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Frank Vespe of The Racing Biz walks Nestor through all of the changes coming for Maryland horse racing and the future of the Preakness at Pimlico via Laurel.


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Nestor J. Aparicio, Frank Vespe

Nestor J. Aparicio  00:01

Welcome home we are wn St. am 1570, Towson, Baltimore and Baltimore positive we’re positively into one of the crazier busier weeks of the year. I mean, the Orioles are home all week. Luke is at the ballpark we have an NFL schedule coming out. I’m fatigued from all of that jockeying around the planet trying to catch the northern lights still failing miserably. And I might even get my oral press pass back before it’s all over. But by Friday we’re going to be families and I’m going to need a crab cake and some shrimp salad. Our friends at the Maryland lottery are doing it with the Pac Man scratch offs. We’ll be down at the new Lexington market on Friday. Also gonna be there on Wednesday for the crab Derby I got my flyer your Alicia gave me this someone hold it up crapped out world famous annual crab Derby This is on the 15th that’s Wednesday, from one to three. It’s in the middle of the Oriole game. Don’t blame me, Alicia, what do you think and, and we’ll be talking about all of this stuff. But we have a little horse race on the Hill on Saturday, it is 149 Running of the Preakness Stakes, this is my 33rd Preakness on the radio. And, you know, it’s a tradition for me to do racing all week long. Bob Baffert will be here this week, Donna brothers will be here this week, and because I can’t get Clem Florio anymore, I get the current legends of Maryland racing, your Frank fest. We hosted a show here last year on Saturday mornings. get you ready for race day he is with the racing biz, as well as the Baltimore banner these days and checking in. I want to give you some love on the on the loss of your dad this week. I know, timing and everything. This is the biggest week of the year for you and your business and everything you’re trying to do with racing. But first off condolences. It’s good to see you. Sorry, I missed you at the post position draw on Monday night.


Frank Vespe  01:44

Yeah, no, no, thank you for all that. And thank you for legends of Maryland racing. That’s a that’s quite a lot of pride. There aren’t a

Nestor J. Aparicio  01:51

lot of people left to know as much about it as you do. I mean, I’m not being flippant, but like I don’t put one to five, seven or any of these local yokels because it’s too hard to specialize in horse racing unless you specialize in it. And that’s why once a year when I bring experts in, I learned so much this week, and there’s so much to be learned. And, you know, I had Alan Forman and David Richardson a couple weeks ago went up to green mount ball. And we talked about the history what it used to be, and then where they want it to go. And this is the week we’re we’re in the here and now right? We have a half condemned racetrack with a future for the you know, that’s all that’s laid out at this point. And we know we’re gonna run this race at Laurel. So a lot of things going on. And we think you being in the middle of all this Catch, catch our audience. So outside of the racing world, as to the last time you and I talked six months ago, lots change, man. Yeah, yeah.

Frank Vespe  02:43

No, if you just said you said a mouthful there. It’s a crazy time in Maryland racing right now. And we’ve got we got legislation that passed recently. The governor just signed it the other day, that’s going to we hope lead to a revitalized Pimlico. Laurel is gonna close going to have a training center. I don’t know where that’s going to be yet.

Nestor J. Aparicio  03:03


One training center not to correct one, one plus Pamlico

Frank Vespe  03:07

Sound. Okay, so horses will be training at those two different locations. But But Laurel is not going to be one of them. So that’s

Nestor J. Aparicio  03:15

a big thing. Whether it’s going to be a Baltimore County Harford County, right. That’s a training centers important

Frank Vespe  03:21

yet. It’s critical to the future of racing in Maryland, because pimlico’s not big enough to house all the horses that you need to have a robust racing Pro. How about


Nestor J. Aparicio  03:32

this? I got football fans here. The Ravens don’t practice at the stadium. They play at the stadium. They practice in Owings Mills, they have a facility that is for training, right, like literally it’s a training. They call it the training center.

Frank Vespe  03:47

Yeah, no, and that’s a little bit what, what’s going to end up happening here in Maryland Pimlico, I think Pimlico will ultimately house less than half of the horses that that the people think they need to have a robust program, they think they need around 1400 race horses in training ready to run to have a good program here that is basically year round. And pimlico’s probably going to be able to hold 600 So you’re the training center is a critical piece of the whole puzzle here. And right now it looks like they’re, they’re willing to entertain other possibilities. It’s my understanding, but they’re down to sort of two main possibilities. One is shamrock farm and Woodbine, kind of west of Pimlico and the other is the Mitchell farm property which is up in Aberdeen. And those are the two that they’re kind of looking at my conversations with horsemen. They don’t want to go to Aberdeen I can tell you that but the you know, at the same time, if you want to stay in the business, you’ll go where you’re able to so we’re gonna have to see how that all plays out. But proximity is

Nestor J. Aparicio  04:56

power in that case, right like every time you have to ship a horse move a wars You would rather it be closer to Pimlico, right? Absolutely.

