Tag Archive | "Laurel Park"

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Not So Happy Thanksgiving as North East OTB is Closing

Posted on 27 November 2013 by Gary Quill

Not long after the 2013 Breeders’ Cup dust had settled at Santa Anita, over 2,700 miles away in North East, MD a bomb was dropped on the folks at North East Racing & Sports Club (NERSC), originally known as Poor Jimmy’s on Rt. 40 but more commonly referred to as an Off-Tracking Betting facility (OTB).

On Wednesday morning (Nov. 6th) the Human Resources “suits” from the Maryland Jockey Club (MJC) descended on Maryland’s only remaining OTB site. The visit was not to discuss strategy for the coming year, but to inform on-site General Manager Deborah Pro-Marshall that MJC would cease operations at NERSC effective close of business November 30, 2013.

Why? In a letter to NERSC employees, Tom Chuckas, MJC President and COO explained, “Declining wagering revenues and increased operating costs have created an unfortunate situation where NERSC can no longer be sustained financially.

That one sentence not only speaks the truth but could be written concerning every OTB across North America, if not worldwide. Blame technology. Better yet, blame Al Gore! After all HE DID invent the internet, didn’t he?! Wagering via many of the horse racing websites from the comfort of your own home or office has replaced having to drive to the local track or OTB.

NERSC interior

The first OTB (outside of Nevada) surfaced in New York City in 1970. In Maryland the first of six opened in 1995. In 2000, Poor Jimmy’s closed for renovations and reopened as NERSC . What was once thought of as a savior to make wagering on horse races more readily available to those residing too far from a race track, is now a dinosaur. Much like 8-track tapes, Polariod cameras, and VHS tapes, the greatest thing since sliced bread for horseplayers is now toast!

Even though closing an OTB facility makes good business sense, it’s a bitter pill to swallow for the dedicated NERSC employees and their loyal customers. The latter fits two (2) demographics… the first are retired gents who prefer wagering while socializing with friends instead of golfing, playing cards or “shooting the breeze” at the local watering hole or fast food establishment. The second are horseplayers who don’t know their way around a computer keyboard, so they rely on making their short-term investments via Pari-Mutuel Clerk window.

In both cases, they are all characters who jokingly harass one another about a bad selection (“I wouldn’t bet that horse with your money”) but conversely will cheer and give “props” when a fellow capper picks a winner at long odds.

A quartet of Steve, “Navy”, Eddie and “Snap” are regulars who occupy the first row facing one of the banks of TV screens. One patron referred to NERSC as his “Man Cave”.

With all the bad TV shows on these days, including a plethora of the “reality” type, network executives should have visited NERSC. On any given day or night just roll the cameras.

Start with grand entrances. Every day or night everyone knew when George, a flamboyant gentleman who has an affinity for jewelry arrived, as they’d hear his loud yet simple, personal greeting of “Hey ____, how’s it going?” to the first NERSC staff member he’d see.

There’s Bobby, a retiree famous for the line “I haven’t hit a race all week”, was so notorious for playing 7-10 Exactas, that whenever and wherever that combo would come in, someone always shouted, “Where’s Bobby?! You have that?!

There are dozens more who will forever live in my memory, but the most loyal of all NERSC customers has to have been Matt. A dead-ringer for Zach Galifianakis’ Hangover character, Matt would certainly be the star of this reality show. Thoroughbred or harness, North or South American races, Matt did them all in rapid fire succession. Without a doubt the most boisterous of all NERSC cliental, his voice could be heard throughout the entire facility, often changing who he’d root for in mid-stretch and the post-race commentary was often priceless. For example, “5-1-2?! That’s my brother’s birthday…” to suggest if we’d play the birthdays of all our close friends and relatives, we’d be filthy rich.

NERSC is a Comedy Club without the cover or drink minimum. As one Pari-Mutuel clerk stated with a smile while shaking his head, “You just cannot make this stuff up.

NERSC Closing sign

Sadly, after all OTB’s disappear, many of the race tracks will follow. Attendance and on-track handle continues to decrease while online wagering increases.

BOLD PREDICTION: By 2024, I envision many tracks as antiseptic venues without on-track wagering. No horseplayers, no vendors. Just horses, jockeys, trainers, starting gate personnel, race caller and track photographer… that’s it! All race wagering and watching will be performed online. The only race days to welcome fan on-track attendance will be Breeders’ Cup and the Triple Crown race venues.

It certainly appears to be the track (pun intend) that the horse racing industry is on heading into the future. What do you think?

For the employees at North East and their loyal customers, this Thanksgiving the turkey probably won’t taste as good and the pumpkin pie may seem bitter, but if they are able to share it with family and friends, it will help ease the pain of losing more than just a job or place to socialize and wager on the ponies. Everyone is losing a place “where everybody knows your name.”

Click here on race day morning to see my selections for Laurel Park’s Thanksgiving Day card.

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Eighttofasttocatch leads entire way in Maryland Million Classic victory

Posted on 19 October 2013 by WNST Staff

EIGHTTOFASTTOCATCH PROVES TOO FAST TO CATCH IN MARYLAND MILLION CLASSIC

LAUREL, MD. 10-19-13—Sylvia E. Heft’s Eighttofasttocatch led from start to finish and won the $150,000 Maryland Million Classic for the second time in the past three years. Last year the son of Not For Love finished a fifth in the Classic as the betting favorite but this year things were completely different.

The Maryland Million is the one of the most important racing days at Laurel Park with 11 events for runners sired by Maryland-based stallions for combined purses totaling $1 million. The 28th annual event drew a crowd of 18,036 on a cool, crisp Saturdayafternoon in central Maryland.

