It’s all about hi-def and huge screens and live racing at every major track across the country and several smaller tracks.
Horse bettors have a TV right at their table and those with cash have an IPT betting machine. They can watch all the races and make their bets without getting out of their seat except to get some food or make a trip to the head.
Before Chuck DiRocco managed to bring a signal to the Nevada racebooks the only races we ever got to watch on TV were those like the Kentucky Derby. Big screen and high definition were unheard of.
Horse players’ only connection to the track was by made up calls piped into the racebooks from outside the properties. The greatest caller in Las Vegas was the legendary Joe DeLuca, who sadly passed away last week at 86.
Joe was a master and loved what he did. For the most part Joe had action in a number of the races he was calling. He had several famous lines such as “just galloping” and “he’s third, he’s second, he’s first.”
In the 70’s when he would get ready to call a race you could see all eyes looking up to the speaker. Everyone with a bet just watched and waited to hear the name of their horse getting a call.
When I was at the Stardust in the racebook before moving over to sports, we would get all these “steam” horses. I would give Joe a call and let him know who they were so he could give them a big call like they were going to win. The excitement he created was unmatched.
If you looked at the chart of the race’s he called, they were in the Racing Form in two days back then, most of the horses ran nowhere near how Joe called the race. But it didn’t matter. We got the winners and the excitement he created made him the best.
Joe did have some other habits. He never met a dice table he didn’t like and actually was playing in a game here in Vegas during an earthquake. People were in a little panic but Joe somehow made his point after several dealers ducked under the table. All was on the square with Joe.
Those days are long gone but for those of us who were lucky enough to be around back in the 70’s and early 80’s they were the best of times. It was so much simpler.
For those of us lucky enough to be betting at the Stardust racebook, it just didn’t get any better.
There are no more Joe Deluca’s around and never will be. He has turned for home and, as he would say, is just galloping. Thanks for the memories.
The books have posted opening lines for all the first week’s games in college football. Even though the games don’t start until Thursday, Sept. 3, here are a few you may want to bet early.
Michigan with new head coach and alum Jim Harbaugh goes on the road to take on Utah, who crushed them at Ann Arbor 26-10. There will be some revenge in the air and we get to take 5.5 points. Look for Jim to have his Wolverines at a level higher than the Rockies.
Duke travels to the “Big Easy” and our good friend and scout Syl Friedman tells us to look out for the Green Wave of Tulane. They will be in a revenge mood from last year’s 47-13 thrashing at Duke. We will be taking the 10 points at Yulman Stadium.
Another good looking home dog is my Thursday get-out game (CBSC at 10 p.m.) as we get Colorado visiting Honolulu to take on the Rainbow Warriors at Aloha Stadium. Hawaii lost to the Buffs at Boulder last year, 21-12. Under head coach Norm Chow the Rainbow Warriors have gone 5-0 ATS at home vs. non-conference teams. We will be doing a little hula dance on this game +7.5 and +13.5 on all our teasers.
I had a friend growing up in Steubenville who lived in our neighborhood, which was as diverse as you could get back then. He was one of the nicest Polish kids, hardworking and always had a job. His name was John Lisenskey.
When I asked him why he was always working, John said he was saving his money to make a trip to Hawaii after graduating high school. After graduating he goes to Hawaii and right off the plane is met by this beautiful girl.
She puts a lei around his neck and says, “Aloha from Honolulu.” John puts his hand out to shake her hand and says, “Hi, I’m Lisenskey from Steubenville.” True story.
More games and stories next week. We will be just galloping so get out and make a bet. You just could be walking around lucky and not even know it.
Richard Saber, a former director of race and sports at the famed Stardust book, is GamingToday’s horse racing and sports handicapper. Follow Richard on Twitter @SabesBet. Contact Richard at [email protected].