Free Travers Day Selections / 8-27-16

An older gent stopped me and asked; “why do you bet those crazy pick-fours with a million dollar guaranteed pool ?” – Crickets.

If you don’t understand by now, there’s a better chance you’ll want to buy a Powerball ticket. – If you do love the action, the beauty, and the pageantry. – Saratoga is the place for you this weekend.  There are six turf races, six (G-1) stakes, one (G-2) stake, and a million dollar pick-four guarantee beginning in Race #8. – If you don’t like this card, maybe you can watch a re-run of the 1988 Curling championships. But if you’re a horseplayer, you have to be chomping at the bit to get your bankroll in action this weekend.

Here are my selections for the super-sonic-Saturday card:

 

Race #6 – The (G1) Personal Ensign – 1 1/8 – 2:23 ET

 

This may be the toughest five horse field you’ll ever see in your life. – But, there is a little gal who just might kick-off my wagering day in the right direction.  -I’m a firm believer in runners dropping back in distance may be just what the doctor ordered as they get ready for the test of their true ability.

 

#1 – I’m A Chatterbox (4-1) = 3rd off the layoff, and cuts back from a 1 1/4 win in the Delaware Handicap. – She is 2/2 ITM at The Spa, and sports three excellent works coming into the race. She won the CCA Oaks last year and was DQ’ed for interference nearing the wire. – Florent Geroux is hitting his best stride as of late, and when the money is on the table his game moves up accordingly. The rider hops off Cavorting to come back for Larry Jones, and if you get near (4-1) bet early and often.

 

Race #7 – The (G-1) Ballerina – 7f – 2:59 ET

 

#8 – Wavell Avenue (3-1) = Irad Ortiz in the irons for Chad Brown and these guys are rolling to the winner’s circle at a 33% clip. – She is 2/3 ITM at Saratoga and 4/5 ITM at the distance. – She looks the logical fit and with Ortiz in the saddle, and you know you’re going to get a well-timed ride to perfection. That was an impressive tune-up last out, and she tacked on a solid morning work to show readiness. – Be sure to box her with #4 – Sheer Drama, and #3 Paulasilverlining.

 

Race #8 – The (G-1) King’s Bishop – 7f – 3:35 ET

This race begins the $1 million guaranteed pick-four. – Here are some selections to use to nail down a bumper payday !

#1 – Economic Model (6-1) - Ortiz and Brown are 1/1 at The Spa with this guy.

#2 – Fish Trappe Road (8-1) – New York-bred been off 49 days coming in fresh for Brett Calhoun.

#3 – Summer Revolution (6-1) – Perfect 2/2 for the Rudy Rodriguez barn moving up.

#9 – Jazzy Times (8-1) – Speedster for Bejarano and Baffert who seldom come east. But when they do, it’s for a good reason.

#13 – Drefong (4-1) = Mike “Money Man” Smith for Baffert. – Need I say more ??

 

Race #9 – The (G-1) Forego – 7f – 4:12 ET

#1 – Catalina Red (8-1) – 3/3 with wins going 7f, and is second off a layoff with a bullet work.

#3 – Limousine Liberal (15-1) – Speedy sort who ran second at The Spa last year to Runhappy.

#11 – AP Indian (5-2) – Joe Bravo always gets a win on big money days. – He is 1/2 ITM at Saratoga and loves the distance 3/3 with wins. .

#12 – Marking (3-1) – Son of Bernardini off for 49 days for the red-hot McLaughlin barn. – He is a world traveler and is in very good hands with Rosario

 

Race #10 – The (G-1) Sword Dancer – 1 1/2 on the inner turf – 4:49 ET

#6 – Flintshire (1-5) - 2/2 with wins at Saratoga, and a very easy win last out. 4/4 ITM at the distance and is the only one who can beat himself. – Javier Castellano has to be having visions of Breeders’ Cup dancing in his head. – Chad Brown notched his 1,000 win earlier this week and 2,000 is his next stop.

 

Race #11 – The (G-1) Travers – 1 1/4 – 5:44 ET

This race has writers and handicappers all over the board. If my betting plan goes according to schedule, this should be a very fun race to watch or I’ll be having my third beer filled with tears. – This is a button that is never pushed by my finger very often, but I’m leaning toward a sweet price as the forecast is predicting sunshine and no rain. That is enough to get Exaggerator off his game and at the top of the lane you’ll hear Larry Collmus bellow out “it’s anybody’s race from here.” – The mid-summer’s Derby should be a solid payday if all goes to plan, and this is one handicapper who is shooting for big balloons !

**** ALL ****

 

The ticket cost = 5 X 4 X 1 X 14 = $280 for a $1 ticket, and $140 for a 50-cent version.