Garrison Forest High School graduate Forest Boyce sent the 7-year old to the lead from his advantageous rail position and was able to nurse him around on the lead in 1:50.42 for the 1-1/8th mile distance. Eighttofasttocatch won under a drive by 3-1/4 lengths over Romancing the Gold, with Wild Louis taking third.

“It worked out great. We got away well,” Boyce said. “I thought someone might try us early, soften us up but it didn’t happen. My whole family is from here. My ninety year old grandmother came out today, which was really cool.”

Eighttofasttocatch is 2-for-6 this year, which includes a score in the Henry Clark Stakes and a gutsy second in the Pimlico Special (G3) on Preakness weekend. The 7-year-old now has seven career stakes victories at Laurel Park and has earned $794,585.

“I was very comfortable with where I had him coming into this race, but my concern was that I was comfortable last year and it didn’t go quite as well,” said winning trainer Tim Keefe. “I didn’t think I needed a prep for this race because we all felt that he was right. I guess my only concern now is that he is seven and we may only have him for another year or two. He will be hard to replace in our barn.”

The winner paid $2.60 as the popular favorite.

“I guess winning feels like I was pitching in the World Series,” said Arnold Heft, the husband of the winning owner. “The only thing bad is, I don’t know where I’ll be tomorrow. My wife is not well. I’m just sorry she’s not here. She was here the last time. Racing keeps me going right now. When Eighttofasttocatch runs his race, he won’t get beat.”

Travis Dunkelberger (jockey, Romancing the Gold-2nd), “He tried hard and ran good. I wanted to push more but I didn’t want to cost us second.”

Trevor McCarthy (jockey, Wild Louis-3rd), “He ran his butt off today. The winner was much the best. This was his first time at the distance and he loved it but Eighttofasttocatch was just too fast.”

J.D. Acosta (jockey, Big Branch-4th), “I was in a comfortable spot and happy with the way he ran but the winner is just too classy.”

Xavier Perez (jockey, Talk Show Man-5th), “We didn’t get a good break. We came out nose first out of the gate. Then he relaxed and when I asked for more he ran well. We lost a lot of ground at the beginning which cost us the race.”

Kendrick Carmouche (jockey, Seventeenohsix-6th), “I was sitting in a perfect spot but there was no speed in the race other than the winner. You can’t do much about that.”

Julian Pimentel (jockey, Count to Seven-7th), ““He tried to make a little run at the end but they just ran away from him.”

Introduced in 1986, the Maryland Million has been duplicated by more than 20 other states. Hall of Fame TV Broadcaster Jim McKay originally proposed the Maryland Million concept and remained the Chairman of the Board until his death on June 7, 2008.

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Opinions on the 28th Jim McKay’s Maryland Million at Laurel Park

Posted on 19 October 2013 by Gary Quill

Jim McKay’s Maryland Million takes place at Laurel Park on Saturday. There will be a collection of 11 races with total purses exceeding $1 million

The most celebrated Maryland-bred currently in training, Ben’s Cat, will try to become the first four-time winner of Maryland Million races after winning the Turf Sprint the last three years. That race was eliminated by Maryland Million officials earlier this year.

The son of Parker’s Storm Cat, who became trainer King T. Leatherbury’s first millionaire last year, has won 23-of-35 starts for earnings of $1,695,640. But without a turf sprint, Leatherbury cross-entered the 7 year-old in the 6 furlong dirt Sprint Handicap and the one mile Turf.

After the entries were posted, Leatherbury handicapped both races in order to decide which one to run Ben’s Cat.

The Sprint has some really fast horses in it,” Leatherbury said. “With the weight I was given (124 pounds-four to 11 more than the rest of the field), I think there were three that could beat me. I am the best horse in the Turf. The only question mark is the one-mile distance. Handicapping these races was fun. Before doing so I thought I would be running in the Sprint but after looking at the numbers, I changed my mind.”

Ben’s Cat will be the 6-5 morning line favorite in the Turf, which also features Roadhog and Change of Command, the 1-2 finishers from last year. Julian Pimentel will be aboard Ben’s Cat for the 24th time. The duo has teamed up for 15 victories.

For Saturday races the weather forecast calls Partly Cloudy skies, with just a 10% chance of showers, so I’m anticipating a FAST MAIN TRACK and FIRM TURF. Selections for the Jim McKay’s MARYLAND MILLION DAY at Laurel Park, Saturday, Oct. 19th are posted below. Selections posted were handicapped based on making multi-race wagers such as DOUBLE’s, Pick-3’s and Pick-4’s using all three (3) listed for each race in each leg.

1st race – $100,000 MD Million Nursery for 2 y.o. – 6 furlongs
#3 – It’s a Bang (8-5)
#7 – Springs R Loaded (5-1)
#1 – Joint Custody (7-5)

2nd race – $100,000 MD Million Lassie for 2 y.o. fillies – 6 furlongs
#3 – Jonesin for Jerry (4-5)
#7 – Steady N Love (8-1)
#8 – Weekends for Love (5-1)

3rd race – $50,000 Maiden for F&M 3 y.o. and up – 1 1/16 mile on Turf
#8 – Tanka (5-1) *** BEST BET ***
#10 – See What Happens (8-1)
#6 – Very Few Details (3-1)

4th race – $100,000 MD Million Sprint Hcp for 3 y.o. and up – 6 furlongs
#1 – Ribo Bobo (7-2)
#6 – Pitch N Roll (10-1)
#5 – Action Andy (7-2)

5th race – $50,000 Maiden MD Million for 3 y.o. and up – 1 1/16 mile on Turf
#9 – Love Me Du (7-2)
#10 – Star Crossed Lover (12-1)
#14 – Petie’s Boy (15-1)

