The Happy Horseplayer

Here’s your good buddy the H.H. coming your way shortly after Easter and April Fool’s Day. – The holiday is one for the celebration of family and friends, and the second is what Mother Nature has been playing on the country. – One day you get 70 degrees and sunny, and the next it is snow and rain. Now that is far from a blast of spring as we are just weeks away from the Kentucky Derby. – Matter of fact it is just 33 days away. – Hard to believe, but sure as bluegrass and mint juleps. It will be here without fail.


Monday / Tuesday Blues


Unless there is a makeup card at Gulfstream, Aqueduct, or Laurel, racing on the first two days of the week has been lackluster. – Now they all can’t be great, but some of the smaller tracks could use this time to focus on their product. – That is until I started “spot playing” Parx. Normally I don’t play the card, but I love to look over the entries and seek out a New York trainer or rider who comes down for a mount or two. –  For me, the rider has been Kendrick Carmouche. He has had 19 mounts and went a crisp 6-3-3 for a 19% win clip and a 38% ITM rate. Not bad for a couple spot plays. – The trainers have been Jamie Ness for 53 starts, 11-13-5 for a 21% win clip and a 29% ITM number. – David Jacobsen with 5 starts and 2-1-1 with his runners for a 40% win clip. – I know you can’t make a mountain of money with these New York conditioners paying the toll to come across the bridge but you can sure do some damage using as a single in a gimmick or a select power play. – Don’t discount the first couple days. Every day is a great day to find some value.


Brigadoon Arrives from the Mist


If God has a track in Heaven; I’m sure it looks a great deal like Keeneland. -“Brigadoon” The story involves two American tourists who stumble upon Brigadoon, a mysterious Scottish village that appears for only one day every 100 years. Tommy, one of the tourists, falls in love with Fiona, a young woman from Brigadoon. – All that aside, a track appears out of the majestic Bluegrass state and runs a pristine race meet that lasts around 15 days. – Maybe a little dramatic, but I’m sure you get the gist. Something appears for a very short time that captures our heart as horseplayers. – As you walk past the aged Sycamore in the well-manicured paddock you’ll see the most beautiful place that has ever held a horse race.  – There used to be no announcer until Kurt Becker’s voice graced the loudspeakers in 1997. Before that, you would hear a rumbling sound of the crowd and a large gate break signaled by a bell in the distance. – It takes you back to every movie that sent chills down your spine as the horses broke from the gate. – That’s Keeneland. It is a piece of beauty that words can hardly define. – If you have not made a trek down to Lexington, Kentucky. Make sure this is on your bucket list. “Burgoo – Bluegrass – Horse Racing.” It happens every April and October and each month holds around 15 days of live racing action. What better time to be a racing fan than as we zero in on the Derby trail. – Keeneland. The way racing was meant to be.