Duped, or Just Misunderstood ?

Maria Borell

 

 

When the Breeders’ Cup rolled into Lexington, the world had all eyes glued to the bucolic settings of Keeneland. There were initial doubts until the masses watched as “Brigadoon” transformed into a horse racing machine. The fears were put to bed and the memories remain. Some more fond than others, and a few remain that leave the weekend in question.

Maria Borell arrived on the scene and captured America’s heart. – She led over a runner for the Breeders’ Cup Sprint by the name of Runhappy. The owner was a colorful one-of-a-kind man named Jim “Mattress Mac” McIngvale. I think everyone has a story about this self-made man, and his antics are known far and wide in the world of sports. – He has a certain flair for grabbing your attention.

Onward and upward. I was taken in by the media accounts of a pretty young trainer who appeared to be racing’s new darling. It felt like a “Rocky Balboa” story of a champ coming out of nowhere. – It grabbed my heart, and I started my silent backing of the Borell corner. – But after further debate, I came to the realization that “Mac” in all his crazy antics and sales pitches had to be smarter than to publicly dismiss a young and upcoming trainer. I had heard the stories of Laura Wolthers and taking back control of the string of horses again. – I was sitting on the bubble and found myself caught between feeling sorry, and this man must know something the public doesn’t. – This is a fine line as large as the Equator, and sometimes it’s best to sit on the sidelines and wait for the smoke to clear.

I was rolling along on Facebook and came across a story on US Racing’s site. It was shared by Derek Simon, and I found myself sitting at the crossroads again. I began my journey into the story and it is one you’ll have to read for yourself. – https://www.usracing.com/news/analysis/shocking-untold-story-maria-borell

In sports, we have to listen to the people we entrust with our athletes and go from there. If that were not the case, we would just do it ourselves. – Having not written the story, one has to wonder where the truth will be found. – This is meant to stimulate thought, conversation, and not just accept what we watched on Breeders’ Cup Day as the empirical truth. For me, I think back to how James McIngvale stood quietly and waited. He didn’t want to tarnish the race, the day, or the event. “Mattress Mac” has been know for speaking up and getting it out there. But he patiently waited and withstood the court of public opinion.

As a racing fan I’m sure that Ms. Borell had the best at heart at some point for her horses. – Maybe this is a misunderstood story, and she is still being manipulated by the media. But somewhere in the middle lies the truth. We as fans, keepers of the racing flame, and the next generation of the sport have to take in all the facts before we decide. – That may be the best idea for everything we do in life. Gather the facts, understand the issue, and only then will you be able to make an informed decision. – Mr. Simon is the editorial director at US Racing, and he has given us something to think about by sharing a story that was center stage on Halloween. – Take it all in and decide for yourself.

Three Ways to Beat a Bad Streak

We’ve all had em’, and few know how to beat them down. In the words of legendary gambler Pittsburgh Phil; ” Cut your bets when in a losing streak, and increase them when running in a spasm of good luck.” – Easier said than done, and here are a few ideas to getting you off the bench. See if any apply, and if you find one that fits you. Remember what was said about jockeys and advice. – “The good ones don’t need it and the bad ones won’t heed it.”

 

 

1. – Give me a break = There is nothing like taking a vacation after a long year at the office. You get some sun on your face and the alarm clock is left in the drawer. – The same goes for gambling on the races. Sometimes you just need a break. We all do, and once upon a time we used to get it. Long before the simulcast explosion, there was a down time. Unless you had access to a bookie or lived within driving distance to a track, you had some down time to build back your bankroll. With the over saturation of action 24 / 7 /365. It becomes impossible to get that needed down time. – For instance, I was home today as the track was not running. I had a pal give me a call and told me about some solid runners at Indiana Grand. So off and away I go, and found myself $30 down. – No blame on my buddy, all the blame is on me. We need some down time to get our bearings straight. – Think of it as a cleanse and get rid of your bad habits. You have time to re-evaluate your methods and you’ll come back hungry. – Give yourself a break, you deserve some down time.

 

 

2. – Cut it in half = If you like to bet $20 per race, make it $10. If it’s $5, round it up to $3. You get the idea. – This allows you to appreciate and not hustle through your wagers. It’s like your favorite meal you savor with every bite versus a sack of White Castles you swallow whole. Betting a smaller amount takes the pressure off and you have a chance to enjoy. – When you have that sweet winner that pays double digits, you’ll first want to kick yourself in the pants for not betting more. But tell me how it feels when you make your first losing wager and watch that (2-1) shot run down the pike and you only had $2 to win on him. – You’ll be glad you dropped back to punt. Every diet in the world talks about portion control, just use this logic and you’ll be back in a good mindset before long.

