Is Less Really More?

by Ed Meyer

posted on February 3, 2023 in Blogroll, General Discussion, Horse Racing, WinningPonies.com | Comments Off on Is Less Really More?

I was sitting in the grandstand for the 1pm race card at Latonia Race Course. Ten live races, and a heap load of excitement to be had. – Ushers came around and asked fans to leave at the end of the card. We walked to the car and drove to McDonald’s for a burger and fries and dinner talk. – After an hour, we made our way back to the track. We paid to park a second time, and used our last passes to save our cash for buying another DRF and program. We had better hurry as we were on our way back to the grandstand for another 10 live races to complete the doubleheader. Life could get no better…

Racing in Northern Kentucky was 5 days a week with 10 races daily. Full fields and mainly a diet of cheap claiming races. But the action was more than the law allowed. – These days were the best of times. It was like having Las Vegas right in your backyard. But sadly, these days are long gone.

If you get three to four days each week, consider yourself in the lucky zone of horse racing. Count on an eight-race card for the most part, but you’ll still relish the action. I never thought there would be so few races with a reduced number of entries. The days of 12-horse fields are a rarity except for a couple of tracks.

I can remember hearing about tracks doing away with the long meets and going to abbreviated racing. The talk of “12 super tracks” ruling the landscape seemed like a horror story that would never come true. But after we lost Beulah Park, Bay Meadows, Calder, Hollywood Park, and Arlington just to name a few, it seems that tracks are falling by the wayside and racino interests have changed the priority of racing. Many states are breaking long-standing commitments with tracks. If you doubt the move, take a look at Dog Racing in Florida. It’s a memory.

So, is less more? – Do we need to peel back the long meetings and move to a shorter lucrative season? – If so, what happens to the small outfit horseman? – There are more questions than answers and racing is definitely getting a standing eight count.

Keep an open mind and enjoy the sport while it’s in session. – Things can change in the blink of an eye and before you know it can go the way of the dinosaur. – Racing may need to have quality meets, fewer racing dates, which would lead to better purses which attract bigger outfits. – For now, this is our model. Just look around and take a close look at the meetings that are in session. I see less being the new rule of thumb when a racing meet is to take place. Just sit back and watch.

What say you? – Any ideas or thoughts on the matter? – If you don’t speak up now you may not have a voice later.

Make 2023 the Year to Be a Winner!

by Ed Meyer

posted on January 20, 2023 in Blogroll, General Discussion, Handicapping, Horse Racing, WinningPonies.com | Comments Off on Make 2023 the Year to Be a Winner!

As 2023 arrived, it’s time to take stock of where we stand as horse players. It is a good practice to take your temperature before making your way to the windows.  This is a good lesson to see what worked in the past and what we would like to see in the future.

First, let’s take a look at your wagers. – Are you playing what you’re best at or still trying to hit the double-whammy pick-ten? – Stick to your knitting and stop playing wagers you don’t excel with. How many times have you watched yourself try a pick-six when it has a big carryover even though you never play the bet? This is a sure-fire ticket to walking to the car early. – Trust me, for the one time you hit a pick-six split 500 ways, you’ll be glad you just stayed in your wheelhouse.

Stop playing tracks you don’t follow just because there are 3 minutes to post. – If you must, be sure to download Winning Ponies E-Z Win Forms and take a shot with some solid wagering guidance. – Betting in the blind is not a wise move that will keep your bankroll growing in the long run. Having a solid wagering tool may be the answer to allow you to play outside your usual comfort zone.

 

Did you take anyone new to the track this year? – I sure hope you took the time as many others did with us long ago. Afterall, that’s how we fell in love with the sport. – Spend the time to take a newbie. Go on a company bus ride and school the new players to allow them to enjoy the day. – Make some group wagers where winning together is always better than cashing alone.

 

The old tried and true place parlay. – For years I have been extolling this as a tool that will quietly allow your bankroll to grow. – You example:

 

$20 to place #3 – He hits and pays $3.20 = $32 bankroll.

$32 to place #7 – Boom! – Another winner who pays $3.80 = $60.80

Take out your initial wager of $20 – You now have $40 for the next wager. – If it sounds fun, it most surely will be a great way to sneak up on the day and leave a winner. – Just notice taking out your initial wager in round #3. – Be sure and decide and stick with how many races you will play in advance. If it is 3, stick to three. – If it’s four, then it is four, and no more.

