Who Do You Like Today ?

by Ed Meyer

posted on February 25, 2017 in Blogroll, General Discussion, Handicapping, WinningPonies.com | No Comments >>

The car was parked and the trek to the doors began. Sometimes we would jog in and Dad would catch the first race. Along the walkway were Daily Racing Form booths, tip sheets, and the occasional fan trying to sell general admission passes to make money for the double. The doors would swing open and the sounds would grab your attention. It had the feel of the stock exchange floor, and the swirl of humanity was a vortex of action. My brother and I would slip under the admission chain as we were under the age of being charged as Dad would meet us after he greased through the turnstiles. It was post time, and the boys were at the track.

Over the years I have observed every kind of tout, tipster, and sheet to be sold. – ” Sullivan here, Sullivan. – Had the Daily-Double yesterday and three winners. Sullivan here.” – If I live to be 100, I’ll never forget the older gent who stood on a platform stand barking the power of the Sullivan tip sheet. – There was the Kentucky Handicapper, The Green Sheet with the ultra popular “Finger” selections and the smaller sheets that came and went. – Horse players craved the info and there was no such thing as a computer, cell phone, and even the fax machine was a decade away.

The Racing Times made a bold bid to find it’s foothold and with Andy Beyer as publisher and it had more than a puncher’s chance. After a brief stint, it closed down the presses as the Daily Racing Form held sway since 1894. – Players have always craved information. Any edge could be the difference in a winning day or walking to the car early. Handicappers are cagey sorts at best and they are creatures of habit. – For as long as racing has taken place there are the hushed whispers that can be heard on the backstretch or near the betting windows. Everyone has an angle, and if they gave you the winning magic, you can bet your last dollar they’d be right back after the race hoping for a couple bucks. As a young player I fell victim to my own stupidity and can even remember the first steamer that came from the horse’s mouth to my Dad and I. – ” His name is Cornwall Bob, and he doesn’t win I’ll give your money back.” He’s still running somewhere back in the days gone by at old River Downs.

Over the years I’ve watched sheets come and go and others rise to prominence. I guess it all depends on what you’re looking for. Most sheets are printed 48 hours in advance and tell you who to bet. They don’t take account of weather or changing track conditions, and they’re still out there today. Horse players have always sought the edge over the public, and there is nothing flawed with that plan. But it just depends on where you look and what your looking for.

I met the folks at Winning Ponies in 2008. – I was immediately taken with how they made the their product attractive to new and seasoned players alike. That in itself is a pretty tough task. Winning Ponies doesn’t tell you bet the #2 or you’ll have a losing day. They break down the races with color coded easy-to-read tier levels. They show you how the race will take shape and which runners hold an advantage. Very straight forward comments in the handy icons catch your eye and the complete past performance have all the info a player could want. – If you’re a player who enjoys stats. You can toggle over the jockey or trainer and you’ll have every stat about the runner and the connections. – Who is doing well this meet, how does the rider and trainer team up, and every angle under the sun. – For a racing fan who wants to glance over data to see how the race takes shape and dig deeper from there. You may have just stumbled onto a great handicapping tool for you.

It’s been since 2008 and I’ve enjoyed every moment being a part of the Winning Ponies team. Over the years I’ve met players who show me their secret weapon, and more than you’d believe it was the Winning Ponies E-Z Win Forms. – The late-great Damon Runyon doesn’t have to be completely right with “All horse players must die broke.” – With information like Winning Ponies at your disposal I can see many winning days in your future. Less than two months into the year they have scored with $1,291,218 in exotic winning payoffs. If you haven’t given them a try there is no better time than now. – Winning Ponies offers an Internet radio Show bringing you the biggest and best names in racing, stories, free selections, blogs, free handicapping contests, and offers that are sure to fit your needs. – So what are ya’ waiting for ? It’s almost post time !

A Night to Remember

 

 

We’ve heard this mantra for most of our working life but what does it really mean ? – For most it is putting up with the daily grind and bearing it with a grin. As I said that is most of who go to work. – When you love what you’re doing and couldn’t think of a better place to be. That’s a horse of a different color.

I work in the press box area handling the photo finish and timing system. – I make sure the timing goes off in sync so the fractions posted are as accurate as possible with the American Teletimer system. Immediately as they cross the wire, I set up the photo for the placing judges to decide the order of finish. Once all is posted I print off a report for Equibase to chart the races and write comments. I guess you could say I enjoy my time at the races, and there are fewer places I would rather be.

