PTF and JK go over Keeneland’s late pick four on Wednesday, April 23. Then Kevin Kerstein is here to talk about his big run in Keeneland’s Grade One Gamble.
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Hey everybody. Peter Thomas foreign, a towel here, and we’ve got a great show for you today, but before we get into it, just want to give you a word from the sponsor of this new podcast and select some great promos. You want to be aware of heading into this meat. There’s a signup bonus. If you bet $300 in the first 30 days, you will receive $100 back into your account and new for spring.
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Hello and welcome to the Keeneland select players podcast. This is show number six. It is Monday, April 22nd. As we record this, we’ll be talking about races for Wednesday, April 24th here in the final week of this Keeneland meeting, been so much fun diving in. To these cards and talking to folks associated with Kaitlin, we’ll be doing a little bit more of that later in the show.
We’ve got Kevin Kirstein, who actually is a Churchill downs employee, funny enough, but just had big success at the Keeneland grade one gamble in his first ever handicapping contest. And I had the pleasure of sitting down with him. We’ll hear that in a few minutes, but first let me bring in the cohost on this program.
He divides his time between. Planet Texas with occasional visits. And I did say visits to Lexington, Kentucky. He’s the people’s champion, Jonathan kitchen. What’s up. JK is a little humor that I needed today. I read that. Um, everything’s good. Everything’s good. Uh, hanging out and joined some NBA playoffs are started to kind of watch it.
It’s my first NBA game. I’ve watched all year with the playoffs. Very tough, uh, regular season to watch. So I’m enjoying that a little bit. Uh, Lexington’s finest. Uh, this, this, uh, this kid that plays for the Clippers last night, went off a little bit, uh, went to, he went to a UK, so I’m going and got like Shay Gilda’s something, something he’s got like three last night, but anyways, he was playing really well last month at a time where I could have quoted you chapter and verse about the NBA, but I’m ignorant these days.
Who do you have a horse in the race, as it were, is the UK connection enough to get you pulling for these Clippers? Or what, w who do you root for you just watching and enjoying. Uh, well, UK is my second favorite team and I mean that with all honesty, I do root for them, um, and basketball and football, but, uh, my allegiance is with Texas.
So wherever Kevin Duran goes is where I root to all be rooting for the golden state warriors. They are the favorite. So that probably doesn’t surprise anybody. There you go. You’re, you’re staying on brand with that assessment JK and that your love for Durant. I’m sure. Tweaks a lot of our audience in the horse racing Twitter sphere during it, I’ve noticed not the most popular character amongst them.
I don’t understand why. I mean, not to jump on top of my soap box, but you brought it up. If a lawyer left a firm to go to a better firm, prettier city, no one would be mad at him, but when a young athlete decides to go to a, to a better situation for him and his family, it’s a, he he’s, uh, he’s joining the team.
He couldn’t beat. I think we’ll see a future where Kevin Duran goes somewhere else. I think carry another team somewhere else along the line. So I’m going to jump off the soap box and we can talk about something that will get us paid. Let’s get back to horse racing. We are now in the final week of the keen Lynn meet, as we said before, how has the meat gone for you overall?
Um, it’s been okay. I mean, you know, I think, um, it hasn’t been as good as it has been probably the last three meats. The last three meets previous or prior to this one, I, uh, I cashed in, in, in Jim Goodmans, big contest. So that obviously helps with the, uh, the, uh, the balance sheet when it comes to evaluating the meat this year.
I didn’t do so well. Um, so down a little bit, but, uh, always an opportunity to, to, to drum up some scores. These last three days. I felt like I was doing great and then ran into a bit of a wall over the weekend. Not sure what went wrong, but we have three more days to get back in the black and we’re going to be doing a podcast for each one.
Let’s start off by looking at Wednesday’s card and we’ll do, let’s say the last four races we’re going to start. That means with the fifth race, we are looking at a six for a long dirt race here. I thought it was fairly straightforward. I thought the favorites looked pretty good. Starting with British humor might be just too good for these.
I thought eliminated at the break last time against better. And I felt like the race to back was very fast. The top two from there have one, since this is the only horse to have run the par yeah. And then the only other horse that really appealed to me was Jerry’s pride, joy, or Jerry’s pride and joy who had kind of the same angle in a way as the top pick, coming out of a race with good form against better where there was a trip just didn’t look as fast as the top pick, but I was just going to go five, six in the fifth race at Keeneland on Wednesday.
