How You Been Doing?

by Ed Meyer

posted on May 29, 2021 in Blogroll, General Discussion, Handicapping, Horse Racing, WinningPonies.com | Comments Off on How You Been Doing?

Everyone loves a winner. Sometimes we have days that you can do nothing wrong, and others you couldn’t hit the side of a barn with a cow. – I know, we’ve all been there both ways. I’ve been using Winning Ponies since 2008, and overall my game has stepped up big time. How you been doing?

This past week I had a small bankroll and needed to build for Belmont day. – There’s never a time too late to get on board and let the Winning Ponies E-Z Win Forms do the hard work of getting your bankroll in top shape. Here are a few spot plays I used from this past week.

As I said, I was coming in short-stacked and found myself having more seconds than ever; until I downloaded the E-Z Win Forms and made a couple of plays. I wrote down all of my bets to keep track of how I was doing and working at the track gave me good access to the betting window. – My buddy loves to play the races and when I told him about the E-Z Win Forms, and he wanted to see how they do and followed my bets. We were just looking to make a few bucks and hopefully carry it over to next weekend. Here’s a glimpse of our wagers:

 

Belterra Park

 

Tuesday

Race#5 – The top selection was #3 Omi Ten. She was (5-2) on the morning line and was dropping in class shipping in from Indiana Grand. I liked the way she looked and made my first wager of $20 to win on the top selection. She drew off and paid $3.80 to win. When it comes to winners take whatever you can get.= $38.00 bankroll.

Race #6 – The top pick caught my eye on the track and was making her 2nd start of 2021. – She was dropping in class and 1/1 at Belterra. It was time to make my plunge as time was short and I had to make the best of my plays. – $38.00 to win and she returned $7.20!- I was off to the races with the day, as my buddy and I have a bankroll of $136.80. 

 

Wednesday

I was pretty busy working this day and had time for one play. – When you find yourself too busy to do the work, why rush and start guessing? It was time to take my initial $20 wager back out and take a shot. Why not? I have nothing to lose.

Race#4 – I liked an Oaklawn shipper dropping class and coming off a 47-day layoff according to the E-Z Win Forms. – We decided to make a solid bet but empty the wallet. Well, about two minutes later I wish I would have gone all-in. My $50 win bet scored as she paid $4.80. – My bankroll for the day was $120, and for the two days, it was $236.80 after taking out my initial investment. – Not too shabby, and my buddy was loving it. I think he’ll be a new user of the E-Z Win Forms.

Friday

It was The Best of Ohio series and had five Ohio-bred races worth $500,000. – We were really busy, and this rainy day did not dampen the spirits of the packed house crowd who showed up. – I knew one bet was for sure as we both loved an Ohio-bred we had cashed many tickets on over the years. – $100 to win on Altissimo coming off a 5-month layoff. This gelding has been the sprint champ in Ohio, and always looks great on the track. When he went head-to-head and got up nearing the wire. The week was going to be a great start heading into next week for the Belmont. – Being the top selection on the E-Z Win Forms sealed the deal and made the walk to the window very short.

$100 to win – He paid $12.80 winning a Best of Ohio race! – $640 bucks is my reward for following the advice of Winning Ponies, and we’re going to make some plays this Monday on Memorial Day. – The total score for the week was $876.80; we can’t wait for Monday. Great races and a day off sounds like a super way to spend some time with friends. It’s not too late to jump on board and get in the game. The holiday holds some great races and your shot to start your week for the Belmont. – What do you have to lose? “You can’t win it unless you get in it.”

Have a safe and Happy Memorial Day from Winning Ponies!

 

 

 

 

Hidden Treasure

by Ed Meyer

posted on May 25, 2021 in Blogroll, General Discussion, Handicapping, Horse Racing, WinningPonies.com | Comments Off on Hidden Treasure

We’re not going to Oak Island. – I’m talking about finding small payoffs that can lead to a positive R.O.I at the end of the day. – For many tracks, small fields have become the norm. We have to come to terms with this right now, and I think we’ll see a little difference in time. There’s not one mistake to blame, but with a little patience, you may start enjoying making 60 – 80% on your $2 wager.

We are living in the times of “take what you can get.” – I work with a gent who shoots the pan camera for the track. – He is always talking about not getting a better price until I showed him a little trick to enjoy the races and take what you can get at the windows.

