Scouting Mission Saturday

by Ed Meyer

posted on February 6, 2016 in Blogroll, General Discussion, Handicapping, Horse Racing, WinningPonies.com | No Comments >>

 

It’s Saturday, and I start the day like the others. I get up early, sip some OJ, take a shower, and sit back and read. Same routine for years, and sometimes it lasts the entire daytime card. – At other times during the year I have football on the mind, and get ready to sprinkle in great gridiron action with my targeted plays of the day. – Life gets even better when racing is in session as I get to the track two hours early, take down the scratches, overweights and rider changes. I look up the latest forecast to make sure the players hear what to plan for when I announce the changes 25 minutes to post. – This allows me final prep time to make a bet or two at New York or Florida before my day gets started. – I allow myself a $500 mythical bankroll today, and play it just like it’s real money. I keep copious notes about what I play and how much, as this allows me to stay in the groove. – The mantra of every real horse player is the same. ” I’m a little short today, but not to worry. I’ll be back again.”

Best part about scouting missions, I’ll see runners in trouble and I’ll drop them into my stable mail. No biased comments as I don’t have a buck wagered, and they usually do pretty well on the return. – A good friend of mine passed away on January 8,  and he was the one credited with the “scouting mission” idea. – He was a big time high school coach and later in life was a college coach at a local university. – He would go tapped in a race or two, and would sit back with cigarette in hand and take notes on small pieces of paper.  They would look like scraps he would shove into his pocket and take them to school the next day and commit them to paper with comments. This was a coach’s method of watching the races with an open mind. – I learned over the years he would not torture himself being broke and would take his time scouting horses to watch. – I remember he had about two bad weeks. and finally he made it out of the penalty box to play again. – He went on a run that still makes me draw a breath to this day. – After his fifth straight win, he looked at me and said; ” That was another scouting mission horse.”  – He tossed me a $100 bill and told me to “get in the game.” He continued the card and was back in the game.

There is no shame if you follow the game you love with the same gusto as when you are stacked with cash. This allows you to stay informed, and for lack of a better answer. It puts you in “gambler’s jail” where you can go crazy waiting, or make use of the time getting ready for days to come. – It’s your call. The time passes the same either way, and before you know you’ll be back in the game. – Back in the day you would have some downtime in between race meets. This allowed you to recoup a bankroll and come off the shelf hungry. – In the days of full card simulcast, the races come at you like a machine gun. You don’t even have time to gab with friends as someone is running up to the windows like a marathon.

My grandpa was a lifelong horse player. His favorite line was “all horse players must die broke.” – At the time, I didn’t grasp, but now it means more to me than it ever did to him. It makes me feel close to the good old days, and he would have down times. – He was a plumber by trade and would venture out to his garage office and clean up months of busy work. He would scrap metal, get his tools oiled and greased, and would sort through his paperwork. – There was no such thing as watching replays, and the only computer was on the Twilight Zone. – He would take a break. No telling how much time, but he would work and stay busy. Keeping your mind fresh and ready is the best medicine. – He would pick up a few big jobs and back into action he would come. – Each to his own, and the time off would be his therapy.

My old man was a blue-collar type and a working machine. He always stayed busy, and after working construction all day, he would pick up a paint job to make a few bucks. – I used to tag along and scrape a little and mostly goof around. I loved being with the old man, and we would take a break about the time the race of the day would come on radio. WNOP 840 am would bring the live last race and play the stretch call of the feature race. There was nothing like sitting on the ground hovered around the small circular am radio as it was our front row seat to all the action. – Once the racing action was over, we would get back to work. He used to call painting his therapy. Only now do I understand he was taking a little time off. He would get back in the game and we would make our weekly treks to the races after he got back on track.

 

So as I sit here listening to European racing in the background making “mind” bets. I’ve picked two winners from three races watched. Nothing to get heated about, and it’s only for a short break. I’ll come back stronger and ready, and that you can take to the bank. I’ve learned the art of the scouting mission, and it can be a helpful tool in getting me back on track, or just allow the bad streak to pass on by quietly. – I’m starting to look over the E-Z Win Forms and observing who I can use to find maximum value. – I’ll channel surf between racing and the latest Super Bowl chatter. At the end of the day I’ll have some good runners to follow, and I’ll make some mind bets. The scouting mission Saturday has begun. If you’re going to play with real money, or just make some well thought out mind bets. Be sure to download your E-Z Win Forms to have the best advantage.