2023 is the year you take your game to the next level. – Trust me, this is your year.

 

 

 

 

 

What Once Worked Could Soon Again

by Ed Meyer

posted on January 18, 2023 in Blogroll, General Discussion, Handicapping, Horse Racing, WinningPonies.com | Comments Off on What Once Worked Could Soon Again

Long ago in Ohio, there was a “7 and 7” race card. – Seven races from River Downs and seven races from Thistledown. At the end of the day, bettors were treated to a 14-race card for the Ohio signal. It used to be a lot of fun.

But as tracks are owned by new casino entities, it seems that everyone wants it all for themselves and working together is a long-ago memory. – Trust me, this could be a unique way to keep the ball rolling.

Right now, field sizes are small and there is trouble filling races at most tracks. That is with the exception of the CDI tracks which have a chock-full purse structure from the advent of Historic Racing Machines. But competition has always been around, and even though you won’t have the purse structures of the big boy track, you could find yourself watching and wagering on fuller fields that get a fair share of the handle.

With a “7 and 7” card, you run a race at one and have 8 min to post at the next. – Just what the betting public wants; rapid run races that could bring a bit of new attention to the Ohio signal. – All that it takes is working together and focusing on growing together. – If the “7 and 7” cards won’t work, try a “6 and 6.” – Still 12 races and the exotic wagers roll from track to track. Rapid fire and plenty of excitement may be just what the game is lacking, but locking up together could bring a higher handle with bigger fields. – Think of the racing office having to card two or fewer races per day. This could be a big difference and help the field sizes grow as horsemen would have two fewer races to enter per day.

This old idea still has teeth, and in times of having trouble filling races, this may be a nice answer until we get the product rolling again. – Just think. Working together, trying to maximize handle, making it easier to fill races, and larger fields all the while drawing attention to the Ohio racing signal.

Sounds like this old dog still may have a few tricks left after all.

 

Eve or Day?

by Ed Meyer

posted on December 30, 2022 in General Discussion, Handicapping, Horse Racing, WinningPonies.com | Comments Off on Eve or Day?

I’ve had this on my mind the entire holiday season. – When it comes to getting your money in play; do you want to head to the races on New Year’s Eve, or start 2023 with a sparkling start with a big day at the windows? I guess I would have to summon the ghost of Charles Bukowski who was not only a hall-of-fame writer but a loyal racetrack aficionado who enjoyed plenty of libations while rooting for his ponies.

Without being able to contact Buk, I chose three of the best horse players I know. They love having the days off during the holiday parade and taking their shot at the windows.  I asked the question and then gave them two days to give me the answer to what they wanted to do with their day off.

Player #1 – Longtime bettor who mainly plays from home and tournament play. You could say he is well-versed in his craft and has qualified many times for the big dance in Las Vegas. – ” I would rather wrap up the year. Good or bad, the results are in for the year. I like the idea of starting off fresh when I get my chance to go back.” 

Player #2 – Almost a carbon copy of #1. – But he has scored on the big stage and won good monies in the contest arena. – “ I like to start off the New Year properly. Put the past where it belongs in the rearview and take my game to the next level. I like the idea of a ‘Hail Mary’ score on the final day, but it seldom makes the final numbers in the black.”

Player #3 – Now, this is going to sound like horse ca-ca. But this one is me. – I have worked in racing, played and won tournaments, and had some decent scores for an average Joe. I thought long and hard and came up with my best answer. – I don’t believe in magic powers or carrying a mojo. – Why not go to both? – Hit the final day, call it a winner, and swing into the next day on a roll. I’m not much of a four-leaf clover bettor, but why can’t we have it all?

After breaking up the data and speaking with players I respect. – I like the #3 answer the best. Take the winning day and start off 2023 swinging for the fences. I like that one, and it seems to fit my betting tastes. – Whatever you choose, know that Winning Ponies is on your side. We’re right here with the best in handicapping data and look forward to many winning days with you. – So, here’s to a big New Year filled with luck, happiness, and a bankroll that could fit on the back of an elephant. – Best of luck!

