By Jude “Pontiff of the Pick Four” Feld
When I was in high school, I walked into a friend’s house after our last class of the day. On the coffee table was a Playboy magazine.
Captain Obvious, I said, “Oh, Playboy.”
“Yeah, my dad likes to read the articles.”
“Of course he does. Great writers.”
Education often comes in dubious places.
When I was training horses, I had a talented filly, Vieille Vigne, in my stable. She loved Del Mar as much as her trainer did and always appreciated the salty sea air. After she won the Bayakoa Stakes in 1991, I set my sights on the Chula Vista (G2), the meet’s signature race for fillies and mares going long on the dirt.
The race came up pretty tough, with M.C. Hammer’s multiple Grade 1 winner Light Lite and Vieille Vigne’s nemesis, Brought to Mind, the signature entrants. Vieille Vigne continued to relish her surroundings, “where the turf meets the surf,” and was training so good coming into the race, that when I was interviewed by the Daily Racing Form, I uncharacteristically popped off and said that she wouldn’t lose. That is never a smart thing to do.
She paid $41.00
To this day, I still have people come up to remind me about what I had said in the Form and how they cashed a big ticket, so many in fact, that I have often wondered how she paid so much with almost everyone betting on her.
If you read it somewhere, it must be true.
Fast forwarding to this century, we now have twitter and facebook. It is the era of social media and horseplayers have never had it any better. Inside information flows like water on these websites and the savvy horseplayer can use it as an advantage.
Trainer Dallas Keen claimed a filly a while back and discussed her at length on his facebook page – what her issues were and what his plan was to turn her around. I put her on my “Horses to Watch List.”
She didn’t win in her first race off the claim, but she did run a game second, keying a nice exacta score for me.
Twitter too can be a great source of racing information. Everything from scratches before they become available through conventional methods to how a horse is training and how he’s eating is available for horseplayers willing to follow participating trainers.
H. Graham Motion (@GrahamMotion), a media darling and one of the most prolific tweeting trainers, shares a lot of informative nuggets with his followers. Doug O’Neill (@DougONeill1) is another twitter freak who posts with regularity, including a picture of him holding I’ll Have Another’s empty feed tub the morning after his tough Preakness score. I love the sunrise photos and track condition reports of Mark Hennig (@Hennigracing).
One of my favorite trainers to follow is Gary Gullo (@GaryGullo). He posts his entries and lots of his results with the occasional, “I think so and so is going to run really well Friday.” He has a good opinion of his stock and doesn’t speak with a forked tongue.
Major stables also have twitter accounts – @TeamValor, @EclipseThoroughbred and @ZayatStables are just a few who share their info with the masses.
There are jockeys (@RajivMaragh) and their agents (@ronaldt54), members of the racing media (@CJ_Jennie), clockers (@DeJulio) and handicappers (@HRTVJeff) too, releasing info on twitter all day long.
It is advisable for players to sign up for a twitter account and take advantage of all the Thoroughbred racing goodies available there. The interaction with fellow racing fans alone is worth the five minutes it will take to get started on twitter. Playing the horses is a game where knowledge is power and you can garner some great insights on the twitter feed.
BTW – You can follow me @racehorsereport.
Comments are closed.