The Happy Horseplayer

The “Dog Days of Summer” are upon and summer racing is in full flight. – I’ve taken my time off and enjoyed the little things. You know, going to the races on a Saturday afternoon, swimming in the middle of the day, reading, and just having that fleeting feeling I haven’t had since my college days. – Take the time and smell the roses was the old saying we’ve heard since childhood. But only as we age do we really understand the meaning.




I’ve watched and moreover enjoyed the races. They’re fun to watch but even more so to wager. – Over the years I’ve learned to embrace the chalk. It’s ok to make that $10 win bet on a 4-5 shot. If it wins you have a “free spot” to wager on the next race. – You put up $10 and get back $18. That’s just fine with me. – You can’t make this your go-to wager because if you lose it will take two winners at the same price to be $6 to the good.

Don’t be afraid. If you find the lock of the day and they offer up short odds. Take em.’ – I love to play the pick four wagers on weekends at The Spa. – But only if they have a sweet guarantee pot. Most just pass and swear I’ve left my betting sense at home. – But this past weekend was a doozy.

I had two small tickets in play. It was a “short stack” day just enjoying time with friends making small wagers. – I parlayed a couple 5-1 winners into a couple P4 tickets. – I got past the first three with two singles in the wager. (Pretty good shooting if I say so myself). – My buddy was all excited and dialed up his computer in between an online contest he was playing. – ” Ed, you come back to; $187, $127, and $603. Let’s root for the big one and have a beer.” – I couldn’t agree more and have to admit the payoffs seemed healthy.

As they turned for home my 7-1 big payoff rolled around the field like they were stuck in the mud. – After “hi-fives” and asking what kind of beer they wanted I made my way to the window. – I slid my ticket across the desk and when the clerk slid it into the machine it showed a $79 payoff. – Needless to say, I didn’t believe it and asked for a result print out.  Yep, he was right. I had a little less than I thought rolling my way. – As I made my way back to the table my buddy immediately apologized. – “Ed, I’m so sorry. I was looking at Monmouth on my screen for payoffs.” – You could cry, bitch, or blame. I opted for a laugh and enjoyed a few more races with friends that are hard to come by in this world.


Clear the Watch List

I used to enjoy watching the races and keeping notes. – There are plenty of free places to keep your notes. They send you an email 48 hours in advance of the race, let you know when they work, and inform you of sizeable carryovers. All good stuff and you can’t beat the price. – I decided it was time to purge my list and start with Saratoga with horses that had a troubled trip, bad start, or were compromised. – I would like to share one I have running on Wednesday, 8/7/19 – Race #6 – #6 Mount Travers (12-1) – He scratched last out as it was a yielding soft turf on opening day. He cuts back in distance for Linda Rice and his only effort on the sod was soft going. – It is a $100k race, and the price may be worth the effort at the windows. I would have liked to see a nice allowance race, but I’ll make a small bet as the price will be right. Thursday – Saratoga – Race #3 – 1a – Mo Gee = Claimed last out and jumps up in class as part of an entry. Irad Ortiz replaces Luis Saez and this son of Uncle Mo is a strong closer.

Go ahead and give this a try. Trip handicapping is a lost art and it is well worth the time. – Until next month, best of luck from The Happy Horseplayer and Winning Ponies!




The Ironman Takes Some Time Off

by Ed Meyer

posted on August 7, 2019 in Blogroll, General Discussion, Horse Racing, | No Comments >>

Image may contain: Perry Ouzts, smiling, outdoor


Perry Wayne Ouzts is a fixture on the Ohio scene and a legend in the history books. On July 7th, he turned 65-years-young doing what he loves. – He had a spill at Belterra Park on July 28th. – For the 51,218 mounts in his career, you can bet this isn’t his first injury.

Initially, he was taken to the hospital for a dislocated shoulder. – Perry was heard as saying; “I’ll go and get checked and be back on Thursday.” – These were great plans, and if I had to bet a dollar he would’ve been working horses on Wednesday. – His shoulder was put back in place, and as a precaution, the doctors wanted to have an MRI. It came back showing three cracks in his rotator cuff; according to OTBO Executive Director, John C. Engelhardt.  This changed his plans for returning the following Thursday.

