Saturday, July 31, 2010

Flamboro's Saturday afternoon card...

Post time for this afternoon's 1pm card at Flamboro Downs is fast approaching! Good luck if you're playing the races today.

Race 3

1-SEDNA is inconsistent and races for a .109 barn, but I'm able to overlook those two negatives on a day when he's facing an absolutely despicable field of rivals. He's lone speed from the inside and has a great driver in young Zeron. The last time the pair drew well and were able to control the pace (May 26 @ FLMD), they won by open lengths over Lord Oliver N and M G Energik, either of which would be 2-5 in this race. A gate-to-wire win is predicted for the horse that THE PETE SHEETS are tabbing as the Most Probable winner of the day.

After the pick, there are only a few other horses even worth talking about. 6-CRUISING KYLER, 7-CANT WAIT TIL MAY and 9-CAVIART TEXAS are absolute tosses, leaving five underneath contenders.

I give slight preference to 2-FOURSTARZ TREASURE, 3-INDEPENDENT GUY and 5-SAN ANDREAS, but won't totally exclude 4-CROWE RIVER or 8-RAVENS RAIDER.

Race 4

Here's a beatable race! 2-GO MAN GO's last two have been very good and while he's no cinch, he shouldn't be worse than 2nd among these. The only horse that I think that has a shot at beating him is 1-CAMS OAK, who might trip-out and pick him up late. Might.

If you toss the outside two, 7-CASH LE RU and 8-TREND SPOTTER, you're left with five others to use in the underneath positions. Of those, 5-BAREITALL HANOVER and 9-LUCKY GIFT are preferred, the former because he's of more talent than most of the rest and the latter because he figures to be a forwardly placed recipient of a good trip behind 1-CAMS OAK and 2-GO MAN GO.

Let's take a shot at the Early Pick Four today:

$2.40 P4 2 with 234 with 136 with 467 = $64.80
$1.20 P4 2 with 1578 with 136 with 467 = $43.20
$1.20 P4 2 with 234 with 2578 with 467 = $43.20
$0.80 P4 2 with 1578 with 2578 with 467 = $38.40
$1.80 P4 1 with 234 with 136 with 467 = $48.60
$1.00 P4 1 with 1578 with 136 with 467 = $36.00
$1.00 P4 1 with 234 with 2578 with 467 = $36.00
$0.60 P4 1 with 1578 with 2578 with 467 = $28.80
Total investment: $339.00

You might want to fool around with the numbers a little bit and perhaps even invest less. I'll leave that up to you!

Race 8

With 1-TYPECAST, 2-SERENA DRUMMOND and 6-B B WINDFALL expected to attract plenty of support, 3-SEALCREST PENNY impresses me as being a very good Value Play. She was very good at Grand River on Wednesday night and I would go as far as to say that she might've won the race if not for suffering interference and other compromising dynamics. Play her for 1st and 2nd with the aforementioned three and maybe play some smaller savers with 8-RISQUE BUSINESS.

Here are some suggestions for the Late Pick Four:

$1.60 P4 123 with 15 with 129 with 49 = $57.60
$0.80 P4 123 with 15 with 458 with 49 = $28.80
$0.80 P4 123 with 15 with 129 with 568 = $43.20
$0.40 P4 123 with 15 with 458 with 568 = $21.60
Total investment: $151.20

Race 9

Two horses standout in this race. 1-MATHERS VALLEY showed marked improvement when winning her Pereira debut last time and I'm sure she'll be favored to repeat. She's a must-use in the multi-race wager, but I'm not sure I'd be in a big hurry to take a short price on her today. She's no killer, can't finish and is a prime example of a horse that you were supposed to have last time. 5-TACO is actually of more talent than her, but her breaking tendencies make her hard to trust.


Race 10

9-EXOTIC MAN RJ seems like a good Value Play in a race where the relatively useless, 2-D J ADONIS (Beatable Favorite)figures to be even money or less. The Yates trainee makes his third start off of the shelf after having compromising (impossible) trips in his first two for the new barn.

4-ENDURING SPIRIT is another less obvious horse of interest. He wasn't nearly as bad as his last line suggests, but had no chance of improving his position while being blind-switched for the entire last quarter. He's reunited with MacDonald today and impresses me as being a Live Longshot.

You can infer from my Late Pick Four suggestions as to which of the others I think are contenders, but they are obvious horses that anyone can pick. As such, their prices aren't expected to be true reflections of their real chances of winning. In these races for inconsistent, mediocre, restricted claimers, it often pays to stay away from favorites and gamble on other more imaginative horses.


Live Longshot: 4-ENDURING SPIRIT (10th)

Most Probable Winner: 1-SEDNA (3rd)

Show Parlay: 8-D C JUDGE (2nd)
1-SEDNA (3rd)
2-GO MAN GO (4th)
4-MS REDD (7th)

Value Plays: 3-SEALCREST PENNY (8th)
9-EXOTIC MAN RJ (10th)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

All Tucked Up

I think I saw a very, very special filly debut at Grand River last night. All Tucked Up, a two year-old daughter of Western Ideal, won at first asking in 1:59.2. 1:59.2, big deal, right? Wrong. She paced her own last half in :56.0 and flashed a freakish, :27.2, turn of foot in the last quarter, all while being hand driven. She sure looks like the real thing.

Her driver, Randy Waples, seems to think so, too. I spoke to him this morning to and he was still beside himself. I learned that both he and Austin had an inkling that she was a good filly even through her early schooling efforts and especially after her initial qualifying effort at Mohawk on July 13.

Speed aside, Waples was equally impressed with All Tucked Up's professionalism. "She's as smart as a whip and looks after herself. Last night's mile was huge, especially when you consider that I pretty much stopped her in the first turn to get around some trouble. She's the perfect size, good-gaited and has a big engine." Needless to say, Waples said he was going to take some time this morning to further investigate the Stakes engagements that the filly has ahead of her.

Be sure to add All Tucked Up to your list of horses to watch in the weeks ahead. Her debut suggests she's one worthy of the attention.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Super Saturday...

Rockin Image, that's my Meadowlands Pace pick. I have no argument with anyone that sides with Rock N Roll Heaven, but Rockin Image seems like the "now" horse to me. His last two have been absolutely robotic and it just feels to me like he's ideally drawn and has a tactical advantage on the other son of Rocknroll Hanover and the others. It should be a hell of a race, maybe even better than The North America Cup!

As for Sportswriter, I'm afraid I'm out. I know he had systemic problems leading up to last week's race and that he's reported to be doing much better this week, but I can't fathom any horse winning from post ten in a field as deep as this one, regardless of the obscure stat that the outside rail is actually the winningest post position in Meadowlands Pace history.

If you're looking for a sleeper, my sources tell me that Kyle Major has had the best week he's had in awhile and that he's sitting on a big race.

Really, Nova Artist is the only horse that looks outmatched, but how can anyone rule out any horse trained by Sweet Lou after the two-year run he's had? Projected post time for the million-dollar affair is 9:20pm ET. Enjoy it!

If you can't wait until tonight to see some familiar faces racing south of the border, tune in to coverage of this afternoon's races from The Meadows. Gregg McNair's Aracache Hanover is racing in a division of the PaSS and his son, Doug, is there to drive. The colt has won three in a row and has quickly stamped himself as a Grand Circuit type. He's drawn post eight in the 6th, for which post time is estimated to be 2:35pm ET. Aracache Hanover is 9-2 on the Morning Line and if you get anything close to that price at post time, it's the best bet you'll make all year! I think he's the best and will be watching with interest.

Flamboro is the first Canadian harness track to get underway today and there is only one horse (race) that interests me. You'll have to wait until the 10th, but 9-SCOTIAN DELIGHT lays over the field. Use 1-NEVER ENUFF LUCK, 4-MATOU ROSE, 5-M G ENERGIK and 6-CANT BE CAUGHT underneath and pad your account heading into the evening races.

I have to tell you -- the card at Mohawk tonight could not be better, both from a quality standpoint and a betting one. There are three eliminations of The Canadian Breeders' Championship for three year-old pacing colts, one for trotting colts of the same age, as well as single prep races for both the Roses Are Red Stakes and The Maple Leaf Trot. The $42,000 Open pace has been carded as the 10th.

Here are some notes pertaining to tonight's card from Campbellville:

Race 2
6-DALHOUSIE DAVE will be heavily favoured and I can't pick against him. He'll lose one of these nights, because they all do, but I don't think it'll be tonight. 3-TWIN B WARRIO and 4-BIG BAY POINT are the best of the rest and throw 1-CODE WORD and 5-TERROR TIME in as 3rd-place savers.

Race 3
Another reliable favourite -- 3-TEXT ME. He had a compromising trip in the Gold Final at Georgian but should enjoy much better circumstances tonight. He's the speed of the field and will have a distinct tactical advantage on his main rivals. 8-DONTGETINMYWAY is a great horse himself, but he's drawn outside tonight and will likely be far back in the early going. Expect him to make a big late move, but I'm dubious as to whether it will be enough to have him repeat. 2-STORMONT TRIGGER and 5-QUANTUM STARSHIP are the other underneath contenders.

Race 4
Want a Live Longshot? 8-FOOLISH JUSTICE makes his fourth start for Menary, gets McNair for the first time and has had trip excuses in his first three for the new barn. He'll be a big price, should enjoy favourable dynamics and I don't mind taking a small shot on him. You'll remember that 1-PLUMB DUFF was a horse that THE PETE SHEETS projected to win last week, but that was the wedding -- tonight is the funeral. He moves up in class, draws inside of other speed types and will be offered at a drastically reduced price. I'm out tonight.

Race 6
4-BAY OF SHARKS is rounding into top form and has raced deceptively well against much better company in his last several. He drops in class tonight and seems like one of the card's most reliable plays.

Race 7
Okay, this is where many of you will think I'm crazy because I don't want anything to do with 9-DREAMFAIR ETERNAL tonight! She draws outside against the deepest field she's faced in Canada in awhile and it just feels like she'll have to be as good as ever to win. She's 5-2 on the Morning Line, but we all know that she'll be 3-5 and so even if she does win, she won't pay anything. Why not take a shot on one of the American invaders -- 1-CHANCEY LADY, 2-GINGER AND FRED (who was as good as I've seen her in awhile in her most recent at YR) or 4-TUG RIVER PRINCESS?

Race 9
I'm a huge fan of 4-FUTURE MILLION and this is the most beatable field he's faced all year. He beat himself last week, which he's done in the past, but if he fires his best tonight, these won't see which way he went.

