When ‘Dust cleared, there were nicknames

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Since everyone enjoyed my nickname column I will keep it going for a few more weeks. It seemed like back then everyone had a nickname and no one really knew their real name unless they were ordered to testify.

Here are a few more nicknames from back in the 1970’s and 80’s at the good ole Stardust. There were Skinny Vinnie, Fat Vinnie, Bobby The Owl, Bobby The Beard, Bobby “Baseball”, Herbie Hoops and Sam The Plumber.

The list just goes on and on, but the one I will talk a little about in this column is Black Allan. I never found out his real moniker, but he drove a real nice car, parked it out front of the ’Dust every day and always dressed to the “nines.” He was very well spoken, polite and always had a wad in his pocket.

One afternoon in 1978, I was at the round bar and Allan comes up to me. I had been friendly with him for a few months and he looks me in the eyes and asks “Do you have a buck?” I reach into my pocket and hand him one and he says thanks. 

I ask him if he went tap on the games. He gives me a puzzled look and says “Oh, no!” Then from his pocket he pulls out a wad of Ben Franklins and says to me “I just need a single for the valet and didn’t want to break a hundred.”

Later that week I asked around and found out Allan got his cash by starting “Lefty’s” (Frank Rosenthal) car every morning and afternoon and that was a good paying job. It even had some perks if you didn’t get blown up. 

The next year a few weeks went by with no Black Allan. We found out he was in the hospital dying of sickle cell anemia. One perk was that good ole “Lefty” picked up all his hospital bills and later that month paid for his funeral. 

We missed Allan as he was a real Damon Runyon character. There’s more to come down the road as we visit memory lane or should I say Stardust lane.

Now for this week’s games.


Saturday, Oct. 27

Michigan St. +6 at Wisconsin: The Spartans season is about over as they are looking to go .500 and eke out some little bowl bid. The scheduling does not do them any favors coming off a knock down drag out fight last week in Ann Arbor. Now they must travel to Madison and play the revenge minded Badgers, who look to have put it together going 3-0 SU and ATS in their last three. WISCONSIN (BEST BET).

Boise St. -16 at Wyoming: Good spot for the Cowboys to get the cover at home. They got it last year in Boise and will play all out as there is no blue carpet in Laramie. Broncos not as strong as in the past. WYOMING.

Florida -6 vs. Georgia: The Cocktail Party in Jacksonville. Normally I would not venture out to take the Gators coming off their huge win last week, but they may be this good. Not many are playing better. Gators looking for revenge from last year’s 24-20 loss as they extend their record to 8-0 in their run to the BCS Championship game. FLORIDA.

Ohio St. +2 at Penn St.: What has happened to Urban and the Buckeyes? Their supposedly great defense has disappeared, escaping with wins the last two weeks over Indiana and Purdue. Now they must travel to State College and play the surging and inspired Nittany Lions, who really want to stop the undefeated “eyes” cold. It will be a whiteout as the Joe Pa-less Lions get the huge home win and remove some of the demons from Beaver Stadium. PENN ST.

Syracuse +6 at USF: The Orange got it all going last week and will look to keep that tempo this week. The points at South Florida look good in what should be a closer game. SYRACUSE.

ND +10 at Oklahoma: The Irish with one of the best defenses in the country and undefeated are getting 10. I can’t argue as “Sooner” or later with a mediocre offense the streak must end. It should in Norman as the OU offense will just be a little too much for the Irish D to handle; I think. OKLAHOMA.


My “say it ain’t so” selections.

Say it ain’t so that the Packers are giving up 2 TD’s. Not one team in the league can give that many points. JAGUARS +13½.

Say it ain’t so that the Skins are getting 4 from the crippled Steelers who outsmarted the lousy Bengals last week. REDSKINS +4.

And really say it ain’t so that the Cards are getting a TD at home from the 49ers. CARDS +7

Note: Now this will be a great opportunity to make some cash as my good friend Mark Dufty at Jerry’s Nugget will be hosting a Breeders’ Cup Handicapping contest. It will be only a $10 bill to enter and you will be able to submit three times with a guaranteed payout of $1,000 cash. 

Winners will also receive a $30 gift card when showing their Jerry’s More Club player’s card. It doesn’t end with the contest as Mark has gone wacko! Players who make a $10 wager on any BC race will get a special edition licensed souvenir glass.

Anyone playing the Jerry’s exclusive horse racing matchup parlay card will receive a Jerry’s Nugget deluxe polo shirt with a $25 matchup parlay card wager. Sign up by Saturday, Nov. 3 and come early. The first post will be at 10:20 a.m. As always, Mark will be handing out those great free donuts and coffee.

The kicker is we’ll give all you smart players a bigger edge. Yours truly along with Ralph Siraco and Vic Vivio will be hosting our very popular Breeders’ Cup seminar the Thursday before Jerry’s big BC contest. The seminar, free along with the food and cocktail service, is on Nov. 1 at 6 p.m. in the Palace Station race book.

We have a great time and the place will be jumping with nothing but hard core horse players. Be there and get some helpful info. 


Last Week






Richard Saber, a former director of race and sports at the famed Stardust book, is GamingToday’s horse racing and sports handicapper. Contact Richard at [email protected].

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