All posts by richhalvey

The Beginning of the End or the End of the Beginning

The run-up to this Presidential election has been long. Fortunately or unfortunately my state, Colorado, has been pretty much ignored by the presidential candidates. I’m happy I don’t live in Pennsylvania or Michigan. Those people must be getting bombarded, especially if they are dutifully sheltering in place with the TV on.

We are becoming a society that doesn’t care about morality as long as they can check the “build a wall on the Mexican border” box . How many years have we been trying to solve immigration issues. 15? 20? Ronald Reagan granted amnesty to the illegals and boy were the other Republicans angry. It’s been over 30 years since that shocker and we have gotten nowhere.

We are a society where one party believes the government has a responsibility to the poor, the indigent, the mentally disturbed and those affected by Force Majeure, while the other party believes government was not formed as part of a welfare state and the downtrodden should look to their church and private welfare organizations for help. Can you believe that there were Republicans who voted “no” on aid to first responders in NY on 9/11?

There is no question that we should be recruiting immigrants who can help the United States, especially the ones that were educated here. The Congress is stalled on immigration and every other contentious issue. There are limited compromises, and the collegiality that once filled the House and Senate was destroyed by Newt Gingrich.

By the time the election is over the candidates are exhausted–not unexpected when the young guy in the race is 74– They can’t count on the younger generation for help. There really isn’t much in the platforms of the parties that gets a 20-year old excited. The Gen X kids don’t care because they never planned on getting social security or medicare. But soon enough they’ll be in charge and I’m sorry I won’t be around to watch how they manage the government.

About two months ago Biden had set the Demo-batmobile to cruise control, figuring that Trump’s antics finally caught up with him. What he didn’t count on was that Trump’s mastery of the lie that sounds like the truth. He’ll take a part of a sentence and make it sound exactly the opposite of what Biden meant if you listened to the whole sentence. The last guy who could keep his opponent off balance like that was Muhammed Ali

The Dems have have had a problem for decades. They believe the halos around their heads will propel them to victory. The Republicans aren’t having any of that. I mean, in 2016 they kept the story about a Democratic pedophilic pizzeria alive for months. They got Comey to send a torpedo that hit Hillary broadside.

Republicans  know how to attack like guerrillas. Biden, who is one of the most devout Catholics in government, gets pounded for a lack of morality and cheating deals with foreign governments, He has little to say except they are all lies. Instead of pushing the bullshit aside and emphasizing his programs, he just lets Trump keep winning the headline. Trump says Joe can’t finish a sentence, but will Joe punch back? No, he smiles and shakes his head. If instead he had put his left hand near his ear and made a couple of circular orbits while his right hand was pointing at Trump, now that would have convinced his backers he’s still got a little spirit.

If you had asked me two months ago, I’d have said Trump should start packing. But three days away from the election I think Trump has taken the lead. It’s unbelievable. Even some of the smart people I know have switched sides. They believe they will not have an economy that is favorable to making money if Biden wins.

I don’t know for sure how this will come out, but either way we are in trouble because we are not united. We do not have problem solvers and compromisers in charge of the House and Senate. And we have an unruly crowd getting angrier every day.

There’s one thing I do know. Almost nobody leaves politics with less money than they had at the beginning of their Congressional careers. I’d love to hear the theories on that outcome.

We have the potential for a dangerous future. China is amassing a newer and better army. Plus we still have North Korea, ISIS and Afghanistan to deal with. And don’t forget Russia. They may reap the benefit of the possible conflict between China and the U.S.A.

Is your guy in the White House up to the job? We’ll find out Tuesday.

Politics, Protests, The Police, and the Worst? Racing Season Ever

I was never going to use my blog to talk about politics or religion. I may break my pledge.

Politicizing Horse Racing

I was brought up in a small town. The current House member for the town is a guy named Paul Tonko. I’ll tell you why Tonko  is connected to horseracing below. He’s a couple of years older than I am but we both graduated from the same high school, the well known Wilbur H. Lynch Senior High (Grades 10-12). And I’m not going off on a “who was Wilbur Lynch jag.”

There’s a web site that lists famous people  born in a respective city. I only remember two from my small town. Kirk Douglas and Paul Tonko. I’m not on the list yet. Like most of us who were young in the sixties and seventies, Kirk Douglas skipped town as soon as he could. He was somewhat forced to return once because the town threw an A-1  celebration for him.  Poor Kirk was stuck with carrying the burden of being the most prominent ex-resident of Shitville, NY, USA. I look at it this way. At least we had one bona fide, famous person, which is one more than most small towns

That is until Paul Tonko was elected to Congress. Being a congressman is apparently considered famous. So he and Kirk Douglas are on the same list. That says all I need to say about the value of those lists.

I felt like it wouldn’t be such a bad idea to write a book that probably resonated with most of the people who lived in that small town on the Mohawk River. I have the article from the local paper pimping my book. I can’t wait to send Paul Tonko a copy of the book. I eventually got to know him a little. I think the funniest thing that happened was when I was talking to him in his office and he asked me if I was related to Sue Halvey (her actual first name would inevitably bring strange looks from people). She worked on Tonko’s campaign and even has a picture to verify that. I confessed she was my mother and that brightened Tonko’s mood. (My father had passed away well before she knocked on doors for Paul.)

Where was I? Oh yeah, Paul Tonko. He was the original sponsor of the legislation (H.R. 1754)  to set up a federal commission to regulate horseracing. The current version is at

The bill has roused interest in the House and 225 other Congressmen have joined Tonko as co-sponsors . It’s not a landslide but it’s enough to send the bill to the Senate. I have to wonder if Mitch McConnell wilI accede to the Water, Hay and Oats Alliance if for no other reason than it was sponsored primarily by Democrats in the House. After all, isn’t the job of the Senate leader to crap on every bill pushed by the opposing party? Still I suppose Rep. Tonko  deserves some credit for finally getting the House to consider the bill. After all, he’s introduced it in every session since 2015.

I think the key is that to Federal electees, Federal oversight may sound like a  great idea. I’d also bet that maybe 10% of the group voluntarily goes to the track to bet, or has an ADW. How can you vote on a bill when you know very little about the sport it covers? I’m sure in the 21st century being a winning horseplayer gives a Congressional candidate no advantage come election time. More likely it is seen as nefarious.

If you read the bill you’ll see the myriad of potential problems. For example, the Feds won’t be paying for it, nor will the Feds guarantee the debts of the Committee. I think you might see where I’m going with this. It seems like, unless they get a big fat grant from Stronach or CDI, tracks have to pay to be more regulated than they are now, Maybe commissioners will have to pay to be on the Commission.

