Off the Pace: A holiday wish list

With the holidays upon us, it’s time to think about presents!

Who gets what? That’s what Mike Valiante has been thinking about these past few days, and it turns out he’s got a long list. Bettors, jockeys, horses, horsemen — even racetracks! — are on his “nice list” as he plays Santa for the 2022 holiday season.

Here’s his gift list:

For Laurel Park and Delaware Park, a year’s supply of Scotts Turf Builder.

For jockey Arnaldo Bocachica, the latest version of Adobe Photoshop so he can place himself into the win photos of every winners’ circle shot at Charles Town. Assuming, of course, he isn’t in them all yet.

For Dave Rodman, announcer booths fit for a king.

Free Sheetz coffee for anyone transporting horses to Colonial Downs.

For Danielle Gibson, a clone to help her fulfill the myriad of duties she handles at Parx.

For jockey Sheldon Russell, 12 consecutive months of good health.

For track executives, a Marketing 101 textbook. 

For Pimlico Race Course, a year’s supply of Flex Tape. I think that’s how it’s held together, anyway.

For jockey Victor Carrasco, a discount coupon book to Hair Cuttery.

For bettors, that they may never be shut out because a horse player in front of them is flipping through the DRF at the teller window or betting machine instead of making a bet.

A dollar for me for each time I hear a patron at a track yell “wire,” or “stop the race.” Five bucks when somebody snaps their fingers.

Generous donations for horse aftercare groups.

Lower takeout for bettors.

A Monmouth TikTok video of Chris Griffin singing Summer Wind where he imitates Frank Mirahmadi imitating Frank Sinatra.

For stewards, unlimited eye exams at Vision Center.

Most of all, safe trips for all the jockeys and horses.