How did you see it? Well, we’d be a little remiss if we didn’t mention cardiac kitten in the full brother to Bobby’s kitten, who is, uh, in, uh, JKS racing hall of fame, but down on the inside, not crazy about him. First time trying dirt, um, the family isn’t really. Really a dirt family, uh, Bobby never, uh, excelled on the dirt.
Um, kitten’s joy, obviously. Hasn’t, uh, hasn’t had the most success on the dirt. So down on the inside, I’ll look at that one. Beat me. You’re right about the five and the six. Those are the horses that I thought were the most likely winners, British humor. And Jerry’s pride and joy. One thing I’ll say about British humor is I’m a little bit concerned.
The fact that they had the horse on a long break, they gelded the horse, then they. Ran the horse obviously had some trip issues. Didn’t run all that. Well, I’m not really sure that the, uh, that the jockey, you know, when, all the way through with it, after the, the, the start there. So there’s some question marks there, but now they’re running the horse for $40,000 and the horse will be running, uh, for a tag.
And, and for the first time, in a long time, it’s a little bit of a concern. So if you wanted to try to get cute here, there’s an opportunity to try to fade this horse. I like the six. I would probably say, well, the six on the spot. And that’s just because I’m going to be a little bit spreading in a couple of other legs of the sequence.
And so I like to try to take stands and other spots, or I’ll try to find a different pool to get involved in, but chair Jerry’s pride and joy drawn to the outside of the big figure last time, uh, down at fairgrounds. And I thought that that horse could. Good, uh, could handle this group. I didn’t really see anything here that scared me outside of British humor.
So the five of the six are all I need, but I would try to play and get away with just the six. I, I, I think that might end up being tricky, but I respect your point of view and see why you’re going that way potentially from a straight value point of view, let’s move on to the sixth race. We head to the grass for this three-year-old maiden.
I like Norma’s joy here. JK showed talent at Woodbine. On Polly staying on late again after trouble. Plenty of turf pedigree here. Good-looking work tab. I trust Atfield and these kinds of spots. Norm is joy for me. Where did you end up? Well, so this is the race that I kinda mentioned. I was gonna be pretty spreading and I liked a lot of horses here.
Obviously the one horse was really not a lot to tell you here. It’s Chad Brown, they’re running on green stuff. I mean, do you want me to do right? It’s Tyler Gaffney only. There’s not enough evidence for me to fall in love with this horse. But I’m not feeling I’m going to take stands and other places. So I don’t think this is a situation where I need to try to beat Chad.
Um, no workout clues here has been working with a horse that hasn’t even run. Um, and, and so there’s really nothing to know for sure about whether or not this one’s going to run well, but it is Chad. So here we go. Uh, one of the couple horses that caught my attention were the four. Keep me in the game to pioneer the Nile.
Who’s a half to new money. He who was a breeders’ cup, juvenile fillies turf winner. Um, for Chad Brown, a few years back shook and Joelle Joelle’s been writing extremely well at, uh, at keen lab. I believe he’s got 12 wins, two back of Javier Castellano with an opportunity to win the meet. Cause I don’t believe Javier is going to be riding and Lexington this week.
So, um, an opportunity there for Joelle and Ron Anderson, um, Sophie Antoinette for Rudy preset, I thought it was interesting. The, the major horse is, is, is, uh, almond Dre. It was a one that I couldn’t really get past stamp. Uh, deserves a little bit of a look in here. I’m using a ton of horses for the final run.
Other the horses I’m gonna use. I’m gonna use one four, five, six, nine, and 12. Uh, the question Mark, I have about the 12. It’s Adam does schizo, who I think a lot of people would remember in his success last year when he kind of thrust himself onto the scene. You know, he rides the groundswell. He’s an international rider.
Who’s who comes from, from the grass. He’s over for 10 at the meet, going a mile on the turf, but he hasn’t really had the best luck. And so he’s drawn way to the outside a little bit of a concern, but the horse itself for Britain, a Walsh makes a ton of sense. So I’m going to use, I’m going to spread here single on the first.
