Preakness Runners By the Numbers

by Ed Meyer

posted on May 17, 2022 in Free Picks and Tips, General Discussion, Handicapping, Horse Racing, WinningPonies.com | Comments Off on Preakness Runners By the Numbers

The second leg in the Triple Crown happens this Saturday. Sorrowful to say the Derby winner Rich Strike will pass on this race and enjoy the extra time needed to prepare for the Belmont. The team involved feel this is best and felt if they would have had another week, he would have been ready. But not the case, and now they will have three more weeks following the Preakness this Saturday. Good news for the connections.

So, with no Triple Crown on the line this year, here’s a glimpse of who I like to take down the 2nd jewel of the crown.

 

#3 – Early Voting = Speedy son of Gun Runner who is showing good things from the breeding and is coming off a 2nd off the layoff effort after making every pole a winning one except the final 70 yards where he was bested by Mo Donegal at the wire. – I see good speed, but nothing like we saw in the Derby. I think the added ground will be his undoing, but none the less he will be setting an honest pace.

#7 – Simplification = Ran a solid race at CD and came on to finish 4th only 3 1/2 lengths. Trouble for me is he couldn’t get there going 1 1/4 and now we’re going 1 3/16. He’s a gamer, but not for the win spot on my tickets.

#6 – Secret Oath = Winner of the Ky Oaks for D Wayne (can still train) Lukas. – She faced the boys two back in the G1 Arkansas Derby and circled the field in Arazi fashion and drew off by two solid lengths in the Oaks. Ultra-impressive and 3/4 with wins excluding the G1 Arkansas Derby where she was a beaten favorite. – She is in the top five gals I have watched race. – Dangerous wildcard.

And the winner is:

#4 – Epicenter = Toss out his first start and there is very little not to like. – The Asmussen trainee is tough and has the proper running style of being an up-close stalker. –  Joel Rosario fits like a glove and wins 24% with stalking sorts. He should relish the distance and will be just off the leader putting a target on his back. He knows there is going to be a calvary charge behind him and will not let the fractions get out of hand.

 

 

Why I Love Horse Racing

by Ed Meyer

posted on May 13, 2022 in Blogroll, General Discussion, Handicapping, Horse Racing, WinningPonies.com | Comments Off on Why I Love Horse Racing

As I walk through the paddock, chatting a bit while the majestic horses thunder past, snorting and whinnying as workout riders become one with the animal. That is my office for the day, and there hasn’t been a time when I haven’t loved every second and think I never will.

Kentucky Derby 148 went to post yesterday, and the “talking heads” were busy dissecting a race that is about as close to impossible as it comes for betting. But that doesn’t stop us, as everyone is a horse racing fan on Derby Day. – Pick a color, a name, who Aunt Saddie likes, or do homework for days. Many ways to find your pony, and no determination of which works better.

I walk into the jocks’ room as the whirl of humanity swirls about readying for the day’s races. – Riders come in and out, and chats begin the day, saying hello or just checking in. It’s one of the best parts of the sport getting to know the major players. Have to admit after all these years, it’s still my favorite part of the day. The horses don’t speak, and these one-of-a-kind athletes paint the color picture of what happened with the best view of the race.

Sonny Leon is one of the nicest guys you’ll meet. It begins with a hearty handshake or a hug. His crystal blue eyes pierce directly as you speak with him. He talks about family, how many mounts he has today, or how he likes to hear me call; ” It’s cloudy outside, but Sonny in the winner’s circle.” – He posts daily on Facebook and always refers to his “Sonny days.”

I had the opportunity to meet Eric Reed years ago as he came up for a visit in the announcer’s booth. He said he loves the way I call his horses “storming to the lead or kicking clear and drawing away.” – He was all smiles as we talked horses, and about his facility Mercury Equine Training Center. – Eric is the kind of guy who is a stranger just once, and after that you’re one of his guys. – I still love putting extra oomph into his winning efforts to this day.

Rich Strike was claimed for $30,000 and showed promise. But sometimes a hope and a dream can turn up all roses. Over the years I have always said; “the people are the best part of the game.” Not much has changed. It’s has only gotten better.  Rich Strike was one for the little guy, the longshot player, and those who won’t give up. They just keep coming when most would have stopped.

