The Biz of Racing

by Ed Meyer

posted on September 22, 2021 in Blogroll, General Discussion, Horse Racing, WinningPonies.com | Comments Off on The Biz of Racing

I have worked in every job imaginable. Parking lot kid at 18-years, and from there I’ve had many opportunities for radio, TV handicapping, odds making. track announcer, player development manager, ADW coordinator, and a host of other jobs. Yes, it’s been a great run! – But as of late, I’ve been approached about picking up another job. One that is new to me, but for some reason keeps popping its head up.

I used to watch agents back in the day walking around the track with a program in their pocket with the name of the riders and the weight they carry on the outside of the condition book. – I guess this was race track advertising at its best over the years. But, it seemed like everyone was doing it, and trainers would see agents down in the paddock and the condition book with names.

The past years going back to River Downs, a few riders asked me to take their book. – I would accept mounts for them for a 25 – 30% cut of what they made. Sounded good, but you spend 12 hours a day on the phone. And, if riders were trying to reach out to anyone, they could have been desperate. – I stayed away as I didn’t want to lack the skill set to get the riders in a good position.

As the years have gone by, I have gotten to know a great number of trainers. Some come up to the booth to watch a race, and we just shoot the breeze. – But, back comes that young rider hungry to make a mark in the sport. Each year, I find myself wanting to investigate a little further and see if this would work out. I like to help others and communicate well with the trainers. Many other track announcers do this as part of their income, and in the off-season I could spend more time trying to find the right young rider to bring along into the sport.

I have spoken to many agents and most just get mounts and collect a check per their agreements. Most young riders may not speak English, or have any skills with money. They are so young that most just squander away some of their best-earning years. But, maybe there is a way to keep them growing professionally and allow them to become more comfortable in the sport.

I asked a well-known agent what does he do for riders that can’t speak English? – ” Tough, let another rider help who can speak for them in the paddock.” To me, this sounded empty. There was more that could be done.

What about helping them set up living arrangements? If they have trouble communicating, how about some English as a second language class. – When and if they start making money, arrange for them to meet a money manager to help them invest and keep afloat. – Am I being too naive, or is this just wishful thinking? – My goal would be to get them acclimated and have a professional handle their money. As time progresses, they will be able to handle business and plan for the future. I guess I’m just new to thinking about trying my hand. But, for the hardworking men and women, I’m sure they would appreciate the help getting started.

Oh well, another season of racing is coming to an end. – 12 days to be precise. – But, this thought keeps growing in my noggin. What do you think? Would this be a great second job, or would I be spinning my wheels with a wrong mindset? – Either way, they keep coming, and I’m really starting to think more about trying my hand soon.

 

Belterra Park – Free Selections -Tuesday, 9/21/21

by Ed Meyer

posted on September 22, 2021 in Blogroll, Free Picks and Tips, Handicapping, Horse Racing, WinningPonies.com | Comments Off on Belterra Park – Free Selections -Tuesday, 9/21/21

The weather forecast calls for a chance of showers on both days and the temperatures are going to be dropping by mid-week. We’ll take a good look at the card and start getting a jump on our bankroll building for the weekend. – What are we waiting for? It’s almost post-time!

 

Belterra Park

 

Race #1

#1 – Northern Journey = Second time off the layoff shipping in from Cleveland. She is 4/4 ITM over the BtP course and drops in class with the 6th all-time leading rider in history, Perry Ouzts. Trainer Robert Gorham wins 31% with first-time claimers from his barn.

 

Race #2

#3 – Princess Celeste = Trainer Stephen Lyster is winning 38% for the meet and has the services of John McKee seeking her third straight win coming off a 54-day layoff. If this race comes off the turf she will be tough to handle.

 

Race#3

#1 – Brodytheoxman = The rail post is winning 21% and this son of Oxbow takes a drop-in class. Go back five races, and you’ll see Gabriel Lagunes had three straight wins aboard this runner.

 

Race#4

#3 – Sacred Storm = Trainer Ralph Martinez switches over to John McKee and has run on the synthetic and deep Fanduel course. Runners coming off Fanduel do very well at Belterra and come off a deep track relishing the new change of scenery.