I got another single coming up for you here in a little. If you’re spreading that much, do not leave out this enormous joy. I don’t understand that at all. Absolutely. No look, that’s why one of the best things a handicapper can do is listen to other good handicappers. And, and this is why I love situations like this, where, where you can have conversations and let people point out things that you might’ve missed.
If, if we, uh, if I was perfect at this game, I wouldn’t be on here with you right now. I’d probably be at some beach somewhere in my feet up. Fair enough. Fair enough. All right, Ray seven, we stay in the maiden ranks, but we moved to the dirt here. I was going to take a shot with number seven red. Right-hand a first time gelding who projects to be forward.
I wouldn’t blame those who want to spread in this spot, but this was where I was going to land. Now, is this another spread for you or is this the other single spot? There’s the other single I saw red right hand. I wasn’t crazy about the fact that the horse. Was, uh, was gelded and then the trainer changed.
It feels like there’s a lot of, a lot of change going on for this one. So his previous races, I didn’t necessarily guarantee myself that I would see and ended up lending landing on sand Hill. Um, I thought the Sandvik, it was, um, uh, you know, it was as hell as a race in the meat. He’s coming back in 13 days for a trainer and Kenny McPeak that loves the win at Keeneland.
Uh, Joel Rosario, who I mentioned earlier is writing lights out. He’s he’s written in the last year. He’s written that this distance on the dirt two for seven. Now, look, that’s not a very big sample size, but the point is is that he can win going this tricky distance that I have been focusing a lot on.
Cause I think that’s a very, very tricky situation with a short stretch. Um, and, and finishing it that first wire. And so I pay attention to riders who are competent over that trip because I worry that it might confuse some that aren’t as familiar. So for me, I’m going a single here with the six Sandersville, uh, with his second start of the Keelan meet some good angles.
There you bring up for sure. All right. Let’s look at the night. Cap goes as race eight, a turf allowance that I had a lot of trouble with JK. I, I was wondering with speed on the inside and the outside. If the pace wouldn’t maybe hot up a little bit, maybe they go a little bit too quick. Now I wanted to go with biggest kitten for Danny Gargan, a horse who.
You know, I don’t usually love the ex Chad Brown runners, but when you factor in the trip last time, this one ran just as well, or maybe even improved a little bit. The problem here is you’re going to be coupled with one last strike. And while I normally obviously loved to bet my maker, his numbers with these type of long layoffs, especially in rats are actually surprisingly poor.
So. I’m going to sort of default to the one here, but I really just liked the one a and I don’t know. I wish I could give you something more definitive. I wouldn’t get beat in your spread with the one with the entry. I’m sure you wouldn’t do that, but I’m sort of hoping you have something a little stronger or more clever here.
Well, sometimes we’re a prison or to our previous opinions and, uh, this was an opinion I didn’t get to see out. And that was Saint Denman. The nine horse that horse was entered. Uh, last Sunday on the gradable for the grade one gamble that horse was in and obviously, uh, with the weather situations came out of the race.
I was. Basing my entire day around the horse. And he’s a figure layover. He ran an unbelievable race on it and Gulf stream he’s back in 33 days, he has the same rider he had last time. I think Saint Dedman is a very likely winner of this race. So I’m going to play a lot of, of my combinations in this pick force through him.
And however, I am going to try to beat, uh, the entry. I interest the entries going to take money. It’s Keenan and Sarah Ramsey. Um, they’re, they’re, uh, you know, you’ve got, uh, uh, two nicely bred horses. You’re going to have the Baker angle. Um, you’ll have the Dady Gargan kind of come back, horse, the horse that you mentioned in Vegas kitten.
And you’re going to have the fact that it’s an entry. So people are going to use that horse. I’m going to try to beat the horse. With, you know, St. Denman, but I’m also going to have a few savers on an uncoupled entry, if you will. That Ignacio Curry has has in the four and the five of Fred’s twirling candy and the five fashion decree.
I thought both of them were extremely live. I thought fashion and trees race down in Tampa was extremely impressive. Drawing off by hoping links. And then I thought the for, um, for installing candy had a nice figure. Last time at Gulf stream ran, uh, and uh, quickly in a quick pace race, he was up forwardly placed makes a ton of sense to me.