Watching the Derby has never been better. – I can’t say I won, but the sport of racing was the biggest winner this day. The little guy given a chance can do some incredible things, and at the end of the day could be wearing a garland of roses in the winner’s circle.

Where Have They Gone?

by Ed Meyer

posted on April 30, 2022 in General Discussion, Horse Racing, WinningPonies.com | Comments Off on Where Have They Gone?

Once upon a time racing used to have overnight sheets with fields to the brim and also-eligible runners. But something has happened to big fields and horsemen trying to get their horses in a race. Where did they go in a matter of years?

Mountaineer has cancelled a few days already, Keeneland and Churchill have gone slim in a few areas. Who would have thought we’d have a tough time with a solid daily purse structure to fill races? – It doesn’t have to be a big money purse structure as mentioned above with two behemoth tracks that offer up swelled purses. It is the small track with cheaper claiming horses who have historically been good for the small trainer staying in the sport. But not the way anymore.

Covid hit the game hard, casinos had a smackdown on the sport, and marginalizing racing in support of the gaming side of operations is seen everywhere. – When the pandemic hit hard, it really took a toll on horses. Who wants to pay day rates to keep horses in training? Train without the prospect of running is a short wish list. Owners will only pay $75 per day not to run for so long. – The pandemic drove this home quickly. Each horse is like a double house payment with no chance to run to recoup expenses.

The attention of the business is turning to the gaming side of the new sport. Racing has become the ugly cousin of the gaming world for now. It is so easy to plunk down a buck or two and watch the reels spin quickly. – Racing has twenty minutes in between post times, study a bit, make a bet, grab a libation, and enjoy the action. I guess bettors or guests want it fast and easy. No studying, and just push a button on the slot machine and a waitress brings your drink. Fast and easy, and your car payment is gone in a blip. Horse Racing was beauty and pageantry. Watching the equine and human athletes do battle in a driving stretch run. That was your grandpa’s game and still can be yours.

When people just turn their head and ignore the issue. Their venue could be promoted as an entertainment venue. One where there are different forms of gaming. I like that idea. A day at the races, grab a bite at the sports bar, and hit my favorite slot machine. Now, that’s a full day when you add in the band playing right about the time the races conclude. You have given me the “full measure of pure pleasure” as my old friend used to say.

Racing everywhere is facing smaller fields, and these are not just the smaller tracks. They are the marquee venues open for 100 years or more. – Don’t discount the value of having various forms of gambling. It is a plus, and your venue becomes the place to be. Give it a good think and look to the future. Something for everyone and keep it going to support both sides of gaming.

Get involved, make a couple trips a year to your local track, and for the real fans who always wanted to own a horse now is the time to get the folks from the office involved with small investments to have your own Thoroughbred on the track in your silks. – Nothing like having your own team in your colors. Try it, I think you’ll like the experience.

Sunday Funday – Free Selections Keeneland

by Ed Meyer

posted on April 24, 2022 in Free Picks and Tips, Handicapping, Horse Racing, WinningPonies.com | Comments Off on Sunday Funday – Free Selections Keeneland

It is a thing of beauty when you get to make a trek down to Keeneland. From the drive down enjoying the beauty of the spring to walking past the ancient Sycamore in the paddock. – Words will never do it justice. But, for this handicapper it will be a day well-spent in the bucolic setting. Here are my selections for the day as I glance out my window as the sun is shining brightly in Kentucky. The weather forecast is sunny in the ’80s. – Wish me luck!

 

Keeneland / Sunday

 

Race#1 

#5 – John’s Protege (2-1) = 2nd off the layoff as a beaten favorite at Turfway for Wesley Ward who is winning at 27%. Johnny Velasquez in the saddle and they are winning 27% as a team. He drops in class off his last race and gets more distance as he is a closing type. Use with the #3 and #7.

 

Race#2 

#11 – Stavanger (7-2) = late runner by Street Sense for Brendan Walsh and B.J. Hernandez. – Plenty of early foot to get him in gear when the spin for home.

 

Race#3

#3 – Hi Deff (6-1) =  Eddie Keaneally trainee caught a speed favoring pace two back. Overall, the turf plays to closers and he’ll get his shot when the real running begins.

 

Race#4

#8 – Exulting (9-5) = Ships in from Oaklawn Park for Mike Maker and Tyler Gaffalione. – Stalking type and should get a good trip staying out of traffic and making a big move on the turn. Use with the #4, and #7.