Of his 51,218 mounts, he has 7,065 career wins that started with Rablu at Beulah Park in 1973. Perry is the 7th all-time leading rider in Thoroughbred history. He still works horses on a daily basis where most younger riders won’t do the early morning shift. But that’s his work ethic from a storied family of riders who grew up doing it the right way. – If you call that “old school” it would make Perry Ouzts the Headmaster.

He is 8 wins ahead of Angel Cordero and 34 wins ahead of Edgar Prado. – If you’ve ever had the pleasure of watching him ride a winner he jogs back slowly to the winner’s circle. You could liken it to enjoying a fine cigar or a vintage glass of wine. – He knows the way and enjoys every moment like it was his first win.

He is going to be on the shelf for eight to nine months. – He’ll miss the remainder of the meet but plans on returning to Belterra Park next spring. “I’m not gonna let this end my career. I’ll be the one who makes that call and go out on my terms.”

I’ve been watching for a number of years and have enjoyed every milestone in his storied career. – I’m already counting the days until I see him take the track in the summer sun at Belterra Park. – Get some rest, Perry. We wish you the very best taking time to heal and look forward to seeing you at the races.


Free Selections / 50 – Cent Cross Country Pick 5

Saturday offers up the special Cross Country wager combining some of the best races from NYRA and around the country. Pick 4’s and Pick 5’s will be offered letting you bet multiple tracks in one bet! – The last one was on July 27th and it paid off a sweet $1,855.00 for a 50-cent base wager. – Here are some ideas to get you in the mood to take a swing at a unique wager that covers: Saratoga, Monmouth, and Woodbine.


Leg A = Race #7 / Saratoga / Mdn Sp Wt / 1 1/16 on the turf / 4:32 pm EDT

#2 – Blanket of Roses = First timer from the Chad Brown barn who is a son of Looking At Lucky. Javier Castellano is 9/15 the past week.

#5 – Economic Policy = Another first-timer from the Chad Brown bred to relish the green. His dam Patience Drive has 2 starters, 2 winners, and 2 turf winners to her credit.

#6 – Are You Kitten Me = First timer from the Mike Maker barn sired by the red-hot Kitten’s Joy. He’s been working lights out.


Leg B = Race #11 / Monmouth / O.C. $16,000 / 1 1/16 on the turf / 5:26 EDT

#1 – Curluck = Daughter of Curlin second off the layoff and was beaten chalk last out. Drops in class for the hot Jason Servis barn winning 29%.

#7 – Clockstrikestwelve = She’s a late closer and should come rolling for Timothy Hills.

#8 – Outoftrouble = Brad Cox trainee making a 2nd off the layoff move where he wins 29%. Look for a solid turn of foot sporting early speed.


Leg C = Race #10 / Woodbine / O.C. $40,000 / 1 1/16 synthetic / 5:56 pm EDT

#9 – Glittering Snow = Goes from sprinting to a route and has a bullet work under her belt.

#3 – Silent Tango = She broke her maiden last out and made a strong 4 wide bid to win.

#4 – Snippy = 3rd off the layoff and should sport some good early foot under Alan Garcia.


Leg D = Race #10 / Saratoga / The G2 Bowling Green / 1 3/8 on turf / 6:18 EDT

#3 – Ya Primo = Chilean-bred been off 4 months starting for the Chad Brown barn. He won the Gr1 Latinoamericano and is 6/9 ITM on the turf.

#1 – Arklow = Florent Geroux teams up with Brad Cox and cuts back in distance getting bested at the wire last out.

#8 – Zulu Alpha = Ships over from the G1 United Nations and was beat in the shadow of the wire.


Leg E = Race #12 / Saratoga / Claiming $30,000 2L / 1 mile on the turf / 7:23 EDT

#4 – My Macho = Laurel shipper second off the layoff for Graham Motion. He takes a drop-in class.

#5 – Surge Pricing = Chad Brown runner adding blinkers and dropping down the class ladder with Javier Castellano.


Leg A = 3

Leg B = 3

Leg C = 3

Leg D = 3

Leg E = 2

3X3X3X3X2 = $81 for a 50-cent ticket




The Happy Horseplayer

by Ed Meyer

posted on July 26, 2019 in Blogroll, General Discussion, Handicapping, Horse Racing | No Comments >>

Another summer month is rolling by and it got me to reflect on the game we love. – Saratoga is in full swing, and this past weekend brought blistering heat to most of the nation. Add in the problems facing racing and you have one player with many things to ponder. But rest assured, we have been here before many times.


