By Ray Wallin
In the past, I have shared some great videos of horseplayers behaving badly or being a bit over the top in cheering their horses to victory. But how does man’s best friend feel about horse racing?
Dogs have been man’s best friend for the past 15,000 years. As long as they have been our favorite companions, they have benefited us humans. They have hunted with us and shepherded our folks. They protect us and show us unconditional love.
More than being our trusted and loving sidekick, there is one trait that is fascinating. Dogs can mimic our emotions. Unlike a parrot that will repeat sounds and words, dogs can’t verbalize, instead they try to copy our head and hand movements.
The fact that dogs can imitate us coupled with so many horseplayers behaving badly means only one thing, dogs behave as poorly as their owners do while watching the races.
When I am at the track, I enjoy watching the races from the rail. Invariably there will be some guy who starts cheering from the minute the gate opens, even if he can’t tell who is in what position. In the case of this excitable pup, I wonder if the owner is a race caller. As the gate opens it almost sounds as if he barks out “and they’re off.”
By the end of this clip, I wonder if they had posted this canine’s enthusiasm for the entire race, would he stop jumping and start pretending to ride the horse himself?
This little fur ball seems to have put a few bucks on this race. She leaves mom’s lap to encourage her horses late. She resorts to the infamous “riding the horse” maneuver as she dances around on her two back legs. As the results are posted you can guess how her bets did in this race. The slow walk away says it all.
This golden retriever saves most of her encouragement for the stretch drive. It does sound like she was barking “stop the race” right before they hit the wire. Her reaction seems to indicate that she lost the trifecta on this one right at the wire.
I do love the other golden retriever that comes into the video late, takes one look at the race, and then walks away. I guess her ticket was dead by the stretch drive.
Poodles are a graceful breed and often considered a symbol of elegance with their pom-pom tail and paws, the fluffy ears, and the head full of fur. Poodles are also known to be one of the smartest dog breeds. This one is no slouch either. She is barking the great American Pharoah to victory as he wins the Triple Crown in 2015.
I guess I wasn’t the only one who couldn’t contain their excitement during that race?
Jumping for joy
This little ankle biter is one of the most animated dogs you’ll find when it comes to horse racing. I get tired watching him go airborne, flip, and land 180 degrees later. This little guy is either unhappy at the result or the fact his owner changed the channel from his favorite show on Animal Planet.
Our last pooch takes his love of horse racing one step further that the other canines. Not only does he get excited for the race, but he also gets up close and personal. Based on how his owner yelling during this race someone may have a date with a rolled up newspaper when he gets home. Yet Fenton does do a pretty good job of navigating that hurdle though as he comes from off the pace.
As we enter the dog days of summer, it is important to remember our favorite four-legged friends are watching us. After all they have been domesticated and human companions five times as long as horses. Watch your dog around the races carefully. Who knows, maybe you have a pooch that will help you realize your dream of making your living playing the races.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.