 

Race #5

#5 – Fior Di Latte = Speedy filly who just broke her maiden on a race that came off the turf. Eddie Dominguez is in the saddle and the comment lines in the past performances say “won by tons the best.”

 

Race#6

#6 – Queen’s Gift = Drops in class after shipping in from Fanduel. John McKee has the call for Ralph Martinez who is winning at 67% for the meet. I’m still a big fan of the deep course to Belterra is a plus, and switching to a high percentage rider McKee makes her attractive.

 

Race#7

#2 – Big Al’s Express = Beaten favorite last out and is 4/6 ITM over the course for Richard Estvanko. Eddie Dominguez stays aboard and looks to seal the deal today. Cuts back 1/2 f back to 6 panels.

 

Race #8

#8 – Mutual Confidence = First-time starter by Sky Kingdom for Cirilio Gorostieta. Luis Batista has the call and comes in for a trainer who is winning 32% for the meet. The price is right and could easily win at first asking.

Belterra Park – Free Selections – Weds, 9/15/2021

by Ed Meyer

posted on September 13, 2021 in Blogroll, Free Picks and Tips, Handicapping, Horse Racing, WinningPonies.com | Comments Off on Belterra Park – Free Selections – Weds, 9/15/2021

As of now, there is a 70% chance of thunderstorms this day. – I’ve always loved the different track conditions and how they affect the running when the conditions change. Just sit back and fear not. If it rains, let it pour! – We’ll be ready with some good selections to make it feel like a sunny day.

 

Belterra Park

 

Race#1

#5 – Raggedy Annie = 2nd time off the shelf and 1/1 at Belterra Park; Trainer Chris Hartman is 2/2 for the meet and knows how to spot play his runners. Perry Ouzts in the saddle is a plus and she’s 4/6 ITM on the off-going if the skies open up.

 

Race #2

#6 – Maxi Moon = Fresh off the claim for James Watkins and high % rider John McKee steps for the mount. This son of Malibu Moon goes from a route to a sprint and McKee will not let them get too far away as he’s an excellent reinsman and a judge of pace.

 

Race #3

#2 – Big Truck = Hails from the Larry Smith barn and has his go-to-rider, Perry Ouzts, in the saddle. – He exits the $75k Horizon Stakes as beaten chalk and should welcome the drop-down in class today.

 

Race #4

#6 – Twirling Ruth = She is 1/1 ITM at Belterra Park and goes postward for Mark Thomas. John McKee in the irons and he fits her like a glove.

 

Race#5

#5 – Plonder = Ships in from Cleveland for Norman Cash with Gabriel Lagunes in the saddle and drops down in class for a trainer who wins 21% with dirt runners.

 

Race#6

#5 – Honky Tonk Music = Gets first time Lasix and drops down in class from maiden Special weight for trainer Ethan West. Rider switches to the apprentice Isaais Ayala in the driver’s seat.

 

Race#7

#6 – Letgoandgetthedo = Eric Reed trainee and takes a big class drop and they win 30% dropping down two classes. Gabriel Lagunes in the irons they win 23% as a team.

 

Race #8

#1 – K W Captian Hook = Larry Smith trainee with Perry Ouzts and they win 38% as a team. – He’s been knocking on the door and today looks to answer drawing the rail post.

 

 

 

Free Selections – Belterra Park – Tuesday, 9/14/21

by Ed Meyer

posted on September 13, 2021 in Blogroll, Free Picks and Tips, Handicapping, Horse Racing, WinningPonies.com | Comments Off on Free Selections – Belterra Park – Tuesday, 9/14/21

As we round the far turn in the 2021 season, the finish line is now coming into sight. – It just seems like yesterday we just started, and now the drive to the wire is upon us. Enjoy the final weeks as we’ll be ready to move on to the next meet before you know it.

 

Belterra Park

 

Race #1

#1a – Aujara = Hails from the barn of Cirilio Gorostieta and she has plenty of speed. This is her first effort on the grass and the barn wins 14% on this move. She is a sprinter going to a mile, and rider Eddie Dominguez wins 16% going long.

