. A place that saw my face at least 3 times a week, and with a little luck maybe five. This was after a day of calling the races and doing the morning line and tip sheets. Many would have gone home and called it a day, but for this handicapper it was enjoying the game as a fan.

I arrive at work two hours early. Talking to the riders, valets, and everyone in the jock’s room always makes my day. Then, I head up and grab scratches, color my program, and listen to light jazz as I comb through the day’s races with the eyes of a gambler. I look for spot plays that I will highlight with video and audio as they warm up on the track. Sometimes it’s a runner who looks good on the track, and sometimes it’s a horse that looks great on paper. Sharing good info with the public has always been a labor of love. I still enjoy listening to the talking heads banter about the races on the card. Something about it that makes me feel like I’m right there while I’m watching a thousand miles away.

The daily routine is the same but different. I enjoy taking the time to see the same things from a different perspective. – The older riders who still hang with the up-and-coming jockeys. The new faces who are trying their hand at working in the jocks’ room. Retired race trackers who worked at the sport long ago imparting timeless wisdom to fresh ears. Yeah, the same things from a new daily perspective. You’ll never get bored; and if you’re not careful you just may learn a thing or two.

Working in a place that makes you happy is worth a thousand nuggets of gold. You may not get rich, have a large mansion, or a big retirement. But the memories and daily happiness are definitely worth every minute spent. There have been countless days walking into the track that make me smile every time. – I’m lucky. I get to do what my heart desires.

Just a couple of hints to make any job a joyful experience. – Don’t listen to the curmudgeon who bitches about not getting what he wants. He probably had it and didn’t know it until it was gone. Steer clear of the folks who do it for the personal glory of being able to tell you what they’ve done. These folks can quietly drain the enjoyment right out of your time. Stay away from name-dropping goofs who quietly like to toot their own horn and use it for personal gain. They will have more impact on your attitude than you’d ever expect.

Do spend a little time daily getting to know the people around you. Listen more than you talk. Remember birthdays, anniversaries and those times you need to pull up a chair and just listen to a fellow traveler. – Buy someone lunch, share a story, laugh at yourself. These are some of the wonderful things I have learned while working in racing. – We hear more bad than good these days and tend to allow the negative flow to influence our daily thoughts. – There is plenty of good as the sport of racing is chock-full of great stories and timeless moments. – If you are not happy with the way things are going now; just wait. It will change, and the future is bright ahead.

I was reading a local ad for a track having an open job-fair for careers in racing. – Take the time to stop by and see what’s being offered. I guarantee you won’t regret it, and if you’re not careful you could have a life well-spent cherishing every moment. – If you know a young person who may be interested, send them my way. I’ll put them in touch with someone who can help. – Just this past week a young man was sent my way and I hooked him up with some incredible people who may give him a new life’s passion. I wish him the best of luck.

Take the time to look with fresh eyes. The same picture will look different every time you see it. – Go ahead and give it a try. I bet you’ll love it…

 

 

 

Go the Extra Mile – It Will Payoff

by Ed Meyer

posted on July 31, 2022 in Blogroll, General Discussion, Horse Racing, WinningPonies.com | Comments Off on Go the Extra Mile – It Will Payoff

It’s up to you how you spend your discretionary dollar. Some go to the movies, others enjoy shopping. But is there really anything that compares to the excitement of horse racing?

Some enjoy the whirling reels and random spins of a slot machine. That’s just fine. Some enjoy the action of rapid-fire pulls or button pushing while they await the jackpots. – Nothing wrong with that, and racing can learn a great deal from the “one-arm-bandits.”

Video poker is a game of skill. You have to know the nuisances of how to play and percentages of getting the desired outcome to fall your way. – Poker like horse racing is a game of skill wrapped in a blanket of chance. Both have a great deal in common.

So, have you learned anything about what racing is lacking in the sanitized world of gaming? You bet! – If we have a moment of introspection and are willing to go the extra five miles. There is plenty to learn about what is going on around us and how we can prepare for the future continuation of the sport.

Thoroughbred racing has been around since 1868 in the states. Since the publication of the American Stud Book which was the official guide for categorizing thoroughbred racehorses for breeders to categorize the horse’s origins and so racing began. – After the sport emerged, it became an activity enjoyed by people from all social and economic classes, from the wealthiest to the lowest classes. During the Civil War, the popularity of thoroughbred horse racing took a decline due to the economy and gambling activities. As a result, interest faded. But after the war, thoroughbred horse racing saw a rebirth and the popularity for horse racing grew as people took a more in-depth interest in the sport, investing in racehorses, construction of proper racetracks and jockey clubs. While New York was the first state to fully embrace the sport, it was when horse racing made its way down South those things took a definite turn for the best; according to the Deep South Magazine.

Racing is a cyclical sport that has ebbs and flows. Great beginnings followed by downward trends have been a part of the history of the Sport of Kings. – Right now, I would assume we are facing a time of a downward spiral facing social scrutiny and following the COVID pandemic where many owners disappeared from the game due to the cost of keeping a stable without the prospects of any racing. It is fair to say, this is a downward spiral and can work itself out of this trend. This isn’t your grandpa’s game anymore. We just can’t open the doors and fans will come anymore. We have to re-think and plan for the next generation of fans to come.

