The Start, Middle, and Stretch Run of 2023

by Ed Meyer

posted on October 4, 2023 in Blogroll, General Discussion, Handicapping, Horse Racing, | Comments Off on The Start, Middle, and Stretch Run of 2023

It started in the cold of winter in Kentucky. The funny thing is it’s not Alaska, but it can get damn cold. Being on the windward side of the building you felt every blustery blow of the winds coming out of the west. For the horses, you would look to which direction the flags were blowing. From the west of the airport runways meant they would face a headwind and speed would hold up better than usual. From the east, was a closer’s dream. The speed would tire and runners with a late kick had a chance.

It was during the early part of February that conversations about Perry Ouzts would begin. Many in the placing judges stand felt he would never complete his dream of becoming the 5th all-time leading rider in history, but one voice spoke and in Babe Ruth style not only predicted the milestone but guessed the month and week. – I was only ten days off, and Perry Wayne Ouzts passed the late great David Gall to notch another page in history. – The paddock will be named in his honor and a statue of a jockey painted in the Larry Smith colors of Smith Red Gate Farm would forever hold his spot in the books. At 69 years of young age, he rides with the vim and vigor of an 18-year-old kid. He still loves to win, but this year may be his final as he informed me back in the winter this was it. “Oh, I may ride one for an old friend, and I’ll still work out horses in the morning, but I’ll just help my wife around the barn and slow down a bit.” – I think Perry will still keep riding on a much slower basis, but his drive will still be 100%. Congrats, my friend. It has been an honor watching you ply your trade.

Jockey Perry Ouzts on the cusp of 7,000 career wins; could reach ...


Picking horses to make the Derby trail off the synthetic has been a fool’s folly. A handful have made the trek, but only a couple made a big “Run for the Roses.” The last one that caught my attention on the poly at Turfway Park was Animal Kingdom back in 2011. – He made a move on the poly that horses usually make on the deep-cushioned dirt. It was spectacular to watch and at the quarter pole, I made the decision this was my Derby horse without looking elsewhere. Finally, a good choice off the Polytrack. Weekend Stakes: Where To Watch - Horse Racing News ...


I haven’t found another who caught my eye like he did; that was until this past March at the new Turfway Park owned by CDI. – The track was now Tapeta and the new track was a beacon for change. – Now the Jeff Ruby Stakes, yes, Stakes. – A lightly raced horse named Two Phil’s trained by Chicago conditioner Larry Rivelli made a storming move in the hands of Jareth Loveberry that made my second decision to stop my Derby search early. This time it wasn’t the middle move; it was the runout past the wire that caught my eye like many horsemen watch for. – His head held low like A.P. Indy back in the day and he kept pulling the rider as he wanted to keep on running at full-speed. That was proof enough for me. – On the First Saturday in May he stormed up the rail and grabbed the lead at Churchill Downs. Old-time trainers say that the last quarter mile at Churchill Downs must be uphill as they have seen horses draw off only to get caught in the final yards. – Well, my big win ticket at a sweet price became a place ticket, but I still turned a profit.

As the leaves turn golden brown and the talk of Breeders’ Cup begins. Another year is making its way into the books. I have seen a great deal and been on hand for some moments that will last a lifetime. – This is the life of a horse racing fan who just so happens to work in the industry. I wind up my ninth year as race caller and odds maker at a beautiful little oval along the banks of the mighty Ohio River; Belterra Park. I complete my final five days of the year; I will make that walk into the booth with a special spring in my step. We treat it as a fine cigar and enjoy it down to the butt before we smash it out in the ashtray and move along. Another year in the books. Can’t wait to see what the Breeders’ Cup weekend has in store, and the winter conversations that await the judge stand at Turfway Park. One thing is for certain. I will definitely let you know.