Are than any sweeter words in the language of a horseplayer? Nope. – Watching the big-name outfits converge on a sleepy little town that turns into Hollywood is incredible. – The Ortiz brothers, Javier Castellano, Jose Lezcano, Luis Saez, Joel Rosario, Flavien Prat, and a host of others stay or ship to give us the best. – Pletcher, Baffert, Brown, Asmussen, Casse, Mott and Cox will lead over some of the best runners in the nation if not the world. – Yeah, to say it’s magical may be an understatement.

I’ve been enjoying each day, and even if I don’t have a wager I still love to watch the beauty and pageantry. – Saratoga is one-of-a-kind and will entertain the stars to the hardcore fans. – Marylou Whitney has passed and many times I read with anticipation of her parties and events. She created programs and charities to help many, and by the way. She raced horses with the best. It still seems like yesterday when Birdstone blew past Smarty Jones to win the Belmont. – When interviewed after the race, there was a true sense of sorrow that history was denied that day. That my friends is true sportsmanship. She will be missed by many. The people who read with anticipation, the many she helped through her endeavors, and the racing world will shed a tear.

Hotter than Georgia asphalt

The past weekend had tracks all around the nation canceling races. – The safety of the horse is paramount as well as human athletes. Fans from all walks understood and got behind the idea. – Some tracks tried to run and took extra measures to ensure safety for horses and fans. But, even “Ma Nature” can’t be halted. She had her wrath, and as an industry, we learned a great deal. – Monmouth Park took it on the chin being down 35% on Haskell Day.

Take a closer look

The world of racing is under a microscope. – It’s not just California, it’s everywhere. – The public outcry as with any sports is starting to gain momentum. Thoroughbred racing has been conducted since the 1700s, and in the states since settlements were established. – The “watchers from outside the fences” will cry foul and stop the madness. – But are they willing to add-in: Football, Baseball, Basketball, Rugby, Soccer, NASCAR, Boxing, MMA, Hockey, and pee-wee sports for children? – Probably not. – But racing is under the watchful eyes of many who don’t know the game. – When I read the chat rooms and some non-fans offer up a poll to end horse racing it hurts my heart. – If anyone would spend a day watching how the men and women tirelessly devote their lives to caring for the horses and putting them first at all costs. How tracks spend millions of dollars and countless hours in meeting rooms deciding how to have the safest racing surfaces. – I’m sure the naysayers would not believe it takes place. – Does racing need to address issues and plan for the future? Yes. – But the elimination of the sport is long-range damaging. Thoroughbred horses are not romping on the plains running free. They have been bred over hundreds of years to be the type of horse they are. How about the countless jobs lost? – Trainers who tend to the horses, riders who have been born into the sport. The van and transport companies who ensure our runners arrive safely. Where will the feed companies go, or the ones who bale and bring the hay and straw? How about the vets, mutuel clerks, track employees, farriers, valets, starters, tractor drivers, and countless others who are employed in roles that serve racing off the track?

Before you vote in social media chat rooms to end a sport. Doesn’t it make more sense to ensure safety, eliminate performance-enhancing drugs, and create the safest racing surface for horses to run? Yes. – It is our duty to make this sport as safe as possible with no costs spared. – I guess watching one race a year gives you a voice to get rid of something you don’t understand. Beware football season you are next up with a bevy of professional and college games. These same voices will ramp up to eliminate your sport and so on.

I’ve been watching racing all of my life. My dad, grandpa, aunts and uncles, and many before them. – I guess I’m a product of racing as well when my grandparents were married on the way to the 1938 Kentucky Derby. They met at old Latonia Race Course and shortly after stopped in Gallatin County to be wed at the justice of the peace. – He had the winner that day and a family was created. – I guess I’m a little biased, but that’s because I’ve tossed hay, watched them being cared for, paid the bills to keep them healthy, and voiced for the betterment of the sport versus the elimination. – Keep an open mind and if you want to be a voice, get a little closer to truly examine whats happening. – As in all sports, there are measures to be taken that will make the game safer for all. Racing has been working overtime and give it some time. I think you’ll start hearing the changes happening.

The Happy Horseplayer wishes you the best of luck, and enjoy the races. – “May your winners be many and your photos be few.”