 

Plans for 2023

by Ed Meyer

posted on December 26, 2022 in Blogroll, Free Picks and Tips, Handicapping, Horse Racing, WinningPonies.com | Comments Off on Plans for 2023

After Christmas, the holidays, or whatever you choose to celebrate. That is right about the time that racing begins to turn the corner and makes the long run into 2023. Surrender into the new and forget about the past. The future is fresh and waiting and is sure to promise you more action than the law allows.

When the mega-day of live racing action kicks up at Gulfstream Park on 1/28/23 with the Pegasus Cup celebration, let the games begin. – I used to keep track of GP when the G-3 Holy Bull Stakes took the track that winter time racing was in a full-out sprint to the first Saturday in May.

The day after Christmas racing kicks into a frenzy with Fair Grounds, Gulfstream, and the mega-stakes card at Santa Anita. – Handicappers have been on the shelf for a few days and you can bet dollars to donuts, they will come out of their corner ready to swing. That short holiday cleansing will have punters ready to come out with Christmas money in hand ready to fire away with both fists. With all that action, it’s enough to give you the big happy.

With that in mind on opening day at Santa Anita. Here are a few horses to take a look at when digging into your final handicapping for the card:

 

Race #1 – #3 – I’m a Gambler = Flavien Prat in the irons for Mark Glatt and shoot for three-straight shipping over from Redcar (GB) and this son of No Nay Never will get a perfect stalking trip under turf master Prat.

 

Race #3 – #6 – Prince Abama = Prat and Phil D’Amato team up and cut back in distance today. He is 4/5 ITM over the course and Prat wins 27% with his stalkers.

 

Race #6 – #6 – Country Grammar = Comes off a two-month break for Bob Baffert and Frankie Dettori who will be riding in California for upcoming months before closing out an illustrious career with the 2023 Breeders’ Cup.

 

As we embark on the next chapter of where racing will take us, the holiday season is a wonderful way to segway into the next pages of history. – So, as you take down the decorations and wait for the best football of the season to arrive. Racing is off and running today and it is your duty to dig in and start handicapping. Trust me, the time has arrived.

 

 

 

 

Happy Holiday Memories

by Ed Meyer

posted on December 26, 2022 in Blogroll, General Discussion, Horse Racing, WinningPonies.com | Comments Off on Happy Holiday Memories

The last time I can remember a Christmas “bonus win” was many moons ago. – It was the last race card before Christmas Eve and the joint was packed. Every gambler knew it would be a couple of days to wait for the next call to the post. Those couple of days seemed like a month of Sundays, as this was long before sports gambling and casinos.

We used to get a $100 bonus and man was it appreciated. – We could cash checks at the information window long before the casino “swipe badges” and the million rules that took the fun out of racing. – Even though there wasn’t a sign that said “employees please bet” it was unspoken that 30% of the on-track handle came from behind the windows and the betting floor from the staff. Good days, and who better to make a bet than the throng of employees who were paid to be here.

Well, my $100 bonus was put into action right from the start. It began at a turtle’s pace and as the race cards got better, my bankroll was doing well. – By 2:00pm, it was up to $250 and change. By 4:00pm, it was $500. – Took a break until live racing and played three horses I liked. They all won. – The bankroll was over $1,000 for the day and I kept making a few small place wagers. – As I cashed out before grabbing my coat to head home, I had over $1,200 and change. Not bad from a $100 start.

I drove home as snow began to fall at a wet and heavy pace. By the time I got home there was almost three inches on the ground. – I counted my money and kept $200 in my wallet for me to start after the holidays and gave my better half $1,000 to cover a good chunk of Christmas. We’d go out and have a nice dinner and I’d fill her in on the big day of winning. She couldn’t have cared less as gambling just wasn’t part of her itinerary. – But the money handed to her was always spent on the house, bills, and things that mattered. – Good to have a partner who had their feet on the ground and did enough rational thinking for the both of you.

As the blizzard was sweeping in on Thursday, I was at the track and this story came to mind. – Heavy rain turning to ice was beginning to cover the entire rail and walkways. In the last race it covered the starting gate with such a coating that one of the gates did not come open and we had a non-starter. After a 20 min inquiry, we all made our way out to the parking lot skating all the way. – It wasn’t as happy as that winning day long ago, but it gave me something to smile about while driving 10 mph to the house. – When I arrived and pulled in to park, I made it home safely and that was my win for the night.

