The Happy Horseplayer

by Ed Meyer

posted on September 5, 2018 in General Discussion, Horse Racing, | No Comments >>

Another month in the books and the summer tracks we waited for are gone again. But not to worry, they’ll be back and that’s the good news. – Watching and wagering on summer tracks is always great, but like the seasons they drift away and become a memory. Racing gives the horseplayer something to look forward to as we set our gambler’s clock by which tracks are running.


Aging Like a Fine Wine

Perry Wayne Ouzts is 64-years-young. I watch him and wonder how a man who’s knocking on the social security door is able to maneuver through gaps like smoke through a keyhole. – Just incredible. – He had a mount in the last race on Sunday where I watched him hold his horse with great restraint and delicate hands of a surgeon. – After he won, the Equibase chart caller and I chatted for 20 minutes on how smooth he looked all the way around. – That gave him his 3rd winner for the day and now stands at 6,985 career wins needing 15 more to give him number 7,000. – That milestone will put him in rare company as he’ll be the 9th rider in history to achieve this feat. – Going back some time ago, I remember our conversation where he said; ” Ed, I really want to get this win at Belterra Park.” – Best of luck, Perry. I’ll be rooting you home all the way.


The Voice of Racing

Earlier this past month I wrote about the passing of a legend; John Asher. – Mr. Asher’s works could not be encapsulated into one title as he was so many things to so many people. For this handicapper, it was many moons ago I got to meet the “voice of racing.” – Here’s an excerpt from a past blog about John Asher:

It was 1986, and I was a young man working in the parking lot. – It was a 2nd job, but I loved it better than the one which made more money. – Wearing the windbreaker everywhere and always a Turfway Park cap on my noggin; I was pretty easy to see.  I used to walk in and watch a few races after my shift. – My boss was the general manager and we became friends from the first day. We would talk horses, bet a few, and he would let me tag along to the paddock area to get up close to racing under the lights. – Things just couldn’t get any better for a 19-year-old kid who loved the races. – He would introduce me to trainers, riders, and one special night I had a chance to meet the voice doing pre-race handicapping from the paddock.

“Eddie, I’d like to introduce you to Mr. Asher. One of the best handicappers out there.” – “It’s John, Eddie. Just call me, John. Great to meet you. – You like the ponies?” – It was like looking behind the curtain and seeing what the Wizard was doing. – For a young man who just came in from the parking lots, this was getting pretty close to racing royalty.

I can still remember that night. It was clear as a bell and perfect. – Night racing is something of a specialty item in Thoroughbred racing. Harness has plenty, but there is just a handful that lit up the night. – Over the years he climbed the ladder of racing and became the VP of Racing Communications for Churchill Downs. – He was the face of Churchill Downs, but his booming baritone could not be mistaken. – I remember his coverage of sports and racing on WHAS-AM and WAVE-AM as his voice brought you right there. – Who’s going to tell us there’s 8 months; 37 weeks, or 264 days until the next edition of the run for the roses? – Breeders’ Cup will have an angel watching over this year. – Just as John always answered; the forecast will be sunny and 70 degrees. – Rest in peace, Mr. Asher.


Gambling is More Art than Science

I guess the arguments may begin at every local pub. – For me, horse race handicapping is more of artful endeavor. That’s why you won’t see me tossing dice, playing cards, or screaming at a slot machine. Oh, I can play, and sometimes do pretty well. – But there’s something magical about racing. Reading and studying as every capper’ has their own methods. If there was only one way to decipher the material there would be one overwhelming chalk and we’d all be aboard. – It’s a game where we back up opinions with dollars. – There’s science that goes into handicapping but any player would tell you plenty of stories of how they found that magic winner on a gut hunch.

Another month in the books and “The “Happy Horseplayer” is grateful for the enjoyment the sport has provided. – Cherish the game and be sure and get out to the track a few times a month. If you’re a computer player take a few days and get out in the sun and make plans for some trips to your favorite ovals. – As always take a new friend to the races. It may be a youngster or a player who hasn’t been in a while. Passing the torch belongs to us as the good folks who introduced us to the game. – Best of luck, and may your photos be winners.