Frank Vespe  05:02


And you know, I mean, particularly given what’s what’s going on with the bridge and stuff. Do you want to ship your horse around the beltway? Probably not if you could avoid it. So, yeah, so being closer is better. And, you know, because we’ve been over the last 40 years Maryland racing has been at Pimlico, Laurel and buoy. So there’s kind of a center of a lot of horsemen in that Laurel buoy, and even point south area. Those guys don’t want to have to truck all the way up to Aberdeen, Aberdeen, it’s like the other side of the moon to them. So how this gets worked out is going to be important. And I’m sure Allen Foreman said this to you. And he said it many, many times that people need to not let the perfect be the enemy of the good. And, you know, this was the plan that they were able to get through the General Assembly, which is very important. This is the plan that allows them to renew Pimlico, and charter future for Maryland racing on the amount of money that was available.

Nestor J. Aparicio  06:04

Yeah, Frank, you’re in the industry. And I’ll just say this man, as a guy who was thrown out of the press box three years ago, a guy that’s been doing this for 40 years, a guy that you know, can talk about Clem Florio and Vinny Perone and Andy Byers setting speed charts in the 35 years ago and Ekman walking around with a cigar chomping on it with white gloves on, like all of that old school, like stuff that you know, we remember and the track sort of falling apart and all the Preakness law and punch and horses and sekret to me, everything has happened through all of this. I’ve, I’ve yet to until recently feel like I’ve talked to anybody with influence. You know, I’m saying like when I was sitting with Sal Sinatra, I’m like, You’re not really running it. You’re just the guy in the seat. Belinda Stronach the Frances people that they could never sort of get what they wanted. And there was never a face on it. After Frank died, to say, I’m running it. I’m out in front of it. Here are the things that are going on to even compete with Churchill or to compete with slots years ago when they were trying to get all that through the legislature that it feels like and maybe I’m wrong, and you’ve been at this a long time, too. It feels like there’s some certainty that I can talk about this week for this race, and I put on the air 32 years do like 30. That’s impressive. I have been talking about the Preakness I have the tapes of me and Clem in 91 and 92 and 93 Like all of that, so but it was always and Dickies, the digerati and and Marty, who declined it Martin McKee declined to come on, just because he didn’t want to handicap the race and like you think I want to talk about the race. I want to talk about the industry and where the future is. But every time dicking around we get together it’s Oh, man is are they gonna make it? You know, what’s gonna happen? There’s it’s cloudy, it’s nebulous. We don’t know where’s Belinda? Where’s Frank all at cha. Like all of this is going on. This feels like the first time where we’re going to stop talking about the uncertainty. And we’re going to start talking about this is getting done, this is happening. There’s money. It’s in stone. The Belinda’s are leaving the Bruno Mars is we’re gonna have a different thing. And there’s gonna be a David Richardson and Alan for somebody that is here, who I can talk to and get me answers. Because I’ve always struggled with that in the industry. It’s frustrated me.

Frank Vespe  08:31

Now. It’s, it’s an interesting point you make and I had this conversation with a trainer a couple of months ago, and I said, What do you think about this plan? And he basically said, I don’t like it, except for one thing. I think it might actually happen. And, you know, that’s, that’s a thing that I have sort of heard from a number of people in the industry that, you know, they they’d rather not focus everything at Pimlico. They’d rather keep Laurel, they they’re not all that excited about the training center idea. But everybody acknowledges that the status quo is untenable, we need change. Now, you know, we can’t keep doing this. I mean, if you’ve been out to Pimlico, you see the state of that facility, this can’t continue. And so we are very hopeful that this, they’re doing kind of a two step here. There’s money for new facilities. But there’s also this new concept of of ownership where the state through this racetrack operating authority will take ownership. It’ll contract contract with a nonprofit group that will run day to day racing. And there is a hope that this puts Maryland in charge of Maryland’s future in racing. And if that all works, then everything you just said is exactly right.

