Weekend Video Preview

If you’re a trip handicapper, this will be in your wheel-house. Winning Ponies has ALL of the Derby and Oaks preps on site so you can go back and take a good look before you download your E-Z Win Forms. I love to trip handicap, but I hate jumping from place-to-place. Here it is in one easy spot, and all you have to do is sit back and make some mental notes.

I am hooked on the Florida Derby card. It appears to be an excellent wagering opportunity, and last year Constitution kept me in action for quite sometime. Eight opponents enter the starting gate for the $1 million dollar Besilu Stables Florida Derby. The Florida Derby has produced 57 winners of Triple Crown races since its inaugural running in 1952. This year’s 1 1/8-mile contest will provide the  winner 100 points in the “Road to the Kentucky Derby” standings. It is the finale on a 14-race card that includes eight stakes, seven of which are graded according to the Bloodhorse.com.

Here are some insights that may be a decision maker, or tossed to the wind:



$1 Million Besilu Stables Florida Derby

Post Position & Odds

1 – Ami’s Flatter                      8-1

2 – Jack Tripp                         20-1

3 – Indianaughty                     20-1

4 – Itsaknockout                     2-1

5 – Quimet 20-1                     20-1

6 – My Point Exactly               30-1

7 – Materiality                       7-2

8 – Dekabrist                         30-1

9 – Upstart 8-5                       8-5


#1 – Ami’s Flatter (8-1) - If you like a runner who was finishing up nicely against a much tougher foe in Carpe Diem, then you have one to watch right here. http://bit.ly/1DY9DjF

#4 – Itsaknockout (2-1) - This guy is one tough cookie and appears to be peaking at the right time. Three races to his resume, and is undefeated for Todd Pletcher. The Todd-Squad will be on full alert as he knows Baffert has pocket aces with Dortmund and American Pharaoh. He has that look of a Derby Day runner. Broke his maiden in 2014, and is 2/2 in 2015. “He has trained very well,” Pletcher said. “He’s a very consistent colt and very easy to train. He’s one of those horses that does  whatever you ask. You’d never know he’s in the barn. (Where he is in the race)  is going to depend on the pace scenario a little bit, according to Todd Pletcher. For me, he fits perfectly. If this race goes to plan, he’ll be on his way to Louisville. http://bit.ly/1B8PJqB

#7 – Materiality (7-2) -Alto Racing’s Materiality, the 7-2 third choice on the morning  line, debuted Jan. 11 with a 4 1/4-length victory at six furlongs at Gulfstream  before romping away to win by 5 3/4 lengths from highly regarded stable mate  Stanford when stretching out to 1 1/8 miles in the  Islamorada Handicap March 6th. ”To be running in the Florida Derby off three starts and two  starts is fairly uncommon,” Pletcher said. “We were able to do it with  Constitution last year, but it takes exceptional horses to do it, and so far  these two have handled every step up that we’ve given them,” according to the Blood Horse interview with Todd Pletcher. He’ll be one of the “didn’t start as a two-yr.-old question, but if he continues off his last race he’ll be coming into his own. http://bit.ly/1FV14dH

#9 – Upstart (8-5) – A New York-bred son of Flatter has done very little wrong. He comes into the race in fine order, but must overcome the #9 post. If you look back at the Holy Bull, he had no problem being three wide at the 1/2, and scored easily. The last race has me questioning pace and distance. If he gets pushed too fast, it may set up nicely for “Knockout.” http://bit.ly/1B8PJqB


This is a HUGE weekend of racing, and you will want to examine the past performance videos on the Winning Ponies before downloading your E-Z Win Forms. There is incredible racing for the Dubai World Cup, and you can read up all the action right here http://bit.ly/1xxhsQw. – The (G-2) Louisiana Derby takes place on Saturday, and you can read the latest all Derby notes from the “Big Easy,” http://bit.ly/1ETBbJW

Best of luck this weekend from Winning Ponies, and be sure to take a look at the replays. Winning Ponies has both Oaks and Derby prep replays, and you’ll find them to be a handy-dandy tool in refreshing yourself on how the race took shape.









Yesterday’s Roses

The Kentucky Derby at John Barleycorn Schaumburg

The roses are blooming in the hot house buildings at Churchill Downs. For the throngs of fans, we see them in our hearts year long. I remember doing a radio show years ago for Turfway Park. Our producer secured us a spot in the old press box area, and I had never attended a Kentucky Derby. Just like the race itself, we don’t know what to expect until we get there.