Hotter Than Hades

Image result for Hades


This weekend is gonna be hotter than the Georgia asphalt. – Horses and human athletes alike could’ve been put in great danger when the heat index started skyrocketing. – I know, we’re going to miss a weekend of racing action. But, for the good of all who make the game happen this one makes sense. – Maybe Hades is a little over the top, but after this weekend we’ll all be counting the days until fall racing.

I was reading John Cherwa’s newsletter from the Los Angeles Times. – After his interview with a pretty sharp veterinarian. I have a new outlook when the heat gets ugly.

Monmouth, which is a couple miles from the Atlantic Ocean, is instituting heat protocols that it hopes will minimize the risk to horses. There are more vets and water trucks to immediately cool down horses if needed.

I contacted Dr. Rick Arthur, equine medical director for the California Horse Racing Board, to have him explain things.

Anyway, here’s an excerpt from that story to help you to understand how heat decisions are made.

“The humidity is really the most important factor in a horse’s ability to dissipate heat, Arthur said. The heat index at Santa Anita on these high, hot summers is not a problem. Now you do see problems when the weather turns quickly. But there are more problems in February when the temperature goes from 65 to 85 than when it goes from 85 to 95 or 100 in the summer.”

“The heat index is a combination of heat and humidity. Meteorologists like to use the phrase ‘feels like [temperature]’ as a way to explain it.”

“Arthur has a simpler way of computing the danger, just add the temperature and humidity and you shouldn’t worry until it gets around 160 to 165. Even when the temperature is 90 to 100 at Santa Anita, the heat index is higher at Del Mar when it’s in the 80s,’ Arthur said. ‘That has to do with the humidity. Track vets and trainers are attuned at what to look for when horses are being affected by the heat. They become more anxious, they start to back up, throw their head back and start pawing the ground.”

“Unlike dogs, horses are like humans and they lose heat by sweating,’ Arthur said. ‘If you put water on them it takes the heat off. That’s why horses are sponged sometimes before or in the paddock and certainly after the races.”


Ellis Park is planning to run a July 29th card on a Monday. – Other tracks were planning extra races or maybe trying a race card on a new day as an experiment. – There’s plenty of races to get us through the next couple of days, and looking back we’ll be glad we chose safety over trying to make money with racing handle. – Sit back, grab a cool drink, and watch a few top-notch races from Monmouth and Del Mar. There are a few other tracks able to run and by this time next weekend we’ll be looking back and glad we chose the safest route. - Best of luck from your friends at Winning Ponies! – Stay cool!

Free Selections / Wednesday, 7/17/19

Hump Day is more than a camel telling jokes on TV. – It’s the day where you make final tweaks to your bankroll as the weekend will roll up quickly. This weekend is G1 Haskell weekend and a pair of G2’s at Del Mar. – That’s right, more action than the law allows. – But, I digress. – Wednesday’s are for building it up to knock it down in a couple days. Sit back and use the free selections as an appetizer to the main course soon to be served.


Indiana Grand


Race #8 – Ellen’s Lucky Star – 1 mile on the turf – 5:31 pm EDT

#10 – Moves Like Magic = Jeff Greenhill trainee who comes in off a huge day on June 19th where he swept both stakes. – She has tons of speed and is 2/2 ITM on a sloppy footing where the track was wet on Weds. – She breaks from the outside and Greenhill make a rider switch to the hot John McKee. This Indy-bred cuts back in distance and McKee is winning 23% with “Team Green” when they go to post.


Race #9 – The Snack – 1 mile on the turf – 5:59 pm EDT

#7 – Toss of Fate = Greenhill is loaded for the day and this Indy-bred scored huge on the 6/19 and is 2/2 with wins over the course. – If they come off the turf, there are no worries. – He is 1/1 over the soft footing. A perfect stalker for “Team Green” as the barn is winning at a 17% clip for the meet. Malcolm Franklin aboard and they do very good work as a team. – Greenhill is looking at another big day.




Race #6 – Clm 30,000 2L – 5 1/2f on the turf – 3:55 pm EDT

#5 – Matzo Bella = Filly by Gio Ponti for the Jason Servis barn. 2nd off the layoff move and flying late in the lane. Since getting claimed four back she’s been tough.