I don’t remember seeing anything about rectifying the sloppy way in which residual standards were set. I’ve got stories from people who were there when some of the stultifying discussions took place (not to mention outside pressure to get something in place).

The bill also creates space for six people from the current anti-doping commission. Is that a big deal? Last I looked none of the members were recognizable horse people. Also, there are more than slight differences between humans and horses.

Read this paragraph closely. I am totally in favor of an effective, honest and a fair standard setting and testing system. I am not against that kind of regulation in the least. But some experts believe 19 of the 26 residual drug standards are malodorous. And we have to wait for funding from the tracks or will the philanthropists pay for that? Can you imagine a federal commission not funded be the feds? Can you imagine 30% rake on horizontal or vertical bets?

I ask you to look at the requirements that are duplicative of how things are managed now. But I want to know hat’s the role of the stewards and the State Racing Commissions have? I have absolutely no problem making the current system better, considering its increasingly tatterdemalion state.

Details, my boy. It’s all in the details.

I’ve generally lived by the rule that if PETA is happy with something, the horseracing community should be unhappy.

I’m wondering why bettors, owners and trainers haven’t marched on Washington to keep such an unnecessary  bill from getting a vote. Based on current marches, I suppose it wouldn’t do much good, and God knows nobody is interested in having their neck stepped on. I sent  letters expressing why I thought the bill wasn’t any good.  I offered to testify in front of the Congress (I’ve testified in the House and Senate three times, so I’ve got some experience. All I get back is a “thanks for your interest, blah, blah, blah, blah.”). Nobody seems to be listening to me. But I understand that almost none of the 350 million people who live in this fine country has any idea who I am.

And I have to add that as long as I can remember, a lot of the townsfolk my town (with apologies to Thonton Wilder) have spent a day or two or 28 at the Spa. There is even a race named after the town. Grade III, sprint, three year olds. Pretty good for a place where well over a thousand buildings are condemned and ready to fall down.

I have no idea if Tonko’s bill stands a chance once it hits the Senate, but he better make sure  Mitch McConnell’s friends from the horse breeding and racing state of Kentucky don’t decide they don’t like it. Just my opinion.


The other day one of my friends asked me what I thought about the marching that is going on  vandalism style. So I told him a story about something that happened in High School. I hope you get how this was like big national marches.

It was in the spring of 1971 that me and two other guys decided we needed to have a student strike. It was happening in colleges across the nation and we had dreams of making news. We drew up a list of our grievances, presented it to the principal and demanded action. The principal was a really cool guy and thought that it was great to see us get involved in the politics of a high school. When we looked at him, the read we got from him  was, you guys crack me up. We took that as unspoken support for the underprivileged students and we passed the word that in two days the strike was on. After second period, we all walked out of school. Lots of yelling, but no vandalism. Peaceful protest only. We were excited but we weren’t idiots. Eventually most of the hyped up crowd  got bored and just went home or wherever they went after school. But as I found out later, the teachers were really steamed. We never thought about that.

In retrospect there was nothing of great import on our list of changes, but strikes were the fashion of the day and we got most of the students out on the lawn.

The cool principal calls me and the two other guys to his office to negotiate. Then, because he was an adult and more experienced than us, he made us an offer to set up student/teacher committees. We thought that was great, but it wasn’t quite a done deal. The principal needed to tell the school board. Meanwhile I walked home.

My father had already heard about what I had done (I’m sure somebody ratted us out because the phone rang off the hook at my house) and was mad as hell at me. Remember Father Knows Best, a TV show from the 50’s? My father was the exact opposite of Robert Young’s portrayal of a dad. It was useless to talk to him. I was wrong, and that was that. Luckily the principal called and asked for me. He wanted the Triumvirate of the strike leaders to come to school to meet with the school board.

So I’m off to the meeting. We get there and the board members start  yelling and screaming and calling us names. We sat there, never really given a chance to present our bill of rights. I went home and told my father what happened. He went personally to each member, at their house and said something like, if you ever yell and belittle my kid again I’ll beat you like a drum. They all thought he could do it. I  knew he could. He was built like a bull. Big, muscled chest and arms. Well that isn’t an exact quote, but you get the idea.  Rule 1: only a parent can call his kid a fucking moron. If anyone else does it, there is hell to pay.

My father still thought I was wrong though. But things had gone too far to back away because my dad was angry. The next day we met with the principal and we agreed to bring all the kids back and let the student and teacher committee work it out. We would meet for two days. I’ll make this short. The teachers slaughtered us. They insisted on Roberts Rules of Order and we figured, sure. Naturally none of us had a clue what that meant.  They’d make a motion – like, kids must be in their seats before the second bell – get a second, and of course we thought it was reasonable so it passed unanimously.

Unfortunately, when we proposed a motion, they all voted against us. 4 to 4, a tie. Motion loses. Even when we caught on to their plan, we couldn’t win. We told the principal, he disbanded the committee and asked us what we wanted. We started to tell him and said pick the most important thing and I’ll give it to you. Then everything goes back to normal. We tried to put up a defense, but he pulled an ace out of his sleeve. You can try to go back on strike and I’ll make sure you don’t get a diploma, or you can accept my offer. Plus, cool principal said he would throw this in: I’ll give you a pass whenever you need one. I suppose we were so discombobulated we capitulated, shook hands with him, and walked outside to greet the anxious crowd. The other two guys looked at me as the class awaited the result. So I yelled, WE WON. The celebrating was on, and when I had a chance I yelled, BACK TO SCHOOl. Teachers still complained, but we won because we got the class one thing and the teachers got nothing. The principal got something from the school board. A pass out of the high school–after the school year ended.

The epilogue was that I was excused from physics class at least three days a week, ostensibly on business for the principal. I showed up for tests though. Physics was the class before lunch, me and one of the other guys grabbed a pass and we went golfing. By the way I aced the final and  nailed an A. The teacher couldn’t understand it. To be absolutely clear, I did not cheat. I read the textbook the day before and I guess it stuck with me.

I hated HS. But it turned out that college and graduate school were the best six years of my life. I’ll save that for another post.

The Police

Everything you see on the news is negative these days, except for heroic rescues of dogs in semi-frozen ponds. I’m not against police doing their job in the least. Let me make it clear. If someone is trying to illegally enter my house, first thing I’m doing is calling 911, and I expect a quick response. But just because the police have been given a power doesn’t mean every situation requires the use of that power. Remember the saying, if all you have is a hammer, all problems look like a nail?