Every time I take the Equibase report down the hall I see a couple of guests 3-4 times a week. – I see a 22-year-old rider who is constantly talking about racing. ” I can’t wait until Friday. He should run great and it may be my day.” – She sits in the room with the chart callers with boyfriend Dallas King who has been instrumental in her beginning and serves as consultant, cheerleader and constant fan. – Shelbi Ann Kurtz is the grand daughter of long time trainer Rick Jordan. She gets up early and gallops for grandpa and Keen. Somewhere in between she studies Equine Science and Spanish at the University of Kentucky.

Racing was in her blood as she took out a pony license at Belterra Park at 16-years-old and began as a freelance exercise rider mainly in Ohio and Kentucky. – “I’ve had great support from my family and my closest friends, who watch every race I ride. I always have several texts when I get back to the jocks’ room. It’s the greatest feeling knowing I’m supported in doing what I love and following my dreams,” according to the Turfway Park interview.

As I walk in I see a vibrant young lady who has the glow. – The glowing is a by-product of loving what you’re doing. It shows in her face and the talk that fills the room is mainly about how she is ready to get her first win under her belt. – She is a 10 lb bug rider and was looking to notch her first win. I could tell it was any day, and her infectious attitude had you watching with baited breath.

I always look over the card, and guests stop by the press box talking horses asking who you like. – Handicapping is part magic and wishful thinking. But the racing card jumped out as a young rider looked good on paper as I watched them walk the post parade. This night had her riding her 24th mount with three seconds and three thirds. – I remember when she had a runner on the lead going two turns when she opened up by daylight only to be bested in the shadow of the wire. Tough beats when you watch and wager from the grandstand, but signs of good things to come for the young jockey.

Fancy Is My Name is trained by grandpa Rick Jordan, and the 4-year-old filly looked solid. She had finished a game second in the opener as the odds-on favorite and rode hard down the lane. – Race #3 was a claiming event travelling 6f on the all-weather. She was heavily backed at the windows and when the gates swung open she hit the gas and grabbed the lead down the backstretch. Looking cool in the irons she wasn’t trying to get away and draw off quickly as she had a measured lead and looked to grab a handful of horse to save for the lane. She was joined by speedy Duchessoffoldenburg and stalker Gift Of Friends. – All the while she didn’t panic and made no hasty moves. As she was sided by two rivals, the field tipped off the rail six wide and she was riding in traffic. – She drew her stick and went to work down the lane. As the wire approached I sensed this was the one she was waiting for. – As I printed down the photo, it was more than just another race going official. It was the start of a young career doing what she had patiently waited for.

As her day had ended, she came up to the press box to talk horses and receive a congratulatory hug by many. – As she stopped by my office I heard her beaming voice; “Did you see me ? Did you see me ?” – Of course I did. I had already printed off the official photo and sent it to her and the social media manager who had it on Twitter shortly before she came upstairs. – I hugged her and wished her well and watched as a young rider walked three feet off the ground heading to the Equibase office to talk horses. – Far from just another day at the office and for a racing fan this was a good thing. There is promise of hope and great things to come for a young lady who was a million miles away from riding her grandpa’s pony at old Beulah Park. – Best of luck, Shelbi ! – It was an honor watching your first win.

Image may contain: one or more people, people riding on horses and horse

 

 

 

What Do I Look For ?

by Ed Meyer

posted on February 22, 2017 in Blogroll, General Discussion, Horse Racing, WinningPonies.com | No Comments >>

The hushed tones are starting to gain volume. Your favorite track you’ve watched over the years is now in bad shape. If you don’t feel comfortable with the facility, you’ll watch crowds turn into small groups. – We used to go early to find a seat, and this has been replaced by show up late and sit anywhere. – This has led me to create a mental list of what I need to be the loyal customer that has dissipated into the mist. Look around, those familiar faces are leaving and not coming back.

 

* Keep the facility well lit and clean. It starts in the parking lot showing the path to the doors, to the restrooms, your seating area, and trash receptacles. – I have chosen to make the trek and start me off with the right mindset. – Many tracks still try and keep the entire building open like they did in the 60’s. No need anymore. – Make the building smaller by closing large empty dining rooms and narrow your focus. Keep your main floor open and have other floors open on special days that focus on bands, brews and cheap eats. – People love to be where others are hanging and even though they may complain about crowd sizes. They usually stay away from empty areas. – Creatures of habit really enjoy the extra efforts that don’t cost much. After all, if you can’t take care of the restroom you won’t be able to serve the needs of the patrons.

* I used to watch hundreds of players bring in large coolers. Not many bother to bring in beer or alcohol, but they pack lunch, snacks and drinks. They are going to be there all day and want to keep money in their pocket instead of spending on concession fare. – This has the feel of the old time “pack a lunch crew” but food and beverage is a big money maker for the track. Many ovals use this stream of income to offset the smaller handle. No problems with this, and I probably speak for many smaller players. Give the patrons a varied selections with specials of the day and low cost beverages. – If this sounds cheap, you may be surprised of how many will stay home to save the money. – Give players a great location to stop in and grab a bite and make a few wagers. You may be surprised if you keep the race book well lit, clean, and offer up solid fare as you want players to hang around and go the distance.

