Delaware: Stan Salter feeling right at home on the air
When you review the resume of Stan Salter, it seems apparent why Delaware Park selected him to replace the previous track analyst, JJ Graci, who passed away last December.
Salter worked for the Maryland Jockey Club for 13 years, six of those as the company’s on-air analyst. He also played an on-air role at Colonial Downs for several years, as well as hosting a radio show for 17 years that was dedicated to Maryland racing coverage.
Like many handicappers, he was introduced to the game by family members. In this case it was his dad Jack, the trainer and handicapper, and mom, a horse person.
“My first significant bet was a signer that our group hit at Charles Town one night. I was about fourteen years-old and I was with my dad and some of his friends,” Salter remembers. “We hit the superfecta twice. I put up about thirty dollars and got back about three or four hundred and felt like I hit the lottery.”
Despite his long experience, he admits that he is still learning. “Anyone who tells you they mastered the game, just walk away because they don’t know what they are talking about,” he advises.
Salter says he puts in a lot of time making his picks. He spends an initial three hours on each card making his original selections and then many more hours reviewing and fine-tuning his picks with additional detailed research. He relies heavily on the DRF Formulator, a tool that he regards as invaluable.
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“A good thing at Delaware is that the entries come out seven days in advance so I will spend Sunday, Monday and Tuesday looking at all four cards for the upcoming racing week,” he explains.
He takes a flexible approach to handicapping, seeking to incorporate different elements in different spots.
“Class handicapping is big,” he says. “I like following trainers that are good horse people and who put their horses in the right spots. Trainer/jockey combinations are also important to me. Good form is crucial, and I always prefer a horse that is in good form stepping up in class as opposed to a horse that is in bad form dropping down.”
Video review and attempting to identify key races also are important elements.
During his televised segments at the track, Salter attempts to provide information not readily available to the bettors, particularly with turf runners and first-time starters, as well as selections.
For new bettors who are at the track, Stan feels that in addition to learning how to read and understand the program, there is an allure to the game more than just crunching numbers.
“Get outside and watch the horses in the post parade,” he urges. “You will be surprised how quickly you can develop an eye for how a horse that is feeling good carries itself. The beauty of the game can truly be appreciated when you are in a natural setting. You have plenty of time the night before the races or the morning of to bury your head in the program.”
Salter has also added new elements to the broadcast, including on-air interviews. The late Rich Glazier occasionally conducted interviews when he held the analyst’s role, as well.
“People seem to love the interviews with the connections of horses,” Salter says. “I conduct them in the shade of the paddock which is a setting that looks good on television. The beauty of the paddock sells itself.”
Bettors seem to be enjoying Salter’s return to the air, and the feeling is decidedly mutual.
“Everyone at Delaware Park, the staff and fans have treated me well. I really appreciate that,” the track’s analyst says.
NEWS AND NOTES
Jaime Rodriguez who has blown away the competition in the jockey race the last two seasons, may be planning to spend more time at Laurel Park this summer, but he’s not giving up his Delaware title without a fight. Through June 21, he leads all riders with 13 wins, three more than Daniel Centeno.
Runnymoore Racing’s Give It a Whirl looked ultra-impressive in winning a 4 ½-furlong maiden contest on June 15 by 7 1/4 lengths. Trained by Cal Lynch and ridden by Charlie Marquez, the 2 year-old won in hand, and the Hard Spun colt may be one to watch.
Following the first rain of the season, on June 15, Rutherford became the first winner on the turf that did not win from on or near the front. After the torrential downpour that caused the cancellation of the June 16 card look for the turf to not be as speed favoring unless the dry streak of weather returns.
Nominations for the Grade 2 Delaware Handicap close on June 24. We’ll keep our eyes peeled to see if Obeah winner Award Wanted is among them.