One of the big differences between the modern police force and the cops a hundred years ago  is the availability of military type equipment. Men and women dressed in heavy riot gear and backed up with a tank-like vehicle are intimidating. Of course, they’re supposed to look intimidating. But we are not al Qaeda. Clearly, if they want our respect the need to make it clear that they only brought out the intimidating squad to handle vandals and robbers, not peaceful protestors. Let’s leave Tianamen Square tactics  behind. We are your neighbors, and our kids go to the same schools that yours do.

Maybe the police should hold up their own signs

It wasn’t all bad. On the news I saw police walking with marchers, and I saw some of them on one knee as the parade passed.

Still, it seems like the pot has boiled over for those who believe they have been kicked around for all the years they and their ancestors have been in the USA. Unfortunately, instead of backing away,  most places ordered officers to ramp up their show of force. Victory by intimidation. The fact that some people, who may have been outsiders, took advantage of the marches by breaking windows and looting, may have acted as a trigger for the police to take a step up. They may not have known exactly who did what, but they were sure it was somebody in the mob.

I don’t know how all this will end, but considering how many protests have been conducted since the 17th century, you think somebody would have had that black swan of an idea, In my lifetime,  the rhetoric has been the same over and over. from the Boston Tea Party to the outrageous actions of Sherriff Jim Clark in Selma, Alabama, to the Vietnam protests, to the protests of women and  BLM, Peaceful assembly is guaranteed to all Americans, and interdiction by the state during a peaceful protest is simply wrong. The 90% of police who understand how to keep protestors and police safe should not have to pay for those who only want to make a show of power.

Are the expectations so  high for a quick resolution  that we will always be two steps behind where we should be? After the long period of time we’ve had to work these problems out, I can only think of two things: we don’t know how to solve the problem or we don’t really care about the problems.

The only thing I know, is that the man with all the power in the military-type get up is sometimes overcome with a desire to let people know whom you better not mess with. Maybe it’s arrogance, maybe it’s just a lack of sensibility, or maybe it’s a message they want to send. Still there is the hint of a light at the end of the tunnel. Perhaps a hundred years ago, a cop could kill an African-American who was  doing nothing more than driving while black and feel like nothing would happen to him. At least now we have video that leads to an indictment.

What makes people say,  this time we will succeed.

Enough of that.

The Worst? Racing season Ever

I’ve been in a rut for 40 years. I don’t know how much I’ve bet in my life, but I’ve collected enough that I never had to eat out of a dumpster or stare at a foreclosure or beg Sears for another month to pay. I’m one of those people who finds success far more joyful than failure, and the only way to do that is to work hard.

When the COVID-19 virus went pandemic, almost everything closed. For racetrackers that meant no betting at almost every track except Gulfstream  and eventually Fonner Park. Currently a number of tracks are running, all without people in the stands. But they still use the track announcer. “Desperately Slow all out and looking for the wire. Chucklehead Chuck coming like a choo-choo train. They  come to the wire and it’s…too close to call.”

To my amazement I didn’t miss it. I actually had time to do things I had been putting off for a while. The grocery store was open, albeit with a lot of empty shelves. I don’t know why, but right before the cry for isolation and hand washing hit us, I had stocked up big on toilet paper, canned goods, paper towels, and meat at Costco (note: their meats are great, but go somewhere else for fruits and veggies.)

The only problem I had was entertaining myself during the day. My normal  entertainment, the races, had closed, except for a few spots that ran without a crowd. I didn’t bet those tracks regularly and I really wasn’t interested in doing the research necessary to be a successful bettor.

I realized that to be successful betting the races, handicapping is not enough. You need patience. I can remember times when I made a nice hit early and by the time I got to the last race I was putting the remainder of my winnings on the last race. It would have been a lot better if I bet the four or five races I liked.

COVID-19 moved the most overrated – I meant well-attended race in America to September. Months and months of preparation washed away with a virus so small a powerful microscope was necessary to identify it.  No Preakness in May. No Belmont in June. You think two weeks from the Travers to the Derby works?

Horses were in their stalls going nuts because somebody messed up the regular routine.  Doug O’Neill actually shipped a claimer to Fonner Park for a race. It lost.

I’m not blaming anybody in America for spreading this pestilence, and if you tell me the Chinese had nothing to do with it I may laugh myself into a stroke.

All that COVID proved is that we were unprepared for germ warfare, and when it descended upon us it was horrendously managed. Information was sparse. Stay inside or die. Wear a mask. Wash your hands until the dryness starts looking like wadis in the desert. We only had Dr. Fauci to calm our fears.

The gyms were closed. That made sense. The golf courses were closed. Starbucks was open because it preforms an essential service.  You could walk your dog, but if another dog walker came at you from the opposite direction you strained to stay at least six feet away from each other. The supermarkets were open, but the number of people in the market was limited. There was a line and as one person left another was let in. I was lucky because old people were given an hour to shop before the young whippersnappers were let in.

Normally busy boulevards looked like Sunday morning at 6:00 am. Resources should have been rushed to cities where a lot of the population is living in apartment buildings. A playground for the virus.

Then, out here in the Western sticks, the bubble started to leak. 76 degrees and sunny was just to much to resist. The news was jumbled. We have an antivirus to kill COVID. Maybe. I don’t know anybody who had it round these parts. Neighbors began yelling across the street at each other. Great weather. Let’s go for a bike ride. I did and got a road rash on my knee when I fell off. They are right. It’s just like riding a bike has always been. Last week the restaurants opened, but they weren’t allowed more than 50% capacity.

More racetracks are opening without fans. It’s like all the screamers and the program whippers, and the finger snappers and the stookpers were out of work.  Store after store closed. I donated food and money to some of the people that worked at my golf course. If we didn’t have to stay so far away from each other we could have shook hands or embraced.

Just my luck that in December I had a piece of bone break off my spine and lodge in the nerve that runs down my left leg. For eight weeks I endured excruciating pain by eating Dilaudid like it was Pez. They tried steroid shots without success. Finally my back surgeon threatened to severe ties with the hospital. They extracted a large piece of bone from the nerve glued me back together and told me to start walking. Prescription: walk, walk walk.

I have to figure out ways to get my legs back. At the moment I weigh about 45 pounds less than I did in November. Mostly I lost muscle, which is one of the reasons I fell off my bike. If I put weight on my left leg it crumbles. Since my left knee is unsupported be the thigh and calf muscles I have to be careful about how I walk. Long way to go, but I’ll get there COVID free.

