Pick Your Poison

 

 

Not much of a choice, eh ? – That has been the weekend from hell for this handicapper. You can either be off the board and run down the tubes, or you can be so close it hurts to think about it. – One way has you going back to the drawing board to revamp your methods, the other is good handicapping with a dose of bad luck. – Like I said, pick your poison.

This weekend has been tough to swallow. Here is a little snapshot of the weekend for me.

Los Alamitos had a nice pick four wager, and on Saturday the feature race was the Great Lady M featuring Fantastic Style who looked like a dead-lock with Bejarano travelling 6 1/2 furlongs. – I had the first two legs on very small tickets, and they paid – $17, and $19.- Things were looking good coming back to a (1-9) shot with the leading rider in California aboard for Bob Baffert. – Well, chalk gets beat and this did me in for the day. – I closed out on my single in the last paying $2.80 and I would have had the P-4 ten times. -Small tickets for a solid payout went down the tubes.

I was playing in a handicapping contest, and it was a multi-level sort. I had to be in the top six to move on to the next day. – I was in 22nd place with two races to go. I chose Dylan Davis on #14 at Aqueduct at a huge (30-1). – Then I started looking deeper and found a (16-1) shot who looked like gold. He even went off at (22-1). – #14 – Cody’s Notes won at 30-1, and I ran an even 5th trying to close for minor awards.- Needless to say I didn’t make it to the next round on Sunday. I finished a dismal 32nd, and felt like kicking myself.

Keeneland’s card looked good on Sunday.- Not all chalk and easy pickings, but the possibility of prices. – So, back to the drawing board, and I came up with a decent pick-four ticket as I watched the computer while paying bills. – The first leg was a big time win with Paco Lopez paying $17.40 beating the big chalk. – Leg #2 paid $13 with a super patient ride by Julien Leparoux. – Leg #3 was tough and had eight runners. Up to this point In had two things in mind. Go small in the first two legs and stretch-out in the third to ensure a shot at beating the (4-5) chalk in the last. – After the smoke cleared, I finished 2nd – 7th and was bested by one of the runners I left out. – Even Winning Ponies had this runner 8th out of eight, and was a speedster facing a ton of early pace. – So there I am once again watching the last race hoping that (4-5) would win and I wouldn’t have had the score. – I would have liked to tell you I was out of the money, but that wouldn’t be the truth. – One of my three runners scored and it paid $5,105.55 for a 50-cent ticket which I would have had twice. – My ticket would have been about the same as a (25-1) scored in the feature and my horse was (28-1). – So what’s a player to do ?

My plan is to sit on the sidelines until Keeneland kicks up on Wednesday, and I’ll download the E-Z Win Forms and get back in the game. – No sense crying anymore, and “you can’t win unless you get in it.” – So I’ll lick my wounds and comeback strong. That’s what players do, but I have to admit I’m really close and feel like I’m knocking on the door. – Be sure to check back on Wednesday and I’ll let you in on my big ticket comeback.- With only 12 days until Derby, extra bankroll sounds like a good plan.

Can’t Make The Races Like You Used to Do ?

... post where we discussed it being just like football tailgating

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have a gal who loves to go. She loves concerts, casinos, and going to the races. She has been going for so long the car knows how to get there on its own. But, I digress. – Yesterday she made a trek down to see her daughter in college. It was “Mommy Day” for lack of a better term, and that entailed going to Keeneland, tailgating, and having cocktails. I think they call it “Mommy Day” as Mommy picks up the tab. What a way to celebrate dear old Mom. – But, what she didn’t consider was the 31,000 plus crowd filled with college kids and newbies. – It looks like an older dog was going to learn a new trick.

Jeannine has kept up at every turn. She enjoys going, and that has been her life since a little girl. Nothing wrong I guess, except the game has changed and Father Time has an odd sense of humor. – You use to be able to stand and drink all day. Now, one or two drinks will do for the day. You used to watch the race, and get right back in line to wager again as the crowds were so thick. – That has been replaced by making a bet or two and thinking about heading back to the car. After watching college kids puke, the lines were long, and you had to make reservations in January for a wooden seat in the grandstand in April. – My little – go-go-girl had gone-gone to the car. She set up her folding chair from sporting events and found peace in the valley until her daughter tracked her down. – I guess she needed more drinks, or it was lunch time.

