The Happy Horseplayer

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

 

Monday / Tuesday Blues

 

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

 

Brigadoon Arrives from the Mist

 

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

 

 

Free Selections – Fair Grounds – Saturday 3/24/18

The Big Easy offers a unique culture, cuisine and rich history. You would be hard-pressed not to find something that would suit your fancy. I love the one-of-a-kind atmosphere of the city, and I would be remiss not to mention some of the best racing in the country takes place there as well. – Food, fun, and thundering hooves. Perfect weather on the horizon, 8 stakes, 4 graded and Derby points on the line. – What more could you ask for?

 

Race #10 – The G2 Fair Grounds Oaks – 1 1/16 – 5:41 pm ET 

 

A field of nine three-year-old fillies goes to post to do battle for a $400,000 purse. – #1 – Classy Act (2-1) = Has Javier Castellano in the saddle for Bret Calhoun. She exits the G2 Rachel Alexander over the course and snapped right on the wire. She was the bridesmaid this day and looks to be on the maturing course. She came right back and owns a couple of very nice works and gets a great post draw. – #4 – (9-2) Eskimo Kisses = Florent Geroux in the irons and she comes in from Oaklawn Park with an 11 length lead over a sloppy oval. I’m not ruling it out to enjoying the soft ground, but she looks to be coming into her own. #8 – Wonder Gadot (3-1) = Johnny V in the saddle and he is aboard a daughter of Medaglia D’Oro. She’s been knocking on the door and looks ready to bust out with a huge effort.

 

Race #11 – The G2 Louisiana Derby – 1 1/8 – 6:21 pm ET

 

A field of 10 three-year-olds go postward and there is plenty of speed to keep the fractions honest. - #9 – My Boy Jack (5-2) = Kent Desormeaux in the driver’s seat and this son of Creative Cause exits a big win in the G3 Southwest Stakes. Originally it looked like his course was going to be all turf, but Keith Desormeaux claimed these were some of the only races going two turns this early. He now hits the dirt and his last two efforts have looked good to go. He is a deep closer and Kent D will have him moving before they sprint for home.

#2 – Noble Indy (7-2) = Johnny V in the irons and last race out in the G2 Risen Star he was knocked around a bit. He shipped in from GP and was heavily bet at the windows. I think he’ll rebound nicely and get his revenge with a strong effort. First-time blinkers where Todd Pletcher wins 22% of the time and he and J.V. win around 31% as a team.

 

#7 – Snapper Sinclair (9-2) = Jose Ortiz picks up the mount and this is a good sign from trainer Steve Asmussen looking to get one of the best speed/stalking riders in the country. – This son of City Zip was looking to be a turfer early on and was a big price in the G2 Risen Star. – He may be coming into his own and this could be a good acid test to see where he stands. You can’t squabble with the connections and he is on an upswing.

 

Three Reasons Not to Lose Your Bankroll on Big Races

 

When the big time marquee races arrive sometimes we lose our head. I’m just as guilty and it bites me a few times a year. – I guess we just can’t help ourselves wanting to get into the game early. – But rest assured, there is still plenty of time to look for the big score and get that bankroll rolling.

 

#1 = Every weekend from here until early April we will have an opportunity to take a good shot. Don’t rush the process and be sure to start paying attention to the works and keep up with Derby doings.  You can find them in every publication that covers horse racing and swing on over to YouTube for updated works that are caught on video in the morning. – All good info for the player looking for an edge.

 

#2 = If you’re not a pick-six player don’t start now. – I have found that cutting back a step offers great value. If you like to jump into a pick-five, make it a pick-four. If you enjoy a stab at a pick-four, drop back and punt to a pick-three. – I lost an opening leg of a pick-four a few weeks ago playing a track I normally don’t wager. BOOM! – I’m out in round one. – So I decided to follow the rest of my ticket in a pick-three and scored for over $580. – I won some money and covered my losses. I’ll take that any day of the week.