 

 

Free E-Z Win Selections – Saturday – 2/6/2016

 

 

I’m looking forward to a great card of action at Gulfstream this Saturday. There may be a chance of rain, but that sure beats 10 inches of snow and 10 degree days. – Sit back and download your E-Z Win Forms, as here comes a little sampling of what to look forward to for Saturday. – This is going to be a SUPER weekend for wagering !

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gulfstream Park

 

Race #5 – The (G-3) Fred Hooper – 1 mile on the main track

 

#1 – Ami’s Flatter (3-1) = John Velasquez has the call for Josie Carroll, and this colt came back off a layoff and destroyed allowance competition on his first start back. – He sports the “ Monster Workout, Should Improve, and Moving up in Class” handicapping icons. – His last start was over a track labeled “good” and if the rain comes as expected this should be no problem. After his last race he blazed 5f  in 1:00.4 at Palm Meadows, and looks ready for the 2016 campaign. His last race was 24 days ago according to the data, and he owns the field best 65+ and 65 Last Race and Composite ratings. – Look for a big effort.

 

 

Race #7 – Mdn Sp Wt – 6f on the main track

 

#5 – Dig Deep (8-1) = Irad Ortiz Jr. in town, and you can bet he didn’t come for no reason. A first time starter by Candy Ride, and his works at Palm Meadows have been “lights out.” – He has the “First Time Starter and Monster Workout” handicapping icons, and one of the best riders in the country travelling down from New York.

 

 

Race #10 – The GP Turf Sprint – 5f on the turf

 

** With rain in the forecast, the E-Z Win Form weather tab was changed to “Good” for selections **

 

#4 – Pure Sensation (3-1) = John Velasquez (24%) in the irons for Christophe Clement. This gelding has been on the shelf since Halloween at Keeneland in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint. – He has been working multiple bullet efforts in the morning at Payson, and the barn has a (22%) strike rate with layoff runners coming back for the first time. He sports the “Monster Workout, Dropping in Class” handicapping icons. The drop in class paired with the works should do the trick and he shows a 35.1 Turf Class Rating, and a 54+ and 63 Last Race and Composite ratings. – Take a look back to Saratoga effort three back over the “good” turf and he scorched the field going 5 1/2 on that day.

 

That should get you thinking about the day. There are two (G-3)’s and two (G-1)’s on the card. You can expect the track crew will be prepared at all stops and both the turf and main track will be ready to race. – Just download the entire card as there will be plenty of value to be had as well as the guaranteed pick-four pools. And when you have a great day at Gulfstream, be sure and download your Santa Anita E-Z Win Forms as there are four graded races on the card. You’ll definitely want to make this a SUPER Saturday ! – Best of luck from your friends at Winning Ponies !

 

 

 

Glimmers of Gold

You’ll know when you see that blinding piece of elegance glimmering. – Maybe you could compare it to Alfred R. Ferguson’s paradoxical poem “Nothing Gold Can Stay.” As it echoes “Nature’s First Green is Gold.” – This past weekend I’m not sure if I saw a glimmer or the real thing. But one thing is for sure. Time will reveal if it is earthy majesty, or just a treat from the Racing Gods. – Take a look and decide for yourself. Are we seeing a glimmer of real gold ?

 

Making his sophomore debut at Gulfstream Park, the Shadwell Stable color bearer ran his record to 4-0 with a dazzling 3 1/2-length victory in the 1 1/16-mile Holy Bull, further enhancing his reputation as the top 3-year-old contender in the East. Mohaymen’s road to the Triple Crown races is expected to continue through South Florida in the $400,000 Fountain of Youth (G2) February 27 at Gulfstream, with an eye on the $1 million Florida Derby (G1) April 2, according to the press release from Gulfstream Park. – When I saw his effortless action at the 3/16th’s pole, it appeared as if he could take flight. By all accounts he came out of the race in top shape, and the future looks bright ahead. – If you missed the race, or would like to enjoy another glimpse of a top effort. Sit back and take it all in.

 

 

The 7 furlongs (G-2) Forward Gal shaped up to be a good race to watch. With heavily favored Cathryn Sophia who was the (1-9) chalk in a field of six. – She hesitated just a bit coming out of the gate, and I’m sure most of the chalk betting public drew a deep breath. But what transpired in the race leads me to think we may have a gal that we’ll be hearing from down the road. – She did the things maturing runners do, and in times of 45.2 and 1:09.4 it was even more impressive. Take a look for yourself.

