Friday, June 14, 2013


"There is nothing like a challenge to bring out the best in man (or woman)." - Sean Connery

The last few weeks have been mentally and emotionally taxing both personally and professionally.  Our house is in a state of construction and while work commenced in a furious fashion last week, the weather this week has limited the contractor to a half day of work.  We have limited access to the basement and are surviving with no access to TV (worse on the kids than on us - we caught the Game of Thrones finale online).  The last week of weather has also had me reconsidering whether we should have gone ahead with the deck and family room or if we'd be better suited with building a small ark and collecting two of every animal considering we already have a ton of rabbits in our yard and one pesky groundhog we are off to a good start.  Sick kids have piled on the stress and I know my wife and I were nearing the breaking point.  However, a friend and colleague of my wife shared a short video about creating 30 days challenges and how that can change your life.  Inspired by her colleague, my wife and another colleague are going to embark on a 30 day challenge to regain balance and happiness...  which made me wonder - what should be my 30 day challenge???

I have thought long and hard about this 30 day challenge.  I had thought about trying to do 30 days of trying to be more helpful to others (as I am helping a coworker who was given an assignment that is a bit overwhelming and whom I want to see succeed in spite of the obstacles put in his way); I had thought about reigniting an old passion I had in my youth of sketching or drawing daily; I had considered trying to blog or write a racing related article everyday and making those into a book that was a compilation of handicapping theories; and also thought about placing a well thought out winning wager every day.  I don't know what I will do - but I do know that helping my coworker work on becoming competent and familiar with areas he has never been trained in has somewhat re-purposed my attitude at work and made me think that I should also do something to pass along some of the knowledge I have gained (as well as lessons I have learned the hard way) not only to him regarding work, but to other upcoming handicappers to help keep the racing industry alive - after all, what good is knowledge if it doesn't get passed along?  Who knows, maybe I'll even get the itch to draw and sketch again - it has only been 20+ years since I used to carry a pad and just start drawing and losing myself in my art (and I did check, there are two art pads sitting in the closet here in our home office).

What am I going to do?  30 days of something positive daily for myself and others.  With the turmoil called residential construction and the excessive rain (really, we have had a month's worth already) I have gotten out of my fitness routine in the last two weeks and need to get back to that - it made me feel better and probably made me more pleasant to be around.  I am going to be more supportive and helpful to my colleagues at work - I know I can help them grow and succeed.  As I mark 15 years at my current job, I know that I would not have made it as far as I have without the mentorship and openness of my former colleagues who took me under their wings and didn't just show me how to do it, but made me understand how and why things went together.  I will squash the negativity that has crept into my work and home life and I know that it will be beneficial to my wife as she continues her quest to finish her doctorate and to my children who I know wish they had more 'daddy' time.

As I write this on Friday (Day 1), I have gotten in a heavybag workout,  am getting ready to review where my coworker is with his current assignment, and have written this blog.  Later this evening, I look forward to a quiet evening without the TV with my wife and kids.

Enough about life - on to the task at hand - a preview of Monmouth's Saturday card.... with the 'near miss' of the derecho that was over-hyped for Thursday, we may have a shot of being on the turf for the Saturday card...

Race 1 - 1 Carl's Only Vice (9-5) rolls late with 2 Uptown Ball (2-1) off of the early pace set by a weakening 6 Close to Sonny (6-1)

Race 2 - 4 Big Dealer (9-5) looks to go wire to wire here third off of the layoff, but keep an eye on 3 Steady Gentleman (7-2) who drops off second off of the long layoff after showing some early interest

Race 3 - 5 Tobaggan Slide (7-2) looks to go wire to wire, while 3 The Best Glacier (2-1) will be looming should the early pace collapse

Race 4 - 8 Raro (5-1) closes late along with 5 D'Iucci Girl (15-1) and 7 Cotton Pickin (9-2) as the early pace set by 2 Why Should I (7-2), 10 Rosie's Run (20-1) and 1 Mass Invasion (8-1) will falter  - course condition and scratches will be critical to the projected pace here (assumed turf)

Race 5 - 6 Mrs. Sinatra (5-1) edges out fellow late runner 5 Sidney Anne (3-1) as the early pace set by 4 Jubileera (5-2), 2 Princess Perfect (5-1), and 1 Black Ana Splash (4-1) won't hold late

Race 6 - 2 Dubai Time (6-1) drops second off of the layoff and improves here with a late rally along with 6 Mimito Boy (4-1) and 8 Exeter Road (6-1) as the early pace is challenged and falters late

Race 7 - 5 National Prayer (2-1) ships in and looks to go wire to wire here while 3 Uncle Drew Bear (20-1) and 4 Mister Lucky Cat (5-2) may be a factor here as well

Race 8 - 9 Breathaway (7-2) looks to be on or near the lead the whole way and will improve going back to the turf, 3 He's Hollywood (6-1) and 7 Quiet Danger (3-1) also look to be logical contenders

Race 9 - 6 City's Fast Lane (6-1) looks to take this field wire to wire, 7 Catch Me Kaz (8-1) will be around late should the early pace falter, and 9 Score the Gold (5-2) will also be looming late

Race 10 - 9 Funfair (5-1) makes her 3 year old debut after a perfect freshman campaign over this course, strong connections here with Bravo/Clement and she can duel - hard to ignore in this spot; 1 Fearless Jacq (5-2) has a versatile style which should her get position early, however Terranova has struggled over this turf course in recent years; 6 Jewel Of A Cat (6-1) didn't like the polytrack in her last two efforts and is likely to improve over the grass here.

Race 11 - 7 Interrogate Me (9-2) makes a late run and improves second off of the layoff as 1 Quiet Miracle (6-1) is part of the late rally.  8 Seven Kind (2-1) may be able to get loose on the lead early and go wire to wire, but that depends on how well the inside horses break.

Have a great Father's Day Weekend!

Good luck all!

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