6th race – $50,000 MD Million Distaff Starter Hcp for F&M 3 y.o. and up – One Mile
#3 – Sister Sharon (8-1)
#13 – Will N Pat (15-1)
#6 – Motherload Hipster (9-2)

7th race – $125,000 MD Million Ladies for F&M 3 y.o.and up – 1 1/8 mile on Turf
#1 – Pagan Priestess (4-1)
#5 – Dance With Gio (15-1)
#2 – Moral High Ground (12-1)

8th race – $100,000 MD Million Distaff Hcp for F&M 3 y.o. and up – 7 furlongs
#2 – Maddy’s Dance (15-1) $$$ LONGSHOT PLAY $$$
#5 – Ju Ju Eyeballs (8-5)
#3 – Classy Coco (4-1)

9th race – $125,000 MD Million Turf for 3 y.o. and up – One mile on Turf
#9 – Change of Command (4-1)
#1 – Target Sighted (12-1)
#7 – Roadhog (9-2)

10th race – $150,000 MD Million Classic for 3 y.o. and up – 1 1/8 mile
#5 – Seventeenohsix (5-1)
#1 – Eighttofasttocatch (2-5)
#3 – Talk Show Man (15-1)

11thr race – $50,000 MD Million Starter Hcp for 3 y.o. and up – One Mile
#11 – Tooth N Claw (20-1)
#8 – Who Dat Boy (6-1)
#9 – Q’s Jack (10-1)

It’s a beautiful day to go to lovely Laurel Park and celebrate this rich thoroughbred horse racing tradition in Maryland. Good Luck!

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Ben’s Cat-2013 Mister Diz Stakes

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Jim McKay’s Maryland Million Preview: Ben’s Cat – Turf or Dirt?

Posted on 17 October 2013 by Gary Quill

Introduced in 1986, the Maryland Million, a program of races restricted to the offspring of Maryland-based stallions, has been duplicated by more than 20 other states. Maryland-sired thoroughbreds are nominated before they become 2-year-olds and remain eligible for life to run in the Maryland Million races. After twenty-seven runnings, more than 220 stallions have been represented in Maryland Million races.

Thanks to Jim McKay’s love of his home state and thoroughbred horse racing, Maryland breeders have one day a year that they can stand proud and potentially pickup a few new clients. McKay originally proposed the concept and remained Chairman of the Board until his death five years ago. Twenty-two times attendance figures have topped 20,000 for the event.

Twenty-seven horses have won more than one Maryland Million event. Nine former winners are entered Saturday, including five runners looking for back-to-back scores: Action Andy (Sprint), Roadhog (Turf), Pagan Priestess (Ladies), Varborough (Starter Handicap), Motherload Hipster (Distaff Starter Handicap).

Only five (5) runners have won three (3) times on Million Million Day… Safely Kept  Distaff-1989-90-91), Countus In (Ladies-1989-90-91), Mz. Zill Bear (Ladies-1993-94-95), Docent (Sweepstakes-2001 & Classic-2002-03) and Ben’s Cat (Turf Sprint-2010-2011-2012).

Ben’s Cat has a chance to move into the record books. Owner/trainer King T. Leatherbury cross-entered the 7-year-old son of Parker’s Storm Cat into both the $125,000 Turf and $100,000 Sprint.

Leatherbury said Thursday morning the decision would go “down to the wire” (he’s expected to decide by Friday afternoon), but may have tipped his hand adding, “A mile is not my choice. If I was writing the race myself it would strictly be sprints. He’s won distance races but they weren’t impressive. He just won them. It wasn’t one of those wows.”.

The first 4,000 full-paid admissions and Maryland-licensed owners and trainers will each receive a free Maryland Million Sport Cap. On-track entertainment between races will include two pony races, Suttler Clydesdales, Goshen Foxhounds, Great Falls Vaulters and Special Olympics Maryland and a visit from Joey of War Horse fame, brought to life by puppeteers. What?! No wiener (Dashsund) dog races?

Party at the Park, located trackside in Paddock Park, will feature food truck fare, a full bar cornhole as well as Jeremy Plonk and Brian Nadeau from Horse Player Now’s Night School providing expert analysis of the card.

HRTV will have a live presence for the entire card with hosts Caton Bredar and Dick Jerardi on site. First post for Saturday’s 11-race program is 12:15 p.m. EDT at Laurel Park.

A few weeks ago, Jose Villegas, an exercise rider at Laurel Park was involved in a training accident which left him paralyzed from the waist down. With the local horse racing focus on Maryland Million Day, Frank Vespe founder of The Racing Biz website spearheaded an online handicapping contest to help Jose and his family.

Please join me as there’s a voluntary/optional $5 contribution to participate. Click HERE for more information.

It’s a beautiful day to go to lovely Laurel Park and celebrate this rich thoroughbred horse racing tradition in Maryland. Good Luck!

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Laurel Park fall meet stakes schedule approved

Posted on 16 July 2013 by WNST Staff

LAUREL PARK FALL MEET STAKES SCHEDULE APPROVED

LAUREL, MD. 07-16-13—The Maryland Jockey Club unveiled the 2013 Laurel Park fall schedule today after reaching agreement with both the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association and Maryland Horse Breeders Association. The schedule was approved by the Maryland Racing Commission earlier this afternoon at its monthly meeting.

After a 14-week break, which will include ten live days of racing at Timonium during the State Fair in late August and early September, live racing will resume at the major tracks after Labor Day. Racing will take place four days a week through the end of the year on a Wednesday through Saturday schedule, holidays excluded.

The 59-day fall meeting, which begins September 19 and concludes December 31, includes 31 stakes races, worth more than $3.3 million.