* Give players a little something extra and it goes miles in perceived value. – Have a “second chance” drawing for losing tickets and have a drawing every 30 minutes for a free program, food voucher, or tickets to an upcoming event. – People love to win and really get behind it when they don’t have to pay to enter. – On live racing days have a “free” handicapping contest. Just find a sponsor to create a prize pool and we’re not talking a million dollar purse. I would be willing to bet the horsemen would want to take part in this endeavor. If you had a $1,000 pot to shoot for, the players hang around to watch and wager. – Nothing like a chance to win something for nothing as the handle grows daily.

* Never have a charge for parking or admission. They have outlived their time and this of course does not apply to a handful of tracks that put on the marquee events. – Gamblers are not charged at the local casino to park or enter, and why would you ? – Valet parking is a premium service and your restaurant is another. That part makes a bit of sense, but don’t overcharge players. You want the money going through the windows.

* Have an announcement board detailing events, tickets, and allow fans to make plans to join you for the big events. – The announcer can be a good source of informing you of events to come and important races coming up.

* All management needs to make a couple treks round the building daily. Let the patrons see you and be available for questions or concerns. Fans feel like they have a voice when they can stop you and bend your ear for a couple minutes. After all, it is their place and you would want to know what drives their interest.

As you start building on the crowds and get to know your players. You’ll start seeing a solid spike in attendance and handle. Value the small gains as they could be the gateway to having larger crowds. – Once you start seeing a difference, be sure to reinvest your gains back into the facility and fans. It may have the sound of a hamster wheel and it is. – The more you provide and better you serve, the more loyal the players become. As the handle starts to grow, have more giveaways, contests, and special perks for everyday players. – Did you ever notice how the big casinos have constant drawings and names being called to come back for a chance to spin the big wheel; choose your lucky horse, or win some money ? – The same can be utilized at the old track. It may start small but it can grow if you employ the above process.

Treat gamblers fair and they remain loyal for the long haul. – It won’t happen in one week, and if you look back they didn’t loose interest in a quick clip. Slow is the process and the rewards will be the same. – Look at it as building for the future and don’t be afraid to try something new. Race tracks have always played too close to the vest and seem a little hesitant to pull the trigger on a new promotion. – Jump in and you may see a difference. – You can always go back to doing nothing and expecting a change.

Road to the Derby – 2/11/17

by Ed Meyer

posted on February 13, 2017 in Blogroll, General Discussion, Handicapping, Horse Racing, WinningPonies.com | No Comments >>

Every week brings horse players another step closer to the Derby. – If you’re not a racing fan you wouldn’t get it in a thousand years. There’s something magical about the first Saturday in May. I’m not sure if it’s the beauty, the pageantry or the building excitement of watching the process funnel down to the big day. – With that in mind, here’s a glimpse of a couple races that may hold some answers in Louisville.

 

Tampa Bay Downs

 

Race #10 – The G-3 Sam F. Davis – 1 1/16 – 2/11/17

 

 

After watching this awesome display. You have to be thinking McCracken is something special. This son if Ghostzapper has a scary turn of foot and after settling in along the rail to save ground. B.J. Hernandez gave the green light to this colt and he tipped off the rail only to inhale the leaders. He had three races as two-year-old and was coming off a two month layoff at Churchill in the G-2 Kentucky Jockey Club. This colt is pretty impressive and has the look of a real contender winning easily breaking the track record.

Tapwrit had the services of Jose Ortiz and two impressive wins from three starts. Todd Pletcher always has plenty of runners that look good, and this guy may be just finding his way. The son of Tapit held against the rail and tried to weave off only to tap on the brakes gently watching McCraken roll by quickly. If you’re still not sold just take a gander at his turn of foot once Ortiz got him straightened. I like his action and he’ll have my attention as a rapidly maturing colt.

 

Santa Anita

 

Race #4 – The G-2 San Vincente – 7f – 2/12/17

 

 

Iliad won impressively and took down the prize. A ridgling son of Ghostzapper formerly trained by Bob Baffert. After the ownership transferred runners, he looked to rebound nicely off the his maiden win at LRC. Flavien Prat looked strong in the saddle and guided this fella with perfection.  – This was a super effort coming off a 56 day layoff with red-hot fractions in a compact field.