 

#3 = In the big races, don’t be afraid to make a plunge or two on runners that need the points. – Last year I took a few shots and it paid off. I stayed away from the low price runners who already had enough points to secure a spot in the gate. – Why would they blow out the energy and take away from the plan to Louisville? – I watched more 3-5 shots run a game second and get a good move over the track not taking away energy. Why would they? They have the points and know where they’ll be the first Saturday in May. Before you say it’s about the money,  they’ll stand to make tons more in the breeding shed versus getting a $300,000 payday. – Keep in mind that everyone is bringing their “A” game and want to make the starting gate. – Keep a close eye on the Derby points as it should be around 34-38 points to make the starting gate.

 

The top three reasons may seem obvious to some. But if you find yourself guessing and wondering why you’re stabbing at the big payday only to come up short. Give them a read again.  – Nothing like going back to the basics or reexamining what we may be doing wrong. – I have found that the Winning Ponies E-Z Win Forms have helped me break down the process. They eliminate runners with their one-of-a-kind tier levels and point out facts that may have been overlooked. Always a great tool for every handicapper to keep in the toolbox and have been extremely effective for me at the windows. – This weekend we’ll have all eyes focused on the Big Easy. Fair Grounds will have  8 stakes / 4 graded / featuring the G2 Louisana Derby and the G2 Fair Grounds Oaks. So mark your calendar and be sure to check back on Friday for some free selections that will be sure to get your inner handicapper excited for the big day!  - Best of luck from your friends at Winning Ponies! 

 

Beware of the Madness of March

Most live on the couch only to get up for chips, a beverage or the occasional trip to the bathroom. The idea of waiting for a big school to fall to the smaller foe is the ultimate goal for the non-gambling fan or if you had ABC Tech going all the way as the upset dog. – I know it sounds like a longshot, but when it happens it leaves your mouth hanging wide open in disbelief. – Ah, March Madness. It only comes once a year, but the action is well worth it.

March Madness is a time for all fans to belly to the bar and eat more wings than the law allows. That’s OK. It only comes once a year and the wait needs a reward. – Chaminade is a small school. The kind you root for as they just don’t have much of a chance. – Everyone roots for the underdog and this game would have probably been thought of as David vs five Goliaths. – The year was 1982 and unbeknownst to fans, it would be the year of the biggest upset in hoops. – This small school with only 1,000 students was playing a powerhouse by the name of Virginia. It looked all but over, but they still play the game. – And 36 years later, they were still talking about the biggest upset in college basketball. – That was until Friday when U.M.B.C beat top-ranked Virginia 74-54. The first time a #1 seed was upset by a 16th seeded team ever in the N.C.A.A. Tournament. – Virginia is going to be the Jeopardy question of who is the school to be twice beaten as the biggest upset in March Madness history. – It happens…..

There was a conversation between two friends about the races this past weekend. – It’s all good, and there’s nothing better than the trading of ideas about the races. – The big race that was taking center stage was the G2 Rebel Stakes. You know, the race where Bob Baffert has won more times than any other trainer and was battling a curse with this colt who would have no chance on the Derby trail. – It was a rainy Derby day in 1882, a young gelding by the name of Apollo was guided swiftly by his jockey weaving through tiring horses. Jockey Babe Hurd and Apollo were now nose-to-nose with the 4-5 favorite Runnymede in the final 200 yards to the wire. Digging deep through the mud, with a breath-taking drive Apollo beats the favorite that day by a body length. Though it has been 136 years from that raining day more than a century ago; Apollo’s name is revisited each year, and we are reminded once again about one of the oldest curses in sports, according to Horse Race Nation.

The prep is the G2 Rebel going a 1 1/16 with a colt by Malibu Moon who was two-in-a-row. His name is Magnum Moon from the red-hot Todd Pletcher barn and he was a perfect 2/2 chock full of bullet works in the morning. I loved him, and the only attack for the argument was he had the “Curse of Apollo.” – 1882 was a long time for a colt not to win without having a race as a two-year-old. But, that’s what makes horse racing, and I sure liked his action. – He was battling Solomini trained by Baffert who should probably have the race named after him as he has won it more than any other trainer in history. He looked great making his first start in 2018 since he was DQ’d in the Los Al Derby beating McKinzie. – The bullet works, the connections, and Baffert’s timing would have you chomping at the bit to take even money and swear it was a gift. – That was until a few minutes later and Magnum Moon drew off under a stranglehold. He looked the real deal and the talk can officially begin. – Curses are made to be broken, and longshots can take any team at any time. Just ask Virginia. – So grab your mojo bag, wear your lucky hat and cross your fingers. Let the Madness begin. – Best of luck from your friends at Winning Ponies!