Headlining the stand will be the 28th running of the Jim McKay Maryland Million Day for the offspring of Maryland-based stallions on Saturday, Oct. 19 and the Fall Festival of Racing on Saturday, Sept. 21. That card will feature five stakes races on the turf as well as the $350,000 Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash and the Jameela Stakes for Maryland-breds.

“All of the stakes races will occur on six Saturday afternoons, which we feel will help our profile on the simulcast signal,” said Maryland Jockey Club president Tom Chuckas.  “Kicking off the meet on opening weekend with five turf stakes and the De Francis Dash will get us off to a great start.”

The stakes races will take place on September 21 (seven stakes), October 19 (nine), November 9 (four), November 16 (four),December 7 (four) and December 28 (three).

Maryland Million officials have eliminated two stakes races from the program (Turf Sprint and Oaks) but will still run 11 races on the card, replacing those with a pair of $50,000 maiden races on the turf. In addition, the purses of the Turf and Ladies have been increased from $100,000 to $125,000.

Laurel Park Fall Meeting Dates:

  • ·        September 19-20-21
  • ·        September 25-26-27-28
  • ·        October 2-3-4-5
  • ·        October 9-10-11-12
  • ·        October 14-17-18-19
  • ·        October 23-24-25-26
  • ·        October 30-31-November 1-2
  • ·        November 6-7-8-9
  • ·        November 13-14-15-16
  • ·        November 20-21-22-23
  • ·        November 27-28-29-30
  • ·        December 4-5-6-7
  • ·        December 11-12-13-14
  • ·        December 18-19-20-21
  • ·        December 26-27-28
  • ·        December 31

 

About Laurel Park

Laurel Park is a Stronach Group company, North America’s leading Thoroughbred racetrack owner/operator. The Stronach Group racetracks include Santa Anita Park, Gulfstream Park & Casino, Golden Gate Fields, Portland Meadows, Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course, home of the world-famous Preakness. The company owns and operates the Palm Meadows Training Center in Florida and is one of North America’s top race horse breeders through its award-winning Adena Springs operation. The Stronach Group is one of the world’s largest suppliers of pari-mutuel wagering systems, technologies and services. Its companies include AmTote, a global leader in wagering technology; Xpressbet, an Internet and telephone account wagering service; and Monarch Content Management, which acts as a simulcast purchase and sales agent of horseracing content for numerous North American racetracks and wagering outlets. The Stronach Group is also a major producer of televised horse racing programming through its HRTV cable and satellite network and is North America’s premier supplier of virtual online horse racing games, as well as a leading producer of social media content for the horseracing industry.

 

-mjc-

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Closing Day Selections at Laurel Park plus UAE, Florida and Louisiana Derby Analysis

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Closing Day Selections at Laurel Park plus UAE, Florida and Louisiana Derby Analysis

Posted on 29 March 2013 by Gary Quill

Thankfully, the Laurel Park winter meet comes to a close on Saturday so that live Maryland racing shifts to Pimlico Race Course on Thursday, April 4th. I happily say, “Good Riddance” to Laurel Park as my Saturday BEST BET and LONGSHOT selections were woeful to say the least, as the record below indicates. It was great meet for the Maryland Jockey Club, but it’s time to pack up the wagons and move the troops to Baltimore for the next two months.

With Pimlico’s 36-day spring meet (Apr. 4th thru June 8th), it’s a new beginning. A chance to redeem myself as the plan is to post selections for all 36 live racing days. Here’s what the Maryland Jockey Club is doing at Pimlico on Opening Day to entice fans to enjoy nine (9) exciting chase scenes…
Pimlico Opeing Day
On the national scene, with the Kentucky Derby just five (5) weeks away, there are 3 Derby prep races on Saturday… G2 UAE Derby at Meydan Race Course (Dubai) at 10:22am EDT, G1 Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park at 6:19pm EDT and the G2 Louisiana Derby Fairgrounds at 6:44pm EDT. To read HOW I SEE IT, click here.

Recapping the previously posted selections at Laurel Park from Saturday, Mar. 23rd had 8 winners from 9 races (6 Top Selection; pay-offs shown in BOLD type) having $2 WIN pay-offs of $4.00 (1st race), $3.00 (2nd), $9.00 (3rd), $3.20 (4th), $4.00 (5th), $5.80 (6th), $7.60 (7th) and $2.20 (8th).

This past Saturday was a perfect illustration of how “snake bit” the BEST BET and LONGSHOT picks were during the Laurel Park meet. Despite having 6 Top Pick winners from 9 races, both BEST BET and LONGHSOT selections were off the board (OTB).

The BEST BET of the Day (12 2-1-0) Nacho Earl (5-1 PT; 7-2 M/L) trailed in the early stages, swung wide at the eighth pole and rallied strongly in deep stretch but was no match for the winner, setting for a runner-up effort and returning $5.60 to PLACE and $2.40 to SHOW.

The LONGSHOT PICK (12 0-0-3) Willieslittletrick (6-1 PT; 12-1 M/L) dueled early with a rival, setting a pressured pace along the rail and tired when entering the stretch, finishing a distant 5th.

For Saturday races the weather forecast calls for a clear skies, meaning the track will be FAST at Laurel Park on Saturday Mar. 30th, Closing Day. Selections for all races posted are handicapped based on making multi-race wagers such as DOUBLE’s, Pick-3’s and Pick-4’s using all three (3) listed for each race in each leg.