 

 

 

There is no better time to be a racing fan, and this time each year has many of us starring at the calendar and counting down the days to the marquee events. – You couldn’t be in a better spot, as Winning Ponies will be dialed in on every race heading towards spring. As a handicapper you’ll want to arm yourself with the best tools to do battle at the windows, and the E-Z Win Forms give you every edge possible. Some data providers tell you to pick this or play that, Winning Ponies allows you to see how the race will unfold. Others toss out selections 72 hours in advance where Winning Ponies allows for adequate time to take everything into account. – Be sure to check back each and every Thursday for the Winning Ponies Internet Radio Show, as host John Engelhardt will be chatting with the movers and shakers in the industry. – You can expect stories, blogs, and free E-Z Win selections and all you have to do is check back. – For those counting days at home, the Kentucky Derby is 95 days away at the time of this entry. – So what are you waiting for, it’s almost post time !

 

 

 

Three Steps to Becoming a Lucky Handicapper

by Ed Meyer

posted on January 29, 2016 in General Discussion, Handicapping, Horse Racing, WinningPonies.com | No Comments >>

You don’t need the rabbit’s foot, as it sure didn’t do the rabbit any good. – Luck is a frame of mind. – Just like Mom use to say; “see it and you will be it.” Before you can ever achieve anything in your life you first have to see it. – Take Race #3 at Where-Ever Downs. You look over the race and get a visual picture on how the event should take shape. From there, you act accordingly to your best interest. – Just in case you may have forgotten, or life has you busy against the grindstone. Here are three simple ways to becoming the luckiest handicapper you can be.

 

1. – Write down everything. What your beginning bankroll will be, what races you like today, and how much you’re willing to wager. – Sounds easy enough, but do you know how many times you leave your best bet because you got caught up in the action ? Plenty. – You have to re-direct your thoughts and commit them to writing. It can be on a tablet, your phone, or the folded paper in your pocket. – This is the first step in identifying what you want to do with what you have to do it with.

When you are finished at the end of the day. You should look back over your notes and compare to the results to what transpired. This is how you’ll find a path that works for you, and it is as simple as writing them down. – Nobody is perfect, and this one small task can help you with money management, planning your wagers, controlling impulse betting. –  Every great handicapper has kept notes, and they go back and identify where they could have capitalized.

2. – Take it easy on yourself. – Many times we get in a rush, run out the door and expect to handicap along the day. – This is usually the best way to find yourself broke before the day is over. Take your time and have a handicapping plan going into the day. Which races look the best, find the ones that offer the value you’ll accept, and ready yourself to implement your plan into action. – Give yourself plenty of time to understand your materials. If you have downloaded the E-Z Win Forms, take some time to digest the easy-to-use material. They won’t tell you who to bet and how much, but they will uncover the mystery and give you a clear picture on how the race will set-up. – For the million times I have rushed in and tried to do it on the fly, I have won just a small sampling. Oh, it happens to everyone, and a blind squirrel finds an acorn once in awhile. – Time can be your best friend or worst enemy. It is up to you to keep the distractions to a minimum and get yourself mentally ready. – I’ve never met an unhappy winner in all of my years of gambling, but there are plenty of sour puss losers who didn’t put the time in and expected to come in cold. – Take it easy, be happy, and keep distractions to a minimum.

3. – Keep it on the down-low. The Wagering Gods have a bad taste for the bragger, the idiot who proclaims to have the winner after each race, and the unprepared. – Handicapping is a cerebral art of bringing together a marriage of knowledge, patience, money management, and planning. If they all intersect with a little blessing from the Wagering Gods. Good things will happen. – This is not smoke and mirror logic. How many times have you had the best day at the races being prepared, waiting for your best bet, and keeping control of how much you bet ? – You may not have thought about it deeply, but the best days in your gambling life have been when you are ready to win. – Just having a need, or “baby needs a new pair of shoes” will not do the trick. You have to quiet your mind and prepare for battle. Sometimes the hardest things to conquer when making a wager are not the ponies, but controlling our impulses.

There are a million other ways to get the job done. I know plenty of people who take home the form only to toss it on the coffee table and grab it as they run out the door. – For the may years I have played the races, and the many others where I have worked around some of the best players. Time and patience are your allies. There is something unsettling about just running in and firing away. It doesn’t feel right, and at the end of the day you’ll know that it isn’t. – Follow the above, and incorporate them into your daily plans. Let us know how you’re doing. – You are in the right place for having the best info to prepare your day, and all you have to do is control the rest and put in the time. – One of the best gamblers I’ve ever known said; “Gambling is harder than any job. But if you put in the time and keep control. You’ll have the best reward you could ever ask for.”