 

 

Be sure to check the above selections against the Winning Ponies E-Z Win predictions, as they bring the heat when marquee races fill the card. – This is an incredible race card, and be sure to download your E-Z Win Forms before starting your handicapping ! – Use this as an appetizer to get you started in thinking about the big day. – Always check and use the E-Z Win Form selections, and think of this as food for thought. - Best of luck from your friends at Winning Ponies !

 

 

 

I Just Dropped In ….

by Ed Meyer

posted on August 22, 2016 in Blogroll, General Discussion, Horse Racing, WinningPonies.com | No Comments >>

 

I just dropped in to see what condition my condition was in.” – Kenny Rogers and the First Edition may have been on to something good. – Racing should take this little journey from time-to-time to check out what is right and what needs to change. – With this song playing in my noggin I took an introspective trip to the land of Thoroughbred racing and watched from the outside in.

 

I was reading this morning in the Paulick Report about a mutual clerk betting out of their cash box at Saratoga. – The clerk came up $11,700 according to the story. This was during a four hour period, and the clerk is in jail with a $2,500 bond. – Long ago clerks were allowed to have Racing Form’s and programs at their windows. They would read, wager, and sometimes shut out patrons. This little bit of money was estimated at 30% of the on-track money back in the day. I know a track that started out with employees not being allowed to wager on races. – When the end of year report came back 25% down with on-track handle, the management came up with a new idea. “Hey, let’s allow the clerks to wager. We don’t want to keep them from enjoying the action, and we sure love the handle.” – Clerks that like to bet have wagered out of their box from time to time. They are responsible for shortages, and they must be reconciled before being allowed to work again. There is a payback time table set in motion before the authorities were brought in. – For a clerk to get nailed by happen-stance is the luckiest move on the planet. Sounds like there must have been plenty of problems in the past prior to this bad luck run. – Of the clerks that work at the track, 95% have no problem with having their hand in the cash drawer. Most are union jobs and they pay pretty well. There are tips from lucky patrons and the atmosphere is electric.

I don’t know if this will work, but how about having a pre-work window open for clerks ? – Allow them free access to programs, etc. They can make their wagers before heading to their jobs and there will be no more programs allowed at the windows. – Please allow them to have a scratch-sheet with all of the tracks and entries as they have helped me a thousand times over the years. – Have a new policy of one warning for betting at the windows, and the next sends you walking. – The handle still rolls in, and the clerks still get to wager. Also, do not allow cell phones at the terminals as players call their pal and make a wager or three. I know this to be the truth as I have a few good buddies I can call. – If I’m willing to forget about my private line to wagering, I must see a problem with clerks getting calls and texts to bet Chewy Slew in the 7th. – A little common sense always works, and have that private break room with a couple of self-bet terminals and the clerks can make a wager or three for a friend on their break and this may cut back on some problems. – Just a thought…

 

Casinos were the cure-all remedy to what faces racing. – There are some casino operations who embrace racing and advertise and promote the sport. They are doing well and love the new operational model. – Then there are others. They couldn’t care less about racing, and see it as a bad pill they have to swallow. But here’s the rub. – For these entities that run live racing meets and have casino operations, has one person ever brought up their best months of the year ? – Yep, you guessed it. The best months of the year are when racing is taking place. Why wouldn’t you try and make your facility a complete destination place ? – Okay, keep your bevy of marketing personnel and employ a person or team of folks who work with the casino side on creating new racing fans from the slot players and vice versa ? – I know the slots yield a good profit and racing is a different revenue source. Why not try and open the place up with some new thinking ? – Every dollar that comes in is important, and every player that walks in the doors deserves a person they can communicate with. – From my experience, patrons that feel they have no voice will eventually stop speaking and there is the beginning of the end. – When you make one segment of your guests feel less important it won’t be long before they go somewhere else or find something new to do with their discretionary dollar.  – Things don’t have to be separate, and if you embrace the facility as a whole destination opportunity you may start making strides. – The days of one movie playing at a mega-complex are over. If you offer a selection with many choices this will become your place to spend your entertainment dollar. – Be careful racing entities beginning this new transition. Keep your eye on the ball and remember you have an established wagering attendance. This should be used to promote both sides and make your new facility a complete destination. Good service, open communication, and don’t forget what brought people to the track in the first place.

 

Both stories brought me to one central thought. – It just takes common sense. Treat your employees with respect and keep safeguards in place. This protects the public, your employees from making bad decisions, and the company. – The second is also about common sense. – Tracks were purchased, re-designed and changed for one reason. Your grandpa’s track had a license to gamble and there was a population of gamblers. They just thought they’d come in and change a few things or maybe give it a whole new face lift. Doing the right thing never goes out of style and doing right by the players is paramount for any business who wants to hang around for awhile. – If only one person reads this I hope it is a person who wants the game to survive. Don’t assume and get involved. Don’t put it off as it matters more than ever to take care of business.