Race 10
Please, please, please don't get sucked in on 3-MAJOR HOTTIE! He's a lovely horse, but all of these are, and his most recent win was one of the most dressed up in the history of the sport. Kudos to Christoforou for stealing the race last time, but under less idyllic circumstances, this horse isn't nearly the force that those paper optics might suggest. He might win, but he'll be ridiculously overbet if he does. I'm leaving him out of the Late Pick Four.

Race 13
Live Longshot, 9-SHADYWOOD BARON, is a better horse than his recent lines suggest and he's a worth a shot in the finale at tonight's overlay odds. His lack of gate speed is disheartening, but if he gets any kind of pace to chase, expect him to come screaming home for Brewer.

There are a few races of interest at Georgian Downs tonight, too. Post time is 7:25pm ET.

Race 4
3-GIRLS WILLB GIRLS makes her second start for Fellows and her debut is a very good frame of reference because she finished a respectable 3rd behind McCloud and Stormont Trigger, either of which would be 1-5 in this spot. She might prove to be overbet tonight but she sure seems too good for these if she repeats her July 5 effort.

Race 5
Listen, I know post eight is a difficult one at Georgian, but I still don't mind having a few bucks on 8-BEECHWOOD TIGER tonight. He has been facing horses that would be 1-9 if they were in this race and the paper optics of his efforts don't do him much justice because he actually hasn't been that bad. Exploiting overlays is the only way to make money gambling on horses. Play him for 1st and 2nd.

Race 8
7-ALLAMERICAN SWIFT drops to a new low and if she can't beat these horses, they might as well breed her.

Race 11
Similar to the situation in the 5th, this race's most talented horse draws outside and should be offered at odds that are bigger than they should be. 9-MY JEWELS has been keeping good company at Mohawk and this is a distinct class drop for him. Had he drawn three spots to the left he'd be 2-1, but his post time odds should be better than that because of the outside draw.

Have a great day everyone! Enjoy the races!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Dalhousie Dave: horse or robot?

Dalhousie Dave's winning performance in last night's Summertime Series Final has me wondering if he's not a robot disguised as a horse. Did you see the race? Horses just aren't supposed to be able to do what he did last night. Jody used him a little bit leaving, then came a long first-over into a :54.2 last half and still drove away from good horses like Outrageous Art and Dreamlands Art to win in 1:49.4! Wow! I can't figure out what his own last half was because I can't read the chart lines anymore, but I know that he was as good as a horse could be. Congratulations to Tony O'Sullivan and The Fielding Brothers, who are also the breeders of the Ontario-sired (Astreos) colt.

It was "Chalk or Bomb Night" at Flamboro on Friday. Five of the card's ten winners paid $4.60 or less while the other half of the races were taken by horses that paid $12.30, $14.80, $42.70, $51.40 and $78.70. Post time today is 1pm.

At Grand River, veterans Bill Megens and Art Craig both won races with trotters while Just A Lad earned his 45th lifetime win. Trevor Henry had the best night of all of the Elora track's drivers, yielding a 3-2-2 record from his ten drives.

I don't know what you've got planned for tonight, but you should be making the trek to Georgian Downs in Innisfil, Ontario for this year's Gold Rush card. Four Ontario Sires Stakes Gold Series Finals, four Masters Series Finals and more than $1,000,000 in purses. The weather is supposed to be great and the atmosphere will be second to none. See you there!

THE PETE SHEETS' Meadowlands Pace Picks:

Race 4 - Planned Post Time 8:00pm
6-ROCK N ROLL HEAVEN...back at home track, in a great spot tactically.
7-ALL SPEED HANOVER...choked (literally) in NA Cup, he can bounce back.
3-ONE MORE chance at Mohawk, as dangerous as any from covered trip.

Race 5 - Planned Post Time 8:20pm
2-ROCKIN good as ever right now, Jersey Cup win was freakish.
3-IDEAL MATTERS...a better horse than most of these, lone threat to Takter trainee.
4-NOVA ARTIST...Pena power.

Race 6 - Planned Post Time 8:40pm
7-FRED AND GINGER...Palone's last two drives have been just plain awful.
5-SPORTSWRITER...obviously capable but ridiculously overbet tonight.
6-IAM BONASERA...2nd-time Jamieson, favourable dynamics, longshot potential.

Some other races of interest for you Weekend Warriors:

Flamboro - Race 3
Please, please, please don't get sucked in on 1-MR STRUT today! His win of last week was a dynamics win as he was in the right place at the right time when he took over from a recently useless Lifestream Mindale. He got the jump on the field in the third quarter, a headstart that he needed because he ended up walking the last eighth and narrowly holding off the free-too-late 8-DREAMDROP HANOVER. If you didn't go to the wedding last week (14-1), why go to the funeral today? I'm not sure which of these will win, but I know I don't want anything to do with 1-MR STRUT, nor should you!

Flamboro - Race 5
2-TEAM MATE is one-dimensional sort with an aversion to winning, but he drops to a new low today and his need-to-lead-to-win preference should be satisfied. I'm never a fan of favourites, but this looks like a "can't lose" situation for him. Use 1-KEYSTONE BEST BET, 3-LORELEI HANOVER, 5-MAPLE RUN DELIGHT, 6-KG WEAPON and 8-FBS GAL underneath.

Flamboro - Race 10
You can suit yourself, but I always like a fresh face in these restricted claiming races for mediocre horses. 6-PAUL ALEX is tagged for the first time and though he's obviously no killer, he's probably as good or better than any of today's rivals. You can have 2-AWARD HANOVER and 3-NOTIFY and 5-KILKERRAN ACCORD and all of the other bad, overbet horses that have already have several chances in this class.

Mohawk - Race 6
There are two mares that interest me here: 1-SMASHBOX and 7-BLISSFUL SMILE. The former finally draws inside and shouldn't be as far back as she's been in recent weeks from outside draws. The latter is intriguing as Scott Zeron takes over in a race that should feature dynamics that are favourable to her. Both of these will be acceptable prices.

Mohawk - Race 9
6-PLUMB DUFF makes his third start for Fellows and after a very conservative trip in his debut, he went off to Kawartha and absolutely jogged in his most recent start. He's one of only a few speed horses in tonight's field and he should have the kind of trip that he needs to win. I think he's sitting on a lifetime best tonight.

Enjoy the races tonight and feel free to share your thoughts or selections with readers in the comment section below.

Check back on Monday (or Tuesday, depending on my condition) for news and pictures from Sunday's Canadian Drivers Showcase from St. John's Racing & Entertainment Centre.

Take care...

Friday, July 9, 2010

Friday morning musings...

It's been a few weeks since my last blog post and I have a lot to talk about.

While there haven't been any posts or actual SHEETS circulating for a few weeks, things are as busy as ever here at headquarters. The web site is only a few days away from being complete and is expected to launch next week once I'm back from Newfoundland and Fort Erie.

Initial sponsorship of the project is better than I had expected. Thanks to Great Canadian Gaming,, Tickets Etc. Inc. and Clinton Raceway for being the first to support the project. More is needed. This free blog has quickly become a daily destination for racing and gambling enthusiasts who aren't afraid to spend money and the viewership is expected to triple once the actual web site is active. Since this project is just getting off of the ground, advertising rates are almost unreasonably moderate considering the tremendous opportunities of sales promotion offered by Connect with your target audience. Maximize advertising dollars. See the results. For more information, please contact Peter Kyte at 226-374-4874 or

Did you get this month's edition of Trot Magazine yet? Take your eyes off of the beautiful Riina long enough to read Darryl Kaplan's editorial. I thoroughly enjoyed it because I found his opinion to be very similar to that of mine which I shared in my "Please, tell me I'm wrong" post of Wednesday June 9. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section at the end of this post.

Sportswriter and the rest of this year's deep group of three year-old colts come together at The Meadowlands tomorrow night for three eliminations of The Meadowlands Pace. The North America Cup Champ is in the third elimination, Race 6 on the program. Post time is 8:40pm. The second elimination, the night's 5th Race, is by far the most shallow of the three but if Lou Pena's new recruit, Nova Artist, wins, you can be sure that it may just end up being the most talked about of the three! I think the horse is inferior to both Rockin Image and Ideal Matters, but can't rule out any horse sent forth by the sport's latest Super Trainer. I'll have more insight for you in tomorrow's Meadowlands Pace version of THE PETE SHEETS.

I'll be at Georgian Downs on Saturday night handling the handicapping duties for their Gold Rush card. Four Gold Series Finals, four Masters Series Finals, 12 races in total -- it's going to be one hell of a night and I hope you're making plans to be in attendance.

First thing Sunday morning, myself and several local drivers are flying to Newfoundland to St. John's Racing & Entertainment Centre to participate in this year's Canadian Drivers Showcase. I'm really looking forward to it and am flattered to be invited. I'll have a full report with pictures on the blog once I'm back in Ontario. Thanks to Greg Blanchard for covering for me at Fort Erie. Greg is among the best announcer's there are but doesn't get as much exposure as others, so I hope you'll tune in to The Fort's Sunday card to hear him!

That's all for today. THE PETE SHEETS for tomorrow cover racing from Flamboro, Georgian, Mohawk and the three Meadowlands Pace elims. If you aren't already a subscriber and would like to receive the free product, send an email requesting your inclusion to

Until tomorrow...

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Hey Mark, can I borrow $20?

What a race! What a horse! What a story!

I'll be the first to admit that I was among the skeptics. I know he won his qualifiers and that he flashed :26.3 closing speed in his first two, but wasn't it fair to expect more out of last year's superhorse? Brian Sears certainly thought so. Maybe we all would've been less judgemental had we known of the multiple quarter cracks that were plaguing Sportswriter.

Jeff Boyd is Sportswriter's blacksmith and he's a friend of mine. I called him early last week looking for the scoop on Sportswriter's ailing tootsies. "Pete, he's going to win the North America Cup!" he told me. Neither of us would ever dare saying that loud enough for Ms. Coleman's ears to hear it because we'd have to listen to a tirade about her superstitions and blah, blah, blah. Women. "Seriously. I know he still didn't look perfect last week, but he really needed the stretching out that he got in the elim and I saw him today and he was acting like the Sports of old -- bouncing around in the cross ties, throwing his head around -- he's ready." Was he ever.

Besides the horse, I was happiest for Mark MacDonald. Listen, business is business and just as drivers are allowed to pick off of horses, it's supposed to be okay on the rare occasion that trainers and owners pick off of drivers. Still, the human side of me couldn't help but feel bad for Mark when it was announced he was getting the hook this year in favour of Brian Sears. It's funny how things go sometimes, isn't it?