 

 

Race #2

#6 – Trust In Me = Is a late runner with Eddie Dominguez in the saddle for Fernando Silva. She made a sweeping move around the far turn last out and scored at this level.

 

 

Race #3

#2 – King of Truth = David Flores is named to ride for Wesley Ward, and he showed good early speed last out. He can improve off the last effort and the barn is winning at a 62% clip shipping in. Add in he was a beaten favorite last out and this may be a free spot in multi-race wagers.

 

Race #4

#8 – Laura’s Angle = She comes to post for trainer Norman Cash who is winning at 43% for the meet. John McKee and he have teamed up for a perfect three-for-three taking the track. Decent turf breeding on the dam side makes this a dangerous runner to overlook with the red-hot McKee in the irons.

 

Race #5

#4 – Super Steamy = Luis Batista has the call for Jesus Esquivel and the race is laden with tons of speed. She is a stalker who will lay just off the pace and pounce when given the cue. She goes from a sprint to a mile and can duplicate her last winning effort.

 

Race #6

#5- Overbore = Wesley Ward trainee with David Flores named for the mount. 2nd off the layoff and adds Lasix today shipping in from Saratoga dropping down the class ladder from stakes company.

 

Race#7

#3 – Frontier Dynasty = She’s been knocking on the door since shipping in from Ellis Park and switches over to Gabriel Lagunes who is winning at a 31% clip.

 

Race#8

#6 – Highland Park Hero = Hails from the Edwin Vizcarrondo barn and they are scoring at a 28% win clip and win 36% first time off the claim. The past two weeks the barn is 12 for 19 ITM over the track and ships in from Cleveland.

Free Selections – Belterra Park – Weds, 9/8/21

by Ed Meyer

posted on September 6, 2021 in Blogroll, Free Picks and Tips, Handicapping, Horse Racing, WinningPonies.com | Comments Off on Free Selections – Belterra Park – Weds, 9/8/21

As the cool winds of fall start breezing in off the mighty Ohio River. Summer is closing the curtains on another great season. We will be running live Tuesday – Friday all the way until October 9th. The weather report calls for a perfect forecast and should be an incredible week of live-action!

 

Belterra Park

 

Race #1
#6 – Jammin Cameron = Speedy son of Oxbow coming in from Fanduel (Fairmount Park) where the tracks are similar in composition- John McKee for Ralph Martinez is a good tandem.
Race #2
#3 – Comeseeaboutit = Fresh off the claim for Larry Smith and his go-to-rider Perry Ouzts in the saddle. He is 5/5 ITM over the course.
Race #3
#2 – Tantrum = Exists the $100k Cleveland Kindergarten and gets 2nd time Lasix today – They are coming off a bullet work with Agustin Bracho in the saddle.
Race #4
#5 – Naughty Nellie = She’s been a bridesmaid the last two efforts and a beaten favorite – Sonny Leon is fresh back from riding at Saratoga and can turn the table to graduate today.
Race #5
#5 – Mighty Angel = John McKee in the saddle for Ron Kahles – They are winning 30% as a team and exit off a strong win last out – He is 3/4 ITM at BtP.
Race #6
#7 – Lemonade Stand = Drops down in class off a beaten favorite effort last out – Adds blinkers today and switches to Agustin Bracho
Race #7
#5 – Aujara = Hails from the Cirilo Gorostieta barn with Agustin Gomez who is winning 31% at the meet – Eligible to improve making a 2nd lifetime start.
Race #8
#6 – Enchanted Nile = Speedy daughter of Pioneer of the Nile with Sonny Leon for Eric Reed – She was a beaten favorite last out and Reed wins 24% coming right back to

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Free Selections – Belterra Park – Tuesday, 9/7/21

by Ed Meyer

posted on September 6, 2021 in Blogroll, Free Picks and Tips, Handicapping, Horse Racing, WinningPonies.com | Comments Off on Free Selections – Belterra Park – Tuesday, 9/7/21

As the cool winds of fall start breezing in off the mighty Ohio River. Summer is closing the curtains on another great season. We will be running live Tuesday – Friday all the way until October 9th. The weather report calls for a perfect forecast and should be an incredible week of live action!