1st race – $38,000 Maiden Special Weight for 2 y.o.– 4½ furlongs
#3 – Take Time to Pray (5-2)
#6 – Debt Ceiling (4-1)
#1/1A – New Zone / Searchparty Dolly (7-2)

2nd race – $5,000 Claiming N1Y for F&M 4 y.o. & up – 5½ furlongs
#3 – Prime Mistress (5-1) *** BEST BET ***
#1 – Super Nova Desert (5-2)
#7 – Harbor Fox (2-1)

3rd race – $10,000 Claiming 3 y.o. fillies – 7 furlongs
#1 – Go Money Go (3-1)
#3 – Oxford Lass (3-1)
#5 – Lost Yer Number (8-1)

4th race – $10,000 Claiming 3 y.o.– 5½ furlongs
#5 – Monacacy Warrior  (8-1) $$$ LONGSHOT $$$
#4 – Video Storm (4-5)
#1 – Chi Chi’s Pride  (5-1)

5th race – $5,000 Claiming N3L for 4 y.o. & up – 7 furlongs
#3 – Ram (3-1)
#8 – Singing My Way (2-1)
#4 – Rio Samba (15-1)

6th race – $25,000 Allowance Optional Claiming for 4 y.o.& up – 5½ furlongs
#2 – Regal Revenge  (7-5)
#6 – Never Stop Looking (5-1)
#3 – Itsnottheright (9-2)

7th race – $38,000 Maiden Special Weight for F&M 3 y.o.& up – 5½ furlongs
#8 – Litigious (3-1)
#3 – Smart n Smokin (8-1)
#7 – South Andros (6-1)

8th race – $50,000 Allowance Optional Claiming N1X for 3 y.o. – One mile
#3 – Arrive (9-2)
#8 – Hanky Doodle (5-2)
#7 – Torchrunner (10-1)

9th race – $5,000 Claiming for 4 y.o.& up – 5½ furlongs
#7 – Tennis Racket  (3-1)
#6 – Kincaid  (5-2)
#5 – By Your Side (15-1)

GOOD LUCK!

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Meet Gabby Gaudet, On-Air Guest Handicapper on Saturday at Laurel Park

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Meet Gabby Gaudet, On-Air Guest Handicapper on Saturday at Laurel Park

Posted on 22 March 2013 by Gary Quill

This is the final entry of my 4 part series to provide thoroughbred horse racing fans a glimpse at the four (4) candidates the Maryland Jockey Club (MJC) has selected to be Frank Carulli’s replacement as the on-air television host during Laurel Park and Pimlico Meets. If you read “Part 1”, feel free to skip down to “Now let’s meet…”. If not, the candidates are Ryan Fogelsonger, Dylan Smith, Jacqueline “Jackie” Savoye and Gabrielle “Gabby” Gaudet. Kudos to MJC for seeking to allure the “Gen Y” crowd as the average age of these four finalists for the job is 25½.

Since 2002, Carulli has been the Pimlico Race Course and Laurel Park handicapper and racing analyst, but will leave MJC at the conclusion of the Pimlico spring meet (June 8th), relocating to Las Vegas. Considered one of the best in the business in making the Morning Line (Odds), those duties will be handed over to Equibase chart caller Keith Feustle, when live racing resumes in September at Laurel Park. Feustle can be seen on the “Today At The Races” pre-race show on the Maryland simulcast signal with his co-host, track announcer Dave Rodman.

The brain-trust at MJC decided to give each candidate the opportunity to showcase their talent on-air as part of the interview process. So this week (March 20-23) at Laurel Park, each has one day to prove themselves worthy of filling Carulli’s shoes. Gabby Gaudet gets the final on-air say Saturday (Mar. 23rd) as the other 3 preceded her this week. Ryan Fogelsonger did the duties on Wednesday (Mar. 20th), Dylan Smith followed suit on Thursday (Mar. 21st) and Jackie Savoye provided her insight on Friday (Mar. 22nd).

This past Saturday at Laurel Park, I spent a few moments with each of the contenders, to get to know a bit more about them, so I could introduce them to you. All were very impressive and enthusiastic to face the on-air challenge ahead of them. One shared, “It’s kind of weird, this live on-air audition and knowing the other applicants that you’re up against for the job. It feels like American Idol”.

Not quite American Idol because the decision on who will be hired as the new on-air racing analyst is solely an internal (MJC) one. There will be no fan voting, but your feedback is welcomed and should be directed to Mike Gathagan, MJC’s V.P. of Communications at mike.gathagan@marylandracing.com.

I don’t envy the MJC decision-makers. It will certainly be a tough call. I wonder if they would entertain a co-host format? It seems to work at other tracks having two people banter about versus one speaking directly into the camera. Just food for thought.

Now let’s meet… Gabby Gaudet

Gabby Gaudet, the 22-year-old daughter of longtime conditioners Eddie and Linda Gaudet and younger sister of trainer Lacey Gaudet, is on track (no pun intended) to graduate this Spring from Towson University, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass Communication with a minor in Graphic Design.

When your last name is immediately associated with Maryland racing, it’s only natural to feel the pressure to be involved in the family business. ”My Mom and Dad have definitely been extremely influential in my life, not only in horse racing but growing up in general. When I was younger, my Mom home schooled me and my sister throughout middle school, in between the hectic demands of (horse) training. I decided to go back to (a traditional) school for 8th grade, got my exercise riders license when I was 16 to help my parents out during the weekends and summer vacation, and I continued to do that as a part-time job throughout college”, explained Gabby.

Riding horses wasn’t her only athletic talent. Gabby was quite the soccer player and received offers from multiple D-1 schools, but home was where her heart was, which opened doors to combine her college major with her love for horses. “I would say that last winter was really the turning point for me when I decided to get really involved, especially in the media side of horse racing. I began interning for Maryland Horse Radio on Tuesday nights, contributing to Maryland Horse newsletters and participated in a lot of events throughout Preakness season”, recalled Gaudet as she reached into her memory bank of accomplishments.

