Bet Like You Mean It – Keeneland

by Ed Meyer

posted on October 4, 2023 in Blogroll, Breeders Cup, Free Picks and Tips, General Discussion, Handicapping, Horse Racing, | Comments Off on Bet Like You Mean It – Keeneland

As our bankroll starts dwindling or maybe it’s the flip side and you’re on fire. Now is the time to bet like a pro. – We all feel like we have a handle on our betting style and plan. But if this was true, wouldn’t you have quit your day job by now? – Don’t tell your boss “Where to go” and keep your meeting agenda intact. Betting like a pro is an ideal of who we want to be and not necessarily a character we have of someone doing this.

Betting like a pro is a plan. We want every wager to mean something and not just drop a few bucks to pass the time. No need for the cheap cigar and mobster-sounding voice. It is keeping your wagers in line. Hopefully right back in line to the cashier’s window.


  1. Don’t use over 5% of your bankroll on your first bet. Even if you are betting the minimum, that is the plan.
  2. You choose the five tracks you like running that day and trim it back to three. From there, two tracks get your main focus and the 3rd gets a spot play of the day. – Of the two main tracks you use the top three races you like on the card only and that spot play at your third track. – Not enough action? – Trust me you have eight to nine races of which you’ll bet the minimum on seven, and crank up your best bets to 10%. – If you’re winning, you can unleash the hounds if you like, but be sure to make your bankroll back to even where you started the day.
  3. Keep notes. Watch the races like a “scouting mission” and you’re looking for the best runners to wager on next out. – Trip handicapping is as old as time and the best cappers employ this daily.
  4. Do not force yourself to have action. – If you don’t bet Finger Lakes and it’s a Monday afternoon, let it slide. – You haven’t been watching them, and you dove in the deep end. Take at least two days off a week when you are not watching races and not charting the races. It will keep you fresh.
  5. At boutique meets like Keeneland. Stay away from the $150k maiden events. I know, no fun, huh? – This is about winning and the fun is at the end of the day when you have more in your pocket. – Use the big allowance races and turf races only. Trainers target and ship into Keeneland for the money and prestige of growing their barn with more winners. – Use the top four riders from last year and the top four trainers to start handicapping. There is a reason they are back and it’s not the burgoo.
  6. Keep an eye on the weather and know how the track plays from watching race replays from the day prior and even last year. Compare. – Keep an eye on the new rider who is setting the nation on fire. If they ship to try their hand at Keeneland, this has been a plan in the works with their agent for quite some time. – The big outfits didn’t come for the weather, and if a big name from another circuit targets a race. They have a reason and have some expenses shipping in from another track.
  7. Watch the cheap races. Not to play back as it is only a 15-day meet. You’ll see them drop down in class elsewhere and strike paying nicely down the road. – As far as runbacks during the same 15-day meet. Trainers have been targeting and they will take some time off after the short meeting.


Keep your head and don’t bet over it. – It can be enticing, and this week you should be betting the first weekend in Keeneland, New York, and California. Breeders’ Cup has plenty of opportunities that first weekend at Keeneland and spot-play stakes races at the other two. This Friday and Saturday offer up a great opportunity to see some making their last start before the Breeders’ Cup. Some will even draw into the starting gate with a “win and you’re in” stake.

Don’t forget to enjoy the races. After all, that’s how you started years ago. Make a plan and stick to it. Take notes and spend as much time selecting how much you’ll wager as who you’ll wager on. They seem two sides of a different coin, but they are the same in importance. – You’re already in the right place with Winning Ponies. They are tried and true and easy to use for long-time cappers and those making their first trip. Color-coded tier levels make it easy to understand and it will help guide you along to eliminating runners who don’t belong. Go ahead. Give it a try and let me know how your day goes. I’ll bet dollars to donuts we’ll be in the cashier’s line together. – Best of luck from your friends at Winning Ponies!