 

Race #1
#5 – Ronni’s Storm = Speedy gelding who is 3/6 ITM at Belterra and switches riders to red-hot Sonny Leon who returns to Ohio after riding at Saratoga. He was a beaten favorite last out and the barn comes back to score at a 27% win clip looking for payback.
Race #2
#4 – Love Nest = Fresh off the claim for Norma Cash who is winning 38% at the meet. – He is looking to make it four-in-a-row and win 33% coming off the last race win heading back to the winner’s circle.
Race #3
#2 – Pioneer’s Candy = Drops in class for trainer Cipriano Contreras who is winning 24% for the meet. – Dropping to this level with Luis Batista in the irons makes him pretty attractive at the windows.
Race #4
#2 – Miss Eliana = 2nd start of 2021 attracting the services of Sonny Leon – She is 3/6 ITM over the track and should improve 2nd time off the layoff.
Race #5
#8 – Familiar Ways = George Woolf winner and Mike Venezia award-winning rider DeShawn Parker in the irons for Wesley Ward who is winning 58% for the meet and 30% with first-time starters. Good connections will get you to the winner’s circle more times than not.
Race #6
#3 – Johnny C = is 2/3 ITM at the oval and takes a huge drop in class from the $75k Horizon Stakes. – Switches to high % Luan Machado in the saddle who is scoring at a 27% clip.
Race #7
#7 – Offtheroadagain = First-time starter by Bal a Bali (BRZ) and trainer Gorostieta is winning at a 33% win clip – Luis Batista has the call and is worth a shot first time to the races. – Keep your eye on this sire as good things may come his way over time.
Race #8
#1 – Trickazar = Draws the rail which is winning at 23% and drops down in class today. –  Ships in from CD and is 5/6 ITM at Belterra.

The End of Summer

by Ed Meyer

posted on September 6, 2021 in General Discussion, Handicapping, Horse Racing, WinningPonies.com | Comments Off on The End of Summer

As the cooler winds replace the blistering heat we complained about for weeks; it only signals one thing. Summer is coming to a close. Yeah, I can feel the cool breeze starting to rustle the leaves gently as we prepare to move on to our next chapter of the year.”

 

Labor Day has always been the line of demarcation between hitting the beach and starting to dig out your hoodies. – We waited with bated breath as the year prior held so many questions only to see fans back in the stands and a sense of normalcy return. But, not too hasty my friends. If we want to continue our lifestyle we must remain vigilant and take precautions. It’s a small price to pay to enjoy what we love.

As a kid, Labor Day was the final day to work in the parking lot and expected a huge crowd for the Cradle Stakes at River Downs. Ready to move onto the next chapter, but still had one more busy day to enjoy as the sun glistening on our shoulders. Oh, what great times these were. We’ll be eternally young in my mind’s eye.

As time breezed through our days, we made our way over to Turfway Park for one of the best months of racing on the calendar with  September and the Kentucky Cup Day of Champions. – To this day, this was one of my favorite months of the year to wager and watch on some of the best runners in the country converging on your backyard oval preparing for what lay ahead.

Then came the 15-day month of Keenland. A boutique meet that never disappoints. – As I walked through the hallowed grandstand there were a thousand memories that will last a lifetime. – Breeders’ Cup was an invention of leaders of the sport to celebrate the equine on the biggest stage in the world. – From watching the first from my dad’s living room betting with a local bookie to making treks to Churchill, Keeneland, and Santa Anita to watch the best in the world do battle. The winds of fall brought some of the best racing the year would see and from the eyes of a younger man filled with excitement to the mature gent that looks forward to making the trek a time or two a year. These were some of the best times of my life.

This year, I’m going to make a few trips to Lexington. I’ll watch “racing as it was meant to be” with the sounds of echoing hoofbeats from a time gone by. – I relish the fall like a fine cigar. Toasted end, and swirling the Maker’s Mark stogie in my mouth tasting all of what Kentucky has to offer in one gift. – I’m not sad, but this time of year brings back memories of friends to enjoy and others who have become part of the historical tapestry of time.

