Aug 10 2015

Attacking The Spa With Negative Stats

By Guest Author: Jim Mazur

Back in the good old days when I first started playing the horses (’72), this used to be an easy game to wager on. After handicapping the race, one simply went to the window and bet the selection to win, place or show. If a player really wanted to get exotic, then he or she could tie up two selections in a daily double.

Easy game. Can of corn. Now fast forward 43 years. The wagering menu has grown leaps and bounds both vertically and horizontally. From a vertical standpoint, there are now exactas, trifectas, superfectas and super5s. Horizontally, the game has evolved first into the Pick 3 and then wider into sequences demanding winners in 4, 5 6 and sometimes 9 consecutive races.


Aug 4 2015

Dime A Day – Fun Tournament for Saratoga and Del Mar

Dime A Day

On there is a tournament called Dime-a-Day. It is offered for two race tracks (Del Mar and Saratoga) during the summer months. There is no registration fee, but you have to register and be a member of Xpressbet.  After registration, you make “live” wagers of $10 per day on a single Win, Place, or Show bet. Live meaning the money you are betting is real money from your account, not mythical money as in some tournaments. Of course that also means that if your bet wins, you get the money added to your account regardless of what happens in the tournament.

The format is fairly simple. Each racing day you place a single contest wager of $10 to Win, Place, or Show on a any horse in any race. At the end of the day Xpressbet awards $1,000 in prize money to the person(s) who won the most money with their $10 wager. In the event of a tie, the prize money is evenly distributed to the winning players for each position.  The top three payoffs for daily prizes is the following:

Position Daily Prize Money
1st $700
2nd $200
3rd $100

At the end of the season additional prize money is distributed to competitors with the most cumulative contest earnings over the course of the entire season.  The top three seasonal prizes are:

Position Season Prize Money
1st $6,000
2nd $3,000
3rd $1,000

I have played in this tournament the past three years at Saratoga, and have shared in the prize money multiple times.  Even if I didn’t, I still would have enjoyed the experience. Read More >>

Jul 30 2015

Heading to Saratoga – Must See and Do’s

Welcome to Saratoga

By Guest Author: Nancy Meyers

Part 1 of this series gave some tips on things to think about when selecting a location to stay in Saratoga. Click here to read that article.

So now you have a place to stay and know that you are going to be spending most days at the track.  That leaves a little time to sample a lot of what makes Saratoga special especially if you complete your handicapping the night before or wait until arriving on track.

Excluding the dining and bar scene, (which will be covered in a later post), here are the various things that can make your stay extra special:


Jul 23 2015

Heading to Saratoga – Where to Stay?

Welcome to Saratoga

By Guest Author: Nancy Meyers

Let me begin by stating that  a lot of websites can better describe the history of Saratoga, the race track, parks and tourist options  than I can in this blog.  A quick Google search can probably provide excess information in that regard. But once you’ve decided to take the plunge and travel to Saratoga, one of the most critical decisions has to be selection of accommodations.

Saratoga Springs has multiple housing options from “Mom & Pop” motels, chain hotels, B&B’s, one room efficiencies, condos, and house rentals.  If you stay on or near the main thoroughfare, Broadway, realize that a walk from downtown  Saratoga Springs to the track is a solid 20 minutes.  On a humid, salty day in August, the walk at midday or at the end of a day at the track can be a bit taxing and even result in a race through a thunderstorm – something we have experienced from time to time. Depending on the relative fitness of you and your guests and all that you want to take to the track, you may find yourself driving and parking near the track anyway.


Jul 14 2015

Saratoga and Personal Update July 2015


Saratoga is just around the corner, 10 days away. That means it’s time to change the photo on our homepage to be the starting gate for Saratoga race course. Like all horse racing fans who live in upstate New York, I feel this is the “most wonderful time of the year.”

Unfortunately for me, I might have to enjoy it from a distance this year. For those of you who have been following the website recently, you know that I had medical problems early in the year, which were resolved with surgery in May. However, after recovering from those issues, I had a serious back injury that I am still dealing with to this day. With that said, there is some hope. Tomorrow I am going in for a series of injections in my back that hopefully will relieve some of the severe pain in my facet joints, and allow me to return to physical therapy, where I am trying to regain the strength I lost from the prior surgery.

OK, so enough of the bad news. Here is the good news, I have the good fortune of several friends, family members, and people I have met through this website that are going to help me produce material throughout the course of the Saratoga meet. In fact, it will be very interesting to present some material that I probably would not have written due to my own ignorance of the subject matter.  For example, in a survey I did last year there were several requests from readers wanting to learn more about the housing options when visiting Saratoga. Since I’ve lived in this area my entire life, I really had no expertise in providing this information. So, our first contributing author is going to provide an article about housing options in Saratoga.