Nestor J. Aparicio  09:49

Well, I mean, that you summed it up. I mean, and this is Frank ESPYS. Here he What are you doing racing is banned or what? Yeah, promote for you? Well,


Frank Vespe  09:58

were they Thank you were the websites the racing We’re gonna have all kinds of Preakness coverage all week, including a horse by horse analysis. Every horse in the race will have profiles, we’ll have pigs, all kinds of stuff come on out to the racing We are partnering with the Baltimore banner on race coverage, including, you know, some articles we’ll be sharing back and forth, I’ll be I’ll be writing a column handicapping the race in a day or two for them. So lots of stuff there. And we also have a radio show that airs on ESPN, Richmond and ESPN, Harrisonburg and Virginia, which you can catch at the racing as well. And we’ll have all sorts of Preakness related coverage and coverage most of the year. Well,

Nestor J. Aparicio  10:43

let’s take a backtrack here from the racing biz. And we’ll get to the race itself in a minute. What what is the state of the business? And And as I’ve gone through a lot of technical things here, because as I’ve learned, but what am I leaving out? And what should the general public know about the future of all of this? And the one thing I learned on Monday at the post drawls there probably not going to be a lot of people, you’re not gonna be 150,000 people. They’re not bringing the coeds in from upstate Pennsylvania, and, you know, getting drunk in the infield. All of that is sort of Bruno Mars, like the EDM show that Belinda would bring in here with the beautiful people and all of that, that there’s going to be a new vision for this that may include a lot of elements of high end this and gamble that and cigar this and hats. I mean, that’s what it should be, but used to be the People’s Party, right. And that’s the way we, we call it the People’s Party. What is the current state of this and the vision moving forward? Because you know, a lot of the people and you’re with them every day that are going to make this functional over the next 10 years, we hope? Well,

Frank Vespe  11:49

it’s a really good question. That’s and the, you know, we, over the last several years, I think the Preakness has lost its way, you know, or really the management has lost his way on what the Preakness is, as you just said, it was the People’s Party. It was like a Baltimore rite of passage. You know, you went to the Preakness, you went out in the infield, you You did all the stuff. And over the last several years, it’s become this kind of event. That’s nowhere. It’s, it’s very expensive, but nobody can claim that, you know, pimlico’s a high end sort of facility. The music hasn’t really worked in the last few years. I mean, the crowds aren’t very big. I mean, look, last year, they they had I think around 37,000 people on Preakness day used to be 120,000. That’s okay, if that’s the vision of a different event, but it’s, the vision is not working. And so I think that’s one of the big challenges that the that the operating authority, the new management’s gonna have to tackle is, what is this event? And how do we make it be the best version of that, that it can be? And I

Nestor J. Aparicio  12:58


remember catechesis, you know, like, are like all of these conceptual things that they have. I think Belinda’s concept was this was going to be a South Beach Party in West Baltimore like it just it never made any sense. And had she ever made herself available to sit across the I would have sat here on the radio to this doesn’t make any sense. Tell me how this makes sense. I might have been a little nicer than that, especially beginning but I’m probably not now that all these years have gone out. And I’ve been thrown out of a press box, amongst other things, like I just don’t, I’ve never understood this concept of what it used to be and it what it was, and where they were going with it and how it could be rescued. And I guess I am heartened by the fact that at some point, it’s been rescued. But what what is it and what will the the week leading up? I mean, I’m, I’m doing a crab Derby here, and I can’t begin to tell you how proud Bill Devine and Nancy Devine are data fade Lee’s, of putting this on 40 years ago. Peter, by the way, wants them to use mechanical crabs. Good luck with that, Peter. That’s probably not happening this week. But we’re using Maryland crabs. But these are the kinds of things as I hold this near and dear and Bud Light nights and bringing Blondie into play at the harbor on Tuesday night and having a contract on Wednesday and having a rap act on Thursday and break like bringing in the Gin Blossoms on Friday and then have a cheap trick play out in the infield and have 98 Rock boobies and like all the things that have happened over 40 years, I’d love to know what they think this can be to really bring 100,000 people back out again, to make it a Baltimore day to make the Black Eyed Susan the pink thing and to do what they do in Kentucky which is give the kids off in school on Friday and shut the whole friggin city down for a week and a half and really turn it into a spring festival. I mean that’s really what it should be moving for. With a horse race?