But, with a little over a month left for live racing at Belterra Park. I’ll take the time and savor the moments. Another summer in the books doing what I love. – I’ll treat it as a fine cigar enjoying every draw until it is time to lay down the butt and move on to the next chapter. Thank you for a beautiful summer, and the travels of many who made the time joyous. Best of luck, and only a handful of days to join us for live racing action. – “What are ya waiting for? It’s almost post time.

 

 

Free Selections – Belterra Park – Wednesday, 9/1/21

by Ed Meyer

posted on August 30, 2021 in Blogroll, Free Picks and Tips, Handicapping, Horse Racing, WinningPonies.com | Comments Off on Free Selections – Belterra Park – Wednesday, 9/1/21

We are entering the final six weeks of live racing action at Belterra Park. – Smaller tracks can offer good value for players willing to pick their spots and jump in when the gettin’ is good. -With that in mind, let’s make a plan to start building our bankroll now as fall racing and the Breeder’s Cup will be here soon!

 

Belterra Park

A chance of some rain, and being close to the Ohio River it seems like a summer storm can pop up at any time.

 

Race #1
 
#1 – Gate Speed = The rail is winning 22% and he sports plenty of early foot – Switching rider to Frank Reyes may be a good angle – He has been a beaten favorite the last two efforts at Belterra Park and the rider change may give a little more help to the cause.
 
Race #2
 
 
#7 – Channel Stuffer = Was a beaten chalk for Eduardo Caramori winning 29% at the meet – They score a 42% win clip coming back for payback – Luan Machado is riding very well winning 27% at the oval.
Race #3
 
 
#5 – Carly’s Flight = Comes back to face Ohio company and takes a little drop-in class. – Rolando Aragon is in the saddle for Michael Evans II and they are getting their picture taken 23% as a team. – Aragon is doing well this meet and the runner is 6/15 ITM over the course.
Race #4
 
 
#5 – No Obligation = 3rd off the layoff for Edwin Vizcarrondo who is winning 25% for the meet and 43% making the 3rd off effort – Fresh off the claim and the barn scores 28% with new runners.
 
Race #5
 
 
#7 – Strawberry Lane = Two-year-old daughter of Street Sense for Eoin Harty and Rocco Bowen in town to ride. – Bowen is a solid reinsman and this gal has been working on the Arlington synthetic legging up to make the transiting back to dirt. – The rider/trainer team up to win 29% as a team.
Race #6
 
 
#2 – Polo Player = Drops in class today and the barn wins 35% off a beaten favorite angle last out – Sonny Leon in the saddle for the injured Santiago Gonzalez – They should be tough to beat down the lane today.
Race #7
 
 
#8 – Come See About It = Fresh off the claim for new trainer Larry Smith who wins 17% with new runners and 25% coming off a beaten favorite angle – He is 5/5 ITM at Belterra Park.
 
Race #8
 
 
#7 – Egalite = Daughter of Constitution making her 2nd start in over six months – Trainer Caramori is winning 29%, and should improve with a second effort back to the races. – With the early speed in here Luan Machado should come calling around the far turn.

Free Selections – Belterra Park – Tuesday, 8/31/21

by Ed Meyer

posted on August 30, 2021 in Blogroll, Free Picks and Tips, Handicapping, Horse Racing, WinningPonies.com | Comments Off on Free Selections – Belterra Park – Tuesday, 8/31/21

We are entering the final six weeks of live racing action at Belterra Park. – Smaller tracks can offer good value for players willing to pick their spots and jump in when the gettin’ is good. With that in mind, let’s make a plan to start building our bankroll now as fall racing and the Breeders’ Cup will be here soon!

As it’s raining here on Monday in Northern Kentucky just miles away from Belterra Park. Rains throughout the day, and an 80% chance of storms tomorrow. Sounds like turf racing can be in jeopardy.