I can remember the crisp Louisville morning as we rode an elevator to the inner-sanctum. The walls were filled with the greatest scribes that ever covered racing. I walked the entire room and looked at every one. You saw old black and white photos, and knew they have long since passed our way. The look in their eyes, their stately pose, and how they seemed to stare on forever brought me a chill. As we walked onto a tiered deck, I didn’t’ know what to expect. I thought we might be able to see part of the track, and didn’t think about making a bet as it would have been out of the question. All of that was fine as I began stepping closer to our station.

We were right on the finish line. The roses were a shade of red I’ve never seen before, and the track was a manicured perfection. As I looked around there were some of the famous voices and faces I have followed for years. I had a phone book of notes and quips that would be my best. I had all of the materials every handicapper should own before making your first bet. Just as I was being counted in by the producer, I did something I never do before covering a big event. I tossed away the notes and spoke from the heart. The Kentucky Derby does not deserve a rehearsed speech. I didn’t want to look back and wish I had done something different. It may have been the manicured track, the beauty, or my first time being invited to the club. Derby fever had taken hold of my senses, and for a moment in time I was truly a part of the game.

If you had one more time to go to the track. Where would you go? Would you take a loved one who is gone, or would you relish the day alone? If you could choose any place and time. Where would we find you? For me, I’d like to get in the mental time machine and see that glorious day again. When I think back to that morning at Churchill Downs, there were a few that I would’ve loved to had with me. It’s not about me, it’s about sharing a moment with the ones we know would have felt the same. There is no glory or achievement if you don’t share the experience. I never wanted to ride the roller coaster alone, and I wanted to take folks who would love it more than me. If you collect things, you will have nothing in the end. It’s all about the journey and not about just the destination. Oh how I would have loved to have shared this time with a precious few.

First, I would love to have had my grandpa there. He was a $2 bettor who loved the races. He met his wife at old Latonia Race Course, and they married on the way to the 1937 Kentucky Derby. He would drive out and watch the last two or three races a few nights a week. His days were spent in the back of a bar room. He didn’t drink a drop, but a bookie was stationed there who would take wagers. He loved gambling, and the action was his enjoyment. I was his the first grandchild, and he called me “#1.” His #1 boy. I would have loved to had him sit back and take it all in. He wouldn’t have said a peep, but would have sat there like a statue absorbing every word. I guess all grand-parents would be proud, but this day would have been special. He would have loved the idea that I had the opportunity to do what I loved, as he had the best seat in the house. A guy who rambled along in the grandstand, would have been sitting there staring out at the roses, smoking a Dutch Master’s cigar.

I started going with my Dad years ago. I used to tag along as he taught me over time to read the past performances. Friends more than father and son, and best friends at that. But time can sour those sweet moments. We get lost along the way confusing the past, and finding dissatisfaction with the future. We get scared and doubt sets in.  Days turn to months, and the person you would have first called doesn’t feel the same. I would have liked to take the guy I loved more than any, but the guy about 15 years younger. When he used to love going to the races and experiencing the action.  He wouldn’t have been a history buff for the location, but he would have been ready to take on the day. Athletes are always competitors whether they know it or not, and he was one helluva’ player. He would have sat back not saying a word but just nodding his head reading the form. He wouldn’t have missed the day for a guy who would have acted like it was an imposition to go to the Derby. This would have been the perfect day sharing it with the guy I loved more than any other.

The Derby evokes emotions and summons memories from far away places. This Saturday, I’m leaving for the Fair Grounds and the 102nd Louisiana Derby. Life is just too damn short to wait for the next bus as it never seems to arrive. I’m looking forward to meeting good friends and taking in the day. The weather won’t matter, and winning or losing for once won’t be part of the plan. I’m going to enjoy the journey, and not the destination. It’s been awhile since I’ve been this excited, and few would even know I’m going. Oh, I’ll be trying my best to find the winners, but the day at the races will be extra special. The sights and the smells, the history of New Orleans, and the time spent with friends.