Frank Vespe  15:01

No, I agree with you. And I’d love to see that what I’d love to see them do from a horse racing perspective, I’d love to, I’d love to see two things. One is they need to put more oomph in the undercard to build up Friday to make Saturday a better day of racing. Second thing I’d love to see is turn Thursday into a celebration of Maryland horseman and Maryland racing run a bunch of races restricted to Maryland horses and Maryland horsemen and make that a big party for the locals too. And then the second thing, and you’re right, look, for a long, long time, the Preakness covered the knot for Maryland racing for the entire year, it made lots of money, it made the purse account whole, it made the company profitable. It was the linchpin of everything else that happened in Maryland all year long. It’s not that anymore. And the question is, really, can you get it back? Can you turn this back into the engine that drives the entire vehicle of Maryland racing, and that’s what we’re gonna, that’s what they’re gonna have to figure out. And that’s what we’re gonna see if they can,

Nestor J. Aparicio  16:08

I don’t know if it’s a food truck thing, or if it’s a band saying, or I mean, clearly, it’s a weather thing, no matter what its weather sharing, you know, and you’re always sort of praying for that. And as you as you tear the facility down and make it more open air, it will always be a weather thing. So that will always be you know, a part of it. Frank WSP is here, he covers horses. So let’s get to the race and let’s get to McPeek and Baffert and Chad Brown and Dewayne and the fact that we have one of the greatest Kentucky Derby has ever right, I mean, three horses at the end. And we have the winner coming. We have Baffert coming who’s been treated like the Orioles and Ravens have treated me in recent years. And, like, so. So we have the biggest star in the sport. And I think we have a great race, right? This is an interesting race, in that from a betting standpoint, from nine horses, and connection stories, to beat the band in this one, I think, no, I

Frank Vespe  17:09

think you’re exactly right. It’s funny because there’s a lot of angst like right after the Kentucky Derby and MC peak with who trains the winner mystic Dan was, was kind of going well, we’ll see. I don’t know if we’re gonna go to the Preakness. And, and there was a lot of angst like we’re not gonna get the Derby winner, we might not get any horse out of the Derby, it’s going to be terrible, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And we ended up with we’re getting three out of the Kentucky Derby, including the winner and a fourth place finisher so that that always adds a little a little oomph to the race. And then as you said to Bob efforts to Dewayne Lucas says you got Chad Brown, he got Brad Cox got a kind of all the top names of the sport. So the race is is actually coming together as a as a really interesting horse race and a really interesting handicapping puzzle. You know, we’re hoping, hoping for no scratches, you’re hoping it all holds together. And if you get that, I think it’s going to be a lot of fun. I mean, we were, the one thing we were hoping for is that copper tax would go because he’s the local horse. He’s got the local connections, but they decided to sit it out. And you know, you can’t blame you can’t blame them for making a decision that they believe is couldn’t blame


Nestor J. Aparicio  18:20

a geek if he didn’t bring the horse back in two weeks to and there. When you talk about the puzzle and how complex all of this is and the sanctity of the Triple Crown, and I go back to spend the buck kind of screwing it all up. And I always can think you’re already spent the buck Lord him the Pennsylvania never came home never came back. But for the industry, that part of the puzzle, what made sense the Secretary and Seattle slew 50 years ago, doesn’t necessarily make sense for the industry for the horse for good humanity for the horses in the equine industry, and and what would have to happen? My understanding is Belmont doesn’t want to move, which is kind of crazy, because like, wouldn’t they want more Triple Crown winners? Wouldn’t that make more sense for them? But this has been an industry slow to change. I don’t need to tell you that. I mean, baseball’s been painfully slow now they put a guy on second base every night we pitch about it in the X rays, but but we this change in horse racing, fundamentally, we would never have a problem anymore. If his race got banged back a week, two weeks, wherever, however, they would come together but nobody can get along with the Churchill people. Right.

Frank Vespe  19:32

Well, that that’s true. On the one hand, on the other hand, at some level, you know, Churchill’s gonna run on the first Saturday and that’s just set in stone. That’s the

Nestor J. Aparicio  19:45

way it that’s when the race begins. Right? Yeah. So, okay.

Frank Vespe  19:48


So put them aside, what do we do next? That’s sort of what the question is. And you know, you mentioned Secretariat and here’s the thing that I think is an important thing for people to understand when Secretary one On the Preakness, he won the Gotham. Two weeks later, he ran in the woods Memorial. Two weeks later, he ran in the Kentucky Derby. And two weeks later, he ran in the Preakness, because that’s how you handle the good horse in 1973. No one handles a horse like that anymore. In fact, in the Preakness, when Derby horses run back in the Preakness, now, that will be the only time in most of their careers that they run on two weeks rest. So it’s just a completely different area

Nestor J. Aparicio  20:29

for men pitching rotations and Palmer win eight is every night right that played

Frank Vespe  20:34

300 innings. Yeah. You know, it’s amazing. You bring up baseball, because it’s like, as high bound as baseball is they’re like crazy radicals compared to horse racing. Like we can’t change anything in the sport. And I look at it this way. The Preakness is the second most important race in North America. You know, the derby is the derby. But if you look at TV ratings, the derby is up here. The Preakness is here, the Belmont is here, and everything else doesn’t even exist. You know, like the the Breeders Cup the last year, for example, the Preakness, which was kind of a bland Preakness did TV ratings that were six times what the Breeders Cup was. So it’s just it’s the second most important race in the country.