 

 

3.  – It’s all in your mind = You better damn well believe this one for sure ! – Your outlook is the most important tool in gambling. – You borrowed money to go to the races ? You’ll lose 8 out of 10 times. Have a fight with the wife before you hit the door ? You’re dead in the water before you pullout of the driveway. – Before we can start winning you have to visualize the deed getting done. It’s just like work, or visualizing the golf ball and the sweet spot meeting at the right part of your swing. – Gambling is 90% mental, and having the proper mindset can make all of the difference in the world. How many times did you cut work early or have a project that needed more time and you blew it off for a day at the races ? – Oh, there will be a handful of days where you’ll knock them dead, but the end grade will always be bad. – Do some handicapping the night before, get up a little earlier to decide on your wagering plan, and when you get to the track take your time. Stay away from the naysayers, bad attitude players and borrowers of money. They will suck your good fortune away quicker than you’ll ever know.  – Pittsburgh Phil was way ahead of his time, and his words still hold truth to this day. Here are a couple of my favorites that speak to the above rules of thumb.

 

* All consistently successful players of horses are men of temperate habits in life.

* Special knowledge is not a talent. A man must acquire it by hard work.

* When you feel yourself getting out of form then take a rest and freshen up.

* The less one thinks of crookedness and trickery in racing the more successful will be his handicapping.

“Problem Ponies” – Horses to Watch

Animated Horse Gif's Collection
The second jewel is in the books and we won’t be seeing a Triple Crown winner this year. That’s ok, as we waited 37 years for the last one, and I sure want the racing world to not assume it’s so easy we’ll just run off three or four in a row. – The fast pace, the rain, and the grandstands filled to capacity were plenty to get the inner-horse player in all of us jumping. But the game continues and it is time to go back to the drawing board. – Here are some problem runners who need a good look before heading to the windows as they could start your bankroll heading in the right direction.

 

Arlington Park

5/21/16 – Race #6 – 6 1/2f on the poly track

#11 – Defiant Flyer = Murrill Mitchell in the saddle, and he settled out his runner and was forced to split horses in tight quarters and made a decent run to finish 4th after being far back in the field.

5/21/16 – Race #8 – 1 mile on the turf

#7 – Dabria = Julio Felix was the reinsman and his mount was forced to take up to avoid the geese who wandered onto the track going five wide afterwards. – Maybe if the Aflac goose stays home he’ll get his picture taken next out.

 

Belmont Park 

5/21/16 – Race #2 – 1 1/16 on the inner turf

#1 – Industrial Policy = Junior Alvarado in the irons and his mount stumbled badly at the start and the rider just jogged her home for a work over the track.

5/21/16 – Race #4 – 6f on the turf

#1 – First Charmer = Junior Alvarado in the saddle and he checked down the backstretch and just mailed it home from there going five wide on the turn and jog home.

 

Pimlico

5/21/16 – Race #6 – 1 mile on the turf

#2 – He’ll Pay = Florent Geroux in the irons, and his mount was shuffled back leaving the starting gate and put in a sub par effort after the fact.

5/21/16 – Race #12 – 1 1/16 on the turf

#3 – Captain Dixie = Nik Juarez in the saddle, and even though the green was saturated, his mount bumped leaving the starting gate and altered course in mid stretch.

5/21/16 – Race #13 – 1 3/16

#1 – Cherry Wine = Corey Lanerie was in the irons, and the fast paced Preakness played perfectly into his plans. – Coming out of the starting gate he hit his head and bobbled a bit. All things considered, the way he closed down the lane this guy is getting good at the right time.

 

 

Why Do You Like ?

Post time draws closer with the passing of every minute and the second jewel of the Triple Crown is up for grabs. For the sake of being master of the obvious, only one can be the next Triple Crown winner. But the bigger question begs, “is this the year we keep it going ?” – If you watched the Derby and saw Nyquist draw off with the greatest of ease, you have to support that camp even if you don’t like the price. But if you’re spending time watching the weather, the horses in the morning, and who the hard core handicappers like. You’re probably looking elsewhere.