Stepping out of the shadows of being Lacey’s “little sister” as well as her comfort zone (Maryland), Gabby was able to establish her own identity in New York. “This past summer I got the opportunity of a lifetime to move to Saratoga for the meet and write for The Saratoga Special newspaper. There, I made some really great racing contacts and got to experience racing from a new perspective. I had to interview trainers, owners and jockeys daily and then write articles on them (e.g. pre-stakes/post-stakes interviews, race recaps, and human interest stories). I loved every minute of it”, then added with a snicker, “When my sister (Lacey) came up to visit, people were referring to her as, Gabby’s big sister”.

Recently the petite brunette spoke with ESPN/ABC Sports reporter Jeannine Edwards about facing the camera, saying “Jeannine gave me some really good advice… I can provide my personal insights. The way I see it is that every horse, every trainer, every race has a story. For example, some may look at the program and see a horse that has been laid off for 6 months and wonder why? Having a journalistic background, I‘ll find out as much information about the “story” and report it to the fans”.

Admittedly, when this 55-year-old @HorseRacingNut read about Frank Carulli’s planned departure via MJC’s MArch 13th press release, I was miffed that the conditions of this competition seemed, to use a horse racing term, “restricted”. Quickly convincing myself that ol’ GQ was about 30 years too old to be considered for the on-air Racing Analyst position, and couldn’t agree more with Gabby who stated, “I love that the MJC is getting young people into the sport. I really think it’s a great idea. I’m very passionate about horse racing and I want to bring all ages and all backgrounds (as many people as possible) in and show them what makes this sport so special”.

Lil Gabby in Saddle

To describe Gabby Gaudet in one word, it would be Charm. She possesses an infectious smile that can light up a room. Not a bad quality to have when thousands of horseplayers will be hanging on every word you utter before they head to the betting window.

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Meet Jackie Savoye, On-Air Guest Handicapper on Friday at Laurel Park

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Meet Jackie Savoye, On-Air Guest Handicapper on Friday at Laurel Park

Posted on 21 March 2013 by Gary Quill

This is Part 3 in my 4 part series to provide thoroughbred horse racing fans a glimpse at the four (4) candidates the Maryland Jockey Club (MJC) has selected to be Frank Carulli’s replacement as the on-air television host during Laurel Park and Pimlico Meets. If you have already read “Part 1”, feel free to skip down to “Now let’s meet…”. If not, read on. The candidates are Ryan Fogelsonger, Dylan Smith, Jacqueline “Jackie” Savoye and Gabrielle “Gabby” Gaudet. Kudos to MJC for seeking to allure the “Gen Y” crowd as the average age of these four finalists for the job is 25½.

Since 2002, Carulli has been the Pimlico Race Course and Laurel Park handicapper and racing analyst, but will leave MJC at the conclusion of the Pimlico spring meet (June 8th), relocating to Las Vegas. Considered one of the best in the business in making the Morning Line (Odds), those duties will be handed over to Equibase chart caller Keith Feustle, when live racing resumes in September at Laurel Park. Feustle can be seen on the “Today At The Races” pre-race show on the Maryland simulcast signal with his co-host, track announcer Dave Rodman.

The brain-trust at MJC decided to give each candidate the opportunity to showcase their talent on-air as part of the interview process. So this week (March 20-23) at Laurel Park, each has one day to prove themselves worthy of filling Carulli’s shoes. On Friday (Mar. 22nd), Jackie Savoye will put her personal handicapping touch on display as will Gabby Gaudet on Saturday (Mar. 23rd). Ryan Fogelsonger and Dylan Smith completed their on-air “audition” on Wednesday (Mar. 20th) and Thursday (Mar. 21st), respectively.

This past Saturday at Laurel Park, I spent a few moments with each of the contenders, to get to know a bit more about them, so I could introduce them to you. All were very impressive and enthusiastic to face the on-air challenge ahead of them. One shared, “It’s kind of weird, this live on-air audition and knowing the other applicants that you’re up against for the job. It feels like American Idol”.

Not quite American Idol because the decision on who will be hired as the new on-air racing analyst is solely an internal (MJC) one. There will be no fan voting, but your feedback is welcomed and should be directed to Mike Gathagan, MJC’s V.P. of Communications at mike.gathagan@marylandracing.com.

I don’t envy the MJC decision-makers. It will certainly be a tough call. I wonder if they would entertain a co-host format? It seems to work at other tracks having two people banter about versus one speaking directly into the camera. Just food for thought.

Now let’s meet…  jACKIE sAVOYE

Jackie Savoye, currently an assistant trainer for Dale Capuano. The 25-year-old South River High School graduate did on-air work a couple years ago at Gulfstream Park with Alyssa Ali and Caton Bredar. She followed that by teaming up with TVG’s Paul Lo Duca and Christina Oliveras (now with HRTV with last name of Blacker via marriage) at Monmouth Park during their Million Dollar Meet, conducting off-camera interviews.

Horses have been a big part of Jackie’s life for as long as she can remember, “I started riding at a young age at pony camps then got involved in the Annapolis pony club and took up foxhunting almost full time. That’s such a fun event. At 18, I went to work for Jason Cole in southern Maryland breaking babies. That provided such a great foundation of learning the racehorses and bringing them up. Jason sent me to Bowie (race track training center) to learn to gallop and from there I worked for Gary Capuano and the Gaudet’s (Eddie and Linda). I was hired by Dale in the spring of 2008 and he sent me all over the east coast with strings for him”. 