 

Long Distance Cheering

I have a few buddies that have qualified for the 17th Annual National Handicapping Championship. – It takes place January 28th – 30th, and there is $2.45 million dollars on the line. It roughly comes out to $800,000 to the winner if you were sitting home wondering. – The NHC is the one contest where players can’t buy in – your spot must be won in a qualifying event. The field consists of 507 individuals, 119 of whom qualified twice, for a total of 626 entries, the largest in NHC history and up from 606 entries last year, a record number at the time. That field size will grow larger as a result of Treasure’s Island’s Last Chance tournament, to be held on Wednesday according to the Daily Racing Form. – There is nothing like it in the world, and I have qualified in past. I think I played in two contests all year, and time just didn’t allow. That’s not an excuse by any means, and if I would have had a 100 attempts, I would probably be sitting here writing this. It’s not for the faint of heart, and if you’re worried about the money to get in the contest. Just go ahead and do something else for the day.

Some of the best players in the world are there, and if you made the grade, it doesn’t matter where you finish. It’s like getting beat in the NFL playoffs, or in the NBA Finals. If it were easy everyone would do it. –  Contest rules have evolved over the years and there are significant changes to the 2016 format, starting with the shift of days from Friday to Sunday to Thursday to Saturday. On each of the first two days of the tournament, players must make 18 $2 win-place bets – this is up from 15 last year. Just like last year, eight of those races each day will be chosen by a selection committee and designated as mandatory. The mandatory races will be announced Tuesday night at approximately 10 p.m. Eastern. The other 10 bets each day will be optional, and can be placed at any race held at one of six tracks on Thursday: Aqueduct, Fair Grounds, Golden Gate, Gulfstream, Oaklawn Park, and Santa Anita. On Friday, Tampa Bay Downs will be added to the mix for a total of seven contest tracks.

As the championship has many of us sitting on our couch waiting to play, I may have a little idea for players to get in on next year’s game. – You have to purchase a $50 NTRA membership to be allowed to qualify and you can accrue tour points. For a much better explanation, just go to the NTRA.com homepage for the complete rules. – But here’s a little bonus. For players who are not involved in the contest, and if you purchased your 2016 Tour Membership. This may be your lucky weekend !  – First, NHC Qualify.com is offering you a chance for a $10,000 site credit, or an entry to the Ultimate Betting Challenge at Gulfstream or Santa Anita. Saturday’s contest will feature the first seat to the 2017 National Handicapping Championship offered online. – That’s all nice and sweet, but how about making it FREE to play ? – The top three finishers in the contest will automatically qualify for next year’s NHC contest. I respect the $50 entry and it’s a good idea. But let’s kick it up a notch and let the folks who may have just missed out a shot at the big dance next year. – We’ll still be rooting for our pals to take down the big prize money, but now we have a vested interest in getting out there in 2017.

I would have to say I would be nailed to my computer taking my shot and the NTRA would have more folks signing up. – The handicappers in Vegas will sign up once they get home and that may be the best bet you’ll make all year. – The perceived value is immeasurable and the real cost would be zero. Toss in three more good handicappers for the big dance next year and you’ll have one of the biggest contests all year. – Maybe you’ll feel better not having to face the big timers, or maybe you would pay to get in. But just think about having a “First Chance” shot playing for next year. – I’m a fan of the NHC and when you get out there you’ll feel like a rock star. I did, and I know about 200 players who feel the same. – Think about it. Is it a bad idea, or do you want to wait till everyone gets back and the usual troops will be playing. Think of this as a little extra something for nothing, and by no means is it an easy score. There are so many good handicappers out there, and they’re all not in Vegas. – Give this a try and I bet the NTRA memberships will spike something fierce. – I’d play, would you ?? – I’m pondering going to the Horse Player World Series at The Orleans. I’ve finished in the money three outta’ four times, and I guess since I didn’t make the grade this year for the NHC. – Maybe I’ll have a little luck in the HPWS kicking up on 3/31 – 4/2/16. – But you can bet the heavy handed players will lined up around the block chomping at the bit.