 

Race #5

#4 – Kestenna (6-1) = Previously trained by John Gosden and Edward Vaughn handles the duties today. Has a sharp work, blinkers off, and comes off a five-month layoff from Lingfield. Lasix may be a big help in today’s race.

 

Race#6

#7 – Fabricate (2-1) = Ships in from GP and is a long-range closer. Irad Ortiz is in the saddle and he wins 27% with his closing-style horses.

 

Race#7

#6 – Turned Aside (10-1) = Comes off a four-month layoff for Mark Casse and Luis Saez. Drops down in class and owns some nice works.

 

Race #8

#11 – Guest Speaker (9-2) = 2nd off a layoff for Brad Cox and Irad Ortiz and he showed a good turn of late speed beaten as the chalk. 2nd off the payoff yields a 28% win clip for the barn.

 

Race#9

#2 – Petrichor (5-1) = Coming off a 7-month break shipping over from France.  This daughter of Frankel (GB) is 3/4 ITM over the sod and has faced G3 company. Bill Mott wins 17% with new runners and Joel Rosario in the saddle. Toss her last race and you’ll see some late action on the tote board today.

 

Burgoo, a Maker’s Mark cigar, and scenery to the max. – What more could a horseplayer ask for? – Wish me luck!

 

 

 

Two Ways to Keep Them Looking

by Ed Meyer

posted on April 10, 2022 in Blogroll, General Discussion, Handicapping, Horse Racing, WinningPonies.com | Comments Off on Two Ways to Keep Them Looking

In racing, I have had the distinct pleasure of watching the big boys and the little tracks. Both have merit, and my learning from one helped me with the other. I used to have to ultra focus on pennies just so we could have a fan-friendly event for the smaller venues, and when breaking into the big leagues there was less focus on the dollars spent.

One way taught me to be frugal, and when afforded the opportunity I focus my attention on detail which helped me at bigger levels. I have to say there was something to learn from each.

In keeping in touch with fans, there are a couple things that come to mind. Some tracks employ one or more of these ideas, but more venues could be better served by “paying attention to the details” as my track education taught me long ago. – Don’t assume they wouldn’t like to be engaged with helpful tools to make theirs.

 

1.

On the website, you’ll see promotions for bands, free hot dogs, and ice cream specials. Big slot drawings and jackpot galore. – All good, and serve the purpose of getting the message out. But there is very little to attract the horseplayer if any. Change your racino into an entertainment destination.

Some fans are not betting online with an ADW. They make the trek out to bet and go home and wait for results. – How about having a portal for players with a loyalty card to be able to watch our website for the live feed of races?– Believe me, there are more fans that make the drive to make bets and leave. Right now, we have no way to communicate with them. Make it a must to have the free loyalty card so we can build a database on who to reach when there is a racing promotion to enjoy.

2.

How about having free PPs for every loyalty cardholder? – You can make them not printable, and fans can take a look for free at the live races for the day before making the drive. – Most will enjoy this and others can be taught how to access their phones or devices. – Have a free tip sheet from the track handicapper and a coupon sheet good for the month for a free concession item for that day?  You could add horses-to-watch for the month and a special interview of local trainers, riders, etc. – Get them in the game and you won’t go wrong. The monthly sheet for a coupon is done one time per month, the newsletter, and only adding the free tip sheet is done daily. – Racing fans will love this.

 

I’m all about growing the sport. – Long ago it was Boxing, Baseball, and Horse Racing. – We’ve grown complacent and just turning on the lights is not enough to compete with the competition. Fans want to be where the people are, and it is our responsibility to keep this growing. – Give them some of these cost-effective ideas and you may start seeing a difference in the grandstands. These are pennies on the dollar additions, and maybe that small track mentality is coming back out. But, it has served me well with being able to serve the players and keep costs down. Anyone can throw money at a problem, but the small track thinking keeps me closer to the needs of the racing fan.

Best of luck from Winning Ponies!

Three Ways to Get New Players Involved

by Ed Meyer

posted on April 10, 2022 in General Discussion, Handicapping, Horse Racing, WinningPonies.com | Comments Off on Three Ways to Get New Players Involved

We live in times of putting our masks away only to pull them out again at a later time. During this time many yearned to try and get back to normalcy and enjoy the things the pandemic put on hold.