It’s All In The Numbers

Most of us hated math class. Notice I said, MOST. There are handicappers who dive into the numbers with a pencil and scratch pad, while others develop and test algorithms to see if a runner is worth the risk. There are handicappers that have been working on their own pace figures for years, and most are still tweaking out the bugs 20-years later. Winning Ponies has been crafting predictions longer than some have been handicapping. The best part of the day is when you arrive at your selections from pouring over material. The E-Z Win forms do the leg work, and the ball is in your court to determine how you’ll put it in play. It was Spiral Day, and I haven’t missed a wagering opportunity for Turfway Park in 20 years. My plan was to use the top four E-Z Win selections and put them in action. Here is the recap of my day.

Race #2 - I boxed the top three, and used the top selection as a key in the pick three. The top two ran 1-2, and the top selection won keeping my pick three alive. – The exacta paid $18.00

Race #3 – I used the top four in an exacta and a $1 trifecta box. – They ran 1-2-3-4, and the exacta paid $39.40 and the $1 tri came back $46.50. – My pick three is still alive with a $2.80 horse, and a $9.00 runner.

Race #4 – I boxed the top four in an exacta and $1 trifecta. They ran 1-2-3-4, and the exacta paid $44, and the $1 tri came back $55.40. – The pick three paid a small $11.35 for 50-cents.

Race #5 – I boxed the top four selections in an exacta and $1 trifecta, and bet $20 to win on the top selection. – They came back 1-2, and the exacta paid $19.20, my $20 win bet yielded a $46 bonus as the trifecta went south.

All is going well and I start looking ahead. I see two big name riders with Mike Smith and Jose Lezcano on the card. The jock colony on this day was stellar, but these two guys are definitely worth a good look. I’m sticking with the data and making good decisions. Why stop now?

Race #6 – I used the top three and tossed out the 4th pick. They finished the top selection first, and the fourth selection second. My stupidity cost me a $43 exacta. Things happen, and they usually happen when you second guess what is working.

Race #7 – I was blown out of the water with the 5th choice winning costing me an exacta and trifecta. I  thought karma was going to pay me back for being a bone head.

Race #8 – This was a short field and the top selection was a new gelding according to the E-Z Win forms. I just keyed him in a pick four, and went over to watch the basketball game. He scored to pay $3.80. Maybe I’m getting back on track, but too early to tell.  - My ticket was 1 X 4 X 5 X 4 = $40.00 / 50-cents.

Race #9 - I kept up my trifecta and exacta wagers, and both went south. The 4th choice won and paid $13.40. – The pick four was still alive.

Race #10 – The Bourbonette = I didn’t make an exacta or tri in this race, but made a $20 win bet on Jose Lezcano. He wasn’t in the top four, but I felt he was there for a reason. She won and paid $13.40. I was still alive in the pick four, and left money on the table by not using the top four selections per plan. It cost me a $63 exacta, and a $113.60 trifecta.

Race #11 – The Spiral Stakes = I had the pick four going with four runners and got away from my exacta / trifecta wager again. Lady Luck was smiling, and the p-4 hit and paid $680.80 for 50-cents. If I would have played the top four as I started, there would’ve been an $83.80 exacta to go along with my score. But no complaining from this camp!

Players have been trying to figure out the “magic potion” for years. Winning Ponies has made the game more enjoyable, profitable, and taken away the guesswork. If I had stuck to my plan, the day would have went along smoothly. Overall, I can’t be mad. The day was good and there was plenty of money to go around. You can’t cry about money left on the table, but only learn from your mistakes and stick to your plan. – Best of luck!



Derby Points Starting To Rise In Value

“You’ll miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” I blame my thinking on basketball and the bevy of the hoops action. The old adage used for hoops, tequila drinking, or gambling, resonates in my noggin today. As the point values for the Kentucky Derby and Oaks are hanging in for the final 50-20-10-5 week, you can bet your hat many contenders want to ensure a spot in the staring gate in Louisville. The weeks ahead are just going to get tougher, and this weekend may be that “sneaky spot” to nail down your Derby weekend reservations.

Before we move on to the weekend ahead, be sure to go back and take a closer look. Yep, you can access all of the videos from the Triple Crown preps prior to making your wagers this weekend, or go back and watch right here on Winning Ponies. If you’re a trip capper, this is a bonus. If you’re just curious, this is a real treat! The Sport of King’s fails to disappoint, and this weekend should be a value laden opportunity.

