Everything That’s Old Is True Again
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL., March 13, 2014—In my fourth decade as a public handicapper and as executive editor of this site for seven years come Kentucky Derby week, money-making offers have come across my work station from time to time.
Interesting offers worth my time usually work out to the benefit of both parties; those that I’m uncomfortable with, or literally not worth the effort, usually go by the wayside. This recent dilemma, however, I never anticipated.
As many readers and industry types know, the late Cary Fotias was an original thinker, unbelievable human being and the best friend anyone could hope to make. I’m a better person for having known him. Any of his good friends would tell you that he was special.
I’ve written the story several times about how we met, about our passion for the game, our engagement in the art-science of handicapping and, of course, the gambling with its inherent risks and rewards.
My love of the game began at Roosevelt and Yonkers Raceways and gained full stride and Aqueduct and Belmont Park. Saratoga, of course, was a revelation, sacred ground imbued with friendly ghosts of legendary proportions.
Serious handicappers will tell you harness racing is all about the trips. Trip handicapping was the still-developing skill set that I brought to the altar of the Thoroughbred.
Professional gambler Paul Mellos was my trip-note mentor, teaching me trip shorthand, symbols I still use to note information in my track program.
Horse racing lends itself beautifully to the marvels of technological advancement, and to some degree has kept the game on life support. But old school still works and always will. The handicapping process constantly evolves.
Speed Kills at Gulfstream Park; Castellano Sets Meet Record
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL., March 12. 2014--It's the first lesson taught in Handicapping 101: Speed is always dangerous.
It certainly was today when recent maiden winner Social Inclusion improved his lifetime record to 2-for-2, stretching out successfully to ruin the three year old debut of Honor Code, setting a track record in the process.
Unofficially, it was the fourth track record set at this meeting, all of them at distances of one mile or more.
The upset, engineered by trainer Manuel Aspurua and under excellent rating from Luis Contreras, also ruined Javier Castellano's bid to break his own Gulfstream record of 112 victories set last year. Castellano already had ridden four winners on the card.
Castellano got his 113th meet victory and fifth of the day aboard Bartiromo in the 9th race for trainer Chad Brown