Nestor J. Aparicio  21:22

If horse racing as the Kentucky Derby winner usually. Yeah,


Frank Vespe  21:26

yeah, no, no, certainly. But you know, it’s part of the Triple Crown. And the Triple Crown is what’s important in terms of the business’s ability to reach a public beyond the racing bubble. And so if we were a functioning business, we’d be looking at this and saying, is the Preakness under pressure? And if it is, what can we do about that? If we move it, can we move it in such a way that we still keep the public’s interest? Can we build this up, but horse racing doesn’t operate this way? You know, Churchill’s where it is, now is where it is at screw. The guy in the middle is kind of the attitude. Although I have heard some rumblings that they’re going forward, there may be some flexibility, someone willingness to have conversation. So I’d like to see people really dig

Nestor J. Aparicio  22:12

bad for that’s the thing I like, they’ve already destroyed the Preakness, and they’re gonna need to rebuild it anyway. And if the horse doesn’t come to the Preakness, guess what, Belmont, you’re getting nothing. You know, so like, like, to me, it’s just basic. If you get in the room, and you say what’s good for it, for all of it for all of us, right? We’ve been talking about this for 20 years, once horses stopped racing in that way this century. They, that is what could save the Preakness that is what could make racing better. Because if this race were next week, we’d have a better field more horses, you know, maybe fierceness or the you know, whoever that years Derby disappointment would would be more apt to come back. And now that never comes back. And that would help all of it that would help the industry to your point outside of the bubble, or making the bubble bigger with to your point, our ratings were up while people were coming in for hockey game to I mean, they’ve managed NPCs managed to pair this with hockey and Ovechkin and different things like that over the course of time that it’s made it and even any old check being apart is sort of the swap part of that. On the TV side of things. That has been a difference maker for them right in the ratings.

Frank Vespe  23:32

Yeah, no, I think you know, the, look, there are only a couple of races that anybody is paying to get the rights to to broadcast. And this is one of them. And, and so you know, so again, I really do think like if we were a functioning business, we’d be looking at this and saying, how do we maximize this for everybody if we push this back? Because he got a bunch of questions here, right? One is, let’s say you push this back two weeks, and you push the Belmont. So it was basically four weeks, four weeks.

Nestor J. Aparicio  24:03


Four would be ideal, not three fours ideal of four,

Frank Vespe  24:07

in terms of how horses are managed. Today, four is better than three, you would get

Nestor J. Aparicio  24:13

better races and better horses and happier trainers and happier in

Frank Vespe  24:17

theory. Yeah. And I think what I if it were me, I’d be saying, Okay, we’re gonna go to focus groups with trainers. We’re going to talk to them, would you have run back? You know, the horses that finished second and third and the Kentucky Derby years ago, they would absolutely have come because they could make a case that they should have won the Derby, and they’d want to prove it the Preakness they don’t do that anymore. If it were three


Nestor J. Aparicio  24:40

weeks, four weeks, five weeks, not enough money involved to do that. Right. Well,

Frank Vespe  24:43

I just I think the way people handle horses anymore. Do I want to come back in two weeks or two? I want to wait five and then come back in the Belmont. Well, you know the way people handle horses now you come back and five.

Nestor J. Aparicio  24:57

But then the other question is 30 years of that Really eroded the Preakness.

Frank Vespe  25:01


Yeah, no, I agree with that. But at the same time, the other question is, can you keep the public’s interest over the course of the series? If you extend it is, you know, right now five weeks really easy for people to kind of pay attention to for five weeks, would they for eight, I don’t know. And that stuff that you could do research into, and try to figure out and figure out what’s the best way to handle this, that we maximize? Because the stronger the Preakness is, the better it is for the Belmont, the better it is for the Derby, and the better it is for the industry, the best version of the Triple Crown is what’s in the best interest of the industry as a whole.