Three Ways to Increase Your Bankroll

handful of money

 

Nothing like a little jolt to get you thinking about making a score. – It’s not impossible and it is all up to you. – “What do you want your day to look like ? ” Box seats at the finish line or a seat by the band ?” – Let’s get started with a few simple ideas to have you cashing more and wishing less.

1. – You are in the right place. If you’re looking at Winning Ponies, you are 90% closer to your goal. The best players I have ever known have an edge. – They run complex computer programs that break down the race and in the end you have a list of runners that don’t fit their criteria and need to be tossed. – Or the ultra-complex systems where they run a query on how many races at that distance, size of the field, track condition, and rider and trainer percentages winning those type of races. You pay through the nose, and have a list of runners who don’t win at a clip they accept. – Then you have Winning Ponies. The data breaks down the race and shows you in easy-to-use color coded tiers who their system selects. From the top down, you have an idea where runners fit, the complete data on riders and  trainers, and how they work as a team. And the one-of-a-kind Race Ratings and Composite Ratings that give you an idea how they fit today and how they have progressed over the past three races. – On the turf ? No problem. There is a complete set of unique Turf Class Ratings that dig deep and mine the data that gives your wager the opportunity to yield a bigger profit. – Handicapping icons that immediately grab your attention to: “Dropping in Class, Turf to Dirt, Three-year-old facing older, and Monster workouts.” – You will be surprised how many handicappers miss the little things and jump too quickly into handicapping only to go back and find out they missed a little detail like a filly facing the boys, or fresh off the claim. – Winning Ponies presents the facts and allows you to decide on how to use the data to shoot for the stars or find additional Value.

 

2. – Don’t waste your bankroll chasing wagers you don’t normally play. – Keep a close eye for: Guaranteed pick-four pools, pick-three pools, and lower takeout special wagers. – They all offer value for the player. I have a million stories of great cappers losing at the windows. They plunk all of their bankroll into wagers they haven’t played or hardly ever play. – Don’t be the “one day pro” and try and conquer the marquee races at an oval you normally don’t play. My favorite is the Preakness Stakes where bettors normally don’t play Pimlico and now they are knee deep in handicapping a track they don’t play regularly. – Stick to the tracks you follow regularly. I bet you’ll thank Winning Ponies when you download the E-Z Win Forms and have an idea how you’ll play for the day.

 

3. – Minimize the distractions. – Simple decisions will make your day a winner if you have the focus needed to win. – No drinking or celebratory moments while trying to handicap and wager. There is plenty of time to celebrate after the big win. – Don’t hang out with folks who aren’t glad to see you win. We all know folks who get bitter when you score and they just got nosed out by your (20-1) shot. Good handicappers want to see you win and there are no ill feelings. Rid yourself of this person when wagering is taking place. – Don’t rush your handicapping. If you use your data and pour over the selections for an hour, you need to oust the same amount of time deciding how you’ll put the selections into play. I know so many great ‘cappers who leave gobs of money on the table because they didn’t put enough time into how they’ll play their selections.

 

 

If you follow these simple rules of thumb, I think you’ll start seeing the little changes you’ve been searching for years. – Be positive, prepare in advance, and keep your head. Bet more when you’re ahead and less when your playing from behind. – Give yourself a chance to win and leave the wishing to when you purchase a lottery ticket.  Best of luck from your friends at Winning Ponies. – We’ll be here when you’re ready to take your game to the next level. So what are ya’ waiting for ? – It’s almost post time !

 

Problem Ponies – Horses to Watch – 8/15/16

This past weekend has me waiting for the first leaf to drop and temperatures to cool down. I love the summer racing season, but the heat, rain, and humidity has me ready for the next season. Oh, I’ll relish every time the bugle sounds as they come onto the track for Saratoga. But the foliage of Keeneland is already starting to call this handicapper’s name. – In the meantime, I’ll find any cool spot to watch and wager. Speaking of a good wager, here are some runners who deserve a good hard look before pulling the trigger.

 

Del Mar

 

8/13/16

 

Race #2 – #3 – Tiz Seeking a Win – 5 1/2f on the dirt

First time starter squeezed back at the start, and forced to steady. This will only help in the experience department next out.

 

Race #3 – #3 – Buymeabond – 1 1/16 on the turf

Closed five-wide in the stretch and was a DH payoff. – You can bet dollars to donuts you’ll see a big effort next out.

 

Race #7 – #2 – Big Gray Rocket – 5 1/2f on the dirt

Hesitated at the start and was off slowly as the beaten favorite who only lost by a 1 1/4.

