Horse Racing Bucket List

The term “Bucket List” became part of our everyday life after the 2007 movie, The Bucket List, which starred Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman. In just a decade, everyone has seemingly written one, completed one and rewritten another one about something more specific.

This got me to thinking. As a lifelong fan of horse racing and handicapping, what would be on my horse racing bucket list?

* See a horse win the Triple Crown
Completed

While technically I was alive for Seattle Slew (1977) and Affirmed (1978), there is no way I was going to be able to remember those triumphs as I was taking my first steps and uttering my first words. However, watching American Pharoah win it all in 2015 was a great moment.

* Visit every North American racetrack
Not Completed

Truthfully, I have mostly been to tracks that are close to me and most of my vacation plans haven’t been near too many race tracks. My list of tracks visited includes: Monmouth Park, The Meadowlands, Atlantic City Race Course, Garden State Park, Freehold Raceway, Parx Racing (formerly Philadelphia Park), Delaware Park, Dover Downs and Pimlico. I always joke with my wife that we’ll need to get an RV in our retirement to accomplish this one!

* Attend the races in England
Not Completed

I doubt that I’ll ever be in line betting with the Royal Family, however I’m very curious to see how the entire experience differs from what we know here in the US on both normal days and high profile days like the Royal Ascot.

* Attend the Breeder’s Cup
Not Completed

I missed by best chances when Monmouth Park hosted the Breeder’s Cup back in 2007 and Belmont Park hosted in 2005. However, in 2018, it will be run at Churchill Downs, which is a lot closer for me than heading out to California. Maybe I’ll see you there.

* Drive a sulky
Not Completed

I passed my jockey weight when I was 12, so the next best thing would be to drive a sulky behind a trotter. The USTA does have a driving school for those fans that want to learn how to do it. Sign me up (after we increase my life insurance)!

* Write about horse racing
Completed

Me sporting my 2017 Father’s Day gift courtesy of my very understanding wife and kids (photo courtesy of Wallin Family).

Me sporting my 2017 Father’s Day gift courtesy of my very understanding wife and kids.

If you are reading this, I have completed this one! Seriously, I love horse racing. I love talking about horse racing. I love handicapping. I love talking about handicapping. I love talking about talking about handicapping.

I am thankful that for the last two years, USRacing has given me the opportunity to continue spewing videos and articles about angles, handicapping and horse racing in general to a larger audience than I had with my blog. I have had a lot of fun conversations with readers and have improved my handicapping as a result. As long as you folks keep reading and responding, I’ll keep writing.

* Get in a Winner’s Circle photo
Not Completed

It would probably help if I knew someone locally who owned a couple of horses. 

* Qualify for the NHC Finals
Not Completed

This was actually the main reason I started having an online presence again through my blog Jersey Capper. While other commitments have taken precedence over this quest, it still remains a goal. I am still inspired by and live vicariously through other New Jersey-based bloggers who have had the same ambitions — redrockorbust and NJ Horseplayer.

* Hit a winning wager that is over $10,000
Not Completed

I have hit a couple of pick-4’s that were over $1,000. However, I have not hit a winning bet for five digits despite being close on a couple of pick-6’s.

* Own a race horse
Not Completed

Certainly a more expensive proposition than the puppy my family just got, but I am sure there is no better feeling that seeing your own horse on the track and, then, winning!

I am sure my list is just the tip of the iceberg. What’s on your list?

Ray Wallin
Ray Wallin is a licensed civil engineer and part-time handicapper who has had a presence on the Web since 2000 for various sports and horse racing websites and through his personal blog. Introduced to the sport over the course of a misspent teenage summer at Monmouth Park by his Uncle Dutch, a professional gambler, he quickly fell in love with racing and has been handicapping for over 25 years.

Ray’s background in engineering, along with his meticulous nature and fascination with numbers, parlay into his ability to analyze data; keep records; notice emerging trends; and find new handicapping angles and figures. While specializing in thoroughbred racing, Ray also handicaps harness racing, Quarter Horse racing, baseball, football, hockey, and has been rumored to have calculated the speed and pace ratings on two squirrels running through his backyard.

Ray likes focusing on pace and angle plays while finding the middle ground between the art and science of handicapping. When he is not crunching numbers, Ray enjoys spending time with his family, cheering on his alma mater (Rutgers University), fishing, and playing golf.

Ray’s blog, which focuses on his quest to make it to the NHC Finals while trying to improve his handicapping abilities can be found at www.jerseycapper.blogspot.com Ray can also be found on Twitter (@rayw76) and can be reached via email at ray.wallin@live.com.

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