Nestor J. Aparicio  25:39

Well, Bob Baffert will be coming in here, Frank this week, and he’s getting he’ll love Baltimore and they love to hear and crabcakes and but we have legendary trainers here. I mean, the horses don’t talk with the trainers do and the alibi practice should be pretty good on Thursday. Speak to the race itself and booth and having a Derby winner not be a favorite. Yeah,

Frank Vespe  25:59

no, it is interesting. I mean, I thought, you know, Mystic, Dan, he got the trip to win the Derby, but he ran a great race. I mean, he was really about the only horse that was up close most of the race and still there at the end, you know, the other horse of the horse have run two, three, and four, really, we’re closing, you know, he’s the horse that was kind of in the mix. So I think he’s super live. I mean, it particularly if you’re gonna get five to two on him, you got Bob Baffert coming in, he’s got two, which kind of interesting, he’s gotten Muth and then he’s got imagination, who’s gonna break from the far outside? Who might be the speed of the speed here, imagination might be the horse on the lead. You got I mentioned the Derby, fourth place finisher. That’s catching freedom, who had kind of a very similar trip to the winner kind of came through inside managed to save ground most of the way. I thought he ran a really good race. He needs some help from the pace he needs a fast pace to run it. I think another horse that you get a price on that’s really interesting is Tuscan gold. He’s for trainer Chad Brown, Chad’s one that won the Preakness twice, both times with super lightly raised horses that had only made three starts Tuscon gold’s made three starts ran pretty well in the Louisiana Derby finishing length or so behind catching freedom. He’s clearly a horse with some upside and they scratched out of a race in New York, the Peter Pan to bring him to the Preakness. I think he’s going to be an interesting player in this race,

Nestor J. Aparicio  27:31

weather, a little wetness. You know, God bless everybody that you know, I’m going out Saturday, my wife’s got a dress. You know, we’re trying to stay try. Weathers everything. Right, your umbrella? Yeah. How does it change race? Well,


Frank Vespe  27:48

you know, we’re going to have to wait to see but some horses like a wet track and others don’t. And you know, so you’re going to kind of want to see like, if you look at your past performances, there’s going to be a little place where it tells you the horses record with off tracks and you’re going to take a look at that. You know, if you got a horse it’s here’s a horse, for example. He’s not running but corporate tax. I have peepees with some horses not in and on. He’s Four for five on wet tracks. You see a horse with a record like that. You say, Okay, this, this horse might move up a little bit because he clearly is fine with it when it’s wet. And you see horses Oh for three and Ron stinkers. Maybe he moves down a little bit. I wouldn’t the one thing I would do. People always say like, how does this change your handicapping? The one thing I wouldn’t do is I wouldn’t lose my mind about it. Like I wouldn’t say wet track is everything. You know, it’s another element in your handicapping. It’s another piece in the puzzle, but it’s not the thing that changes everything.

Nestor J. Aparicio  28:45

You’ve been winning at betting on racing lately. You know, I asked, you know, Marty McGee and Dick I asked him last year if they were ahead or behind for a lifetime of gambling. And now you meet Bad, bad, bad Big Papi. He’s got the hose app all know that. And I think that was the interesting thing to talk it out and form in a month ago. And I’m going to rerun that piece from the crabcakes were up agreement on station was just the notion that the only thing in our society that you could legally bet on in when I was born 1968 was you had to go to the racetrack and bet on a horse. Otherwise, your bet nickels in the alley and rolling dice and doing there were no casinos there’s no vague, like we’re just in a different place now for what horse racing used to be in a gambling vernacular for gamblers, as opposed to something where my wife puts a hat on and we go and make a day of it and have a different purpose to be there. Then I’m gonna get rich gambling on it this week, but the gambling aspect of it and how to play it. That’s probably the the part where you bring people out for the first time and introduce them to horse racing. Racing The form can be very, very intimidating for people and I think with their money they feel better about betting on football cuz they feel like They know more about it even though they don’t you know betting a color or silk or a funny name or you know, what do you like the jockey, you’ve won a battle on Baffert, whatever you bet on. What advice would you give people about betting on modern horse racing in regard to trying to do it without saying I like the number three, which is, I guess a fine way to do it, but But if they’re going to read a form, and they’re going to get educated about it, I spent 20 minutes talking about the buyer speed figure with with Victor already two weeks ago, he realized he was one of the guys that made it and I’ve known Nick for two years. So I got educated on that. But what do you look at as an educated gambler if you’re going to the track? Well,

Frank Vespe  30:39

I got a quick funny story because I talked with Andy buyer on Derby Day in the morning, and he was talking about fierceness who had huge buyer speed fingers towered over the field. And I said, Well, if the tracks a little bit wet, that kind of move mystic Dan up because he was the only other horse in the field that had a triple digit buyer. He got a one on one when he won the southwest. And he said, Now I don’t think he’s that good. And so of course, Mr. Dan turns around wins the Kentucky Derby so even

Nestor J. Aparicio  31:09


at bar gets wrong. Yeah. It’s a hard game, right?

