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The Notebook September 18, 2014

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Out of the Gate with ... Ellis Starr

Ellis Starr has been the national racing analyst for Equibase for the past 13 years and is based out of the company’s Lexington, Ky., office. One of Starr's passions is to work with groups and engage with fans at racetracks to demystify handicapping and betting. Starr also appears as a regular analyst on radio, including Horse Racing Radio Network.

Name: Ellis Starr

What I do for a living: National Racing Analyst for Equibase Co.

How and when I was introduced to Thoroughbred racing: From as young as I can remember, my father and I frequented the tracks in California. I was lucky enough to see racing in its heyday and witness such greats as Ack Ack and Cougar II.

My favorite racetrack: Keeneland, with Del Mar a close second.

My favorite Thoroughbred racing event: Any day at the races where I am able to share my passion and experience with racing fans one on one or in groups.

Other sports/teams I follow: Curling during the Winter Olympics

What I would like to see more of in Thoroughbred racing: More mentoring of fans of all levels to help them gain confidence and understand the nuances of handicapping and betting, which in turn would generate more handle.

What I would like to see less of in Thoroughbred racing: Short fields (seven or less).

Three words that define what Thoroughbred racing means to me: Gambling and socializing combined ("and" doesn't count, right?)

First Thoroughbred track I ever attended was: Hollywood Park

Favorite all-time Thoroughbred: A.P. Indy

My personal best moment in the sport of Thoroughbred racing: When a fan came up to me after a seminar at Pleasanton (in Northern California) and told me that using my selections he made a score and put a new roof on his house.

Best racetrack food can be found at: Keeneland

My favorite jockey: Eddie Delahoussaye

My favorite trainer: Too many to name

My heroes: The late Dick Mitchell, who in my opinion was the Zig Ziglar of the racing world.

Person in Thoroughbred racing I’d like to have dinner with: Jim Rome

My philosophy on life: Concentration, determination, discipline

Favorite quote or motto: Friends don't let friends bet chalk.

Favorite animal other than a horse: Great Dane (pretty close to a horse, though)

Favorite food: Street taco

Favorite vacation spot: Portugal

Favorite city: Lexington, Ky.

Favorite musician/band: Jethro Tull

Favorite all-time movie(s): “Transformers”

Favorite TV show: “Justified”

Favorite hotel: Baltimore Waterfront Marriott

Websites I visit daily: Equibase, Equidaily, Paulick Report

What I drive: Jeep Wrangler with the soft top up or down in the summer, hard top in the winter

Pet peeve: Any racing analyst that says the term “smart money.”

Favorite movie about horse racing: “Seabiscuit”

Which actor would play me in a movie: James Cromwell

Alma Mater: Loyola Marymount University

Favorite radio shows/channels: NPR

Best book I recently read: “Keeneland's Ted Bassett: My Life”

Favorite memento: Kentucky Colonel Certificate presented by the First Lady of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, Jane Beshear

Favorite dessert: Apple cobbler

Favorite drink: Horchata

Favorite scent: Pina Colada

What I like about my job: Trying to crack the puzzle of various races daily

Favorite Tech gadget: iPad

Twitter handle: @Ubercapper

No. 1 Bucket-List item: Visit Saratoga

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Fan Photo of the week

Congratulations to Joan Lawrence, winner of this week's Fan Photo contest!

From Joan: "California Chrome waiting for track to be clear at PARX for his first jog over the track before the Pennsylvania Derby." Want in? E-mail a picture with a brief description to photos@NTRA.com for consideration!

Photos of the week

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