This year's race saw a little more than an 11% increase in handle -- from $670,383 in '09 to $747,475 -- and the card's overall intake ($3,191,986) was just $51,287 less than last year's.

Congratulations to Jamie Smith from Prince Edward Island! "Smitty" was among those subscribers that chose Sportswriter to win The Cup and his name was chosen as the winner for dinner for two on THE PETE SHEETS. CDP or Summerside, Smitty? Thanks to all of you that participated.

Enjoy your Sunday and be sure to check tomorrow's blog for an important announcement!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Pepsi North America Cup XXVII...

As I type this, there are only six hours until post time of what promises to be one of the greatest North America Cup races in history!

THE PETE SHEETS for tonight's Mohawk card have already been sent to subscribers, but it's not too late for you to get yours!

Send an email to and I'll add you to the mailing list.

Enjoy the races everyone!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Why Sportswriter will win The North America Cup...

I heard the same whispers of May as you did -- Sportswriter just wasn't Sportswriter anymore. Brian Sears sat behind him once and lost interest. Many others, including myself, did the same when he lost his seasonal bow to Kid Carson. His Burlington loss marked the first time he'd ever lost consecutive races. What had happened over the Winter? Where was the two year-old version of Sportswriter? Where was The Champ?

The events of this year's first five trips behind the gate started to make more sense to me when I learned of the serious quarter crack issues that were plaguing Sportswriter -- foot issues of Big Brown proportion. No foot, no horse, right? I couldn't help but think that maybe those first five weren't bad efforts after all.

He still looked somewhat uncomfortable during the post parade of last week's elim, but his performance in the race overshadowed those pre-race optics. He didn't win, but he sure deserved to after enduring the toughest trip of all of the race's top three finishers.

The post position draw and projected dynamics of Saturday's North America Cup Final are favourable to Sportswriter. With speed types on both his inside and outside, he's sure to find himself in mid pack in the early stages and it's hard not to imagine him having the beneficial cover of All Speed Hanover once the race takes shape. As good as he was last week, how much better will he be if such a trip materializes on Saturday? It feels like he's sitting on his biggest race of the season.

This year's North America Cup features the deepest and most contentious field that I can remember and I have no argument for anyone that might side with Fred And Ginger, Rock N Roll Heaven, All Speed Hanover or Kyle Major. Even One More Laugh is of above average talent and capable of winning with the right trip. My money will be on Sportswriter. The Champ is back...I think.

If you aren't already a subscriber and would like to be added to the mailing list along with those that already receive the most informative product of its kind, send an email to Mohawk's Saturday edition of THE PETE SHEETS will be available by noon on Saturday.

Until tomorrow...

Thursday, June 17, 2010

I know it's long, but it's a must-read...

Pay attention -- PAY CLOSE ATTENTION! Today's post is a very, very important one because it is a commentary on the unmistakable progress that has been made within the industry within the past week.

In the context of my Wednesday June 9 post entitled, "Please, tell me I'm wrong!", I was quite critical of Chris Hickey and WEG's "Mohawk Racing Live" in-house broadcasts. It wasn't meant to be a personal attack on Chris -- I recognize that he's just like the rest of us that wake up each day with a job to go to. I simply thought that he and the rest of the broadcast team were capable of much better and the comments left by readers of this blog were suggestive of similar. There was no one more pleased than me when, within just a few days of my passionate plea, those overwhelming beliefs were confirmed. Coverage of last Saturday's Burlington card was much more informative and of much more interest than that of those which I had been so disapproving of earlier in the week. If you read Tuesday's post, you'll find that I was just as quick to praise Chris and WEG for the overnight, marked improvement that such criticism had so obviously given rise to.

I used the same post as a means of expressing my disappointment with the Ontario Racing Commission's "From The Stand" segment. I couldn't understand why a project with so much potential -- one which could easily be used as a means of addressing perception issues which have been universally agreed upon as having contributed to the sport's decline -- featured nothing more than discourse for uninteresting, inarguable, self-explanatory infractions. That format has since changed as well. Yesterday's "From The Stand" piece was absolutely fantastic! Horsemen and gamblers alike had several questions and wanted answers about the 7th Race from Grand River on May 31. After watching the race live and viewing the replay at least 20 times, even I was certain that Plante's bike had gone inside three pylons and that Keystone Gemini should've been disqualified. I read comments from one customer that was alive on a "pool shot" Pick Four with the runner-up (A Step Above) and he, too, was of the impression that the Judges had done him an injustice when they failed to change the order of finish. It is only as a result of yesterday's revelation , though, that it has become clear to one and all that the Judges got it absolutely right -- the bike's inside wheel hit the first pylon, was inside the second and hit the red pylon at the mouth of the passing lane -- none of which are violations.

The harness racing industry is replete with passionate people of diverse backgrounds -- tireless, hard-working grooms, grinding gamblers, dedicated drivers, breeders that fight to stay in business -- the list is endless. It's obvious that Peter Kyte isn't the only passionate person involved. If my own affection, however, leads me to saying or writing things that others misconstrue and take offense to, I apologize in advance. I'm not always right and few make more mistakes than me. I may even be too critical and too outspoken at times, but I'd rather be guilty of those offenses than be accused -- even if only by myself -- of complacency.

Feel free to detail your own thoughts in the comment space provided below.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

THE PETE SHEETS sweep first three, Montini and Baillargeon sweep Late Double...

I knew going into last night's card that THE PETE SHEETS' subscribers were either going to be real happy or real broke after the first three races from Mohawk and luckily it was the former. Actually, not luckily at all -- you've got to be good to be lucky. Rock Me Amastreos and Boogie Woogie combined for a $30.80 Double that THE PETE SHEETS had cold and when Outrageous Art won the 3rd, subscribers added the $26.60 Pick Three to their list of early winning bets. $26.60 isn't much, but neither is the dollar that a few emailed me to tell me they spent getting it! Way to go, gang!

Last week, I took a lot of heat for being critical of the broadcasts at WEG, but today I have to give credit where credit is due -- Chris Hickey is already asking much better questions of much more pertinent people and I'm certain that customers are just as cognisant and appreciative of the overnight improvement as I am. Kudos to Chris!

Seer Of Patmos continues to be "Public Enemy No. 1" -- he's torched more of the public's money in the last four weeks than Bernie Madoff! He's still a horse of unmistakable ability though and last night's aberration ensures he'll be offered at a much bigger price the next time he goes behind the gate. Those with the intestinal fortitude to go back to the big bay one more time will have a chance to get all of their money back in one race.

Tony Montini and Mario Baillargeon swept last night's Late Double with Adrenaline and Smokeys Luck. The former was a six-figure private purchase that has now won two of three for his new owners and would most certainly have picked up a cheque in the rich Upper Canada Cup Final if not for a very compromising trip. It's the job that Montini has done with Smokeys Luck in recent weeks that is most impressive. He had been just plain awful during most of his tenure in Montini's barn -- win-shy and uninterested -- until the last two weeks. Last night, he looked like Camluck himself and the marked improvement that the horse has shown is not lost upon me. Montini has transformed a horse that had long been a perpetual auto-toss from win candidacy into one that's now deserving of attention from fellow horsemen and bettors alike.

Last night's "Tweet with Pete" session on Twitter went better than I could've ever imagined. We'll do it again tonight, starting a few minutes before the opener at Georgian Downs. Setup your Twitter account and then follow "@THEPETESHEETS" to join in.

THE PETE SHEETS' subscriber list is growing everyday! To be added, send an email to and join the hundreds that are already receiving the best information in Canadian harness racing.

Enjoy the day...

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Fog so thick it was blinding...

I know the fog was rather heavy in Campbellville last night, but I'm pretty sure I saw the 9th Race favourite, Mcaracas, get roller-derbied in the stretch by the eventual winner, Keystone Raptor. I have to admit, though -- my eyes aren't as good as they used to be now that I'm well into my 33rd year. Watch the replay on your next visit to Standardbred Canada's web site (which is ridiculously ironic) for yourself and arrive at your own opinion. It isn't that big of a deal, I suppose -- it was only a $100,000 event that handled $148,867 worth of customers' money -- a total that doesn't include the money taken in on the Late Pick Four or the Pick Threes that began in the 7th and the 8th. Yeah, never mind -- I mean, at least all of the drivers reported to their horses two minutes prior to the post parade.

I often find myself in hot water when I share my opinion about a sport for which I have unparalleled passion, so I'll leave committing such an offense to all of you. What do you think? Take the time to leave a comment below and I'll be sure to post those which don't contain vulgar language. Leave your name, too, and don't be apprehensive -- there's nothing to be afraid of. If there is an issue that requires further discussion, it's one of accountability, integrity and transparency and everyone involved in the sport of harness racing is in favour of accountability, integrity and transparency, right?

I can be reached by email at

No time to waste...

It's a busy day for THE PETE SHEETS with three tracks to cover, leaving little time for fartin' around on the blog!

Dreamfair Eternal is the 3-5 Morning Line favourite to win her elimination of The Ellamony at Flamboro this afternoon. The other elim, the day's 7th, is much more wide open and should be a hell of a race.

Three divisions of The Burlington Stakes steal the spotlight at Mohawk and THE PETE SHEETS provide comprehensive, in-depth analysis for all three races.

It's not too late to have your name added to the mailing list! Send an email to and you'll be among those that receive today's Flamboro, Georgian and Mohawk versions of THE PETE SHEETS!

Enjoy the races...

Friday, June 11, 2010

The one that got away...

Typical, so typical.

Last week, THE PETE SHEETS identified Whirlwind as a Live Longshot after seeing her finish a very good 2nd to subsequent repeater, Francis, at Flamboro. As it turned out, the free-legged mare broke at the gate and lost all chance. She was 10-1. She did pace a big middle half while trying to make a recovery and I once again saw a lot of the hidden ability that led me to being interested in her in the first place.

So she's back in-to-go last night. Ouellette replacing the younger Zeron. Live Longshot status again. I wasn't about to give up on her just because of one aberration. As predicted, she was twice the price, so I liked her twice as much. The masses are so predictable.

As they were lining up behind the gate, I called out to my wife in the kitchen saying, "Honey, come watch -- this one's going to make THE PETE SHEETS famous!" She didn't come. Stayed in the kitchen. Good woman.

Luc gave her a great drive right from the get-go. Left for position, saved ground while tracking from 3rd. Heading to the far turn, she was positioned perfectly and I could see she was going to be able to slip out and take a run at the tiring leaders. I was playing catch driver from the couch like a real mongrel. "Where is she?", The General queried from the kitchen. "Second over, cannot lose!". Kiss of death.