 

 

 

 

Turn up the Talking Heads

by Ed Meyer

posted on February 9, 2017 in Blogroll, General Discussion, Handicapping, Horse Racing, WinningPonies.com | No Comments >>

Walk into your favorite OTB, track, or peruse your favorite signal at home doing a little betting. You’ll see some entertaining folks who bring you a little inside info. – Most tracks have gotten wise and try to reach new demos while entertaining the customers. You know what’s wrong with this picture ? – Not a darn thing. – When you see the smiling good looking people talking horses trying to reach through the glass. This may be one of the most important tools the track could do for the players. Here are a few of my favorites that catch my attention anytime they pop up.

 

Andy Serling / NYRA  = Andy may be the best the sport has to offer. Once in a awhile you have to ignore some biting remarks, but the content is good as gold. I have watched “Talking Horses” and “Trips and Traps” where he is joined by a bevy of heavyweight handicappers who know how to bring the game to life: Richard Migliore, Travis Stone (odds-maker / track announcer), Anthony “Big A” Stabile, and Maggie Morley in the paddock bringing up-to-the second info about who looks good and why. – If you’re a Timeform US fan you have to love David Aragona’s words of wisdom as he’s a very good handicapper. In my opinion NYRA does it right, and many can learn what the fans want by pulling up a chair.

 

Ron Nicoletti / Gulfstream Park – Ron could have starred in your favorite Robert DeNiro movie, and has a smooth delivery that makes you feel like pulling up a chair and having a beer with this longtime ‘capper.  His analysis is strong and pairing him with Acacia Courtney and paddock commentator Gabby Gaudet gives a fuller picture to make players feel they are right there in Hallandale Beach.  – I love the paddock portion, as Ms. Gaudet has brought some really great insights to the table. – They make a great trifecta for handicapping selections, color and paddock info. – When track announcer Peter Aiello is on deck with Ron, play close attention to anything he has to say. A longtime handicapper who has a memory like an elephant. He never forgets a race, a bad trip, or a horse that didn’t look good. Be sure to turn up the sound for this announcer, as he’ll paint the picture and give one of the most accurate calls in racing.

 

Don Stevens / Delta Downs – Don is a very good handicapper, and the busiest man on social media. His presentation is smooth and chock full of great info. If you go to You Tube and take a look at Horseman Don you’ll see his selections, morning works, drone footage of the track, and promotion of racing in the most positive light. Many in racing could borrow a page from Don’s plan about reaching players. – By the way. He is one of the most underrated announcers in the sport, and doesn’t go over board with trying to outshine the horses. He is always on Facebook, and has even offered critiques and advice to announcers at other tracks. –   (Thanks for your help, Don.)

 

These are just a few that jump out as top signals to pay attention. They bring the inside info every player would love to know. – Players with money make a few bets and hopefully do well. – Give the same players additional insight and inside perspective and you have the complete handicapper. – This is the stuff that all handicappers want, and is valued by new patrons and longtime players. – So don’t turn down the sound. Pay close attention as the “Talking Heads” have plenty you’ll want to hear.

Problem Ponies – Horses to Watch – 2/6/17

Bettors and handicappers had a big weekend on tap as there were some important stakes for the three-year-olds, and somebody said there was a football game that was worth watching. If you are a sports fan, one who enjoys making a wager, or one of the whales in Las Vegas, this was your weekend ! – But there is plenty of business to tend to as we need to keep our bankrolls growing and here are some runners who could use a strong play next out. – Best of luck from your friends at Winning Ponies !

 

Aqueduct

2/4/17

 

Race #1 – #3 – Cookie Crisp – 6f on the inner track

Came out of the gate crooked and struck the gate. Wide on far turn and tried to pick up the pieces late in the lane.

Race #2 – #2 – Desirous – 1 mile on the inner track 

She jumped a shadow leaving the gate and ran a green place effort against a much better foe.

Race #4 – #8 – Battle Midway – 1 1/16 on the inner

Nice runner who spun six wide on the final turn showing a good late kick.

Race #5 – #7 – Tipit – 6f on the inner track

Steadied at the start and pinched back taking big public support at the windows this day.

 

Fair Grounds

2/4/17

 

Race #1 – #2 – Silverdollardreams – 1 mile on the dirt

Mike Maker trainee going turf-dirt and steadied at the 5/16th’s and bumped soundly down the lane.

Race #3 – #3 – Restless Gambler – 5 1/2f on the turf

Grabbed the lead as the odds-on chalk and faded a bit nearing the wire.

Race #9 – #8 – Blarp – 1 1/16 on the turf

Amoss trainee who was forced wide all the way around as the chalk and still managed a fast closing effort.

 

Gulfstream Park

2/4/17

 

Race #2 – #10 – Raining Lemons – 1 1/16 on the turf

Laurel shipper extremely wide down the lane closing very quickly for trainer Michael Matz.

Race #4 – #5 – Clyde’s Image – 1 mile on the turf

Exited the Dania Beach and grabbed the lead. Held up strong at a sweet price and just got caught at the wire.