Frank Vespe  31:13

Yeah, it’s it’s a brutal game. Things I tell newcomers to look at Nestor. One are the speed figures, because that’s a good way to just kind of normalize performances between horses on different days. era

Nestor J. Aparicio  31:26

with Dichter already for baseball. Yeah,

Frank Vespe  31:30

yeah, yeah, it’s that it’s almost like looking at a speedometer. Oh, this horse goes 60. But that one goes 80. So 80 is faster than 60. Right? So I look at that I look at I tell people look at the trainer, look at their win percentages, look at the jockey and their win percentages. And then, you know, when I when I do you know, if I do like a handicapping one on one, I say look at the horses earnings per start. Because that gives you a rough estimate of the kind of company they’re keeping, you know, are they running against good horses or bad horses? And am I running against better horses than that guy


Nestor J. Aparicio  32:06

had to learn made and claiming loud? Like, right, like, like,

Frank Vespe  32:12

all that’s you? I’ve been handicapping. Now for 30 years, more or less, and I don’t know anything. I’m a complete idiot. You know, I mean, you can spend your entire life studying as Andy buyer has spent his entire life studying this. He was like, about 10 minutes from graduating Harvard, and blew it off to go to the races and never did it and spent his entire life in this industry. You could spend your whole life handicapping horse races and still find a new thing just about every day. So it is that complicated. But it doesn’t have to be you know, you look at these couple things that I just went through, you’ll know a little bit you’ll be enough, you’ll know enough to be conversant and make a make a better pick. Then I like orange, and that horse has orange. So

Nestor J. Aparicio  32:59

well. Yeah. And I’ve gone with that. And you know for me, so my name is NES Tor, which is really weird name and the 25th anniversary documentary sort of points out that I didn’t like that name so much. It was my father’s name, which is another that’s another complexity that will be in the third book. But so you know, NES people call me nasty, nasty, nasty, nasty, nasty, but most of my friends call me nasty. My wife calls me NAS, right. I didn’t realize NES was like a suffix until I was like 45. And I would have totally stole Preakness years ago. And I got it. So fierce Ness runs and unlike well I got it You know, it’s got my name and and I got a you know, a couple years thing as we watch the race, my wife loves the races. Like she just thought she loves horses. She wants to go to hell. She just it’s of all the things we do music, travel, horse racing, anytime I take her near the track or offer that she loves it. She loves the track, but she loves the horses. Right? So we’re we watched the race on TV and mystic Danwon. And Dan is her dad’s name. Oh, like so I’m like, have we been there? You would have bet that horse I know, especially that number, you would have put $5 on that horse. got free drinks out of this, especially at that number. We’re not getting that number this week. And it really is. The odds are a little lower. It’s a little more crowded nine horses and a couple of six to ones with a shot. Right? I mean, it’s a good race in that way.

Frank Vespe  34:26


No, I think it is and I think it if Muth is like eight to five, which is his morning line. That’s too short. I can’t bet him at eight to five I don’t make his chances that I like him that much. I don’t I mean, he’s fine, you know, and he’s a contender, but he’s not a strong favorite against this group. I mean, I think Mr. Ken has more value at five to two and I mentioned Tuscan gold, he’s eight to one. You might get a two one on him. I think he might be a play at eight to one. I think Baffert to other horses interesting to imagination, he’s six to one. He’s probably the one who’s going to be in front when they hit the first turn. See how far he goes?

Nestor J. Aparicio  35:08

How’s the course over there? How as a surface

Frank Vespe  35:11

is so far so good. I mean, we it’s been raining. You know, it’s it’s rained every day. So they haven’t been on the turf yet and it’s

Nestor J. Aparicio  35:20

gonna rain all week kind of sort of enough that it’s not drying out for Saturday. Yeah,


Frank Vespe  35:25

I mean, I think so. I would guess if they can possibly be on the turf at all. There’ll be on Friday, Saturday, if it’s at all possible. The dirt course has been fine. It’s been performing fine. I think it’s it’s been you know, when when the track gets wetter a lot of times it plays towards speed. So that’s a thing you might want to keep an eye on but so far, so good. We’ll we’ll knock on wood that you know, Pimlico is historically known as a pretty safe surface pretty good surface. And, you know, years and years ago, it was known as a highway it was just speed, speed speed. It’s been much fairer in recent years.