 

 

Go West ! – Free Selections / Saturday 1/23/16

by Ed Meyer

posted on January 22, 2016 in Blogroll, Free Picks and Tips, Handicapping, Horse Racing, WinningPonies.com | No Comments >>

As the biggest snow storm in nearly 100 years gets ready to unleash nature’s fury, we find ourselves getting ready to hunker down and spend some time inside. So what’s a horse player to do ? – The East coast is going to get a mountain of fluffy white stuff, and racing will take a little break. – Or will it ? – American author Horace Greeley may have summed it best in 1865; ” Go West, young man.” – Maybe not a bad idea this weekend. – Be safe, and stay in if at all possible. There is plenty of racing to warm you up this weekend. – I’m thinking a dose of grass racing will have me thinking happy thoughts !

Santa Anita

The forecast calls for 66 degrees and partly sunny with a chance of rain showers late

Race #1 – Claiming $32,000 – 6 1/2f on the turf – 12:30 pm EST

#8 – Tripski (7-2) = Flavien Pratt in the irons for east coast trainer David Jacobson. Pratt has established himself as one of the best turf riders on the left coast winning 15% and ITM 43%. – The barn ships in from Belmont Park, and drops in class. Even though it has been over three months to the races, this gelding has been sneaking in some very nice morning efforts. The downhill course should fit his fancy, and if you go back in past performances to the two efforts in the OC $20,000 range and claiming $20k. – This guy fits like a glove.

Race #4 – Mdn Sp Wt – One mile on the turf – 2:00 pm EST

#11 – Undeniable U (7-2) = Victor Espinoza gets the call for Bob Baffert, and these guys do pretty good work together as they’ll forever be matched in the history books together. This son of Red Giant has been off for 56 days, and been working a solid clip at SA. – This runner is 2/2 ITM on the green, and looks to be maturing with every race.

Race #6 – OC $20,000 – 6 1/2f on the turf – 3:00 pm EST

#9 – It Is Living Water (5-2) = Flavien Pratt in the saddle for Peter Miller, and they have teamed up to win 50% as a team the past few months. A proven turf closer going longer cuts back in distance, and happens to be fresh off the claim from Santa Anita on the dirt. – The barn wins at a (23%) clip with new runners in their care, and is 6/8 ITM over the SA course.

Race #8 – The (G-2) Santa Monica Handicap – 7f – 4:00 pm EST

#5 – Tara’s Tango (6-1) = Mike Smith has the call for Jerry Hollendorfer. – They are scoring at 22% together, and she was not my first choice. It was #2 – Ben’s Duchess, but she has been bested twice by this gal. – Mike Smith back aboard, and she makes her second off the layoff after shipping back from Parx where Smith flew in to ride. – A couple of works to keep her limber as she is 3/4 ITM at Santa Anita. She has an honest look, and Smith in the irons adds plenty of value.

There you have it ! – Just what the doctor ordered to keep you healthy and happy until this nasty white stuff melts. – I would be sure to download the Winning Ponies E-Z Win Forms for a full and comprehensive look at all the racing action. – Be sure to download Gulfstream Park, Tampa Bay Downs, Fair Grounds, and Golden Gate Fields. – Think of this as a little appetizer to get you roaring to go, and wet your inner-horse-player palate for some incredible racing action on Saturday ! – Be safe, and have a great day at the windows from your friends at Winning Ponies !

 

 

Snow Day – No School

by Ed Meyer

posted on January 21, 2016 in Blogroll, General Discussion, Handicapping, Horse Racing, WinningPonies.com | No Comments >>

Remember the sweet words as they scrolled across our television screens ? – It was like Christmas all over again, and who cared if we had to make up the days in late May or June. We’re off now, and we’ll pay up later when the sun is shining. – All sounded good until that sunny day with 78 degrees arrived and we had to hit the books. – Pay me now or pay me later. – If I have my choice, I’ll take it on the chin now and move forward. – As Mother Nature had me trapped in the house with a teenager itching to get out and be with friends, I found an outlet that only I could enjoy. – I decided to take the snow days and turn them into a place parlay that was going to allow me to fire away at the weekend. – As I sipped my hot chocolate and listened to my son talk about getting out. I found the solitude to be an excellent opportunity.

 

I had $200 burning a hole in my pocket and decided it was time to start a run of sorts. – My plan was to make four play parlay moves if all goes according to plan. This weekend was going to be a sweet surprise. – Here is my last few days hunkered around my computer screen.

 

Monday had me thinking about Oaklawn Park. -Tough oval to handicap, and if you hit you’ll get paid.