 

Race #8 – #3 – Drafted – 6 1/2f (G-2) Best Pal Stakes

Stumbled at the start and was four wide on the turn trying to make up some ground. – Ascot visitor didn’t have the best of days for Eoin Harty. – Maybe a drop in class will make more sense.

 

 

Belterra Park

 

8/13/16

 

Race #4 – #7 – Gypsy Angel Row – 5f on the turf

Blazed to the lead and gave it up in the final strides. – These kind of runners are dangerous every time. I would love to see added distance to slow the pace down a few notches.

 

Race #5 – #3 – Altissimo – 6f on the dirt

Three-year-old facing older, and when he drops back in against his own age he’ll dominate the pack again where he was a perfect 4/4 at BtP.

 

Race #7 – #4 – Zephyrine – 5 1/2f on the dirt

Tracked perfectly and was given the slip at the top of the lane. – Rider stood up two jumps before the wire to get bested for 2nd money. – You can bet he’ll ride the hide off next out.

 

Race #8 – #7 – Star of Aspen – 6f on the dirt

Runner was coming off a small injury and showed speed versus her usual tracking style. – She’ll be loaded next out.

 

 

Ellis Park

 

8/13/16

 

Race #2 – #1 – Awesome Lily – 6f on the dirt

Came out of the gate slowly and was rushed very hard to get into contention. – This 2-yr-old will do better next up.

 

Race #7 – #3 – Sweeping Paddy – 6 1/2f on the dirt

Two-year-old first timer steadied down the stretch and still gained good ground.

 

Race #8 – #9 – Shadow Rock – 5 1/2f on the turf

Squeezed back at the start and overcame a poor start to get up in the shadow of the wire. – Play this guy right back for the Mike Maker barn.

 

Follow these runner right back and be sure to check them against the E-Z Win Forms to see where they fit in the field. – Horses like people have a bad day or a compromised trip. Keeping your eyes peeled may make a nice score and larger bankroll. – Best of luck from your friends at Winning Ponies !

 

 

 

 

Table for Two

by Ed Meyer

posted on August 10, 2016 in Blogroll, General Discussion, Horse Racing, WinningPonies.com | No Comments >>

It starts with a call or a text in our modern day of technology. The words are always the same and how could they not be ? – You feel the deafening silence, and the lack of words takes away your breath. Thoughts race, and memories flood and as you recall past moments as fleeting as smoke through a keyhole. Then as you sit and numbness takes over, you slowly start to realize the design of life as we know it.

I received a call last night from an old friend. He was heading home to be settled in for the evening after a long commute home from work. He had just received his call, and immediately dialed my number as he hung up. – I was informed about the passing of one of the good guys. – You know, the kind you smiled about when you would hear their voice or saw them suddenly. He was a gentleman in the truest meaning of the word. The kind of person who made the room happier upon arrival, and a much better marking of time when they left.

If you’ve read once or a hundred times here. I have a genuine interest in the people I’ve met along my journey in racing. – I’ve always said; “the people are the best part of the sport.” – That part has never changed for me.  – A few things I’ve always insisted was privacy for those I write about and the complete truth. – One never knows who stumbles upon their loved ones name, or if they had a secret side of their life they never shared with their family and associates. For the sake of respect and friendship, we’ll just call him by a nickname the servers used to call him. – “Sunshine.”

Sunshine was fitting as he would greet many with a handshake, and the gals always got a hug. – To be joyful in your daily journey is not as easy as it sounds. But Sunshine managed to walk easy in stride without a care in the world when he entered the track daily. – I was a younger man who was working in the admissions department and had the title of race book manager; the guy you spoke to if there was a problem or if you had a particular request. It may have been some the happiest times of my life working at the track. – Shaking hands and kissing babies was what we called my daily trek and all the while getting to play the races. Believe it or not, that part was encouraged as I would spend time and sit with players. We would chat and I would listen. These brief times allowed me to be a part of their lives and they knew they could always have access to a manager whose job was to sit down and listen. – Oh, there were a few that I mainly just stood and had a brief chat, but they were outweighed by a thousand good folks who wanted to just sit and chat. – Just imagine how happy I was to find there was a job that paid me to talk horses and get to know our greatest assets.

These were good days at the track. You had to get there early to have a good parking spot, and you better have made reservations to hold your table. – Sunshine had a standing reservation, and his table was close to the windows. He would make about three to four plays per day, and they were large place or show bets. He was surrounded by his friends for over forty years, and there was never a bad word spoken. – Sunshine would always pick up the tab from his table of five daily, and scoot out at stroke of 4:00 p.m. daily. – I always wondered why he left quietly at 4 p.m., and one day I asked a server about his “disappearing act” at the same time. – “Ed, he goes home to care for his wife. His daughter comes during the daytime hours. For years she used to beg her dad to go out and visit with his friends and finally he did as she asked.” – Sunshine was a loyal man, and if the weather was sour, they were only a handful of days a year he would miss his daily routine. From all of the conversations over the years he never once said a word about his wife’s illness. – Some things are private and have no place in conversation. – He would always insist on asking about my new baby boy and how was my life. Never a tense word, and always with a genuine smile. – He would interject many times over the years with asking if he could help in anyway. – One of the good guys for sure.

