Ranting, Raging, and Shoveling Snow

I don’t know about you, but I’m sick of winter. Take it all back. I don’t want to go sled riding, take part in a snow ball fight, or even make snow cream. I want this crap to melt, or be sent off somewhere there’s a drought. OK, I think I’m done for a little while. If I never see another shovel in my hand it will be just fine by me.

But with the rant comes that little time I enjoy during the winter months. If you’ve been wanting to catch up on cleaning out your desk, read the book you picked up at the fall book sale, or just binge-watching Breaking Bad. Now is the time. For me, I get into little tasks and try to make use of my time. I watch the entire Mad Men series when everyone is in bed.

I awoke to find that Betfair (TVG) has purchased HRTV. Now that’s fine and dandy if you couldn’t give a hoot about quality coverage, but this horseplayer does. I started off with wide-eyes and a big grin when TVG first kicked off. But after silly gags, filler talk, and the dismissal of quality people. I moved over to HRTV. Not as much talk, but when there was, it was about racing. The pretty people weren’t telling us about what kind of wine they liked, or where the best bar in Saratoga Springs was located. HRTV was right down the lane for strike! I know how to handicap, and wanted to hear from the industry best. When Scott Hazelton, Peter Lurie, or Becky Witzman did it well with “Across the Board.” – I loved hearing from the best in the game. “Against the Odds” with Aaron Vercruysse, Jeff Siegel, and Gary Mandela gave me more than just topical stats I could find, and the same goes for “First Call” which gave me weather, updates, interviews, up-to-the-minute info to get my day started. Inside Information, The Player, The National Racing Report, Pursuit of the Cup, HRTV Rewind, and the many other programs I have on DVR in the waste heap? How about Laffitt Pincay’s smooth handling of the entire ship? When Brad Free started talking, I started taking notes. Now you tell me this may go the way of the dinosaur, or will there be TVG, TVG II, and TVG III? I have watched TVG kick good handicappers, trainers, and horse people to the curb. I once met a TVG host at a Las Vegas handicapping contest. All he cared about was where to get his hair done and where was the party later. – I sure hope they use some common sense with this new racing tool. If not, I can always watch on-line and tune out the yack-yack.

Thinking about summer months gets me to thinking about the pool. No, you won’t have to see my new Speedo just yet, I’m talking about the Player’s Pool. For new racinos, OTB’s, and tracks looking to grab the dollar beer crowd. Think this one over before you get another 10 oz. draft. Let’s appeal to the newbie, or the small-time player. The big bettors weren’t born that way, and most started small. Here’s a golden nugget that could be a blast! We’ll call them “shares” for the Player Pool. For every $20 share, you’ll receive a couple of drink tickets or a special pricing arm band where you can purchase your favorite brew. You’ll use the 5th – 8th races at your track. Let’s say you’ll be knocking down the house on $1 beer night, and 200 people buy a share into the pool. The pot starts at $4,000, and now comes the fun part. The designated track handicapper steps up and makes a $1,000 of wagers in the fifth race. If there is any luck, it ALL carries over to the next race. Sound like fun? All you need is a microphone, dry erase board to shows the wagers for that race, and what the payouts are when the race becomes official. If you doubt how this can be done, take a look at Horseplayernow.com, and see how handicapper, writer, and all around gambler Brian Nadeau took a $500 “Happy Hour Bankroll” and nailed a $12,000 trifecta at Capital OTB. Sound like fun yet? – You bet it does, and why aren’t we doing more of this? Take your host of the Winning Ponies Internet Radio Show, John Engelhardt. Solid capper, knows behind the scenes info, and has the gift of gab. He would probably reach into his magic bag of guests and pull out an Eclipse Award writer, handicapper of the year, or local fixture who knows how to have fun and win. Talk about jumping into the pool. No need to bring your suit as this will be more fun than the law allows. If it all goes south, you take the player database from the night and send them a “BOGO” for player pool shares for the next week. You know they’ll come back, wouldn’t you?