Winning Ponies

John Engelhardt


On the show we will talk about the Sport of Kings. We will delve into the different features of the website. John Engelhardt will talk about the issues of the day that affect horse racing, such as synthetic surfaces, medication rule changes, the fate of the industry as a whole, VLTs and Casinos, and human interest stories of triumph and defeat. You will also hear our spot play of the week, where John will handicap the feature races for the upcoming weekend, and will give out his best plays. We will keep you abreast racing’s big events. Featured on the show will be guests (trainers, jockeys, owners, celebrity handicappers and industry insiders). Promotional giveaways will be featured, such as brand merchandise and free WinningCredits.
Winning Ponies is broadcast live every Thursday at 8 PM Eastern/5 PM Pacific on the VoiceAmerica Variety Channel.

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706 episodes

WP Welcomes Trainer Eric Reed and Retired Jockey Sandy Hawley

Look who just came in town! Just after 2 p.m. on Aug. 14, the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1) winner arrived at Saratoga Race Course Rich Strike , the late-running 80-1 winner of the Run for the Roses was quietly taken to his home for the next two weeks, at the barn of trainer Dale Romans. Rich Strike will be running in the $1.25 million Runhappy Travers Stakes (G1) on Aug. 27. Rich Strike started his trip to the Spa from trainer Eric Reed's Mercury Equine Center in Lexington, Ky., at 12:30 a.m. Aug. 14. He's a good shipper, said Reed, who drove separately and beat Rich Strike to Saratoga by a few hours. He sleeps right in the box stall. Eric has been gracious with his time with Winningponies, before and after the historic Kentucky Derby win, and he will join us again this week. With that Derby on his career resume, “Richie” hopes to add the “Mid-Summer Derby” to his list of accomplishments. Eric will discuss the horse’s training regimen up to this revered jewel and what his plans are for the next 9 days in bringing him up to the premier race of the summer in the U.S. Speaking of outstanding races with a long and storied history. North of the border they will hold the legendary Queen’s Plate. Moira has been tabbed as the 5-2 favorite by linemaker Ernie Perri for the 163rd running of the $1 million stake on Sunday at Woodbine. She was an easy winner of the Woodbine Oaks on July 24, got post 8 in the 11-horse field and will be ridden by Rafael Hernandez in her quest to become the 38th filly to win the 1 1/4-mile event for Canadian-bred 3-year-olds. Who better to discuss thoroughbred racing at Woodbine than the “Dean of Canadian Racing” – Sandy Hawley. He was revered as a national racing treasure there. His career started in 1966 as a 17-year-old boy, hot walking horses at a Toronto racetrack. Two years later, he became a regular rider at racetracks in Ontario. He learned how to ride under the tutelage of Duke Campbell a trainer Sandy still credits today as one of his greatest sporting influences. Hawley went on to become North America's top apprentice jockey in 1969 and then led in victories for the years 1970, 1972, 1973 and 1976. In 1970 he was the continent's leading race-winning jockey with 452 wins. In 1972 he tallied another North American title with 367 wins, and in the 1973 season, he became the first jockey to ever win 500 races in one year breaking Bill Shoemaker’s record. Sandy Hawley was inducted into the Canadian Racing Hall of Fame 1986 , the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in 1992, and Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in 1998. Sandy has moved his home to Lexington, Kentucky with his wife, former rider Kaoru Tsuchiya. He is very active in supporting the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund with personal appearances throughout the country.

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Aug 18
WP Welcomes Back Joe Kristufek & Jockeys' Guild's Terry Meyocks

Joe Kristufek is a self-proclaimed horse racing ambassador, and fan development has always been his passion. In addition to serving as the Churchill Downs paddock host, Kristufek is also the host for the Fair Grounds during the winter season. Joe will be making a rare mid-August appearance on Saturday as Churchill Downs is keeping the spirit of tradition alive by hosting the Arlington Million, a race that would have disappeared with the closing of Arlington Park. It will certainly be a rare and unique day as the virgin turf course will play host to the feature races of the day – The Grade1 $500,000 Beverly D. for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/8 on the greensward and the legend-making Grade 1 $1,000,000 Arlington Million for 3-year-old males at 9 furlongs on the turf. As always, both races have attracted a cast of international competition. Joe will share his thoughts on these races and any other catch his eye on this inaugural edition of the Arlington Million presented by and at Churchill Downs. Terry Meyocks is currently the National Manager of the Jockeys' Guild Inc. Saratoga is the “summer place to be for racing enthusiasts and that’s where we will find him this week. Terry will update us on current issues that the Guild is facing, including the maze of requirements HISA has invoked on the sport, particularly race riding. There is apparent nation-wide confusion as to how new rules of race riding under HISA restrictions are to be applied and enforced. We’ll see how the Guild is responding to this and a myriad of topics that effect the riders. Terry’s experience in the sport was garnered through almost every facet of the industry. In 2004 Meyocks was named Vice-President for the NTRA Racing & Industry Memberships. In December of 1996 he was named Chief Operating Officer of New York Racing Association and remained with NYRA until April of 2004. Prior to that Meyocks was hired in 1979 as Racing Secretary for Calder Race Course, then in 1991 was hired at Gulfstream Park to become Director of Racing and he stayed at both tracks until 1993. Other tracks where he served in different capacities include Oakland Park, Arlington Park, Hawthorne, Churchill Downs, Hialeah Park, Delaware and Liberty Bell.

Aug 11
WP Welcomes Blood-Horse Editor Frank Angst & Jockey Julio Felix

Frank Angst is the features editor for the Blood-Horse. He also knows his way around the tracks he covers and the shortest route to a betting window. He’s not afraid to give his opinion on a horse and back it. Frank will join the show to give his analysis of another sensational card that will be presented on Saturday, with no less than five stakes races, four of them graded. The “main event” if there is one, would be the $1,000,000 Whitney for older horses at 1 1/8 miles. The obvious “good thing” would be now-trained Todd Pletcher charge Life Is Good, a freakishly fast son of Into Mischief who sports a near-perfect lifetime record and earnings of $3,551,700. But hold on a second you chalk-searching souls – this is a talented field and we are, after all, at Saratoga. A sizeable field will go on the greensward at 1 3/16ths mile Caesars Saratoga Derby Invitational. The top four finishers of the Belmont Derby will enter the starting gate for a rematch. The front end of this all-stakes pick-3 is the Longines Test. It is hard to make a case against Matareya who is undefeated in four career starts this year. The Brad Cox trainee has made picture perfect progression in 2022 with an allowance win followed by wins in a Grade 3-2-1. Only the curse of Saratoga looks like it will stop this filly. Jockey Julio Felix is a name you should be familiar with if you have been a fan of racing in the Midwest over the past two decades. A natural born athlete from a family of ten, he was raised in the Virgin Islands – not the most smoothly paved road to success in the U.S. Growing up his sport of choice was baseball, where he rose to be the starting pitcher representing the Virgin Islands against rival Puerto Rico. That game outgrew him, and his size and athleticism fit the saddle perfectly. Julio has a wonderful story of overcoming challenges as a young rider, but with his talent apparent, he was chosen to ride in the most prestigious Governor’s Cup of St. Croix/St. Thomas for his first career victory! Since then, he has been looked upon as a beloved success story and sports hero by the people of the Virgin Islands. Felix was part of a three-man triumvirate along with owner/breeder Ron McKay and trainer Mike Nance that won over 100 stakes races among his 3,355 career victories and nine riding titles at Thistledown. Felix moved his family to the Chicago area where he made a good living riding primarily at Arlington Park. Julio will not only discuss his career in racing, but the impact the closing of Arlington Park has had on his life and many others in aspects of the game who called the Chicago circuit their home.