He loves to bet $2 bucks to win and it’s more about handicapping than the big payoff. – I told him that even money isn’t bad in a small field when his horse looks the best. – After a few conversations, he agreed to try it for a week.

The first race came up and he saw a runner that was (4-5) and looked like a lock. Off he ventured to make his $2 wager. – He won and his horse romped by five going away. His $3.60 was his return for $2 bucks making an 80% profit for the win. He’s not going to buy a new yacht, but he’s having fun picking winners.

Then another race as the chalk won at $3.80, and another for $4.00.- I asked him to take his initial $2 bucks out and bet for his best bet for the card. – When he made a rounded bet of $4.00 to win, you would have thought he won the Irish sweepstakes! – His runner paid $4.80 and he had a whopping $9.60 profit from a $2 dollar initial investment. – Now, use $20 as your wager. Using the same numbers as he did doing the exact same idea. Your win would be $142 betting the obvious chalk. Not bad for enjoying a few races. You take out your initial investment after a few races and keep it rolling. Your last bet should be your best on the card and don’t go lower than (4-5) as an acceptable value.

The goal is to enjoy the races and hopefully come out a little ahead. – You can’t squabble with the game plan, and at the end of the day, you’ll start thinking about taking what you can get. – There will be bigger winning days with full fields soon. But, in the meantime take what they give you. I’m sure you’ll have an enjoyable day watching the ponies.

View From the Roof

by Ed Meyer

posted on May 25, 2021 in Blogroll, General Discussion, Horse Racing, WinningPonies.com | Comments Off on View From the Roof

It seemed like a hundred years ago. We were on lockdown and lodged in the house more than ever before. – If you were lucky enough to go to work, you had a little break and felt a sense of normalcy. But, at the end of the day, you headed back to your stall and longed for the world to return. Well, that time is here.

My work is a labor of love. I’m one of the lucky ones who get to do something I enjoy. – From the time I pull into the lot I’m content. I’m lucky enough to talk horses with jockeys, grooms, and fans getting the early-bird seat. Not a better way to start the day. – Just yesterday as the horses were working out on the track a rider was jogging his horse back and hollered; “Hey, Ed! – Great call on our horse yesterday!” He won by a mile easily. – Yeah, a good way to start the day.

I have the best seat in the house and watch over the entire day. Not from a perspective of judging, but enjoying the goings-on. I lock my binoculars on a group of fellas enjoying a cold beer in the sun. For quite a while I was pretty sure this was going to be a memory. – The jockey’s wife and young baby under at a table with an umbrella keeping the warm sun off the little one. – The older couple getting there early to secure that table close to the paddock and even closer to the betting windows. Enjoyable being the voyeur of happiness.

I watch the horses come up the stretch walking slowly to the paddock to be saddled. Some walking quick, and others just taking a walk in the sun. Talk about beauty and pageantry. – The riders coming out of the room decked out in full colors ready to join a 1,100 pound thoroughbred ready to take the track. – I enjoy watching young riders ride like the wind as they’re part daredevil and part high-wire walkers. When I can, I like to toss in their name down the lane when they have a horse in gear heading to the wire. They love hearing this, and I follow them a little later posting pictures on Facebook. Family from far away are able to follow their sons and daughters’ progress, and I spend time each evening after the races giving hearty congrats for their hard-worked efforts. This part has really grown on me. I look forward to hearing back from them enjoying a new friendship.

Lucky. – I’m lucky to do what I love. – I’m not the game, but just a spectator like you enjoying the sport from the best seat in the house. My booth is always open to anyone who wants to stop by and talk horses or catch a race from the best seat in the house. This part is my favorite. I like to share the ride and bring you as close to the action as possible. Think of it as a great roller coaster. It wouldn’t be any fun if you were the only one on board. It’s a whole lot more fun when you pack the room and let people enjoy the view right with you.

The fans are allowed to put away their masks with a few rules and being fully vaccinated. It’s great to see smiling faces in the sun enjoying the races. – I started to wonder if we’d ever enjoy this level of normalcy again. -It is starting slow and the feeling is coming back quickly. I love seeing a full house crowd playing the ponies. Having a cold beer in the warm summer sun sharing good conversation in between races. Nothing better.