The night ended up at a frat house where young boys urinated on trees in the front yard and silly girls did jello-shots. – Who used to be the life of the party is now the first one home in bed. She tried to keep up a round or two, and did selfie shots with girls younger than her daughter. – I expected her to be gone all night and come rolling in in the wee morning hours when she came walking in the door at 8:00 pm. – Somehow she managed to drive 80 miles in 20 minutes. Maybe “Mommy’s Day” at Keeneland had taken its toll.

As she was drifting off to sleep she asked that we never go down on a weekend to Keeneland. ” It’s just not worth it, and it’s a pain in the ass.” – I didn’t have the heart to tell her, but that what’s the regular players who love betting the races do. So I just shook my head yes, and agreed with her sage-like wisdom. – The weekend races at the bucolic settings of Keeneland are beautiful during the week, and on week-ends they turn into a hoity-toity frat / sorority gathering where youngsters wear their finery the parents money can buy. – Keeneland has been a place where blue blazers and khaki slacks rule, and bow ties are in plentiful view. Real race trackers know the rules, and the only time one would break the unspoken rules are on a major stakes race or Breeders’ Cup this year.

She now knows why I love to bet on my computer, and watch and wager the weekend action from home. Home sweet home, and only 13 days until the Kentucky Derby. – I’ll be working (thank God) and the races will be over at my track and I can watch the last three stakes and Derby from my booth in hi-definition. Two screens, the best seat in the house and cold beer I borrowed from John Engelhardt’s cooler.  Nothing could be sweeter. – To prove my point. I was on social media and saw a posting from Travis Stone who calls the Kentucky Derby at Churchill. – He is the voice of the most famous race in the world, and on the very next day he and a pal drove 100 miles north and visited a small track called Belterra Park. – Some would call it a “Busman’s Holiday,” but I call it getting back to your roots. – I posted on his page to stop up next time he makes the trek, as I would like to meet in person. He said “will-do” and I sure hope he makes the drive. It must be a little difference calling the most watched race in the world, and then driving to watch and wager on claiming and small allowance races with two or three hundred players. – “Mommy’s Day” was a learning experience for my gal. I’ll bet dollars to donuts she’ll make plenty of trips for dinners, gatherings, and eventually graduation. But I’ll lay (2-5) she won’t be at Keeneland on a beautiful Saturday anymore.

Better Betting ?

Not trying to steal a line from The Who, but the latest talk on the wagering front is about “Exchange Wagering.” – If it kind of has the Wall St. feel, its not far away. – If you’ve been a player who sits on the sidelines and complains about not offering the bettor new avenues. Here is your knight in shining armor.

New Jersey is the first place the new wagers will be taking place. – According to ESPN.com: While New Jersey continues its long battle to get legalized sports betting (and bring the United States into the 21st century compared to other developed countries’ views on gambling), the Garden State is closer to doing the same thing with horse wagering. Exchange wagering will be available to New Jersey residents starting on May 10 through Betfair US and Darby Development, the operator of Monmouth Park (whose 2016 meet opens May 14). The two companies, who received licenses to operate exchange wagering from the New Jersey Racing Commission back in late November, announced the launch date Wednesday.

The current pari-mutuel betting in this country requires horse players to make bets without knowing what their final odds will be, while exchange wagering makes it possible for bettors to take fixed odds that are locked in at the time of their transaction (similar to what sports bettors are used to) but also allows bettors to ask for better odds from those on the exchange or to match other players’ offerings. You can also bet against a horse and trading can also take place during the running of a race — an option every horse player has desired while watching races develop. Gamblers also like that they only pay a commission of about 12 percent of winnings as opposed to traditional takeout rates of around 20 percent in pari-mutuel wagering, according to Dave Tuley reporting for ESPN.com.

Monmouth Park is the biggest track involved so far but organizers Woodbine (Canada), Tampa Bay Downs, Pennsylvania and West Virginia will also be involved, with more to come. Customers will need to deposit into a wagering account (Betfair operates the 4NJBets wagering platform and the online Betfair Casino in partnership with the Golden Nugget) but then can bet from their PC, phone or tablet. – If you still find yourself on the fence deciding if you’ll take part. Take a listen to The Paulick Report on latest episode of The Friday Show:

http://www.paulickreport.com/features/the-friday-show/wagering-on-the-exchange/

 

After reading and watching a few sources, I’ve come out with the following feelings.- Not everyone will take part in this new innovation. It may be an introduction to the new segment of gamblers who like the fast pace action similar to casino gambling, and the ability to wager while the race is running will take a awhile to digest. I’m a gambler, and I love to wager on racing. Will I jump right in with both hands and feet ? No. – I’m going to take a wait and see approach. If things are going well with the new models, Betfair will make every attempt in the world at making this easy to use, and work out the bugs connecting to the older players. – I don’t like to think of myself as that older demo throwing stones at the moon, but I am cautious. – “Just think, if one lays a horse a (5-2) shot at (3-1), that horse must lose 75% of the time just to break even. For it to be profitable, you must be correct 75% of the time;”  According to a Horse Racing Nation 2012 article.