As I watched the opening of Keeneland yesterday, I think we may have a new opportunity to engage and entice players to try their hand at horse racing. Oh, it won’t be easy, but at the end of the day, it may be more surprising than we would think. – Just think, people going back to the races. Wouldn’t that be nice? Keeneland once had eight live races with one daily double. Now they lead the pack on where racing is going and how to get players involved. Genius. We have come a long way baby.

1.

During the pandemic, we learned to social distance and stay in our lane. – We all got pretty good at hands-off deliveries, and even my pizza comes from a box that the delivery person has been gloved and masked and payment was done online. This got me thinking. Players from all walks have come to embrace hands-off life. – When guests arrive at the track, have them pre-purchase a pack for the day. – $20 includes a program, food and beverage voucher, and a $10 betting voucher. – Not versed at the game? We’re going to toss in a private tip sheet that can be downloaded from a QR Code as you enter. – All done pre-visit and having vouchers will give a sense of a hands-off experience. Let’s get them comfortable coming and we’ll evolve from there. – Just think, arrive at admissions gate and track pack for the day awaits. Good start!

 

2.

Tracks have the ability with broad Wi-Fi for the entire property. Good move. Now, let’s have the tracks take it to the next level of using a phone or device where real-time wagers can be made. – We can load this onto the track pack, or players can download money onto account wagering at any mutual clerk. You can wager from the convenience of your device without leaving your seat. – The only time you would see a clerk is to download money to your account or cash them in at the end of the day. – ADWs are tricky about carrying over money, and that starts a new conversation. – But, betting from your seat, box area, or standing in the sun is a convenience that most would enjoy. Not to mention no more standing in lines, and you bet when you’re ready. – What are ya waiting for, it’s almost post time!

 

3.

People enjoy learning with tutorials at their own pace.- Tracks need to create a library educating with short “how-to” videos that can be accessed anywhere at any time for free. -No more embarrassing “first time player” lines, and the new player can assimilate right into the betting process. – Allowing people to bet when they are comfortable may be the new way of retaining the attention of the gamblers. – If it sounds complicated, that’s ok. You can purchase a regular track pack with admission and a program and go about your way.

The trick is not forcing seasoned players to take part in the system. – We can reach them with betting seminars, handicapping contests, and drawing for track merchandise. – There is something for everyone, and all tracks have to do is plan accordingly in advance and advertise the same. – Let the fans get acquainted and prepare for a day at the races. – Long ago, people would plan their entire week around getting to spend a day at the races, and we can try and do the same. make it an outing where guests plan to enjoy the day. No more are the days of one choice to wager. The track has become an entertainment destination, and fans can enjoy everything the facility has to offer. -Use cross-promotion to send racing fans to try their hand at the slot machines, and vice versa. At the end of the day, the bottom line may reflect a nice bump, and new players are grown and tended by giving them the tools they use daily.

 

 

 

Free Selections – Turfway – Jeff Ruby Day

by Ed Meyer

posted on April 9, 2022 in Blogroll, Free Picks and Tips, Handicapping, Horse Racing, WinningPonies.com | Comments Off on Free Selections – Turfway – Jeff Ruby Day

The finally has come and the curtains are being pulled back to showcase some incredible betting opportunities! – A 12 race card with the first post of 12:45 pm will kick off an incredible closing day of racing. – Buckle up, it’s almost post time!

 

Turfway Park / Jeff Ruby Steaks Day

 

 

Race#7 – The $200,000 Latonia Stakes – 1 1/16 – 3:43 pm

#7 – Skygaze (3-1) = Hails from the Mark Casse barn with Chris Landeros in the saddle. Casse ships in from Woodbine where he is a synthetic wizard. This daughter of American Pharoah is a perfect 2/2 at TP, and the barn wins 20% with Tapeta runners. They cut back in distance and should come in fresh and ready to roll with a stout late kick.

 

Race#8 – The $200,000 Rushaway – 1 1/16 – 4:13 pm

#12 – Erase (3-1) = Joe Talamo in the saddle for Brad Cox, and this speedy son of Dialed In goes back to Talamo and had sharp work to prepare. Dangerous as the Cox barn is winning 27% for the meet.