 

 

You Make the Call

This past weekend was chock-full of solid racing action. If you didn’t like the outcomes, that can be up for debate at any track, OTB or gathering of gamblers. As we draw closer to the big dance in Louisville, every passing week will be loaded with marquee events and top-notch action.

 

This past weekend there was a controversial DQ. It was the San Felipe stakes and has been on the minds of horseplayers from all walks. There is talk of this re-match coming back for round two in the Santa Anita Derby. If I were sitting in the owner’s box with my name on the program, I would dodge this dogfight at all cost. They’ll meet up again, and this last race was in need of a vacation for all involved. As soon as the race was over, McKinzie was a head in front only to be undone by the steward’s decision. – It happens, but this time it happened to this punter. – If you haven’t watched, take a look for yourself. – I bet McKinzie, and my runner surely deserved to be taken down. Bolt D’ Oro was pretty gutsy all the way when the real running began.- Take a look for yourself:

 

 

Before I talk too much smack, the call was correct in the eyes and wallet of this handicapper. Baffert will come out on top about 90%, and this was one he didn’t. Mike Smith will thank God more times than not in the winner’s circle, but just not this time. – The stewards got the call correct, and this handicapper will take it on the chin and smile. – That’s racing. – But if you’re a Beyer fan, you have to love the 101 for the top two. The race showed two tough guys square off and the road to the Derby will be a little more exciting if these guys stay healthy. – If all this comes to Louisville, I think we’ll be treated to an exciting rematch. - Best of luck from your friends at Winning Ponies!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Free Weekend Selections – 3/10/18

Who said there’s no such thing as a free lunch? – Winning Ponies likes to get you thinking about the weekend and dialing down the E-Z Win Forms and start handicapping for Saturday.  – With each passing weekend, we will be one step closer to making our way to Louisville. I can just smell the roses from here and they’re only 58 days away. - Best of luck from Winning Ponies!

 

Tampa Bay Downs

Race #10 – G2 Florida Oaks – 1 1/16 on the turf – 4:30 pm ET

 

#2 – Altea (7-2) = Jose Ortiz in the irons for Chad Brown. This is a daughter of Siyouni getting first time Lasix. She is 3/3 with her progeny and ships in from France where Brown wins (28%) with his new runners. She’s been off for 4 months and looks ready to fire a big effort.

#5 – Andina Del Sur (8-1) = Julien Leparoux in the saddle for Thom Albertrani. 3rd off exiting a smart win in the G3 Sweet Chant and gets added ground to handle. Rider change from Joel Rosario may help her causes.

#9 – Goodthingstaketime (6-1) = Joel Rosario chooses this gal as she ships in from Ireland. She gets 2nd Lasix and was an impressive winner last out.

 

Race #11 – G2 Tampa Bay Derby – 1 1/16 – 5:28 pm ET

#3 – Vino Rosso (4-1) = John Velasquez in the driver’s seat for Todd Pletcher winning 31% as a team. This son of Curlin is 2/2 ITM over the course making his 2nd start of 2018 looking to give a strong account stalking just off the pace.

#6 – Enticed (6-1) = Antonio Gallardo in the irons for Kiaran McLaughlin. He won the KY Jockey Club last November at Churchill and was a beaten chalk last out. He is making his 2nd start off the layoff and this son of Medaglia d’ Oro looks to be the real deal.

#5 – Flameaway (3-1) = Jose Lezcano for Mark Casse and this son of Scat Daddy won the G3 Sam Davis last out. Since coming from the turf his speed is getting tough to deal with. Look for a quick break from the starting gate.

 

Oaklawn Park

Race #8 – G3 Honeybee – 1 1/16 – 5:38 pm ET

 

#5 – Red Ruby (9-5) = Robby Albarado in the seat for Kellyn Gorder. A daughter of Tiznow has been working well in the mornings and exits a strong off-the-shelf win in the Martha Washington. She had a troubled trip and still managed a winning effort. She fits this field like a glove.