As I have a couple of days off I wanted to share my birds-eye view with everyone. – It is absolutely beautiful. There are new players and some have fallen out of the routine of making the trek. Sure hope they come back soon. And for the friends who are no longer going to be sitting next to us handicapping. You are remembered and missed. You’ll be there in spirit and thanks for spending time with us enjoying a sport we all love. – See you at the races!

 

 

 

Who Really Lost ?

by Ed Meyer

posted on May 9, 2021 in Blogroll, General Discussion, Horse Racing, Kentucky Derby, WinningPonies.com | Comments Off on Who Really Lost ?

Who is the big loser?- Is it the multi-billionaire backers of the game? Or, is it the trainer who just set the record for wins in the Kentucky Derby? Nope, it’s John Q bettor on the races. – This is a story about the real folks who got taken for a ride.

Bob Baffert has been an icon for as long as I can remember. – The energy and enthusiasm he brought to the game was infectious. Every time I would catch a Baffert runner at a track within driving distance I used to make the trek to watch him and his entourage.

Fast forward to here and now. – Drug infractions, court hearings fighting over purses. – Did anyone hear about the many bettors who lost on this day?- I’m not a veterinarian, but if you have something in your system you shouldn’t, it’s an infraction. – It is all over the board on Social Media. “Baffert said he was “shocked” after the horse tested above the limit for betamethasone and insisted he had never administered the substance. “I got the biggest gut punch in racing for something I didn’t do,” he said; according to BBC Sport.

But on Sunday, he told reporters that Medina Spirit had tested positive for 21 picograms of the anti-inflammatory drug betamethasone, above Kentucky racing’s threshold of ten picograms per milliliter. It’s such an injustice to the horse. I don’t feel embarrassed, I feel like I was robbed,” said the California-based trainer. But I’m going to fight it tooth and nail because I owe it to the horse; I owe it to the owner and I owe it to our industry. There are problems in racing, but it’s not Bob Baffert. I don’t believe in conspiracy theories, but why is it happening to me?”

Baffert said Medina Spirit has not yet been officially disqualified from the Kentucky Derby, although that still could happen after other tests and processes are completed. “This shouldn’t have happened,” Baffert said. “There’s a problem somewhere. It didn’t come from us.

Churchill Downs has suspended Baffert from having entries for races.

If the findings are upheld, Medina Spirit’s results in the Kentucky Derby will be invalidated and Mandaloun will be declared winner,” it said in a statement. “Failure to comply with the rules and medication protocols jeopardizes the safety of the horses and jockeys, the integrity of our sport, and the reputation of the Kentucky Derby and all who participate. Churchill Downs will not tolerate it.”

The trainer last year pledged “to do better” after a number of positive tests were produced from his horses.

Last month he was successful in overturning a 15-day ban and disqualification of two of his horses – Gamine and Charlatan – after they returned samples containing the illicit race day medication lidocaine, which was attributed to cross-contamination from a pain-relief patch worn by the trainer’s assistant. Baffert received a $10,000 fine instead.

Now, he may be taken down, purse monies turned over to the real winner, and I’m sure a hefty fine will be levied. – But, what about the piles of tickets on every race track floor from Maine to California? – You get hosed. Can’t mail them in, and you don’t get to lodge an inquiry against not being paid. – “The positive drug tests keep piling up for Bob Baffert’s top horses. So do the explanations for them. The dog keeps eating the homework—an entire semester’s worth by now, with permanent damage to the digestive tract, according to SI.com.

While we watch from the cheap seats; the black eyes to racing are on par with a Mike Tyson barrage for the sport of kings. – Racing needs to be transparent and open. The bettors get taken again. – Give him a long time on the shelf and send a message to the others who may try to cut corners. – If the findings come out negative, it’s just another bullet he dodged. But my tickets got swept up and long gone. – Ladies and gentleman it is high time we realize the bettors are the ones who fund the game. Monies bet have a takeout that is divided between horsemen in the form of purses and the track to keep the lights on. If you start losing the belief of the gamblers we’ll be running for blue ribbons at the county fair. On May 4, 1968 Dancer’s Image won the 94th running of the Derby. He was disqualified for having an anti-inflammatory drug in his system. He had sore ankles and the trainer thought the drug would clear his system in time for the race. It didn’t, and he was DQ’ed. – The bettors lost on that race as well.

I love racing more than most, but I’m getting sick of this crap. – We support the game and take the punches when something goes wrong. “A drug DQ in the Derby may now be the breaking point—for fans, media, and thoroughbred owners who send him expensive horses;” according to SI.com.