 

Race#9 – The $200,000 Animal Kingdom – 6f – 4:43 pm

 

#4 – Hoist the Gold (2-1) = Dallas Stewart and Brian Hernandez Jr. hook up and make a third off the break effort. This son of Mineshaft is a stalker and should be in the right spot turning for home under Hernandez.

 

Race#10 – The $250,000 Kentucky Cup Classic – 1 1/8 – 5:13 pm

 

#3 – King Fury (4-1) = This son of Curlin has been off four months, but working stoutly for Ken McPeek and B.J. Hernandez Jr. He fires fresh off the shelf and the barn wins 22% with non-graded stakes. Look for a late run around the far turn to find a good position.

 

Race#11 – The $250,000 Bourbette Oaks – 1 1/16 – 5:43 pm

 

#8 – Sandstone (5-2) = Speedy daughter of Street Sense for Ken McPeek and B.J. Hernandez. Comes off a four-month break and drops down in class today. A speedy gal who be ultra dangerous if left alone on the front end. – McPeek wins 22% with non-graded stakes.

 

Race#12 – The $600,000 Jeff Ruby Steaks – 1 1/8 – 6:43 pm

 

#12 – Black Adder (15-1) = Edwin Maldonado in the saddle for Rudy Brisset. This son of Quality Road won the El Camino Real Derby flying down the lane. He has plenty of pace to set him up and Maldonado is known for not getting a horse too far back in the field. – Use with: #2 – Stolen Base and #3 – Cabo Spirit. 

 

Best of luck on the Jeff Ruby card, and it is only a few more days and Kentucky will shift tack to Keeneland.

 

 

 

 

Free Selections – Turfway Park – Friday

by Ed Meyer

posted on April 9, 2022 in Blogroll, Handicapping, Horse Racing, WinningPonies.com | Comments Off on Free Selections – Turfway Park – Friday

Only a couple days left in the race meet, and this Saturday is bound to have your inner gambler ready to roll. – But, in the meantime still, plenty of spot plays to have your bankroll in ship-shape! – What are ya’ waiting for? It’s almost post-time!

 

Turfway Park / Friday

 

Race#1 – #1 – Honky Tonk Hero (9-5) = is a son of Ghosyzapper and just missed last out. Big time switch to Santiago Gonzalez in the saddle for Luis Cotto. He should be right on the lead and Gonzalez wins 20% with speed-type runners.

 

Race#3 – #2 – Wing Commander (2-1)= Ships in from FG and takes a big drop in class. Blinkers back on to get some more focus and early speed. Bejarano has the call and he is always dangerous when loading in the gate.

 

Race#5 – #6 – Can’tbetemall ( 9-5)= He hails from the Jamie Grubbs barn and 6/8 ITM lifetime at TP. – He fits the conditions and exits off a win. Grubbs wins 15% with last time winners returning. Horse for the course.

 

Race#6 – #1 – The Stiff (9-5) =Late runner taking a big drop in class for trainer Michael McCarthy. You may remember the barn as they won the Preakness last year. – Kazushi Kimura in the saddle, and was doing good work at Woodbine before shipping down and riding the late part of the meet. The barn wins 24% on synthetic and should be tracking mid-flight with a solid late kick.

 

Race#8 – #9 – Kick Out the Jams (7-2)= 2nd time off the layoff and drops down in class today. Trainer Sergio Baez wins 36% second time back, and 42% with maiden claimers. Look for a good late kick coming off a troubled trip.

 

Only a couple of days for the Turfway meet and off to Keeneland next up. – The races today are good bankroll builders and the Saturday card offers great value! – Best of luck from Winning Ponies!

 

Best Seat in the House

by Ed Meyer

posted on March 31, 2022 in Blogroll, General Discussion, Horse Racing, WinningPonies.com | Comments Off on Best Seat in the House

We all have our favorite jobs. You know, the ones when we pull into the parking lot and run in to start the day? Yeah, most of us have had them, and for the ones who haven’t, yours are on the way. – Me, I’ve had a helluva good time. The majority of my working life has been spent at the track. For a true lover of the sport, there could be no better place to clock in daily.

