Horseplayers, Pay it Forward.

I was thinking about writing a post about some of the great horseplayers in this game awhile back, but Ed DeRosa's tweet finally got me to jot something down.
He is referring to the late Cary Fotias, a long time player who passed away recently, at an all-too-young age.

He's so right. Cary not only was a wonderful horseplayer, but he was indefatigably optimistic about the great game of handicapping. Cary advised HANA - the Horseplayers Association of North America - way back at inception in 2008 and I had a chance to chat with him a few times.

"This game can bet $100 billion a year if done right!!!!", he'd say.  He wasn't blowing smoke, he believed it. It was so infectious and he was so well liked; probably because he was so optimistic, and so in love with horse racing.

Rich Bauer, Mike Mayo, two fellas I got to work with on certain efforts both have left us, and they LOVED this game. Rich was a navy vet, and exactly the way you'd think one would be. Tough; and someone you wanted on your side. Mike was a businessman, but he too had some kind of fire about him. Both men were beyond willing to help you if you needed something, with regards to this sport.

I wish I knew the late Ron Rippey. It bothers me I did not.

What each of them had, and what others do in this great gambling sport, I think, is a willingness to pass on what they have learned in some way. I truly do respect that from some of our fellow horseplayers. It's strange, because it's a parimutuel game, but in my view, it's very, very real.

A couple of weeks ago I contacted Andy Beyer for something. He could not have been nicer, and more willing to share his thoughts. This man is a true legend - after all, how many of us 100 years from now will still have a speed figure named after us that everyone will use - and speaking with him was a complete pleasure.

Mike Maloney - arguably one of the sharpest horseplayers in North America - is as welcoming as a down blanket in a Canadian winter. I remember asking him once if he'd give some pointers to someone who wanted to learn more about handicapping.

"Sure, tell her to come to Keeneland and I'd be happy to", he said.

Mike is not only a true southern gentleman, but a man who wants to leave the sport of handicapping in a better place than he found it.

Barry Meadow? Ah, don't even get me going.

I'm forgetting a hundred people, no doubt, but you get the picture. Like Ed, I have a ton of respect for so many in this game. For a bunch of "degenerates" they're pretty damn good.

What I have learned from these great folks - and try to do as much as I can - is pay it forward, especially with new people. I thought about it today.

Nicolle was asking about small bankroll betting on twitter and I thought I might help. I grilled her, like she was a salmon, about her play, but she merrily played along. I found out she was a win bettor, and might get some help with bet sizing through unit betting, so I shared. I did so, because in my heart I want to see her do well. We all want to see people do well. It's a part of this game, and it's something built right into its fabric.

I think everyone who plays this game has something to share, and some good cheer to spread.

For newer players, find some folks and ask questions. People like @DougieSal, or @dinkinc are two that I have seen answer questions about an obscure pedigree or gambling tactic and do so with a smile. Many others have knowledge and are happy to lend a hand.

For those of us who have played for so long, congratulate folks on their wins; be happy for them. Winning is fun and its a social game. If someone new asks for an opinion, share what you know. You know darn well that Cary, Ron, Mike, Rich and those who have left us would certainly be doing the same thing. Carry that baton and pay it forward. The game is bigger than any of us.

Have a nice Tuesday everyone.

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