 

Belterra Park

 

Race #1
#3 – Familiar Ways = 1st-time starter for Wesley Ward and with debut maiden claimers they score 34%. – Chris Landeros in the irons.
Race #2
#1 – Pipa Pan = Hails from the Paulo Lobo barn where he’s winning 36% and exits off a win over a sealed muddy track.
Race #3
#2 – Futile = Late runner from the Daniel Sanner barn shipping in from Presque Isle over the synthetic surface – Sonny Leon in the irons wins 18% with sprinters.
Race #4
#9 – Madam Pie = Goes to post for Thomas Drury with John McKee in the saddle. – Ships in from CD and drops down the class ladder. – Dropping down two class levels yields a 60% win clip for the barn.
Race #5
#5 – Skyswept = Speedy son of Sky Mesa for Mark Thomas and Sonny Leon -I’m expecting rain according to the weather report and he is 2/3 ITM on soft tracks.- If he’s on top rounding the far turn could be dangerous down the lane.
Race #6
#2 – Santa Elena = Two-year-old son of Uncle Mo. – Wesley Ward the trainer winning 56% at the meet- Ships in from CD and takes a plunge down in class.
Race# 7
#3 – Admaa = Eric Reed trainee with John McKee in the saddle. – Team Reed is winning 21% for the meet and comes off a beaten favorite trip running 2nd at Mountaineer. – She cuts back in distance and should be just off the leaders waiting to pounce.
Race #8
#7 – Volubile = Late runner shipping in from Ellis Park and can improve making the 2nd off the layoff move. – Thomas Drury is the conditioner and he wins 29% 2nd time off the layoff. – Drury / McKee are winning 42% as a team.

 

 

 

My First Love is Still Going Strong

by Ed Meyer

posted on August 25, 2021 in Blogroll, General Discussion, Handicapping, Horse Racing, WinningPonies.com | Comments Off on My First Love is Still Going Strong

Built for comfort, built for speed“. – That’s what a real horse has under its hood. We look at the beauty and pageantry only one sport can offer. To gaze at a majestic 1,000 lb animal dance lightly with the power of a freight train. –  “Lord have mercy won’t you look at her run.” 

 

I was a kid from a small town with more churches and bars than anything. –  Every holiday from the spring to the fall was a big day at the races. We’d watch the parade; finish up with a little league game, or just head on over. When my dad would go to the races without me; let’s just say I was pissed. – Most kids wanted to play wiffle ball all day, and I did my fair share of doing that all day long. But, when he was heading over for the final few races, a young boy turned into a man wanting to be around the ponies. That’s where my heart was located.

I was playing in a high school football game and we were winning big. They let the clock run to get the game over quicker. – I caught the watch of a ref and saw it was only 8:15 pm. Now, most young men would have been thinking of where they were going after the game. Me, I was thinking if I trimmed back some shower time and left my ankle wrap on, I could make it out for the last three races at Latonia Race Course. And, yes, I sure did…

When I started working in the parking lot to every job I’ve held at the track since. I’ve never regretted a day. I won’t be rich, but the memories I’ve had will last three lifetimes. How many can really say they are still with their first love after all these years?

As I’m getting older, I see the faces starting to dwindle. But, as old faces fade into the racing sunset there are new players walking in the door. – It’s our job to share the love. Think of it as passing the torch, and allowing the game to flourish on new levels. – I’m not about to sit and tell you the game isn’t fading a bit in the face of rapid-fire slot machines with non-stop brain freeze action. But, to this day I’ve never seen a crowd of people stand and scream at the top of their lungs as the reels come to a stop. – That’s only a feeling you’ll get when you have a good bet on your best play and they thunder to the wire. Not much compares..

First dates were usually at the harness races in Lebanon, Ohio. If it was late fall or winter, we would enjoy a beer or two watching the ponies at Latonia. – I figured if you liked a night at the races, I could have found the right partner for me. – I didn’t but had more fun than the law allowed.

As I make my way up to the “crows nest.” – There’s a feeling I had long ago when my dad’s old white truck would pull into the parking lot.  I get to spend the day doing what I love; a job I would have only dreamt about years ago. – I wipe off my binoculars, set up my program, my favorite music plays in the background as the day approaches. As the horses walk up the stretch to the paddock, there are very few jobs that bring as much excitement. – As I gaze at the rolling hills of Kentucky overlooking the mighty Ohio River, the full color of the season surrounds the track. – There will be some that make more money and own fancy cars, but how many have this feeling every time they walk in the door? Yeah, I’m still in love more than ever after all these years.