As we celebrate our holidays, keep in mind the happy times. They are what we’ll remember for decades to come. – It was a simple wintery night that took me back in time to a special night where a few extra bucks were a welcome addition for a young couple that used the money wisely. – Enjoy your time with family and friends, and here’s to a Happy New Year from your friends at Winning Ponies. We wish you health, happiness, and memories to last a lifetime.

Calling Them Home

by Ed Meyer

posted on December 15, 2022 in General Discussion, Handicapping, Horse Racing, WinningPonies.com | Comments Off on Calling Them Home

Anytime you walk into a new race track, there’s a sense of opening that first package at Christmas. – Will it be what you wanted? – Can it be more than you ever thought? – Is this your new place to call home?

Many horse racing fans have these same feelings as the others who just want to get their bet on. Either way, it serves the child in all of us ripping open our Red Rider BB Gun. Just don’t shoot your eye out. – I must admit it was bigger and brighter than the old dank and dark white elephant that opened in 1959. – It followed the original “Old Latonia Race Course” from Latonia, Kentucky built in 1883 and closed its doors for good in 1939 following the financial losses from the “Great Depression” – Years later the new Latonia Race Course rose from the farmlands to open its doors in 1959, and carried on until 1986 when it was purchased and renamed “Turfway Park” under the guiding hand of Jerry Carroll and partners. – I grew up and cut my teeth going to this winter-spring oval which at one time had one of the best fall meets in the state.

I had filled in at Turfway Park calling races in the huge creaky building that was held together by a wing and a prayer. – We had a brand-new building being created and had temporary pods where I also filled in calling races from the TV signal. – Now, the day had arrived, and once again I was called up to fill in. – The huge new building overlooks an infield tote board and the building was a palace dedicated to slot machines, a bad-ass bar, and a place for racing fans to watch and wager. – I made the long walk-in and had to be escorted up by electronic swiping passes to allow me to the next level. Bright and beautiful with many of the same faces I had come to call my friends over the years.

I got there early to polish my glasses, get my scratches and changes ready and prepare for the new era. – Not nervous, just excited like that young boy who took the trek with his dad so many times during the old Latonia days. – Glasses ready calling them on the track, and the waiting game begins. – Finally, the field assembled behind the gate and then I got to do something that most racing fans would have loved to do. – Me in a room by myself, binoculars ready, and sending them on their way for the evening.

As they turned for home it all came flooding back to decades spent with my dad watching our $2 bets bring us more joy than the law allows. I was back even for a few days. But what a few days they would be capping off the card with the $125,000 My Charmer Stakes. Solid race with an exciting outcome. – I think it came out pretty good and the crowd on the apron seemed to enjoy the excitement of live Thoroughbred racing once again.

As I packed my equipment and made my long walk to the car, my heart was filled with that old familiar feeling of spending a day at the races. – If I live to be 103 years old, there is no other action for this gambler. – Here’s a sample from YouTube of my final race for my three-day stint. – Enjoy!

 

(11) RACE 7 PROGRAM 12-11-2022 – YouTube

Giving Thanks from the Heart

by Ed Meyer

posted on December 2, 2022 in Blogroll, General Discussion, Horse Racing, WinningPonies.com | Comments Off on Giving Thanks from the Heart

The time where friends and family gather and share a meal to enjoy each other’s company are typically thought of during this time of year. But, after the day of celebration came another form of giving thanks that didn’t involve a big spread of food, but one where good friends opened their hearts and told me what they really have to be thankful for.

The world of racing spins in a trajectory of 20-minute intervals. That is just about the time in between races. Horsemen bring over their runners, grooms tend to them and prepare for the race as riders come out of the room to receive last minute instructions from the trainer who excitedly awaits the outcome. – That is racing in a nutshell. The barns prepare to do battle for the purse monies on the track, but on the backside return to being some of the best of friends and family.

I reached out to some folks on the local racing scene in Ohio and Kentucky. Many were opening their hearts with all things good while others were a little hesitant about letting anyone know their secrets. – As with the many blogs over the years, I will leave out the names and just let you know what they are truly grateful about. Real people, real gratitude.