Racing can be too cumbersome and slow. We need to speed up the game a bit. – Have a group of horses come to the paddock and another group in waiting near the paddock. Taking a clue from harness racing where the next field of runners is waiting near the paddock, this would speed up the game and give players a quick-style sport to enjoy. Just like the rapid-fire games with a push of the button, we could have a next race waiting minutes behind the one on the track. It would take a larger staff to handle the paddock, starting gate, and ancillary workers. But the game would move quicker and the snail pace that is in place would be replaced with a quicker day at the races. – A typical eight race card runs in 3 hours. Now we’ve moved it up a notch and a feel of constant action has taken its place. How about catching a race card in two hours?

Gamblers love to chase jackpot style pots too. – Long before American tracks offered up the “Super-High-Five” wager; The Barbados Turf Club was offering this bet. It had huge carryovers, and the stands were packed. – They started this wager at the Keeneland meet, and it went immediately to the Breeder’s Cup. The rest is history. – I’m thinking of a wager that would have a base wager of a dime and cover the entire race card. You must select the winners of all eight races and if you had a scratch, you would receive the post time favorite. – Folks would be slow to wager at first until the first big carryover. From there, it would take off. Trust me, I would be interested in a wager that had the potential to grow into a big pot at a small price to play. This would appeal to new and seasoned players.

Racing is open air, and you can get close to the participants. That alone is worth the walk down to the paddock. – Now, have a hopper where guests can drop entries clipped out of the program for drawings for free programs, concession items, and track merchandise. Keep the action moving and give everyone a chance at winning something for free. Fans love winning for no cost, and they become the best advertising money can’t buy when you see them wearing your cap in public. – Trust me, invest in your guests and you’ll reap rewards of creating fans.

Have family fun days again, free pony rides, and drawings for $5 betting vouchers. Sound like fun? Energetic atmosphere? You bet! – Guests love it. Turn the day into an event and they’ll hang around and enjoy your property as an entertainment destination. That’s the idea. – By no means is it easy. It takes planning and some costs, but in the end, it will make a difference in the handle and the future.

Live streaming of the races on your website. – Many players love to make the trip and watch and wager on a race or two. Bet the card and head home. – Make it easy by being able to watch the live races on your phone or computer. I bet your on-track handle starts to grow.

During the season have a “Breakfast at the Track” for the early birds who would enjoy coffee, Danish and a free program. – Have a handicapping seminar and make it a great way to start the day. Reward them for coming out and supporting your races.

“Simulcast Saturdays” are a great time to get to know your players and grow interest in the facility. – Free breakfast one-week, handicapping guests from major racing publications, drawings for vouchers and free merchandise, free handicapping contests, and always have a large station that has free coffee and tea for guests for the first couple hours to say thanks for coming out. – There are a million ideas to engage players and not just hoping they’ll come out. Give them a reason and create a fun environment.

Most importantly. – Get out and be around the people who will grow this segment of gaming and enjoy the facility by taking part in a place they’ll call their own. – I had a rule when having these at a track long ago in a place far, far away. Have your brass on the floor being accessible. Guests do not care about generic signage, but if you let them bend your ear and have a person to reach out to communicate. You are on your way to being a fan friendly environment where guests feel appreciated.

Trust me this works. We’ve become a bit complacent and just hope things somehow get done. – Put in the time and reap the rewards of growing interest in your facility. This will work and is worth every penny and sweat making it happen. We’ll start planning for next year earlier and guests will wait with baited breath to make their next trip out.

 

Can Sports Betting Help Racing?

by Ed Meyer

posted on July 27, 2022 in Educational Articles, General Discussion, Horse Racing, Other Events, WinningPonies.com | Comments Off on Can Sports Betting Help Racing?

We’ve all made a couple bucks bet with a buddy and watched the big game. – The idea is pretty much the same, but now we could have a central location to make our big bet on the game and catch a few races before kickoff. What more could a gambler want??

As sports gambling is gaining traction around the nation, one would have to wonder when it would be available in their state. If you look below the landscape has changed dramatically. Here are the states in 2022 which have a form of legal sports betting according to SportsBetting.Legal

  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Louisiana
  • Maryland
  • Michigan
  • Mississippi
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio*** Legal but have not launched ***
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia
  • Washington
  • Washington D.C.
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

 

  • 5 million — Bets placed online/offshore
  • $6.8 billion — Total Super Bowl betting handle
  • $154.7 million — Legal bets placed in Nevada
  • $6.65 billion — Gray-market bets placed everywhere else
  • 97.7% — Percentage of all bets placed through non-US-licensed means
  • 25% — Increase in total Super Bowl bets from the previous year

Pretty staggering numbers indeed and a gambler’s paradise. – By offering up gaming, sports wagering, and horse racing, you have turned your betting facility into an entertainment destination where guests will want to come and savor all of the gambling cuisine available.

