Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Some of my fondest memories of my time at Sam Houston Race Park came during the Kentucky Derby and Breeders' Cup when all of us handicapping "experts" would gather together and do seminars to alert the masses as to who we liked in each of the races. Many of these seminars led to spirited discussion between myself and other former SHRP employees, Dr. Reid McLellan and Martha Claussen and local handicappers like ESPN Radio's Fred Faour and SHRP handicapping champion, Nick Tammaro. More often than not, we would amuse ourselves and the crowd through our comments and antics.

One event I particularly remember is the 1999 Breeders' Cup run at Gulfstream Park in Florida. The reason this one stands out is because we took a different approach to our seminar that year. Rather than gather the crowd together in one place and relay our picks, we decided that year to appear on our simulcast signal and the televisions throughout the facility from the TV studio at Sam Houston. So, Reid, Martha, and I all piled into the studio and set up in there to give out our picks and, as usual, we had our share of successes and failures throughout the day.

The one race that still excites me, though, was the Mile. I was the only one of the three of us touting Silic at all. Reid and Martha did not have the horse anywhere in their selections, so I was somewhat stepping out on the limb with my fellow handicappers. We retired to the press box to watch the race and since we were racing that day, I was under strict orders from Martha (my boss at the time) not to yell AT ALL during any part of the Breeders' Cup program so I could save my voice to call the race card. Well, I simply couldn't help myself and cheered Silic all the way in from the point he took the lead in the stretch, much to Martha's chagrin. Needless to say, I reappeared on camera for the next handicapping segment with a slightly more cheery outlook than my two handicapping partners and was able to hold it over both of them for quite some time.

Tune in tomorrow for more from They Are Off. For right now, I am Gone... GOODBYE!
Photo courtesy of alydar.com

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