Aug 04
WP Welcomes DRF Barbara D. Livingston and Belterra's Ed Meyer

If you have ever glanced at a racing publication, odds are good you have seen some of the work of Barbara D. Livingston. She is the Chief Photographer for the Daily Racing Form, has won six Eclipse Awards for Outstanding Photography and is the author of seven books. As if that doesn’t keep her busy enough, she has taken it upon herself to preserve the historical photo/negative collection of some of racing’s earliest equine photographers. Barbara will join us after a day at her home base of Saratoga. She gets to the track before the sun rises and edits her work long into the evening. We’ll discuss her evolution as a photographer and the great collection of racing’s legends she has assembled. If you do take a trip to Saratoga this meet, visit the National Museum of Racing where Barbara has loaned her collection of the Jim Raftery for display. Raftery photographed many of the greats in thoroughbred racing during his career, including Hall of Fame members such as Bold Ruler, Kelso, Nashua, Swaps, James “Sunny Jim” Fitzsimmons, John Veitch, Bill Hartack, Bill Shoemaker, and many more. Ed Meyer is not only a professional odds-maker, he’s had a knack for finding a horse that is a money maker against his projected odds. We’ll let “The Fellow Who Bellows at Belterra” cherry-pick a few races that will have big pools where big bets won’t shift the odds much (Time to pull down the E-Z Win Forms). The Grade 2 Jim Dandy has a field that is just that. Three horses that competed well in the Kentucky Derby (Epicenter (2nd); Zandon (3rd) and Tawney Port (7th)) are in the field and set to meet them is Preakness Stakes winner Early Voting. The Grade 1 Alfred Vanderbilt should see champion Jackie’s Warrior cast in the role of the heavy favorite…which isn’t always a good thing at Saratoga.

Jul 28
WP Welcomes Back 'Capper Rich Eng and Three Chimneys' Tom Hamm

Richard Eng is the author of Betting on Horse Racing for Dummies. For 20 years, he was Turf Editor and Handicapper for the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Rich is a frequent guest on the show and was very informative over the months about the scene at his home base of Las Vegas. He vividly described the changes the town went through during the pandemic. Things are sunnier there now and the Del Mar summer meeting begins Friday. Del Mar is offering record overnight purses this year, as well as an enhanced bonus program for horses shipped to the state from other circuits. The boutique meet starts with the Oceanside Stakes for 3-year-olds trying the turf and it has drawn a full field. Rich will select his top contenders in this race filled with numerous betting opportunities. Back east it is Haskell Day at Monmouth Park, with a sensational card that features five graded stakes! Rich and John will discuss the Haskell itself that features two young eye-catching colts. The current “Best of the West” – Tiaba ships in to challenge “The Beast from the East” – Jack Christopher. It could be a race for the ages and will have championship implications. Gun Runner, the 2017 Horse of the Year and a leading sire, will begin covering mares for the Southern Hemisphere season. Three Chimneys is exploring the Southern Hemisphere market with its top sire, Gun Runner , without physically shuttling this year's leading second-crop sire overseas. Tom Hamm, director of stallion nominations for Three Chimneys, confirmed a report by Thoroughbred Daily News. He said Gun Runner will stand the season at the central Kentucky farm for a fee of $75,000. Tom will join the show to explain how this unique scheduling process works at the farm and what it is like to have such a valued stallion standing at Three Chimneys.

Jul 21
WP Welcomes Back ST Publishing Tom Law and HRN Ron Flatter

Who are we to break with tradition? Tom Law will make his annual rite of summer by appearing on Winning Ponies. It’s opening week of the long-awaited race meet at historic Saratoga! No team does a better job at creating the feel of a day under the ancient elms than Tom and the Clancy brothers – Joe and Sean. And no publication intimately tells stories about the people, their horses, the day’s racing amid the atmosphere of Saratoga than the “Saratoga Special.” Joining us immediately after the opening day of racing, Tom will discuss the on-going production and coverage planned for the meet. Known to make a wager on the speed of a steed, he will join John to look at the fields for the Grade 3 Forbidden Apple; Grade 3 Sanford and Grade 1 Diana Stakes featuring the undefeated Bleeker Street. Ron Flatter will be joining us to recall he life of the legendary broadcaster, gambler and horseplayer Hank “The Hammer” Goldberg I remembered in his special, pop-up episode of the Ron Flatter Racing Pod. Guests include former ESPN anchor Kenny Mayne, producers Steve Nagler and Kris Kugler and TV director Bob Fishman. Hank Goldberg was a bombastic and witty sports talk radio and television personality in Miami who became nationally known for handicapping horse races and N.F.L. games on ESPN, died on the 4th of July his 82nd birthday, at his home in Las Vegas. As a former resident of Las Vegas himself, Flatter has more than four decades of sports journalism experience spanning four networks on two continents, longtime national broadcaster and writer Ron Flatter came to Horse Racing Nation in 2020, and is now the managing editor with his move to Louisville in the spring of 2021. With horse racing part of his duties at nearly every stop of his career, Flatter has covered nearly every Triple Crown and Breeders’ Cup since 2007, missing only the 2020 races because of the pandemic. He has also covered multiple runnings of the Pegasus World Cup, the Arlington Million and the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in addition to assignments at the Dubai World Cup, British Champion Stakes and the Melbourne Cup.

Jul 14
WP Welcomes Two New Guests J. Keeler Johnson and Brien Bouyea

J. Keeler Johnson is a writer, handicapper, and horse racing historian who counts Zenyatta as his all-time favorite racehorse. He is an avid collector of horse racing books and writes regularly for, TwinSpires, Horse Racing Nation, and America's Best Racing. He will be our first guest. Brien Bouyea is the Hall of Fame and Communications Director at the National Museum of Racing, a position he has held since 2010. Prior to joining the Museum, Bouyea spent 10 years working as a sports writer and editor at the Troy Record and The Saratogian, where he won numerous national and state writing awards. He is the author of two books: “Bare Knuckles and Saratoga Racing: The Remarkable Life of John Morrissey” and co-author of “The Travers: 150 Years of Saratoga’s Greatest Race,” along with Michael Veitch. “The Travers” was a finalist for the Dr. Tony Ryan Book Award. Bouyea is also the sports editor for Saratoga Living magazine, writing mostly about horse racing and Capital Region sports. He has also done work for New York Horse magazine and the Albany Times Union. He enjoys photography, is a die-hard Boston Red Sox fan, and basically lives at Saratoga Race Course from mid-July through Labor Day when he isn’t in the Museum.

Jul 07
WinningPonies 4th of July 2022 Special

Kevin Kilroy is currently anchored in Louisville at Churchill Downs, where they will provide the on-track fireworks this Holiday weekend. The two-time National Horseplayers Championship qualifier will join John to analyze three stakes on Saturday. In the Grade 2 Stephen Foster, official 2021 Kentucky Derby winner Mandaloun will return to the site of his greatest victory where he hopes to bounce back from a disappointing ninth-place effort in the rich Saudi Cup. Two of the most consistent distaffers racing today, will square off in the Grade 2 Fleur De Lis. The headstrong Shedaresthedevil ($2,513,458) will perform her “dare you to run with me” style, against the likes of Pauline’s Pearl ($1,504,200) who has already recorded a Grade 1 win at Churchill this year. With 15 graded stakes scheduled for the 4th of July weekend, we thought we’d bring in our favorite handicapper, Ed Meyer who monitors racing from the harness tracks of the Netherlands to the match races at Cajun Downs in Louisiana. Perhaps the marquee matchup of the weekend will take place in the Grade 2 John A. Nerud Stakes at Belmont Park. The sensational Life Is Good ($3,414,200) is looking for a return to his winning ways after a fourth-place finish in the Dubai World Cup. Waiting for him is Speaker’s Corner ($672,130), a grade 1 winner who is 3 for 3 at the 7-furlong distance. Also on the handicapping menu is the Grade 2 Princess Rooney and Grade 3 Smile Sprint from Gulfstream Park.

