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HRN Original Blog:
Zipse At The Track

Gamblers and Fans: What's Good For One ...

The stars came out to play Saturday evening at Churchill Downs, giving fans a strong taste of what they came for. Of course, as is true with most things in life, there are two ways at looking at things. The results of the Stephen Foster card had two separate effects on the two biggest groups watching the races that night.

One the one hand, the majority of racing fans went home happy. They saw some of the best horses in the United States running to, or in the case of Gun Runner, even exceeding their expectations. The impressive prime time victories were fan-tastic.

But on the other hand, all that chalk got in the way of gamblers trying to make some real money on the big card. Big favorites winning the races, does not lend itself to serious winnings at the windows for the most serious bettors. To a lesser extent, a similar thing happened the week before on an even bigger race card on Belmont Stakes day. For the most part, favorites ruled the day.

The parade of winning favorites, especially big name favorites, is often exactly what the more casual fan, or even a more serious fan, but one who is not much of a bettor, wants to see. It leaves a bit of a bitter taste for the gambler, however.

Taking a look at the five graded stakes on the Stephen Foster card, we can see an average winning payout of only $5.44. Not surprisingly, the Pick 5 using the five consecutive graded stakes of the evening, made no one rich, paying $78.10 for a 50-cent ticket.

McCraken (1-5) in the Matt Winn Stakes 

Kasaqui (3-1) in the Wise Dan Stakes 

Forever Unbridled (1-1) in the Fleur de Lis Stakes 

Gun Runner (1-2) in the Stephen Foster Handicap 

Sweeping Paddy (7-2) in the Regret Stakes 

As both a fan and a gambler, I tend to enjoy outcomes like this much more as a fan. As a gambler, part of my job is to know when it's time to tread lightly and expect the chalk. 

This all leads me to the ultimate purpose of this column ... how did you enjoy Stephen Foster night? Did you love to see the big names doing their thing, or would you have preferred to see a little more light on the toteboard?


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Meet Brian Zipse 

Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Taken to the races at a very young age, he has been lucky enough to see all the greats in person from Secretariat, Forego, and Ruffian through Rachel Alexandra, Zenyatta, and American Pharoah. Before coming to the Nation, Brian displayed his love for the sport through the development of his horse racing website, which quickly became one of the most popular blogs in the game. 

As Editor of Horse Racing Nation, Brian authors a daily column as Zipse at the Track, or ZATT for short, adds his editorial flare to the overall content of the website, and co-hosts the popular racing show, HorseCenter. A big supporter of thoroughbred aftercare, he serves as the President of The Exceller Fund.

Brian's work has also been published on several leading industry sites. He has consulted for leading contest site Derby Wars, is both a Hall of Fame and NTRA poll voter, and is a Vox Populi committee member. 

A horse owner and graduate of DePaul University, Brian lives just outside of Louisville with his wife Candice and daughter Kendra.


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