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Ride THIS to Net

Apr 29, 2008 7:00 PM

Book Reviews by Howard Schwartz | George Kaywood of Kansas, one of the most respected names in the thoroughbred information business, has produced a super update in his Handicapping in Cyberspace: The Horseplayer’s Complete Guide to the Internet (114 pages, 8x11 plastic spiralbound, $21.95, including CD ROM, which requires a PDF reader.)

This 2008 edition, comprised of 17 sections, is a huge contribution to thoroughbred information. One part, probably the most extensive racetrack website list to date, is worth the price of the book. It also includes links to information for even the smallest fair race meets, including steeplechase tracks, in alphabetical order from Aiken (SC) to Zia Downs, along with international events.

Many of today’s horseplayers take advantage of live racing broadcasts. Kaywood says who operates them and which ones require membership. The book lists the feeds that require various payment methods for opening an account. He explains that some sites offer historic racing videos, which might help a handicapper get a good visual of the tracks he’s interested in. Here too, there is input about sites from Australia and the United Kingdom.

One chapter is devoted to off-track betting sites, another to online and offshore wagering, while including reprinted articles which reflect on the legality of it all. These are followed by a chapter on blogs – a combination of personal diary, soapbox and breaking news outlets with links ,and then a list of forums and discussion groups (for holding discussions and posting user-generated content.)

Lauren Stich, an expert on the subject of thoroughbred pedigrees, contributes an article about pedigrees and breeding, which then lists many sites that provide free pedigree and breeding information that might also aid a handicapper.

There’s a small section on trainers, another solely on the Breeders’ Cup, and for those who enjoy harness racing, there’s an eight-page section on places that offer information and groups, followed by websites in the U.S. and Canada.

One small chapter focuses on quarter horse racing, including the websites in the U.S. in Canada, and Kaywood wraps it all up with a cyberspace handicapping session and a look at the future of handicapping and its relation to the Internet.

In short, George Kaywood has taken the cumbersome task of Internet searches apart and put it into perspective. His book gives you a leg up on compiling your own list of favorite and helpful places.

Any item reviewed here is available from Gambler’s Book Shop (Gambler’s Book Club). The store’s website is www.gamblersbook.com. You may order using MasterCard, VISA or Discover (no CODs please) or phoning the store any day except Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Pacific time at 1-800-522-1777. Orders usually ship the next working day.

The store, now in its 44th year, is located a mile from downtown Las Vegas, a block west of Maryland Parkway, just off Charleston Blvd at 630 S. 11th St.