He sat before his computer in Middle Village, New York, his eyes as wide as golf balls. He strapped his headset on and broadcast to the world that Rachel Alexandra had just lost the New Orleans Ladies Stakes.

“Horse Racing Kid here to tell you that Rachel Alexander has just been beaten by the No. 3. She just got beaten by a 9-1 shot here. The 3 beat ... Rachel Alexander came in second. So to tell you that ... horseracingkid probably the first one to tell you. Rachel Alexander got beaten. Rachel Alexander is beaten.”

Er, Alexandra, but we know what you mean. His name is Stephen, but you can call him The Horse Racing Kid and can watch him at The Horse Racing Kid.
He is 14 and is on his way to being the next Tom Durkin or Andy Serling. For your viewing pleasure he will lay out his picks at the Cheltenham Festival and Turf Paradise.

Want to know how sophisticated he is? His favorite trainer is not Steve Asmussen, Todd Pletcher, or Nick Zito, but Wesley Ward. His favorite rider isn’t Calvin Borel, Edgar Prado, or Kent Desormeaux, but Frankie Dettori. His favorite track isn’t Saratoga Race Course, Keeneland, or Santa Anita, but Woodbine.

He wants, above all, to see Santa Anita return to dirt.

The Horse Racing Kid actually came to my attention in a tongue-in-cheek manner. A friend of mine posted a link of his video on my Facebook page as a kind of a joke. I watched Stephen’s video and thought it was funny, but funny in that way when you see a child elicit unbridled enthusiasm, that kind that makes you wish you felt as strongly about anything the way he feels about this. I watched it again and again. Each time it got better. Racing needs more Stephens. His solution to getting younger fans into the game?

“Hard one, but have ads for my show to see I’m handicapping,” said Stephen, “other kids might want to do it.”

Ok, so he’s also a master of self-promotion. Every handicapper has to be part Steven Crist and part P.T. Barnum.

Somehow Stephen fell in love with this sport. When will the day come that this industry, which manages to drop fans like sea gulls drop clams, lose him? This kid is in. Watch the video. See the enthusiasm. Find a way to find more Stephens. He wants to work at a track handicapping the day’s card.

After I watched his video’s I had to speak with him, or correspond with him since he prefers e-mail. I learned that his best handicapping score came in 2004, six years ago, when he was eight years old, on a 75-1 shot at Gulfstream. That his perfect Saturday is “winning, lots of tracks running lots of Grade 1’s.” Also that he thinks Jess Jackson is “a good owner but rushed Rachel back, in my eyes.” His favorite subject in school is science. He plays baseball. He loves photography.


Stephen’s father got him into racing and is his bookie, placing his bets for him since, well, since he’s still 14. His earliest racing memory was going to the Meadowlands on a Tuesday afternoon and getting a pair of goggles.

And that turned into sponging the Daily Racing Form, looking at his camera, and thinking, Why not? Or, more accurately, “Being bored, I always have the Daily Racing Form,” so he put his picks on air.

The comments on his YouTube page read:

“You have a future in this horse racing industry. Keep it up and you may work for TVG someday.”

The range also extends to, “Horse racing stinks.”

Well, we can’t please them all. But maybe during the Kentucky Derby if we put a sawbuck on Caracortado or Noble’s Promise, you’ll owe the The Horse Racing Kid a Coke.

But really, the ultimate question is this: Zenyatta or Rachel Alexandra?

“Zenyatta rocks.”

Brendan O’Meara blogs about horse racing here at HRI and at The Carryover. He also blogs about narrative nonfiction and his book project “Six Weeks in Saratoga” at The Blog Itself. His Web site is www.brendanomeara.com.