The Start, Middle, and Stretch Run of 2023

by Ed Meyer

posted on October 4, 2023 in Blogroll, General Discussion, Handicapping, Horse Racing, | Comments Off on The Start, Middle, and Stretch Run of 2023

It started in the cold of winter in Kentucky. The funny thing is it’s not Alaska, but it can get damn cold. Being on the windward side of the building you felt every blustery blow of the winds coming out of the west. For the horses, you would look to which direction the flags were blowing. From the west of the airport runways meant they would face a headwind and speed would hold up better than usual. From the east, was a closer’s dream. The speed would tire and runners with a late kick had a chance.

It was during the early part of February that conversations about Perry Ouzts would begin. Many in the placing judges stand felt he would never complete his dream of becoming the 5th all-time leading rider in history, but one voice spoke and in Babe Ruth style not only predicted the milestone but guessed the month and week. – I was only ten days off, and Perry Wayne Ouzts passed the late great David Gall to notch another page in history. – The paddock will be named in his honor and a statue of a jockey painted in the Larry Smith colors of Smith Red Gate Farm would forever hold his spot in the books. At 69 years of young age, he rides with the vim and vigor of an 18-year-old kid. He still loves to win, but this year may be his final as he informed me back in the winter this was it. “Oh, I may ride one for an old friend, and I’ll still work out horses in the morning, but I’ll just help my wife around the barn and slow down a bit.” – I think Perry will still keep riding on a much slower basis, but his drive will still be 100%. Congrats, my friend. It has been an honor watching you ply your trade.

Jockey Perry Ouzts on the cusp of 7,000 career wins; could reach ...


Picking horses to make the Derby trail off the synthetic has been a fool’s folly. A handful have made the trek, but only a couple made a big “Run for the Roses.” The last one that caught my attention on the poly at Turfway Park was Animal Kingdom back in 2011. – He made a move on the poly that horses usually make on the deep-cushioned dirt. It was spectacular to watch and at the quarter pole, I made the decision this was my Derby horse without looking elsewhere. Finally, a good choice off the Polytrack. Weekend Stakes: Where To Watch - Horse Racing News ...


I haven’t found another who caught my eye like he did; that was until this past March at the new Turfway Park owned by CDI. – The track was now Tapeta and the new track was a beacon for change. – Now the Jeff Ruby Stakes, yes, Stakes. – A lightly raced horse named Two Phil’s trained by Chicago conditioner Larry Rivelli made a storming move in the hands of Jareth Loveberry that made my second decision to stop my Derby search early. This time it wasn’t the middle move; it was the runout past the wire that caught my eye like many horsemen watch for. – His head held low like A.P. Indy back in the day and he kept pulling the rider as he wanted to keep on running at full-speed. That was proof enough for me. – On the First Saturday in May he stormed up the rail and grabbed the lead at Churchill Downs. Old-time trainers say that the last quarter mile at Churchill Downs must be uphill as they have seen horses draw off only to get caught in the final yards. – Well, my big win ticket at a sweet price became a place ticket, but I still turned a profit.

As the leaves turn golden brown and the talk of Breeders’ Cup begins. Another year is making its way into the books. I have seen a great deal and been on hand for some moments that will last a lifetime. – This is the life of a horse racing fan who just so happens to work in the industry. I wind up my ninth year as race caller and odds maker at a beautiful little oval along the banks of the mighty Ohio River; Belterra Park. I complete my final five days of the year; I will make that walk into the booth with a special spring in my step. We treat it as a fine cigar and enjoy it down to the butt before we smash it out in the ashtray and move along. Another year in the books. Can’t wait to see what the Breeders’ Cup weekend has in store, and the winter conversations that await the judge stand at Turfway Park. One thing is for certain. I will definitely let you know.




The Official End of Summer

by Ed Meyer

posted on October 4, 2023 in Blogroll, General Discussion, Handicapping, Horse Racing, | Comments Off on The Official End of Summer

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Many mark the day with a family BBQ or fireworks and sparklers for the kids. For horse racing fans in the Ohio / Northern Kentucky area, there was only one place to be. River Downs.