In a nutshell, this race should offer an honest to quick pace. – The odds should be pretty short on the Derby winner, and you’re going to have to find exotics or a guaranteed pick-four pool to draw my money out of my pocket. As a fan there is nothing I would rather see, as a handicapper this is the last thing I want to happen. So what’s a player to do ? – Do you sit back and take what they give you, or do you go to work now and find that hidden nugget of gold ? – I’ve got my miner’s hat and pick in hand and off I go with my trusty mule Sadie to head into the gold mine.

 

According to handicapper Derek Simon of US Racing; “Since 1990, Kentucky Derby winners are 10-for-27 (37 percent) in the Preakness.” – They say the numbers don’t lie, and aren’t you looking to make up for some lost ground in the Derby ? – I know that I’m standing in that line, and it is pretty darn tough to knock a colt who comes into the Preakness undefeated. As “Devil’s Advocate” here are the tales of the tape that may in fact hold some water. – Nyquist became the 8th undefeated winner of the Kentucky Derby, and it appeared that Exaggerator was getting to the winner in the late stages. – Or was he just chasing a runner who had a whole new gear yet to show ? Take a look at the Derby replay and keep an open mind. – Fast forward to 1:26 in the race, and watch how Gun Runner softened up the leader and looked like a real threat.  – Oh, by the way. Gun Runner is hanging up the remaining Triple Crown races to focus on a summer campaign. – If Gun Runner wasn’t in the picture. How far would Nyquist have drawn off ?

 

 

Ok, now you’ve watched the Derby for the 100th time, and yes Nyquist looks incredible. It has to be on the mind of racing fans far and wide that Nyquist is bound to etch his name with the immortals who have captured the Triple Crown. – The weatherman is calling for a high percentage of showers on Saturday starting around 6:00 am, and that leaves little magic for the track crew to work. It looks like a steady downpour all day, and I for one hope the weather man is out to lunch. – The weather has been tossed around by handicappers since the Derby and if you missed the Florida Derby. Here is another glimpse of Nyquist handling a soggy / good track for his meeting with the ultra-tough Mohaymen. Fast forward to 1:45 in the race and see if it looks like a replay of his last race win in the Kentucky Derby.

 

 

Ok, ok. – It is time to try to beat this monster. At the time of this entry the post positions have not been drawn and who knows if there will be additional defections. – Cherry Wine is an excellent candidate to get the job down. Lightly raced this year, finished a fast closing effort in the Bluegrass Stakes getting beat a head for place and the whole enchilada by 1 3/4. Oh, and if the rain dance is on your mind. He broke his maiden at Churchill Downs on November 28, in Race #7 drawing off to win by 9 and 1/4 on the sealed sloppy oval. Once they figured out to take him off the turf and test his mettle. I think we have a good horse getting better at the right time.

 

Exaggerator was rolling late, but Nyquist didn’t look worried. Was it he had the race in hand, or he had given his all and it was time to find the finish line ? – The players who like this son of Curlin have been thinking rain since the Derby.  – The big knock on this colt is he has faced Nyquist four times and hasn’t sealed the deal yet. He does enjoy the off going with a record of (3) starts with (2) win and (1) place effort over the goo. I feel he is a late bloomer, and we’re just getting to see his best efforts. Can he knock off the top runner, well you better hope the rain really is his hole card. He’ll still have to face this nasty runner who is also peaking at the right time. Remember, the Preakness is a 1/16th shorter than the Derby and he’ll rely on a blistering pace to play into his hands. – When he moved early, he took on the dimension of a different animal. He moved at the 4 furlong pole, and looked like a downhill train by the time they hit the 3/8th’s pole. Take notice of the early fractions: 22.15, 45.24, and 1:10.10. – If you see anything near this, the race could be for place for anyone else.

 

At the end of the day we have to make decisions as handicappers. I know this is early and barring any crazy defections, Exaggerator gets my money, vote, and hopeful bid to win Preakness 141. – I’m looking for Cherry Wine to put up a very game efforts, but he’ll fall just a little short to the two heavyweights. Nyquist will be second on my tickets, but he’ll be on there as sure as Saturday. – First race post Saturday is 10:30 a.m. – The Preakness, the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown and the 13th of 14 races, will anchor a $2 million guaranteed Late Pick 4 and a $1 million guaranteed Late Pick 5. The Preakness will also be the last race of a $100,000 single-winner guarantee in the Rainbow 6, which begins with Race 8. – Other guarantees will include a $250,000 Early Pick 5 beginning with Race 2, a $300,000 Early Pick 4 beginning with Race 3, and a $500,000 Pick 5 beginning with Race 6.