What the hell. The sun is shining. It’s a little warm, but after the winter we had it is a very welcome thing. I went to work last Monday. I rode around, said hello to everybody and then went home to eat this great green chile I made. Mild so everybody can eat it. I usually add some heat to mine. Let me know if you want the recipe.

Breeder’s Cup Day 1

The first-day BC races are a lot tougher than they have been in previous years. Tough to find a single, so good luck to all the handicappers out there.

Let’s start with the 5th race, the 5 Furlong Juvenile Turf Sprint (includes fillies and colts/geldings)

  1. The nod goes to 3-Another Miracle. He’s well bred for speed and should be double digit odds.He’s improved with each start and should be in it coming into the stretch.
  2. Don’t miss the fact that 7-Kimari has already beaten males and has finished second in a G2 race in Ascot. She’ll be one of a few vying for favoritism.
  3. 9-Four Wheel Drive is the most likely favorite. He’s won two stakes races and looks as fast as anybody in the race.  Other contenders are 5, 6, 10. I’m not really taken with the Euro’s in this race.

Race 6 – Juvenile Turf (colts/geldings).

  1. Lots of choices in this race but I’m going with 2-Structor. He seems to be improving and he has Chad Brown to help him along. I’m a little worried about the post position, but if he gets a clean start he’s going to be tough.
  2. There are a number of horses at double digit odds. The one I like is 3-Peace Achieved. He’s also on the improve and his pace figure matches with any other horse in the race.
  3. British invader 5-Vitalogy is the closer, and if he has room he may be hard to hold off in the stretch.

Race 7 – Juvenile Fillies

  1. 4-British Idiom broke her maiden at Saratoga and then crushed the Alcibiades field. She prepped for this race with a couple of crisp works.
  2. 5-Lazy Daisy should be at double digit odds and is as fast as any horse in the race.
  3. 7-Wicked Whisper won the Frizette handily. Plenty of speed, but some concern because she has yet to negotiate two turns. Backhole possibilities for 1 and 6.

Race 8 – Juvenile Fillies Turf

  1. When I was writing for Horseplayer Magazine this was the race I analyzed. This running is fairly difficult. Instead of 2 or 3 Euros, there are 7 Euro breds and a horse (Etoile) that has so far only raced in Europe. I’m giving the nod to one of the Irish bred fillies, 9-Albigna. She has a Group 1 win and has been competitive in top Euro juvenile races.
  2. 13-Selflessly comes out of a determined win in the Miss Grillo, a race that has often sent tough horses to this race.
  3. 11-Sharing may be a little slower than the other contenders, but I like the connections.  Other prospects include 10, 12, and 14.

Race 9 – Breeder’s Cup Juvenile

  1. 5-Scabbard and Corey Lanerie had an eventful journey in the Iroquois. The horse was stymied on the rail at the half mile pole, and was all over the track coming out of the turn. Inside the 1/8 pole he finally straightened and was making up ground late. Although Dennis’ Moment geared down a bit, Scabbard was making up ground and only finished 2 lengths off the winner. Guess who is on him today? Mike Smith. That may be enough to reverse the finish.
  2. After destroying a field of maidens at Ellis Park, 1-Dennis’ Moment came back to comfortably win the G3 Iroquois at Churchill Downs.  Apparently those two races were impressive enough to make him the favorite on the morning line. But there are other prospects in this group that may be able to challenge Dennis.
  3. 6-Eight Rings ran well in the American Pharaoh. Could be the speed of the speed. Baffert trains and Johnny V stays for the ride.

The End of Summer

It’s Labor Day weekend. The effective end of summer is upon us. Kids are back in school.  Night arrives a little earlier each day. Orion is already prominent in the southern sky.

The final races at Saratoga and Del Mar have been run. New York racing heads back to Belmont while out West Santa Anita gets ready for the Breeders Cup. I doubt I’ll make it to the Cup this year, but I’m glad Santa Anita didn’t have it ripped away by the anti-horseracing folks.  I’ve attended a BC at Santa Anita, and if the weather is cooperative it’s a great place to hold a marquee event.

My summer was hectic. I have no idea how many summers I have left, and I had a need to take some trips to see the many of the great friends I had made in racing.  When Lou Gehrig gave his famous going-away speech, despite having one of the meanest diseases on the planet, he said he felt like the luckiest man on the face of the earth.  I think I understand why he said that.

When I got sick I realized how many people cared about me and wanted to see me recover. It’s a shame how blind we can be, until something serious happens. There is no colder slap than the realization that even with amazing medicines, you can only dodge death for so long. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you’ve accomplished. It doesn’t matter whether it’s fair or unfair. We came into a remorseless universe, and there is nothing we can do to stop time. We can only take advantage of the time we are given.

And here’s what I did in the summer of 2019.

I love New York City, and I don’t need much of a reason to go there. In June, I went to my favorite big city. I had John’s Pizza, Junior’s cheesecake washed down with with a chocolate egg-cream, and I topped it all off with a trip to the Belmont.  July took me to the British Isles. It was an opportunity to be together as a family. I’ll remember it always. It was a great reminder that I  really have great, successful,  kids. It was wonderful to enjoy a fresh glass of Guinness. Slainte. I like London almost as much as I like New York. There are spectacular sights in both cities and so much to do it could take months to do it. Same thing with Scotland and Ireland. They are truly beautiful countries. We happened to drive by the Curragh in Ireland and I seriously thought about bagging the Cliffs of Moher for Irish racing.

I thought about it, and I realized as interesting and beautiful as some foreign places are, we don’t really have to travel overseas to see great mountains and mighty rivers. What a great stroke of luck it was to be born in America.

After trekking through the best of the British Isles, I spent a week in Saratoga. From the time I was young, the closer I get to the track the faster I want to get there. I could not only see the grandstand, I could smell all the wonderful racetrack smells. I never feel so comfortable and happy as I am at the Spa. It is the womb that produced a lifetime love. It will always be the epitome of racing for me. In a life full of luck, I was most lucky to have Saratoga in my backyard.

I capped off the summer at Del Mar. Here’s my advice. Be careful if you go to that part of California. The scenic beauty, the slapping of the ocean waves, the whole lifestyle might just keep you there for a lot longer than you might expect.