The handicapping aspect of the job does not intimidate her in the least, “I can apply my knowledge of horse racing and what I have learned in the claiming game to handicapping. I work for a top claiming trainer and one of the best horseman and businessman I know in this business. I see a lot of different horses come in and out of the barn, so I’ve learned how to train and understand why and where Dale enters them”.

Savoye isn’t shy when it comes to expressing her thoughts on how to attract her peers to the Sport of Kings, pointing out, ”Being young and involved in thoroughbred racing is such a great opportunity for anybody. It’s a fun sport and the young crowd doesn’t realize it, which is where one of us comes in. I can relate to college kids who want to come out and enjoy a day at the races. Show them maybe a small bet and why they would pick that horse. We need fun things at the track to attract a younger group. Things like live bands, contests, and let’s face it… beer drinking!”.

The horse racing community is filled with hard working individuals and families whose work day begins long before the sun comes up and ends long after it sets. For ”Gen Y” individuals like these four (4) applicants, that means not much of a social life outside of their horse racing family. There also seems to be a special bond among them, as they are all “in the same boat’, but enjoying every minute of it.

“It’s a very exciting job opportunity and I do hope I get it”, Jackie said with guarded optimism, then revealed, “Gabby (Gaudet) is actually my roommate. She’s a great person and very smart. So if she got the job I would be very happy for her”. Talk about being in a tough situation, well that’s only half of it, as she continued, “My other roommate is my best friend, Lacey, who happens to be Gabby’s big sister”.

Jackie Savoye

To describe Jackie Savoye in one word, it would be Poise. Seeing her ability to handle her equine “children” in the paddock and immediately refocus her attention to the anxious owner, indicates to me that the lights and camera will not test her nerves, but rather make her shine.

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Meet Dylan Smith, On-Air Guest Handicapper on Thursday at Laurel Park

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Meet Dylan Smith, On-Air Guest Handicapper on Thursday at Laurel Park

Posted on 20 March 2013 by Gary Quill

This is Part 2 of my 4 part series to provide thoroughbred horse racing fans a glimpse at the four (4) candidates the Maryland Jockey Club (MJC) has selected to be Frank Carulli’s replacement as the on-air television host during Laurel Park and Pimlico Meets. If you’ve already read “Part 1”, feel free to skip down to “Now let’s meet…”. If not, on read. The candidates are Ryan Fogelsonger, Dylan Smith, Jacqueline “Jackie” Savoye and Gabrielle “Gabby” Gaudet. Kudos to MJC for seeking to allure the “Gen Y” crowd as the average age of these four finalists for the job is 25½.

Since 2002, Carulli has been the Pimlico Race Course and Laurel Park handicapper and racing analyst, but will leave MJC at the conclusion of the Pimlico spring meet (June 8th), relocating to Las Vegas. Considered one of the best in the business in making the Morning Line (Odds), those duties will be handed over to Equibase chart caller Keith Feustle, when live racing resumes in September at Laurel Park. Feustle can be seen on the “Today At The Races” pre-race show on the Maryland simulcast signal with his co-host, track announcer Dave Rodman.

The brain-trust at MJC decided to give each candidate the opportunity to showcase their talent on-air as part of the interview process. So this week (March 20-23) at Laurel Park, each have one day to prove themselves worthy of filling Carulli’s shoes. On Thursday, Dylan Smith gets her chance to wooo Maryland horseplayers with her handicapping prowess. Then on Friday (Mar. 22nd) it’s Jackie Savoye’s turn and Gabby Gaudet completes the on-air superfecta on Saturday (Mar. 23rd). Ryan Fogelsonger completed his “audition” on Wednesday (Mar. 20th).

This past Saturday at Laurel Park, I spent a few moments with each of the contenders, to get to know a bit more about them, so I could introduce them to you. All were very impressive and enthusiastic to face the on-air challenge ahead of them. One shared, “It’s kind of weird, this live on-air audition and knowing the other applicants that you’re up against for the job. It feels like American Idol”.

Not quite American Idol because the decision on who will be hired as the new Racing Analyst is solely an internal (MJC) one. There will be no fan voting, but your feedback is welcomed and should be directed to Mike Gathagan, MJC’s V.P. of Communications at mike.gathagan@marylandracing.com.

I don’t envy the MJC decision-makers. It will certainly be a tough call. I wonder if they would entertain a co-host format? It seems to work at other tracks having two people banter about versus one speaking directly into the camera. Just some food for thought.    

Dylan SmithNow let’s meet…

Dylan Smith, 24, has been working as an assistant for trainer Dickie Small since graduating from Kennedy High School in the Washington D.C. suburbs in 2006.

“(I’m) definitely a track-oholic and horse-oholic”, Smith proudly declared. “I am at the races all day, every race day. I gallop in the morning, then shower in the girl’s jocks room where I then get scratches, study, and make my final picks for the day. Next I listen to Talking Horses in NYRA then watch Dave (Rodman) & Keith (Feustle) at Laurel and jot down their opinions. I’m at the races for the full card. Afterwards I go home where I watch more races from across the country until I fall asleep”.

When asked at what age did she catch the horse racing bug, Dylan reflected, “I learned when I was very young, couldn’t have been older than 6 or 7, how to read a program and (Daily Racing) Form from my Dad. He started bringing me to the track when I was little…and I was obsessed even then. My Dad really gets the credit for bringing me to the track and getting me hooked. He always answered questions and just watching what he looked at on paper and how he bet taught me so much”.