It sat near the shores of the muddy Ohio River as the breezes blew gently through the big maple trees near the 6 furlongs chute. A giant tent with tables, seating, a grand buffet, and an open bar all day greeted lucky ticket holders with the “Official End of Summer Blowout.” Oh, and did I mention the 20 clerks who were ready and waiting to take your wagers? – Oh, what better way to bid summer adieu.

John Engelhardt was the official “Mayor of River Downs,” and would enjoy a beer or ten as he greeted loyal patrons with a hearty handshake and the ladies would get a gentle hug. Pictures with the “Regular Guy” of racing were coveted items as he smoked his Strauss Tobacconist cigar and would give out a pick or two for the day. John made the party, and many moons ago that is how I landed the greatest job in the world working with him at River Downs. But I digress.

I would usually take my dad, and we would handicap under the trees with a covered table and TVs. Drinks flowed from the first to an hour after the last. After being treated to a lavish layout of Cincinnati’s finest fare, the grill pit would fire up to bed down your gambling appetite with dogs, brats, meats, and burgers. Not the millionaire’s ball, but damn close in my book.

You hoped for sunshine as there was a bevy of turf races with riders coming in from other tracks to end the summer on a high note. The day was centered around a stake race that made the little track glow. The $200,000 Miller Lite Cradle Stakes. Over the years I saw a Derby winner with Spend a Buck, and some who would go on to greatness like Harlan’s Holiday, Coax Me Chad, Bellamy Road, and a host of others. If you forget, no problem. Just pick up one of the many mugs that showed every past winner and a painted picture of last year’s victor on your table. Yeah, it would not do it justice to say they did a great job at putting on the party. They invented how to do it right. The new owners try and give away a pen and pencil set when you walk through the doors as the rest of us remember how it was supposed to be done.

As the sun sets, the “Regular Guy” is looking for his golf cart to head back to the office. – We had a wonderful day doing what we loved. Friends, family, and fun. You saw everyone from the track bum to some of Cincinnati’s celebrities. A day where we rubbed elbows and enjoyed the day together celebrating the equine. About now, I would hear the horn of my dad’s old truck and we would drive away for a day of incredible delight. But it is only a sound I cherish in my heart wishing to go back just one more time. Just like the little Scottish village Brigadoon which would appear from the mist once every hundred years, River Downs would create a party atmosphere that was second to none every Labor Day. It once was called “America’s Day at the Races.” Now, I’m not sure how many tracks are even open today. – I still have a big smile on my face just thinking of the official end-of-summer blowout.

History in the Making

by Ed Meyer

posted on August 25, 2023 in Blogroll, General Discussion, Horse Racing, | Comments Off on History in the Making


Starting off my day at work seemed about as normal as possible.  Blue skies and sunshine gleamed over the hills of Kentucky and glanced off the brilliant Ohio River. I walk into the jock’s room and the daily banter of how riders did yesterday and how many mounts await held the conversation. It was until one rider quietly came in and the room seemed to dim in volume. It was Perry Ouzts, and he was one win away from passing the late David Gall for being the 5th all-time leading rider. – Most watched like little kids at the star in the room with a wide-eyed gaze. Riding with a 69-year-old man who was knocking on the door of history was enough to make you draw a breath and glance in awe.

Perry had ridden a few days before on a beautiful Saturday and had six solid mounts. He only needed one win and had four seconds and a third-place finish. Good day at the office, but not quite what Perry Ouzts was looking for. – He was a long way from that rainy day at Beulah Park in 1973 when Rablu carried him home to be his first career win. But, for a competitor like Perry Ouzts the thrill of winning races never waned. It only grew over time; as he jogged back to the winner’s circle, he savored the win like a fine cigar or a vintage wine.