I started in the parking lot; made my way to managing the lot, and eventually made my way inside. – I worked in admissions, racebook manager, was on-air talent, and had multiple radio shows, ADW coordinator, and Racing Official. Away from the track, I have had the distinct pleasure of writing about this wonderful sport. – I’ve had the pleasure of working at Latonia (Turfway Park), River Downs ( Belterra Park), Keeneland, and Dueling Grounds (Kentucky Downs). All the while working my way through college just hoping for the big break in the game. Yeah, it’s been a great journey getting to do what you love. Sometimes we trade in the big bucks to do what we love. For me, that sums it up. – But, the best job I have had starts in exactly one month and will be my eighth year having more fun than the law allows.

Belterra Park kicks open on 4/28/22 and will race Tuesday – Friday until early October. – There will be 93 days of action-packed heart-pounding Thoroughbred racing action; and I get to call every race! – There will be stakes galore and the Best of Ohio series in May. There will be some incredible fields assembled and even a couple of long-run stakes to be revived (but I won’t spoil the surprise just yet).

I get to work about two hours early. I like to get the scratches and changes, begin the Twitter feed, and have a few focus runners who need a good hard look before going to the windows. The tip-sheet is complete, and my program is laid out for eight live races to be called. – This has been my favorite job in racing. I have the opportunity to watch riders and trainers coming up the ladder to go on to bigger tracks and others finishing out long careers in the sport we love.

As I polish my binoculars and watch the horses make their way to the paddock. A sense of calm comes over me. I am at peace. I’m where I want to be; enjoying the people, fans, and excitement. – Every year, someone will ask “ What is your favorite part of the day.” – Easy. That is the fans who knock on my window and we trade horses that look good. Or, the fans that want to stop up and watch a race from the best seat in the house. – For me, that is the best part and always will be. You get to share the excitement as I liken it to riding a roller coaster. It is much more fun with full seats sharing the journey.

So, until next month. Know this fan is counting the days until he can walk into the “Crows Nest” and enjoy the journey. – If you make it to the races, be sure and stop up. Friends are always welcome, and you are only a stranger once. Come up and enjoy a race from the best seat in the house. Betcha’ love it! – See you at the races…

 

Turfway Park Free Selections – Thursday

by Ed Meyer

posted on March 31, 2022 in Blogroll, Free Picks and Tips, General Discussion, Handicapping, Horse Racing, WinningPonies.com | Comments Off on Turfway Park Free Selections – Thursday

As we enter the final days of live racing for the 2022 meeting, here are some free selections to get your bankroll moving in the right direction for closing day on Saturday for the Jeff Ruby Steaks card.

 

Turfway Park / Thursday

 

Race#1 – #5 – Good One ( 10-1) = Hails from the Genaro Garcia barn with Thiago Canuto in the irons. – He drops in class and picks up the bug rider who has a bright future. This son of Street Sense has been away for two months and the barn scores 20% coming back well-rested. The price is enough to make the move and I would use it in exotics as well as a straight wager.

 

Race#2 – #3 – Chrome Savage ( 7-2)= coming off a two-month layoff for trainer Mike Maker shipping up from Tampa Bay. They win 17% off the ship, and win 22% going from maiden special weight to maiden claiming. This daughter of California Chrome has the services of leading rider Gerardo Corrales who is winning hands down at a crisp 25% for the meet.

 

Race#5 – #9 – Vivid Verse (5-2) = is a horse-for-the-course going 6/7 ITM at TP. – Drops down in class and trainer Cipriano Contreras wins 21% on the all-weather track. Emmanuel Esquivel has the call and should be coming off the pace today.  **** Top wager on the card ****

 

Race#6 – #2 – Miss Adeline (5-2) = Exits off a solid win for Mike Tomlinson and moves to the next level of class and should be a dangerous player with Joe Rocco Jr. – She is 2/3 ITM at TP, and the barn wins 21% with repeat claiming horses. She is a solid daughter of Big Blue Kitten and should be a major player on the card. **** Top wager on the card ****

Race#9 – #5 – First Royal (9-5) = drops in class for trainer Doug Danner who is winning 24% on the meet. – She shows a quick turn of foot and has the services of his go-to rider Rogelio Miranda. She likes the synthetic surface and should be dangerous on the lead today. You may get a short price, be sure to use it in exotic races. The Danner barn has been hot the past few weeks.

 

Best of luck, and be sure and check back for free selections for Friday and Jeff Ruby Steaks day on Saturday!