Call me old fashioned, but I’m going to wait it out for awhile. I have plenty of time as this only involves New Jersey at this time.  – You can bet your bottom dollar it will grow beyond state boundaries quickly if the wagering process is a success. – For me, I’ll keep trying my hand at the wagers I know, or at least the ones where I’m more familiar with. -I don’t think I’m alone, but I’ll keep an open mind for the new innovations. – I remember seeing a Breeders’ Cup race where it was being simulcast to a country that allowed this type of wagering. I can still see Zenyatta way back in the field around the far turn and she was 8-1. – A few jumps later she was rolling, and the in race odds dropped to 3-1. – As she really looked good and was five wide flying, her odds dropped to a dramatically low number. – I’m sure there were some players who saw this to be a good proposition, but this punter is going to watch from the sidelines for awhile.

 

The Big Four

In a shade over a week we’ll be sipping an icy cold mint julep, and singing the emotional “My Old Kentucky Home” lyrics. – The crowds will be dressed to the nines, and players from around the globe will be chomping at the bit to wager into the swelled Derby pools. – This may be the best weekend all year to play, as your money will be comingled with the masses of uninformed players. Just think, your 3-1 shot can make his way up to 5-1 as a great segment of the public is betting colors, names, and crazy hunches. – With that being tossed to the wind, here are four of my top selections that will be whittled down in days to come.

 

Brody’s Cause

Here comes a son of Giant’s Causeway trained by Dale Romans. – He has three wins from six starts, and the wagering public has all but drawn a line through his dismal effort in the Tampa Bay Derby. He ran a superb race against the Derby (possible favorite) in Nyquist in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, and beat Exaggerator ( Santa Anita Derby winner) at Keeneland. Keep a close eye on his turn of foot in the Bluegrass.

 

Gun Runner

Lightly raced son of Candy Ride, and you have to love his tactical ability. The Derby can play against the “Silky Sullivan” types who have to negotiate the entire field and come over the top to win. Just watch the Louisiana Derby and you’ll see a maturing runner who has four wins from five starts.

 

Mo Tom

If you’re looking for an excuse horse and one who didn’t get the dream trip look no farther. He is a very nice son of Uncle Mo, and owns three wins from seven starts. – Now, before you dismiss this fella, go ahead and toss his last two races. They are identical and he was stooped cold inside the 1/8th pole and bounced off the rail. – If you like the bad luck guy who turns it all around. This may be your man.

 

Creator

If you favor a runner who is finding himself at the right time. This may be a runner for you. – If you watched the Arkansas Derby you caught a glimpse of a perfect ride from the meet winning rider and trainer combo from Ricardo Santana Jr. and Steve Asmussen. From his eight lifetime starts, his only off the board finish was on the turf. This grey son of Tapit may be getting it all together at the right time.

 

Winning Ponies has free Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks prep race replays, and you’ll want to be paying close attention to the latest news and stories from the world of racing. – The E-Z  Win Forms rise to the occasion year-in-year-out, and with over $3 million paid out to date with exotic payouts you don’t want to drift too far away. Be sure to check the podcasts for past Winning Ponies Internet Radio Shows with John Engelhardt, and these next couple of weeks he’ll plan on having the movers and shakers in this year’s events. -There will be free selections, stories, blogs, and news from the world of racing. Make Winning Ponies your one-stop-shop for all things racing.

Last Chance Derby Points / Free Selections / Saturday

It is hard to believe, but the last call for Derby points has arrived. Seems like it was five minutes ago when were talking about kicking off the seasonal run in January. – There is nothing like a little sampling of free selections to get you thinking about the races, and use this as an appetizer before you download the Winning Ponies E-Z Win Forms for the final decision maker. So find your comfy seat and get ready, the final point races before the Derby is heading your way !

 

Keeneland

 

Race #9 – The (G-3) Lexington Stakes – 1 1/16 – 4:59 pm EST

 

As this field of ten three-year-olds assemble, there are a few you’ll want to focus on before you making your final decisions. – Be sure to consult the E-Z Win Forms for final predictions.