Race #8 – #4 – Campaigners Gold – 1 1/16 on the turf

Bumped at the start and clipped heels early on. Still managed a 4th place effort this day.

Race #10 – #9 – Fifty Five- 1 1/16 on the turf

Grabbed the lead for Christophe Clement and got nailed in the shadow of the wire.

Race #11 – #9 – Fifty Five – 1 mile on the turf

Taken back sharply at the break and swung out 8 wide gaining quickly at the top of the lane.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Evolution of a Small Town Gambler

Gambling had a mystique that took place in back rooms or places your Mom wouldn’t approve. Rooms filled with smoke, profanity the second language, and if a lady was there she was tending bar or waiting on tables. Men could be found from every walk of life, and was the only place where you’d see the plumber talking with the Mayor. These were the days for those who wanted to make a bet. No such thing as simulcast wagering, and getting on a plane to fly to Las Vegas was a dream for many. Horse racing was the main action and certain places would take action on sports. – If you wanted to bet the Kentucky Derby you had to drive to Louisville and fight the over-flow crowds. Or if you had a “guy,” you could call and make a bet by phone, or head over to a local bar or VFW to the back room. Racing Form’s on tables, smoke hung thick in the air, and listening to stretch calls of the races on a small radio. If you were a small town gambler it couldn’t get any better.

The thought of every track on T.V. screen was a Las Vegas dream, and many never made the trip. Why ? – You had the ability to get your action by picking up the phone. Horse racing was a love of many in my family. We would make the big days at local tracks or venture out and catch the last three races after they stopped collecting for parking. The a.m. dial would hold the key to many tracks. You were listening to WNOP for live call of the last race from River Downs, or dial up WHAS and catch the Churchill Downs. My dad and I spent many afternoons around 4:00 pm listening for the “Call to the Post” bugle. It was the signal for theater of the mind to begin.  – Mike Battaglia, Kevin Goemmer, or Paul Rogers would bring the action live through the small speaker of a radio. It was won at an amusement park as a prize from a pie eating contest. That little white radio was the time machine that took you from the living room to a great spot against the rail to have the best seat in the house. The announcer would paint the action as you leaned closer to see the horses in your mind’s eye. These were the best of times.

During college I would excuse myself from a boring class and jog out to the car to hear the stretch call from Keeneland on WLAP. They came on at 20 after and 20 to the hour, and you would be treated to Mike Battaglia calling races for the radio as there was no track announcer. – I made a $20 bet which was way over my head, and when my horse drew off and paid $28 to win. I started the car and drove the 78 miles to Lexington to catch the last four races. – Yeah, I didn’t think it could get any better.

Slowly and surely the simulcast wave landed in my area. Betting on other tracks began and you could wager on the last two races from Arlington after the conclusion of the River Downs live racing card. – Inter-state wagering kicked up and you were allowed to bet a single in-state track with 30 minutes between races. The process was starting to flourish and gone were the days of the small town bookie and listening to a single live race with heaving breath.

Race tracks went from the blue-collar boardroom to the red carpet venue. Every track worth it’s salt had a state-of-the-art Race Book. You could watch and wager on every track around the country and the action would run from noon ’til midnight. – It felt like heaven had landed in my backyard and for a horse racing fan there was nothing better. – This went on for years and slowly the landscape changed. Casinos would eventually make their way into the market and bring Las Vegas minutes from your door step. It seemed like a short window from no real action to a saturation of the local markets. As the glitzy casinos grew and showed the betting public the Vegas look of making a bet. The tracks started to decline in handle. They had been the only game in town and were the heavyweight champ of making a bet. But they didn’t keep up and slowly you would see some of your favorite ovals fade into history. Places like; Ak-sar-ben, Bowie, Beulah, Calder, Great Lakes Downs, Hollywood Park, Pinnacle Race Course, River Downs, and Rockingham to name a handful. Some were gone forever and others were re-built as racinos with the guiding hand of the giant casinos. – Racing didn’t invest in the future and the complacency led to closures or grand opportunities for wagering professionals to rejuvenate the old track into a new destination. – Nothing lasts forever, and even the Mona Lisa is fading away.

I was too young to be a part of the casino action that held saw in many parts of the country. – I began after the local casino craze, and betting the horses was a simpler time. Glued to the radio, listening to the announcers transport you to the center of the action for the best seat in the house. You were right there on the rail basking in the sun as the Thoroughbreds would thunder down the stretch. I can still hear the bugle playing on the a.m. radio as my Dad and I would stop and be a part of the action.