In the clear and home and cooled in the stretch, this horse that I had built this relationship with over the past three weeks -- the one which, like a supportive parent, I stuck with even though she had made a bad mistake the week prior -- hung at crunch time and was picked up by another longshot.

So close. Too bad this is horseracing and not horseshoes.

Today's a busy day at THE PETE SHEETS Headquarters (the computer room at my house -- "Headquarters" just sounds so much better!). The Flamboro, Grand River and Mohawk versions of THE PETE SHEETS will be available later this afternoon.

Want to get on the mailing list? Simply send an email requesting such to and you'll join the other 114 harness racing fans that are already receiving THE PETE SHEETS daily. It's a free service to subscribers!

Time to get some work done. Have a great day everyone!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

194 and 8...

Yesterday's post generated more interest than any before it on this blog -- 194 views and 8 comments from passionate, dedicated fans of harness racing -- proof that the sport is in fact not dead.

Mohawk is the lone track featured in today's edition of THE PETE SHEETS, which will be completed by mid-afternoon. If you aren't already a subscriber, send an email to and I'll add you to the mailing list.

Enjoy the sun...

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Please, tell me I'm wrong!

It's a good thing Gord Remmen isn't perceived to be a "problem trainer" because if he were, he'd have had some real splainin' to do last night when newcomer, Wrangler Payday, ran off in 1:50.4. Three-wide at the half, geared down at the wire -- he looked more like Somebeachsomewhere last night than the horse that paced in 1:54.2 while getting runover in a qualifier at the very same track about three weeks earlier. The horse had been keeping good company in Alberta, finishing behind Sixdaysontheroad a couple of times. Maybe the horse scoped sick after that qualifying effort? Maybe he was tied up? The extended time between the May 20 qualifier and last night's race leads me to believe something needed fixing. Maybe the horse had schooled since and was much better than he was in the qually? Maybe, maybe, maybe! With no pre or post-race interview, though, fans will never know. They will, however, be able to watch hosts throwing darts at a program page and be subjected to hearing completely asinine banter about Monday's program on Bet Night Live.

If last night's 4th didn't give rise to such reaction, maybe the 6th did. Here's a review of Gallantly's 2010 season:

8th, 9th, 10th, 9th (on the list for breaks), 6th, 3rd, 9th, 9th (on the list for breaks), 7th(on the list for breaks, Baillargeon private purchase), 6th (gets qualified), looks like Lucky Jim and runs off in 1:55.0 -- which would've been 1:53.4 if Mario didn't have the presence of mind to grab him in the stretch!

I've followed racing closely enough to know that the horse is likely to be night-and-day better in his first start for Team Baillargeon -- especially considering that he's a trotter. I'm in the minority, though. How are Mr. and Mrs. Jon Q Public (the majority) supposed to figure this one out? Can we blame them when they throw their arms in the air, convinced that the races are fixed? "That horse was 3-1 -- he should've been 30-1. Let's get out of here -- we've got no shot at beating this game!" Seriously.

Maybe I'm just a visionary, but wouldn't it have served a much better purpose if Chris Hickey had tracked down Ben in the paddock and asked him some hard questions about Gallantly rather than ask stupid questions of Rod Hughes (65-1-3-5 excluding San Pail) about auto-toss JCS Kadabra? I'm sorry, but there's nothing that Rod can say that is going to make anyone of right mind bet on JCS Kadabra. Luc said this and you added that? Great, good luck. Auto-toss. Now where's Ben? When did you get him? How'd he qualify? How'd he train? What about these equipment changes you've made? How do you think he'll be? Are you betting? I mean, come on!

Did you see anyone connected to the 40-1 horses being interviewed prior to this past weekend's Belmont Stakes? When you watch Game 7 of the World Series, do you want to hear from Alex Rodriguez or the Yankees' Bat Boy? It's the same thing, over and over and over and over again, every night! Two questions (of absolutely zero substance) and then, "Good luck with him!". It's like the Corey Giles interview of a few weeks ago -- Corey looked like he had just arrived at the track from an all-night ACDC concert and there he was -- on camera, exposed to the masses -- and all for the purpose of discussing 27-1 auto-toss, Toystar (who finished 8th)! Real informative. Real professional. Imagine what first-timers that were watching would perceive harness racing to be? The same first-timers that I keep hearing that harness racing needs in order to survive.

It just isn't right, you know -- the damage that such small oversights that no one else seems to want to talk or do anything about can have on our industry. Our customers aren't interested in hearing from low percentage trainers about 30-1 shots. Our customers aren't interested in the fractional times (that aren't even accurate) for the first eighth. Our customers aren't interested in a From The Stand feature that explains why a horse that nearly knocks another down in the first turn gets disqualified. Our customers aren't interested in Laura Diakun throwing darts and picking horseys with cute names. And they most certainly aren't interested in watching or hearing Sandy Hawley -- a Canadian sports icon -- struggle through trying to pretend he knows anything about harness racing. Racing is about gambling and the sooner everyone figures that out and takes steps towards catering to the real wants and needs of gamblers -- past, present or future -- the better off harness racing will be.

Please, tell me I'm wrong...

Monday, June 7, 2010

Back to the grind...

Dreamfair Eternal's 1:49.4 victory in the $160,000 Artiscape was the perfect ending to a great weekend at Tioga Downs. If you've never been to the little track in Nichols, New York, I suggest you add it to your list of tracks to visit this Summer.

I was thrilled to receive the emails that I did from subscribers that had a good Saturday with THE PETE SHEETS. Two Pick Fours in one day! Don't count on that happening too often!

Grand River and Mohawk are the two tracks featured in THE PETE SHEETS today. If you're not already on the mailing list, send an email request to to start receiving the free product.

Have a good day!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

No rest for the wicked...

It's just past one o'clock in the morning and I'm on the couch at Jason Settlemoir's house in Athens, Pennsylvania, just a few minutes from one of my favourite places in the world -- Tioga Downs. It's been far too long of a day to even think about doing anymore work right now, but check back before noon and I'll have posted something.

Until then...

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Epiphanies come at the strangest of times...

The online dictionary that I resourced defines an epiphany as "the sudden realization or comprehension of the (larger) essence or meaning of something. The term is used in either a philosophical or literal sense to signify that the claimant has 'found the last piece of the puzzle and now sees the whole picture,' or has new information or experience, often insignificant by itself, that illuminates a deeper or numinous foundational frame of reference.'" Big words, I know -- bear with me.

I had an epiphany last night. My wife and mother had a monopoly on the television and with a replay of The Bacholerette being their show of choice, my choice was easy -- go to bed and watch Sportsnet Connected!

The studio host threw to Jamie Campbell at the Rogers Centre where he was joined by Jeff Blair of The Globe And Mail. Upon asking the columnist about his thoughts on the blown call in the Armando Galarraga perfect game, Blair, without mixing words, said that umpire Jim Joyce "blew the call" and elaborated that last night's was another of many recent blown calls by MLB umpires and that the league needed to take a proactive approach to ending the recent wave of incompetence. He said the fans deserved better, as did the participants and the game in general. Later in the conversation, one of the two made mention that Joyce had actually contacted Galarraga and the Tigers after the game and apologized for making a mistake. He apologized to the fans as well.

(Here's the epiphany part) Our sport has none of this! There are no post-race interviews (of any substance, anyway) with anyone -- officials or participants -- and straight talk similar to that which Jeff Blair offered is actually frowned upon! (I do it anyway and both the handle and purses were up at Western Fair this year, as was the product's popularity. Interesting, isn't it?) Why aren't our players and umpires subjected to a few questions before heading home? Our fans (gamblers) spend their monies on our product, just as those that buy a ticket, hot dog and a pretzel at a baseball game do. Why shouldn't questions from our fans be answered?

Everyone in our industry seems to be able to identify that our sport has perception issues, but few seem interested in taking the necessary, real steps toward managing them. I thought the new "From The Stand" feature was a step in the right direction, but it's obvious just a few months in that it doesn't do the job because it doesn't address the real issues. Few fans are ever left in wonderment about why a horse is placed back for a lapped-on break at the wire and they have similar disinterest for the many other blatantly obvious, indisputable examples that have been provided in the segment since its inception. There have been and will continue to be incidents of much more controversy and interest that are conveniently excluded from discussion even though they would inspire much more interest and do much more for bettering public perception. Talk about stacking the deck. What a wasted opportunity.

Am I the only one that reads the comments made by our fans on In the last two weeks, there are pages and pages worth of complaints about Seer Of Patmos and no one has said a word or done a thing to appease them. The horse was the odds on favourite in each of his last two races at Mohawk and he wasn't even involved in either of them until late in the mile. I'm able to recognize that such results have materialized because of trip circumstances and other unforeseen race eventualities of the past two weeks, but the majority of our customers figure that Chris Christoforou's been "stiffing" him and that the races are "fixed"! Instead of having Chris Hickey ask Corey Giles the typically robotic two questions before wishing him good luck with 439-1 shot Toystar, send him over to Christoforou and ask him what the hell happened? If you want to give him a race or two so that the questions aren't taken to be accusations of wrongdoing, that's fine, but at some point before the card is over, make the driver explain what took place -- explain to the fans exactly why the horse was 20th by 28 lengths at the head of the stretch two weeks ago and then hopelessly trapped-in at the rail this week. Fans may not like the answers -- they might not even believe what Christoforou has to say -- but if just one of them that would have otherwise roared "shhtifffff" is enlightened as to what really took place, the purpose of the discussion is served.

Jim Leyland, the Tigers' Manager, was on the field (understandably) going bezerk last night after Jim Joyce made the errant call. After the game, though, upon hearing that Joyce admitted he was wrong, Leyland calmly commented that, "he made a mistake, he's human." I even read a story this morning that told of Leyland encouraging Tiger fans to cheer for, not boo, Joyce today when he takes the field for today's series finale against the Cleveland Indians. Do you think Leyland would have had the same response if Joyce hadn't admitted his mistake? Do you think the mistake would be the relatively dead issue that it is today had such not taken place? No and no. The manner in which both sides handled the incident is proof of what is possible when parties with shared goals put their egos and agendas aside and put their heads together while working toward a common goal.

What's your opinion? Email feedback to or simply poste a comment on this blog.

Tonight's Mohawk version of THE PETE SHEETS will be available later this afternoon. If you're not already one of the 99 on the mailing list, send an email requesting your addition to

Have a good day...

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Monday recap...