 

#6 – Big Squeeze (10-1) = Chris Landeros aboard, and this son of Lemon Drop Kid was impressive with a maiden score over the deep Oaklawn surface. – He looks to be maturing and could light up the tote board.

#10 – Collected (2-1) = Javier Castellano in the irons, and this son of City Zip tossed in a clunker two back and that race may be dismissed. He travelled out to Sunland where he scored easily in a $415,000 stake. He cuts back from a 1 1/8 and will be the major danger.

#4 – Swipe (9-5) = Flavien Prat has the assignment, and this son of Birdstone has been away since running huge in the BC Juvenile. – He has run second to possible Derby favorite Nyquist four times in a row. – He had a chip removed from his knee, and has been working since February. – If he comes back in fine order, he will be my top pick in this race. His layoff and injury will drive up his odds a bit and I could see (2-1 / 5-2) not being out of the question.

 

Here are a few nice runners to examine in your E-Z Win Forms for final approval:

Race #4 – #5 Producer (12-1)

Race #5 – #4 Gustnado (6-1)

Race #8 – #5 Miss Matzoball (3-1)

 

 

 

Oaklawn Park

 

Race #11 – The (G-1) Arkansas Derby – 1 1/8 – 7:18 pm

 

#8 – Whitmore (9-2) - Irad Ortiz in Arkansas, and he won’t be making trip for nothing. Derby points on the line and he has been knocking on the door with this son of Pleasantly Perfect. – His last three efforts over the oval have him 4 lengths short of being three-in-a-row. – He’ll get it all together and make it count when the money is on the line.

#10 Cupid (2-1) = How good is this son of Tapit ? We’ll have a good idea about 5 minutes after the gate springs open. – Lightly raced, and game effort in the (G-2) Rebel Stakes has every handicapper thinking Bob Baffert has an ace up his sleeve in this affair. – Martin Garcia and Baffert do great work as a team, and I’m looking to see what the extra 1/16th of a mile presents.

Here are a few more runners to examine on the E-Z Win Forms to find that hidden value:

Race #8 – #6 Major League (3-1)

Race #10 – #10 Alabama Tide (9-2)

 

It has been a long road and many questions will be answered in the days to come. With 22 days until the Run for the Roses, you’ll want to go back and examine the past prep replays right here on Winning Ponies. – Be sure to join us for the Internet Radio Show as John Engelhardt will be talking horses with the connections heading to Louisville each and every Thursday at 8:00 pm right here, and you can always go back and catch the podcast if that fits your schedule. – There will be stories, Derby-doings, and free selections so be sure to check back daily. – This is the time we’ve all been waiting for and Winning Ponies is your one-stop-shop for all things racing. No better way to prepare for the big races through the Triple Crown and everyday the races go to post. – Best of luck from your friends at Winning Ponies !

 

A Little Sugar

The Power of Money … It is Your Vote

 

I have a good friend who loves the races. – Great guy, but he gets in his own way when it comes to making cash at the windows. – He was recalling a butt-kicking from the past weekend and gave all details that verged on TMI. – I love the guy, but he couldn’t cash a ticket if the race was official. But I digress. He always asks; ” Hey my man, how about a little sugar for the next race ?” – You give him a horse and it runs well, and only one thing gets in his way. He talks himself off before pulling the trigger. – He calls me on Wednesday and wanted me to head out and catch the last three races at Keeneland with him. ” Hey big man, how about a little sugar for the races ?”

Normally, I would’ve made the 5 minute drive. I’m close enough, and you don’t have to pull my arm to bet Keeneland. Add in that I didn’t look at the races, and I had to regretfully decline the invitation. – He said he couldn’t stay long, and told me had $100 to put into action. – I told him I was writing about the races for the weekend when he asked me about Winning Ponies. – He would love the site, but why look if you’re not going to play the E-Z Win Form predictions ? – But today was different. He said he just wanted to enjoy a beer or two and sit back and make a few bets. ” What should I do with the E-Z Win Forms ?”