Nestor J. Aparicio  36:06

All right. Well, Frank fast me has all the racing coverage you need out of the racing is also going to be at the banner this week. And his show has been aired on wn St. We off. Always welcome you back what you know, whenever you want to talk to racing we love and I hope racing becomes more relevant here to have more folks like you want to know what’s going on and more of the public’s attention to know what’s going on about the future of the tracks. And hopefully and I say this for the Orioles. I say this for the Ravens. I say this for the city, hopefully five years, 10 years from now when I’m celebrating my 50th anniversary in media and releasing more blame documentaries that racing becomes bigger than it is today that we are investing as a as a state in this to fix it. And all of the pirating that’s going on from Canada and Florida and California and these people that have treated this like the redheaded stepchild that the local part of this will rise the boats for the race and for the industry. And for being more than one day a year or two days a year Maryland Million or you know, de France is stash. And Mackay and like all of that history, can somehow we’ll find President inertia to make this better, because we are investing in it. We really are. And it’s important.

Frank Vespe  37:22

Yeah, no, no, the state is putting real money behind this effort. And, you know, you referenced the history of Maryland racing, Maryland has played such a central critical role in the history of horse racing in this country. And, and therefore the world and Maryland has really been a critical part of it. And, you know, we all hope that it continues to be a critical part of it going forward. And if it does, we’ll be covering it on the racing BISAC comm.

Nestor J. Aparicio  37:50


I say the Black Eyed Susan, I have a press credential. I want to apologize publicly to David Joseph, who I saw at the post position draw on Monday because he said that I said I say a lot of things on the radio, I said that, that I don’t get credentialed. He made it very clear. It’s like you’re inside right now. I’m the guy that gives you the press pass. So be nice to me. And I’m like, Yeah, I said, but I did get thrown out of the press box. He said that’s never gonna happen again. I’m like good that way I get to say hello to Victor already. And Frank fest me and my colleagues. And so we’ll have a great race on Saturday. I love the race. I love coming out. I’m going to be at the alibi breakfast eating at fried chicken. Not ROFO fried chicken, but still pretty good fried chicken and crab cakes. They usually serve at the alibi breakfast. So And hey, for guys like you that deal with the other 364 days of the year hats off to you for keeping it square, and being able to come on here and set the set set the intentions for the future of all this. But this isn’t an exciting time. I mean, Frank for 30 years, I’ve gone on a radio every year. And if you knew me that long, you’d be like, Oh, my God, we’re gonna lose the race, or we’re gonna lose the race. What’s happening to the race, save the race? Are they going to move to Laurel, one of these Canadian people doing what? What’s this EDM party? Who are these people from South Beach? And what the hell are they doing here? Like, so there was all of that going on? That’s about to go away. And for that I am heartened, you know, 25 years into having the radio station that it feels like real change is about to happen. Yeah,

Frank Vespe  39:13

no, you know, Pimlico and the Preakness that’s been the problem. Nobody could solve for 40 years. And hopefully, hopefully this is the solution if this project comes to fruition, and certainly all the signs are trending in that way right now. If it comes to fruition, publica will be a problem solved, finally, and that would be huge for this industry.

Nestor J. Aparicio  39:36

All right. Well, my grandfather blew the bugle at the racetrack back in the late 50s, early 60s and did a couple of pregnancies so we’ll continue that tradition this week. My wife will have a lovely dress. I will be mostly sober most of the time. I’m

Frank Vespe  39:52

not gonna hold you to that. You know.

Nestor J. Aparicio  39:57

I did a lot of drinking in the infield. You know, I tell the Sunday silence story and 89 about sort of missing out on all that and the bus rides and the fun and the shirts and the the boobies and the rock and roll and the beer and the nasty van. I could do a whole book just on pregnancies of that I’ve forgotten, let alone the ones I’ve remembered. I cashed the triple ticket 2004 Which I still like triple ticket my life, right? I actually cashed it. It wasn’t much it’s like six. It’s a bunch of favorites but like I cashed the triple ticket one year, so 20 years later, I’m still bragging about that. I hope you catch a bunch of tickets. Frank fest we can be found at the Baltimore banner and it is primary home at the racing biz. And he chips in around here with racing coverage pop Africa by this week. I think Kenny peaks coming by this week. I know Donna Brothers is going to be here we’re going to talk yoga and you know good spots in Louisville and the and the paddock down there and all that good stuff. It is racing week. The Orioles are home all week the NFL schedule is coming out. Lucas is being overworked. I’m under review for an Orioles press credential and Alamo saw the Northern Lights this weekend even though I didn’t I am Nestor we are wn st am 1570, Towson Baltimore and we never stop talking. Baltimore positive

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