 

 

Free Selections – Pegasus World Cup – Gulfstream Park

 

 

 

 

 

The big day has finally arrived and the racing world will focus on Miami this Saturday. Gulfstream Park was the place where I first began watching the road to the Derby many moons ago. The age of simulcast magically brought the live races to my local track and shortly after to the comfort of my home. – This latest chapter of rich history will have some of the best the game has to offer locking horns and battling it out for the world’s largest purse. For the shot of winning $7 million for the top prize, $1,750,000 for second, $1 million for third, and $250,000 for 4th – 12th all it cost was $1 million dollars from their backers. – There should be plenty of attention on the star-studded card with six blockbuster races and a $1 million dollar guaranteed pick-four on races 9-12. – The day kicks off with an 11:30 am first post and this is a day you won’t want to miss ! – Here are some runners who will get a good part of my bankroll for the day.

 

Race  #3 – The G-3 Hurricane Bertie – 7f – 12:30 pm EST

A solid field of eight fillies and mares go to post and this will get your racing appetite roaring. Here are a few runners to take a good look at before going to the windows.

#5 – You Brought Her – Corey Lanerie in the saddle and this gal is 5/7 ITM at GP and 10/15 ITM going 7f. She fits very well with the early pace that may set her up nicely.

#3 – Curlin’s Approval - Luis Saez is the reinsman and this daughter of Curlin loves the oval going 4/5 ITM and cuts back from the one mile distance. She was a beaten favorite last out since her last race at Keeneland.

 

Race #6 – Mdn Sp Wt – 1 1/16 on the turf – 2:01 pm EST

#3 -Slaimy – Javier Castellano in the saddle and on the big money days this jock brings his A + game. A son of Medaglia d’ Oro had one race going 7 1/2f on the turf and came rolling late after a slow beginning. – This race on paper does not do justice and a bullet work at Palm Beach Downs is proof they have been targeting the big day. Todd Pletcher wins 28% with his second time out runners and this guy will stay closer and give a good account down the lane.

 

Race #9 – Gulfstream Park Turf Sprint – 5f on the turf – 3:38 pm EST – *This race kicks off the $1 million pick-four *

 

#2 –  Manhattan Dan – Speedy son of Big Brown and he is 2/2 with wins over the GP greensward. Pay close attention to the 20.4 opening quarter last race. He is 5/7 ITM over the turf and 3/3 with wins sprinting.

#5 – Divine Warrior - Tyler Gafflione in the irons for Buff Bradley and is a fast closer who is 2/3 over the GP turf.

#3 – Long on Value – Joel Rosario in the saddle and is 2/3 ITM over the course and cuts back in distance. This son of Value Plus will come flying late in the lane.

#11- Power Alert – Julien Leparoux in the irons fresh off a win in the Tampa Turf Dash.  – 4/4 with wins at GP and has faced mainly stakes company in his career.

 

Race #10 – The G-3 La Prevoyante – 1 1/2 on the turf – 4:14 pm EST

#3 – Try Your Luck - Florent Geroux in the saddle and this daughter of Looking at Lucky is 4/4 ITM over the GP turf and has the look of closer who will relish the extra ground in race filled with speed.

#7 — Arles -Rosario for Graham Motion and they do good work together. Ever since coming over from Germany this mare is getting better. She had an excuse losing the whip two back and distance should be no problem. – I’m a big fan of the trainer and he is 48% ITM with shippers.

#12 – Suffused – Jose Ortiz in town for Bill Mott and this gal is bred to the gills by Champs Elysees and her dam has three starters and three winners on the turf. The distance is no problem and Ortiz will have to get her a little closer to save ground, and that is no problem for this rider who wins 19% on the weeds.

#6 – Promotional – Tom Proctor trainee has the services of Jose Lezcano. A solid closer who can score at a sweet price for the “mad genius” Proctor on the turf.

 

Race #11 – The G-3 W.L. McKnight -1 1/2 on the turf – 4:50 pm EST

#1 Taghleeb –  Gafflione has the call for Mike Maker and he is 5/6 ITM at GP on the greensward. He exits an impressive win in the 2 mile in the H. Allen Jerkens and should enjoy the short cut back. The rider loves the Florida oval and should be a big factor.

#4 - Danish Dynaformer – Rosario for Roger Attfield and they have been on the shelf for two months. He has mainly faced graded company in his career and worked a bullet at Payson Park over the turf. – This son of Dynaformer isn’t here for the sun and is dangerous at a price.

#6 – Charming Kitten – Mike Smith in the saddle for Mike Maker as they come back from the Curragh in Ireland. The return of lasix will help this son of Kitten’s Joy and he is 6/8 ITM over the GP sod. Having the “Money-Man” Smith in the irons is always a good play.

#7 – Twilight Eclipse – Jose Ortiz gets the nod and he has been off since the Breeders’ Cup. He has tons of back class and one of the best up and coming riders on the scene.