Through the night, I received several requests from folks wanting me to talk about an incident in the 7th at Grand River last night. I've given it much thought and just feel like my own interests and the industry as a whole are better served by letting the cards fall where they will without getting involved. Mistakes happen, everyone's human. I'm sure the powers that be will take the steps necessary to both manage public perception and ensure that such never happens again. I know that doesn't do much for the customer that would've taken down the entire Pick Four pool had A Step Above been placed 1st, but there isn't much any of us can do about that now. Onto happier news...

THE PETE SHEETS added four new subscribers to the mailing list yesterday. Tom Curtis, Dave Gilders, Jim Mills and Santo Vena. Welcome to the the team, lads, and thanks for the support.

Many of you will recognize Dave's name as he worked in the Race Office at Mohawk for 426 years and in his present fossilized state, is plying his trade at Kawartha Downs. The latter gentleman's name is familiar to fans of Canadian harness racing as well -- Santo is the owner of Open trotter, Sakic Seelster.

It's such a small world, isn't it? Tom Curtis is a person from my past that I hadn't seen or talked to in years (like 18, maybe) until the other night at Georgian Downs. Tom was one of my teachers in high school! St. Thomas More in Hamilton! I can remember Tom being very involved with highschool sports, but the class that I most remember him teaching was Religion. Don't ask me what the (place where the Devil resides) a religion teacher is doing at the track, but we'll take whichever fans we can get at this point! Anyway, Tom is neighbours with one of Haul Away's owners and as I stood watching them all celebrate the other night, this familiar face walked up and shook my hand and, at the risk of sounding corny (one of my new favourite words thanks to Simon Cowell), it brought back a lot of good memories and really made my night. He followed up with me yesterday and now he's been added to the mailing list. Good times.

Anyway, enough with the emotional crap. Last night, THE PETE SHEETS once again proved to be the most informative and accurate product of its kind. At Grand River, the 5th's predicted exactor of Suzys Solitaire and Big Changes paid $15.10 and the triactor and superfecta pays were healty, too, returning $274.70 and $1380.10 respectively. Not only did THE PETE SHEETS beat the heavily-favoured Boss Outlaw in the 6th, but gave you the 5-1 winner of the race, Winbak Fund. The two combined for a near-$60 exactor!

For me, the highlight of the night at Mohawk was Competition Cam's finishing up the track in the 2nd. While the Horseplayer's Journal and the track's other experts were busy touting the short-priced phony, THE PETE SHEETS had him figured out to a tee:

Here's the night's first Overbet Alert: 4-COMPETITION CAM. Did he race alright last week? Yes. Did he race super? No. Can he win tonight? I suppose. Is he the kind of horse that you should be anxious to take a greatly-reduced price on? Absolutely not!

He was dismissed at 21-1 last week and as a result of his dressed up, 3rd-place finish, he's going to be 7-2 or less tonight and the often unpredictable Mohawk masses just might make him the favourite. No thanks. He gapped the gate last week and then never moved off the rail until the top of the stretch, after which he did make up some ground, but there are plenty of horses that can do that with such a trip. The information that the past performance line doesn't give you is that he was bearing in repeatedly while making his mild, late move, so much so that MacArthur had to correct him a few times. His previous start at Flamboro, too, is dressed up in nature -- the line looks good, but the reality is that he was outfinished by runner-up, Harnessnitencanada, a horse that would be 20-1 in this race.

Listen -- this is a relatively weak maiden field and so I suppose he can win, but I wouldn't be betting on it at tonight's appreciably shorter price. He impresses me as the kind of horse that'll eventually break his maiden at one of the "B" tracks. Time will tell. All in all, this seems like one of those deep and contentious "trap" races that anyone serious about making money at the track is supposed to pass.

This is the kind of information that one gets when s/he chooses THE PETE SHEETS, information that is arrived at through hours and hours of watching replays, doing research and other homework.

Hear that, Mr. Curtis -- homework!

Georgian Downs and Mohawk are the two tracks featured in tonight's versions of THE PETE SHEETS. Do yourself a favour and request that you be added to the mailing list by sending an email to! It's absolutely free.

Until tomorrow...

Monday, May 31, 2010

My old buddy, Haul Away...

It was Sunday July 12, 2009 when Haul Away first caught my eye. I was home watching Flamboro from the couch and I saw this big, somewhat clumsy looking two year-old post parading with Joe Hudon sitting behind him. I had to check it out. My discovery through TrackIT was that nine days earlier, the horse won his first-ever qualifier at Mohawk and that tonight was his first lifetime start.

The race goes -- Joe rides the pocket for three-quarters of the mile, moves Haul Away over and absolutely runs away from the others! He won by four in 1:57.3! I thought to myself, "Joe Hudon just won with a first-timer? Joe never wins with first-timers! This might be a special horse!".

Five days later, Haul Away finished a deceptively good 4th from an impossible spot in a Grassroots Event at Flamboro. I thought it was an even better performance. I watched him a few more times, added him to my Stable Mail, checked on him on TrackIT everyday during my morning routine. He had become like a part of my family! I was scouting and selling a lot of horses at the time, so it was important for me to keep tabs on what the special ones were doing. I knew what I had seen and I knew that Joe didn't mind selling, so Haul Away was at the top of my list. I hadn't made any phone calls yet though, neither to Joe or a prospective buyer, so I didn't even know I'd be able to broker a deal or not.

Fast forward to Sunday August 30, 2009. Haul Away is four starts into his career and is a few minutes away from making his fifth, in a non-winners of two event at Mohawk. He draws outside, isn't given much respect at the windows but I still liked him. Joe eases him off of the gate and by the quarter he's 20th in a nine-horse field, 60 lengths off of the leaders (who were Aracache Hanover and Mcaracas -- both Stakes winners this year). At the race's completion, Haul Away ends up 6th to Mcaracas, but only beaten a couple of lengths despite taking a lot of track in the last turn and being bothered by a breaker. I had seen enough. It was time to move before one of the other vulture agents beat me to the punch after all of this watching and waiting.

Dave Menary is a friend of mine and I had a rapport with him. We were both gamblers, saw eye to eye about a lot of horses and he just knew I knew my stuff. He had had me on the lookout for a good two year-old for his Fast Pay group. At this point in the season, Fast Pay had already earned $158,904 of his own and the ownership group was looking to re-invest. Little did they know, I had the horse for them -- I just didn't know if it was one that was actually for sale!

I called Joe. "What the (expletive) do you want, Petey?," said the likeable eldest Hudon. "Yeah, yeah, he's for sale -- they're all for sale!," he laughs. He told me his asking price. It wasn't the number I wanted to hear. My initial feeling was that Haul Away wasn't going anywhere. I tried to dicker with Joe but dickering with Joe just doesn't happen! Price established, terms clear, it was time to call Dave.

Dave and his guys liked the horse but, just as I, thought the price was a little steep. "Any chance Joe would drop the price a little?," David asked. "Any chance Santa Claus is going to drive the winner of the 1st?," I cleverly answered. By this point, Haul Away was in-to-go in a Grassroots Event at Grand River and Dave, his ownership group, myself, my wife, our unborn child -- just about everybody was glued to the tube to watch the big, somewhat clumsy son of Modern Art. Sent off as the 3-5 favourite, the race was over before the first turn. Joe effortlessly sent Haul Away to the lead and won with absolute condescending ease in 1:56.2 with a :29.0 kicker without any horses pressing him. It was good timing, but was it enough to seal the deal? I still wasn't sure.

My phone rings. It's Dave. "Find out if I can train him. We like him, but I want to spend some time with the horse and I'd like to train him.". I line it up with Joe, who is in an even better situation now that Haul Away seems like the best Grassrooter on the Tour. Sell or not, he's making money with this big boy this year!

Myself, Dave and his salt-of-the-earth father, Larry, drive to Joe and Karen Hudon's new farm and as we pulled onto the property, I couldn't believe my eyes -- Phil Hudon was working. That's a story for another day. Anyway, the friendly and cordial members of Team Hudon direct us to the stall where this secret weapon was living and upon seeing him, he looked just as he had when I first saw him on television at Flamboro that night in July -- big and clumsy! Bigger, actually! Out he comes, he gets harnessed up, Dave trains him and the rest is history.

It should be noted that Fast Pay's win in the Gold Final at Grand River just ten days earlier helped to seal the deal because with an extra $65,000 kicking around, it was easier for Dave and his group to part with the six-figure sum that Joe had demanded for his prized possession. Haul Away would win three of his five 2009 starts for Team Menary and immediately earned back the purchase price thanks to two of those wins coming in Gold Finals.

Now, he's won the $472,500 Upper Canada Cup Final and I couldn't be happier for Dave, Larry, Denis, Phil and Joe. The interviews, hugs, handshakes and high fives shared among them on Saturday night are what this game is supposed to be all about. Watching it all brought a tear to my eye. Dave was quick to point out that I didn't pick him to win, which I didn't -- but I was never as happy to be wrong in my entire handicapping life. I guess the big, clumsy colt is going to be alright!

Grand River and Mohawk are the featured versions of THE PETE SHEETS for tonight. Subscribers -- check your inboxes late this afternoon. If you're not already a subscriber and would like to be, it's absolutely free. Send an email request to and I'll add you to the list of regulars.

Have a good day everybody...

Saturday, May 29, 2010

One down, one to go...

Last night's Molson Pace at Western Fair lived up to the hype and proved to be a hell of a horse race! Won The West gutted it out to narrowly defeat stablemate Foiled Again and longshot Stonebridge Terror in 1:52.0. The win came much to the delight of the betting public that made him the prohibitive
3-5 favourite. The race itself handled $74,073 of the card's $325,835 total intake, which was a 13% increase from last year's $287,548 handle.

With that marquis race in the books, the spotlight now shines on tonight's $472,500 Upper Canada Cup from Georgian Downs. On paper, it has the potential to be a great race itself, with no fewer than seven horses that seem capable of winning. The 12-race program gets underway at 7:25pm and
THE PETE SHEETS will be a part of the broadcast. Thanks to Chris Roberts and Great Canadian Gaming for the opportunity -- I'm really looking forward to it!

THE PETE SHEETS welcomes newest subscribers Travis Timmons, Susan Battin, Tim Gil and Bob Gary! To have your name added to the mailing list, send an email request to Tonight's versions of THE PETE SHEETS for Georgian Downs and Mohawk will available later this afternoon.

Friday, May 28, 2010

A rare opportunity for "B" circuit players...

The pools at Western Fair and Georgian Downs are expected to swell this weekend as each track hosts its signature event of the season. The Molson Pace headlines the Friday night card in London while the Upper Canada Cup is the marquis event of tomorrow's program from Innisfil.