Jun 30
WP Welcomes HBPA Exec Dave Basler and Handicapper Rich Ruda

Our good friend Jennie Rees made the following observation about our first guest on winningponies, “Dave Basler sees betting on table tennis in Asia and envisions it being replaced with horse racing in America's burgeoning sports books.” “We can fill that void a lot of times during the day so that they don't have to play table tennis from China or cricket from Australia–things that people have no idea about,” Basler, the executive director of the Ohio HBPA, said in March during a session of the National HBPA Conference at Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort. “That's not just attractive to sports books, that's attractive to horsemen and racetracks for the opportunity to increase our revenue.” “Pari-mutuel wagering is not going to be in the sports books,” Basler said. “Fixed-odds wagering will be. So we need to take advantage of that ability to bring in customers and get our product in front of millions and millions of potential new fans.” Basler said fixed odds could make “an unbettable race now a bettable race.” “There's a graded-stakes race with six horses and a 3-5 shot in there,” he said. “There's a good chance the bookmaker will take the 3-5 shot out of the pool entirely and price everybody else as if that horse weren't in the race. There are a lot of things that we don't have the ability in parimutuel pools that fixed odds can offer and perhaps enhance our product.” In addition to Basler’s views on fixed odds wagering we’ll ask him about the horsemen’s reaction to the new Horsemens' Integrity and Safety Act. The National HBPA held a national zoom conference earlier this week concerning HISA and its looming registration deadline among other new rules they would expect to see in place. The Ohio Derby itself presents a great opportunity for handicappers, with no less than three horses that competed in the Kentucky Derby in the field. The cast of competitors includes jockeys Tyler Gafflione, Irad Ortiz, Jr., Brian Hernandez. Jr., Raphael Bejarano and Kendrick Caramouche plus trainers D. Wayne Lukas, Brad Cox, Ken McPeek, Joseph Saffies, Jr. and Mike Maker. The supporting races on Saturday the $250,000 Lady Jacqueline (field of10) and two Ohio-bred stakes – the $75,000 George Lewis Memorial (field of 13) and $75,000 Daniel Stearns Cleveland Gold Cup (field of 8). Saturday is the biggest day on the Ohio racing calendar as Thistledown presents the $500,000 Gr. 3 Ohio Derby, serving as the headliner for four consecutive stakes on the card. Rich Ruda will make his annual winningponies appearance. Rich is a familiar face to fans of Thistledown as he hosted the on-air handicapping show for over a decade and he is familiar to horsemen through his work in the racing office who put together a highly competitive racing program with betting angles galore (time to pull down our E-Z Win Forms)!

Jun 23
"Winning Ponies" Welcomes 'Capper Eric Wing and Dean Mark Gill

Our first batter will be Handicapper Eric Wing. We will discuss the eventful Triple Crown season. Now that the Triple Crown is over, Mark Gill, Dean of School of Business, Equine and Sport Management will be our second guest. His discussion with John will center around Midway U., historical connection to the Equine Industry and the new career program that Mark Gill offers.

Jun 16
2022 Belmont Stakes Special Edition With Eric Reed and Byron King

It is a stellar Saturday at Belmont Park. There will be eight Grade 1 races with “The Test of the Champion,” the 1 ½ mile Belmont Stakes, serving as the headliner. Kentucky Derby winner Rich Strike is becoming the Rodney Dangerfield of the 3-year-olds. He’s getting no respect from the majority of the East Coast media and was installed at odds of 7-2 morning line and may go higher at post time. We are bringing on an integral part of the story and the observations of a national handicapper to weigh in on the $1.5 million Classic. Eric Reed, trainer of Kentucky Derby winner Rich Strike, was on “The Regular Guy Radio Show” on before and after the Kentucky Derby. A man of his word, Eric has returned to tell us about the rapid development of his muscular chestnut colt. After Eric’s post-Derby decision to rest his classic winner and point to the Belmont, Rich Strike has returned to training with vigor. We’ll get an up-to-the-minute report - straight from the horse trainer's mouth. We’ve engaged the handicapping talents of Byron King, Associate Editor of the Blood-Horse, who has been tracking the 3-year-olds through his “Derby Dozen” column. He’ll need only come up with a “Belmont Eight” on Saturday, but an interesting eight it is, with theories of the race pace scenario dominating press box conversation. We’ve engaged the handicapping talents of Byron King,Associate Editor of the Blood-Horse, who has been tracking the 3-year-oldsthrough his “Derby Dozen” column. He’ll need only come up with a “Belmont Eight” on Saturday, but an interesting eight it is, with theories of the race pace scenario dominating press box conversation. While the Belmont is “The Race of the Champion,” Byron will weigh in on several the championship match-ups that will take place leading up to the Belmont. We’ll see the multi-million-dollar earning mare Letruska take on the newly-turned 4-year-old Malathaatin the Ogden Phipps. Champion Echo Zulu faded to fourth in the Kentucky Oaks and will be shortening up to a mile in the Acorn, while 3-year-old sensation Matareya stretches out to the distance. Flightline will fly in for a rare appearance. The $1 million dollar baby has shown brilliance in every start, though he has only made three in his career. His speed figures have been through the roof, but the well-seasoned Speaker’s Corner comes into the race off three straight graded stakes wins while recoding 102+ Beyer Speed Figures.

Jun 09
WP Host Sports Media Man Ron Flatter & Quarter Guy Tom Dawson

Ron Flatter has covered the Kentucky Derby since 2007 as a paddock reporter for ESPN Radio, which won an Eclipse Award ( ( for its 2009 broadcast. He’s been covering the Triple Crown this season and his observations can be read daily in Horse Racing Nation. We’ll ask Ron to share his most vivid memories of the first two jewels of racing’s 3-year-old season and how he sees things developing as we head for “The test of the Champion” in the Belmont Stakes. A man with international bloodlines that has covered famous sporting events from around the globe, Flatter will have plenty to share about his live in various aspects of the media. From Australia to America, his career has led him from homes in California, New York and now nestled in the hear of bluegrass country. He has also covered every Triple Crown and Breeders' Cup ( since 2007 and every Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe and Arlington Million ) since2008. Flatter also covered the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa (, both for ESPN Radio and RSN927.) Additional assignments for Flatter have included the Summer Olympic Games in Los Angeles (1984), and Winter Olympics both in Salt Lake City (2002) and Vancouver (2010) plus coverage of Usain Bolt ’s world records in the IAAF World Championships at Berlin (2009). Tom Dawson, our Quarter Horse specialist, will be our guest handicapper. Some of the season’s best action will take place this Saturday at Remington Park. They will be playing host to many of the “Stars of Tomorrow” presenting 10 stakes races worth $2.5 million, with purses ranging from $30,000 to $250,000. So pull down those E-Z Win Forms from winningponies, listen to the picks provided by “The King of the Quarters” and play your best bets with for guaranteed payouts.