So those are the only two that I’m going to use the nine and the, well, I guess the three, the, the nine and the four and five. That are both trained by Korea. They’re not, uh, they’re not coupled. And I’m going to try to beat the, uh, the one-to-one. I understand it from the value point of view, for sure. I think I like Vegas kitten a little too much to do it, but I’ll probably just scale down plays that involve this race.
You know, I don’t have to go nuts in this pick four, given my lack of, of feeling here. And I think your St Edmund opinion certainly makes sense. And just to clarify, you’ll use a bunch, but you’ll be pressed through St. Diamond. Right. Yeah. It’s pretty easy when you have a couple of other singles, right. I can make some tickets where I go single spread single St.
Denman. And I could do that for $5, $10 or whatever. And it’s a, it’s not gonna, it’s not gonna break the bank depending on what your total investment is. Then I can come back and go, you know, single spreads, single. Four or five for a dollar or $2, a little bit less. It’s it’s not an extra, it’s not much extra effort when it comes to punching and tickets.
And one of the other things you can do is, and those two legs that I singled the first leg and the third leg, you can then add some kind of protection horses in those two spots, and then just end with a nine St. Deadman, your most strong opinion in the last race. And you can try and get some more coverage that way.
And all you gotta do is pop in a few extra tickets. And this is what we talk about, how you want to spend as much time, more or less constructing your tickets as you do the actual handicapping of the race. And you really need to sit and think about all these combinations and write out these tickets in a smart way at the right increments.
It’s time consuming. But over time, that’s where you’re getting a lot of your value. Absolutely. Like I said, I’ve said many times I started off as an hour long handicapper per race. Used to take me like an hour and then, uh, you know, sitting there having an adult beverage on my way to the window, I would decide how I’m going to bet it.
And I learned to, to kind of try to do it, you know, do it the other way, you know, spend, spend less time on who’s going to win and how you can affect efficiently attack the race. And, and that’s one of the things I’ve been trying to improve on and I’ll continue to improve on. And some of that is also you, as you become more familiar with horses and you have notes, it’s not like you’re giving short trips to your handicapping.
It’s more important. I think for most of the people listening to take that message to spend at least as much time, if not more on the betting side, not necessarily to be drinking and quickly handicapping, that does work from time to time. Of course. No, no. And like I said, like, if you, if you, if you. Are going to, to cut corners somewhere from time or, or from attention span or wherever it is.
My advice is to cut corners in the handicapping, not in the wager construction. I would spend more time doing that, and I think you’d have better returns than if you do it the other way around. All right, that’s it for the handicapping portion of the show. Now we’re going to bring in our special guest right now, and now I’d like to welcome to the Keeneland Lynn select players podcast, the publicity manager for Churchill downs and a man who had quite a nice run in last weekend’s grade, one gamble as well.
Kevin, Kirstein welcome to the, in the money airwaves. How are you today? Doing great, Pete. Thanks for having me. Great to have you here. Talk a little bit more about the grade one gamble from last weekend. It’s a little bit in the rear view. Now I was amazed to hear that this was your first contest performance.
Let’s start off with a decision that prompted you to play in it. What got you there the other day? I’ll tell you what. I was first, uh, first thing about playing this just because I’m so focused on Kentucky racing, being here at triple downs. And so, you know, I’ve always wanted to dabbling the contest and my mindset just doesn’t really work with the $2 in-place, uh, contest rules.
So all those contests it’s just. Just that’s sort of how I think. And so I was targeting running in this since the fall of last year. I’ve been to a couple of these great one gambles with, uh, with Nick tomorrow and Travis stone. And we would go, we’d hang out. Uh, and I sort of watched them play and I’m like, man, one day I’m going to play in this, you know, I know Kentucky racing well and why not give it a shot?
And, you know, three K was a lot for me to go in with. And so that’s why I’ve always been hesitant to go in. And I said, you know what, I’m going to, I’m going to do it. And then, uh, I paid the entry fee early and then all of a sudden mother nature came up. I sort of second guess myself the whole last week, I’m like, man, do I really want to do this with the weather?
I’m sure they’re going to come off the chart. It’s going to be a little bit difficult. I just sort of stuck with it. And I said, you know what, I’m going to give it a shot. It’s just money I’ll make more tomorrow. Well, and in fact, you, you did make a lot more in short order. Let’s talk about the tournament itself.