Not only does Smith understand horses physically and the art of handicapping, but she also has strong opinions on what horseplayers want from a track handicapper. With The Form tucked under her arm, the slender blonde explained, “I hang around and learn from the people that bet a lot of money. I see firsthand where they like to put their dollars and what they look for when making their selections. I think it is a huge advantage to know how to bet because the ultimate goal for the track handicapper is to get money into the bettor’s pockets (giving them the ability to play more races, which increases the tracks handle). I can dig up useful information that I know a lot of people would be interested in hearing when putting together a ticket. People don’t want a repeat of what you can see in The Form. They want you to go the extra mile to find what they can’t see”.

Though she’s short on media experience, Dylan has certainly done her homework in preparation for Thursday’s on-air debut. “I watch Frank (Carulli) very closely and have been working with him for months trying to pick up on everything he does. He’s very good at morning line odds, and he really takes a lot of time and does lots of research when making his picks”. Smith sought assistance outside of Maryland, adding, “I also got to spend a day with NYRA’s Andy Serling who was great. He is just fantastic and does all his homework. He’s prepared every day and gave me some good pointers”.

Dylan Smith breezing

To describe Dylan Smith in one word, it would be Horse-oholic. By her own admission, “It’s a little obsessive, but I literally watch all tracks and all types of horses (Harness and Quarter, too). I don’t like to miss any action at any track in the country. I have a non-existent social life outside of the track because I am so wrapped up in the racing world. It may sound pitiful, but I love it and wouldn’t have it any other way”. Not so pitiful from my point of view because she seems to be a terrific asset to the Maryland horse racing community.

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Meet Ryan Fogelsonger, On-Air Guest Handicapper on Wednesday at Laurel Park

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Meet Ryan Fogelsonger, On-Air Guest Handicapper on Wednesday at Laurel Park

Posted on 19 March 2013 by Gary Quill

This is Part 1 in my 4 part series to provide thoroughbred horse racing fans a glimpse at the four (4) candidates the Maryland Jockey Club (MJC) has selected to be Frank Carulli’s replacement as the on-air television host during Laurel Park and Pimlico Meets. They are Ryan Fogelsonger, Dylan Smith, Jacqueline “Jackie” Savoye and Gabrielle “Gabby” Gaudet. Kudos to MJC for seeking to allure the “Gen Y” crowd as the average age of these four finalists for the job is 25½.

Since 2002, Carulli has been the Pimlico Race Course and Laurel Park handicapper and racing analyst, but will leave MJC at the conclusion of the Pimlico spring meet (June 8th), relocating to Las Vegas. Considered one of the best in the business in making the Morning Line (Odds), those duties will be handed over to Equibase chart caller Keith Feustle, when live racing resumes in September at Laurel Park. Feustle can be seen on the “Today At The Races” pre-race show on the Maryland simulcast signal with his co-host, track announcer Dave Rodman.

The brain-trust at MJC decided to give each candidate the opportunity to showcase their talent on-air as part of the interview process. So this week (March 20-23) at Laurel Park, each will have one day to prove themselves worthy of filling Carulli’s shoes. First up on Wednesday (Mar. 20th) is Ryan Fogelsonger. Dylan Smith will tackle the Thursday (Mar. 21st) card, Jackie Savoye will be on-air Friday (Mar. 22nd) and Gabby Gaudet gets a crack at the Saturday (Mar. 23rd) card.

This past Saturday at Laurel Park, I spent a few moments with each of the contenders, to get to know a bit more about them, so I could introduce them to you. All were very impressive and enthusiastic to face the on-air challenge ahead of them. One shared, “It’s kind of weird, this live on-air audition and knowing the other applicants that you’re up against for the job. It feels like American Idol”.

Not quite American Idol because the decision on who will be hired as the new on-air racing analyst is solely an internal (MJC) one. There will be no fan voting, but your feedback is welcomed and should be directed to Mike Gathagan, MJC’s V.P. of Communications at mike.gathagan@marylandracing.com.

I don’t envy the MJC decision-makers. It will certainly be a tough call. I wonder if they would entertain a co-host format? It seems to work at other tracks having two people banter about versus one speaking directly into the camera. Just food for thought.

Now let’s meet…  

Ryan FogelsongerRyan Fogelsonger, 31, currently a journeyman jockey, winner of 1,303 races in his career, captured eight (8) riding titles at the Maryland tracks, and was the 2002 Eclipse Award winning apprentice. He has not ridden since early November when he suffered a concussion during a spill. But this gig does not require riding skills, and Ryan is thankful for that, as he views this opportunity as his chance to start a second career.

“Let’s face it. I’m 31, I don’t have a college degree and this (horses) is all I know.”, Fogelsonger stated with a boyish grin.

Well no sheepskin can compare to the energy level and love he has for horses, which didn’t start until age 18. Ryan explained, “I was a track star in high school. One day a buddy of mine said, “You’re the perfect size to be a jockey. I know a trainer… maybe you should talk to him…”. So he agreed and added, “What was supposed to be a 15 minute talk turned into two (2) hours… and the rest is history”. The trainer who met with him that day was Dale Capuano.

When asked what his favorite riding memory is, Ryan took a few moments to search into his memory bank, shook his head and stated, “Just riding horses who loved to run and being a part of it”.

Ok, so we know he can ride and loves horses. So do the other three (Dylan, Jackie and Gabby). But can he command the attention of the horseplayer, looking for “short-term investment” (aka wagering) advice? The answer: No doubt! His confidence borders on cockiness, and he expressed his fondness for being in the spotlight, something he’s ready to tackle on Wednesday as the on-air guest handicapper at Laurel Park.

          Ryan Fogelsonger winning

To describe Ryan Fogelsonger in one word, it would be Confident. After all, when first asked about this opportunity to showcase his on-air and handicapping talent, he exclaimed, “I’m going to kill it”!

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