MIAMI, April 19, 2013--The internet put the knowledge of the world at our fingertips. Kenny McPeek is using the technology to do the same for the world of horse racing.
McPeek, the veteran trainer whose Java‚Äôs War upset the Blue Grass last week and will join barn mate Frac Daddy in the Kentucky Derby on May 4, has created a website, Horse Races Now, which offers everything a racing fan might want except guaranteed winners. But all the tools are there to find more winners.
Horse Races Now makes every day a day at the races: workout reports; entries; live race video; results; video replays; even the winner‚Äôs circle ceremonies. All you have to do is activate the computer ap Horse at 84700. (Check out a demonstration video, hosted by McPeek, at http://www.horseracesnow.com.)
There are even horsey sound effects. If you‚Äôre tracking the activities of a horse, trainer or jockey, you‚Äôll hear hooves striking the track when they work out or appear in the entries.
Fifteen minutes from post time at any track you designate, the call to the post sounds off.
As the start of a race in which you have indicated an interest approaches, Keeneland race caller Kurt Becker‚Äôs voice can be heard saying, ‚ÄúThe horses are approaching the starting gate. They‚Äôre at the post.‚ÄĚ
Official results produce the optimistic clang of a cash register.
When a video replay is posted, along with the chart, a horse‚Äôs whinny can be heard. Horse Races Now maintains an archive that allows previous starts to be reviewed for up to two years, according to McPeek.
If all you want is a workout report, they are accompanied by the click of a stopwatch.
Not everyone wants to walk around sounding like a character from ‚ÄúGuys and Dolls,‚ÄĚ so all it takes is a click to kill the sound track, which can be reactivated with another click.
Nothing has been overlooked. There are even links to the most popular advanced deposit wagering sites. So if you learn a horse you have been following is running, you can click right over and make a bet.
The best part for players is it‚Äôs all free. (One exception is paid handicapping sites, such as the Ragozin Sheets. There is a link for those, too.)
Skeptics might scoff and figure this is a bait-then-pay lure to get you hooked before a regular fee is imposed. Not so, McPeek promises. He‚Äôs not a philanthropist. He does have a business plan to eventually generate revenue, which he is keeping under wraps for competitive reasons. But, he reiterated, it does not involve user fees. ‚ÄúOur goal is Horse Races Now will always be free to download and watch.‚ÄĚ
Whatever profits McPeek eventually makes, he deserves. ‚ÄúWe have been the Lewis & Clark of this expedition,‚ÄĚ he said. ‚ÄúI have financed this on my own.‚ÄĚ
The idea struck McPeek about three years ago. ‚ÄúI had some time to kill so I was channel surfing. I came upon something titled ‚ÄėPlanet of the Aps.‚Äô I Googled to see if there was an ap for horse racing. There weren‚Äôt any,‚ÄĚ he said. ‚ÄúThere were a massive number for other sports but nothing for horse racing.‚ÄĚ
His reaction? ‚ÄúThis is terrible.‚ÄĚ ‚ÄúSomeone needs to do something.‚ÄĚ
You know the expression, ‚ÄúIf you want something done, do it yourself.‚ÄĚ McPeek is a subscriber.
He approached tech experts and inquired how much it might cost to develop what has become Horse Races Now. The initial quote was about $45,000. ‚ÄúMy payroll is more than that,‚ÄĚ he reasoned.
Alas, he quickly relearned the lesson that few things cost as little as the first estimate. ‚ÄúIt turned into more than 20 times that,‚ÄĚ he says. This isn‚Äôt a complaint. ‚ÄúIt has been worth every dime.‚ÄĚ
You would think the racing industry would be cheering him on. Check that. If you don‚Äôt know the racing industry, you would think it would be cheering him on.
‚ÄúThey put up repeated roadblocks. A lot of industry factions were opposed,‚ÄĚ McPeek said. ‚ÄúThey like things the way they are. They are absolutely dug in.‚ÄĚ
McPeek persevered anyway. He got the site off the ground and now gets some form of cooperation from much of the industry. More than 90 tracks make their information and video available to Horse Races Now. McPeek is optimistic the day will come when Horse Races Now has so many followers that tracks will not be able to ignore it.
As if the fact that he will have two colts in the Kentucky Derby isn‚Äôt endorsement enough, McPeek says creating and establishing Horse Races Now has not detracted from his training. ‚ÄúI‚Äôve been doing this for 28 years. I never forget that that is what‚Äôs really important. But I don‚Äôt play golf and I multi-task really well.‚ÄĚ
He‚Äôs even got the cyber lingo down.