Turfway Park

The undercard historically has produced some very nice wagering opportunities. Now, there may not be $100 win tickets, but after examining the Winning Ponies E-Z Win Forms, there are some primes betting angles that will allow you to cash in some multi-race scores.

Race #10 – The Boubonette Oaks – 1 mile

If you’re a fan of beating the chalk, Winning Ponies has dialed up a plan suited to your needs. There are two incredible runners that were mentioned on the Winning Ponies Internet Show of which you can catch on podcast. Both fillies are not “chalky” and the E-Z Win Forms have pulled out some wagering fuel that can make this race more lucrative to play. This is one of the toughest races on the card, and you’ll want to start by downloading your forms now.

Race #11 – The (G-3) Spiral – 1 1/8

There are runners who are trying the surface for the first time, some switching back, and the rider colony for the card is top-notch. You’ll want to be armed to the teeth in here as this race has brought some big name players who do well at Churchill, and if you go back to Animal Kingdom. This was the race that gave me the direction to cash in on the Kentucky Derby. You never know about the Turfway poly. Some take to it easily, and others seem to have their mind elsewhere. Winning Ponies has a super plan for making this a big casher.

For Sunday, there is a super card on tap at Sunland Park. Winning Ponies will be dialed in for the Sunday action which has a sweet undercard, and the Oaks and Derby both offer up points for the weekend. Bob Baffert has three wins in the Sunland Derby and could this weekend be #4? That’s where the E-Z Win Forms will guide your wagering to find the maximum betting value. Sunland may be a track you play on a frequent basis, but for me I’ll lean heavily on the E-Z Win Forms to make this a big weekend as the exotic predictions have paid over $1,775,955 to date. – Best of luck from Winning Ponies!



Five Reasons I Love Horse Racing

Do the voices in your head ever tell you to shut it down for awhile? Can you feel doubt creeping in, but you head upstream anyway? Just pick up your feet and keep going. That is the grind. The game requires you to burn away doubt, and ignore the devil in the details. Luck is the last wish of believing that winning happens by accident. Ignore the stats, throw away the doubt, and don’t listen to those who won’t believe. If you buy into any or all, or feel yourself leaning in this direction. Get ready, let’s go to the track.


1. - Bet you’ve never seen this. My favorite analogy is ”how many times have you seen anyone scream at a slot machine for two minutes?” Me neither. I’ve had more chills run down my arm; I’ve taken flight as my horse came from the clouds, and when they near the wire it gets even sweeter if you’re in the mix. I have gambled on about everything, and NOTHING compares to racing.

2. - I fell in love with homework. – When we were kids, having that extra work at night could be a bummer. We couldn’t watch The Big Bang Theory, and had to spend our time fighting to get the better grade. Racing is a cerebral game. This is not mindless gambling that allows you to stare into space. Just like school, you get more out of it if you put in the time. I started to enjoy breaking down the races like a fine cigar. There is no hurry up and get finished, it’s all about the journey versus the destination. I’ve played big money poker, blackjack and craps. Nothing challenges me like looking over a racing card.

3. – The environment. – Casino action takes place in a timeless vacuum. There are no clocks, and if you don’t look at your watch. You have no clue of the time. Racing is all about time. How many minutes to post? How fast was the opening quarter? Time is precious and finite. For my gambling entertainment, I choose to spend my time watching the races.

4. – Friends and family. – Racing allows you to talk between races. I spent more time jogging into the track with my Dad to make the double, and I only wish we could do it all again. I have made friends at the track who are still in my life. In the industry, there have been some wonderful folks who have helped with opportunities. How many times at the craps table do you see people talking when the dice are out? Me neither.

5. – Bang for your buck. – Now be honest on this one. If you had $200, and planned on being at the casino for three hours, do you think you have enough money to play? If you give me the same $200 to go to the track. I’ll have action all day, a few beers, and more times than not I’ll be in action after three hours.

It’s your call. Do what you enjoy, and don’t let anyone tell you different. If you enjoy going to the casino, playing the lottery, or just pitching pennies. God speed. Thoroughbred racing is a part of my life; a source of entertainment, and has allowed me to enjoy many different careers in the industry. I have lost and won, and there has never been a time I wanted to stay away. If you haven’t been in awhile, give it another chance. This is the best time of year as three-year-old runners target Churchill Downs for the greatest two minutes in sports. Hurry up and get ready. It’s almost post time!


