King for a Sunday
PLANTATION, FL., December 15, 2014—The first time I heard the expression “King of the World” in relation to betting on horses, it was uttered by Andy Beyer, my first Saratoga roommate back in the mid-1970s.
In the rented house on Lake Avenue I read the manuscript of his seminal work, “Picking Winners,” and later that meet Andy introduced me to his good friend, Steve Davidowitz, informing Steve “he has a good opinion.”
I think it was the proudest day of my young handicapping life.
It was a memorable Spa betting meet, too, but no thanks to the two of us. The author of that first Saratoga score was our roommate and another of Andy's friends, Maury Wolff, a.k.a. “the Kid.”
"The Kid" now happens to be the industry’s go-to guy on matters pertaining to the economics of betting, particularly as it relates to takeout rates, rebates, and the like.
One night that Saratoga summer, as the three of us read our Forms, sharing opinions and relevant pieces of information, Wolff suddenly leaped up from the couch, scrambling toward the pile of back Racing Forms that served as our handicapping library.
Handicapping four decades ago was not like it is today, when a wealth of information is readily available to handicappers through any number of sources.
In addition to furiously scribbling trip notes into track programs, horseplayers needed to keep records. It was a time when not even the win percentages of trainers and jockeys win were included in the past performances.
I must say, however, the somewhat arduous process made all those who did so better, more complete horseplayers.
Gulfstream Park Brand Has Never Been Stronger
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL., December 6, 2014—It pays to advertise, at least it did yesterday on the official opening day of the 2014-15 Gulfstream Park season.
The crowd on the first day of the “Championship Meet” was plentiful and enthusiastic, some of the regulars sitting at favorite tables surrounding the walking ring by the time we arrived shortly after 10 a.m.
A Fine Day for Racing in Hallandale Beach
Photo by Toni Pricci
Live racing still very much matters in this simulcast era, it creates buzz and that’s really saying something these days.
The featured Claiming Crown event is good business, too, with the National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association coming up with the lion’s share of the purse money for the eight stakes offered on the day.
Parenthetically, the house comes up with purse money for the non-features, of which there were two on the 10-race program.
In all, 144 horses were entered on the program--a great betting card, especially if your name is Nostradamus. It was difficult enough finding true legitimate favorites, must less divining winners.
But like other major racing events, this Poor Man’s Breeders’ Cup brings out the players.