Friday, May 10, 2013

Brand New Ending (aka Opening Day at Monmouth Park '13)

“Although no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.”  - Carl Bard

The last few days have been filled with great anticipation knowing the Monmouth Park 2013 meet kicks off tomorrow.  Fellow bloggers and twitter followers/followees have been buzzing about the upcoming meet.  This time last year we were stuck with 4njbets, now we are all using TVG.  Last year the racing season was in doubt, this year it is back and Monmouth has some plans for the future.

It has been a bit of an up and down year so far (down when it mattered most - Monmouth SSC#3); but a solid effort with the Atlantic City turf meet and a renewed interest (and a lot of hours fooling around with data files and excel) have me excited for the Monmouth meet this year.  Not only is the track 5.4 miles door-to-door from my office (anyone up for a lazy Friday afternoon in the picnic area?), I am also more excited this year about the beginning of this meet and feeling positive on how I will fare by the end than the last couple meets.

Monmouth has always been my bread-and-butter track.  I learned a great deal about racing and handicapping from my late uncle 'Dutch' at his home away from home over some summers in my formative teen years.  I remember taking the early morning backstretch tour with my family and watching my grandmother bet $2 to show on every gray (amazingly, I don't think she ever lost a bet).  I have marble notebooks filled with charts, trip notes, and other figures from 2000 -2006 (remote work assignments and a hectic schedule ended that).  I have great memories of getting to the 2000 Haskell Day late and sharing the small seat of my cooler with my new wife - only to get on a good run of Rolling Pick 3's and walk out of the track that day with over $1,000 in profits for the day (not too shabby, but I followed that up two weeks later with another $800+).  Lazy Friday's when some of the other RU grads from my office and I would cut out early, grab a cooler of beer and a few Tastee Subs (Edison, NJ - if you haven't had one, you haven't had a good sub) and make a few wagers and discuss horses, bad jokes, and old work stories over the course of a gorgeous afternoon in the sun.  The track has changed a bit - a couple years of cheap claimers and short fields, giving the feel of a Philly Park card (pre-casino); followed by the exclusive meet; then back to what is now the norm, lost a bit of consistency of the knowledge one could use year to year for playing the horseman's niches.

2013 is a new start.  The meet starts without the drama and questions of last year.  Some new faces at the meet, but it great to see the horsemen back out supporting the Jersey Shore once again.  Where my old data tracking is replaced by Jim Mazur's Monmouth Handicapper (time better spent with the family), many of his observations and trends hold true year after year.

I won't get to look at Sunday's card, but will leave you with a few I am considering for Saturday's opener... 

Race 3 - 2 Back To Class 6-1

Race 4 - 3 Firsttotheline 5-2
Race 6 - 4 Ingenuity 9-2
Race 7 - 10 Pelican Cove 5-2
Race 10 - 7 Flying Kaz 7-2
Race 12 - 2 David The Great 9-2

Rest assured on the off weekday during the meet, I will make my usual trip over on my lunch hour for nothing more than a hot dog and beer while basking in the sun in the benches by the finish line despite the strange looks I sometimes get and count on finding me in the picnic area on some lazy Friday afternoon ready to talk ponies and tell bad jokes over a cold refreshing beverage - feel free to stop by and join me!

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