I’ll Give You Five Million Reasons

Ok, how about five million dollars? No, really. Five million dollars.  Tracks and OTB’s around the nation will be riding high on the visibility of March Madness. The Washington Post reports that March Madness costs the employers $1.2 billion for each hour of basketball televised. Now that’s pretty impressive unless you’re the boss paying all of to watch from our cubicles. But, I digress. I’m a big fan of racing reaching out to create player excitement. You can smile, shake hands, or give away a free cap. But in the end, it all boils down to, “how can you make my experience more fun?”

Thoroughbred racing is in a bit of stand still at the moment. Not on a global scale, but just here in the states. How about riding college basketball right into the national scene? Warren Buffett put out the golden carrot with the $1 billion NCAA Tournament prize for selecting a perfect bracket. That’s nice, and it’s great. The odds are only 1 in 9,223,372,036,854,775,808. You probably have a better chance at sprouting wings and taking flight with Elvis.

The Final Four kicks off on 4/4 this year. The state of Kentucky will be in the major  spotlight with U.K. located in the heart of horse country. One month later, the eyes of the sporting world will be locked on the Kentucky Derby. Players will have the opportunity to “select” the final four teams in the NCAA Tournament, and they are given the latest Derby future book runners heading for Louisville. You MUST select the correct final four teams playing, and the winner of the Kentucky Derby. Players love the opportunity to take a shot at the lottery for free.  Everyone is a winner, as the NTRA gathers information on real gamblers. Yep, 40 million people filled out brackets last year, and wagered over $9 billion according to vox.com. This info could be used to attract the attention of new and lapsed players. The on-line promotion will have purchased an insurance policy as with all mega contests, and now they’ll have real info to work with. Just think how cool it’s going to look every time you see the words $5 million in print ads, sports rags, and mentioned on every sports radio program. Racing could follow the lead of NASCAR and be cool in a hurry.

Could it be that easy? Nothing ever is, but it’s a huge leap forward riding on the coat tails of a winner. Just think, racing may find a new fan base overnight. Many think we have the secret sauce to what ails the game. I don’t think we can keep rolling out the old ideas and hoping for new results. What’s wrong with following the leaders? No need to reinvent the wheel as there are plenty of sports who have faced similar problems. It’s time to pony-up racing as the shot clock is ticking.

Invest In The Future Now!

Once upon a time there was the big three: Racing, Baseball, and Boxing. They captured our attention, and one could keep up with the action in the newspaper. How did we go wrong from there? Was there a warning sign we ignored? Most of all, while The Sport of Kings’ is an afterthought in the states. It continues to flourish in other areas of the world on a grand scale. Is it too late too late to pay heed to the successful models?

I read an interesting article from sportsvice.com, and it spoke of an entertainment destination that is truly one-of-a-kind. – Happy Valley Race Course is located in Hong Kong, and it offers something for everyone. The Hong Kong Jockey Club first came about in 1884, and was founded to promote horse racing. The organization is the largest taxpayer in Hong Kong, as well as the largest private donor of charity funds, contributing an average of over HK$1 billion (approximately US$130 million) annually over the past ten years. The HKJC holds over 700 races each year, and reports in early 2002 the HKJC licensed 1,144 horse owners, 24 trainers and 35 jockeys and had 1,435 horses in training.

“The average handle for one race card in Hong Kong typically exceeds the handle for every other race card in the U.S. other than the Kentucky Derby. The handle for the 2014 13-race Derby card at Churchill was $180.5 million; the handle for the 13-race card at Belmont for the 2014 Belmont Stakes last year, in which a Triple Crown was on the line, was $150.3 million, a record that was nearly $40 million higher than any other Belmont card in history,” – according to sportsvice.com

On July 6, at Hong Kong’s other track, Sha Tin, the turnover was $229 million, biggest take of the year, even it wasn’t the largest in-house audience. The biggest 2014 gate came on Chinese New Year, when 92,000 packed Sha Tin, a bigger crowd than the one that witnessed this year’s Super Bowl in person. Tracks in the states used to have standing room only and not only did you have to pay for parking, you were nailed a $5 charge before getting to wager. The lines were long, bathrooms packed and dirty, and the food wasn’t worth the arm and leg you paid. Wait. I may have an idea why we started on the path of decline.