What were the big races for you? Well, it’s sort of interesting because once they officially went off the turf, it’s sort of had to do the prep work of both. Would the turf course be soft. Would it be a good mother nature would just go the other direction or would they be completely washed off? So you had sort of three different attack methods of what I had going into the card.
And once they washed it off, I really liked buff Bradley’s horse in the first race. So right off the bat, which was my first contest plan, sort of keyed in on that horse a little bit. We ended up running second. So I was down a little bit after the first race. And I dabbled around a little bit, but I was really a fan of grand motion’s horse in the sixth race.
It was the four horse that race ended up going off at seven to one. And so, uh, after that, uh, six rides, I finally said, you know what, I’m going to give it a shot. I ended up playing a, a pretty heavy wager in that race. Uh, I finished four or five, seven and had a $10 try and had $330 to win on the horseshoe one at seven Oh one.
And so, uh, really then bolted me up into the leaderboard. Um, I dabbled around a little bit. I had a do half my bank roll. I sort of keyed in on the eighth race there at Keeneland. I really didn’t focus on the, uh, the Gulf stream or aqueduct races at all. Uh, even though geomatic those races and I thought they were a smart decision, it just isn’t my cup of tea.
And so I just sort of stuck with, uh, with most of my handicapping in my preparation, uh, going into the car. So I stuck with that. Uh, I dutched a little bit of a winning and place bets in that race. Um, ended up betting a little bit over half my bank roll, but I keyed in on the fourth horse in that race, uh, finished third, ended up losing two grand in that race, going into the final race.
I had $6,700 in my bank role. I knew I could still. Being contention. And, uh, about 15 minutes to post Travis, Nick, Dave, I was sitting with them all day and they said, who do you like? And I said, I like eight, 10, and that’s rice guys. And Nick just sort of shrugged his shoulders. And he said, well, what’s the exactly we’ll pay.
We looked. And we said, Oh, you know, it’s, uh, right now I’m 50 minutes, opposed to, it’s about a hundred dollars for two. And he said, you know, you really don’t have to go that heavy in this race. And I said, you know, I agree. I’m probably not going to go that heavy because I still wouldn’t walk away with the profit being my first contest.
You know, it wouldn’t be bad to come out here on the plus side, regardless Ali that’s 1700 in that last race. And I bet a 50, $150 exact, uh, uh, And then I had a, a big wind bed on the eight horse in that race. And so that vaults me back up into third place, you know, kicking myself Monday morning quarterback.
It could have been like fair and went all in, but I was fine with a $5,000 payday if I lost it. So I only got 1700 in that last year. But that’s a smart example, really, when you look at what the prize pool is and what your goal, those are in some contests, the distance, the difference, excuse me, between first and third is a lot more than in that one, given all of your goals and everything going on.
I think it made perfect sense, given that that was your opinion anyway, to scale back the way that you did sounds like you had a couple of good mentors there in Travis stone and Nick tomorrow. What are some of the other lessons about contests you’ve learned from those two, both guys who’ve cashed numerous times in, in contest events.
Yeah, it’s sort of following along with all your podcasts and those guys who, uh, have had much success in contests. It’s sort of you, if you have a good day at the races, you have to maximize, uh, your opinions because you know, you can have opinions and all of the races, but you have to go heavy on your most important opinions, uh, for the day.
And, uh, you know, that’s sort of what I had the mindset of going into the car and doing, and. Uh, it, it just worked out for me that day. I’ll tell you what though. I was a nervous wreck and those guys did a good job trying to calm me down, Travis and I was going to have the big one. I only puked twice when I bet 5,300, that was most of my entire life, but it was, uh, it was good.
And I appreciate it, those guys and, uh, to sit with, and, and yes, I did treat for dinner that night. That’s most definitely the etiquette. Absolutely. What’s next for you in contests terms, do you have another one circled where you wait all the way until Keeneland in the fall? Or is it, or if you got the bug now, uh, I had the bug a little bit.
The problem is, you know, Uh, with my role here at Churchill, I obviously can’t play in the KTBC, which is going to be a great tournament. I’m really excited to be able to follow along with some of the players that are signed up in that. So, uh, but I, but I can’t do a lot of that. And then with our spring wheat running, yeah.
