Word on the Street

Nothing like the ramblings of the word on the street. You can’t learn the word from night school, and it doesn’t come in a book. So we have to rely on the whispers and rants from the folks on the scene. – Just remember you heard it right here as we make our way down the back alleys to find the best info. Or, just cruise the grandstand or Race Book and you’re sure to hear the truth.

Hit it with your purse next time

Now this may be a little too much at times; but it may be the rare occurrence when it fits like a glove. – Julien Leparoux was riding the second choice Classic Empire in the 142nd running of the Preakness. He was sent off at (2-1) and broke from the gate with gusto. He was on the outside shoulder of Derby winner Always Dreaming and never let him have a breath. – As they hit the 3/8th’s pole he ranged up and put a head in front. This is when the wagering world took a big gulp and swallowed their wagers as the writing was on the wall. Classic Empire, the two-year-old champion was back and it was going to be good to see him score. – They hit the top of the lane and he drew off by a couple and looked good as gold. Well, except for the fresh-leg runner Cloud Computing who was being ridden like he broke out of jail. – Leparoux sat chilly and gave some swats to keep his mount running. Most of the time this would have been good enough to get the job done but the colt chasing was being ridden by top-money rider Javier Castellano. Julien rode with soft hands and simple strokes of the crop as Javier looked like his tail was on fire and he was in hurry to get to the wire.

I’m not one to go on about a rider’s skill set, but this was a weak ride in my opinion. – Put Jerry Bailey on and he would’ve won by three; Irad Ortiz would have drifted out a bit and swung the stick like Jack Nicholas. Gary Stevens would’ve been heard chirping from the next town and going to the whip. Calvin Borel would have dropped to the rail and stayed low like a “lizard on a log.” – You get the idea. There were a 1,000 others who would’ve gotten the job done. When a horse is beat by three or better he may have been facing a  better runner. But when it comes down to a head-bob it falls in the hands of the rider nine outta’ ten times.  He may have taken too much gas out of the tank staying close to Always Dreaming, the track may have been too fast, or the sun was starting to shine. Whatever excuse you choose it comes down to the “Flying Frenchman” not being aggressive when the real running began.


Betting the smaller tracks

I love to bet New York racing plain and simple. The only track I don’t play is Finger Lakes ( no offense please). – I enjoy wagering on Gulfstream and Fair Grounds in the winter, and Santa Anita or Del Mar anytime they run. The big purses, the rider colony and some of the best trainers in the country. You get the message. –  But I’m here to tell you first hand there is some real value to be had wagering on the small tracks.

The smaller ovals offer runners on the way up, on the way out, or looking for easier company. Most of the colony is made up of riders who fit the same as well as the trainers. – They usually have full fields of cheaper company but who cares ? That means better payoffs for you and me ! – I love to see the full fields, and the small six horse affairs. Both offer good value. – I’ve caught more (5-2) shots in short fields, and many races that can be used a “free-spot” for pick-fours. – The pools won’t set a national record but some of the small tracks are showing solid gains in handle. – I enjoy a full field of cheap condition claimers, and what would normally be (2-1) is now (7-2) and higher. I call that value everyday. – If you saw $7.20 laying on the ground wouldn’t you pick it up ? Yeah, me too.

Nothing like going to Keeneland, or watching historic Saratoga. But the bang for my buck has been playing the small tracks. – This past weekend I was watching Pimlico like most horse players and how many times do we play that oval ? – The smaller tracks have solid meets and runners looking to score. I don’t know many smaller trainers who are giving their horse a race to target a purse in two months. – I was getting smacked around early betting Old Hilltop, and the little track kept me in action with a few winners. – Why not hunker down and stick to my knitting ? – I fell into the trap of being a “One Day Pro” wagering on Pimlico. I won’t make another bet no matter how many days they run, but I’ll be on hand when a field of 12 goes to post going a 1 1/6 on the turf at the smaller oval. Give it a think and see how you feel. Are you going to bet the track you never play because they have the Preakness, or play the oval you follow ? – I have a friend who is a great track announcer. He would pass on the G-1’s and jump right into the mule races at Ferndale. Stick to the races you have a good winning percentage, and shy away from drinking the cool-aid for one day. – You’ll thank me later.