#10 – Mr. Maybe – Javier Castellano in the irons for Chad Brown and this is a tandem that must be respected. They win 24% as a team and been off for three months. A solid work clip, and a boatload of recent classy moves makes this son of Ghostzapper tough to overlook.

#12 – Hunter O’Riley – Johnny V in the driver’s seat for James Toner and this guy was super wide in the H. Allen Jerkens last out. His resume may cry out for lesser company but I’m leaning to the tandem that is 75% ITM as a team.

 

Race #12 -The G-1 $12 Million Dollar Pegasus World Cup – 1 1/8 – 5:40 pm EST

The $1 million dollar ticket was enough to keep many of the pretenders away and only those connections who believe they have a legit shot have ponied up the money for the world’s richest horse race. – Many will have that sentimental feel for California Chrome as he gets ready to call it a career, and others will try and play the spoiler. For me, I kept the tears away and stayed true to my instincts.

#1 – Arrogate – Mike Smith in the saddle for Bob Baffert and they don’t venture east unless they feel they have a chance at taking down the prize. – The “Money Man” is ultra dangerous and especially when he teams up with Baffert. – The Travers was a huge day for me when I watched with gaping mouth as he drew off by 13 with the greatest of ease. This son of Unbridled’s Song is 6/6 ITM with 5 wins to his credit. Breaking from the #1 post can’t hurt as Smith can go or lay just off saving ground. He beat California Chrome last out in the Breeders’ Cup with a savvy ride from Smith, and cutting back from a 1 1/4 makes him even more attractive. – Smith is in the cat bird seat and can push the button any time he wants. – C.C. is breaking from the #12 post, and will have to be his very best to seal the deal. There are a bevy of runners who will push the pace and not give him an easy trip. I have all the respect in the world for the connections and there is not a better guy than trainer Art Sherman. They have had the dream of a lifetime and like everything, it will come to a close ending on this day.

 

Use the free selections as a starting point. – Before you make wager one be sure and download your Winning Ponies E-Z Win Forms. They are double-dangerous on marquee days and have been proven over time to dial up the big money scores. – Be sure to join John Englehardt on the Winning Ponies Internet Show in Thursday night, or go back and catch it on podcast as he’ll be breaking down the Pegasus World Cup with renowned handicapper Dan Illman from DRF.com. – Free selections, an Internet Show, and the best data in the business with the Winning Ponies E-Z Win Forms. This should have you prepared and ready to score, and as always. Best of luck from your friends at Winning Ponies !

 

 

 

 

The Sun, The Rain, and the Love of a Game.

by Ed Meyer

posted on January 20, 2017 in Blogroll, General Discussion, Horse Racing, WinningPonies.com | No Comments >>

The sun shone down with clouds of white fluffy puffs on a background of deep azul. Wind blew swiftly through the car windows as my hand was cutting imaginary paths through the air. – There was a feeling of quiet in the car, as the radio played a George Jones song in the background. It could’ve been any day at any time but it was a beautiful afternoon following a soaking rain. The fresh smell washed away the old, and the day was a start of something new. – It was the start of a love affair that would last a lifetime.

It seems like yesterday when my Mom was packing and crying. The day was still early and the skies opened up watering the earth. – I was normally in bed but something made me get up. It was the sound of bustling and movement in the house and even a teenager could feel the energy. She was leaving my Dad this morning. They never seemed to fit, but our family was intact. She was asking my brother and I if we wanted to go with her. We were going to live with my grandparents and it was only going to be temporary. – He was three years younger, and agreed to go with his voice quivering. – The door swung open and a large burly construction worker walked in the house as it was pouring rain this morning. Funny how the things come together as he would have been working long hours in the elements. – He asked in a calming voice for her to slow and talk, but her mind was made up. As she was packing and crying he was trying to be the voice of reason. – In a little over a half an hour I spoke five words that would change my life. – I said “I’ll stay here with Dad.” – He was my hero and I wasn’t going anywhere. – As I watched my Mother leave with my brother, we stood there for a few minutes until he broke the deafening silence. ” You wanna’ go to River Downs today ? – Go grab a shower, we’ll get something to eat and head over.”

That was my official start of falling in love. – When I was sad I would head to the track. If I made some extra money cutting grass, it was off to catch the Harness races at night. Most of my first dates were at the races, as I figured if they could enjoy the evening we had a real shot together. – The races were my first love and one that would always be there for me good or bad. – I’m not sure what took me back so long ago; maybe it was the pouring rain as I was getting my son ready for school, or possibly the lack of sleep. Either way I was transported to the time when I fell in love.