When Perry Wayne Ouzts rode Lanalikeschoochoos to victory by 5 3/4 lengths, he had finally notched career win #7,397 over the Belterra Park oval.  – He was a long way from Lepanto, Arkansas, and his journey had brought him to his biggest milestone to date. – Greeted by throngs of fans, riders, press, and track managers. Perry Ouzts was center stage when the large infield board showed video well wishes from Pat Day, Edgar Prado, Steve Cauthen, and long-time friend and PR manager John Englehardt who covered his career for over 33 years.

The celebration slowly wore down and the business of racing was making its way back to the jock’s room to prepare for the next race. – I called to speak to Perry and congratulate him on his big day. – During our conversation he let me know “he was only three wins away from career win #7,400.” That’s Perry. The truest definition of a competitor and always looking forward. – He was grateful and informed that Pat Day had just called him.” That’s pretty cool, man. Pat Day calling me.” 

I’ve watched Perry Ouzts since I was a young lad with my dad in the summer sun of River Downs. Watching his rapid-fire crop coax his horses to the wire was a sight to behold. He was great at speed, and closers, and even held his own on the turf. Perry was a “big fish in the little pond,” and that is just the way he liked it. He was close to home, his family, and his long-time wife Toni. There was no place in the world he would have ever wanted to ride besides his own backyard.

As the pages of history etched his name among the pantheon of all-time greats, this humble man lets his riding skills do his talking instead of wasting time telling you how he did it. – He did it his way. One at a time, and savored each win like his first. I’ve never seen a rider who relishes winning like Perry Ouzts, and I don’t think I will ever see this again in my lifetime.

Thank you for the many thrills, big wins, and exciting finishes. – This fan will always remember each and every win, and how you slowly jog back to the winner’s circle savoring each step like it was your very first win in 1973.


Rough and Tough Game

by Ed Meyer

posted on July 30, 2023 in Blogroll, General Discussion, Horse Racing, | Comments Off on Rough and Tough Game

For decades, Angel Cordero rode as tough as nails. You didn’t come up the rail on him, and Lord knows you didn’t ride too close to pin him in. It was part of the game and he did his fair share of days off and fines levied. Irad Ortiz is one of the strongest finishers in the sport. I know many riders who have a strong hand down the lane. But, for my money, and many of the public supporters, Ortiz is one of the best in the world.

First, watch the race again and you decide. – My only question is if this was such a bad call how come no objection was claimed? – If they both popped up on the board, it may have had more weight in the steward’s stand.

(772) Forte – 2023 – The Jim Dandy – YouTube


Ortiz will ride this way until he hangs up his tack. Some riders finesse their way through a gap and others come through with a determined sense of purpose. – The sport is being ruled by HISA in many states, and the number of times a rider may use his whip is six times during the course of the race. – No more using the stick as a steering tool to keep your horse off another. I’m glad the call was “As Is” meaning no change. It was not the trainer, jockey, or fans’ money. A decision was made by qualified stewards who go through extensive education and spend countless hours watching races with other judges to learn and share thoughts.

It may not be popular and I didn’t have a bet. But no call was my vote as well. – Somebody was going to be mad, and I have friends in some of the biggest jurisdictions who make these calls. I’ve been put up and taken down many times, but I trust the process.

Give it time. This will look clearer in time.




Be Careful What You Wish For

by Ed Meyer

posted on July 14, 2023 in Blogroll, General Discussion, Horse Racing, | Comments Off on Be Careful What You Wish For

Confusion has a steep price to pay. I’ve been working in racing all of my life. No more saying it’s been mostly part of my working years; it’s been my entire life. – I’ve loved every day from the ice-cold parking lot days until I slowly climbed the ladder. The sport was my first love and to this day she is my muse. But these days it’s been hard to believe in the future. I guess I’m one of the many who just sit back and wonder what’s next.

Trainers getting sent to the showers and not allowed to enter races. I guess this would be one of the worst calls a conditioner could get in the early morning being told he’s on the shelf. No money to be made, horses sent to other trainers, and your staff that have taken years to build are given their pink slip. – Then a few weeks go by and “POOF.” They are allowed to enter and run once again after the court of Public Opinion has lost faith in you; the process of building back your business begins. Imagine how tough it is to convince folks who have been reading about you cavorting with the devil and doing wrong. It will be tough to get them to believe once again and send hundreds of thousands of dollars your way. This was a tough read from an outsider’s perspective. Can’t imagine what they were feeling.