I’m very happy I won a NHC qualifying contest and made it into the big show. It was a great validation of my handicapping/betting ability. Nothing has had the kind of impact on my play that contests have. I can’t stress loudly enough that a contest is a post graduate course in handicapping and betting. This year, at Saratoga there were 38 races I could have bet. I wound up betting 10 and hitting 2. I bet $30 win and a $30 exacta only. No place or show. No trifectas.  That may not sound like an exciting way to play, but the two races I hit had an $18 winner and a $46 winner. The exactas were exceptional as you might expect. Instead of betting $60 trying to hit a big trifecta, why not invest it in the simplest bets you can make?

Same thing happened at Del Mar. I watched a few and then popped a 33-1 shot. I haven’t given up on 5/2 horses, but if I use one it will be under a longer price. No more exactas with A over B, C, D, and E, and reverse..

This version of the contest betting is difficult because who doesn’t want to make some action bets. All I can tell you is that I learned how to pass a race. Go get an ice cream cone. Listen to the band playing. Go to the paddock and look at the horses. You can’t play a race to kill time, and you can’t get mad if a horse you wondered about wins. Play solid. Don’t let failure shake you up.  Stick with it and find your groove.

I got off on a tangent here. My main point is pretty simple. I may not have a lot of time, so I’m going to fill up my life as much as I can with family and friends. I also hope I can bet  horses until my final day.

I do feel like the luckiest man on the face of the earth. I was given so many gifts and abilities. I hope I can continue to share them.

Post 2019 Belmont Stakes

What can I say? I came, I saw,  I won a little bit for the day thanks to Mitole. However, with $14 sausage and pepper sandwiches and $6 soft drinks I  couldn’t say I went home with more money than I had when I arrived at BEL.  But on days like yesterday, you just have to put up with mediocre food and drink. It’s worth it to be part of the raucous crowd.

Here are my views about the day.

  • The weather was glorious.  A wind came up for a bit, but really didn’t affect any of the races significantly. Humidity was low, temperature just right.  You have to enjoy those days when you get them.
  • The track looked great. I’m sure it was impressive on TV. And thank goodness no horse went down.
  • The grandstand was cleaner than I remember last year, but if they want another BC, they need to brighten some things up.  Some deep cleaning, paint, and lighting would be welcomed. Perhaps the lack of concern about the cob webs is telling us something. It wouldn’t hurt to upgrade some of the seating either.
  • There were plenty of younger people there. I’m not sure how much they bet, but I learned how many millennials it takes to use a betting machine. I have a proposal: you get three minutes at the machine. After that amount of time, the machine spits out tickets on any bets you made and returns your updated voucher. Here’s the best part of my idea. You can’t reinsert your ticket into that machine for five minutes. You can move to another machine, you can go to the back of the line, but you don’t get to stand there interminably handicapping and betting. Show up, make your bets, have concern for your fellow handicappers. It was great to see the young fans, but Belmont has to take the huge opportunity to make their signature day more than just the one day a year they show up.
  • They need an updated system for the betting machines. Something that is intuitive and quicker. A lot of the rookies were perplexed. I could hear the group of them surrounding the machine saying things like, no, push that button. It has to be easy to keep people interested.
  • They also need a few guys wandering  around to instruct people on using the machines on those days. Troubleshooters. Maybe have a continuous loop showing near the self-service machines.
  • There were a lot of lit cigars in the grandstand. It wasn’t bothering me, but some people were bitching.  It isn’t that hard to walk outside to smoke your cigar. After all, it is against the law to smoke in the grandstand even if you think you are “outside.”
  • It was impossible to get anywhere near the paddock or saddling area to evaluate horses for looks or energy. I don’t think there is anything that can be done, but it was frustrating because there were some horses coming off layoffs that I wanted to see.
  • They did have food trucks available outside next to the backyard. Unfortunately I didn’t see them until late. It would have been nice  to know we didn’t just have to order the suspect Philly Cheese Steak. I was pretty sure it was processed beef and absolutely sure the top was cheese whiz.  I know you’re not there for the food, but for me to last from 11 am to 7 pm, I’ve got to get some calories.
  • Using the LIRR was great. Trains were packed but on time.
  • I really love NY. Sitting on a bench under a tree in Bryant Park drinking some Rooibos Tea, watching a steady stream of people playing outdoor ping pong and something that looked like Bocce Ball but had a different name, was as relaxing as it gets. You’d hardly know you were in the middle of the horn-blowingest city in the country.

I may make the Belmont an annual trip.

The Belmont 2019

Well, the ecstasy or pain of the 2019 season of the Triple Crown will be over Saturday  around 7:00 pm. It was somewhat an eventful set of races. The Kentucky Derby had its first disqualification for an on-track incident when Maximum Security, the horse that crossed the finish line first, was disqualified and placed 17th.

The more I watched replays from different angles and sources, the more I shifted my opinion toward leaving  Maximum Security up. War of Will, a potential favorite in the Belmont, was moving well past the eighth pole when he literally ran up the backside of Maximum Security.  After taking a physical beating from War of Will, he did what any horse would do instinctively – he jumped out of the way. The demolition derby resulting from that swerve  resulted in the overly harsh demotion.

I’m not going to argue with anyone about the true winner. The race is official and there is nothing anyone can do to change that. As well as War of Will was running, if he had an open lane he might just have finished on top. If Maximum Security, War of Will and Country House  return for the big races at Saratoga, Monmouth, or Parx, it may settle some of the arguments.

The Preakness was won with no drama by War of Will. It was a new top for him, and I’m sure the connections believe they gave us reason to wonder if he was the best horse in the Derby.

Let’s go through the Belmont field.