 

Ed, I’m the luckiest guy on the planet. – I was taken over by drugs and alcohol so many times it took away my ability to be a jockey. I lost my family, and the respect of others in racing that has lasted generations in my family. Hard to believe I’d give in to these demons, but I did, and I fell hard. – I started going to meetings at another track far away and slowly I was able to work horses out again. Felt great just being in the saddle. – My daughter would come out and watch her old man slowly shed the desire to be high and be out of control to finding my way back slowly to becoming fit. – We started going to breakfast every Saturday, and now we are building back what horrible decisions took away. This makes me the happiest. – Finally, after working out some nice horses, I decided it was time to try my hand at riding again. – Hard to believe what a long hard road it was, but it was definitely worth it. – When the jockey crossed the finish line with a perfect ride, his attitude of gratitude was in full force. I asked him for a pair of goggles. This is a long-standing tradition of celebrating with a signed pair and the date marked. – He asked me why I wanted them. He’s ridden thousands of winners in his past, why do I want these? – After he looked into my eyes with tears streaming down, he said this was his best and he’d send them up to me shortly.” 

 

She was the darling of the morning jogging horses and laughing with fellow pony people. – A pony person is one who climbs aboard in the morning and works the horse per the instructions of the trainers. – She had a nasty demon that has haunted her every day and eventually led to some trouble with the law. Prison was her next stop as she was involved in more than a few DUI’s that only got worse over time. – After a period of time she was still fighting her demon but found the love of her life. – Still fighting, but her attitude is changing. – She wants more than anything to climb back into the saddle and that is a goal that only time can cure. But her life is slowly changing, and for that she is grateful at another chance at finding happiness and change. Good luck, gal. We’re all rooting for you.

Usually, stories from the backside entail families gathering for the feast and sharing good company. But these stories are about regular people who have fallen. – Life has picked them up once again, and what they make of this opportunity is all in their hands. I surely wish them the best of luck and may the “attitude of gratitude” surround them and keep them on the right path.

 

There are many backside charitable organizations that help and support the many who make this way of life. Many are in need and could use a hand off the floor. But this takes money. – If you have it in your heart during the season of giving, please reach out to your local racetrack and chaplaincy program who can better direct you in getting your helping hand to theirs. – Everyone can use a second chance and the gratitude may make a difference in the lives of folks who just need a helping hand.

 

Horse Racing Game Day

by Ed Meyer

posted on November 18, 2022 in General Discussion, Horse Racing, WinningPonies.com | Comments Off on Horse Racing Game Day

I was hunkered in my recliner watching College Game Day. – If you’re not much of a football fan or have been marooned on an island after a three-hour tour, it is one of the highest impact chock-full of energy shows highlighting the day of college football in the land. – The hosts have a rapid-fire roundtable that used to be stats and now has gravitated to using the -6 1/2 points on the road betting gab. – How about that? I never thought we’d see the day unless you were in Las Vegas or an offshore betting paradise. What a way to start the day, and I even have an up-to-the minute injury report before hitting the local casino. Life could never be so sweet.

Racing used to have weeklong celebrations with events. – The dart contest from the best in the world, the beauty pageant, all-star dinner with all the celebs and it would all be kicked off with a real Cajun crawfish boil to support the folks on the backside. – Music, food, and fun. TVG would ship in for on-air blips and blurbs and have a studio overlooking the track. The week was a celebration. Funny how one day of racing could capture the senses of the racing fan and turn it into an event of the year.

Why can’t we do that now? – Just like “CGD” in the morning talking the doings of the day, racing could have a week to build up to every big marquee day in horse racing. – The best part is there is always something going on. There are two major channels on racing TV and FanDuel rules the day with scrolling odds on the big game while the talking head build up the card.

Not every event would be the Breeders’ Cup; and that may be just fine. – Showcase the Iowa Day of Champions, The Best of Ohio, and The Claiming Crown Series. There is always plenty at the buffet of racing and it all depends on how we serve it up. – If we just run the races and hope someone plays. There may be no real hope in trying to grow the sport from the ground up if we don’t get behind it at the seedling stage.