Seldom is something everything for every need. But racing filled the shoes. It was time well spent with my Dad, the place I was allowed to drive when I was 16-years-old on my own, and the beauty and pageantry that would captivate my soul. – It was a place where I made a few bucks as a parking lot kid; a job that helped me through college, and eventually the work that would call me in many capacities over the years. – It’s fair to say my love has never let me down, and even on the bad days they left with me with eternal optimism to return and experience the joy.

I used to go to the paddock as a kid watching every move of the trainers and owners. To me they were giants and captains of industry. There could have been no higher job in the world. – I dreamed of owning a horse, but that would never come true for a young man with no connections to the game. That was for the people in the know and I couldn’t have been farther away if I tried. – When I met folks over the years who would become lifelong friends, we ventured in and claimed a few cheap geldings. – The first was a beauty who couldn’t run a lick, but that chestnut was the beginning of a new chapter. The next cost a bit more and when we traveled to Churchill Downs to drop in a claim, I was walking on cloud nine. – As I pulled all of my money to buy into 1/3rd, and borrowed every dime I could get my hands on. I was now in the business of being a horse owner. – As I plunked down my borrowed money and watched as State Budget drew off down the lane. I found a new level of love. – As the nasty gelding was bucking and kicking back to the test barn; My Old Kentucky Home played in the background at the conclusion of the day. I was as close to heaven on earth as a young man could get.

I’ve had the greatest opportunities in the world. – It started as a job in the parking lot from the kind words of a family friend who would get me started. I made my way slowly up the ladder, and with no connections to the sport, that is the blue-collar way to finding yourself in the game. – Radio shows, on-air handicapping, and writing about the game have brought joy to my life. To date my favorite job is calling the races and setting the morning line at Belterra Park as I ready to start my fourth year. – Just reading the words made me smile.

Looking back I’ve had one heck of a good time. I won’t be rich and there won’t be a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. But that was never part of the dream for this kid driving in that car with his Dad many years ago. – I was supposed to meet a girl that rainy day so long ago, but the events of the morning would forever change my life. – I did meet my muse and she and I have had a love affair for many years. It’s the kind of love that lasts a lifetime and only the lucky will ever know.

Problem Ponies – Horses to Watch – 1/16/17

As the passing weeks draw closer to the sweet smell of roses, horse players are starting to awaken for the long run to the first Saturday in May. – You’ll see your favorite winter time ovals beginning to start showcasing the best of what the season has to offer. – Keep your radar up as here are some runners who may not have had tier best day and could come right back and score at a square price. Remember, it’s never to early to start building your bankroll as we round the turn of winter and head to spring. – Best of luck from your friends at Winning Ponies !

 

Gulfstream Park

1/14/17

Race #8 – #9 – Nessy – 1 1/8 on the turf

Corey Lanerie had this guy rolling down the lane after encountering a bit of traffic around the far turn.

Race #9 – #1 – Spellker – 5f on the turf

Joel Rosario had this gal rating well and was out kicked down the lane as the odds-on favorite. She’ll improve with every start and there is no better time than next out to get started.

Race #10 – #7 – Divisidero – 1 1/16 on the turf

Edgar Prado had this guy rolling from the back of the pack. He looked “washed out” in the post parade and still managed to finish third on this day.

 

Aqueduct

1/14/17

Race #2 – #1 – My Girl Annie – 6f on the inner dirt

Nice filly for the Chad Brown barn and Manny Franco seemed like he didn’t get any response early as the odds-on chalk. She’ll do better next out as the trainer is know for getting everything worked out between races.

Race #5 – #3 – Royal Posse – 1 and 70 on the inner dirt

3rd off the layoff and he delivered his 5th start in the Jazil Stakes. The New York-bred is a real gamer and I think there is plenty more in the tank.

Race #8 – #9 – Divine Interventio- 6f on the inner

Asmussen trainee with Irad Ortiz in the irons. Showed an impressive late kick going 7-8 wide into the lane, and this is a good race to build on.

Race #9 – #4 – Grassmiss – 6f on the inner dirt

Allen Garcia in the saddle and his filly was dead last most of the race. Once she was given the cue she made a strong rally to be bested by a neck at the wire.

 

Oaklawn Park

1/14/17

 

Race #1 – #2 – Wild Dreams – 6f on the dirt

Alex Birzer won easily for Jack Van Berg and looks to be cruising right through the claiming conditions.

Race #3 – #6 – Tempo Seeker – 6f on the dirt

1st timer who was sent off the post time chalk. Jose Ortiz had the call and he came rolling late with a purpose. Top of the lane he was 6 wide angling out late for the show spot. – His second race will allow him to mature and give a better showing.

Race #6 – #1 – Sightforsoreeyes – 1 mile on the dirt

CD invader checked at the 6f mark and was forced to steady at the top of the lane. Maybe a little better trip will reward his backers at the windows.