  1.  Joevia. If you’re looking for a longshot with a very small chance of winning this is your horse.
  2. Everfast. This horse is a true plodder. In the Preakness he came from well off the pace to run second. Perhaps his  jockey Joel Rosario made a mistake being that far off. He has a couple of downsides. He’s run in 11 races and is still eligible for NW2L. He also passed a lot of horses that you won’t hear much about in the future. But, I like the jockey change and the useful workout five days before the race. He’s run a lot of graded races and he showed steady improvement in his last four races. Bourbon War has his number, but I wouldn’t be afraid of using him somewhere in the verticals.
  3. Master Fencer didn’t break particularly well and did what he always does – gobble ground in the stretch. It’s entirely possible he will improve in his second race in the states. Leparoux keeps the mount. Frankly he’s not my favorite rider, but if he can find a lane he might also be used in the backholes.
  4. Tax. Why is the oddsmaker down on Tax? He’s bred well enough and perhaps his Derby on a sloppy track can be excused. The blinkers off doesn’t bother me. He showed they were no help at all in the Derby. Plus his two wins were without blinkers. I would also take Irad Ortiz over Alvarado. If you throw out his Derby, he’s right there. He’s a bit of a wildcard, but it looks like he’s a better bet than his morning line might indicate. Enough positives to be dangerous.
  5. Bourbon War. He just seems to have lost his mojo. Unless you believe Mike Smith is going to be able to straighten out the horse it’s hard to get excited about him.
  6. Spinoff. He was 50-1 in the Derby and ran like it. He’s a horse that did well in the Louisiana Derby, one of the better preps, but his wins came in his maiden and an optional claimer. He may push the pace, and that can only help the closers. I really can’t recommend using him.
  7. Sir Winston. He is another one of the horses that seem to be inclined to close. While he showed an ability to press last year, he hasn’t been better than 7th at the first call in his 2019 races. I don’t know how he was put at 12-1 on the morning line. He’s not as good as some of the other off-the-pace horses.
  8. Intrepid Heart. The mighty combination of Todd Pletcher and Johnny V may be on a downhill slide. The 2018-19 stat for the combination at Belmont is 19%, not bad but not up to where they were a few years ago. His two wins came in a maiden and an OC$75K. While he’s shown some speed, I don’t think it will help him much in the Belmont. His Peter Pan was nothing to get excited about. Another horse underlayed on the ML.
  9. War of Will. I talked about his Derby, and if you were heads up for the Preakness, it wasn’t hard to put him in the mix. What bothers me is that Mark Casse didn’t give him a public work since the Preakness. He can run to the front, and he may steal one, but I’m hoping he founders in the last eighth. He’ll volley with Tacitus for favoritism, but I can’t use both of them. Gotta pitch this guy. It’s more a parimutuel no-bet than deft investing.
  10. Tacitus. I watched the Derby15 or 20 times looking for disadvantages to horses. Here’s what I saw forTacitus. As he broke out of the gate he was having some trouble grabbing hold of the track. In less than an eighth of a mile he ducked inside and outside and Jose Ortiz showed great strength in getting the horse straightened out and running. he stayed off the rail and made a powerful move before downshifting mid-turn to avoid horses in front of him. He came into the stretch no better than 8th and he still had trouble with the traffic. Once he found a lane and steadied he found a new gear, finishing well. He had a bullet work six days before the race. As long as he gets out of the gate and doesn’t pull back too far, he’s got a good chance to win.

My value trifecta/superfecta is 10 /2,4/2,3,4/2,3,4,6,8,9.  Good luck if you are betting the race.

It’s Our Fault Too

A few years ago they banned dog racing in Iowa. I said we’re next. We’ve become inured to the thing that will decimate the number of racetracks – the continued loss of horses due to catastrophic injury. Beyond that, there just aren’t that many inveterate horse players left and we’re not likely to be replaced by younger generations. Oh, they’ll get gussied up and go to a Derby Party, but overall they would only lose one day of getting blackout drunk while yelling, who won?

We’re tired of the criticism of the sport we love.  But how many of us are willing to fight for that sport? We’re left out of decisions, but how hard have we tried to impose out interests on management? Instead of asking us what we think would improve the sport, track management is paying homage to a group of kooks who like animals better than people.

Do we really believe PETA cares about the billions of dollars bet on horse races? Do they care how many jockeys, trainers, grooms, breeders will be out of work? Do we believe PETA will control horse racing’s agenda?

How did we get here? We allowed too many people who don’t know much about how the sport works, except they think it kills horses. Aqueduct went through this during the winter meet a few years ago. They stopped racing, fixed the problems, and everyone was happy.

You can’t ask owners and trainers to do expensive pre-testing on every horse in every to make sure there isn’t a ligament stretched or a bone with slight chip. It would only accomplish making veterinarians and radiologists wealthy.

If you look at football, it leaves players crippled after their careers. There is a guy who played safety for Denver that comes to the golf course supported by two crutches. That’s his life from now on. Almost all players suffer some level of CTE later in life. Even Troy Aikman admits he’s out of it sometimes. It’s just that football players don’t die on the field. And obviously they make their own decision to play juiced on toradol or some other painkiller. I’ve both separated and dislocated my shoulder. There is no way I could have possibly continued after those injuries. But there are players who separate a shoulder, take a shot of some pain numbing drug, and go right back out. In baseball, the news might be that a player hurt his wrist but is using cortisone to play. No big deal at all. If you think it doesn’t happen in all sports, you had to have been living in a cave. But as humans we can make our own decisions while horses are dependent on their trainers to decide how to keep them healthy, so we don’t think about banning the collision sports.

People who play the races all the time don’t trust the trainers, or the jockeys. The criticism is steady about both. In the movie, Once Upon a Time in the West, Henry Fonda decides to eliminate one of his very overweight confederates. The large man wears pants with both a belt and suspenders. Before the killing shot, Fonda says, how can I trust a man who doesn’t trust his own pants. How can we bet when trainers are sending lame horses out or giving them some mysterious drug or both?

I think most of us know this. If there wasn’t betting we wouldn’t waste 10 minutes of our important lives watching horses run around. Too many people are loyal to the money they dream of making. Now we’re really being asked to support the industry we criticize. We’re being asked to say despite the problems we have faith that we will solve all the problems. There is no dream without all the people who make the horses go.

If we, and by we I mean anybody who bets horse, don’t make some noise, we’ll lose the sport one track at a time. We don’t have the time or we figure it will all blow over. I mean, they couldn’t close Santa Anita, could they? What have we done to prevent it, to demonstrate how valuable it is to the economy and how much some of us love the sport?

If horse racing ends, maybe I’ll bet Hong Kong or England or Japan. Or maybe I’ll just ride off into the sunset.

On the Edge Looking Down

I was reading something the other day that pointed out 8 million horses were killed in World War I. While it was a tremendous  tragedy (as were the human deaths), it stands as a great example of the importance and versatility of the horse.

They are brave in war, giving their lives in a conflict they couldn’t possibly understand.  They plowed fields so crops could be planted and people could eat. They run like the wind, not just for us, but because that is what gives them joy in life. In return, we have the responsibility of caring for them, keeping them healthy and happy. No one should ever be allowed to own a horse without making a vow to treat them as you would treat your children. and when they break that vow they should suffer an appropriate penalty.