Fans love to get their hands on merchandise and freebie items that promote the big day. There’s no billboard in the world that shows the big day in full color like a jacket, cap, or umbrella on the rainy day. – Whenever I pull my extra-large Keeneland umbrella, it has started a thousand conversations. I should get a new one every year as I’ve been a great spokesman.

Tracks can bring back the tried and true and make them new all over again. Bringing in the people to take part in on-track promotions. It could have that CGD feel if you had drawings for large prizes, VIP dining, and a shot at winning a piece of a “Big Ticket” for the pick-four. – Fans would rally around the idea of winning a big prize especially when it’s money. How about having a fan experience where they could be right in the paddock watching the marquee horses saddle up? Winners circle picture immediately following? – Just a few ideas that may draw players closer to the game.

Now, I don’t see horse racing fans getting close to the rail with large signs with their favorite horses, but I do see them showing up early to have a special breakfast at the downs watching the big horses work in the morning. – Fans have been overlooked for so long we kind of forgot about them quietly. It is time to invest and start making the player the star of the sport as well. Because without the betting public, there would be horses running for blue ribbons. – It’s not too late and at every level of the game there are opportunities to bring the fans up close and personal to the sport.

 

Breeders’ Cup in the Books

by Ed Meyer

posted on November 9, 2022 in Blogroll, General Discussion, Handicapping, Horse Racing, WinningPonies.com | Comments Off on Breeders’ Cup in the Books

The smoke has cleared, the champions crowned and congrats to the winners and excuses from the losers. – Like in every sport, there is always plenty to say after the fact. But my reflection is more about the beauty of the day and cashing tickets.

If you played the Keeneland meet, you would’ve been aware from Race #1 there was a red-hot speed-bias. It harkened back to the golden rail days that played like a conveyor belt. Pat Day would notch a lead by a half and hold on to that same lead all the way around not using the crop more than 5 times. – He would use a side arm swing brushing gently against the front quarter of the horse. – Upon asking him at a PDJF function he told me his secret weapon. He communicated with the horse with his hands. – He knew at the 1/4 pole if he had a shot. Day was ultra-impressive on speed and Keeneland this meet would have had him atop the rider standings by dozens. To this day I have never seen any rider win by 1/2 length more than the great Pat Day.

Thinking back to working at Keeneland I used to get there early with glazed donuts and orange juice. – I watched a speed biased oval all meet long and the final two day before the end of the meet I saw them adding material and for some reason they were harrowing the opposite direction. – Not sure if any of this made a hill of beans, but the closing couple days for the meet prior to the BC showed me an oval that slowly began to play more favorably. – Those were the best donuts watching the works.

I watched the speed dominate all meet, and now I was betting off-track enjoying the action. – For the Breeders’ Cup, the track was fair and was open to the best runner in my book. – I loved how horses could be wide, dominate with speed, and make a mid-pack run. I’m not much a bragger, but Keeneland was very good to me this year.

 

In the $6 million dollar Classic we were treated to something special. – Flightline romped home by 8 1/2 lengths and did it with the greatest of ease. – Anytime a horse makes an explosive effort as such, the 1973 Belmont and Secretariat are following shortly after in discussion. – I hate to make hasty calls regarding a horse to “Big Red”, but this was as close as I can remember in my lifetime. – We are always looking to find that next great one, but they are finer than frog hair.

I have watched more races than the average player. There have been many that made me wide-eyed just watching greatness hoping for the next champ. – At the end of the day, I don’t think it is fair to judge any one horse against another from history. Let’s just enjoy and hope to see a little more if we are lucky. Just to whet your whistle; wait until the babies hit the sales ring someday.

I have played the Breeders’ Cup in person at Churchill, Keeneland, and Santa Anita; here I met the best guys in racing from Winning Ponies. All have been incredible in their own right, but if I had to give a nudge it would be to Keeneland. – I usually put in a great deal of time handicapping the races and slow down my betting for 45 days or more. – Like the old butchers saying, “steel sharpens steel.” – I’ll take my 45-day standing eight count and focus more directly on fewer plays. This keeps me ready to roll when January approaches and the stakes schedule starts over again at Gulfstream, Fair Grounds, Oaklawn, and Santa Anita.

 

Drop us a line and let us know how you did? – Winning Ponies always loves to hear how you’re doing and hopefully the E-Z Win Forms are doing you well!