May 26
WP Special 2022 Preakness Edition with Tom Law and Bob Roberts

We have a plethora of Stakes races from Pimlico on both Friday and Saturday to handicap, so come on over and pull down your E-Z Win Forms, listen to the broadcast/podcast guests and dial up your Bet-U-S account and enjoy the action. The Grade 1 $1.5 million Preakness Stakes on Saturday is the focal point of the weekend. The 14 race card starts at 10:30 a.m. and in addition to the Preakness the afternoon offers three Grade 3 stakes, with the Preakness followed by the Grade1 UAE President’s Cup for Arabians. While Epicenter will be the center of attention at the betting windows, legitimate contenders will enter the starting gate including the D. Wayne Lukas-trained Kentucky Oaks winner Secret Oath. Whoever you land on, your wagering opportunities expand over the two day racing fest with the popular Black-Eyed Susan/Preakness Double. Friday showcases three Grade 3 races supporting the Grade 2 $250,000 Black-Eyed Susan. With thirteen 3-year-old fillies entered, there should be odds to your liking. They will be looking for a chink in the armor of Adore Manner, who is a Bob Baffert transfer that was most recently seen running a game 2nd in the Grade 2 Santa Anita Oaks. We are bringing in two award-winning racing writers to help unravel this ball of racing yarn – Tom Law and Bob “Railbird” Roberts. Tom Law Tom Law is the Managing Editor of ST Publishing, Inc., the award-winning publishing company that produces The Saratoga Special and Steeplechase Times. He joined the team of Sean and Joe Clancy in early 2013. Law, a native of Saratoga Springs, is currently the President of the National Turf Writers And Broadcasters, which he served as president of from 2006 to 2012. The former longtime managing editor for Thoroughbred Times, Law was recognized in 2011 with the Eclipse Award in the Multimedia/Internet category for coverage of the 2011 Breeders’ Cup. Bob “Railbird” Roberts a native Clevelander who grew up in Willowick, an eastern suburb. He knew he wanted to be a sportswriter when his father took him to an Indians game and he asked who those guys were typing on a counter top behind home plate in the upper deck of old Municipal Stadium. “They’re sportswriters,” said his dad, “that's their job.” Roberts began his career at the Mentor Morning Monitor before heading over to The News Herald where he was named sports editor in 1970 at the age of 22. Roberts was hired by The Cleveland Press in 1973 and returned to The News Herald when The Press folded in1982. The Cleveland Plain Dealer hired Bob in 1985 and he remained there for over 20 years before accepting a buyout in 2006. Roberts is a multiple award winning writer who has covered racing for the Cleveland Press and Plain Dealer for over 40 years. His duties included his daily selections. Roberts covered every Kentucky Derby from Secretariat to Barbaro and is an avid handicapping contest participant.

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May 19
Derby Winning Trainer Eric Reed and Jockey's Agent Jeff Perrin

Only one podcast featured trainer Eric Reed BEFORE the Kentucky Derby – Winninponies. After the Run for the Roses, Eric stopped his State Trooper escort to come over to our host John Engelhardt. Giving each other a big bearhug, Eric said, “My Man! I’ll be on your show this week too.” A man of his word, no matter how swamped he is with the media camped out along the entrance to his Mercury Training Facility, he will be our first guest. It's only a short time before movie producers are wrestling over the rights to “The Rich Strike Story.” We’ll let Eric describe his early years with his wife Kay and the building blocks to their success at blue-collar tracks to the creation of their Mercury Training Facility, the tragic fire where they lost 23 horses, and the shot in the arm they got from horsemen around to country to rebuild their facility. Oh yes, there’s a great story about winning the Kentucky Derby Eric needs to tell us about too! This year’s Kentucky Derby was a point in time for the spotlight to shine on many of “the little guys” that make the racing game a great one. Our second guest will be making a return appearance, Jeff Perrin is the agent for Derby winning jockey Sonny Leon. Relatively an unknown until Saturday, Leon, 32, is a native of Venezuela and rides regularly in Ohio at Belterra Park and Mahoning Valley where he has earned multiple riding titles. The Kentucky Derby was Leon’s first graded stakes win. Since coming to the United States in 2015, Leon has won 770 races from 5,176 mounts with purse earnings of more than $15 million. Jeff Perrin is an interesting story in himself. A native of Australia, we’ll learn how he became involved in the sport and his years long relationship with Sonny.

May 12
2022 Kentucky Derby/Oaks Special Presentation

It's here! Kentucky Derby and Oaks days, let the racing begin. Two solid days of high stakes racing with the best competitors from around the world assembled beneath the Twin Spires of Churchill Downs. Well, we have assembled a top trio of nationally recognized handicappers representing every region of the U.S. to weigh in on their selections. First up will be TVG’s west coast-based Rich Perloff, who will deliver his opinions with the succinct style he developed back in his days as a college professor. Not assigned to any specific geographic area of the racing circuit, Rich is called upon to cover racing from coast to coast and passes along his observations with solid rationale. His ability to put horses from all points on the map in a place where they will compete together will be put to the test in the days ahead. Dan Illman of the Daily Racing Form will not be sipping Mint Juleps from Millionaire’s Row while picking the ponies this weekend and will be our second guest. He will be piloting the DRF starship from his New York base where he produces an array of video analysis of all the major racing with his handicapping partner Mike Beer(seen on While he was raised on Big Apple racing, he has no problem taking a few bites off the buffet of healthy race action from around the country. We would be remiss not to include a Kentucky-based handicapper to round out our trifecta of prognosticators and former Winningponies host Ed Meyer will put on his hard boots and wade into the waters and come up with a few “big ones.” A player in the Bluegrass since he could steal daily double money from his father’s coat pocket, Ed will bring his many years of expertise to the table for these two huge days of betting opportunity. With the pools that will be overinflated from money around the world, there is no better chance to score on some real “value” odds that will be available throughout the two days of non-stop quality racing at Churchill Downs. So listen to the experts opinions, combine those with betting strategies garnered from the E-Z Win Forms at and play as you please with the proven mainstay in the industry, Bet-U-S dot com. You bet. You win. You get paid.

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May 05
WP Welcomes Back Trainer Eric Reed and Writer Richard Eng

?Eric Reed is a lifetime horseman from a family of horsemen. His father Herbert trained for over 40 years apprenticing under the guidance of Mack Miller. Eric has trained since 1983 and has grown up with horses his entire life. The racing game has provided Eric and his wife Kay with unique, potentially career changing situations – none like the one they face in the days ahead. Like a kid waiting to get picked for a spot on the school yard baseball team, Eric is on the outside looking in, hoping to get in the Kentucky Derby game with his 3-year-old colt Rich Strike who sits three horses deep on the also-eligible list. What’s most amazing is not the fact that he has a Derby hopeful, it’s the fact that he is still in the racing game at all. In 2016, a devastating fire swept through one of the main barns at their Mercury Training Center and the Reed’s lost 23 thoroughbreds in the tragedy. Facing a mound of financial and emotional challenges after the gut-wrenching event, the Reeds had to give thought to changing careers paths. Horsemen from all parts of the country came to the aid of the Reeds in an overwhelming display of support. Mercury Training Center has literally “risen from the ashes.” Through the on-going backing of his loyal owners, Mercury is back in business. We will talk to Eric about the rebuilding that took place at Mercury and his hopes for his graded stakes-placed Rich Strike to work into a spot in the gate for the Kentucky Derby. Rich Eng is the author of 'Betting on Horse Racing for Dummies' and can be found almost daily on Race Day Las Vegas with handicapper Ralph Siraco, their programs are broadcast live on 1400 KSHPAM and streamed live on the internet. While Rich specializes in the west coast action, come Derby time he has an international view on cashing tickets. Rich will join us on the show not only to discuss this year’s Kentucky Derby and Oaks, but to talk about the project he has in re-issuing 'Betting on Horse Racing for Dummies' with an updated look at the new basic tools one has to start at the betting window. For 20 years, he was Turf Editor and Handicapper for the Las Vegas Review-Journal. You can follow him on Twitter @RichEng4ProPick and on Facebook.