One of my favorite moves is a place parlay. If you stick to your guns and it all comes through. More times than not you’re getting a nice payday. – I told him to use the top tier selection for the last three races and make a place parlay. He liked the idea, and said he wasn’t even going to look at the names. He was going to enjoy a beer and watch the races. – The plan was made and he wagered $100 to place on #6 – Ironclad in the 6th at Keeneland. He won the race and paid $5.20 to place. My bad-luck friend was doing well with a $260 payoff, and a $160 profit. – He grabbed another beer and made his second wager. He stuck to his guns and didn’t waver. He bet $260 to place on #6 – Camelot Kitten in the 7th race. – The top tier runner ran second closing stoutly and paid $3.80. – Bad luck Bill now had a whopping $494 for a $394 profit. He called to tell me, and I was glad to hear. He told me he was going to have one more beer and stay for his last race. The sound of his voice was good to hear and I sure hoped he could pull it out one last time. – Off to the windows he went and wagered $494 to place on #1A Jack West, and when the race was official the top tier selection won and his runner paid $4.80 to place. – His $100 investment was now worth $1,185.60 and the bad luck cloud was gone !

He called later when he got home, and stuck to his guns. No wavering, changing his mind, or trying to outsmart himself. Bill said he found his “sugar” for the ponies, and he could download and roll on little notice. – He said he was going to use them according to his wagering plan, and not get off track anymore. – Bill was hooked, and wanted to learn all about the E-Z Win Forms. His interest was back and attitude renewed. – I’ve always said they’re easy to use, and this first timer is proof in the pudding. I’m glad for my friend, and look forward to the next time I see him at the races. – Betting the races can be so much fun, and even sweeter when you win. Let Winning Ponies do the work, and you decide how you’ll bet the E-Z Win predictions. – My prediction, you’ll start having more fun betting the races and winning days are on the horizon.

Remembering Good Times

Where did you get your start ? – You know, where did you cut your teeth as a horse player ? – For many there wasn’t a visit to the Spa, or where the surf meets the turf. It was the small tracks. The little ovals that had a charm or lack there of all to themselves. You may have found your way to the Breeders’ Cup dining in the chalet, but it was the small time track that perked your interest. – I have to admit I’m not jealous of the lucky players who made it to the races their first time in the box seats. Hell, it has given me something to shoot for all of these years.

I was born a small town guy who grew up with a bar on every corner, and more churches than playgrounds. My first adventures were at tracks called Latonia, River Downs, and Beulah. Small time ovals that were cold in the winter and hot as Hades in the summer. The riders and trainers were on the way up, or climbing back down the ladder on the way out. – Claimers were the blunt of betting opportunities, and once a week you would see a nice allowance event usually on Saturday as Kentucky didn’t conduct Sunday racing back then.

The action was hot as we just didn’t know any different. Oh, we knew about the Derby, Triple Crown, and races you would read about in the Daily Racing Form. There were no computers, and I had to read the newspaper in the school library to get the scoop on the races with the official “Racing Edition” section of the paper. – That was the best way to spend study hall. – We live in the times of full-card simulcasting, and ADW’s galore. You would be hard pressed not to find a place to wager with casinos, racinos, and OTB outlets. But looking back, I wouldn’t trade my path to racing for anything.

Kentucky Derby day is an official holiday in the state of Kentucky, and for the majority of our youth most would have sworn it really was. If you wanted to bet you had to know a bookie or make the drive and battle the masses at Churchill Downs. That wasn’t going to happen, so I was introduced to betting with a bookie at a young age. My Dad put me on a $20 a week limit, and I could call and make bets. Mainly it was River Downs, Churchill, or Keeneland. They all had races on the radio, and I would read them in the paper and make a $2 win and place bet on my best hunch. – I was about 12 when I would travel with my Dad to a local VFW on Derby day. Our 70 year-old bookies were there, and they would take bets in the basement and write you a betting slip. We would listen to WLAP for the race call from Paul Rogers, and cash only after the prices were given. There was no television coverage except for the Derby, and boy what a treat that was for new players. – Once ESPN started taking the early stakes races and televised the action, life just couldn’t get any better. Little did we know we were born in the best of times.

How many of you can tell me your first big score ? – Your first score with a bookie ? – Your first big payoff ? – For me that stuff is child’s play as racing was my first love. – My first daily double was at Latonia. It was the day before the “Blizzard of 1978,” and the fields were small as outfits were hunkering down for the winter blast. I was at the races with my Dad, and Carl Falconer rode both halves of the daily double to pay a whopping $12. The race card was cancelled after the 3rd race as weather was moving in quickly. – My first bookie score was $2 win and place on Lt. Bert at Oaklawn Park. He paid $20 win and my Dad had the newspaper folded open to the results on the kitchen table as I ate breakfast before school. – My first big score on one horse ? That would be Teleprompter at Arlington Park under Tony Ives. River Downs had the simulcast of the Arlington Million, and I had $4 to win and place on “Prompter” who beat Greinton trained by Charlie Whittingham. I like to go back and watch one of my first big paydays from time to time.

