National Horse Racing Fan Education Program Unites Industry and Fans
Monday’s fifth session of Night School saw the national fan education weekly program top the 10,000 cumulative mark in attendees, as horse racing fans worldwide were treated to a 90-minute expert discussion about track biases. The Night School sessions tackle a different topic each week and include a well-rounded expert panel and hundreds of questions from a fan base eager to learn more.
Created by Horse Player NOW’s Joe Kristufek and Jeremy Plonk, Night School is featured on more than 30 websites throughout the horse racing industry and debuted on Feb. 21. Presenting sponsors are Keeneland, the American Quarter Horse Association, National Thoroughbred Racing Association and Daily Racing Form. The collective acceptance of Night School by often-competing factions in the industry has been a remarkable success and indicator that racing fans are returning to the front burner of the industry’s consciousness.
“The fan reaction has been overwhelmingly positive and overwhelming in pure numbers,” said Plonk, who had previously set an internal goal of 1,000 viewers per week as an unmitigated success. “But what strikes me most is that the racing industry has come together for a common goal, something a lot of people said it wasn’t capable of doing. I’m really proud that Joe and I have been able to build such an alliance with so many factions, with the end result being the most important thing of all, teaching the game to existing fans and new fans alike.”
“Our partners and guest panelists have been extremely supportive and helpful,” Kristufek said. “Attending fans are taking full advantage of the program, and are vocally appreciative. Night School has gone from concept to reality, and it is quickly becoming an industry staple. The originality of the weekly topics and presentation keeps people engaged and learning. That’s the goal.”
Panelists who have lent their expertise in the opening five sessions, in addition to Plonk and Kristufek’s weekly appearances, have included Caton Bredar, Randy Moss, Jill Byrne, Brad Free, Andy Serling, Katie Mikolay, Mark Patterson, Jim Miller, Mike Beer and Dan Illman.
Fans can access Night School live each Monday from 8:30 to 10 p.m. PT, or catch it in the archive tab “Completed Events.” Archives are available on all websites that carry the program, as well as access to any downloadable videos, study materials and more. Night School continues its 40-week run through December 19. Upcoming topics include:
Session 6 – Monday, March 28: WORKOUTS
Horses exercise in the morning in preparation for competition in the afternoon, but the time on the stop watch can be deceiving. We’ll explore how to best utilize workout information in your race by race handicapping.
Session 7 – Monday, April 4: SYNTHETIC RACETRACKS
A few years ago, the introduction of synthetic racing surfaces added a new wrinkle to playing the races. Three venues with Polytrack – Keeneland, Arlington & Woodbine – all open their doors this spring. Horse Player NOW’s Jeremy Plonk & Joe Kristufek both have an extensive background handicapping synthetic tracks, and they’ll share their tricks of the trade.
Session 8 – Monday, April 11: PHYSICALITY
Horses are not statistics. Horses are not machines. Horses ARE living, breathing animals, and their build, demeanor and body language on race day can clue us in on how they might perform. We’ll examine the positive and negative signs horses display and how to utilize those hints when constructing betting tickets.
Session 9 – Monday, April 18: TRAINER INTENT
The job of a trainer is not only to keep a horse happy and healthy, they must learn each individual inside out, and discover what they do best – style, distance and surface. Trainers employ different styles of getting their horses fit and ready to win. Dig deep into the mind of the trainer in this session.
Session 10 – Monday, April 25: JOCKEY HANDICAPPING
The best jockey can’t make a slow horse run faster, but their decision making, timing, strength and bravery can make the difference in winning or losing the race. How much of winning is about the horse, and how much is about their pilot – the jockey?
Session 11 – Monday, May 2: HANDICAPPING THE KENTUCKY DERBY
It’s the race everybody wants to win – owners, trainers, jockeys…..and horseplayers alike. With 20 horses, none of which have ever traveled the taxing 1 ¼ mile distance, expected to leave the starting gate, the best horse doesn’t always win. We’ll offer insight into the best ways to attack the Run for the Roses, and discuss this year’s Triple Crown contenders.
Horse Player NOW is co-owned, managed and operated by lifelong racing enthusiasts Joe Kristufek and Jeremy Plonk, who share worlds of combined experience working on the inside of the industry. They bring an array of insight while placing the horseplayer first. For more information, visit horseplayernow.com or contact Jeremy Plonk at Jeremy@horseplayernow.com or 570-459-4501.
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