One day I saw him stay a little longer, and the following days thereafter he started staying until dark. – I figured his daughter was staying longer and his visits would extend with old friends. – I guess we all figured out why Sunshine was allowed to stay with his buddies. He never lost his smile or the glimmer in his eyes. – As the years rolled past I moved up the ladder a few rungs and my daily routine was not as close. I would always stop by a few times a week. One by one there would be one less friend at the table in time. It finally came down to Sunshine asking for a two seat table instead of the large round one where he and his friends held court. This gathering of friends had dwindled and time can be a cruel reminder.

I saw Sunshine about a year ago, and he still had a smile that lit up the room. He was by himself and greeted me with a hearty handshake and asked how my son was doing. – That was Sunshine. He was truly interested in you and what you had to say. Never one to garner attention or complain in the slightest. I can’t remember one four letter word uttered from his mouth, as that would have been poor behavior for a man. He was the definition of a gentleman. The kind of man many would aspire, but lacked the commitment to himself and others. – Upon hearing of Sunshine’s passing I went to bed thinking of a man I met in my travels. I fell asleep with a feeling of gratitude not sadness. It is rare to meet such a gentleman, and I had a front row seat with one of the good guys. Thank you for your kindness and gentle friendship, Sunshine.

 

.

Morning Line Madness

 

 

I stopped by the race book for a cold beer and a couple races. – This can be the best part of the day, as you’ve enjoyed the live racing action and it’s time to kick back and enjoy a few races. – I was approached by an older fan who asked me “who makes the morning line ?” – When I answered I know the guy pretty well, he said it gives him a good place to start handicapping. – “Thank you, my friend. That was exactly what I was shooting for.”

 

I’ve been reading some articles on the morning line. – “Is it worth reading ? – Or is it something of value ?” – I have been making the morning line for three years and take pleasure in my work. Handicapping claimers can be challenging, and you have to keep up on races that are recent. The big name runners hold their form longer, and the claiming game is touch and go at best. – Condition claimers may hold their form for a couple of races at best, and mid-level claimers and allowance horses tend to keep in shape a bit longer. If they aren’t doing well, they can always take a step down the ladder. – I’ve always used the morning line as a tool to begin my handicapping. They are the track handicappers, and why wouldn’t you use their work as a starting point ? – I’m not saying it’s an all-out handicapping contest, but anytime someone breaks down the races and comes up with an idea of how the race shapes up, maybe it is worth looking at before you start. – Here is a glimpse into the process that goes into my morning line.

 

* First, I glance over the field and refer back to notes I keep about the local runners. – From there, I get an idea of the players and the process begins. – A key thought to keep in mind, the morning line is an estimation of how the public will wager and how the odds will shape up when the race begins. – These are not my actual selections of who I would possibly wager.

* There is a point system that is used. – Some think it is a random assigning of odds, but not the case. You begin with 100, now add in the win-place-show take out ( I use 18%). We now have 118 points. – For each horse, they are assigned 1 point for each runner in the field and if there is an entry, they only receive one point, not two. If there is a ten horse field for example, the total number of points is: 100+18% take out = 118, and now add one point per horse. – The total should be 128 for this race.  – I like to give myself a 3-4 point range to ensure the race is “balanced” if the odds assigned are between 124-125.

* I go back and watch replays for out of town runners, and local horses who had a troubled trip. – If there are any questions about runners, I always go back and watch their last effort.

* Items I watch for: sharp workouts, out of town outfits shipping in, rider changes, new claims for a red-hot barn, cutting back in distance, dropping in class, hot apprentice riders picking up mounts for big trainers. – Add in any equipment changes, and first time geldings, and you have plenty to keep your eyes peeled before handicapping.

* I begin by looking for the runners who don’t fit as well (or will have big odds) and go from there. If I’m in doubt, go back to the workouts. The connections and how they’re doing, and if needed, go back and watch the last race replay if possible. – From there I take a look at the main players. Who has good current form ? – Who is in the hands of a top rider or red-hot barn ? – Are runners getting a class change or distance or surface switch ? – Keep a close eye on runners coming in from bigger tracks or making a surface change such as all-weather to dirt. – Are there any trainers who do well with first time starters ? Turf runners ? Fresh off the claim ? Equipment changes ? Changing distance from the last race. – All of these go into the “handicapping” of the race to get a feel for what handicappers will be looking for and how they will be wagering.

