Year-End Review

Year-End Review

I’m going to do my usual year-end ramble (some might call it “rant”) here – and with the usual warning:

. . .  This post will have more or less (mostly less) to do with handicapping and betting the nags, and therefore will be of more or less (again – likely less) interest to most of you ‘hard-core’ racing fiends. And it will be dis-jointed, and without any redeeming value whatsoever!

But with that proviso, and with a “Have a Great Holiday Season” wish to all of you – here goes . . .

Every year during this season – many of us to get back to a kind of ‘centering.’ Our thoughts naturally turn towards family and faith.  And what a good and needed thing that is

I don’t know why (or if it’s only me?), but the world ‘out there’ just keeps on accelerating.

It seems there is less and less time for quiet contemplation.  More and more of our mental energies are expended dealing with the frenetic side of life: with business, with details of bureaucracy and its rules and regulations, with bill-paying and tax-paying, and with being evermore zealously milked and bilked by an out-of-control, and confiscatory government in order that they can grab enough to keep their party going a bit longer.

Handicapping for me has become almost like that quiet contemplation I mentioned above.  The concentration required clears my brain for a time of all but the task at hand, and during the handicapping session are forgotten all the harried thoughts of
– the Ukraine crisis
– the crash in the price of crude oil
– the overt and illegal manipulation of the markets
– the state of perpetual war brought to us courtesy of the sociopaths in power – not only here in the U.S. but nearly everywhere else as well
– my kid’s runny nose
– the price of bananas in Egypt

          (well – maybe not those last two so much)   😉

Handicapping as meditation – who woulda thunk it?!

Which horse do you think will get the Eclipse award for Horse-of-the-Year this year?  The top contenders are California Chrome, Bayern, Shared Belief, Main Sequence, and even Wise Dan (again?!) or the filly Untapable.  

I love the way ‘Chrome’s connections rolled the dice by bringing their horse back to take the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby on the turf (even though he had only 5 rivals in that race).  

The mugging at the start of the BC Classic sure muddled the picture for both Bayern and Shared Belief – leaving question marks that will be impossible to answer until (and if) their 4-yr. old campaigns unfold . . . UNLESS – either (or both) of them decide to run in the Grade 1 Malibu Stakes at Santa Anita opening day on the day after Christmas!?  A big win in that race might sway the Eclipse voting.

The recent bust of three or four trainers for fixing races at Penn National sort of re-verifies what we’ve all known:  Where money is involved (and where isn’t it?!) – there will greed rear its ugly head.

As well, the continued use of drugs in our sport – after so many years of talking about it, and after so many years of simply slapping the hands of those who are busted abusing its use with their animals – sort of points out the sad truth.  The problem is never going away.

There is one cure that would go a long ways towards cleaning up the sad state of affairs – not only in racing, but in politics, in the judiciary system, in local law enforcement, etc.  . . .

– Break up the “old boy’ clubs, the cronyism, the cliques and ‘societies’ of like-minded advantage-takers who care only for themselves, and the lining of their own pockets, or the aggrandizement of their already inflated egos.  I don’t have a good method on how to do that (which is infinitely more challenging than coming up with a good handicapping method), but it sure as heck needs to be done – and soon.


I could rev up my rant even more (way more), but – as per the thoughts I opened the post with – this is not the time of year for that.  Instead, I’ll close on a positive note . . .

Life – and the energy to live it – has been given to us. It was a gift from the Source which created and sustains All.

This pure gift makes our hearts beat, and the trees grow, and the sun shine. It provides us a place and a chance to express happiness, gratitude, wonder, and love.

Seen in that Light – all ‘problems’ shrink . . . all the way down to meaninglessness.


May the holiday season, and the coming New Year be full for you and your loved ones.  I wish you all good health, and continued success in whatever endeavors are most important to you in your life.  

– Gary




  1. H. Carlton

    Thanks Gary
    Merry Christmas from across-the-pond
    H. Carlton

  2. HAPPY HOLIDAYS to you and your family. Hope you have a great New Year.
    Agree with the Zen like feeling handicapping gives you; all that extraneous stuff cluttering your mind just disappears focusing on the task at hand. Been doing quite well at Penn; probably chose the right fixed horse! Once again, thanks for sharing all your great methodologies. Really turned my game around and made it more fun.

    • Ray – Thanks buddy – your comments always welcomed. Keep up the good work with the ponies. My best to you and yours . . . Gary

  3. May your holidays be blessed with that one lone long shot! ☺

  4. Gary…as usual, interesting musings and pin-point accuracy regarding the gubmint…better still-the what needs to be done with that refuse…but to your more important points-family and reflections…this time of year happily means more thoughts, hugs, kisses, visits, and the re-telling of countless happy memories…even some of us old dogs are prone to take a moment here and there and THANK the LORD for all HE has provided….including the privilege of meeting and knowing about Gary and Horse Racing Gold…have a Blessed Holiday my friend!

    • Carl – You are gracious as always. Wish all the family well for me – especially the new addition!! – Gary

  5. GARY

    We all know life is not a bowl of cherries-With that being said
    to you and yours and everybody at Horse Racing Gold have a happy and safe holiday season.


    • Terry – Thanks brother. You’re so right about the “bowl of cherries” – much more like F. Gump’s “box of chocolates.” – Gary

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