 

There is plenty of wagering action on the menu, and you’ll be hard-pressed not to take part. – You’ll want to download your Winning Ponies E-Z Win Forms as soon as possible, and keep your eye on the weather. Winning Ponies is ready if it is sunny and 70, or rainy and 55 degrees. You can change your one-of-a-kind E-Z Win Forms by clicking “the change of weather tab.” – With so much on the table, and guarantied pools swelling. You’ll want every edge you can find, and the ability to receive a brand new set of E-Z Win Forms if the weather turns one way or the other can be the difference. – Best of luck from your friends at Winning Ponies, and be sure to check back for your E-Z Win Forms later this week with some free E-Z Win selections to get your day rolling !

“Problem Ponies” – Horses to Watch

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We see runners who get shut off and have to take up during the course of a race. Handicappers try to document as many as possible and some even subscribe to a “horse watch” service where runners are emailed to you allowing you to make plans to follow them back. – Winning Ponies would like to offer  you a few runners who need to be on the watch list the next time they hit the track. – Once you see them in the entries, be sure to see where they measure up on the E-Z Win Forms before pulling the trigger.

 

Belmont Park

5/14/16 – Race #3 – 1 1/16 on the main

#3 -Miles of Humor = John Velasquez aboard and his mount was bumped soundly at the start and pinched between foes.

 

5/14/16 – Race #8 – 1 1/16 on the turf

#1 – Recepta = Johnny V aboard for James Toner, and his mare was in tight after the break and clipped heels shortly after. Once the smoke cleared, she put it all together to run a solid third place effort.

 

 

Churchill Downs

5/14/16 – Race #3 –  1 1/16 on the turf

#7 – Daddy’s Boo = She broke through the gate prior to the race, and this can take a bit of the edge right off a runner. Robby Albarado did an excellent job sending her to the front and was the bridesmaid on this day. A clean trip may be the answer.

 

5/14/16 – Race #7 – One mile on the main

#5 – Conspired  = Robby A in the irons and his mount broke through the gate prior to the start. She chased the pace setter and finished a dismal 5th.

 

 

Gulfstream Park

5/14/16 – Race #4 – 6f on the main

#3 – Poda = She was bumped repeatedly at the start and still managed to shake free and set the pace down the backstretch. – Let her catch a clean start and it may be lights out !

 

5/14/16 – Race #6 – 6 1/2f on the main

#2 – Cat’s Warrior = He was forced to steady all the way down the lane and never had a shot to uncork a rally. A better trip may be just what the doctor ordered.

 

That should get you started compiling a list of runners who need a good look next time to the races. – In my opinion, there is no substitute for going back and watching the races. Trip handicapping has been around since binoculars were invented, and for this handicapper there is no substitute in spending a little time going back and taking a closer look. – Keep and open mind and you may be surprised what you’ll see.

What’s On My Mind ?

I’m sick and tired of reading ‘telephone tough-guys” who smack the sport. I wish I could put a bow on top and make it look pretty, but that’s just not the case. There have been a few things on my mind, and I think some folks may agree. If not, I’m sure they’ll disagree and bring a fresh perspective. – Every so often you have to purge the old ways that stagnate, and allow a new fresh approach to sweeten the air. Without further ado, here are some things on the mind of this handicapper.

Betfair / Exchange wagering = This is the greatest thing since they mixed Jack and Coke. As a player, I can’t wait until this extends well beyond the boundaries of New Jersey and punters will enjoy this new toy. – I love the idea of “laying” a wager or locking in my odds. Sounds too good to be true, but I think it will take way too long to trickle down to the rank and file players. – We can’t get them to come out and enjoy $1 beer, free bands, and cheap wagers. How in God’s name will they lock into odds, or begin to understand the “in-race wagering ?” – They won’t. – I applaud the idea and I think a small percentage of players are going to do even better, but what is the plan to extend to the masses ? – I sure can’t wait, but after the first few days I have heard nothing but problems. But that is to be expected when rolling out any new product. I love the way TVG has embraced this and explains every nuance of the process. – Maybe a tutorial video on the main site ? – How about players having the ability to email or text the talking heads about how to use this new gem ? – All thoughts are good and the plan is the future of wagering at a lower takeout. – I can’t wait, but I’ll watch for awhile.