#3 – Cosmic Burst (6-1) = Richard Eramia for Donnie Von Hemel. She hopped at the start against “Ruby” last out and was heavily bet at the windows. We’ll give her a pass on that effort and look for some payback this Saturday. Look for a perfect stalking trip.

#6 – Amy’s Challenge (2-1) = Jareth Loveberry in the irons and she broke her maiden against the boys winning by 16 lengths going away. She is 1/1 at OP and looks to keep it rolling. Her speed may be tough to reel in and if you leave her alone she’ll put your lights out quickly.

 

 

Who Are You ?

Just like The Who song, we have plenty of questions to be answered. – Who are you? – Well, maybe it would be better stated as what type of player are you. Are you a “methodical player” who searches for that spot play or are you a “pick and punch” style gambler? – Believe it or not, it matters what type of player you’ve become. Matter of fact it may make all the difference in the game on how you’ll do in the long run.

 

Methodical Madness

You find yourself pouring over the data, and combing over past performances. You stare at the type on the page until it could almost disappear into blankness. – I’m sure you know of players who fit the bill and at the end of the day, they need a vacation away from handicapping. – I have to proclaim I’m this type of player when it comes to Derby Day and the Breeders’ Cup. There’s just so much money in the pools, and a pick four that could pay a $100 may yield up to $250. – Yep, I spend way too much time pouring over the data. – After BC, I take a month or so away from the game. I need some time down and it takes a toll. Makes me wonder if I’m doing the right thing after all. – I started using Winning Ponies E-Z Win Forms to shortcut some of my homework and find the little hidden gems that cut back on my study time by hours. If you find some data that makes your handicapping time drop, grab and keep it close. – Why would I change my usual methods just because there is more money in the pools? I guess you are tossing out your tried and true methods and replacing them with longer versions. – So, are you doing the right thing by studying longer or are you wasting time where you could be deciding on how to use the data in wagers? – The jury is still is out for this handicapper, but there is something about putting in the time that justifies the amount of money I use as a bankroll. – Study long and study wrong my old math teacher would have told me in 8th grade. But what is the proper amount of time needed to really find the answers?

 

Pick and Punch 

Nothing like tossing the noodle against the wall to see if it’s done. Well, that’s how they told me to do it to see if it sticks for maximum readiness. – “Pick and Punch” is a player who dances around and loves the action. – There is nothing better than having the action of horses turning for home for this type of bettor. It’s not about winning the big score, it’s about having action. – They like to think of gambling like a Chinese buffet. The more you try the better chance you’ll find what you want. – Fun, but not very effective. P&P gambling is stabbing and grabbing. The action is the driving force and you may drive yourself off a short pier trying to turn a profit. – Win $20, and toss away $23. In the long run, you’ll find yourself going broke slowly and losing weight running to the windows. – I guess that part may be the answer to the gamblers diet, but it will drive you crazy in a hurry. – This is also known as “tap dancing” and “running and gunning.” – Leave this style in your rearview mirror.

 

Now, what type really works? – I would use a little of both. – Study enough to give you information, and make the right amount of plays to give you a shot. – If it sounds easy, it is anything but. – This is where I started using the Winning Ponies E-Z Win Forms. They cut back on my study time I would have been wasting, and this allows me to decide how I’m going to use the data to wager. If it sounds easy, it really is. Take the time you would have been overdoing homework and decide how you’ll use it. – The rule of thumb is if you study for an hour, you need to put in an hour to decide how you’ll use the data. – You can just toss that noodle against the wall and guess if it’s done. You need to put in enough time by using tried and true methods to decide how you’ll put it to work. – This is where Winning Ponies has helped me since 2008. – The E-Z Win Forms cut back on my time as they pull out the positive points and allow me to dig into my handicapping.

Find your stride. – Winning Ponies has been a helpful tool and overall a time saver which has allowed me to be more effective. – Go ahead and give it a try. Winning Ponies offers up free selections, stories, blogs, background tales from the players in the game, and a Weekly Radio Show on Thursdays. Never a better time than now to give it a try and as we start dialing in on the Road to the Derby Trail. Be sure to check back this weekend for some free plays and red-hot selections. – Best of luck from your friends at Winning Ponies!