Race #9 – O.C. $62,500 – 6f – 5:45 pm EDT

#7 – Bluegrass Jamboree = 3rd off the shelf for this daughter of Bluegrass Cat. She has her hands full with Talk Veuve to Me,  but she is making the first start off a two-month layoff. – “Bluegrass” looks to be hitting on all cylinders and cutting back in distance and is 2/3 ITM at the Spa. Jose Lezcano in the irons and he has been on fire winning 22% as the meet is just getting started. She has three works since her last and 6f should fit her well.


Del Mar


Race  #2 – O.C. $62,000 – 1 1/8 on the turf – 2:33 pm PST

#6 – United = Makes his first start off a two-month layoff dropping in class from the G2 Whittingham. He is a long-range closer and cuts back from 1 1/4 in distance. He fires well off the bench and Flavien Prat is a turf master to be reckoned with. Look for Prat to kick out wide and come rolling down the lane.


Race #8 – The Oceanside – 1 mile on the turf – 5:44 pm PST

#5 – King of Speed = Son of Jimmy Creed for trainer Jeff Bonde with Kent Desormeaux in the saddle. 3rd off the layoff and a scorching handily work two back. He is 3/3 ITM at Del Mar and cuts back to the distance where he is 4/6 ITM. Look for a midpack closing effort.







Grandstand Memories

Image result for Baby dressed as a jockey



In every sport we have them. – You can hear the arm-chair warriors carrying a torch for their team or runner. – That’s just fine. It makes the game interesting. But, over the years, I’ve noticed some pretty good imitations of a rider walking around in the grandstand. – They’re not going to make weight and pick up a call, but they’ll sure give you all they got when they have $2 on the line. – Here are some of my favorites, and others I wish would go home early.


1. – The program whipper = This person can reach into their pocket and draw out a rolled program. – It’s tight and bent, but it will do the trick. – They go right to the stick and cheer and scream as the horses turn for home. – They give commands as if the rider would hear them and won’t stop until they hit the line. – If it all went south. They can tell you the rider should have switched sticks, changed leads, or threw a few crosses.


2. – The finger snapper = This is not my favorite, and I turn my head when hearing the snap. – They can get a snapping going by twitching their fingers and you can hear it deep to the bone. – They call out “Come on Willy, Come on Will. – That’s it, Jorge, That’s it. – Make the move Eddie, shoot the rail.” – All the while this wicked snapping sound is like fingers on a chalkboard. – I’m all for rooting, but this one is rough to watch and hear.


3. – The smoocher = They’re not giving anyone a kiss, but you would swear it was happening right there. – Smmmmoooooch – Come on baby, smoooooccccch. – They are calling to the horse like a rider does with a whistle, chirp, or a high pitched scream.


4. – The stooper = When tickets hit the floor they can flip the flat ticket like a world cup soccer player. It is an art, but tracks frown down on this practice of looking for winners that got tossed on the floor.


4. – The Hi-Five Gang = Usually a group of young men or women, and you’ll see them jumping and giving the big five! – I love to see the energy, but sometimes they look like the cover of the program where you see people in bow ties and sunglasses having a great time.


5. – The Announcer = This is the guy in the far back of the racebook who roots for whoever is on top. – Funny, they have every winner and call it as they turn for home. ” Get em, James. Turn him loose. You got it, you got it, draw and hide from them.” – These folks are funny for about the first two hours but it gets old at the end of the night.


Free Saratoga Selections / Saturday, 7-13-19

The Spa is open and summer is officially underway. I love to watch the babies, the turf, and the incredible stakes. – I guess it’s fair to say I love the entire show. How could you not? Saratoga is like Christmas for horseplayers and gamblers. The opportunity to watch and wager on the best outfits, riders and equine athletes is like having your cake and eat it too. – Here is a little something to whet your appetite for the weekend. Be sure to download your Winning Ponies E-Z Win Forms for the definitive approach on how the races will take shape. – Best of luck and have a great weekend!




Race #3 – The G3 Sanford – 6f – 2:10m pm EDT

#5 – By Your Side = Looking to make it two wins in a row and his sire Constitution wins 44% with his 1st timers. – He didn’t disappoint and sends him to Saratoga to strut his stuff. Changing from Corey Lanerie to Irad Ortiz is a strong move as Ortiz wins 22% with late runners. Use with: #4 – Tomato Bill / #2 – Raging Whiskey


Race #5 – Allowance – 5 1/2f on turf – 3:21 pm EDT

#1 – Originator = Been off for 308 days and last raced at Kentucky Downs. He had a sweet work over the CD deep oval and is bred to enjoy the turf. Fear not the long layoff. He has faced better on the track and will come back to do battle.