 

 

Latonia became Turfway Park, River Downs became Belterra Park, and Beulah became Darby Downs and back to Beulah again. – I’ve worked at all in one capacity or another in my years in racing, and I wouldn’t trade it for all the roses in Louisville. – I’ve had the opportunity to see Keeneland and work there, Dueling Grounds (the only European turf course in the nation) turn over a new leaf and bloom into Kentucky Downs, and the best is yet to come. – The friendships, the stories, and the people could fill ten books. My Mom told me “when you’re lucky enough to do (work) something you love, you get to enjoy it twice. The first when you are doing it, and the second when you are sitting in that rocking chair thinking back to the incredible journey called your life.” – She was right. Mom usually is with matters of the heart.

Beulah was located in Grove City, Ohio.  It was located in a small time farming area, and every year we would make a trek. If we did good at the races, we would stop and hit Lebanon Harness on the way home for a 20 race day. Times were simple, and life was good. – I was reading a story about Beulah Park, and saw a video about what remains. I guess you can liken it to watching one of your favorite paintings deteriorate right before your eyes. As I watched, I could remember going with my Dad and his then girlfriend, and eventually taking my own wife and watching my horse run. I played in handicapping contests, and had a few good days. I made plenty of “Men’s Days” hitting Beulah and Lebanon, and loved every second with my friends over the years. So as you watch this video, know there was much more at one time. The town was practically employed there, and many Thoroughbred racing fans cut their teeth on this little oval known as the “Saratoga of the South.”

Free Keeneland Selections – 4/9/16

Time Flies (Free Keeneland Selections) | Horse Racing Blog | Horse ...

 

Brigadoon is scheduled to make its spring appearance in Lexington from 4/8/16 – 4/29/16. – There is no other place on the planet quite like Keeneland. Is it the splendor of the season, or the majestic Thoroughbreds prancing in the paddock ? – The answer is simple. Yes. – Keeneland is proof in the making the Wagering Gods love racing. I’ve been making the trek for a number of years, and as long as the big man upstairs sees fit, I’ll have a trip or three coming my way this month. – Here is a little sampling of runners to watch and wager. You’ll want to be dialed in from the first post parade until the last race is official. Winning Ponies has done incredibly well over the years in Lexington, and use this as an appetizer before you download your E-Z Win Forms. – With that in mind, what are you waiting for ?  It’s almost post time !

 

Saturday

The forecast calls for 46 degrees and sunny.

This card is so good you’ll think it’s Breeders’ Cup all over !  – Be sure to download your E-Z Win Forms as soon as possible and dive right in. There is more value than you would ever expect !

Race #3 -Mdn Sp Wt. – 1 mile on the turf

#10 – Llanita (7-5) = Javier Castellano in the irons for Chad Brown, and you better get used to hearing this tandem at Keeneland. She has been off for 4 months, and Team Brown wins (27%) on the comeback to the races move. This maiden filly was a beaten chalk in the (G-3) Ms. Grillo, and a $100,000 stake. If she is half ready she’ll inhale this field with ease.

Race #5 – Alw $62,000 NW1X – 1 1/8 on the turf

#2. – Sympathy (5-2) = Castellano and Brown team up again, and this filly was a bridesmaid and beaten chalk at GP in February. – She was off a step slow and still came rolling like a down-bound train. Second Lasix may do the trick today with a clean trip.

Race #6 – The (G-1) $500,000 Ashland – 1 1/16

This race may not break the bank for value, but you’ll be hard pressed to find this much talent in one race. – Keep in mind this kicks off the 50-cent pick five. The E-Z Win Forms will dig down and find that hidden nugget to sweeten the pot.

#4 – Rachel’s Valentina (3-1) = Florent (Red-Hot) Geroux in the irons for Todd Pletcher. – This daughter of Bernardini and Rachel Alexandra looks like a monster. She hasn’t raced for five months since the BC Juvenile Fillies and has been working a steady clip at Palm Meadows. I’m looking for Carina Mia and Cathryn Sophia to set solid fractions as she’ll be in the cat-bird seat eyeing the leaders. – This compact field of five looks to set good fractions and she is the only one to run them down and win in a (G-1) event.

Race #8 – The (G-2) Shakertown – 5 1/2f on the turf

#10 – Undrafted (5-2) = Wes Welker has a super runner here, and he put him in the right hands with Johnny V and Wesley Ward. – A winner at Royal Ascot and third in last year’s running makes him look pretty attractive. – He’ll come running like a wide-out looking for a “Hail Mary” about the 1/8th pole. 161 days since his last race should keep the odds hovering at 2-1 or better, and look for him late in the lane.