The deaths of horses in the winter/spring meet at Santa Anita has become a story that some want to use to shut the doors on North American tracks. I have no problem agreeing that too many horses were put down in a short period of time. I don’t know for sure why it happened at the SA meet, but a few of the usual suspects were floated – drugs, previous injury, a lack of effective leadership from the track owners and managers – you know the ones. The track was even devoid of horses for a couple of weeks while the experts went over it with a fine toothed comb.

I was so lucky that the first track I ever saw from the inside was Saratoga. I felt totally at home. When the horses left for the first race I had managed to wiggle my way onto the fence, and when they come down the stretch it was like an impending tornado, hoofs pounding and dirt clods flying.  It was a ballet on four legs, and when I could get away, Saratoga was where I wanted to be. I love watching horses run.

I refuse to concede that horseracing should shutter its gates. I know some of the best times in my life have been watching horses run as they were born to do. It’s social, it fulfills dreams and just as easily crushes them. I will never give up going to the track, but despite my sincere belief that at the premier tracks in America, almost every trainer does his best to treat his horses well and follow the rules of racing, it is impossible to pacify the the kooks who believe humans shouldn’t own animals, much less race them. When racing truly lets me down,  or doesn’t take care of business the right way, perhaps then I’ll walk away. But for now, I still believe that 95% of the people in the racing business are ready to do what is necessary to prove that the anti-racing groups have no credibility.

Meanwhile we need to get assurance that the stewards, racing commissioners, owners and trainers that they are trying their absolute best to get over the bar horseplayers and the animal rights people have set for for them. And they need to do it now.

My Old Kentucky Home

If you are any kind horseracing fan, you know that the 2019 Kentucky Derby generated more comment than any Derby since…I don’t know. Maybe the Derby when Eight Bells tragically went down past the wire. Maybe Dancer’s Image, the horse who gave the public the opportunity to say phenylbutazone fast three times. Maybe Secretariat winning a Derby in record time.

I’m not going to talk about which horse did what in the Derby last Saturday. We all know the story, we’ve seen the video(s), and we’ve beaten it to death in public fora. It was like that internet thing with the dress that was either blue and black or white and gold or red and pink. One of those color combos was right. If the Churchill stewards had gotten involved, 27 minutes later the dress dispute would have been settled permanently.

Ok. I said I wouldn’t bring up the Derby thing.

Here’s the issue.  Every state picks its own stewards. In Kentucky the Governor gets to pick two of the stewards (that makes them state employees), but the third steward is appointed by the host track. Saturday it was a man named Tyler Picklesimer, racing secretary at Turfway Park.

Somebody suggested the stewards should get training. In Kentucky, state regulations say a steward must have attended one of the two “steward/judge” schools it recognizes: one at the University of Louisville, the other the University of Arizona. Stewards also must pass written and oral exams administered by those schools. I don’t know the details on how difficult the steward classes are or what they cover. You can make up your own mind on whether your favorite steward aced or flunked steward school, but at least Kentucky is trying to project a professional image.

Which reminds me of a bad joke. What do they call the person who finished last in their medical school class?  The answer is Doctor.

Stewards must also pass an eye exam proving they have “corrected twenty-twenty vision and ability to distinguish colors.” I like that requirement. It reminds me of something Ernie “The Big Cat” Ladd, a wrestler in the 60’s – 80’s who unforgettably mentioned his feelings about one of the referees by noting,  “he’s blind in one eye, and he cain’t see out of the other.”

There are a lot of arguments about who should be a steward or a racing commissioner. My experience is that it is hard to become a steward or commissioner without good connections. I don’t care how good you are at race-watching. If your competitor for a job as steward or commissioner worked on the Governor’s election campaign or was a beloved jockey, I have to inform you that your odds of getting appointed just went to 20-1.

There are questions that need to be answered. The biggest question is, how can the stewards be consistent  from state to state or even race to race? My suggestion is to have a national board that reviews the performance of the stewards (and/or commissioners) and then sends a report to the state Governor. Subsequently the Board can have an annual meeting with presentations on the findings for the year. This includes looking at every race where there was an inquiry or objection. Every steward (and potentially commissioner) has to be independently reviewed every three years (that would be around 30 tracks a year. I think that is very much doable.)  I don’t know why any state would resist such a board since the only power they would have is the power to report and recommend. They wouldn’t appoint any officials, and the decision as to which officials are replaced would still remain with the state appointing authorities. But – and this is a big but – the reports would be public.

There are only a few racing fans who are willing to spend their time working toward real change, change that will revitalize the sport. We’ve fallen into a pattern of too many patrons watching poor officials make wrong or inconsistent decisions and then doing nothing more than griping. This is unacceptable, and pushing for change is as much the the horseplayers responsibility as the horsemen. That’s why the National Evaluation Board makes sense. It leaves decisions to the states, but it makes sure the decision makers know whether or not their choices were good.

Regular racegoers worry that not only is racing being relegated to the back of the sports bus, we now have to compete head to head with sports betting. Every track has to be run properly, and Governor or no Governor, the people deciding that the winner of a $3 million race should be dropped behind all but two of the horses better be professionals beyond reproach.

One last thing. PETA would drool like a St. Bernard if they thought they could close tracks. Here’s my message to them. Don’t count us out quite yet.

I’m Back (for now anyway)

Somebody asked me why I stopped posting. My last post was a little over  year ago. Most of the reason was that I contracted an extremely rare type of bone marrow cancer called mastocytosis. Basically, it was like getting hit in the jaw with a Mike Tyson punch.

The disease is insidious. It replaces red blood cells in the bone marrow with mast cells. It produces a march toward death that is sort of like a snowball starting down a hill. At first the snowball is small and of little concern, but eventually it picks up power and smashes anything in its way. Red blood cells disappear and mast cells fill in. Your organs fail. Not a great death by any means.

Everybody has mast cells. They release histamine and other substances during inflammatory and allergic reactions. Hives are a good example of your mast cells going to work.

Healthy people have less than 1% mast cells in their bone marrow. I had 70%. The red blood cells and the oxygen they carry were being demolished by the mast cells. If you’re wondering how this happened, one of my genes, the one that controls mast cells, was corrupted. Instead of keeping me at the same levels as other people, the culprit gene was destroying me from the inside out. It had moved to the blood organs – spleen and liver – and eventually would have caused all my organs to fail.

I realized something was seriously wrong at the end of the 2017 basketball season. I was dragging myself up and down the court hoping nobody noticed. After I finished the season I went to the facility considered the best hospital in the world for respiratory problems – National Jewish Hospital. Trust me. You go inside, you see the ugliness of lung diseases. The oxygen tanks, people shuffling across the carpet with the little strength they could muster, small babies and their anxious parents.