* Just a glimpse into the points used. – If a horse is (2-1), they will have a 33 point assignment. – Take the (2-1) and add 1 point for 3. Now, divide 100 by 3 to get 33.3. – The point value is 33. – If  a runner is (5-2) for example: Divide 5 by 2 = 2.5, now add 1 = 3.5. – Divide 100 by 3.5 = 28.57. – The point value is 28.

* I like to look ahead for weather, and the possibility of a race coming off the turf. – This is kept as a side note to keep in mind for off-track runners who may benefit from the slop or muddy track.

* Keep in mind the human connections and what their barn does well. – Babies ? First time runners ? New claims. – Is the jockey an apprentice ? Are they a 5 lb. or 7 lb. “bug” rider ? – What are the stats for the rider / trainer at the meet, the year, on the turf, sprinting, going from a route to a sprint. – I like to take all of these factors into play because I want the players to have a good idea coming in before they start their own handicapping.

 

Once the tote windows open, it’s all up to the public money to determine the odds. The morning line is just a starting point. It gives the handicapper a gauge of the race and runners entered. – If a morning line odds maker takes their job seriously, it can usually take an hour or more with a regular nine race card. If there is a stake, I like to watch replays on all if possible and get familiar with out-of-town runners. – The process is always enjoyable for me. I have spoken with some odds-makers and after time they felt it was the least part of the job. If you would have told me I had the opportunity as a young handicapper to create the morning line. I would have thought I won the lottery ! – Just keep in mind it is a starting point. – If time allows, try and create your own line. This will allow you to find fair odds and what you would accept as a good wagering prospect. – Best of luck, and always remember; “bet with your head and not over it.”

 

 

Problem Ponies – Horses to Watch – 8/9/16

There is nothing like the Saratoga meet. – Even if you’re in Kentucky and a million miles away, you can still love the action. There are a few meets that captivate my inner-horse player and this New York track has a magic hold on me. It’s fair to say I’ve always been a big fan of The Spa, and have it on my bucket list for sure. But in the meantime, I’ll just have to enjoy the action from a distance and look forward to making that summer trip down the road. – Here are some runners I’ve caught getting a bad trip, compromised beginning, or just a bad day at the office.

 

Saratoga

 

8/7/16

 

Race #2 – #6 – Box Office – 7f

Broke out wide from the start and at several points during the race found himself 3 wide, 4 wide, and 6 wide and still managed to finish 4th.

 

Race #5 – #2 – Indygita – 1 1/16 on the turf

Checked hard into the clubhouse turn, and was kept in the 3-4 path most of the race. Tried to make a bid and was carried wider. – Next time out for this guy.

 

Race #7 – #5 – Kerjillion – 1 mile on the turf

Chad Brown runner who settled out despite being kept off the rail. Ran into very heavy traffic and checked off heels to finish a game 3rd.

 

Race #8 – #10 – Mighty Souper – 1 1/16 on the turf

Stumbled badly at the break and was forced to swing wide to find clear sailing. Ran a solid 4th this day for Mark Casse

 

Race#10 – #3 – Dream Dancing – 1 1/16 on the turf

Steadied and bumped soundly at the start and came running late to be a very nice 2nd.

 

 

Saratoga

 

8/8/16

 

Race #2 – #3 – Haul Anchor – 6f

Two-year-old for the red-hot McLaughlin barn and was bumped around at the break with Count on America. Forced to move quickly to get back on track and finished a game second.

 

Race #3 – #1 – Rooftop View – 1 mile on the turf

Luis Saez in the saddle and he gave a perfect ride. – Grabbed the lead from the break after stalking close and was nabbed at the wire by a dirty nose. – He’s going to be a tough customer moving forward.

 

Race #4 – #3 – Mighty Moses – 6f

Del Mar shipper who was kept bottled up along the rail and squeezed back at the start when he commenced a run. This pushed him back from 2nd to 5th.

 

Race #6 – #2 – Syndergaard – 6f

Two-year-old for Todd Pletcher who wired the field running green. – This New York-bred will only get better moving forward.

 

When they make their next trip to the races, be sure to check them against the E-Z Win Forms to see where they measure up against the competition. – There is nothing like taking in the action at Saratoga. No matter if you’re in the historic grandstand or in front of your computer the racing is some of the best of the year. – If you’re like me, keep it on your list of tracks to see. I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to see Keeneland in the fall and the beauty of the spring. For a handicapper from the “Bluegrass,” this is about as close as you can get to Heaven on Earth. Be sure to take in the races, because before we know it the summer action will be in the rear view mirror.- Best of luck from your friends at Winning Ponies ! 