Race #9 – The (G-1) Madison – 7f

#12 – Stopchargingmaria (7-2) = Javier Castellano up for Todd Pletcher, and they look to repeat from Breeders’ Cup weekend getting up in the shadow of the wire. The race looks like a good prep as she likes more ground, but if you go back and watch last year’s Madison. You’ll see she can turn on the afterburner at any time. Her works are scalding in the morning, and Javier is ready for another close-up

Race #10 – The (G-1) Toyota Bluegrass Stakes – 1 1/8

This race can offer up some incredible value, and the E-Z Win Forms are bound to have this one nailed down cold.

#3 – Cherry Wine (12-1) = Corey Lanerie and Dale Romans team up, and this son of Paddy O’ Prado looks to have figured out he likes the dirt more than turf. He was flying in the (G-2) Rebel and deserves a good hard look at a square price.

#4 – Zulu (5-2) = Castellano has a nice pace setter here, and if he runs a race anywhere near to the Fountain of Youth, he’ll be unstoppable. Blinkers on this late has me scratching my head, and that has me not fully on the band wagon.

#6 – Brody’s Cause (4-1) = Luis Saez in the irons for Dale Romans. He was rolling late in the BC Juvenile against Nyquist and begs for more ground. The solid pace and added distance should be to his liking.

#12 – Zapperini (30-1) = Cisco Torres in the saddle for Greg Foley, and they exit the Risen Star off a promising effort to be 5th. – A lightly raced son of Ghostzapper, and may be one of the bombs to make the day a winner !

There it is. A little sampling of the goodness of Keeneland. – Think of this as your appetizer, and the E-Z Win Forms will make your dinner complete ! – Be sure to download each and every race day for the Keeneland meet as Winning Ponies does very well at the Lexington oval. – They have over $2,690,081 in exotic payouts, and after this month I’ll bet dollars to donuts it will be much higher. – There is no better time of year to be a racing fan, and Keeneland will have you feeling the season. – Best of luck from your friends at Winning Ponies !

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve Got a Horse Right Here !

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Have you ever noticed folks who are stacked with cash get away with some goofy stuff ? This is not to say they are breaking the law or robbing a bank, but when the lime light hits them just right, you sometimes get statements that make you scratch your head. This past Saturday at Turfway Park I experienced a situation of sorts. – There I stood in the press box with some of the best scribes that cover horse racing and we were all riveted to the in-house television coverage. The big race had just been completed, and in a room filled with some of the great racing minds you could have heard a pin drop.

Oscar Nominated had just won the $500,000 Horseshoe Spiral Stakes at Turfway Park at odds of 23-1. – Brian Hernandez Jr. picked up the mount as Robby Albarado was unavailable. Nice days pay for a pick up mount to say the least, but the action was not winning by a neck in the shadow of the wire, but the focus was on outspoken leading owner Ken Ramsey. – The colt was not nominated to the Kentucky Derby and Mr. Ramsey was interviewed after the race and had some pearls of wisdom to share with every horse player and want-to-be owner in ear shot. ” If you would like to put up half of the $200,000 entry fee, you will receive half of his earnings through the Triple Crown.” – The press box was silent as the writers started reaching into their pockets to finds that $100,000 needed to be a part of the action. But after all monies were added, they had enough to buy a few beers and chuckle about the offer.

A graduate of the University of Kentucky by way of the GI Bill, Ramsey was a trucking industry executive before turning to real estate in the 1970s and then to cellular telephone network franchising in the 1980s, primarily along Interstate 75 in northeastern Georgia and southeastern Kentucky. He sold the cellular business, valued at $39 million, in 1994 and bought historic Almahurst Farm near Lexington, renaming it Ramsey Farm according to America’s Best Racing. – Mr. Ramsey was a self made man. He is filled with family pride and a smile that can be seen from the moon when he leads his runners into the winner’s circle. I love the way he always has his wife and partner Sarah by his side, and tends to her by wheeling her chair into the winner’s circle more times than I can count. – He is grounded and knows what he wants. – I had the opportunity to interview him for a radio show and asked him if he ever envisioned a young man from Artemus, Kentucky being a major player in the Thoroughbred industry. – ” Well, young man it is not Artemus, it is pronounced Ar-Tee-Mus, Kentucky.” – From that point on I liked hearing what Mr. Ramsey had to say.