We really run on top of it. A lot of the other bigger contests that are around the country. So I, I may, you know, dabble here and there and see if there’s anything that could fit the schedule. Uh, but. Probably I’ll I’ll have one, uh, one contest off the left. BCBC just sort of like a horse get, get my feet wet and then go to the BCPC.
I’ll suggest one to you. That might be of interest because I don’t think you guys wait now, are you running in mid September? I’m having a mental, a moment here. We do, because I’d love to go to Woodbine. I was going to say, but then I was like, Oh yeah, they’re running. That won’t work. I would say, you know, keep it simple and go back to Caitlin in the fall.
And then you got the breeders’ cup, but you mentioned the KT BC, and I wanted to give you a chance to talk about that. It’s a pretty special contest. We’ve been talking about it a bunch here on the show. Do you know, are there any qualifying opportunities for it and what, from your perspective as a Churchill employee and somebody whose job is to publicize that contest.
You know, the Derby card itself all weekend now with, uh, with those races on both Oaks and Derby day, it’s just simply a phenomenal race card. We just have to pray for mother nature to cooperate with us. Be sure to check out all the information on twins, buyers.com about this, because they have some information about their, how you can get signed up and, uh, hopefully get a spot into the KTBC.
I know there’s. Some spots that are going fast, uh, programs who inspires and here live on the track, uh, you know, it’s really those races that day. There’s so much attention behind them. And so much of the buildup. And I love that we draw early for those cards because. You’re able to sort of see the horses that are probable to run those races.
You get to do a little bit of extra handicapping, uh, for those races. And, uh, you know, with all those greatest stakes, there’s so many horses that ship in from around the country, uh, that I think will be the advantage of players who are based at different locales that, uh, are used to some of those horses that are seeing in the.
The Gulf stream park circuits in the winter time or down in California and those circuits, because they’re all going to convert. You’re on Kentucky for, uh, that first Saturday and mess some of the best contests in all the country and Kentucky, of course, both the Kean Lin contest, spring and fall annual events for, for many players and such an appropriate place for you to, uh, essentially when your maiden.
Last weekend. I want to talk a little bit more about you and how you got into racing in the first place. So were you born into the game? Wait, what’s your, what’s your background? I wasn’t at all. Actually, I, uh, I grew up out that in Philadelphia, in a suburb outside of Philadelphia. And I really didn’t know what horse racing was until I moved to Kentucky in 2008 and 2008, I went to, uh, start at Bellarmine university, which is a small private Catholic school, uh, located about 3.6 miles away from Churchill downs.
And I went there for the first time in farming, 2008, my friends said, Hey, come on, let’s go to Churchill. And I was like, Okay. I’ve heard of it. I’ve seen it on TV. I know what the Derby is just never been. And I liked gambling. I was always a big scratch off guy. I, I went to Churchill for the first time and I was absolutely hooked.
Grew up in, uh, and worked a lot in TV and radio, uh, before I started in horse racing. And, uh, ever since I went to the track for the first time in the fall, 2008, I sort of kept skipping class to come back to Churchill and would sort of hang out in the old, it’s not the courtyard at Churchill, but it was old section one 18.
Which is right by the old winter circle. And it was right as the tunnel would come out. And I would sit in that box all day, um, and sort of see the different, uh, personalities in the game. I would always be fascinated with trainer Greg Foley of how he would Mark every single horse in the post-pregnancy program.
What was he doing? So it sort of learned from different folks that were at the track of, uh, you know, their different methods of handicapping and different methods of how to place a wager and, uh, Yeah. I started with horse racing nation a few years ago. Uh, guess it’s mountain man. Seven years ago, I started with horse race and nation.
They gave me an opportunity to write a blog for their website. And then, uh, this’ll be my sixth Derby that I’ve worked with Churchill downs. Uh, after I, I moved off of horse racing nation. I started in the marketing department here and I moved into the publicity department three years ago. And, uh, it’s just, uh, a great perspective on the game.
I’ve sort of, uh, Knew what it was, uh, just to grow up, uh, not knowing what horse racing was and then sort of, uh self-taught uh, and learning about all the different aspects that were into the game and from clocking to writing, uh, uh, as a media member and now to work actually in the industry, I think it’s just helped, uh, be as, uh, A rounded horseplayer it makes sense.