 

 

The Happy Horseplayer – Feeling Thankful

Sometimes we think of the big winner, the huge payoff or the score that continues to elude. But for this Happy Handicapper, there have been some really big goals on the table to chase down and cash in. – It was on Sunday, November, 26th that I started back at Turfway Park. I was going to work in the racing office and handle the photo finish and timing at night for the races. It was good to be back at the track and be around my race track friends. – That was until I started feeling a little green under the collar.

There was sweat rolling down my neck and the window was cracked open to keep me cool. I started feeling weaker with every passing call for entries, as I wanted my first day to be good. I’d been waiting for this important day and had nothing on my mind except starting back to work. – As the morning passed I started feeling worse. Sweat was saturating my collar and even my cohorts had taken notice of my condition. – One of my pals walked into my boss’ office and told him I was feeling pretty bad. “Maybe I should call it a day as we were just about done for the morning.” – I agreed and stumbled my way to my car. It seemed like a mile stroll that was fifty feet at best. – It felt like pneumonia, but who knows. I’m going home to watch football and rest. – That was the plan as I waited for my son to walk to work.- I knew my weakness was at a fever pitch and driving was going to be out of the question. I was waiting for him to leave so I could call for my first ambulance ride. It was my first as I always felt I could drive or get a ride. But on this day my condition was pretty sorry. – He walked out and I watched as he got 100 feet up the street. I went back and called for my ride and my mother and brother. I was sick and I was starting to worry.

As I said, seeking the big score was always on the mind of many horseplayers. But on this day, I just wanted to get to the hospital. – As the ambulance sped in with lights blaring and I was rolled into the ER, the panic began to set in for me. No more big score on my noggin, but just survival. – I was sick and knew something was wrong.

After a long wait in the triage room, a savvy doctor saw the flying sweat rolling off my face and asked me to stay for the night. ” I think you’re sicker than you think young man. We’ll do a complete work-up and we’ll have some answers in the morning.” – After asking the family to go home at 3:00 am, I told them I would call in the morning. It was a long night getting probed and prodded going through the gamut of tests. By morning, there was a team of doctors standing next to my bed. It has been a 5 1/2 week venture of sweating in bed and battling fevers. – The prognosis was not good. – It was leukemia.

Mostly I tried to battle through and blog, but that became too taxing. I was so weak and had to put that on the back burner. I kept my computer and tried to watch the live racing action during my time in bed. But even that became tough. I spent my hours sleeping and not eating very much. – Racing had become a secondary thought, and weakness and battling through my condition was my new goal. – I was told I would be taking 4 cycles of chemo to battle the disease and my prognosis was overall good. That my friends was the new big score. – I’m three cycles in, and by the end of March, I will be taking my final cycle. I’m sure there will be plenty of blood checks to keep me in check. – I’m looking forward to calling the races at Belterra Park in April and working in the racing office. – Funny thing, we are moving along at our usual pace and life looks to be on a normal run. We start to think of our “big scores” in different wins. – For this Happy Horseplayer, this has been one of the biggest wins in quite awhile. I can stand for some prayers and good vibes, and for you, I wish a clear path and appreciating what matters the most. – I’ll be blogging more and covering the sport I love. – Be sure and drop back and catch some hot picks, stories, and free Winning Ponies E-Z Win Form selections. – Best of luck from the HappyHorseplayer!!

The Happy Horseplayer

by Ed Meyer

posted on February 2, 2018 in Blogroll, General Discussion, Handicapping, Horse Racing, WinningPonies.com | No Comments >>

The New Year is underway and by now we’re starting to think about our favorite winter ovals. Mother Nature has been dealing from the bottom of the deck with wicked weather all across the nation. But, that’s winter. – The Happy Horseplayer is ready and chomping at the bit for the stakes that will lead us down the road to the roses. But don’t get too anxious as we have 98 days until we hear “My Old Kentucky Home.”

I like to play New York. For years I have I have spoken about my affinity for the circuit and it still continues. Oh, I enjoy Florida and Kentucky and finish up with California on good days but that probably fits many of us. – New York used to be a haven of early speed and the inner-track was a golden highway of early foot. – It plays much better these days and the bias that used to hold sway has been replaced. When Mother Nature allows racing to be conducted “The Big A” can be a good oval to start your day.

