Swinging for the Fences

I’m in a harness race handicapping contest that began back in April and ends this Friday. The contest is sponsored by The Horseplayers Association of North America, the Hambletonian Society and The Grand Circuit. There is one race left, and I’m in 5th place, 4,610.90 fictional dollars behind the leader. The maximum bet is $250. So, I need a real longshot.

Last week I hit a home run.   I played a $250 cold triple that returned $3,100. Otherwise, I would still be in 10th place, over $7,000 behind the leader. I just need one more big hit to make it into the top three, and the top three all win money for charity. I’m playing for Heading For Home, a Saratoga based charity that takes care of horses after their racing career is over.

Because I was so far behind, I’ve been swinging for the fences for about a month now, and I’ve been striking out, usually, but that $3,100 hit gave me hope, even though another hit of that magnitude on the last day of the contest would still leave me about $2,000 shy of actually winning the contest.

It’s hard enough to pick a winner, but trying to pick a cold exacta or triple is way harder, but that’s what I’ve got to do if I want to get a check for my charity. One race left. One bet left. I have to swing for the fences.

I also got an e-mail this week from the Lancaster Barnstormers. Last year I bought a ticket package that included throwing out the first pitch at one of their games, and they wanted to know if I was interested in doing that again. I sure was, and this year I bought 3 packages, so that two of my friends could join me on the mound, instead of just sitting in the stands laughing at me.

The Barnstormers (ahem, I mean the 2014 Atlantic League Champion Barnstormers) also wanted to know if I was interested in a ticket package that included taking batting practice with the team. I signed up for two of those packages, so I could invite a friend to participate in that – our own little home run derby. So, I will be swinging for the fences in 2015. But right now, first things first, before I start swinging for the fences at Clipper Magazine Stadium, I’ve got one fence to swing for this Friday at Northfield Park in the Cleveland Classic Pace.

Wish me luck. I’m gonna need it.


Peace & Love, and all of the above,


Batting Practice




As of December 7, 2014 – Leg 53
Pos Handicapper Week Gain Net Profit Behind Days Missed
1st Garnet Barnsdale ($204.00) $4,553.40 2
2nd Mark McKelvie ($250.00) $1,276.00 $3,277.40 4
3rd Brian McEvoy $175.00 $33.50 $4,519.90 5
4th Bob Zanakis ($250.00) ($53.05) $4,606.45 0
5th Earl Paulson $2,850.00 ($57.50) $4,610.90 0
6th Brandon Valvo $175.00 ($620.00) $5,173.40 3
7th Josi Verlingieri $175.00 ($1,005.40) $5,558.80 1
8th Derick Giwner ($250.00) ($1,073.23) $5,626.63 0
9th Rusty Nash $350.00 ($1,733.36) $6,286.76 0
10th Gordon Waterstone ($250.00) ($2,131.30) $6,684.70 1
11th Dennis O’Hara ($250.00) ($4,086.65) $8,640.05 0
12th Sally Hinckley $370.00 ($4,267.40) $8,820.80 0
13th Anne Stepien ($180.00) ($4,787.93) $9,341.33 5
14th Ray Garnett ($250.00) ($6,352.80) $10,906.20 2
15th Ray Cotolo ($250.00) ($10,048.40) $14,601.80 4

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