The per cap wagering for Hong Kong is $500 versus the average $396 per player in the United States. – “The entire racing industry is controlled top-to-bottom by the non-profit HKJC, which owns and operates the two racetracks and the province’s betting distribution system (account wagering, OTBs, video production). It limits the number of horses that are allowed into the province, and is responsible for all regulation of racing, including the enforcement of its rules and its drug-testing program. It’s highly structured, resulting in a company that can operate in an environment where it sets all the rules and prices. It helps that all those revenues in Hong Kong allow the Jockey Club to reinvest in its product and consistently adopt cutting-edge technologies,” according to sportsvice.com.

Here is your dose of “what needs to happen according to Ed.” Racing has gambling. Now, let them have it all. They housed gaming since the beginning of our first settlement. If you allow tracks to have: horse racing, lottery, slot machines, table games, and the ultra-lucrative sports betting. One authority, one set of rules, taxed and regulated, and a big provider of jobs. What the hell is wrong with this idea? No more tracks going under, and asking for permission to go to the little boy’s room. Racing is gambling, not gaming. Gaming is what my son does when he plugs in a cartridge and rules the world of flying monkeys. When I plunk down money, I’ve never remembered saying “it doesn’t matter if I win or lose.” The powers that be put powdered sugar on horse ca-ca and called it road apple surprise. We just bought it and took it home for dessert.

There have been a few cornering the racing market. Now, don’t play silly. We all watched as Churchill grew into a giant size bully. Would you have ever believed CDI would come out and publicly say that “racing is not their biggest revenue producer?” They used racing like an “escort” to the dance. Happy Valley is a destination place. You want big drink specials, come on Wednesday. You like a little music with the ponies, be here on Saturday. Why isn’t racing savable?

Tracks should have great food, ample free seating, and the ability to sell all wagers. Why would we destroy an industry by turning our backs on it? I guess it’s easier to build a new fan base than invest in your current environment. It used to be easy when it was the only game in town (legal for the most part). We live in the times where malls are white elephants, and going to the races is politically incorrect. We have grown complacent wanting to pull a slot lever versus studying the next race. Speed has replaced pageantry, and how many people can tell me who won the Slot Machine Derby in 1875? I can. Nobody, because there is no such thing as Santa, the Tooth Fairy and a history book detailing the connections of the winning slot tournament. – Why did we give up so easily?


Look Closer!

The old adage of the closer you get the less you see doesn’t apply here. We have approached the golden time of when the road to the roses gets sweeter with every prep. I know, I know. There are more than the law allows, and now more than ever you can examine all of the races in one place. A place where you receive the best racing guidance to make your day a winner. Data you rely on giving you an edge, and now you can look into the future by examining the past.

I have a few sources of examining the race replays and sometimes it can be a boring task that takes a hunk of time. But now, all you have to do is keep up on the racing rags and Winning Ponies blogs for up-to-the minute info. Oh, and when you want to go back and utilize the trip handicapping element. You can find it all in the same place, and as luck would have it you are right here!

Everyone has some runners that have caught their eye, and by going back and watching the complete video replays from Winning Ponies, you can add a little more to your edge over the other handicappers. Here are some races that have my attention. If you don’t believe me, just go back and take a look on the Winning Ponies site for yourself.

The Fountain of Youth – I think this race holds two or more players to watch. The winner was impressive, and do not dismiss Frosted. First time equipment medication changes take a time or two to get use to. Also, pay close attention to the fast closing Frammento.


The Southwest - The race was contested over wet ground, but there is plenty to like. The winner received a PERFECT ride, and the 2nd and 3rd place runners need to be kept on your radar screens.


The Tampa Bay Derby – The ownership of the winner has a string of second place finishes in this race, and wasn’t looking for the big win. But, when you have the best horse, you seize the day and take it to the bank. Also, keep your eye on the second place finisher who finished up strong.


The UAE Oaks – I’m not sure if this gal is going to make the trip to Louisville, but you’ll want to keep her on your list for the Dubai Carnival season and anytime she runs. Pay special attention to the last 1/8th of a mile. Very nice high cruising speed down the long stretch.