 

 

 

End of the Innocence

by Ed Meyer

posted on August 5, 2016 in Blogroll, General Discussion, Horse Racing, WinningPonies.com | 1 Comment >>

Years go by, and you see the same faces. Time passes until you see them again, and finally they disappear. New ones take the places of the old, and the game marches on. – Last week I had a day off as we cancelled races  due to excessive rain. I made my way over to a small track to make a few bets. I wanted to get out and see some old faces. – When I arrived, I wondered if I’d made a wrong turn.

There weren’t many cars in the parking lot, and I thought they’d probably get a late crowd. – I remember days when you had to get there early and find a good parking spot. Valet was always open, and you would see the fans walking swiftly to find their favorite seat. As I walked in, I was expecting to hear the sounds of tracks running and people stirring about. There is nothing like the sounds of the track, and you have to be there to feel the energy. – I started thinking about which seat I would find and maybe if I’m lucky I’ll get one near the windows. – I reached and pulled open the door and the sound of deafening silence hit me in the face like a right cross to the chin. – The place that was a hubbub of activity looked like a funeral. There were five older players sitting in seats far away from each other, and as I walked to the carroll seating area, there were no more than twenty people. – As the old saying goes; “there weren’t enough people to start a fight.”

Times change – This is a fact of life that never goes wrong. What I expected to see and what was going on was a tough pill to swallow. – What did we do wrong? – Did we overprice our game or was it just a massive amount of competition from surrounding casinos? – The answer is “D” all of the above. – This massive place was a mecca just ten years ago. – I won’t begin to blame one track’s management, as I’ll assess the damage to all tracks. – There was always a competitive dog fight where there should have been great cooperation. – Why didn’t racing follow successful models of customer retention and growth?

Casinos are buying up race tracks in hopes of expanding gambling. Good idea, but will they know how to handle horse racing, or will they try and sanitize the sport and kill it with stifling rules? – That answer is becoming more evident as tracks fall one by one, and players find out there is little to no interest in keeping racing alive. – There is no real interest to promote or advertise racing. – I have a good friend who is one of the larger players at a casino. They get comps galore and invites to everywhere. – He likes racing and asked a key person who handles larger players how they could get some tickets to a racing event. – The answer knocked me on my bottom. “We’re putting up with the horses until we can get rid of them. We’re working on it, and hopefully it will just die out. But I can set you up with a trip for you and guest to a sister property.”

The tracks of yesteryear are gone for the most part. There may be a day or two where marquee races still draw good crowds. But those masses aren’t like the old days. They resemble a good Saturday that would have taken place anytime during the year. – Racing is getting a 2nd standing eight-count. It is tired and sucking wind while the bigger opponent waits until the ref allows you to come out for your final pummeling. – Sad but true as I sat there enjoying the races from Saratoga. I thought back to the lines of patrons and the whirl of humanity. Promotional giveaways, radio-remotes promoting the big race, and the long time patrons who were happy to be a part of the Sport of Kings. – That has been replaced by banks of slot machines, VLT’s, and games with lightning speed that could be equated to electronic heroin. – No more twenty minutes in between posts where we would chat with fellow players, or enjoy a bite to eat with a friend. Nobody has time as the slot machines move at a breakneck pace. Minutes turn to hours, and your house payment is in the cash box of a penny slot. – The beauty and pageantry of Thoroughbred racing has been replaced by glitzy neon, and machines that promise life-changing wealth. The only time you’ll see a face is when someone is craning their neck to see if you have a winner and received something they didn’t.

If they played “Taps”, it would only be fitting, as it’s a signal to turn out the lights. – I tried to enjoy my day and missed those conversations with fellow players which lead into friendships. – Sometimes what we thought was a savior in the distance turns out to be the fiercest enemy as they get close. – I would like to find out I’m mistaken, and have the complete wrong impression. But I haven’t heard anyone correct my thinking yet. – I’ll keep loving the sport as long as they take to the track. The history, the beauty, and days filled with excitement have been replaced with buy one get one buffet offers and free slot tournaments.

Problem Ponies – Horses to Watch – 8/5/16

The big weekend was good and bad. – Great races and Mother Nature had her way drenching the ovals for most of the country. Take nothing away from a super weekend and you can bet dollars to donuts they’ll be back a little later in the summer / fall to set the record straight. – In the meantime, here are some runners who you can follow back to the window with confidence.  - Best of luck from your friends at WinningPonies!

 

Arlington Park

7/30/16

 

Race #1 – #2 – Illusive Fugitive – 6f on the all weather

Bumped and shifted at the break and was forced 3-4 wide on the final turn. – After all said and done the runner got it all together to finish a game 3rd place finish.

 

Race #4 – #6 – Nutsandhoney – 6 1/2f on the all weather

Bumped soundly at the 3/16th’s pole and was forced wide as the beaten favorite this day. – They will have payback on their minds next out.