For those of you that are already on the mailing list, you can expect Friday's editions of THE PETE SHEETS for Flamboro, Mohawk and Western Fair by late afternoon today. If you aren't a subscriber but would like to find out what all the rage is about, email a request for your free copy of THE PETE SHEETS to

Big pools. Great races. Plenty of winners with THE PETE SHEETS.

Enjoy the races everyone...

Monday, May 24, 2010

Enjoying the long weekend...

I hope all of you are enjoying the long weekend and the fantastic races that came with it.

Friday night's Molson Pace eliminations were three of the best races anywhere this year, but most are already conceding this Friday's Final to the rail-starting Won The West.

Western Silk was as good as a filly could be in winning her Gold elim and I want to go on record as saying I think she has a shot at eclipsing Chancey Lady's 1:52.2 track record. She might not meet enough opposition from the others to make her have to go that kind of speed, but she won in 1:53.4 the other night and Mark MacDonald was as white-knuckled at the finish as he was the start!

Saturday night's Upper Canada Cup Final may prove to be the race of the weekend with several win candidates. Twin B Warrior impressed me the most of the three elimination winners but he's no cinch in a race in which one could make a case for Haul Away, Grin For Money, Wellthereyougo, Bp Chimo and Adrenaline as well. Thanks to Chris Roberts and Great Canadian Gaming for asking me to a part of the broadcast. I'm really looking forward to it and hope that you are as well.

That's all for today. I'm working on THE PETE SHEETS for tonight at Mohawk. We're taking the show on the road tonight and will have printed copies for folks at the Campbellville track. Those already on the mailing list will still receive their copies by email later this afternoon. If you aren't already a subscriber, you can become one by emailing a request to

No Grand River version of THE PETE SHEETS for tonight. The author has given himself a little break this weekend so he could spend some time with his girls.

Have a great day...

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Alright, let's make some money...

The long weekend is here and in recognizing that everyone can use a little extra money to do all of the things the wife has planned, THE PETE SHEETS have poured over tonight's programs and found you nothing but money makers!

As I type this, there are exactly 3 minutes to post time for the opener at Flamboro where there are several horses and races of interest.

Race 1
#1 DREAMFAIR ALEXIS lays over these, not only because she's a superior horse but also because she's drawn inside and has the best driver. She won't pay anything, but the opener feels like a good race to bet a few aggressive exactors in an attempt to put some of the track's money in your pocket right from the bell. Use #3 TOO MANY SMILES and #6 SHABUEY underneath.

Race 2
#7 PACO BRANDY debuts for Greg Graham after spending her entire career under the guidance of trainer Wayne Langille. Best I can recall, BEROSUS and SUMMERHILL CHARLES were the the last two horses that Wayne sold to other trainers and both showed immediate, night-and-day improvement when elsewhere. Listen, PACO BRANDY is no killer by any means, but her price will be enticing and even if she finishes 2nd, you're still going to make money. Use #1 JULIANNE W, #2 I DREAM OF REBA (can't win, always over bet), #4 AMY ATOM and #6 SCENE DUHARAS with her.

Race 4
#1 ROYAL BECQUET failed to win as the 1-5 favourite in his last start but I just feel like the driver didn't put him in a position to win. This horse is in the midst of a slump and hasn't been real eager to pass another horse, so when Allard left The Belt Parkway alone on the lead last time, he was able to set manageable fractions and hold off the sulking favourite. These things happen, but I can't see Allard making a similar error in judgement today. There is no other speed in the race, he's drawn the rail and is supposed to lead from start to finish in this field of horses with similar aversions to winning as he's had lately. #2 MISTER AMERICA, #4 HIDE THE CASH, #5 RUST BELT, #6 GAME ZAC and #9 RUM TUFF CUSTOMER are those to use underneath.

Race 5
Here's another horse that won't pay much but looks too superior to lose -- #2 QUEENS OVER ACES. This is an awful field of flat-footed, proven losers and at least this mare has some gate speed that should allow her and young Zeron to get out in front of the other seven that just don't want to pass. Another short-priced but reliable, gate-to-wire winner. Easy game, ain't it?!?!?!

Race 6
Three of them jump off of the page in here -- #4 DREAM WAVES, #5 PEGASUS MAXIMUS and #6 MAPLE MARTINI. The first two of the three are more likely to win than the last.

Race 7
There aren't any standouts in here but since I've mentioned horses of interest in the first three legs of the Pick Four sequence, I thought it proper to tell you that #1 B B WINDFALL, #2 RISQUE BUSINESS, #5 REGRETS PAYS OFF and #9 COURTNEYS BARBIE are the four that you want in this anchor leg.

Race 9
#3 TRUTH OR DARE has more will to win than any of these and figures to have a great setup in front of him today. He won't be the 6-1 that the Morning Line suggests, but is still a great bet at 5-2 or better. Use him in the Double with #1 SPECTACULAR LINK and #2 AWESOME ADVENTURE in the finale.

Race 10
#1 SPECTACULAR LINK and #2 AWESOME ADVENTURE jump off of the page here and their odds will reflect that statement. Flamboro's exactor pays have long been among the best in North America and I don't recommend that you get too cute chasing the tri or super here -- whatever you've got to spend, spend it on these two in the exactor.

Great Canadian Gaming's other track, Georgian Downs, features three eliminations of the Upper Canada Cup among the 12 races that comprise their Saturday card.

Race 2
#6 ABBEY ROAD C faces the most mediocre field he's seen in a dog's age and if he can't lead from start to finish among these, it might be time to shut the old boy down.

Race 3 - Upper Canada Cup, 1st Elimination
If you want my honest opinion, I think #7 BP CHIMO is an absolute gorilla! I recognize that he's drawn outside, but his good tactically speed and clever driver should allow him to set up an ideal trip. #1 RED BUGLER is fast but unproven against horses of this calibre and I'm a little dubious of him. #3 KEYSTONE RAPTOR is another obvious contender. #4 ADRENALINE will take plenty of support as he debuts for Montini. It should be a hell of a race, one in which I think the outside starter will prevail.

Race 4
She's no cinch, but #1 CHIEF KAREN is experiencing much needed class relief tonight and she just strikes me as being a superior horse to these. #3 SWEET HEDGE flopped in her debut for Team Robinson and will no doubt take the bulk of the support again. I'll try to beat her.

Race 5 - Upper Canada Cup, 2nd Elimination
The disparity in the abilities of these entrants is quite noticeable and #6 HAUL AWAY really stands out. He quallied well against Western Silk on May 6 and raced well in his sophomore debut against older horses last Saturday at Woodbine. #7 GRIN FOR MONEY is a better horse than the others but he'll need to be better than he was in his seasonal debut in the Bud Light Stakes at Flamboro last week. Of the others, #2 STOMPIN TOM CREEK is the only toss.

Race 6
#8 PEARSON HANOVER is by far the most talented horse in the field and if you're willing to take the risk that Riina Rekila can engineer a victory from post eight then you'll probably be getting your money in on a superior horse at a better price than he should be among these.

Race 7 - Upper Canada Cup, 3rd Elimination
#1 TWIN B WARRIOR tried to fall down for just about every step of his race in the Bud Light at Flamboro but still finished a lapped-on 2nd in 1:52.4! This horse has freak potential. I have little doubt that Gillis has effected the changes necessary to have him better-gaited tonight, which could leave the other six racing for second money. #3 WELLTHEREYOUGO and #6 STONEBRIDGE TONIC are best of the rest.

Race 11
Want a Live Longshot? #4 PEENIE was the best horse in his race last Saturday but Pat Hudon gave him a very conservative steer so as to ensure he came out of the race with a clean line. The horse had plenty of pace getting to the wire but found himself in 38 blind switches and had to settle for 6th. Like I said last week, I'm not sure why he made those two breaks at Woodbine in April, but this is a typically good-gaited horse that is once again superior in talent to any that he faces tonight. He'll be an overlay in here and I really think he's sitting on a big race. #1 DONEGAL GERALD isn't the horse he used to be but it's hard to completely overlook him in this second-rate conditioned class that is well below that at which he usually competes.

There are 12 races at Mohawk tonight, too, with a few horses that are of interest to me.

Race 7
#8 INITIAL STRIKE's last three have been very good and he's going to be a bigger price than he should be tonight. He's no cinch, but he's as sharp as any of these right now, should have some pace to chase and figures to appreciate Mohawk more than Woodbine.

Race 8
I'm sticking with #4 NEOCON tonight even though this is a much deeper field than those he just annihilated in his Menary debut. Did you see that race? He was three-wide before the last turn at Woodbine and still swept the field! Horses just don't do that at Woodbine. The dynamics at Mohawk are going to be much more favourable and there is enough speed in this race that he should be closing into a collapsing pace. You can have #3 FATHER KNOWS BEST and #9 BIGMIZNDRSTNDING -- the former would've won last week if he was any kind of horse and the latter is a need-to-lead-to-win type that won't be nearly as dominant among these as he's been at Grand River and Flamboro in his last few.

Race 10
Don't re-mortgage to bet on him but #8 GOTCHA COVERED is a better horse than most of these and as a result of the optics of his recent past performances, is going to be an overlay tonight. I'm hoping that Saftic is able to resurrect some of the horse's above average gate speed tonight so that he can have him forwardly placed in a field full of horses that just don't want to pass or win. That includes #4 FIRST RATE SHARK, the over bet of the night.

Race 12
If BLENDED WHISKEY was ever going to win a race and revert to his three year-old form, he'll do it tonight. He drops to a new low, finally draws inside and switches to a track where his come-from-behind style is most effective. This is the first beatable field he's faced all year.

Have a great day everyone! I hope this proves helpful!

Talk to you tomorrow...

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Everyone loves a winner -- at least they should!

Am I the only one that took something away from last night's 8th Race at Mohawk?

Nineanddivine debuted for Dave Menary just seven days after being privately purchased by Bert Smith's Almost Doesnt Count Stb and was a dominant winner, more or less leading from start to finish. Smith got $5625 of his initial investment back and customers got a reliable (though short-priced) horse to invest in.

After having been sent off at average odds of 12-1 in his previous six starts, Nineanddivine was 1-2 last night. Why such a change in price? Because customers recognize that Menary's numbers with new acquisitions are very good, that the horse was in the right class and that Randy Waples' ability to read the program allows him to put horses in the right spots.

