We’re ‘richer’ at Palms

May 31, 2005 4:44 AM

When something positive happens in the Las Vegas race and sorts book industry, I am one of the first to applaud it.

Two very good things have taken place in the past couple of weeks, one at the Palms race and sports book and the other at the Palace Station race and sports book.

Mark Nelson, who is the head man and brain trust over at the Palms, has made what I think is a great move, bringing in Rich Baccellieri to be the new race and sports book manager. Baccellieri takes the place of Fred Crespi, who decided to head back East.

Rich has a great resume. He was sports book manager at Caesars Palace and took over as director of race and sports at the MGM before the merger with Mirage.

After leaving the MGM, Rich plied his trade in the Caribbean, which was a big loss for Las Vegas. As past winner of GamingToday’s prestigious pro football Bookies Battle, Rich knows both the game and how to book it. So look for some positive changes for both the players and the book at the Palms. We at GT wish Rich Baccellieri and the Palms a long relationship and much success.

Now, we get to the second good thing (I’m sounding like Martha Stewart!), and to me this was especially stellar. We all know that Art Manteris is one of the best when it comes to running a race and sports book. Well, Art really outdid himself when he put a Subway directly in back of the book at Palace Station.

When they start baking that bread, the aroma is intoxicating and lures you into getting one of those foot-long subs. Art is humble and will probably say it was Micah Roberts’ idea! I have seen Micah gobbling up several of those subs. Anyway, whoever came up with the idea gets a big thumbs up from my crowd.

There is one last comment I must make dealing with some news this past week. I cover race and sports and this story may not be about either, but I guess it could apply since it helps to see the board.

Anyway, the story was about how they think that taking Viagra could cause a person to go blind. Well, according to my dear departed mother, who told me back in 1960 that it’s what Viagra leads one to do that will cause you to go blind. Wow, moms are always right!

Next week, we will give you our Belmont picks. In the meantime, check out Rich over at the Palms and stop in at Palace Station and have a Subway for lunch.

”¡ Speaking about the upcoming Belmont, have you noticed the short fields they have been getting at Belmont Park?

I looked at the board this past Sunday and thought I was looking at Northern California. The track was fast but there were so many scratches that resulted in four- and five-horse fields. What’s up?

”¡ California continued its onslaught of long-priced horses and pick six carryovers. It has become so difficult to handicap So Cal with all the comebackers and first time starters that win. I used to be able to find one or two good singles, but not anymore. I’ve been finding races that appear to have a single, but toss that one and start over.

Plus, it has become so hard to get a good payoff when you do pick a winner. Exactas that should pay $40 or $50 pay only $30 or less.

”¡ Well, Del Mar is right around the corner. When you are there, it’s so nice that the losers don’t bother you as much. That sweet ocean air and beautiful girls ... my mind is starting to wander.

I will be back East for the Belmont (Mountaineer Park to be exact), so I know everyone will be anxiously awaiting the details of my trip. Stay tuned.