 

Race #7 – #3 – Miss Gossip – 1 mile on the all weather

Hopped at the start and veered inward. – Made a five to six wide move at the top of the stretch to come rolling late for 2nd money.

 

 

Del Mar

7/30/16

 

Race #3 – #7 – What’sontheagenda – 5 1/2f on the dirt

First time starter was in tight at the start and had to check off heels at the 1/2. – Came back gamely to finish 2nd this day.

Race #5 – #6 – Eric the Trojan – 5f on the turf

Steadied early after the break and fanned five wide gaining ground quickly getting beat right at the wire.

 

Race #9 -#2 – Bronzino – 1 mile on the turf

Tracked in a perfect spot well handled by Flavien Prat. Made a bid getting a little leg weary down the lane finishing as the beaten favorite. – He’ll benefit greatly from the effort.

 

 

Belterra Park

7/30/16

 

Race #3 – #5 Duval St. – 1 mile on the main

Impressive winner who can be bet right back with confidence for the red-hot Larry Smith barn.

 

Race #5 – #5 – Silver Tongued – 1 mile and 70 yards

Kept up with the speed and was beaten this day by a much better runner. He’ll come back hungry and ready for the Jeff Greenhill barn.

 

Race #6 – #4 – Radiant Ruby – 6f on the main

Reserved and confidently handled. Made a solid move at the 3/16th’s pole and was no match for the winner this day. He was a beaten favorite and this is a handicappers playback move.

 

Race #8 -#4 – Judge Hudson – 1 1/16 on the dirt

Showed good speed tracking just off the pace and was bothered by geese at the 4f pole. The horse dropped back to 4th and immediately came right back to vie for the lead. – At the top of the stretch was bothered by the leader who veered out and caused the rider to dive to the rail to save ground. – There was a long objection and no action was taken.

 

Watching races live or having time to comb over the replays can pay handsome the next time out. – WinningPonies wants to start a “Problem Ponies” list for you to follow back and you’ll be ahead of the game the next time they hit the track. – Be sure to check them against the E-Z Win Forms to see where they fit into the race the next time they come to the races. – Best of luck and keep your eyes peeled for these runners next time out!

Problem Ponies – Horses to Watch – 7/26/16

Most of the country is sweating it out and the racing action keeps getting hotter ! – Summer racing is always the best of the year, and Mother Nature is giving us a full-blown party. Del Mar and Saratoga on the wagering menu, and Arlington’s grass racing. Does it get any better than this ? – Oh, and don’t forget Gulfstream and your favorite oval close to home. Just kick back, grab a cool drink, and put on your shades in the sunshine. Things are just getting started and the best is yet to come ! – In the meantime, keep a close eye on these runners next time out. They had a compromised trip and that means there might be a bumper payday right around the corner.

 

Saratoga

 

7/23/16 – Race #2 – 1 1/16 on the turf

#1 – Master Merion – Jose Ortiz in the saddle and this guy grabbed the lead and fought his rider most of the way refusing to settle down. – He was just beat by a nose.

 

7/23/16 – Race #4 – 6f on the dirt

#4 – Tree Top Lover – Bumped at the break, steadied and clipped heels, and stumbled twice. – Anything better than this and you might see a whole new runner.

 

7/23/16 – Race #6 – 5 1/2f on the dirt

#7 – Royal Copy – Ricardo Santana aboard and he looked like a sure winner. – He came up just a bit short down the lane after shipping in from Churchill.

 

Arlington

 

7/23/16 – Race #3 – 1 mile on the turf

#2 – Dad Are We Here – Nick Meza in the irons and here is a playback runner. – Lacked room at the 3/16th’s pole and fanned four wide and still won by 1 1/4.

 

7/23/16 – Race #4 – 1 1/16 on the all weather

#5 – Mom’s Choice – Jose Valdivia up for Larry Rivelli. They won by a widening 4 1/4 under wraps. – Bet right back with both hands.

 

7/23/16 – Race #6 – 1 1/16 on the turf

#2 – Poker Player – Edgar Perez in the irons and was forced to fan four wide on the final turn losing ground to finish a fast 3rd.

 

Del Mar

 

7/24/16 – Race #3 – 1 mile on the dirt

#5 – Storm the Shore – Iggy Puglisi in the irons and this guy got caught up in a quick speed duel. – He still ran a game 3rd, but the clock may have done him in at the end of the race.

 

7/24/16 – Race #8 – 1 1/16 on the turf

#2 – Ambitious Brew – Flavien Prat had his mount in full gear down the lane and was just beat at the wire. – He’ll be a player next out.

 

 

Just keep your eyes peeled and get ready for them to fire right back. – See where they fit on the E-Z Win Forms to gauge their level of competition. – They had an excuse this outing and just be patient. They’ll be taking the track very soon. – Best of luck from your friends at Winning Ponies !