Harness racing needs more of what took place in last night's 8th and I'm not talking about favourites winning more frequently. Our business has perception issues but the noticeable fluctuation in Nineanddivine's odds speaks to the public's perception of his team's intentions last night. These three guys want to win, period -- just as much or maybe even more than the customers that are betting their hard-earned. Waples' tactics were predictable, Nineanddivine's trip unfolded as it was supposed to and even though the price was small, at least customers were left feeling like they actually had a shot.

Nineanddivine was the only of THE PETE SHEETS' three Most Probable Winners on the card to connect. Smokin N Grinin had to settle for 2nd after a compromising trip while the pace dynamics of Mid Town's race led to her being a bridesmaid as well.

Better news was that all four of the horses that THE PETE SHEETS identified as Beatable Favourites proved to be so. Modern Beauty was 7th at 2-1, Hes A Demon was 3rd at 8-5, Brother Glide had no excuse and finished 2nd at 4-5 in the 4th and Lotteria took ridiculous win-based support again (2-1) and finished an uninterested 5th in the finale.

Value Play, Hat Trick Honey ($6.40, $3.90, $4.20) bounced back from last week's breaking incident to win the meet opener for Roger Mayotte.

A watered-down version of THE PETE SHEETS will be available for Mohawk's Friday night card, as will one for Flamboro.

Western Fair is the place to be on Friday with Gold Series and Molson Pace eliminations headlining the second best card of the London track's season. The races will not be broadcast on HPItv, but live video streaming is available at and

To be added to THE PETE SHEETS' mailing list, send an email request to and be sure to specify which track(s) you're interested in receiving.

Welcome to the long weekend everyone!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Keeping it real by playing against favourites, even these ones...

I've just finished my Hints From Horace column for Friday night's card at Western Fair and felt the need to immediately blog about a few of the particulars.

Stakes races aren't usually good betting races but as far as I can tell, many of Friday's ten are. Mother Hen, Western Silk and Foiled Again are standouts in their respective races and are very hard to play against but there are beatable favourites in many of the other events, including two of the three Molson Pace eliminations.

Whether it's a $4500 claiming race at Flamboro or the North America Cup Final at Woodbine, my betting principles don't change -- I don't want favourites. Keep It Real is the 7-5 Morning Line favourite in the first elimination and I can't help but be dubious of him. The old version of Keep It Real wouldn't be as heavily favoured in here as the new, Lou Pena version is going to be. Pena has been making headlines in the U.S. for the last few years, winning at a high rate by getting horses to do things that they just can't seem to do for other trainers. No Pena for this start. One cause for pause. Another is the projected trip that he seems destined to have. Legal Litigator's drawn the rail and Mark MacDonald has to want the lead with him. Factor in that the other inside starters, Stonebridge Terror and Primary Purpose, will both be leaving to protect their positions and I'm left with the strong belief that Keep It Real will have to win from first-over while the very capable Southwind Lynx follows his cover. With all of these projections in mind, who can bet Keep It Real, let alone at a short price? I can't and I'm cautiously optimistic that Southwind Lynx, who was an absolute gorilla in his last start at M1, will be the winner.

Bigtime Ball is a great horse. Bigtime Ball wins more often than he loses. Bigtime Ball can certainly win Friday night's second elimination, but it makes more sense to me to bet against such happening. What's he going to be, 2-5,
3-5? Even if he wins by 20 you don't make any money. Don't get me wrong -- the horses that he's been beating in the Open class on the WEG circuit are nice horses, one's I'd love to own -- but they look like also rans compared to his two main rivals tonight, Won The West and Mr Wiggles. The latter is hindered by Friday's outside draw, but Won The West is as talented an older pacer as there is in North America and I'm relatively confident that if he and Bigtime Ball were to match race ten times, Won The West would win more often than he'd lose. Even rail-starter, Blueridge Western, is of above average talent and his need-to-lead-to-win preference should be satisfied thanks to having the rail and Jamieson. All things considered, I think Friday's race is as good a night as any to play against Bigtime Ball.

Post time for Friday's card is 7:05pm. Live video streaming and all sorts of free, downloadable information is available

The next available edition of THE PETE SHEETS features Thursday's card from Woodbine. If you aren't already a subscriber and wish to be added to the mailing list, send an email request to

Enjoy the sun...

Monday, May 17, 2010

The importance of singing Barney songs with the Judges...

I'm just as guilty as the next guy, if not more. I'm so consumed with work and making money all of the time that, by my own admission, I miss a lot of things that are so much more important in the grand scheme of things. This weekend I tried to correct that.

While my wife and our youngest were at my in-laws for the weekend, my oldest daughter, Emily, and I spent a great weekend together. She only caught me working two or three times on Saturday, a day that was mostly made up of doing everything from watching Caillou to making nachos to eating freezies, or "fweezies" as the three-and-a-half year-old, absolute light of my life calls them!

Things got even better for Emily and I on Sunday. We had a little breakfast with more cartoons and then cleaned ourselves and the house (which always seems to look more like an Afghani war zone than a house when my wife is away) up and made the peaceful, picturesque trip to Clinton Downs! My announcing services were needed for a few weeks before, much to the delight of the Clinton faithful, The Velvet Fog returns from Pompano.

Anyway, in no time at all, Emily was stealing the show. She had the Dora The Explorer puzzle that we brought with us completed in ten minutes or so and while I told the Judges et al that we just picked it up in Shakespeare that morning, the truth is that we're both well familiar with the puzzle. Yesterday's piecing together was number 4,398. I love Dora.

Before much longer, princess and I were in what we both believed to be the privacy of the Announcer's Booth, belting out our favorite Barney song (and don't pretend you don't know it): "It's a wonderful world of shapes, it's a blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Take a look around from the sky to the ground at the shapes that you can see!" We were having a great time! Then, almost in unison, she and I both cocked our heads sideways to see that the entire population of the Judges Stand were watching, listening and laughing. She quickly did that shy thing that kids do when they feel, well, shy I guess. I felt like McLovin. Em and I looked at one another again and giggled and before long, I think we were singing our song again. This time, we had a little help from our friends.

All in all, it was a great weekend and my trip to Clinton yesterday reminded me of why I got involved in this game in the first place: good people, our beloved horses and free food and beverages in the Judges Stand.

More than anything, what I took away from my weekend away from life's regular routines is this: if one is going to get caught doing something by the Judges, one is far better off to have it be singing Barney songs than anything else.

Tonight's versions of THE PETE SHEETS for Grand River and Woodbine will be available by late afternoon. If you're already on the mailing list, expect to see it in your inbox by 5:30pm. If you're not on the mailing list and want to be, send an email request to

I love you, you love me...

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Let's mix this up a little bit...

Alright, time to mix it up a little bit. Usually I just send THE PETE SHEETS out to subscribers but since I'm so presently swamped with the business aspects of this one man show, I thought today was as good a day as any to do a shortened version and make it available to everyone through the blog.

Flamboro, Georgian and Woodbine are the three featured tracks today and here are a few horses and races of interest to THE PETE SHEETS:

At Flamboro...

Race 8
WARRAWEE HARDY isn't as one-dimensional as his last two might suggest and I'm not concerned with his starting in the second tier. The inside two that he follows are the fastest two from the gate and whether MacDonald moves him to the lead early or comes first-over, he's too good for these. None of these other horses have any interest in actually winning a horse race. While WARRAWEE HARDY isn't expected to pay much more than even money, the value that is often prevalent in Flamboro's exactors is worth chasing. Play strongest exactors using ESCAPETHEBREEZE, SPECTACULAR LINK and CANT BE CAUGHT and cover (proportionately) with a few using WESTERN COOKING and D M JORDAN. If you're playing the Late Pick Four, WARRAWEE HARDY is a single.

Race 10
MacDonald again, but on a longshot. MONKEY OFF MY BACK is a bad horse -- he's bad-gaited, makes breaks and has been an absolute disappointment since Coleman bought him last year. That being said, it seems that they've finally given up on him and dropped him into today's restricted claiming class where he'll face much more mediocre horses than he's ever seen. He's going to be an overlay because of the optics of his lines and if the seldom-seen, useful version of MONKEY OFF MY BACK shows up today, he can win. I'm not advising you to re-mortgage to have a bet on him but I just wanted to make you aware that he was going to be a much bigger price than several horses that he is actually a much better horse than if MacDonald can bring out the best in him. Use him in the Pick.

Race 11
Same thing here. DODGY DEALER's past performances are terrible. Terrible! To me, they're excusable because he's had awful (wide, tiring) trips in each of his last two. He's a better horse than any of these and he, too, is going to be an enticing overlay and is a much better option than less talented (and yet shorter-priced) horses like J MS STEALTH, AMERICAN HERO and REDD HOTT RUSTY.

At Georgian...

Race 10
FARMERS TUITION was absolutely robotic in her debut for this outfit, beating the very capable Keepers Destiny. This is a very beatable field of vulnerable, over bet regulars like LOVE N KISSES, MCKENNA SISTER, SIMPLY MAVELOUS and OSTINATO, who I actually think is the second best horse in the race. If you are offered anything close to the 6-1 Morning Line estimation on FARMERS TUITION at post time, you're making a great bet. I'm inclined to think that she'll be 5-2, which is still acceptable if you ask me.

Race 11
This has the potential to be a tricky race. Serial stopper, LANCE HALL, is going to be the favorite and I have to try to beat him. ROMEO STAR is a come-from-behind type that is a better horse than his 1 for 13 win record might lead one to believe. He stands to benefit from the projected collapsing pace scenario and is a better-priced alternative to the favorite. NUREYEV never wins and has a noticeable aversion to it, but he's experiencing dramatic class relief tonight and should have a much better result than those he's been achieving at Woodbine. I'm inclined to think that he'll be 2nd or 3rd, but even if he and the favorite does lose, you'll be in the black. This is a good race to make a few clever moves that don't include LANCE HALL on top.

Race 12
I don't know what happened in his last two starts, but I'm willing to overlook them tonight because PEENIE is just a much better horse than most of these. The Morning Line and projected favorite is ARTCHDUKE, a $15,000 claimer. You couldn't buy PEENIE for three times that price! Longshots RIVERWALK and AHEAD OFTHE CURVE are better than most of these, too, and are more imaginative must-use horses than the likes of the rail-starting favorite, UPBEAT SMILES and the perpetually over bet BLISSED OUT. This feels like a beatable race.

At Woodbine...

Race 3
MR COLE and MANNERHEIM are much better horses than any of the others and neither will be favored. Both have had very compromising, impossible trips lately, especially in their last starts where both ended up being beaten favorites. Those that took the plunge on either of them last time are impelled to come back to them tonight on a night when their respective prices will better while the competition is actually a little softer. They are the two you want in the Pick Threes involving this race.