 

 

Morning

by Ed Meyer

posted on May 7, 2021 in Blogroll, General Discussion, Horse Racing, WinningPonies.com | Comments Off on Morning

The rain was lightly falling. Mist and morning fog filled the air giving it a ghostly feel. Steam rose from the river a stone’s throw away as a barge slowly made its way up the banks of Ohio. As horses walked to the track for morning works, you could hear in the distance the sounds of preparation. Grooms leading runners over; some being bathed, and others just enjoying the beauty of the morning.

Far away the sound of a train whistle was heard. The tracks clicking and clacking, but miles away. – Far down the stretch was the distant sounds of hooves smacking away on a sloppy track. Riders chirping to their mounts in communication only the two shared.

The sounds came closer. Slapping hooves against the wet surface. Like a child dancing in a puddle. Closer. Until the mist seemed to open like curtains showing the silhouette of a horse. That distant whistle was screaming out a warning of its impending arrival. The river separated the train and the track by three miles, but the heavy fog meshed the sound together in a morning symphony.

As the horses came into view with every stride, the bellow of a train was getting closer. It was as if they were racing. Both sounds getting louder and melding together. – A wet clapping of speeding horses in the slop as a haunting train was clicking and clacking down the tracks. As the horse came into view it looked as if he was breathing fire as his hot breath turned to steam in the cool morning air. – The whistle was starting to sound farther away as the train was speeding away to its destination.

The horse held close to the rail as the rider continued to smooch and drive into a full stride. A lonesome whistle could be heard echoing down the river as the race was over. – The sound was faint as the morning fog was being erased by the sun rising over the lush hills of Kentucky. A sip from a hot cup of coffee; surveying the beauty of the morning brought a deep sense of calm. A serene feeling came over me. It was the start of another beautiful day.

Three Reminders Before Betting the Derby

by Ed Meyer

posted on April 26, 2021 in Blogroll, General Discussion, Handicapping, Horse Racing, Kentucky Derby, WinningPonies.com | Comments Off on Three Reminders Before Betting the Derby

The first Saturday in May is only just days away. Hard to believe after this past year, but good things are just ahead. – Before you hoist that first julep or head to the windows. Here are three reminders before pulling the trigger.

 

Churchill Downs

The 147th edition of the “Fastest Two Minutes in Sports” will take place on Saturday, May 1st.

 

Toss out any runner who has not run first or second in their last effort. – No more prep-time. The game is on and no more guessing. If they’re ready, they’ve been looking the part leading up to this day.

If you’re seeking value, you may have to toss the undefeated runner. -I know they look great and their record proves it. They may win, but they’ll do it without me. After all, how many times have they faced 19 other runners going 1 1/4?

Don’t fall in love with a quick workout. Some runners have that “morning glory” move and are all the talk Derby week. – If they’ve caught your eye prior to the race, this can be the final touch before they head to the gate. – If not, and they turn a quick blast in the morning out of the blue. Stick to your guns and let this go. If you look back on these fast final works. How many have given the performance of a lifetime on Derby Day?

 

At the time of this writing, I’m looking at pre-race pp’s and attempting to keep up on all of the last-minute details. So, unless there is a late defection, here are my top three selections right now.

 

Rock Your World

Hot Rod Charlie

Bourbonic

 

What Say You ?

by Ed Meyer

posted on April 21, 2021 in Blogroll, General Discussion, Horse Racing, Kentucky Derby, WinningPonies.com | Comments Off on What Say You ?

The Jim Beam Stakes at Turfway Park originated as a stepping stone that would “Spiral” up to the Derby. –  The race produced some good races, but in the ’80s and ’90s, there were some real runners. In the span of four years from 1990-1993 there were four classic winners. The local event was thought of as Northern Kentucky’s Derby beginning in 1972 from the vision of the late John Battaglia.

In 1988, there was a three-year-old son of Stalwart named Kingpost. The trainer was Diane Carpenter and the rider was local journeyman Eugene Sipus Jr. – Sipus was a solid reinsman and could heat up at any time. This was his biggest mount, and he rode like the wind winning the Spiral Stakes at Turfway Park. – As a young man watching this I was sure Gene was on his way to Louisville.