There it is, and all you have to do is make Winning Ponies your one-stop-shop for everything racing. The red hot E-Z Win Forms, the comprehensive breakdown the field, and the Race Ratings to allow you to examine not only the current race, but the last three. Add in the ability to watch all of the Oaks/Derby preps that started on 9/6/14 and you have a complete picture on how the race is shaping up. Best of luck, and keep coming back as the weeks leading up to the biggest weekend in racing start heating up!


What’s On My Mind?

We live in a time when people sit in the same room and have a smart phone, iPad, or some sort of techno distraction as we no longer communicate. My girlfriend plays a game on her phone about trivia, and my son texts to his friends. I asked what they wanted to watch, and nobody answered back. The answer hit me like a ton of bricks which neither could comprehend. Unplug and relax. Remember? You sat around and learned about each other’s day, and what was on their plate. This got me to thinking about my Saturday morning rituals. I would do the shower and shave routine, and sit back with a glass of juice and turn on HRTV. I looked forward to getting the news, track info, and the latest scoops. No distractions, texts, or on-line games to keep me away from the one-of-a-kind info being served.

We keep up to speed on-line, and at the same time learn more about each other. Peter Lurie was let go from HRTV, and it appeared on many racing sites. Facebook is that place where some bear their soul, give an explanation, or just communicate on a larger stage. Mr. Lurie was the perfect fit, and he will be missed greatly by handicappers. He brought a sense of racing professionalism that is rare in these times. When I saw this post, I felt a lump in my throat you would only know if you have been laid off, downsized, or just let go. I’m not trying to speak for Mr. Lurie, but wanted to pass on to our readers that he is looking to the future. Best of luck, Peter. Hope to see you at the races soon!

It’s hard to put into words how much love and appreciation I have for everyone associated with Hrtv.. but even more so for all of you out there on FB and Twitter… no matter what happens, It gives me great joy to know in some small way, We made a difference. I’ve never been much of a religious person, but more of a spiritual being.. and I’ve always believed everything happens for a reason. Where ever I end up I truly believe it will be the right place.. and All of you out there I can only say THANK YOU for allowing me to be part of your lives… Trust me, I’m not going anywhere… Still got a lot more to accomplish… Be Well.”

I originally slammed the idea of the TVG/HRTV buyout, but started hoping that bigger heads would appreciate real talent. After further review, this is the beginning of the end of good television racing coverage. HRTV prided itself on having quality talent who know racing. This is not to say everyone at TVG is unprofessional, or a buffoon. But, there has been a history of goofing around and talking about wine, places to eat, and race coverage is shown when time allows. The sport is the star, and not the pretty people who talk about mani/pedi visits to the spa. I sure hope they turn up the heat, or more folks will lean away from the TVG/ADW. For me, I just turn down the sound or watch on computer. Unless you would have Thom “Tell-it-like-it-is” Amoss bringing us closer, or the return of Mr. B. – Racing coverage may stink until they remove their heads from the clouds.

Just when I thought things would settle down for awhile, I got back on social media to find out another bad decision has been made. I found this post from Aaron Vercruysse, who was speaking for he and his talented partner Jeff Siegel.

“Jeff and I did our last show together this morning on HRTV/TVG. It has been a blessing to have such a fun job (if you can call it a job, I never did). We are on to a different endeavor but know that race fans will hear from us again, only through a different outlet. Many thanks to all the friends made and fans of racing wherever you may be. I know I can speak for both of us in wishing TVG the best of luck, make racing proud.” Here is a Twitter

Jeff Siegel  @HRTVJeff             Mar 9

To those who have inquired, Aaron and I have completed our obligation to HRTV/TVG and will no longer be part of the talent rotation.

No more “The Player, Clocker’s Corner, or Inside Information.” I know I wasn’t alone enjoying quality programming, and I’m aware there are some casualties when something is bought out. It has happened to me and many other friends who work in racing, and no matter what is said, paid out, or posted. It’s never easy, and we only hope the best for these quality folks. It leaves me thinking what is the plan? Is there some master plan the public doesn’t know about? Maybe more communication would be a good start. Stop punishing the bettors and fans of the game, and let us plan ahead with no surprises. Best of luck to the talented folks who will no longer be a part of our Saturday mornings.