I’ve got a couple of follow-ups there. The first one is one of the frequently asked questions. I get a lot of times from younger listeners, they always want to know about sort of what the break was that got you across the line. You mentioned doing the horse racing nation writing, but then in terms of getting the gig at Churchill, I mean, did you see a want ad or how did that develop?
We actually, uh, there was a job fair that was at Bellarmine university. And, uh, you could sign up with. Uh, an HR department from different major companies, uh, in the city and Churchill downs was on there. And I said, Oh, this will be great. And so I signed up and they assigned me to meet with their HR director and the first meeting there, he knows, showed.
And I was like, Oh great, here we go. And I’m like, I’m all pumped going into this meeting and he knows show it. And I haven’t, I didn’t hear from her for two weeks, but then I ran into him at a local bar, local dive bar, and, uh, I bought him a drink and I said, Hey, I was looking forward to meeting with you, uh, that other day at Bellerman.
And, uh, sorry, you couldn’t show up. And he apologized and we ended up meeting in his office, uh, the next week. And that was sort of really the real break. And then I got an internship here in the marketing department, but it really, you know, it was sort of fate that I ended up actually running into him because I was so disappointed that had this meeting set up.
I was going to hopefully get a big opportunity at Churchill and then. My world came crashing down when he didn’t show up. But, uh, it pays to know that the HR guy at Churchill drank a vodka cranberry, well, allowing me to meet with us to get an internship. That’s great. We love stories like that around here.
Turning negatives into positives is something we have to do more than we’d like as HorsePlayers. So you talked a little bit about your handicapping process or what goes into it and the idea of being well-rounded. What about your process of handicapping when you. That’s the first thing you’re looking at when you look at the form or do you start before that with the overnight, at just want a little bit of an overview of how you pick your winners?
You know, I started a little bit way before that because, uh, every morning I’m on the backstretch Churchill downs. So I get to see, uh, lucky enough to see all of these horses train. And so I sort of have the idea of how the sources are doing. Clocking them from the back stretch here. And, um, and, and seeing every single morning how they’re coming into the race.
And so, uh, you know, I sort of have a target of, you know, when these horses are running and when I see the overnight come out, that’s really, when, you know, you’ll have to get to dirty work and, uh, you know, going into the pace and all that scenarios and deep diving into the PPS, but sort of have that idea from.
Being able to see these horses train and that’s really my first step. And I think that’s sort of allowed me to do, uh, okay. Uh, Keelan gamble because Larry Jones is worse than the last race I really liked, uh, was really doing phenomenal here in the morning at Churchill. And, uh, I just really thought would handle, uh, running in the mud that day because I’ve seen this horse train in the mud and it ended up the track being upgraded to good.
So I had the opinion that this horse was doing okay. In the mud. And, um, And ended up being upgraded to go, but it worked out anyway. Uh, so that’s really where my, my handicapping first starts out at seeing these horses train. And then I’ll do the deep dive into the PPS and see if they really actually fit into the rice.
Great. You almost create a mental horses to watch list. I want to talk to you about how you learned to look at horses and know what a good mover was. Did you have somebody mentor you in that regard or was that really just repetition of being out there morning after morning? What advice would you give to somebody who wants to get better at that?
I actually clocked for about eight months with, uh, Brunetta Julio. And, uh, I would go to Keeneland in the mornings and then go to class in the afternoons and he would help me out looking at how horses moved. And, um, I spent a lot of time here at Churchill with John Nichols, who was a fantastic contest player and one of the best Clockers and, and, uh, Greatest eyes for horse racing that I’ve ever seen.
And, um, he’s really, you know, both of those guys and, uh, have really taught me how to look at horses and then talking to different trainers back here. And there are different methods of, yeah. Look at horses. It’s sort of, you know, interesting watching how certain trainers train their horses. Some trainers like Bob, Baffert the big guy who watches the horse, come off the racetrack and I’ve.
Saw a couple of interviews a few years ago with him, especially with American Pharaoh. He always wanted to know how the horse would come off the racetrack. They wanted to have that big sigh of relief that they’re done doing their job. It just sort of showed how a horse was progressing mentally. And that’s a big handicapping note for me is after you watch a horse Bree breeze, how are they coming off the track?