Track cancellations = From time to time tracks have to cancel. Mainly it’s for track conditions, but sometimes it is for the rare electrical problem or tote issue. There have been two tracks that have cancelled for a few days, and it is completely for the safety of the horses and riders. – The track doesn’t make money when they’re not running, and who can argue with the decision to take every precaution to protect the participants ? – I’ve been reading a few articles and I would like to file the responses under “what were you thinking.” – There are the caring folks who understand things happen, and even though they find themselves inconvenienced. They understand the game and the occasional setbacks. – Then you get the original telephone tough-guys who attack; the hot dog vendors, the casino / racino operators, the poor conditions of the brand new facilities, and my personal favorite the track announcer’s ability. – Now, what does any of this have to do with the track needing added work ? – Nothing. – Some folks have an agenda and want to slam anyone to make themselves a celebrity behind the curtain. – I’m a big boy and most of the crap is just tossed, but I’ve read some folks making royal asses of themselves. Ease up and talk about the issues at hand. The game of racing could use all of the support possible, and when opinions are welcomed, some see this as a forum to bitch about personal agendas. Sad but true, and if you look over the sites that report about cancellations, some smart asses see this as a soapbox to bitch about something completely off topic in an anonymous shield to protect them. – Follow along, read the entire article, and chime in when you have something to say. In these days and times, you never know. It might even be a “longshot,” but it could be the guy or gal in the next cubicle talking bad about the industry they work. – Get on board racing fans, leave the hot dog vendor alone as they can’t control the track conditions. As Mom used to say, if you have nothing to say, say nothing at all. – Safety is paramount in every sport, and I really doubt the slot machines or announcers have made the track have slick spots due to rain.

 

The $12 Million Dollar Pegasus Cup = You have to admit, Frank Stronach makes things happen. – If this race can be put together, this  may attract world attention. I for one would love to see it, but before I buy all of the stock I can, I want to find out more about the idea. According to the Paulick Report; Here are some additional details on the conditions of the race, according to Jack Wolf, the Starlight Racing founder who has been retained by Frank Stronach to be CEO of the Pegasus World Cup:

–The race is nine furlongs on dirt (Wolf said the distance was chosen as a way of getting both mile and a quarter horses and milers who may stretch out an extra furlong)

–In addition to the $7-million first prize, second place pays $1.75 million, with $1 million to third and $250,000 each to fourth through 12th place.

–4-year-olds and up carry 124 pounds

–fillies and mares allowed 3 pound weight allowance

–3-year-olds allowed 3 pound weight allowance

–Southern Hemisphere 3-year-olds allowed 3 pound allowance

–horses competing without race-day furosemide (Lasix) allowed 5 pounds

The date is a quiet one on the sports calendar (it’s the weekend before the Super Bowl in Houston) and placed midway between the Breeders’ Cup Nov. 4-5 and Dubai World Cup in late March.

It’s also early enough in the year that a horse committed to enter stud that breeding season could make the Pegasus World Cup his final career start.

Wolf said he is hoping to land a network television deal. In addition to the prize money, participants would share in 100 percent of the net income from pari-mutuel handle, media rights and sponsorship.

 

I would love to see this come together, and as always it seems like all plans have been made to accommodate as many runners as possible. – It sure would be nice to have the world’s richest horse race in the United States, and who knows this may be the start of a big beautiful day.

Derby Day Report Card

 
The big day was upon and I was locked and loaded. – I guess that means I had my E-Z Win Forms in hand and bankroll burning a hole in my pocket. Last year I started slow and went on fire late in the card. I was wondering how the day would treat me and decided on a plan to make my day a winner. – I decided to box the top four tier level selections for a $1 trifecta as there were full fields, and $6 to win on the top tier choice. That was $30 per race for 14 races for a $420 wagering plan. I was sticking to my guns come hell or high water and wasn’t going to change up this year. Here is my report card for Kentucky Derby 142.

 

Race #1- Wagered $30, caught the trifecta with the 2nd,3rd,and 4th choices.-The $1 tri paid =$33.20

 

Race #5 -I didn’t snag the trifecta, but my $6 to win on the top tier runner paid $17.80 for $53.40

 

Race #6 –I caught the “chalky “trifecta and had $6 to win on the top tier selection who paid $2.60 = Trifecta came back  $40.20 and the win ticket $7.80 total for $48.00 for the race.