Apr 28
WP Welcomes DRF Matt Bernier and Oaklawn's Nancy Holtus

Matt Bernier's style and presence on “Horseplayers” led to a position with the Daily Racing Form, evolving into several on-air hosting appearances on major broadcasts ,including a recent trip to cover the rich Saudi Cup. Bernier’s meteoric rise through his appearances on and television experience has grown into his own show on YouTube -“The Matt Bernier Show.” It’s hard to believe that he is currently airing his Episode 112! Matt’s delivery has really hit a comfort zone where he discusses intelligently and passionately the top races he reviews and previews. This week’s show highlighted his views on the Kentucky Oaks – and that’s where the discussion will begin. There has been some outstanding racing at the Oaklawn Park Meet in 2022 and there is a delicious, Grade 1, $1 million Apple Blossom awaiting an extremely talented field. Over half of the abbreviated field are millionaires including two champions – Letruska and Ce Ce. Nancy Ury-Holthus does an outstanding job of preparedness for each, and every race. We’ll reflect on the season in Hot Springs and see what races left the most impression on her. In addition to examining the Apple Blossom we’ll analyze the Grade 2, $1 million Oaklawn Handicap where the invader Fearless will take on the hometown hopes that last finished 1-2-3-4in the Grade 3 Essex Handicap. A native of Hot Springs, Ark., Nancy Ury-Holthus joined the broadcast team at Indiana Grand in 2014 as the on-air paddock analyst. She has served in that capacity for more than a decade, including a position as host and handicapper for TVG. She currently works as the on-air racing analyst and media coordinator at Oaklawn Park in Arkansas during the winter months. Holthus’ background in racing is very extensive, as she has also served in several key capacities at racetracks, including stall superintendent for 10 years at Hollywood Park as well as racing office positions at Arlington Park. Holthus and her husband, Paul, a Thoroughbred trainer, oversee a stable of a dozen horses, creating a racing circuit between Oaklawn Park and Indiana Grand. She has also served as part of the broadcast team at Arlington Park for the Illinois Derby in its final years

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Apr 21
WP Welcomes Jay Privman and Quarter Horse Expert Tom Dawson

Jay Privman covers the Southern California circuit plus such national events as the Triple Crown and Breeders' Cup. He is the author of Breeders' Cup: Thoroughbred Racing's Championship Day and a contributor to Champions, and is a six-time winner of the Red Smith Award for best Kentucky Derby story, among numerous other writing honors. He joined Daily Racing Form in 1998. He will join John with his opinion about this year's Kentucky Derby. Our second guest is a newcomer to this show. His name Tom Dawson quarter Horse expert. Tom was Racing Secretary at Ruidoso Downs, Albuquerque and Sunland Park from 1972 to 1978; then he was Analyst for live QH racing telecasts for All American Network from 1974 to 1980. From 1981 to 2002 he was Analyst and Co-producer for Syndicated and ESPN QH live racing telecasts. From 1998 to 2006 he was also Racing correspondent for America's Horse, Racehorse Digest and Wire to Wire on ESPN. From 1987 to 2009 Tom was Lead Horse Racing producer for ESPN Thoroughbred racing (over 500 network shows). From 2005 to 2013 he was Host of AQHA Live Racing Awards Announcements. From 2011 to 2018 he was Writer/Producer for AQHA Hall of Fame Kiosk. All American Futurity video history. in 2014-2015 Tom was an Associate Producer of Fox Sports 1 Thoroughbred Racing Series. From 2006 to Present Tom was segment producer for Breeders' Cup Coverage on ESPN and NBC. And from 2010 to Present Tom was Producer and host of various QH racing video projects and webcasts. From 2016 to 2020 Tom was Co-producer and analyst for Ride TV QH racing coverage. And from 2020 to Present he was Coordinating producer and Analyst for Cowboy Channel QH racing coverage. He will chat with our host on Quarter Horses.

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Apr 14
WP Welcomes Handicapper Tom Quigley and Race Caller Ed Meyer

Long a fixture on the rail near the paddock at Del Mar, Tom Quigley has parlayed his perfect attendance at the races into a full-time, year-round job. It became known as Quigley's Corner and now has a sign in place during the race meet. Santa Anita offers 12 races and 5 are graded stakes events highlighted by the G1 $750,000 Santa Anita Derby. We will see several horses that have entered “The Bob Baffert Transfer Portal” in action. In the Derby, two stablemates to square off are Messier, a 2-time graded stakes winner coming off his seasonal debut win in the R.B. Lewis vs. Tabia, a $1.7 million colt who popped some eyes with career debut 103 Beyer. They will have their work cut out with Forbidden Kingdom in the field after winning all of the major stepping stones to this race. The G2 Santa Anita Oaks offers 100-40-20-10 Ky Oaks points. Adare Manor, another transfer from Baffert's barn, broke her maiden on third try and then won the Las Virgenes (G3) by 13 lengths. Also formerly trained by Baffert, Under the Stars will try to punch her ticket for the Ky Oaks. She had a great prep with a closing rally to just miss in the Santa Ysabel. We were able to grab our favorite racing guru Ed Meyer in a rare scheduling lull as he transfers his talents from Florence, KY to Cincinnati, OH. He’s going to do a deep dive into as many stakes as he can, including several Derby/Oaks preps. The G2 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct is offering 100-40-20-10 Ky Derby points. Morello won the Gotham (G3) by 3 1/2 lengths. Early Voting beat Un Oho by 4 1/2 lengths in the Withers (G3). Mo Donegal was third in the Holy Bull (G3) in his only start since winning the Remsen. Barese is 3-for-3, with wins in his last two starts. The Gazelle (G3) at Aqueduct is offering 100-40-20-10 Ky Oaks points. Venti Valentine had her only loss coming by a neck to Nest in the Demoiselle. Last out, she beat Shotgun Hottie– also expected here – by 7 lengths in the Busher Invitational. Classy Edition also had her only loss to undefeated Kathleen O. in the Davona Dale (G2). Keeneland has a sensational Saturday program, headed by Smile Happy who rallied to finish second to Epicenter last out in the Risen Star (G2), his first start since scoring in the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) last fall. Zandon's third-place finish in the Risen Star was his first start since a runner-up effort in the Remsen (G2). D. Wayne Lukas' other 3-year-old, Ethereal Road, was beaten a half-length by Un Ojo in the Rebel (G2). Blackadder, a former Bob Baffert trainee, is expected here after new trainer Rodolphe Brisset scratched him from the Jeff Ruby Steaks (G1). The Ashland (G1), their Oaks points race will help open the Keeneland Spring Meet on Friday. Nest won the Demoiselle (G2) to close out 2021 and won the listed Suncoast in January. Happy Soul's win in the Dixie Bell at Oaklawn was her 1st start since June. Miss Mattie B was third in the Santa Ynez (G2) before her 5th place finish in the Rachel Alexandra (G2).