Race 6
WINDSONG SOPRANO is a good horse. She made one million dollars last year while racing against the who's who of the three year-old filly division. Condren gave her a conservative steer in her first start back, one from which she had no chance to win. Her time for her own last three-quarters was (at the slowest) 1:26.0 and I'm confident that tonight is the night she'll be all systems go.

Race 10
This is a race that is more about a horse I don't like than it is one that I do. ROYAL MORN absolutely jogged on May 1 when he and MacDonald enjoyed an isolated lead that featured a very slow middle half. Because of the optics of that line, he's going to be bet off of the board tonight and I'm emploring you to stay away! He has the speed of PROVEN LOVER and BALANCHINE to his outside and won't have nearly the same idyllic dynamics that led to his win of two weeks ago. He's a one-dimensional, need-to-lead-to-win type that seems very up against it tonight. Even if MacDonald tactfully moves him to the lead once the aforementioned two settle, I'm confident that any one of the others will get the better of him when it counts. Save your money.

THE PETE SHEETS will return to regular circulation on Monday featuring the races from Grand River and Woodbine.

The list of subscribers is growing exponentially! If you'd like to be added to the mailing list, send such a request to It's a free service that is designed to increase the handle and general popularity of harness racing at Flamboro Downs, Georgian Downs, Grand River Raceway, Western Fair Raceway and the Woodbine Entertainment Group circuit by providing better information to the customers.

Good luck at the races today, gang!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Friday Stakes races great to watch, awful to bet.

Bill O'Donnell and I were talking about handles and the overall state of the industry and all the usual stuff not long ago and he said to me, "You know in all my years, out of all of the tracks I've been to, the ones that were run the best and did the most good were the ones run by gamblers." He went on to list the names of the men that ran these particular tracks, names that never really even registered with me because talking to Bill is a lot like talking to your 93 year-old grandmother on Sunday morning: early into the conversation she starts to ramble and it becomes quite one-sided but you just let her go on and on and on and on and on without really listening because you're just happy that, at her advanced age, she has someone to talk to for those few Sunday morning minutes. Anyway, I couldn't help but find myself thinking about what Bill said that day while I prepared tonight's version of THE PETE SHEETS for Flamboro.

Like most of you, I'm really looking forward to the three divisions of the Bud Light Stakes. The contentious first division (Race 2), the freakish and recently-dominant Mcaracas in division two (Race 4) and the short but very deep group of colts that will all pick up a cheque in the $37,670 third division (Race 6). I can't wait to watch! Unfortunately, I'm afraid that many of our customers will restrict their involvement to doing the same -- watching.

The three are terrible betting races, all with short fields which were brought about by an unlucky number of entries. There's not much anyone can do about the number of entries, but in an industry that is supposed to be about gambling, how does it make any sense to have two of the three most uncaptivating betting races of Flamboro's year representing two of the four legs of the early Pick Four sequence? Handles are already dwindling -- now we're sabotaging one of the most popular wagers among gamblers to accomodate the drivers that want to have their cake and eat it too by getting in and out of Flamboro as quickly as possible so they can make it to Woodbine as well? Forget the drivers!

Anyone that's read this blog with regularity knows that I'm a big proponent of our star drivers, but in this case, shouldn't their interests should be superceded by those of the bettors? You know -- our fans, our customers, our pre-slots lifeblood? Wouldn't it have been more productive, both from a gambling and entertainment standpoint, to have spread those three Stake races out as a means of keeping the few customers that actually go to the actual racetrack around? Wouldn't using the restricted claiming trot (carded as Race 3) or one of the other non-Stakes races rather than the chalky Bud Light races make the Pick Four sequence much more difficult to decipher? Difficult to decipher means bettors have to include ("use", "cover") more horses. More horses means more combinations. More combinations means more expensive tickets, means a bigger pool, means more interest! More interest. You want to see Mcaracas and Twin B Warrior, great, but you'll have to stick around until the 9th to do it. That goes for Mr. and Mrs. John Q Public, Mario Baillargeon and Jody Jamieson.

Harness racing is losing customers every single day. The industry is running out of chances to get it right. Horse racing, harness racing is about gambling. The sooner everyone starts thinking like our customers, regardless of how greasy or otherwise unperfect it might make some feel, the sooner our business will be headed in a better direction. But hey, what the hell do I know? I'm just some dumb gambler.

THE PETE SHEETS welcomes new subscribers Michael Sperber, Ken Perry and John MacLellan. Thanks for the interest, boys! 59 subscribers and counting!

To join THE PETE SHEETS' mailing list, email such a request to

Flamboro and Woodbine are tonight's feature tracks.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Great qualifiers, profitable races...

There are 11 qualifiers at Mohawk this morning and harness racing's paparazzi will be there snapping pics of a very good cast of characters. Sportswriter is the headliner and unless some volcano erupted somewhere during the four hours that I was sleeping, the day-tripping Brian Sears will have flown up to sit behind him for sophomore qualifier number two. My sources say that the near-perfect colt was just "okay" in last week's qually and it'll be interesting to see if he gets a better review this morning.

His three year-old counterpart, Malicious, is also going for another test drive after being scratched from his initial start of the year on Saturday.

Three year-old fillies, You See L A and Siri Hanover prep for their seasons in the 4th while Ontario-sired gals, Tiz To Dream and Western Silk are featured in the 10th. This morning's is to be Western Silk's third qualifier and I think it's safe to say that she'll be ready to go the first time she races for a purse and has bets placed on her. Harness racing can't afford to push anymore customers out the door and given the flood of recent criticism over horses that "just go around" in their first (sometimes second, too) start off of the bench, it's encouraging to see an outfit that resources its own time and money to get a horse into top shape, not the public's. Kudos to Casie!

Other names like Before He Cheats, Truth In Action, Our Lucky Killean, To Helen Back, Ipromisenottotell and (Chicago invader) Rock Hollywood are present on this morning's qualifying sheet from Mohawk and it's safe to say that we'll all have heightened interest in this afternoon's homework.

Alright, listen to me very carefully: there are so many excellent betting opportunities at Woodbine tonight that you would be an absolute fool to not throw a few bucks in the account and take a few shots. Excellent betting opportunities that only THE PETE SHEETS can make you aware of. Based on my math, the only thing brewing if you've been playing the Budweiser What's Brewing selections is bankruptcy! Do you want to make money or not? Do you want to chuck the chalk and be imaginative in your handicapping? Of course you do! Email your request for a free (free!) copy of THE PETE SHEETS for tonight's Woodbine card to I expect to have the finished product sent to your inbox by 5:30pm.

Here's what I'm working on for the weekend:

Friday - Flamboro, Woodbine
Saturday - Flamboro, Georgian Downs, Woodbine
Sunday - Flamboro

Thanks to the dozens of you that have already sent feedback, emailed small donations and offered words of encouragement and appreciation for this new project. It is so important that you keep it coming. Your interest will pique that of the prospective sponsors that I have meetings with this weekend and early next week. The numbers are very good as they are (up to an average of 130 views per day) and they're getting exponentially better everyday. This is just the beginning of this project, the part that I can do on my own with nothing more than the commitments of time and passion. If you like it now, wait 'til you see what I have planned if I get a little financial support. From the absolute bottom of my heart, thanks everyone.

Over and out...

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Making progress

When I launched this new project, I had two goals that I wanted to achieve:

1. Improve the information that's given to harness racing's customers so as to increase both the handle and general popularity of this wonderful sport which, as proven by the improving numbers at Western Fair, still has the potential to flourish.

2. Make enough money to keep the mortgage paid while doing it.

Well, so far it's been a lot like that song by Meatloaf, "One Out Of Two Ain't Bad", but I'm not worried. An old friend told me not long ago that if you resign yourself to doing something for monetary gain, that something will always fail. If you resign yourself to doing something to be the absolute best at it, the money will follow. So this is the new approach that I've taken in my life. I'm hoping that the money isn't following too far behind, though, because at some point the wife is going to realize that the hydro isn't turned off for the umpteenth day in a row because "the construction guys must have cut the power". God help me.

More seriously, I have to tell you that from what I've learned through just the first few weeks of doing THE PETE SHEETS, there is cause for cautious optimism for this project. Would you believe that last night, on a muddy, rotten, rainy night at both Georgian Downs and Grand River, my inbox received 49 requests for THE PETE SHEETS? It may not sound like a big number to most, but it's my idea and I'm the guy doing all of the work and I'm absolutely thrilled! Don't tell me harness racing is dead - people love harness racing! They want to read about it, gamble on it, share their opinions on discussion boards, make fun of Kyte, defame Middleton, completely toss anything that Mike Hamilton picks - you name it! Read a few of these emails that I've received from followers of THE PETE SHEETS and you'll see the passion that our people have for all things harness racing:

"Just wanted to say a big WAY TO GO on the new venture, "The Pete Sheets" is a regular stop for me on my daily blog roll and is a very welcome addition! I am not a big bettor, indeed my $2 every now and then is barely noticed in track pools, I am however a lifelong harness racing fan and I find your dialogue very informative and frankly hilarious at times. In a world where technology and internet is the way to reach a whole new audience, harness racing it has to be said has been very slow to jump on this bandwagon, a venture such as yours can't help but to draw people in. I hope the followers continue to climb, and hope that you will keep this going. Congratulations!"...Louisa Surette

"I read everything and anything about standardbreds, so I appreciate your sending me these Pete Sheets."...Ron

"I've been betting standardbreds for 35+ years so I generally dismiss most tip sheets. I will not call your Pete Sheets a tip sheet as it is much more than that. It is an indepth handicappiing analysis of an entire race card. You may even get me to play more Win 4's!"...Tom Welsh

"Send me tomorrows sheets! I am a mediocre horseplayer and I found that your column gives a little bit of direction and structure to an otherwise confusing card of racing at WEG. Thanks again!"...Carmen Auciello

"I found your pete sheets web site and would love to receive your pete sheets on a regular the trots!"...Lyndia

"Hi Pete! Would you please send your picks for Monday's Grand River & Woodbine? My friends and I are going to the OTB!"...Curt

Isn't that great stuff? Thanks everyone, from me and the entire industry. We're making progress, slowly but surely. Georgian's handle peaked on the last two Tuesdays, the only two on which THE PETE SHEETS were distributed while the May 3, 4 and 11 programs at Grand River (which were featured in THE PETE SHEETS) had the three highest handled cards of the entire meet. Some might chalk it up to coincidence. I say it's proof that if you build it, they really do come.

Rain, rain, go away...