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HRN Original Blog:
Bada Bing Inc.

First Kentucky Oaks Day was a Memorable One

2012 Kentucky Oaks Video
There’s a first time for everything. Remembering “firsts” can be thrilling and anxiety provoking, sometimes simultaneously. Most remarkable may be your first:


  • Date
  • A second, third or fourth date that lead to an “event” requiring far less clothing
  • Car/Truck
  • Shortly thereafter motor vehicle accident
  • Job or firing
  • Bet cashed that required an IRS signing


I could go on and on, but I don’t want summon memories from the so distant past that I miss my point, which is…


Oh yes, the Oaks card at Churchill Downs on May 4, 2012. It was my first trip to Churchill Downs on two levels – fan and media member. As a fan I was just happy to have a place to sit myself down, crack open my past performance and watch all the rituals that started and ended each race. As a media member, I had privileges and access beyond my wildest dreams. (Said seat had electrical outlets for my computer, a complimentary program and just happen to be resting six floors above the track and on the finish line.)


Goosebumps you ask, sure. When the National Anthem was played to open the day, I couldn’t help but think of my uncle, Peter Foss. A retired Army colonel who loved God, family, country and Thoroughbred horse racing, Pete was a man we all hope to be. He graduated from West Point, served his country in Korea and Vietnam and left such a lasting impression on the men he lead that many kept writing to him more than 40 years after their discharge.


Pete and I spent a weekend away at Saratoga for 10 straight years. We talked about going to the Kentucky Derby one day, but cancer claimed his life five years ago on Belmont Stakes day. But not before he gave me the winning advice of playing a Rags to Riches/Curlin exacta box.


The day itself charmingly met my expectations. Churchill is every bit the elegant track it looks like on television. The racing was top notch, seeming to me that anyone and everyone owning or training a decent horse pointed to Churchill Downs on the first weekend in May.


The crowd was beautiful, especially from a distance. Kidding, but certainly many fans had their drink on early in the day.


As my first “media member” experience, our digs where akin to a dignified fraternal club – free food and drink, enough tellers to handle the room and great seats in an air-conditioned room bereft with a television bank that would make NASA scientist envious. My access was only limited buy how far I wanted to walk.


Finally the friendship found with mates from Horse Racing Nation – Mark Midland, Brian Zipse, Jasen Mangrum and Kevin Kerstein – was alone worth the trip. It’s great to find others who share my passion for following and betting on Thoroughbreds.


Enough telling you about my experiences click on the video link for a full flavor of Kentucky Oaks Day 2012.



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Older Comments about First Kentucky Oaks Day was a Memorable One...

I will never forget my only visit to C.D. last years Breeders Cup weekend. I am waiting for some video of the mob scene pirate parking show outside in the neighborhood. Ol Kentucky Home
Thanks for the nice words all...
Tony, you're really talented at doing this videos. Kevin & you are really good at editing the footage with all the different ways you go in/out from shot to shot. It was a real pleasure sitting next to you all weekend & shaking up the press box a bit.
  • WarrenEves · I can't tell you how taken aback I was when watching this video of Kentucky Oaks day. You are to be commended for some fine work. Having worked the Derby twice many years ago I know how difficult it is just to move about while getting from one point to another. Your camera shots told a words-eye picture of what took place that day. I hope many others will get to see this because this is how horse racing used to be in the good old days. Bravo Tony Bada Bing, Bravo! · 1982 days ago
Bada Bing... it was an awesome time! Can't wait for next year!
Awesome work, Bada Bing et al!

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Tony Bada Bing began his lifelong quest of finding winners more than 35 years ago as a fifth grade student. This is when his grandfather first took him to the many Off Track Betting facilities sprinkled throughout Long Island, NY. While many kids his age were clamoring to hit the beach or an amusement park during summer vacation, Bada Bing was spending it in stuffy, smoked-filled rooms filled with retirees and reprobates listening to Marshall Cassidy on tape delay calling Saratoga.

This passion was further lit by his father, who took Bada Bing to East Boston's Suffolk Downs, only after Bada Bing learned to read the Racing Form. For most of his young adult life a summer rotation of NY OTB, Suffolk, and the now shuddered Rockingham Park in Salem, NH filled his betting days. 

Notable winners along the way: Willow Hour's and Runaway Groom's Travers wins as well as Derby winners Grindstone, Thunder Gulch (which he called in print the day before) and Super Saver. His latest quest is to hit the Kentucky Derby superfecta.

Bada Bing plays tournaments at Derby Wars, bets through several account wagering sites and has blogged about Thoroughbred racing for the past four years. He prefers the bigger meets of NYRA and California as well as seasonal meets of Gulfstream, Churchill and Oaklawn. He likes vertical, multirace wagers like Pick 4s.

He has produced several Horse Racing Nation videos, in addition to blogging. He can be found at Twitter @tonycbadabing. While away from the track Bada Bing enjoys time with his wife, who tolerates and supports his passion, and his two children.


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