 

Race #4#2 – It was a $7,500 claiming event that had the top tier selection flying the “Has Improved and Dropping in Class” icons. – I wagered $50 to place, and the top selection ran second and paid = $4.20 for a total of $105. – Not a bad start for the day.

 

Race #9#2A Mdn Sp Wt event where the top selection had the services of Ramon Vasquez, and owned the “1st Time Starter, and Monster Workout” icons. – He finished in the place spot to the second tier selection and paid $4.80. – I bet $105 to place for a sweet payoff of $252.00.

 

Wednesday

 

I was looking forward to some better ovals, but Ma Nature was exacting revenge for a quiet winter.

 

For me it all came down to a little chalk on this day, and there can be nothing like a few short prices to keep the ball rolling at Tampa Bay Downs.

 

Race #6 – #10O.C. $75,000 – The top tier selection was (3-1) on the ML, and she owned the “Moving up in Class, and Monster Workout” icons. – The work was a bullet and getting extra time over the deep surface was good as gold. – I wagered the entire $252 to place, and she finished second to the other top tier selection, and paid a solid $3.80. – The bankroll now stood at $478.80.

 

Race #7 – #7 – A $23,000 Alownace event – They were travelling on the turf, and Jose Lezcano was aboard a nice runner for Shug McGaughey. – This son of Bernardini had the “Moving up in Class, and Blinkers On” icons in this race. – Things just all seemed to be coming together, and I was going to make one final wager for the day. – I bet $478 to place on the top tier selection, and he won and paid $2.80 to place. – The bankroll that started with a $50 bill now stood at $669.20.

 

I started with $150 and only had to use $50. – My winnings totaled $669.20 plus my $150 left over from my initial investment that weren’t used. – With $819.20 in my account I found myself taking a day or so off to get ready for the weekend. – There were times when I would press my luck and sometimes I would find myself losing back some of my winnings. – The top tier selections were good to me, and now there is a sweet bankroll that started at $50 and has swelled to $819.20. – Pretty good for a few snow days trapped at home. Can’t wait for the weekend, and I’ll take out my initial investment of $150 and use the $669.20 bankroll to start the day. – Nothing like betting with house money, and this seemed like a plan. – Be sure to download your E-Z Win Forms for the weekend as we hope to be hearing about your big win. – Best of luck from your friends at Winning Ponies !

 

 

From the File of What Are We Thinking ?

Sports are a little slice of timeout we all need. We kick back and enjoy the action, and if there is legal wagering there might even be a dime or two wagered. Ah, nothing like having a bet on the big game or the horse with grey spots. – From time to time we tend to take the sport a little too seriously. I’m not given to being a prude just yet, and I like to think I can keep an open mind. – With that being said, here are a couple of little ditties that caught my eye and made me think we should call the drama police.

 

On Sunday afternoon at Santa Anita, ESPN’s Kenny Mayne was slated to call the 5th race. – Mayne has a dry and witty style with a deadpan delivery that can knock your socks off. – This meet, Michael Wrona and Frank Mirahmadi are doing battle for the job of Santa Anita and they take turns switching off from Golden Gate and Santa Anita. It has been all good for the player listening to a couple of the best, and on Sunday a little light-hearted humor was injected by letting Kenny Mayne try his hand. – There hasn’t been a You Tube video posted just yet, but when it hits the “Trending Now” section in sports. Give it a listen and compare it to this one by Conan O’Brien. – “Me thinks we’re taking our self a little too serious.”

Long story short. I heard the race and there will be much bigger issues to attack on the Twitter-sphere of the world. Some of our well know scribes and handicappers are sounding off, and there is only one way to put this to rest.  – Please allow everyone who makes a negative comment on social media to come up and call one race. – I bet you won’t hear one grumble or complaint, and they’ll probably see the lighter side of Santa Anita’s idea for having a little fun.

 

We have all heard about Frank Stronach’s idea of having a $12 million dollar race that may surpass the Dubai $10 Million World Cup. – Well, if that is remotely the plan here is a little math. – The good folks in the UAE are home to 37 of the top 157 billionaires in the Middle East. – Just a little more, Warren Buffett makes $25,694 per minute according to Business Insider. – If it was all about who had the biggest purses, they could counter it and knock it out of the park forever.