I waited with bated breath for the casinos to arrive. They were going to bring the game back to days of glory and the future looked bright ahead. But, be careful what you wish for, you may just get it. – In my neck of the woods the race track is looked upon as something they just deal with until they figure out a way to get rid of it to stash more lightning-fast slot machines to take the rent money. Funny thing, they wouldn’t have even been here unless that lucrative gaming license brought the hope of bringing the Trojan Horse to the races. They weren’t there to save anything except expand their own waistline. – Team Members come over and watch the races like they are looking at aliens. They don’t understand, and even if you took time to show them, they couldn’t give a damn about the sport. Just not fast enough.

Some casinos come in and relish the opportunity to expand the racing side by making the complex a complete entertainment destination. Great idea if you ask me, but nobody is asking. Those casino entities advertise the entire property as a place to enjoy the excitement of gaming. A little something for everyone. – But there is the flip side of that coin. Others just meander around and watch an occasional race looking for a chance to celebrate in the winner’s circle like they care.

I’ve watched friends and co-workers lose jobs and shuffle around to different ones. Leaving behind the work they did for decades. Sad to see but even more tough to watch these strong people lose hope. – But the beat goes on. Loud music around the slots, free soda, and coffee as long as you’re playing, but never once have I even seen that free soda machine or hot coffee urn make its way to the racing side. I guess they wouldn’t enjoy a cup of coffee.

I’m still trying to hang in there, but it’s getting tougher. They make it rougher with a secret plan to rip up that lush turf course and build a super high-rise of penny slots. I sometimes refer to the facility as “It’s not your grandpa’s game anymore.” – I’m sure glad he’s not here to see it. He’d just walk back to the car and head back home.


The Little Things

by Ed Meyer

posted on June 23, 2023 in Blogroll, General Discussion, Horse Racing, | Comments Off on The Little Things

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On your way to your office, you see the beauty of watching horses train on the track as you hear the sounds of snorting colts being pulled up after a strong morning work. – You lean against the rail like you do every morning and you drink in the beauty of your surroundings. You could work in a huge building on Wall St. or look through the window watching humanity whirl past. But there is something about the sights and smells of walking past the race track in the morning. The workout riders exude the smell of sweat and leather as muscles gleam in the morning light. Then it hits you. There is no better way to start your morning. These little things are some of the greatest sights and smells in the world.


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You walk into the jock’s room and see young riders who speak little English nod and move quickly. They haven’t settled into finding themselves, but they are trying to find their place. They will. – The top rider walks in and you can feel the tension as thick as a morning fog. Young riders want to be them and the older riders heading back down the ladder were them for a long time. Then the oldest rider at the track strolls in slowly. Not because he has to; because he is the reason the young riders get up early and older riders still ply their trade. He is 68 years young and quietly weighs in and shakes a few hands. A man of few words and a face that shows every mile he has run. I’m greeted by a handshake and a little hug. – Perry Ouzts is a rare treasure. I’m never going to see this again in my lifetime and his record is one that stands the test of time and fortitude. On this day, he is 24 wins away from being the 5th all-time leading rider in the history of the sport of kings. Not something you see every day. Like watching Mickey Mantle take batting practice chasing his milestones…

I yack and laugh with the clerk of scales and silks man. We joke about the doings of the day and security guards chime in with a laugh and we share a light moment before starting the day. – We bid farewell and I make the walk into my office. Punch in the code and walk into the best office I have ever had.No photo description available.