You Can Hang A Man More Than Once

gallows photo: Gallows gallows.jpgRoman Chapa may be the most “shocking” news in racing. Ok, I’ll stop with the electrical humor, but I’ll say the recent news jolted my senses a bit. If you’ve been living under a rock, or if you just don’t like to read about stupid human tricks. Here is the abbreviated version. Chapa was caught carrying an electrical device aboard Quiet Acceleration on January 17, 2015 at Sam Houston Race Park. Coady Photography caught the incident in full-color, and he was given a five year suspension and a $25,000 fine.

Chapa is not a newbie when it comes to carrying a “machine.” In 2007, the New Mexico Racing Commission fined Chapa $1,500 and suspended his  license five years after discovering he possessed an electrical shocking device during a race at Sunland Park, and in 1994, during his first year of competition, Chapa was suspended nine months and fined $2,500 by stewards at the Gillespie County Fair in Texas after the jockey  admitted using a nail on a horse during an Aug. 13 race, according to the Blood Horse articles.

It looks like the picture is coming into full focus, as Roman Chapa is seeking any edge possible when he competes. Not unlike the NBA, NFL, MLB, and every sport on the planet. There are consequences for illegal actions. It is up to the athlete in question to weigh out the punishment versus the crime. In the words of one of my favorite TV detective shows, Beretta. “Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time.” The one and only one I’ve ever seen was the length and width of a credit card and about as thick as half a deck of playing cards. This was twenty years ago, so I’m sure that larcenous horsemen have used current technology to make them smaller by now. The idea seems to be to hit the horse with a machine during a race when the nefarious rider thinks he needs a quick burst of speed to improve his position. It’s only effective for about a thirty yard burst.

I understood the device was worn near the cuff of the jockey’s sleeve, and pressed on the horse’s neck. It’s always a question of how the horse will react to the “machine,” so unscrupulous jockeys were well advised to use the device on a horse in a workout before trying it in a race. Before, during, and after the race, there are a lot of officials watching the action. If a race steward (usually a retired trainer, or sometimes a retired jockey) suspects anything about the jockey, they can be strip-searched. If the machine is found, the rider will be barred from racing not only from the track where he was caught, but usually in any other state whose racing authority has reciprocal agreements. He is also ineligible to work as a trainer. Think about getting hit with a cattle prod to get you back to your cubicle. Would it make you stay away from the water cooler and get your work finished? No, it just seems unfair.

Stewards began the investigation a day after the race after Chapa contacted the track photographer, Coady Photography, about removing from the track’s website a photo from the race that apparently showed the rider holding an object in his  left hand according to the Blood Horse.com. After further investigation, he was fined $25,000 and suspended for five years. In my opinion this is pretty soft as he has been caught twice before. I guess we should have added in for his punishment that he read 100 times the Dick Francis novel, For Kicks. It is about the cruelty of human participants in the sport of kings. Or, maybe we should have let 100 salt of the earth trainers who work 12-hr days line up and take a shot or two. They would never put their horses in danger, and would rather finish up the track honestly than be a part of this activity.

I once read that a condemned man cannot be hung twice. Now, that doesn’t make me an expert, but I think we all get the idea. That is until Texas Racing Commissioner Chuck Trout upped his fine to $100,000 for his two previous suspensions to drive the point home crystal clear. It was in his authority to increase the fine, and just when things look to be bad, they just got a little worse for Mr. Chapa. After reading the entire Blood Horse coverage, I started thinking. Are we sending the right message? If a rider or trainer continues the practice of gaining an illegal edge. Will they stop when they get caught? No.

How about raising the price of poker? For the infraction, the stewards ruled that Chapa violated four rules or racing: possession of  contraband, influence of race prohibited, unlawful influence on racing, and  inhumane treatment of horse or Greyhound. We could take it to a new level. First there is a $50,000 fine, and the person in question is suspended for ten years. For those ten years, the suspended participant is to work with retired, abused, and abandoned race horses. They will have to speak about the effects of using electrical devices, illegally drugging horses, and the many other activities that can take place. Who better to speak on such a subject than one who actually took part? If you think the ten year suspension is harsh. Yes, it is. It will take away the best years of a rider’s life to compete. That is the point, and if they want to walk away and not work to better the game. They are banned for life in every racing jurisdiction. Their picture, prints, and list of offences will be sent to every track around the world. I don’t think they’ll ever pull one over again.