Race #6 – Maiden – 1 1/16 on the turf – 4:01 pm EDT

#2 – Decorated Invader = First timer who is red to relish the greensward. There is a sharp work in his pocket and his dam Gamely Girl has 4 starters,  3 winners, 1 stakes winner, and 2 turf winners to her credit.


Race #9 – The G1 Diana – 1 1/8 on the turf – 5:46 pm EDT

#4 – Sistercharlie = She’s been away from the races for 8 months. Her morning works have been solid and she was the winner of the BC F&M Turf last year. This will be her 4th straight if she can pull it off and we can look for her late in the lane moving like a freight train.


Race #10 – Allowance – 7f -6:21 pm EDT

#8 – Hersh = This is a 2nd off the layoff move and this son of Jimmy Creed is 1/1 at Saratoga. The faster they run, the better he’ll like it. – He’ll be a handful if the fractions are hot.

Never Too Late to Be What You Might’ve Been

by Ed Meyer

posted on July 10, 2019 in Blogroll, General Discussion, Horse Racing, | 1 Comment >>

There are many versions of a race track today. It can be the one where your grandpa used to take you as a kid, or it can be a racino with gaming. Or maybe, a casino that came in and turned your quaint little oval into a glitzy place with music, giveaways, and huge crowds. – You didn’t think the little track could survive without some form of help, did you? – Some love the new looks, and others have a bad taste for change. – If you step back and take a hard look. You’ll find your old stomping grounds are changing.

Your track is hurting so bad it’s going the way of the dinosaur. – Purses are drained and your patron base is like a ghost town. – You can always smell the odor of slow death when the faces you’ve been seeing for years are being let go. – They call it downsizing or restructuring, but it means you won’t be going to work on Monday. – If you doubt my explanation, just ask Suffolk and Portland Meadows as they are the latest casualties after 84 and 73 years respectively.

Racing became complacent. – “Build it and they will come” is a line from a movie.  Help is needed and changes need to be made. – The reason it seems so daunting is that there have been no changes for a long time. We’ve just opened the doors and expected them to come. – That used to be the old way of thinking. Boxing, Baseball, and Horse Racing were the “big three” spectator sports. – 30 minutes in between races, months between big boxing matches, and baseball games had the same seat for a $1 as it did for $5. The only difference is how close you sat. – Your little track has been purchased by a nameless entity you won’t learn until weeks from now. – All you know is there are going to be some changes, and you just hope to be a part of it. – Then you find out the name of the new company and everyone starts acting ready for the new boss. – But, the process is slow and seems like nothing is happening.

Okay, maybe you fall into one of the above or not. – Doesn’t matter. Change is the only medicine that will allow a future to continue. Like it or not, it is the only way to keep things moving forward. – Racing had many of years where it was king and all it had to do was open the doors and advertise in the newspaper. – But, as you know, those days are in the rear-view mirror. – We didn’t tend the fire and awoke to a cold reality. – Trust me, there will be incredible stories of turn-around ventures where gaming companies take a shine to racing; while others use it as a reason to keep the gaming license on the wall. – Overall, there will be some that flourish and others fade away like smoke through a keyhole.

The Racino / Casino model – There are forms of new gaming and most do major renovations to give the old track a face lift. – Race track food is replaced by fine dining, buffets fit for a king, and glowing signage you can see for miles. – The idea is to build up the racing product with simulcast race books, and hope the gaming area players venture over and watch your live product. – The giveaways and promotions are created to draw new players that are now called guests. They enjoy the glitz and glamour they once had to go to Vegas to enjoy. – Racing can grow if you have the right people in charge who are allowed to make some changes. –  From what this life-long gambler has noticed is there is a gap in dedication. You need to hire people who know racing. You have to know what players really want and enjoy. – If they’re there, you’re there. That’s the secret sauce of getting to know your player base in racing. It won’t have the same profit margin as the gaming side but it can grow to be a unique part of your operation. – The Machiavellian principle applies; ” You must be present to be effective.”