With Sports Betting ready to blow the top off; it would be a great idea to incorporate wagering that would involve horse racing. – Having a wager where you could add in selected horses or wagers as part of a parlay. Example: Three football teams to cover the spread and three separate horse races to kick up the parlay odds? You get the point.

Cross-promote for double points on loyalty cards that use sports betting cards to make horse wagers. Sound easy? Well, it could be. In some states you can fund your sports account and wager as long as you’re in a state that offers legal sports gambling. If it sounds familiar, it surely sounds like horse racing ADW’s. – I would bet dollars to donuts that having sports betting accounts funded legally would allow for those same funds to make horse wagers. Once again, some hoops to jump through but this is foreign territory.

I think racing’s magical mind has grown stale. We need to create more big jackpot wagers where even the smallest track could see a boost. Just make the wager a little more challenging and you’ll see the carryover jump. – The important part in the sports book is to an area designated for racing. Give the players a buffet and they’ll come back for seconds.

The tracks have to focus on their product and stream the live races for free on their website. With TVG evolving into Fanduel TV for sports and a secondary channel TVG2 for racing, the landscape is losing one of its biggest outlets to watch and wager. – By showing your live streaming for free would you attract more gamblers to watch and wager? I think it would help the bottom line.

Many have turned away from racing as the profit margin is higher on other forms of entertainment. – By cross-promoting wagering as a whole and not leaving anyone off the table sounds like an interesting idea. In short, yes. Sports gambling could benefit racing and the facility, by offering up a one-stop shop for all of your wagering needs.

Just think, catch the early double, make a play on the 4:00pm game, and hang around to play some of your favorite slots at half-time. Sounds like a full day of one-of-a-kind entertainment. Sign me up.

 

The Beginning of the Week is for Bankroll Building

by Ed Meyer

posted on July 19, 2022 in General Discussion, Handicapping, Horse Racing, WinningPonies.com | Comments Off on The Beginning of the Week is for Bankroll Building

Sometimes we forget how to grind it out and take what you can get. Most feel they have a bankroll, and they are in the game until the pocket is empty or a few winners that keep them going. But there is a secret. – Take what you can get and appreciate it.

Many times, Joe-average bettor seeks to win the big score on a small bankroll. Oh, it does happen, but not often. – But if you’re looking to keep the ball rolling and gather some extra cash to start building, you’re in the right place.  You may want to start with this mindset:

  1. You have 8 live races and plenty of action. Now, take the eight races and find your top four. Now, filter it down to your top three. – Good start.
  2. You now have $20 to start each wager and that will stretch your $60 bankroll into a full day’s action.
  3. If you bet $20 on your top pick to place and it pays $3.40. You have made $14. – Next bet, take the $34.00 bucks and make your place wager. You get lucky again as you’re only playing your top three plays from eight races. – She pays $3.80, and now you have $64.60! – Time for the big moment. Take out your initial $20 you started with to protect your bankroll and the worst you can do is break even for the day. – Wager your $44 bucks on your big pick to place and it pays $3.40 – Now your bankroll sits at $74.80 plus the 60-cents left over, and the $40 bucks you didn’t touch; you’ve made a profit of 75.40 for three races and you’ve only played your three best picks. Not bad for a small bankroll – Don’t forget to add in the $40 you didn’t need to wager, and you have $115.40 in your bankroll for next time.

The place parlay has been my secret bankroll builder for decades. It kept me in action for the many years I’ve worked at the track. Most gamblers feel like it takes the pick-four or pick-five to count it as a good day. – Take what you can get, roll it into a bankroll, and wait for your favorite card to play. You will need to kick up your initial wager keeping that place parlay going. As long as you don’t get greedy or need a million-dollar win. You’ve got a good shot at going home with a good return. Here is a glimpse of my latest venture of bankrolling for one week starting with $150 by only making a place wager on my favorite four races during the course of a Saturday.

$50 to place on my first selection was solid and won paying $4.00 to place – That drove my bankroll up to $100. – Play #2 – $100 to place on a runner who was short in price but looked great. He paid $3.00 to place – Bankroll stood at $150. Not a bad start. – Play #3 – $150 to place on a (5-1) shot and he paid $4.40 to place – Bankroll stood at $330.00 – Play #4 was a turf beast who looked great at New York.  He ran away and hid paying $3.40 to place. – Bankroll swelled to $561.00 bucks, and I was done for the day with a sweet return. – Took out my initial $50 investment and my profit stood at $511.00 – Not a bad day at the races.

Stick to what suits you. I have friends who take a shot at the million-dollar pick-six and may have made one or two bets on this wager in the past. – Keep in your wheelhouse, and you’ll feel better at the end of the day.

You get lucky and do this three times. – Once you see a nice bankroll start, pick your favorite track with races you’ll like to play and take your big shot! – It didn’t cost you a dime and now you get a chance to step back to the plate and swing away! – Now, that is just one formula to have a shot at the big score without losing your car payment. – If you win on the big day, put it back in the pot and start over with your smaller style wagering plan.

Protecting your bankroll and money management are the keys to success. Keeping a handle on your wagering is discipline. Add the two, and you have a player who is focused and ready to win.

Best of luck and let us know how you do! – See you in the winner’s circle!