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What a Weekend!

What a weekend to be a fan of horse racing.  For me the summer has just begun.  Full-time, I am a teacher and it is time to happily sing my favorite Alice Cooper song, “School’s Out”. 


So, now I can focus on horse racing. I now have a luxury of time to spend on my favorite wagers at Monmouth Park, the Pick 5 and Place Pick 6.  Both of those wagers are 50¢ based, so I can get the most bang out of my buck. The Pick 5 really turned me into a fan of the horizontal wagers.  I’ve had some success with the Pick 5 over the last few years with a few IRS cashes and the thrill of some lost photos finishes in the final leg.  The Place Pick 6 has intrigued me. There have been some nice payoffs for small investments.  Also, you have the opportunity of cashing more than once if two picks from one leg complete an exacta or, in other words, they have both placed.


Of course, this Saturday is the Belmont Stakes.  The Belmont is my favorite leg of the Triple Crown. Secretariat took care of that for me with the greatest performance in racing history.  Woody Stephens’ five victories in a row is another Belmont record that will probably never be surpassed.


This year’s Belmont has the rematch of Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom and Preakness winner Shackleford.  In addition the top 7 finishers from the Derby are all in the Belmont.  Run as race 11, it serves as the final leg of the $1 million all stakes Pick 4.


On Sunday the featured horse of our blog, Pinelands Pete, returns to the track in the 8th race.  The race has the same conditions for Jersey-breds as in Pete’s second place finish on May 22nd.  With a 50% chance of some wet weather Trainer Linda Simon is hoping for rain, “Because Petey loves the slop.”  Two of his four career victories have come over wet tracks.  


I visited Pete on Thursday morning in Barn 31 and it was an unusually hot morning.  An extremely good-natured horse Pete is fun to visit. He was quite cooperative for his photo shoot that day.


So what could be better than a weekend like this?  Saturday, I plan to get the best of both tracks by going to the press box at Monmouth.  Sunday will mean a trip to watch Pinelands Pete.


ABC’s of the Monmouth Hall of Champions -Today English Channel.  In four years English Channel raced 23 times with 13 wins earning $5,199,028. Trained by Todd Pletcher all of his victories came on the turf.  English Channel raced at Monmouth three times.  He won the United Nations in 2006 and 2007 and ended his career with a win in the 2007 Breeders Cup Turf. English Channel ranks 371 in the Horse Racing Nation list of Top Thoroughbreds of All-time with a 7.82/10.

 

What the Nation is saying about What a Weekend!...

I will do my best to enjoy the summer. Hey, next weekend is FATHER'S DAY!
Wow... a summer to focus on just horses! What a great job!
People tend to forget what a fabulous career English Channel had, thanks for remembering him ... enjoy summer vacation, Matt!

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Meet Matt Shifman

In the 70’s I was another one of those kids that went to the track with their fathers, and I immediately became enthralled with the excitement and challenges of handicapping.  And then the charisma and dominance of Secretariat gave me a hero to follow. To this day, I still get emotional when I hear Chic Anderson’s call of the 1973 Belmont, “Secretariat is moving like a tremendous machine”.

 
There have been many great horses run at the shore. In 1976 I watched Majestic Light win the Monmouth Invitational, now the Haskell, in track record time, defeating Honest Pleasure, the big favorite who was in from New York.  This was one of my first big wins at the track.
 
In the 80’s, as a disciple of Andy Beyer, I made my own speed figures because they were not available to the public. Needless to say I visited Monmouth frequently to test out the “figs”.
 
The 90’s allowed me to learn about the backstretch as a part owner of a few claimers that were stabled at Philadelphia Park.  Not a typical owner, I mucked stalls, cooled out the horses, and watched morning works.  Also, I met my wife and discovered that her grandfather bred, owned, and raced thoroughbreds on the West Virginia, Maryland circuit.  Today our office is decorated with winner’s circle pictures and a vast collection of Kentucky Derby glasses.
 
Today’s electronic age makes it so easy to gather information about racing.  I hope you use this blog to learn about Racing at the Jersey Shore.