Following this first article, she will write about sights to see and things to do beyond the race track. Also in a third installment, she will discuss important information for people who are relatively new visitors to Saratoga racetrack. I truly feel these will be a valuable series of articles for people who are not from this area and can use some guidance on what to do when they arrive here for the first, second, third, or tenth time.

In addition to these articles, we will have traditional racing information for our experienced fans, with the help of some experts in the field. And hopefully as my condition improves, I will be able to resume producing the type of material I have been doing for the past two years. And with any luck, I’ll make it to the races for the latter half of the meet. If you happen to see me in the paddock with one of my Getting Out of the Gate T-shirts, feel free to say hello, but hold off on any pats on the back!

Neal Headshot2
By Neal Benoit

Jul 7 2015

The Difference Between a Spectator and a Fan

Old Proverb:

“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

Translation into Horse Racing:

“Give a man your picks and you have a spectator for a day. Teach a man to handicap, and you have a fan for a lifetime.”

This has always been my philosophy when introducing horse racing to my family and friends. And it all started with my wife more than thirty years ago. But, let me first confess … it began for selfish reasons.

Jul 1 2015

Emerald Downs – A Fun Night Out

Emerald Downs Gate

Exactly one year ago, on our way to an Alaskan cruise vacation, we decided to spend a couple extra days in the Seattle area so we could visit Emerald Downs Racetrack.  We were lucky enough to have timed our visit so we were there for their annual “Fireworks Spectacular” celebrating the July 4th holiday. Having never been to Emerald Downs, we did not know what to expect.

To put things in perspective, my hometown racing venue is Saratoga, a mecca of horse racing, where the purse for one Maiden race exceeds the sum total of the purses for all nine races ($61,475) at Emerald Downs the day we attended.  The “feature” race was an $18,000 Claiming race with a purse of $14,800.  But we learned there is more to the “quality of racing” than the claiming tag or the so called value of a horse.  There is also the “quality of the racing experience.”


Jun 26 2015

Thank You Bandit – A Story Of Animal Love

Bandit Curled Up


Warning: This is not a story about horses. It is a personal story about an animal, a pet of mine – that I decided to share with the animal lovers that follow our website.

I have been an animal lover my entire life, especially cats and dogs. I’ve had everything from Siamese cats to Saint Bernards (two at one time, in a mobile home). This story is about my latest, a beautiful white and black cat named Bandit. The photos make it fairly obvious how he got his name. Like many of my pets we rescued him from an animal shelter as a kitten. At the time we had a beagle, named Oscar, who was the family dog for nearly all of our kid’s childhood.


Jun 24 2015

Follow A Horse – Full Tap (Returning June 24, 2015)

Full Tap

Full Tap Galloping

Updated: June 24, 2015

Last summer we featured Full Tap in an article about individual horses making their debut.  At the time she was a promising 2-year old in the barn of Christophe Clement. She made her debut at Saratoga on July 18, 2014 in a 51/2 furlong race on the dirt.  She finished 3rd that day behind a horse, The Lewis Dinner, who went on to win three races as a 2-year old, including two stakes races.

Full Tap has not raced since that day, 341 days ago.  She did not have any injuries, and the decision was made to just let her “grow up” in the words of Assistant Trainer, Thomas Brandebourger.  Thomas added, “She is doing great and looks stronger than last year. She had some fast works here at Saratoga without being hard on her, to keep her mentally on the right side.”

Full Tap is returning on Wednesday, June 24 in the 2nd race at Belmont Park, in a 6-furlong maiden race on the turf. Regarding the change of surface, Thomas explained “She showed us she was moving well on the turf (in workouts).” Her two official workouts on the turf were at Payson Park in April-May, and she has since put together four solid workouts over the training track at Saratoga.  Thomas ended by saying, “The filly is ready and we are expecting a very good performance from her on Wednesday.”

Race Result:

Full Tap lived up to her expectations and won by a comfortable 2 1/4 lengths, being “geared down in the final strides.”  Click here to see the complete race chart.  Here is a photo of Full Tap taken the day after her first career victory.

Full Tap After Maiden Win

Full Tap After Maiden Win


Jun 18 2015

Crossword or Jumble – Different Horseplaying Styles

Jumble Unfilled

JUMBLE PUZZLE (Solution Below)

If you check the puzzle section of the newspaper you’re likely to find these two types of puzzles.  Many horseplayers can be divided into these two broad categories.  One is not necessarily better than the other, but understanding the Pros and Cons of both might help you decide which one fits your style.

A crossword player isn’t finished until they’ve finished filling in all of the words in the puzzle.  A “crossword horseplayer” likes to evaluate all of the horses and angles before making his selections in a race. He sizes up every horse in categories of distance, class, pace, and form.  He looks at result charts and watches video replays.  Depending on the type of race he might sprinkle in some trainer statistics, age angles, jockey changes, etc.  This describes me, I’m a “crossword horseplayer.”