The Happy Horseplayer

The stockings come down from the chimney with care, and the holiday traffic is out of your hair. – Well, you get the idea. The holidays are over and it’s time to start counting the days for marquee races and the road to the Derby. Spring is only 73 days off, and the Derby is a mere 117 days. But not to worry. It will be here before you know it.


Ringing in the New Year

I’m not much a party goer with hat and horn up all night. – I’ve always been a homebody that watches football and the ball drop at midnight. – This year like many others was spent with my son and having some last minute goodies before the yearly diet kicks up. – Many moons ago, we began telling each other what we’re grateful for and what we’d like to see happen in the New Year. This was heartfelt and loving while we talked into 2019. – For me, it is being grateful for so many things. Family, friends, and being able to see both. Having a new job in racing where I’ve had the opportunity to see another side of racing. – Health that allows me to enjoy all of the above, and having the opportunity to write about a game I love dearly. May your year be filled with health, wealth, and happiness. – And as always; ” may your winners be many and your photos be few.”


Plotting out your plan

Let this be the year where you make plans to visit a new track. – Don’t put off this task as many have changed or disappeared over the years. – I still kick myself for not getting to see Hollywood Park. – We flew over and I could see the beauty as we we were landing. – Bay Meadows is gone, as well as Beulah, Calder, Rockingham, and my personal favorite River Downs. – If you’ve been thinking about making the trek, do it this year. – Nothing like a visit to a quaint little oval or a county fair meet. Just go and enjoy the racing in all it’s splendor.


New Shooters Stepping Up

Santa Anita is unveiling its new wager called roulette. – According to the

  • Two dollar minimum win wager with customary industry-low 15.43%¬†takeout
  • Horses (minimum six-horse field) will be placed into one of three groups, Red, Black or Green
  • In most cases, the morning line favorite will be part of the Red Group
  • The Green Group will be comprised mainly of longshots
  • The three Groups, in most cases, will not have an equal number of horses
  • Whichever Group contains the race winner, wins that “game” of Horse Racing Roulette
  • In the event that ALL betting interest members of any group are scratched or declared non-starters, betting on the Group Bet pool will be stopped immediately and all Roulette wagers made on this particular race will be refunded.
  • In the event of a dead heat for first between two or more divergent Group members, the Group Bet pool will be distributed as a profit split (place pool) or, if there is a triple dead heat with as many Group interests, the pool will also be distributed as a profit split (show pool).

Horse Racing Roulette will be offered on all races with a minimum of six runners throughout Santa Anita’s upcoming Winter Meet. Fans are encouraged to carefully consult their racing program prior to wagering.


I love new wagers and the idea of appealing to newbie players is a great way to bridge the gap. – Players will try their hands at simple new wagers and over time learn more. Great idea! – I’ve always liked this idea but sometimes getting players to try their hand is tough.

In the spirit of having a new wager. How about the Horse Race Lottery? – For a 25-cent quick pick or a chosen number. The game will be based on the exacta numbers in every live race for the day. – Example: The 1 and 2 run exactly that way for ten races. Add the 1 and the 2 and it equals 3. Multiply that for 10 races, and it is 30 – If you had 30 in the HRL, you win the pool or split it with others. Sounds easy enough, and I could see this wager being bought quick-pick style on all machines like a lottery ticket. – If no player hits the HRL it is a 100% carryover. – Nobody will pay attention until the HRL is over a couple thousand bucks and then you’ll see the quick-pick plays add up. – I see the game having a lottery and keno feel. – I could see new players buying a couple bucks worth and regulars take a stab at two. Easy game, has a fun feel and there is no real handicapping. You can buy a few tickets and enjoy the races with a cold beverage or two and keep tabs on what numbers have won. – Get players in cheap with the possibility of hitting for a sweet playoff and you have a new wager!


As January rolls on the marquee races will start rearing their heads. – Enjoy and get out and play.- You can’t win it unless you get in it.¬† – Until next month, The Happy Horseplayer wishes you a New Year filled with plenty of winners.