Sunday, September 21, 2008

And so it begins....

For me, it began at a cheap claimers track. My family for years now has gone to Fort Erie Race Track on Mother's and Father's day each year. In between the delicious prime rib on Mother's Day, or the Hot Dogs on Father's Day, we'd bet the horses. We'd start in the paddock and then make our way to the betting windows, armed with show bets based on nothing but a feeling.

It was Barbaro that brought me back. It was what Barbaro represented, both during his courageous Derby win, but also during his long recovery. His grace and the champions glint in his eye that he never lost inspired me. When Barbaro died, I cried like a baby. To this day I can't watch a show about Barbaro without crying. He touched something deep inside me and I can't get past it.

I immersed myself after that. I approached, the horses, the history, like a college level course that I was determined to master.

Where has it led me? At 42 years old I have a passionate reverence for the sport and the animals and people that make it so special. I also have an evolving skill level at handicapping. It's a style that is a mixture of the teachings of Andy Beyer, Brad Free, Steve Crist and numerous others. It's based simply on eliminating the horses that have no chance of finishing in the money, establishing my own chalk, and identifying the over and underlays. It sounds simple, but you educated horse-folks know that nothing will make you look more foolish more quickly then a horse on a track.

Which brings me to this blog. I'm going to talk horses, that's obvious. I get excited talking about the horses at the top of their divisions. I get excited talking about the greats. My office has become a horse racing shrine. I have all eleven Triple Crown Winners on one wall and some personal favorites on another. There's Ruffian, regal and elegant. There's Curlin, Street Sense, and Rags to Riches, as well as Winning Colors crossing the finish line. On a shelf is Seabiscuit, coming down the stretch against War Admiral, and then Barbaro, as he will always be remembered, proud and unbeatable. I'm going to talk about upcoming races. I'm going to handicap. I handicap four races per week, and I make small bets, but it's not really about the money (not that there is anything wrong with cashing good tickets).

I hope to be a light to other horse racing fans. I've enjoyed many of the blogs I found at the Thoroughbred Bloggers Alliance. I thought about asking to join, but for now I'm just going to write and see who comes.

The blog wouldn't be complete without input from my handicapping right hand man. The little Turk is my 8 1/2 year old with an eye for horse flesh and a icy cold handicapping mind. He picked Street Sense in the Derby and he never stops amazing me with how quickly he picks the inevitable winners. I'll put his picks against mine for entertainment value.

Thanks for reading. Never hesitate to write.

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