Mr. Stronach has a good idea about the money, but how about a little something different. – There are great ideas of using the monies for a series of races each growing larger until you meet the grand finale with a super-sized purse. I like it, I like the idea a great deal. – But here is a another direction. Day-in-day-out the rank and file horsemen put on the show. They fill your mdn claimers, and the claiming and starter allowance fields. Why not “shore up” your purse structure with a sizeable increase across the board. – If you dump the cash into a barrel and invite the best of the world to come over once and take it down. You have one helluva’ day of handle (hopefully). But if you keep the pots growing, the field sizes will be off the charts and your track will have a sizeable increase for the year. Not to mention you’ll be investing in your product which will keep more horses on the grounds and barns targeting your tracks like they did in the olden days. – I think we get caught up in the idea of mega-money. The game may be better served if you build from the bottom up. You can bet dollars to donuts there are more claimers and allowance races than marquee events. – I love the Tampa Bay Downs product. Andy Beyer said it about 10 years ago,  “this was one of his favorite tracks to wager in the winter. Larger fields, better payouts, and the horses are getting better each year.” – I love the idea of cranking up the money machine. But it makes more sense to build your lower levels stronger, and in turn they will bring revenue where you can build your dream race schedule a little at a time. – Best of luck. I’ll be hoping to see 12 horse fields and sweet payouts on the tote board.

A Gambler’s Prayer

by Ed Meyer

posted on January 11, 2016 in Blogroll, General Discussion, Horse Racing, WinningPonies.com | 2 Comments >>

It’s not a win, or the riches, or glory we seek. Just the pleasure of watching true beauty compete. – To entertain and exhilarate to celebrate time. The events of my days grew sweeter like wine. – We danced in the sun with stories and friends, and memories filled from beginning to end. The days flew right on by; where does time really go ? – For all questions are answered at the end of the road.

( Found on a program )

 

I’ve had the pleasure of watching racing for many years. It never grows old, and I can’t wait until next time. For me, it is a time of reflection and hope. I like to think back to where it all began and how it all started. I can recall when I was young and thought the people around me would be there forever. We all know the reality of life, and for this gambler life has passed in twenty minute intervals. – I found this writing on a program in the high players’ room. It was written neatly and folded to show the cover. The table was cleared, and on it sat this one single item. I suppose that’s what drew me to pick it up at the end of the day. – Lines scrawled on a racing program were the words of a gambler.

The man was all business, and I wouldn’t have thought he’d ever wasted his time writing down more than a wager. He was the biggest player, and he garnered attention from everyone.- I kept the piece of paper as I meticulously removed it from the program cover. I can’t tell you why, or what I was thinking. But I kept it in a small binder filled with ideas and plans. It’s been over 13 years since I’ve seen the binder, and today I was going through a box filled with racing memories. – It was my time at a place that began as a young kid, and eventually grew into a wonderful job. I enjoyed the action, the whirl of humanity, and being close to what I loved.

As I looked back at the date on the program, it was one week before the man passed away. He had been very ill for sometime and didn’t tell many. The kind of attention he really didn’t care for. – I used to speak with him daily and enjoyed our brief passing of time. – After reading this time faded paper, I felt it wasn’t just a note or a thought after winning a bet. This was something a little more. It had the feel of someone revealing their heart. – Rare to find such a thing, and if you ever met the man you would have doubted it came from his thoughts. – I knew it could have only come from one person, as I had watched him sign his name for comps for years. His table would be filled with a rotating group of players, and most of them hung on just to be a part of his entourage. He didn’t mind, and mainly let them do all the talking. He would sit back quietly and every so often would chime in with a nugget of wisdom.

Gamblers are a funny sort. Some are superstitious and have to sit in the same seat, others need to play certain numbers, and there are those who feel “outside forces” are at work. – I kept this program note as a reminder. It may have been sentimental, or knowing I was leaving that year had me collecting important items and memorabilia in a large sealed container. -Maybe there would come a day when I would be looking for something and stumble across something. An item that would recall a time in my life. – That day was today. After I put the faded piece of paper in a sealed folder, I thought about the words. They were not just ramblings, but a prayer of sorts. It was the words of man looking back with gratitude knowing time was growing short. – A million people could read it and you may get a million different ideas. – For me, it was a gambler’s prayer. Not asking for the big winner or right horse, but looking back with gratitude and understanding. – I’ll keep it and try my best to preserve this. I’ll look a few years and see if I feel the same, or maybe I’ll have a different perspective. Either way, I’ll keep the words of this prayer and pass it along down the road.