Apr 07
WP Welcomes Back Race Caller Pete Aiello & Blood-Horse Byron King

Pete Aiello is more than just the booming voice who has mastered the art of storytelling as a live event unfolds at Gulfstream Park, he is a keen student of the game. Pete will join us to pass along a few gems he may have unearthed through his binoculars while watching many of Saturday’s entrants in competition. Pete has a long day in store for him with the first of fourteen races starting at 11:30 a.m. There will be six graded stakes on the card headed by two 100-40-20-10 points races for the Kentucky Derby and Oaks. The post position draw for the Grade 1, $1 million Florida Derby was very fair to the top contenders with the short run to the first turn in the 1 1/8-mile race at Gulfstream Park. None of the four morning-line favorites drew outside post 7, which is where Holy Bull winner White Abarrio will break. He was established as the 3-1 second choice on the morning line behind 5-2 favorite Simplication, who came back from his second-place finish in the Holy Bull to win the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth with authority, under Jose Ortiz four weeks later. Simplification, who has trained extremely well since the Fountain of Youth, drew post 3 with Ortiz again named to ride. Tyler Gaffalione takes his regular seat astride White Abarrio. Both multiple graded stakes winner Classic Causeway, the likely pacesetter, and last-out maiden breaker Charge It were set at 7-2 in the morning line. In the Grade 2, $250,000 Gulfstream Park Oaks Todd Pletcher-trained Goddess of Fire has been given morning line odds of 9 to 5 off her game second-place effort in the Grade 2 Rachel Alexandra at Fair Grounds. So, who is the second favorite, you may ask? SHE IS! Kathleen O has been instilled as the early favorite at odds of 4 to 5. Trained by Shug McGaughey, she is now undefeated in three starts, and has two stakes wins at Gulfstream Park, her last being an impressive effort in the Grade 2 Davona Dale. Byron King, Associate Editor of The Blood-Horse has been giving us updates on his weekly “Derby Dozen” and he will join us to talk about this week’s shake ups and this weekend's potential bracket busters. We’ll discuss Epicenter’s eye-popping performance while setting a track record in the Louisiana Derby. Saturday’s Grade 1 Arkansas Derby features D. Wayne Lukas-trained filly Secret Oath taking on the boys and at Turfway Park a very talented group of synthetic and turf performers will vie to take the Animal Kingdom route to Louisville via the Grade 3, $600,000 Jeff Ruby Steaks.

Mar 31
WP Welcomes Reporter Kevin Kilroy and Author T.D. Thornton

Kevin Kilroy has been our “boots on the ground” reporter from the Fair Grounds this season as he performs his duties unearthing gems on the backstretch to share with the media. He’s been a busy man this week as the Fair Grounds will play host to 8stakes races on Saturday – 4 of them graded. Kentucky Derby and Oaks hopefuls can garner plenty of points now that we have entered into the 100-40-20-10 points stratosphere. The $1million Grade 2 Louisiana Derby is a race ripe for a new star to shine. Asmussen trained Epicenter has become the hometown hero. He closed ’21 with a win in the Gun Runner here and he has already recorded a head-bob defeat in the Grade 3 Lecomte and went wire to wire with an easy win last out in the Grade 2 Risen Star. Asmussen could pull a Oaks-Derby double as champion Echo Zulu makes her seasonal debut in the Grade 2, $400,000 event. Kevin Kilroy is the Publicity Specialist at Fair Grounds, working with Joe Kristufek doing racing analysis, notes writing, and social media. A two-time National Horseplayers Championship qualifier, he finished 21st in 2021. He specializes in trip handicapping, creative analysis, and finding reasons a horse will improve. His love of the sport began in Chicago at Hawthorne Race Course and Arlington Park. Prior to this, he taught for fifteen years, most recently at the Kansas City Art Institute. An author of three books, his novel The Chicago Window came out in 2020 from Spuyten Duyvil Books. Follow him on Twitter/Instagram@KilroyHorseFG. At this time of the season, T.D. Thornton gives out his observations on the top Kentucky Derby contenders each week in the Thoroughbred Daily News. There is not much in the world of racing that Thornton can’t speak pointedly about. He and John will discuss a myriad of topics leading up to Thornton’s latest Derby list. Here is how he describes himself and some of the books he has authored and positions he has held. I'm a Boston-based writer who aspires to give a voice to dark, edgy characters lurking far beneath the radar of mainstream media. Gamblers, grifters, hustlers, prize fighters and racetrackers are among my most appealing characters, and I have a keen interest in writing about “low” subjects with a literary twist. My Adventures with Your Money: George Graham Rice and the Golden Age of the Con Artist details the flair and showmanship of America’s greatest swindler. His first book should be on every racing lover’s reading list. Not by a Long Shot—A Season at a Hard-Luck Horse Track, chronicled a year at a blue-collar racetrack. In 2008 Long Shot won the Dr. Tony Ryan Book Award and was named a Highly Recommended finalist for the Massachusetts Book Award.

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Mar 24
WP Hosts National Turf Writer Gary West & HorseTourney Eric Wing

National Turf writer Gary West will be joining us in the first segment. He recently penned an article about the growth of the racing and breeding program in his current home state in the Lonestar State. Through his years of writing about racing, he has always kept an eye on Kentucky Derby hopefuls and we will have him weigh in on this year's top contenders. We will also ask Gary about the ‘Baffert Boondoggle” created by his participation in the Derby points races and what the future path of his stable may be. HorseTourney’s Eric Wing will join us to share his experiences at the National Handicapping Championship in Las Vegas this year. He will also update us on this week’s Handicapping Contests offered (a great opportunity for finding hidden winners with our E-Z Win Forms.) Eric and John will join forces to find the contenders and pretenders in two graded stakes at Oaklawn Park. First up in the newly named $200,000 Whitmore, named for the local legend himself. Appropriately, the top contenders have a fondness for the Hot Springs oval headed by recent winner of the $150,000 King Cotton Stakes at the 6-panel distance – Bob’s Edge. The $500,000 Essex at 1 1/16 miles brought together a highly competitive field, and a local hopeful heads the field. Brad Cox-trainee Plainsman made his seasonal debut in the Grade 3 Razorback and proved he was ready to roll with a determined neck victory. “Horse for Course?” Plainsman has a 10-3-2-1 record at Oaklawn and has walked away with $521,992.

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Mar 17
WP Welcomes HBPA CEO Eric Hamelback and TVG Matt Carothers

Eric Hamelback is the CEO of the National Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association and will be our first guest. The annual HBPA Conference was recently held in Hot Springs and numerous topics that stand to affect the sport of horse racing for years to come. There was a thought-provoking opening speech by 86-year-old Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas that opened the event, stressing trainers to be “Ambassadors of Racing”. Key subjects that were addressed, that Eric will weigh in on include the status on the Horse Racing Integrity Act. Hamelback is the former general manager of Frank Stronach’s Adena Springs Farm and resides in Paris, Ky. with his wife Debra and two children. Originally from Frierson, Louisiana Hamelback attended Louisiana State University where he graduated in 1993 with a Bachelor of Science in Animal Systems. He and his family moved to Paris Kentucky in 2008 after living in the Versailles/Midway Kentucky area for 8 years and then in Ocala Florida for 5years. As CEO of the National HBPA, Eric serves as representative for the largest horsemen’s group in North America. Currently he represents the National HBPA and its member horsemen on several of industry boards which include the American Horse Council Racing Committee, the Unwanted Horse Council Education Committee, the RMTC, the NTRA Safety Alliance, the Racing Officials Accreditation Program, as well as the Racing Commissioners International. TVG analyst and on-air personality Matt Carothers will return to Winningponies to preview an outstanding card on Saturday at Tampa Bay Downs. Matt has made Tampa Bay Downs one of his key tracks to follow during the cooler months and he will be at the track to give his updated reports on TVG throughout the afternoon. Matt’s presence at the track on Saturday will be of special importance as local forecasters are calling for a 100% chance of rain. While there may well be scratches and surface changes due to the weather, it didn’t chase any horses out of the day’s headliner. A capacity field of 12 3-year-olds was entered here Wednesday for the Tampa Bay Derby, the only points qualifier toward the May 7 Kentucky Derby scheduled for this weekend or next. According to last week’s guest on the show, the Daily Racing Form’s Marty McGee, Chad Brown was among the high-profile trainers phoning the Tampa racing office when making something of a surprise entry with the flashy debut winner Money Supply, who earned a 91 Beyer Speed Figure in winning a six-furlong maiden-special that opened the Sam F. Davis card here Feb. 12. Jose Ortiz, who rode Money Supply that day, will be back from Gulfstream Park to ride the Practical Joke colt when being flown in Saturday morning with his older brother, Irad, who has a return mount on the clear-cut race favorite, Classic Causeway. A 3 3/4 length winner of the Davis, Classic Causeway will take plenty of beating with a repeat effort in the Grade 2, $350,000 Tampa Bay Derby.

