American Turf Magazine
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Nov 26, 2008


            The following was a letter received at American Turf monthly.

            My husband and I are both retired since 2005 and with all the time on our hands we needed to find a hobby to help pass the time. Being from Long Island, New York we were blessed the best racing in the world and until 1988 we also enjoyed going to the harness races at night at the best harness track ever, Roosevelt Raceway. Unfortunately it met it’s fate in 1988 but that story is for another day. We always loved the horse races but we never really put our time into handicapping, we were just weekend warriors.

            When we decided to make betting on the horses our hobby we wanted to do it right. Being from Long island we knew about American Turf Monthly and even received a few sample copies over the years. In late 2007 we called to order the magazine and we were greeted with a very pleasant staff member. She told us that they also had a weekly publication of horses to watch called the American Turf Club. We read the sample copy and liked its format so we decided to order that publication also. Well both of these publications came into play on the weekend of November 15th-16th at Aqueduct Racetrack.

            As I said we receive the magazine each month and enjoy most of the articles. Our favorites are the Skeptical Handicapper, the Turf Investor and even the Standardbred report as it brings back old memories. However, the Contest Central articles that you started to include also caught our eyes. We liked the idea of playing in handicapping contests and with all our free time we had the opportunity to do it. Up until the Aqueduct Contest on November 15th-16th we had played in about 5 contests with really no luck. The first day of the contest was another poor day as we only nailed one winner at Aqueduct for a $10.20 mutuel. We weren’t discouraged as there was another day and again we are new at this. Armed with our American Turf monthly magazine and American Turf club we burned the midnight oil, as Harvey Pack used to say and felt that Sunday would be a better day.

            As my husband studied the races for the next day he saw a horse in the second race that seemed like an interesting play. The horse was JOE CORRIGAN, a horse with one start under his belt with a sixth place finish at 34-1. However, the comment in the turf club was as follows; “JOE CORRIGAN: Broke ok in his career debut but then was quickly outrun racing well back before closing some ground in the lane and running on well past the wire, tab with statebred maiden claimers, turf or dirt.” We quickly turned to the racing form to see what their comment was and it said “never involved.” At this point we had one alternative, watch the replay. Luck would have it that in the December issue of American Turf Monthly there was an article by Barry Meadow in his Skeptical Handicapper column titled, “Watching Replays”. After getting through the article we went right to and signed up for a subscription and this quickly paid dividends. We saw what the comment in the turf club was talking about, this horse who seemed to be out of it actually was running on well late and may have some ability. Even though he was in a Maiden Special Weight field this race was coming up very weak. The only horse that had really showed anything was the heavy favorite, NO LIEN HERE, but this was a speed horse that may have distance limitations and maybe the mile would be his undoing. JOE CORRIGAN was adding blinkers and taking off 10 lbs from his previous start as his new jockey was Jackie Davis a 10 lb apprentice. The blinkers would help keep him a bit closer and maybe give him a chance when it counted.

            Well we put him in as our contest selection but we didn’t use him as our $40 wager, only $20. We also threw some “real” money on him at the windows not a lot as we are not big bettors but we still had a solid rooting interest. When the gates sprung opened we could see we would be in it from the start. JOE CORRIGAN got away second not that far off the heavy favorite who led the way. Staying in contention for most of the race we were still in second as they entered the stretch. Drifting out and then drifting in again we had a real shot to win the race at odds of 29-1. Well my emotions got the best of me as I screamed and yelled and willed JOE CORRIGAN to victory by ¾’s of a length. My husband and I hugged each other as if we had just won the lottery. But it wasn’t because we had a small win bet and exacta at the windows, but that we had him in the contest, we picked this horse with the help of the Turf Club and the American Turf Monthly magazine but we handicapped a winner. We felt like we belonged with the best of them, even for just a moment.

            This won’t be the last contest we entered and there will be many more up and downs in this game as most of your customers know. Horse racing is tough, it takes a lot of work and many years of laying the groundwork. But the satisfaction of picking a winner while using different facets of handicapping, that feeling is one that can’t be matched. I want to thank the writer of the Turf Club for New York, Barry Meadow for his article on Watching Replays (we now use that as a big part of our handicapping) and also Noel Michaels for his Contest updates and of course the great staff over at ATM for all of their help. We will be looking forward to the next issue to gain some more tidbits to help us in our day to day handicapping and of course for the contests. Thanks again!


Nancy L.

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