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HRN Original Blog:
The Weekly Tout

Beating The Winter Blues


It’s official. I’m suffering from a pretty good case of mid winter depression. Like most everyone else in the lower 48 states, I’m frozen and melancholy. Up until a few weeks ago, I thought Polar Vortex was a Russian hockey player. Today I know the truth; it’s a bitter cold wave that has sucked the life right out of me and countless others. Needless to say, I haven’t been doing much of anything but watching TV while wrapped in my couch blanket and dreaming.


I have been dreaming of the spring and my spring and summer racing schedule. Being a working man, a commoner for the people if you will, my travels are limited to those tracks closest to me. And those tracks are the ones located in New York State, where some of the nation’s best racing takes place. We can have that east coast/west coast fight some other time.  


My first trip on the agenda is the Big A, Aqueduct on April 5th. Four stakes races will be held that day including the Grade 3 Bay Shore Handicap for three-year-olds over a distance of seven furlongs. Also on the card that day will the $500 thousand, Grade 1 Carter Handicap for three-year-olds and up, also covering seven furlongs. 


Then we have the Grade 2, Gazelle Stakes for three-year-old fillies. The mile and an eighth trip is a tune up for the Kentucky Oaks and is not the biggest race on the card. That race is the one million dollar Wood Memorial for three year olds. The race is worth 100 points towards the road to the 2014 Kentucky Derby and was won last year by Verrazano.


Ah yes, springtime in Queens continues with the running of the 2014 Belmont Stakes on June Seventh.  Only six or seven miles from Aqueduct, Belmont is a huge place that can accommodate a crowd that hopefully will see a new Triple Crown Champion crowned. It’s three degrees outside and it’s my fantasy and if I want to see a Triple Crown I will.


Then after a goodly and warming spring, we race into summer where my dream continues to the warmth of Saratoga. I want hot, humid upstate New York days that are sometimes cooled by a downpour of rain that only Saratoga can produce.


I’m longing for the Mac and Cheese truck that can be found at NYRA tracks. I want a hot dog and a slice of New York pizza. A large coke, and an order of those Montreal French Fries, covered in cheese curds and gravy. I want to see the little Irish guy who sells you seats in the grandstand for 25 bucks a piece. He sits outside of the gate at Saratoga on the Nelson Ave entrance. Of course they are more expensive on stakes days and less expensive a half hour after post time on a Monday afternoon.


And most of all I want the chance to watch live racing, in person, with the smell of beer and cigars filling the open air at any of these tracks. I want to hear that thunder as they speed past you. I want to see the hope in the betting public’s eye as they look forward to the next race, and the chance to be a winner as well.


Hey, I almost feel better. I feel like I should be sending you a co-payment instead of a shrink. Let’s hook up now that you know where I’ll be. Till then… Riders Up!



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Older Comments about Beating The Winter Blues...

Johnnie, look forward to seeing you on Wood Memorial Day!
agreed. winter needs to end!! bring on the spring and summer racing!
I feel your pain, Johnnie! Or, maybe at least some of it ... feel better, my friend!

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Meet Johnnie Carrier


With 10 years of writing a humor column for his home town paper under his belt, Johnnie Carrier has decided to try something different. He is a graduate of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey’s Clown College Class of 1977 and traveled the West with Circus Vargas in 1979.

 In the 80’s, Carrier lived in New York City and Boston, but he settled down however in the smallest city in Massachusetts late in the decade and married Dawn Luskin in ’88. David was born in 1991 and has been blessed with his father’s sense of humor, but luckily his mother’s good looks.

 Racing has been more than a casual interest having lived so close to Saratoga. He started going to the track at a very young age with his parents and has tried to instill that passion into his son by taking him at the same age. In 2003, Carrier started to write as a freelance writer with the North Adams Transcript and can be followed there at the paper’s website.  


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