Mar 10
WP Welcomes Back DRF Marty McGee and Blood-Horse Byron King

Daily Racing Form’s Eclipse Award-winning Marty McGee will be our first guest. He’s been “boots on the ground” these past weeks on the backstretch of Gulfstream Park (when he’s not feet in the sand, drink in hand, outside of his bachelor bungalow in Hollywood. He’s seen most of the runners and spoken to the trainers and now he’s ready to tackle Saturday’s amazing card that offers eight graded stakes races including two important points races (50-20-10-5). The Gr. 2, $400,000 Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth has drawn an overflow field of 3-year-old colts and geldings. There are angles galore that await handicappers. Gr. 1 winner Rattle N Roll will make his long-awaited seasonal debut for trainer Ken McPeek. Three local challengers that should get backing at the windows are Simplification and Mo Donegal, the 2-3 finishers in the Gr. 3 Holy Bull and Dean Delivers who earned a hard-fought second in the Gr. 3 Swale. There does seem to be a clear favorite in the Gr. 2, $200,000 Davona Dale Stakes for the 3-year-old fillies. Girl With a Dream seems to check all the right boxes – has won over four different surfaces, including her last start in the Gr. 3 Forward Gal here; she has a top trainer with Brad Cox; excellent rider in Luis Saez; seems to relish the longer distances with a front-running style. The 1 Mile distance seems like a most logical and progressive step in her career. Byron King, Associate Editor at the Blood-Horse, is fresh off a “Road Trip to Hot Springs” to continue his quest for the very finest horses to include in his weekly “Derby Dozen” column for the Blood-Horse. From his clandestine view behind the grassy knoll at Oaklawn Park, King’s binoculars gave him a view of the opposite ends of racing’s predictability. In the Honeybee, a steppingstone to the Ky. Oaks, D. Wayne Lukas-trained Secret Oath smashed the field by 7 ½ lengths covering the 1 1/16 miles in 1:44.74 (a full second faster than the boys would run the Rebel) to return $2.60 to her many backers. King may have to add her to his “Dozen” in the future as Lukas has left the door open for a potential Derby run…shades of Winning Colors. The $1million Rebel left plenty of questions unanswered and a little less cash in most pockets as one-eyed longshot Un Ojo popped to the wire in the final yards to record a $152.80 upset. Only ½ length behind was Ethereal Road, another D.Wayne Lukas-trained steed that could make a heavenly trip to Louisville. We’ll ask Byron to weigh in on two weekend Derby preps that could shuffle the “Dozen”– the San Felipe (G2), 1 1/16 miles, 50-20-10-5 Kentucky Derby points which is part of the sensational graded stakes Saturday at Santa Anita as well as the Gotham (G3) at Aqueduct going a mile.

Mar 03
WP Welcomes Back TVG Host Nancy Ury-Holthus and HRN Brian Zipse

A native of Hot Springs, Ark., Nancy Ury-Holthus joined the broadcast team at Indiana Grand in 2014 as the on-air paddock analyst. She has served in that capacity for more than a decade, including a position as host and handicapper for TVG. She currently works as the on-air racing analyst and media coordinator at Oaklawn Park in Arkansas during the winter months. That pristine track in Hot Springs plays host on Saturday to two major Kentucky Derby and Oaks points races and Nancy will give us her “boots on the ground” insights. A $1 million purse and Derby Dreams has drawn a field of eleven 3-year-olds into the gate for the Rebel Stakes (G2). Trainer Bob Baffert has won this race eight times, including the last two with Concert Tour (2021) and Nadal (2020). The white-haired wonder appears to be holding all the cards once again as he comes into the race with the undefeated Newgrange. Derby points be damned, he’s running to collect the winner’s $600,000. The $300,000 Honeybee (G3) attracted a field that seems to have no clear favorite. A fan favorite will be D. Wayne Lukas-trained Secret Oath. Lukas won the first four runnings of this race from ’88-’91 and accounted for another score in 2007. Secret Oath has shown quite a fondness for the Oaklawn oval. She won with authority by 8 ¼ in her regional bow and followed that with a 7 ¼ victory in the $200,000 Martha Washington at the 1 1/16th mile Honeybee distance. Ury-Holthus’ background in racing is very extensive, as she has also served in several key capacities at racetracks, including stall superintendent for 10 years at Hollywood Park as well as racing office positions at Arlington Park. She has also served as part of the former broadcast team at Arlington Park for the Illinois Derby in its final years. Brian Zipse has been a frequent guest on the show. Formerly the Managing Editor of HorseRacing Nation, the fastest growing racing news site on the Internet, Brian also is the co-host with Matt Shifman of the weekly podcast “Horsecenter” on YouTube. Brian has been following the field for the $20 million Saudi Cup that will feature the newly-crowned 2021 Kentucky Derby winner Mandaloun. The now 4-year-old Mandaloun and Midnight Bourbon are expected to meet again here after finishing 1-2 in the Louisiana (G3) last out. Ireland-bred Mishriff won last year's edition and would become the highest-earning racehorse of all time with another win. He finished fourth last out in the Champion Stakes (G1), which was won by Sealiway, also expected here. Marche Lorraine returns here after her upset win in the Breeders' Cup Distaff. Mishriff landed in the extreme outside gate 14 at Wednesday's post position draw for the $20-million world's richest race. Juddmonte's Mandaloun, who won the Louisiana S. (G3) on Jan. 22, drew gate 6. He also won last year's Haskell Invitational S. (G1) through the disqualification of Hot Rod Charlie due to interference, and thus Mandaloun looks to hit the wire first.

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Feb 24
WP Welcomes HRN Writer Eric Mitchell and Handicapper Matt Shifman