This is where the game gets tricky. – Do you ride the jockey that got you there, or do you jump to a more seasoned boot that has been there before? – Gene was bumped off and replaced by John Velasquez. – For years, it was known as the “Gene Sipus” treatment around my neck of the woods. Getting knocked down just when you were at your highest. Kingpost finished 14th from a 17 horse field in 1988.

Fast forward to 2021. – Rock Your World was 2 for 2 on the turf and trainer John Sadler made the decision to try the G-1 Santa Anita Derby. This son of Candy Ride romped home under a picture-perfect ride by Umberto Rispoli. – The same thing just happened jumping to Joel Rosario. – Hard to knock Rosario. Winning 19% on the year, and 52% ITM. Yeah, hard decision.

Umberto Ripoli is a super rider. Young, talented, patient, and most importantly humble. He is winning 20% on the year, and 51% ITM. If the race was held on turf he is even more dangerous at 26%. But, I digress.- Umberto is talented on the front end nursing the lead, or coming out of the clouds four wide. We’ll be hearing many good things from him in the future.

Rispoli was replaced and handled it with the utmost grace. He’ll have many more opportunities, but I’m talking about this year. If it were you, would you have replaced this up-and-coming rider, or stayed loyal after a beautiful ride to get you in the Derby? Tough call. Tough business.

Once upon a time, I saw Gene Sipus do the same humble acceptance speech. A good rider who delivered on the big day. He deserved a shot in Louisville. – Back to this year. I love Rock Your World, and from friends who work on the west coast, they have nothing but good things from what they’ve seen. – I think Rispoli deserved the chance. Rosario is great, but I think they added some extra karma weight to my horse. This could have launched Rispoli right into the stratosphere if the horse ran to form. But we’ll never know. Decisions made and details to follow.

 

Adjusting Your Sail to the Wind

by Ed Meyer

posted on April 18, 2021 in Blogroll, General Discussion, Handicapping, Horse Racing, WinningPonies.com | Comments Off on Adjusting Your Sail to the Wind

There is no mistaking. When you make errors that cost you the big score, it hangs on you like a cheap suit. But, you can take it off at any time. Many turn the page and move on, and others will punish themselves for the day. – Do you know anyone like this, or did it hit home close?

 

Dick would ponder and study the program. He was finally set on betting the #4, but when he came back he had a ticket on the #8.- Well, needless to say, we can all imagine the outcome. – Dick was a good handicapper but not focused. He would let a person sway his bet with a few words waiting his turn in the long line.

John liked to play speed. Blistering speed in a sprint or going 2 miles. Didn’t matter. – He cashed a few tickets here and there but left plenty of money on the table not looking at the race completely. He could find the speed every time, but when the bias tilted toward closers he was done.

Thom loved to chase the big pots. – Races where multi-race exotics would have swelled carry-overs. – But, he never played these wagers. If the carry-over was huge he became a pick-six player. Good handicapper, but was a money chaser that took him out of his game. – He could play his tried and true wagers and have great days. It was only when he tried to shoot the moon and take down a P-6 would he get mowed down.

 

The name of the game is cashing tickets and keeping your bankroll moving. “Stick to your knitting” and play the wagers you are most comfortable with. – If you don’t play supers, don’t start today. Use the wagers that you win with. It’s when you try to stretch out and get out of your comfort zone. – As we approach Derby weekend there will be a heap load of money in the pools. You’ll see more (7-2) shots go off at (9-2). Stick to the wagers that you use every day

 

Free Weekend Keeneland Power Plays – 4/17/2021

by Ed Meyer

posted on April 16, 2021 in Blogroll, Free Picks and Tips, Handicapping, Horse Racing, WinningPonies.com | Comments Off on Free Weekend Keeneland Power Plays – 4/17/2021

Nothing like trying to get that bankroll into tip-top shape before the Derby goes to post in 16 days! – Now, use these selections to whet your whistle for some red-hot Thoroughbred action.

Best of luck from Winning Ponies!

 

Keeneland

Race#2 – Alw $81,000 – 1 1/8 – 1:39 pm

#3 – Ashtar = This could be a “free spot” in your early p-4 wager. 2nd off the layoff for Todd Pletcher and the barn wins 21% off the layoff and was a beaten chalk last out where Pletcher comes back to score 27%. Joel Rosario (26%) for the meet in the saddle and add in a pair of bullet works to seal the deal.