One of the Good Guys

by Ed Meyer

posted on January 11, 2016 in Blogroll, General Discussion, Horse Racing, WinningPonies.com | No Comments >>

Once in awhile someone steps into our life by chance, and its never the same again. The kind of people we would like to become, or at least have some of their incredible magic that captured our attention. They give selflessly of themselves and are the kind of folks you can call in the middle of the night for a ride home. Rare and elusive, but when we meet one in the travels of life, take the time to get to know them. – I knew a gent who fit the criteria, and he will be missed more than he would have ever guessed.

His voice gravelly from smoking two packs a day, and had the gait of a former athlete. Deadpan humor that could split your side, and kindness that could bring a tear to your eye. Yeah, you’re probably going to see a tiger riding an elephant before you meet such a person. – I had the pleasure of knowing such a person. We’ll call him “Coach” out of respect for family and friends. A teacher, mentor, coach, father, husband, and one helluva’ gambler. He loved his family and they never knew the “other” side of Coach. He wouldn’t have it any other way. When he briefly ever spoke of his past, he diverted the success to someone else. That was the Coach, and his way comes from a time that doesn’t exist anymore.

He used to cut grass on the side in addition to being an advisor at a local university. The same place that was a pimple when he started when he moved from the high school ranks as a teacher / coach. At the end of his tenure, that small community college became a full-fledged major university. They play in the D-1 ranks thanks to the years of success and the hard work of many. – After hanging up his whistle, he became an advisor to incoming athletes. He was a Catholic man from a humble background, and could bridge the gap and talk on any socio-economic level. One-of-a-kind would not do him justice.

Coach had a separate side. He had a large family, and was in the habit of working two-three jobs over the years. One of which was working at the race track. If there was a place that fit him better, I wouldn’t have been able to pick it out. – He loved to bet, and he kept it quiet. Only a couple of us knew the real Coach, and he liked it that way. – His second life was on the hush, and never reached into his family life. – He would send  one of the young men who worked for him to make his bets. – ” Hey, bet me $50 to win on the #4 at Laurel. Hurry up, they are going to post.” – No program most of the time, and he always claimed he didn’t need one. – ” That crap will just confuse me.” – The truth was he didn’t want others knowing what he was doing by having one in hand, and for the trusted few nobody ever knew of Coach’s secret love. – He loved action almost as much as cigarettes and hot coffee. Both of which he had in hand at all times.

Most people at work will talk behind the backs of others. Not Coach. He chose some of the big time brass and gave them nicknames as they would walk past. – Coach was a very respected man in some of the circles they traveled and he never received a bitch from the “big-heads” as they just walked away shaking their heads. – He wasn’t a trouble maker, he just did it because they lauded power over others, and that just burned his ass. – Coach was one of the few folks I would lend money at the track. He was as good as gold, and if he borrowed $100, you would have it the next day and he would bring you some lunch or you would have another bill tucked into the bank envelope. That was just his way, and it was best not to ask him to take it back. It was disrespect, and he loved his secret life on the side. If you ever exchanged cash, that meant he really trusted you. – I can remember one December years ago where he went on a killer win streak. He was probably up $8 – $10,000. The office fridge would be filled with beer, chips, and cold cuts with all the fixings. He never put on airs and was a true blue average Joe. – We we’re nearing Christmas and that meant we would be off for a few days as tracks only take off for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. – ” Hey, take this and get your girlfriend a little something.” – There was $400 rolled into a small cigarette, and don’t ever turn it down. That wouldn’t have flown, and he would have been insulted. – Coach had a heart that was a big as a basketball.

We would watch countless races and football games over the years. – ” I can’t watch this crap unless I have a bet.” – That summed up Coach. He was a competitor, and it stemmed from his family upbringing. – At first glance you would have thought he was a slacker as he didn’t dress to impress, but there couldn’t be anything farther from the truth. He was as sharp as a scalpel and didn’t try and show it. In the words of the famous athletes from yesteryear, “if you start reading your own press releases you’re on your way out the door.” – A friend, a mentor, and someone who touched many lives along the way. When he stopped working at the track due to health problems, he turned off the gambler’s side as quickly as he turned it on. – He spent his last years with his longtime partner in life and stayed involved with his family’s life. Not one to overwhelm, but you sure knew where he stood without raising his voice or saying it twice. – I will miss my friend. He was a good guy who didn’t meddle or bother. You could talk to him about anything, as he would just listen and draw slowly off his smoke. Deep in thought, and as close as you wanted. Coach will be missed by many, but especially by the lucky few of us who really got to know him.