The National Thoroughbred Racing Association, Daily Racing Form, and the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters announced Jan. 6 the winners of the 2021 Media Eclipse Awards in six categories. One recipient is BloodHorse's Eric Mitchell. In Tracks Join Rallying Cry to End Cargo Shipping, Eric Mitchell investigated the deplorable conditions of racehorses shipped by boat in steel container boxes from the United States to Puerto Rico, and the response of American racetracks to this much-criticized practice. The article was published on Aug. 24, 2021. Eric will join John to share with us the many paths he had to take to create his Eclipse-Award winning story and give us any updates on the practice of this shipping. Matt Shifman has been a devoted fan of thoroughbred racing and handicapping since childhood, going to the races with his father at Aqueduct, Belmont Park, and Monmouth Park from their home in Central New Jersey. Since 2011, Matt has been the New York and Monmouth Park Correspondent at Horse Racing Nation where he is currently a Senior Writer. He also co-hosts the popular weekly video show Horse Center with Brian Zipze, which can be seen on YouTube. The Fair Grounds will feature no less than five stakes in their full 13-race Saturday card. Matt and John will analyze several of the stakes including both of the “Points” races for the Kentucky Derby and Oaks. The points system bumps up a level in the scoring as the races are worth 50-20-10-5. The $400,000 G2 Risen Star for the boys has brought together a field of ten colts that have Derby Dreams stretching out to 1 1/8 miles. Early attention is going to the Ken McPeek trained Smile Happy, who was last seen winning the G2 Kentucky Jockey Club at Churchill Downs on November 27. Trainer Chad Brown brings the highly regarded Zandon to New Orleans. In the G2 Remsen at Aqueduct, he lost by a head-bob after a strong stretch duel at the 1 1/8 distance. A field of eleven fillies will match strides at 1 1/16 in the G2 $300,000 Rachel Alexandra. Their resumes boast 4 stakes winners, 3 graded stakes winners and 3 that were graded stakes-placed. The connections of Dream Lith are hoping to return to Churchill Downs where she captured the G2 Golden Rod in her last outing. The mystery filly is Brad Cox trained Turnerloose who has never started over a dirt oval, while earning $351,300 from two wins, including the $500,000 Juvenile Fillies at Kentucky Downs. You can follow Matt Shifman on Twitter@AndyScoggin. Matt is also a voter for the weekly NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll and a partner in the NY Hot List which provides handicapping services to ADWs around the country. Matt Shifman was recently named the winner of the 2021 Bill Handleman Award for outstanding coverage of the Haskell Stakes.

Feb 17
Jennie Rees, Byron King and Vic Stauffer Guests on WinningPonies

This week’s show has so much information we had to bring in three guests. Billy Reed, a well-known, accomplished sportswriter in Kentucky and a three-time Eclipse Award-winning turf writer, died Feb. 5 in Louisville, Ky. He was 79. He served as president of the National Turf Writers Association (now the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters) from 1988-90. His three Eclipse Awards came when writing for the Louisville Courier-Journal (1979), Lexington Herald-Leader (1988), and Thoroughbred Times (2008). Multiple Eclipse Award winner Jennie Rees worked alongside Reed covering racing in Louisville for decades. She will join us to put Reed’s career in perspective. Leading up to the Kentucky Derby, Byron King updates his weekly “Derby Dozen” on every Tuesday. He will join us on a regular basis as the Derby Preps take more focus leading up to the 1st Saturday in May. According to King, “In years past, a 15-length score in the Robert B. Lewis Stakes (G3) from a horse like Messier ( would have vaulted such a 3-year-old toward the top of the Derby Dozen, but not in 2022 with Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert suspended by Churchill Downs Inc. Barring a change in the status of Baffert trainees (i.e. barn switch, legal action), no cracking the 'Dozen for such types for now.” His current top three are: Rattle N Roll, Smile Happy and Zandon. Vic Stauffer has a long resume in the world of racing. While familiar to most as the current voice of Oaklawn Park, he’s called races at Gulfstream Park, Hialeah Park, Hawthorne Race Course, and spent 13 years at Hollywood Park in California. He has also earned two Eclipse Awards for radio and broadcast. He’s also served stints as a jockey agent and is an accomplished handicapper. Stauffer will join us to discuss his “Life and Times” in the sport and of his new home base in Hot Springs. We’ll ask him for his opinion of the Derby preps thus far and his impression of Newgrange, who remained unbeaten in three starts, when he forged past the leaders late for a 1 1/2-length win over Barber Road in the Grade 3, $750,000 Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park. There are two graded stakes carded for Saturday. Distaffers will match strides for $250,000 in the Bayakoa. Super Stock, the winner of last year’s Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn, is on pace to launch his 4-year-old season Feb. 12 in the Grade 3, $600,000 Razorback, said trainer Steve Asmussen. The Razorback will be run over 1 1/16 miles. Super Stock won the Zia Park Derby at the distance in November. The earner of $1.1 million races for Erv Woolsey and Asmussen’s parents, Keith and Marilyn Asmussen.

Feb 10
WP Welcomes Handicapper Brad Free & Writer Bob 'Railbird Roberts

Have a seat, get comfortable, curb your enthusiasm, and tighten your seat belt as we start the roller coaster ride called “The Road to the Kentucky Derby and Oaks.” This week, there are five “points” races (10-4-2-1) from coast to coast – no better time to pull down those EZ-Win Forms from Brad Free is based in Southern California covering Santa Anita, Del Mar, Fairplex, and Hollywood Park. He joined Daily Racing Form in 1992 and is the author of Handicapping 101: Finding the Right Horses and Making the Right Bets. Brad provides a daily analysis of the races. Each day during the meet, Brad Free offers his insight and analysis of the entire card. Santa Anita will offer points for both sexes on Sunday when they present the Gr. 3 Las Virgenes for fillies and the Gr. 3 Robert B. Lewis for colts and geldings. We’ll ask Brad to go outside his comfort zone and analyze the Gr. 3 Withers Stakes at Aqueduct. Our second guest handicapper will be turf writer Bob “Railbird” Roberts who likes to take his mind off the Cleveland winters by focusing his sights on the warm Gulfstream Park meet. Roberts began his career at the Mentor Morning Monitor before heading over to The News Herald where he was named sports editor in 1970 at the age of 22. The Cleveland Plain Dealer hired Bob in 1985 and he remained there for over 20 years before accepting a buyout in 2006. Roberts is a multiple award-winning writer who has covered racing for the Cleveland Press and Plain Dealer for over 40 years. His duties included his daily “Railbird” selections. Roberts has covered every Kentucky Derby from Secretariat to Barbaro and is an avid handicapping contest participant.

Feb 03
WP Welcomes Back Race Caller Pete Aiello & Blood-Horse Byron King

The man behind the microphone at Gulfstream Park, Pete Aiello will join us to dissect their most outstanding day of racing. There will be six graded stakes races for Pete to put paint with his colorful litany of story lines and pinpoint race calls. In what may go down as one of the best races of the year 11 months from now, will pit two of the most talented horses currently in training against each other – probable 2021 Horse of the Year Knicks Go against the near-perfect Life is Good in the Grade 1 Pegasus World Cup. Leading up to the day’s main event is a talent-laden undercard. The two turf tests are the Grade 1 Pegasus World Cup Invitational and Grade 3 Pegasus Filly& Mare. The competition continues on the main track with the Grade 2 Inside Information; Grade3 Fred W. Hooper; and Grade 3 Wm. McKnight. Pete will familiarize us with the top competitors of each test. Byron King from the Blood-Horse will weigh in on the much-anticipated Pegasus World Cup and then take a turn on the weekend’s handicapping map and head for Hot Springs. Spotlight on the 3-year-olds will take place on Saturday in the $750,000 Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park. Post positions were drawn Monday for the Southwest, along with two other stakes races Jan. 29. The 1 1/16-mile Southwest is Oaklawn’s second of four Kentucky Derby points races, offering 17 to the top four finishes (10-4-2-1) toward starting eligibility for the Kentucky Derby. Dash Attack, Barber Road, Ignitis, Vivar and Barber Road, the 1-2-3-5-7 finishers, respectively, in the $250,000 Smarty Jones Stakes Jan. 1 are expected to return for the Southwest. The 1-mile Smarty Jones was Oaklawn’s first Kentucky Derby points race. From there, Saturday’s 3-year-old action switched to Santa Anita. The Grade 2, $200,000 San Vicente is a west coast “stepping stone” race that will be contested at 7 furlongs. What has come to serve as the norm in such events, Bob Baffert will enter three impeccably bred colts as they take their baby steps to the Santa Anita Derby.

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Jan 27