Race#5 – Starter $50,000- 1 mile on turf – 3:18pm

#9 – News Break = is a son of American Pharoah for Mike Maker and Tyler Gaffalione. 3/3 ITM on the turf and made a big jump in class last out finishing 3rd. – He was claimed two races back and the barn comes back to score 22% two starts off the claim. He should be right on the pace and Tyler wins 20% of his early style runners.

Race#6 – Mdn Sp Wt – 6f – 3:51 pm

#4 – Derby Date = exits an eventful trip getting knocked around on the turf. -He cuts back in distance going from a route to a sprint where Jack Sisterson wins 18%. – Exits a key race where three runners have returned and two have won. 3rd off a layoff, less distance, and going turf-dirt looks to be more of a plan than just jumping into a race.

Race#7 – $83,000 Alw – 5 1/2f on the turf – 4:24pm

#2 – Brooke Marie = 2nd time out off a year layoff and was a beaten favorite last out. Jonathon Thomas trainee with red-hot Luis Saez in the saddle. This is the 2nd start from the Christophe Clement barn and sports a sharp work coming into the race.

Race#9 – G-2 Elkhorn – 1 1/2 on the turf – 5:30 pm

#10 – Red Knight = hails from the Bill Mott barn and coming off a four-month layoff. He is 2/2 at KEE ITM and is bred up and down to relish the turf. James Graham in the irons and he is 36% ITM on the turf. – Looks for a late run on the outside staying out of trouble at a distance where he is 4/5 ITM.

 

The Making of a Horseplayer

by Ed Meyer

posted on April 13, 2021 in Blogroll, General Discussion, Horse Racing, Kentucky Derby, WinningPonies.com | Comments Off on The Making of a Horseplayer

The first Saturday in May is a holy day for horseplayers. Nothing like it until the Breeders’ Cup comes along much later. Now we have multiple days to celebrate the equine. – I grew up in a small town. A mix between Mayberry and every town most of us grew up in. In my little town, there was an equal amount of churches and bars. I guess one offsets the other. I would awake early and hit the road with my dad for a day of action. Could there be a better day in all of the universe?

My neighbors, relatives, and many folks would turn their nose up at gambling; all contacted the old man to get down a bet on the Derby. After all, everyone’s a fan of this one day. – He would collect the small bets and take them up and get them down at a local VFW where men would take the bets. – Most of them probably saw the first race in 1875, but these old bookies could still perform magic.

I was about 11 years old and would tag along with dad. There was a radio that would have the dulcet tones of Paul Rogers calling the race with the excitement of being there. You could even smell the popcorn and mint juleps being sold in the stands. Nothing better.

They would interview celebrities and handicappers while you counted the minutes till the next race. – Eventually, that radio was retired to the basement where the bets were taken and a color TV would show three races prior to the Derby in real-time. Things could not get any better.

Dad used to let me make a bet or two, and as I got older he would limit my day to $20. My graduation to the upper level was a journey of learning along the way. – I liked to play closers as my dad loved pure speed. All-day long there were the cigar boxes filled with Derby runners for $5 per selection, bets are taken on carbon copy betting slips, and a steak dinner at the end of the day. – If you wanted to bet the Derby you had to make the trek to Louisville, fight the crowd, and pay big money for seats. That 110-mile drive may have been on the moon as far a young handicapper was concerned. Going down to the races was for the well-heeled and folks who wore seersucker suits.

This went on for years until high school. I would look forward to going, and as the years passed my level of play would graduate even higher. – Tracks were starting to make deals with Churchill for the race and eventually the entire card. – When the simulcast explosion happened you could bet every track from around the nation and beyond. Television got in on the game and offered incredible coverage for the entire day. – What a time to be a horseplayer.

I look back on my youth and trips with dad. I’ve been to Vegas more than you could count and played in every tournament around. But, I’d still like to have another crisp sunny first Saturday in May just one more time the old way. – My grandpa would sit close to the TV demanding total silence during the race. Watching my dad yell at the screen and when he won he would exclaim his battle cry of ” I love this game.” Yeah, the good old days were some of the best of times. If we won we’d hop in dad’s truck and make the drive to Lebanon harness racing for bottom-level claimers to cap off the day. I’ve seen the game change over the years. But one more time going back to that musty VFW would be a dream come true. Enjoy your trek to the Derby. There are only a handful of days until we hear “My Old Kentucky Home,” and the beauty and pageantry of the sport that will once again shine brightly.