 

I went a on drought watching races 7 through 11, and decided in the Derby for race #12 to box the exacta as well for the rest of the card for a $2 ticket. This added an additional $24 per race for races 12 – 14 for $72in addition. – I didn’t change up, but tossed in the exacta wager as the Derby has paid some blowout and Winning Ponies had prices dialed up. -I missed the chalk fest in the Derby but caught some steam in the 13th race.

Race #13 – The 2nd and 3rd selections ran one-two.- I missed the tri, but caught the exacta which paid a sweet $231.20.

 

My total wagering budget was $492, and the payoffs came back $365.80 for a net loss of $126.20 for the Derby card. – It wasn’t my brightest moment, but a million miles away from some of my great bone-head moves in the past. – It came out to be right about $9.00 per race, and I played the entire Derby card. We may have witnessed another great runner, and in a little over a week we’ll know for sure. – I didn’t pull away from my plans, but did bet a little more in the last three exactas from the same top tier selections. That Derby payoff was on my mind as I left some additional monies on the table by not snagging the 1st, 3rd, and 6th race exactas. I’ll have to factor that in moving forward in the Triple Crown, and we’ll check back and talk about our Preakness report card once the smoke clears. – Best of luck from your friends at Winning Ponies, and we’ll be bankroll building until they’re at Pimilco for the 2nd jewel.

 

 

 

 

After the Smoke Clears

It has been a couple of days since Derby 142 and I think many questions have been answered. Nyquist was as good as advertised and we may have more to see. But that my friends is what the next two weeks leading to Baltimore are all about. As quoted in the Blood Horse.com; “Unbeaten, unblemished, and unrelenting.”

I always lean toward beating the favorite in the Derby, and for most years this has been the way to go. When you watched with open mouth as the purple and white flash of silks man handled the field down the lane, we may be lining up for another Triple Crown winner. – Now there is a ton of time and plenty of things that can happen, but what if we have transported back to the 1970’s and we find ourselves in a vortex of having a run of Triple Crown winners ? – It could happen, and this time it wouldn’t surprise me.

The patience of jockey Mario Gutierrez paid off at the top of the stretch, as Nyquist broke away from Gun Runner and held off a strong late drive from Exaggerator to win by 1 1/4 lengths. Gun Runner held for third, another 3 3/4 lengths back. Nyquist hit the wire in 2:01.31 on a track rated fast. – “The trip was amazing,” Gutierrez said. “We had a beautiful start.  And there is pressure—the horse is undefeated and it’s the Kentucky Derby. “We have 19 other horses who are trying to get to the wire first, but I have confidence in Nyquist “as quoted in the Blood Horse.com.

The field at Pimlico is starting to take shape, and the initial names being mentioned make me think we’ll be looking at a repeat performance from the connections who brought us I’ll Have Another. – I did want a price to complete my ticket and would have loved to have watched Mor Sprit or Mo Tom turn the tables. But as a good friend once told me a great quote his mother lived by; “Sometimes the answer is yes, sometimes it is no, and sometimes it is wait.” – Those sage-like words apply even more today than they probably did when he was a grade school kid wanting more cookies. – We’ll be counting the moments for the rematch on 5/21/16 at “Old Hilltop,” and you can bet your bottom dollar the world will be waiting with baited breath.

If you missed the race, or living under a rock. Here is a glimpse of what you missed.

You Dirty Rat !

by Ed Meyer

posted on May 4, 2016 in Blogroll, General Discussion, Horse Racing, WinningPonies.com | No Comments >>

I’m not trying to pull off a James Cagney line, but if I have a few beers there’s no telling. – I’ve been one lucky guy. – I have worked in racing, and met some of the biggest names. I’ve watched some of the marquee races, and had a birds-eye view to history being made. But one of my favorite jobs over the years had nothing to do with horses. But it sure had plenty to do with gambling for a good cause.

Long before I ever had the opportunity to call Thoroughbred races. I was the official announcer at the “Ludlow Derby Rat Races.”  -Yep,you heard it right. Rat races.  – They were actually mice with numbers glued on. There was a large replica of the city of Ludlow, Kentucky. It just so happened to be my hometown, but I got my first big break from one of the regular players at Turfway Park.