For some of the best value in daytime winter racing just head to Florida. No, not Gulfstream. But, it is starting to heat up the competition day-by-day. That we can always count on. I’m talking about Tampa Bay Downs. – Good field sizes which equal to better payoffs. A solid turf course which offers up good racing on the sod. Player’s seem to always bet a little more on the green and the bigger pools are the difference between having a 7-2 shot versus that 5-2 number in the win pool. – You’ll see runners coming in from Gulfstream that are looking to fit into a better slot and returning horses that relish the oval. Solid jockey colonies and trainers who point their charges toward TBD. – For me, this is a great place to spot play. I love turf racing and TBD allows you to rebuild your bankroll.

Santa Anita is the jewel of the left coast. The sun is always shining and the place glistens with the San Gabriel mountains as a backdrop. There are the usual names and players who hold court. We’ll see them in claiming races and graded stakes. The track plays fair and the turf course is one of the best in the country. – “The Great Race Place” is a super way to end your day and if you find yourself looking for a full-packed pick-four pool look no further than a $500,000 plus guaranteed pool on Sunday. I always play and it is worth the try to end your weekend with a solid score.

It is the job of every horseplayer to find value. These are just a few examples of finding the hidden gold that awaits. – Be sure to download the Winning Ponies E-Z Forms to allow you to see how the race will take shape. With handy icons, past performances, Composite ratings and color-coded tier levels. The first time user to the hardcore handicapper will be able to use and take advantage of the one-of-a-kind information that only Winning Ponies can offer up. Best of luck from the Happy Horseplayer!

A Life Well Lived

Image may contain: 1 person, standing, shoes and outdoor

 

 

I’ve worked at the races since I was 18-yrs-old. I’ve had every job on the track minus selling tickets. – During this time you meet some pretty interesting people. Adding to the list was track photographer Pat Lang. – I first met him when I made my way down to get my picture taken for the media guide for Turfway Park. – As I walked in, a man I’ve never met said: “hello parking manager, who’s parking the cars if you’re in here?” – Good question, but I nervously ignored it as I had my shirt and tie all squared away. He cracked jokes with people in the room and asked if I was ready for my close-up? – That was my first intro to Pat. He had a relaxed feel and a Jimmy Buffet swagger without even trying. His dead-pan humor and relaxed nature made everyone feel at home in his little office which was open to the world.

His daughter and partner behind the lens; Emily Lang wrote some beautiful lines about her father on Facebook. – Announcing the passing of a man who made a difference can be difficult. – In my opinion, after reading her words he was more like an onion. After reading about the life of this man words couldn’t begin to sum up the life of such an interesting man. – Most people just plod along and enjoy some ups and downs. – Pat Lang was a citizen of the world and curiously looked at the world from many angles. To say he was one of the good guys is an understatement. He was a rare pearl and we were lucky just to meet him in our travels.

Patrick R. Lang, beloved husband, proud father, loving brother and friend to all who knew him, passed away peacefully November 17, 2017. He was sent off gently, surrounded by his loving family with his best friend by his side.

Pat was a horse racing Track Photographer by trade. After 30 years of making photos from the finish line, he hung up his camera three years ago.

For over three decades, Pat had devoted his career to capturing the winning moments of the horses, trainers, owners and jockeys at River Downs, (New) Latonia which became Turfway Park and Keeneland race courses in Ohio and Kentucky.

Over the course of his career, Pat captured historic, memorable moments of some of racing’s most talented horses; Silver Charm’s and Wild Rush’s Kentucky Cup Classic dead heat at Turfway Park; Spend A Buck’s 15-length Cradle Stakes win at River Downs preceding his Kentucky Derby triumph; Alysheba’s maiden victory; Wise Dan’s maiden win at Turfway Park and graded wins at Keeneland before going on to back-to-back Breeders’ Cup Mile wins; Rachel Alexandra’s first win at Turfway Park; Animal Kingdom’s maiden victory at Turfway Park and his romp in the Spiral Stakes before galloping into history with his Kentucky Derby and Dubai World Cup wins; . Perfect Drift, Winning Colors, Brass Hat, Catlaunch, Harlan’s Holiday, Street Sense… the list of notable horses that have run into Pat Lang’s frame and across the finish line over the years goes on and on.