How are they coming off the work? And, uh, so that’s a big key for me. And then also the different training methods that some trainers will work their horses. Five eighth, starting at the half mile pole. So they ended up working through the wire. I thought that’s always been an interesting angle. Dale Romans is a big proponent of that.
Uh, he works his horses, uh, going through the wire. And I think it’s just sort of a smart training tool that you don’t have your horses stop at the wire, they actually finish up. So, uh, just sort of some of those methods that I, I look at in the mornings and how the trainers do that and, uh, And I’m, I’m lucky enough to see the reactions after their horses work too, which doesn’t hurt.
Yeah. That’s great. What a, what a bunch of tools in the toolbox that it really makes sense. Not easy for everybody to emulate. You’ve put a lot of work into it and you still are doing so daily, but I think that gives people an idea for what it takes. If you don’t come from a racing background too. Get accustomed to learning what a good horse looks like.
And what sort of angles might lead you to the ones who are cycling up. And then of course you have to layer on the past performance aspect. You know, we don’t really have time to get into that, but obviously you can’t really, you can’t really have one without the other Kenya. You really can’t and that’s why it’s so important that, you know, even if you like a horse and even if you’re, you’re not on the backstretch, but you’re getting counted on a horse saying this horse is doing phenomenal, has the greatest work pattern in the world, but you really have to see how that fit in the race first, because they can be training the best that they could, but they’re really just maybe not good enough for that level.
So that’s always, you know, the key when, when you get touted on horses and they’re saying they’re training phenomenal. Well, you have to just sort of say, okay, take a deep breath, see how they fit in the race first, before you really attack that race. All right. I’m not going to hold your feet to the fire where weeks out, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t ask you.
If you have an ER, if you have a Derby horse per se, or at least an early thought on a runner, you might be interested in for this year’s Kentucky Derby. Absolutely. Uh, I’m on, win-win win right now. Uh, this horse ran second in the bluegrass. He got absolutely stopped on the turn and I think the most important key factor of that was the track was so front favoring that whole weekend at keen Lynn, especially that day, it was very front favoring.
Of course, really couldn’t pass the stretch to go back and watch the Ashland. Restless rider probably should have won that race, but the way the track was playing, that was such a heavy bias that you really couldn’t pass in the stretch. But I thought it was very impressive that this horse was able to make up as much ground as he did, to be able to pass horses like this.
This is a wide open Derby this year. And you know, there are 14 or 15 horses that are pretty much equally matched on paper. If you look at them. And when you’re looking at that many horses that are equally matched on paper, why not take a shot at a horse who will be 30 to one? And sort of keep you around your wages.
And so I’m on him for right now. I’d like to see him train when he gets to Churchill on April 30th, but. I’m, uh, I’m going to take a shot and take a flyer, and I know it’d be a long shot and hopefully can get the job done. Well, you know, our theory around here, no good deed goes on punished. We may have you back during Derby week.
If you can find five spare minutes, I don’t know that you’ll have five spare minutes, frankly, but should five spare minutes arise would love to hear your further thoughts when you get a chance to clap eyes on some of these runners when they hit the ground. But I’ll just. Emphasize everything you said about win-win when there’s a reason why I took him in our Derby draft, that was on the other podcast.
Folks who only listen to the Keelan shows might’ve missed it, but you can go back and check out the, in the money players, podcasts, Derby draft episode, we had a lot of fun with that, and we had a lot of fun right here with Kevin Kirstein. Thank you so much for joining us. Hey, thanks for having me. It was great to be on the podcast and best of luck, only a few more days away until the Kentucky Derby.
Cheers my friend. And that’s going to do it. I want to thank Jay. Kay. I want to thank Kevin Kirstein most of all, I want to thank all of you, the listeners we’re going to be back before you know it. This show has been a production of in the money media, in the money media’s business manager is drew Kotani.
I’m Peter Thomas foreign Italian. Mayo when all your photos and neat dollar
Hey everybody. Peter Thomas for Nitel back with you one last time, just to remind you, if you use the promo code ITM 19, you can get some great promotions from Caitlin select, including an opportunity to bet 300 and get 100. And then again, to bet, 500 and get 50 back, two separate times over the course of the meet.
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