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A 'champions' gift for this holiday season

December 27, 2011 3:00 AM by T. Dana Smith

If you missed giving a Christmas present to someone, you can quickly recover the faux pas with a New Year’s gift. Books for gamesmen, gamblers and equine enthusiasts fill the shelves this holiday season.

Heading my list of gotta-haves is Champions (474 big pages, $49.95) published by Daily Racing Form. This gorgeous coffee table book features the bios and complete stats of the world’s most celebrated racehorses with vintage photos of winning thoroughbreds from 1894-2010.

Subtitled "The Lives, Times, and Past Performances of America’s Greatest Thoroughbreds," it leaves no turf unexplored in its presentation of the "lifetime past performances of racing’s elite – more than 500 horses, including every elected champion since 1936."

A color photo of Secretariat by famed photog Tony Leonard graces the frontispiece of this 8 x 11 hardcover book, followed by hard-to-find photos of the heralded horses from the 1890’s-1920’s in the first section titled "Foundations."

Each subsequent section features champion thoroughbreds from each decade: "Legacies: The 1930’s," War Horses: The 1940’s," through "Ladies First: 2000-2010."

With each section written by a different noted author, this third-edition volume gives you viewpoint variety, voluminous stats, valuable info and visual memorabilia from the gate to the wire. For equine enthusiasts, this book is indeed a champion.

Need a gift for the gamblers on your must-give list? Cardoza Publishing is releasing updated versions of the entire John Gollehon collection of casino games books. This week’s release is Commando Craps & Blackjack (144 pgs, $12.95), subtitled "New Strategies to Beat the Casino’s Two Most Vulnerable Games."

Gollehon, self-dubbed "The Confident Gambler," has long been the guru of gambling games. His motto in this book is "Strike fast and hard!"

If you need a gift that challenges sudoku addicts (this is an addictive game, folks!), pick up a copy of respected gaming author Arnold Snyder’s Sadistic Sudoku (128 pgs, $5.95). Featuring "200 extremely difficult, hair-tearing puzzles," this is the latest release in his sudoku series of books.

Also consider periodicals hot off the press at the Gamblers Book Club: Sports Form Basketball (Las Vegas Sportsbook Edition), The Gold Sheet Basketball Records, and Power Sweep Special (bowl games).

(These books and thousands of titles are at GBC in Las Vegas. You can order them at, where you can view the store’s complete line of books, or phone 1-800-522-1777 or 702-382-7555 M-F 9-7 and Sat 10-6. Opened in 1964, GBC (5473 S. Eastern) is between Tropicana and Russell, a short drive from the Strip or the airport).


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