Pat also photographed the beginnings, milestones, and comebacks of many careers of racing’s most respected horsemen; jockey Rafael Bejarano’s humble beginnings at River Downs; jockey Julien Leparoux’s rise to fame at Turfway Park; the beginnings of trainer Ken McPeek’s career at River Downs; the start of trainer Dale Romans’ career at Turfway Park. Pat also documented jockey and local legend Perry Ouzts’ 5,000th, then 6,000th, career wins — placing him in a category that only 16 other men on Earth had ever achieved at the time.

“Through his craft, tens of thousands of great horses, trainers, jockeys, and owners have been celebrated,” said Chip Bach, General Manager of Turfway Park. “On a personal level, Pat has been a close friend to all of us and his smile and humor will be missed.”

Apart from the famous horses and nationally recognized trainers and owners, Pat’s warmest memories were the many conversations he had with regular clients and fellow photographers over the years. Often stopping to talk while dropping by the office to pick up their pictures; to grab a handful of peanuts, a cookie, a sucker; or to duck in for some relief from the searing summer heat at River Downs, the brutal winter cold at Turfway Park or the pouring spring and fall rain at Keeneland between races.

“Pat’s door was always open to everyone, whether it be a family of backstretch workers or a Hall of Fame trainer, everyone was greeted with a warm smile and respect and welcomed to the variety of treats and sweets he kept in plentiful stock,” said John Engelhardt, who worked alongside Lang at Keeneland and Turfway Park during the off-season at River Downs. “It was never really work when you were with Pat, more like being part of a comedy sitcom or a Fellini film. There were amazing colorful characters, constant action and laughter everywhere and Pat was the subtle circus ringmaster.”

Pat’s resume prior to his life in horse racing comes as a surprise, even to those who knew him well.

Pat, a New Mexico native, was born in Roswell and grew up in Hagerman. After attending New Mexico State University, he became a radio disc jockey in Las Cruces and was the co-owner of Flip Side Records, a chain of three record stores. Those who listened to his late-night progressive rock show would have known him, not as Pat Lang, but as Billy Pilgrim, a pseudonym lifted from a Kurt Vonnegut protagonist who traveled freely back and forth through time and space.

Pat did use his real name, however, for his second career as a radio journalist and news director for KOBE-AM in Las Cruces, as a TV correspondent for KOAT-TV in Albuquerque and as a reporter and cinematographer for KTSM-TV and radio in El Paso, Texas.

As someone whose career as a photojournalist involved documenting and reporting on people’s individual losses, from fires to accidents, Lang loved his transition to photographing horse racing at River Downs and Turfway Park (at the time Latonia) in 1982.

“Every day I got to photograph winners,” Lang said. “Being there for the wins and achievements, documenting people as they built on their success, for the milestones, even as they grew their families… In most cases, my clients became my friends. You rooted for them daily, on the track and off. It made for a happy career, where every day was better than the last.”

Patrick is survived by his beloved wife Karla of 32 years and his four children; son Jonathan Lang, daughter Emily Lang (Alex Ress), son Graham Lang, stepdaughter Rachel Hale (Michael), sister Barbara Lang-Gaulding (George), brother David Lang (Laura). He was preceded in death by his father Richard in 2001, his mother Rosezella in 2013 and his sister Delores in 2007.

He will be remembered by his family for his kindness, humor and prolific sweet tooth — which he made sure his children inherited by keeping the kitchen stocked with freshly made cakes, cookies, his signature pies, homemade eggnog or whatever he felt like baking that day. His clever and constant witticisms will be deeply missed.

Pat Lang will be remembered for a long time. – He hung up his camera three years ago, and it felt like he never left. – Some people just leave a lasting impression on you. – I’ll miss seeing his photo office filled with visitors. They would range from retired horsemen to a groom looking for a handful of candy and good conversation. All were welcome as his deep raspy voice echoed like a radio professional. He cared. He made you feel welcome. And when the horses were rounding the far turn Pat would slowly stroll toward to the finish line and make it just in time to capture history in the moment. – Thank you, Pat. It was indeed a pleasure to meet you in the travels of life.