By Greg Douglas – Dr. Sport
SCENE & HEARD: The traditional and continual trash-talking among the found-ins behind the door marked Jack Short Media Lounge at Hastings gets more heated than ever during the closing days of the racing season.
It’s that time of year when handicappers Drew Forster, Randy Goulding and Mike Heads (listed alphabetically because of ego issues) get downright nasty.
The trio competes annually for bragging rights and the Railbird Plaque that goes to the handicapper who selects in print the most winning horses over the course of the Hasting racing season.
Heading into this Sunday/Monday holiday weekend, Ralph (Railbird) Bower, creator of the coveted Handicappers Press Box Challenge, has tabulated the official standings thusly; Goulding 122, Forster 114 and Heads trailing at 101.
“I’m home and cooled out,” Goulding says without the slightest trace of modesty. “I’ve been beating these guys into the ground so many times it’s become old hat.”
He seems to have forgotten that Forster is the defending champion. “The trophy sits on my bedside table,” Drew says. “Winning does not mean everything to me but beating Randy does. I have no intention of giving it up.”
Forster captured the 2018 title on the final day of racing in strictly fairytale fashion.
Drew’s dad Dave, the legendary Hall of Fame trainer, won the 8th race on October 14 with Santa Fe Trail and – brace yourself – Drew’s mom Terri was watching from the Sky Box upstairs celebrating her 70th birthday with family and friends. A Hollywood script writer couldn’t dream up stuff like this.
Drew quite naturally picked Santa Fe Trail to win and beat Goulding by a single selection in the overall, year-ending handicapping standings.
Heads put a grip on the coveted Railbird Plaque in 2016 and doesn’t mind being considered the longshot over these final six race days. “Longshot is my middle name,” he says. “Let the records show I picked Rob and Vicky Gilker’s Rak City to win on September 22 this year and it paid $34.90. The other two guys are forever picking favourites.”