Not a bad view as I begin my day. – Clean my binoculars and fire up the computer. A little music in the background and the day is underway. – In about an hour or so I’ll have the best seat in the house and get to do a job that I’d pay them to be here. Friends are always welcome to stop up and catch a race. It’s like taking friends on a roller coaster trip. Not much fun by yourself, and sharing the view with others makes the job that much sweeter. – I relish each race like a fine wine or a hand-rolled cigar. I treat every day like a gift because it truly should be cherished as one. – Yeah, the little things make all the difference in the world. Take a moment and get a good look around. You’ll be surprised at the beauty that surrounds you.

Ochenta (80)

by Ed Meyer

posted on June 9, 2023 in Blogroll, General Discussion, Handicapping, Horse Racing, | Comments Off on Ochenta (80)

I remember holding your hand and walking in the track. We were buddies separated by 23 years and I loved every minute even though I didn’t know what was really going on. Just being with you was reward enough, and nothing in my life has been that good since.

You were great at math and you knew I just couldn’t get adding and subtracting; as that gene must have skipped a generation. I tried to put the numbers together, but it just didn’t click. – You thought about what may perk my interest. You opened the Monopoly box and pulled out a pair of dice. The numbers started making sense, and to this day when I see a four it is a pair of twos on dice. Thanks, Dad.

My brother Donnie and I loved spending time with you. – He was your athlete, and like you was a natural. I was the horseplayer in training, and I’m still in love with the ponies to this day. Not only has it been a hobby, but it became my work over these many years. Thank you, Dad. We are both grateful for what you’ve shown us. But I must admit I think I had a better time!

I can rattle off a million stories of riding in our red convertible driving out to catch the last three or four races at Latonia Race Course. In the summer it was the Harness races that kept our inner gambler fueled, and, in the fall and winter it was the Thoroughbred meet. Both were captivating and gave me a lifetime of stories about bad beats and nice wins that followed up with a pizza from Burke’s bar.

The track was a magical place. – “Had a big winner, let’s go to the races. Tough day at work, let’s catch the last three later.” It was a common bond between two guys who loved the action and enjoyed the fun. – As Latonia turned into Turfway Park, I was lucky enough to work my way in from the parking lot to the inside. For me, there couldn’t have been a better place to spend my time calling it work when it was a labor of love. I won’t be a millionaire, but the incredible years working my way through the inner sanctum was a dream come true.

You showed me how to read the Form and over time your magic mojo that made you a handicapper. – Speed, speed, and more speed. Sprinters going the distance, and betting riders who had short winning percentages yielded big winners. I would stand in the summer sun at River Downs feeling the sweat roll down my back as men would stand in long lines to get a bet down. There was no place I’d rather be in the world than spending time at the races with you.

From working in the parking lot to calling $100,000 races, you taught me that it was important when someone took the time to speak. It was important that I listened. – Give people a fair shake and treat people with respect. Things I employ on a daily basis to this day. Thanks, Dad.

As you’ve beaten the Las Vegas odds of turning eighty years old, I leave you with an old story we both know well. – You scraped up your last five bucks and played a speed horse in the outside post at Latonia. He had pure speed and we just hoped the gal could hold on for dear life. – When the gate broke and we saw a horse jump high and unseat the rider. Both rider and horse were unscathed, but the two guys took a long walk to the car talking about the bad beat that still resonates to this day. Funny thing, many moons later I work with that young jockey and she laughs every time I tell her of our bad beat on a Saturday afternoon.

Happy 80th Birthday, Dad. Thank you for showing me about the races. For the many days and millions of stories, I am eternally grateful. If we had it to do all over again, we’d probably do it twice as much. Have a great day at the races today and I sure hope you pick some winners. – See you in the winner’s circle, as the races go on forever…





The Dawn of a New Day

by Ed Meyer

posted on June 9, 2023 in General Discussion, Horse Racing, | Comments Off on The Dawn of a New Day

As you see the fluffy wisps of billowing beauty in the sky moving quickly, there’s something ominous behind pushing them away. The sport of kings lies upon these white clouds, and this time, we’re not sure where the rain will fall.