Hire the best racing secretary, and allow them to create a solid staff that will grow. – You don’t want to keep a revolving door and keep changing the nameplate on that office door. Grow the purse account with a “boost” from the gaming side and slowly taper it off. This will allow for bigger purses and draw solid fields to begin. The simulcast handle will keep it growing the rest of the year. After a time, racing will have to stand on its own. Give them the boost needed to get started.  – Have the best track superintendent to ensure a safe and solid racing surface. Funny thing, if you have a safe surface you’ll draw bigger outfits to run their horses at your oval.

On the gaming side of the operation, you can have schedules of workers, team members, and employees. – On the racing side if you are having live racing it’s all hands on deck. – Marketing, advertising, managers from all walks. Be present and be available. – You don’t have to give away the fort,  but you have to be on hand to listen and get to know your patron base. This will grow attendance and wagering more than any type of advertising. Racing Player Development is just as important as on the gaming side. Many operations tend to overlook this. You have to run a full staff from open until 5 pm. Then, you can cut back as the night cards start up. – When racing fans have that person to speak with you gain their confidence.

There is plenty of cross-promotion to be utilized. – There is a track in Indiana that really got behind the racing product. – Handle grew and players came by the busload. Horse racing got that needed shot in the arm and was a major success. – When it was purchased, I noticed the dedication wavered and it slowed down greatly. Funny thing, if you don’t care or invest in the product why should gamblers? – Racing may be declining in some areas of the country, but if a company is dedicated to keeping it alive. The report of the death of horse racing may have been greatly exaggerated. – Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself. – George Bernard Shaw



Happy 65th Birthday, Ironman!

by Ed Meyer

posted on July 10, 2019 in Blogroll, General Discussion, Horse Racing, | No Comments >>

Perry Ouzts

My Dad was a hard worker all his life. – When I was a kid I used to be amazed at how strong he was and the amount of work he could handle. – ” Iron doesn’t rust.” – That was one of his many lines about how he was in such good shape. – If the old saying holds true about iron. Perry Ouzts is going to ride forever.

At 65-years-young, he just notched his first win on an eight-race card. – When Perry notches that first one there’s usually more to follow. – You won’t find him doing a flying dismount a la Frankie Dettori, or talking smack on his way to the winner’s circle. – When he wins, he jogs back very slow and savors the moment like a vintage wine or a fine cigar. He’s been there before and is one win away from tying Angel Cordero as the 7th leading rider in history. Not a bad day at the office.

Around horseracing tracks, he is nicknamed the “Workingman’s Hero” or, for his unique riding style, “Scoot N’ Boot.” He has also been noted for overcoming numerous potentially career-ending injuries.

Ouzts has had his share of near career-ending accidents. In 1992, during an event at River Downs, the race was stopped because Ouzts’s horse stumbled near the starting gate, throwing him off. Ouzts was kicked in the face, resulting in a broken jaw, nose, and shoulder. The most damaging injury Ouzts suffered happened in January 2006 at Turfway Park. Finders Chance, Ouzts’s horse that day, came to a sudden halt at the track’s quarter-pole, and Ouzts was thrown to Turfway Park’s Polytrack, part of the track’s synthetic racing surface. Another horse clipped his right arm, snapping the bone. This accident left Ouzts with four cracked and one crushed vertebrae. However, three surgeries and eleven months later, he made one of the most remarkable comebacks of any professional jockey. In his debut race after the incident, Ouzts finished second while riding Divine Dancer at the same Turfway Park. In 2009 and 2010, he won the summertime meets at River Downs.

Perry Ouzts was born in Lepanto on July 7, 1954, but was raised primarily in Rivervale (Poinsett County). During his years in Rivervale, Ouzts began riding horses with his cousins Earlie and Jackie Fires. Earlie Fires was eventually inducted into the Hall of Fame of Jockeys, while Jackie’s career ended when his body was crushed during a horse race in 1977, paralyzing him. Ouzts began riding professionally in the spring of 1973 at Beulah Park.  -Ouzts’ first career victory came in March 1973 while riding Rablu at Beulah Park in Grove City, Ohio. Ouzts holds a record of eighteen meet titles at River Downs in Cincinnati, Ohio, and eleven meet titles at Beulah Park.

Happy Birthday, Perry! – I’ve been watching with amazement for years, and wish you health, happiness, and many more trips to the winner’s circle. – Best of luck my friend!