I had ballooned in weight to about 230 pounds (I’m 5’10” tall). A lot of it was retaining excess water. My stomach was pushed out as the spleen and liver grew in size to almost double the normal size. I was an average size person hiding in what looked like a fat man.

I had a baseline physical and then they started testing. I had over 20 different tests. Poking and prodding and holding my breath. They asked me if I wanted to check in to the hospital. That way they could wheel me to another test at a moment’s notice. I’ve got a thing about sleeping in my own bed. I turned down the offer. Turns out they really wanted to keep me because they thought I might kick the bucket.

They moved me around to see a couple of other doctors. The doctor most familiar with auto-immune diseases posited that I might have a mast cell problem and decided to send me to the University of Colorado Cancer Center. Luckily, National Jewish didn’t have anyone on staff that could do a bone marrow biopsy.If I thought the waiting room at National Jewish was depressing, the cancer center had it beat by a city block. They drew blood – every cancer ward draws blood like the society of Nosferatu.

The result was grim. The doctor I was seeing at National Jewish had me come in for an appointment. He pulled no punches. My bone marrow mast cell level was 70% instead of the normal 1%. Without treatment he didn’t expect me to live more than four more months.

As far as the doctor knew, the only treatment available was the same as for leukemia.  A bone marrow transplant and chemo. Even so, the doctor warned me it wouldn’t give me more than two years. Better than nothing, but still too much time to worry.

Believe me. There were a number of times in my life something happened that should have killed me. I won’t list them, but cats were jealous of how many lives I had.

I went home and tried to figure out how I was going to tell everyone I had a terminal illness. Would it be best to be upbeat or dismal, casual or morose? As I thought about it the phone rang. It was a doctor from the University of Colorado. He said that there was one space open in a drug trial for a chemo medication called BLU-285, developed specifically for what I had.

Mast cell leukemia is highly uncommon. Maybe no more than a tenth of a percent of the world’s population had it. Out of that an even smaller number had it anywhere near as bad as I did. The second highest patient only had 20% mast cells compared to my 70%. Turns out most people with the disease don’t get to 70% because they die first.

They University of Colorado hospital retested me (I’ve had seven bone marrow biopsies to this point), confirmed the initial findings, and handed me 50 pages of paper that laid out my commitments to the study drug (like my family wouldn’t sue them if I died).

What the hell. I signed up. In May 2017.  I went to the hospital and took my first dose.

They started on 400 mg of the chemo drug every day. It seemed like I was in and out of the hospital every other day for a month. The chemo drug was powerful. I had daily nausea and threw up a few times. I didn’t want to throw up because if it happened too often I’d have to drop out of the study.

Sometimes the nausea was embarrassing. I went out to breakfast once. I ordered pancakes. The waitress put the plate in front of me, and I immediately bolted for the door and puked in the parking lot. Somebody came out and asked me if I was ok. I nodded and when my stomach settled I went back in and ate one pancake. I was happy about getting the pancake down, mainly because I had no appetite and a lot of food I loved to eat made me want to throw up. In five months I lost 40 pounds.

In October I went to New York. I love New York. I go a few times a year. I walked around and looked at many of my favorite places. I sat on a bench at Bryant Park and watched people play bocce ball. It was like I was a kid watching the adults throw bocce balls and argue. I finally decided the cure was far worse than the disease.

I got back to my room and picked up the phone to call my doctor and let him know I couldn’t tolerate 400 mg every morning. In addition to the physical effects, it was also affecting my mental acuity. It was like having Alzheimers. Imagine your brain was filled with filling cabinets, and when someone asked you a question you’d go to the right cabinet and pull out the answer. With me all the cabinets were locked and I couldn’t get into them. It certainly affected my ability to handicap. I couldn’t concentrate on a horse much less a race. I’d ask what day it was. Whether or not I ate lunch. Often I couldn’t sleep. Needless to say I couldn’t write either.

The doctor listened to all that I had on my mind and said, “Your last bone marrow test and MRI came in. Your mast cell count is back to normal and your liver and spleen have shrunk back to their normal size.” He allowed me to drop my dose to 200 mg a day and convinced the insurance company to pay for a daily anti-nausea drug.

I made up my mind that I was going to live a normal life. It was hard. I had done very little exercise, and I had spent a lot of time indoors mostly in bed or on the couch. One of the other horrible side effects of the drug is that I can’t go in the sun for 10 minutes without turning red. I would even get a sunburn driving the car on a sunny day. So in 2018 I wore long sleeves, gloves on my hands and a wide brim straw hat and went golfing. My arms and legs were like jello. It was going to take a long time to get into shape and I still have a way to go.

All the hair on my body turned white, at least the hair that didn’t fall out. I can still grow facial hair (but I’m clean shaven now) and enough of the hair on my head stayed so that I don’t have to wear a bandana.

I’m now considered to be in remission, but I still have to take chemo daily. 200 mg. I asked when I could get off the drug. The answer was one I didn’t want to hear. It seems the drug didn’t kill the corrupt gene. In simple terms, it keeps the gene from doing whatever it does to take you on a journey toward death. As long as I take the drug I’m protected. If I stop I only have a short time to live. Easy choice, but I try not to spend too much time thinking about living under the BLU regime or dying without it. I learned a lot about myself. It isn’t death that scares me. It’s dying leading up to death that does.

How did I get the disease? The doctors assured me it is not something that was programmed from birth. I was most likely exposed to something environmental that corrupted the gene. The doctors assured me my kids didn’t have a genetic predisposition to the same cancer I have.

I thought a lot of things we were all exposed to 50 years ago. Bad water, bad air, asbestos – who knows how I was targeted. But as I said, I’ve had plenty of experience dodging death. Maybe sometime I’ll write about all my escapes.

I’ve adjusted the best I can. I golf, I ride horses, I do my volunteer work with autistic kids, I walk the dog to give me an incentive to rebuild my muscles, I ice skate indoors, although I don’t play hockey. I ride my bike and I’m lifting light weight. I also do other things I’m too discreet to mention.

How long will I live?  Who knows. Still, given my test results I have reason for optimism.

One last thing. If not for Twitter and Pace Advantage I might have gone nuts. It was great that I could talk to people from my living room. I also realized how great my friends were. It all helped me to get through the worst of it.

I have two more blogs I want to write but not today. I’m not done spreading my opinions yet.