Horse racing, especially Thoroughbred racing, was a sport enjoyed by all during the progressive era, according to Steven A. Reiss (Wikipedia). Thoroughbred racing was a rare sport, trending among social and economic elites and lower classes alike. Horse racing was an enamored sport, popular for its time in all regions of the United States, which took a downturn as the economy, gambling reformers and some interests faded. Reiss states that post-Civil War America was the horse racing sport’s rebirth, relying upon the status of men who bred and raced horses, and those operating jockey clubs and racetracks. Many states, most notably, New York, saw tremendous growth within the racing industry. According to author Steven Reiss, “The powerful alliance between urban machine politicians and racetrack owners enabled Thoroughbred racing in New York to flourish for about forty-five years without interruption”. Horse racing endured several ups and downs throughout the eras ranging from socio-economic status & political gain to morality imposition.

Long story short: Thoroughbred racing was the perfect trifecta for money, investors, and those who enjoyed the sport. When the “Big Three” – Baseball, Boxing, and Horse Racing held court, movers and shakers gave average fans an enjoyable sport with a cold beer and wager. The lotteries were far off, as “The Numbers” racket had just started allowing penny players a chance at the golden ring. America loves good gambling, and racing was the perfect avenue of taxable, legal income for the state coffers. Racing was a sport, and when you opened the doors, people flocked there in droves. But, not anymore.

Fast forward to the present times. Rapid-fire gaming has replaced racing as a mere memory, resulting from outside groups’ pressure, advocating for an ostensible lack of animal care and their lives after racing. Subsequently, you could see the writing on the wall when electronic slot machines subsidized the sport because they were riding on the gaming licenses of Greyhound racing. Racing organizations were eventually de-coupled and stood alone to fend for themselves. Public pressure and financial hardships were the final nails in the historic sports’ coffin.

Thoroughbred racing has been documented in American’s Stud Book since 1868 when “The Sport of Kings” was officially organized. It’s among the few places in the country where you’d see the plumber and lawyer aligned equally, talking about the upcoming race’s favorite. Being the melting pot of legal gambling seemed perfect for growth. And grow it did. Initially, the era proved highly successful; but soon thereafter, ownership became complacent. Ownership neglected the facilities, and decay slowly replaced beauty and pageantry at the ovals. As racing continued, the throngs of fans dwindled by the year.

The black eye of racing became full of excuses, and before long, substantial segments of the public lost their interest in the Sport of Kings. Purse structures needed monies to function, and casino interests had to be partnered if we wanted to hear the “Call to the Post” on the marquee days. Ownerships that had been held for decades became a whirling dervish of who owned the old track. This time marked the beginning of the end, while the real fans held on tightly. Fans that would’ve driven hours one way to enjoy nine races had grown older, and the next generation didn’t have the patience. The new generation enjoyed gaming with immediate gratification and could lose the house payment in one race’s time. Every punch to the Thoroughbred racing’s midsection got harder, while racing had a white-knuckle hold to survive.

At first, new ownerships invested money into racing, and the game looked to be revived. It’s always funny how trouble arises when large monies are involved. Racing wasn’t ever impervious to cheating, and when some people cut corners, cheating grew quickly without a regulating body’s oversight. Tracks continually fought problems, and without a unified front or a self-governing body, it was only a matter of time before an entity would adopt a blanket plan to eradicate the problems of the sport by outlawing it. This is where we are.

It started with the organization PETA, which examined equestrian sports with the same disdain as Greyhound racing. PETA officials made incessant decries against the racing industry, catching public attention for decades. While PETA brings many reasonable, good ideas to the table, PETA’s current goals are clear: eradicate the Sport of Kings historically operating since 1868. Never before had racing tracks wanted to adopt an NBA, NFL, or MLB, board to oversee and govern itself.

Enter HISA. The Horse Racing Integrity and Safety Authority. Finally, it looked like there was a new sheriff in town, and transparency was the key to the racing industry’s survival. At first, racing sounded promising, as Congress passed a bill to bring to light the problems and get us back on track. HISA was created to implement, for the first time, a national, uniform set of integrity and safety rules that are applied consistently to every Thoroughbred racing participant and racetrack facility, according to the HISA website.