We would have about 2,000 people show, and if you couldn’t find any of the tri-state doctors, lawyers, or judges. They could be found in the large gym betting the “rat races.” – They had a computer program that had a “take-out “program for the wagering, and it was their biggest fund raiser. -They had basketball and baseball teams for local youth, and we all know it’s not free. – People who were raised in the area and those who were transplants would come out in mass. You would see the movers and shakers, and the big event goers. There was ice cold beer, a big grill going all night, and a DJ playing music in between races. – By the end of the night it was common place for a few of the hot gals to dance on the tables topless. Yeah, its fair to say a good time was had by all.

The races were a great time and the “Ludlow Derby” would take place on Oaks night before the Derby. I had more fun than the law allowed, and money was raised like crazy. – We would have 10 races, and at the end there was an auction for “syndicates” to purchase a rat and they would run for 1/2 of the auction monies. In the past they would raise about $500 for the auction and the charity would get $250 and the winners would get $250. – That was before the “big man” showed up drinking and calling the races. I was happy to do this and it was for the kids, so all bets were off. – I started the auction and the music played thumping – bumping sounds as I asked the gals to hit the tables and show their “support” for the kids by dancing. – The place would be crazy, and the bids were so jacked up it made the old ways look lame. Bob Hope would have been proud of my ideas to raise money for the kids. – The last “Derby” I called and played auctioneer, we raised $8,000 in monies with $4,000 going to the winners of the big race. – As  the mice ran with the close circuit TV putting out the action and mega-betting taking place, it was one of the best non-racing betting events I had ever taken part in.

I was asked by my girlfriend this evening if I ever heard of the “Ludlow Rat Races.” – ” Yeah, I knew a little about the event, and heard it was a great time.” – ” We should go down and support the kids.” – I didn’t know how to tell her about my one night a year craziness, and how the who’s-who in the area would act like wild college kids for the night. – ” Yeah, honey. I’m sure it would be a good time. Maybe we should take a ride down.” – I guess I have a little time to get my story straight and let her know I used to be the MC of the wildest night in Northern Kentucky. – But hey, it’s was for the kids, and nobody got hurt…..

 

Secrets of the Kentucky Derby

How many people have always wanted to know the secret sauce on their burger ? Me too. – There’s no sure fire way to eliminate runners based on past runnings, or we would have a chart to follow to whittle down twenty horses to just two or three. – Some believe in a chart of sorts and many have created their own. Here are a few ideas to keep in mind when looking at the “Greatest Two Minutes in Sports.”

 

* There is a big movement believing the winner comes from a sampling of closers. – Not that many drifted from this line of thought, but it is now being looked at as the starting point.

* No early speed runner has worn the roses in over 13 years. Bodemeister was the closest to get the job done according to Horse Racing Nation when he finished 2nd in 2012.

* The last 30 Kentucky Derbies have been won by a horse who has a sharp effort in his last race. – 18 of the last 24 winners have had a 74% winning average or higher.

*  Geldings have won just once since 1929 – For fans of the Beyer figures, the runner with the highest number has hit the wall down the lane – Extra credit goes to horses who have scored over the Churchill surface.

* The place that builds the best superfecta tickets is found in the 4th spot where bombers rule the day of odds of 20-1 or higher.

* 3rd and 4th place finishers hold a strong percentage of deep closers. This may be a help when thinking of that double-digit runner coming from the clouds.

 

If you’re thinking of wagering just a few days a year, make this your top. The Kentucky Derby has value galore and with the guaranteed pools and unique Oaks / Derby double and the original Oaks / Woodford / Derby pick-three, and you have plenty to shoot for that offer sweet payouts. There is so much money in the pools, and just a reminder you are not betting against the track. – You are playing against the other bettors, and more times than not you are battling dead money on the board with hunch players who make one or two wagers a year. This is a real bonus for players looking to drop some bombs that may payoff in handsome figures.

 

Winning Ponies offers a unique tier level system where you can examine how the race shapes up, and you can mine the data to find that “bomb” on the bottom of your trifectas and supers. – Easy to use and can be effectively used by the first time player or the seasoned professional. – Everything in the tier levels are color coded and easy to read, and the effective ammo allows you to load up for the big score. There are full past performances with jockey, trainer, track, and year to date stats. – You will see the one of-kind Last Race Ratings, and the Composite Ratings which allow you to examine the last three efforts in one easy figure. – If the race is on the turf, no problem. Winning Ponies offers up a Turf Class Rating to help you find the nugget of gold to make your score sweeter. – As we’re getting closer, you’ll want to keep Winning Ponies close as the big weekend will be here before we know it. – Best of luck from your friends at Winning Ponies !