But on the marquee day at Turfway Park, I heard Ken Ramsey tossing out the offer.  I knew he had a ace up his sleeve already. – According to the Courier-Journal, Ramsey found that investor less than 24 hours after the race was run. Though the individual declined to be named publicly, Ramsey indicated that he would step forward before the first Saturday in May. – P.T. Barnum would’ve sure been proud. – Ken Ramsey is good for the game. Racing fans like to envision themselves in the winner’s circle living the dream. This self-made man proves that hard work and not being afraid to speak your mind is proof the dream is out there. – Kurtis Coady, of Coady Photography captured that million dollar smile perfectly. That is the Ken Ramsey I’ve been watching for quite sometime. He brings energy to a sport that needs a good shot in the arm at times. – Can’t wait to hear what he’ll say next. One thing is for sure, it won’t be boring……

 

What’s Going On ?

Just like the song, or maybe the words from a friend when they first greet you. We all like to know what’s going on in our world. – In the world of racing there are a few things happening that have me scratching my noggin. From time to time it’s a good thing to step back and take a look. As we approach the top of the stretch heading for the Derby, I find myself starring off into the distance asking the same question.

 

The Florida Derby

 

Bettors have waited for the showdown like it was a battle of heavyweights. Well, for many who like to wager on racing, it certainly holds the weight. – This Saturday has two undefeated colts squaring off in the 1 1 /8th event for a $1,000,000 on the line. Nyquist who is a perfect 6/6 and was voted the two-year-old champion in 2015 locks horns with Mohaymen who brings his perfect 5/5 record to the table. Most of racing’s talking heads are having a tough time remembering if this ever took place prior to the Derby, and going back in my noggin I can’t remember a time. These are the #1 and #2 horses on punters golden lists. – If you’re having any trouble getting that picture of what they could look like as they turn for home. Take a look at these:

 

 

 

Dale Romans

 

I can remember the Romans colors at Latonia Race Course / Turfway Park many moons ago. It was his father Jerry’s silks who always seemed to be around the finish line every time they hit the track. A hardworking blue-collar outfit, and what better place to learn the trade than from one of the guys who did it the right way ? – Dale took out his training license in 1987, and saddled his first winner from his first start at Turfway Park.  There have been plenty of miles since then and now, and Dale Romans has been the kind of trainer known for speaking his mind. – A wise man once told me ” if you have nothing to be ashamed of, you can say whatever you want.” – I guess those words hold truth no matter what era you hail. In his own words according to the Racing Post; “I’m ready for an adventure. I’m sick of what’s happened to the sport in the US. I’m a horseman and I think races should be won by the better horse and not something else.” – What is Mr. Romans telling us ? Is there something in the fraternity of trainers he sees and doesn’t approve of ? – I like the no-nonsense trainers who don’t give excuses and won’t make up a tale. Romans is putting his money where his mouth is and stated a case to the Hong Kong Racing Authority that he would love the opportunity to be the next “northern hemisphere” trainer to be considered for a license. – Racing in Hong Kong is regulated rigorously, and riders and trainers are under a “quarantine” of sorts keeping them away from the media and public before racing takes place.  There are no drugs, no betting by riders or trainers, and a strict policy with no second chances. The wagering on an average day blows away the Breeders’ Cup weekend in the States. – I guess he has said a great deal without going on too far. One of the good guys is ready to hit the road and he’ll gladly undergo the watchful eye of the HKRA. Just like the old saying about saying what you want can be used for doing what you want if you have nothing to hide. – If you’re making a wager or two this weekend and see a Romans horse take the track. I’ll bet you’ll be more inclined to think twice before dismissing his runners again.

 

There are three more big weekends of races to watch before the Kentucky Derby. You’ll have the Spiral, the Florida Derby, Wood Memorial, Blue Grass, Santa Anita Derby, and the Arkansas Derby. There are other races you’ll want to watch and wager, but these are the biggies before the big dance. You’ll start reading about the major contenders after April 16, and play close attention from that point forward. – Winning Ponies always has your back, and we’ll bring you stories, free selections, the Internet Radio Show, and free Kentucky Derby and Oaks replays. Best of all you’ll have the one-of-a-kind data that is proven and tested with the E-Z Win Forms. We want to make sure you are completely prepared, and make it easy by having all of these items in one convenient place. With over $2,502,667 in exotic payoffs to date, why would you look anywhere else ? – Best of luck from your friends at Winning Ponies !