Horsemen are having trouble understanding the rules, and many complain of unfair decisions, whereas others feel they have little say in how operations are run. I hope the first round of ostensible regulation is passing, growing pains, and we will have a hope-filled, promising sport, as history held. It’s been a tough beginning, and as I write this, I’m optimistic for the future. If so, we can plan for the sport to entertain us for the coming generations. If not, this is the beginning of the end; with pending decisions, our nation now watches the Kentucky Derby shift its meeting to another track while sorting the continuous problems plaguing Thoroughbred racing.

I’m sure there is tremendous good that will come from an effective, regulatory body overseeing the sport. I hope to believe the game will survive longer than my time as a fan. However, what we’re seeing could be the beginning of the end.  To the powers that be: please take your time and do what is right. I’ve loved this sport all of my life, and enjoy the thought of generations to come watching the beauty and pageantry that only racing could provide. Aside from the loyal fans who keep the lights on, think of the countless racing industry workers feeding their families from the sport.



What’s Next?

by Ed Meyer

posted on May 11, 2023 in General Discussion, Handicapping, Horse Racing, | Comments Off on What’s Next?

Keeneland flew by like a warm spring day and the Kentucky Derby 149 is in the books. Now, we have two weeks until the 2nd leg of the Triple Crown takes the track, and the waiting can be the hardest part. So, what’s a horseplayer to do??

First, I played for two days at Keeneland and made a total of five place wagers. – I wasn’t trying to win the Irish Sweepstakes, but we still turned a $51.50 profit for playing five races to place. Not bad, for a couple of days enjoying the action in historic Lexington, Kentucky.

Now, after the incredible Derby weekend, there was a ton of great racing action we hope you watched, wagered, and won! – Winning Ponies had $10,744.77 of “Big-Un” winners on Derby Day alone. Not too shabby as they always bring their “A” game for the big days. Keep this in mind as we head to the 2nd jewel in the Triple Crown to build your bankroll in advance and turn it loose on the Preakness card.  Never too late to jump on board. For the year to date, they have $6,990,588 E-Z Win scores and we are only in the month of May!

Things to look for as we head to Maryland. – There will be new shooters stepping up fresh and ready as they may have ducked the Derby or lacked the points for the starting gate. Fresh legs always have to be given a close look and pay attention to workouts leading up to the big race.

Look for runners who made a close effort in the Derby. – I’m hoping Two Phil’s has a shot at coming back after pressing a blistering pace where we thought it would be an average-paced race. He was in a perfect spot and made a tight rail move and opened up turning for home. As trainers for decades have been saying; “the stretch run at CD sometimes feels like it is an uphill battle.” – He ran a huge race with a tremendous ride. The fractions set up closers and he still hung on for a game second-place finish. – They shouldn’t run as fast in the Preakness, and if they decide to set blistering fractions “Phil” will just lay back a bit farther. I sure hope he makes the gate for the middle jewel.

Look closely to heavily bet horses that turned in a lackluster race. Facing a field of 18 can be a tough journey and I’ll be glad to toss out a poor effort for one race. Maybe a nice solid work and good press team reports will have you looking at the runner with fresh eyes. Don’t dismiss. You may get a better price this time around.

Now, if you haven’t downloaded your Winning Ponies E-Z Win Forms you may be leaving money on the table. Derby Day yielded $10,744.77 in payoffs for their selections. Not bad if I say so myself, and I would get in on the action by downloading your E-Z Win Forms now and build a nice bankroll for the Preakness card.

I liked the great week of action and I’m back in the game. I’m pretty excited about the 2nd jewel, and just like you, I’ll be looking to make some bankroll moves to get everything rolling. – We’ll be talking about horses to watch, notes for the upcoming races, and hot horses who need a good play. Until then, best of luck from Winning Ponies!