Don’t expect much from so-called experts

September 17, 2002 6:26 AM
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   DON’T BET YOUR MONEY! If you’re looking for a hot horse, forget about the so-called experts. The toss of a coin will likely fare better than the self-appointed handicapping gurus.

   Many years ago when I was around racing, I got to know quite a few of the handicappers and saw how they operated. Some of them really went all out to smoke out a winning bet and give their customers a good ride for their money.

   Not that I ever advocated handicappers. I believe if you’re going to do all the hard work required to come up with a winner, you can make more money betting on it than you can selling the tip to someone else. In fact, if you’ve been clocking a certain horse and all the conditions are right for today’s race, you’d better keep that information to yourself or you’ll kill the price on your winner.

   But, there are plenty of bettors who don’t want to work that hard and they provide a ready market for the tipsters.

   However, the touts of today, so I’m told, don’t put as much heart and soul into their picks as those of yesterday.   Want proof?

   Check out the final standings of “The Toast of the Coast” handicapping contest sponsored by Coast Resorts.

   There were eight self-proclaimed handicapping experts playing their “best bets” each day for nearly eight weeks trying to capture the $5,000 winner-take-all prize.

   Only one, Ralph Siraco of Race Day Las Vegas, ended up on the positive side of the board.

   Here’s how they finished:

   Ralph Siraco, Race Day Las Vegas   +$420

   Bruno DeJulio, Racing Digest   -$34

   Bob Ike, Syndicated Handicapper   -$722

   Todd Schrupp, TVG Network Analyst -$988

   Richard Eng, Review Journal   -$1,218

   Dave Tuley, Daily Racing Form    -$1,294

   John Lindo, Racing Digest   -$1,482

   Brad Free, Daily Racing Form    -$1,994

   So, the next time you’re thinking about letting someone else tell you how to bet your money, review the above list and then go get a Racing Form and do a little handicapping on your own. You might surprise yourself and pick a winner!

   BE LEARY OF FOOTBALL TOUTS AS WELL! It might be a good idea to keep your money in your pocket when it comes to football handicappers as well. Now that we’re into the football season, these guys have come streaming out of the woodwork, promising the world but producing very little.

   One of the services, Sportswireonline.com features several handicapper who each pick one game a week. These pros, after only two weeks, are a collective 10-9, and only three of them are over .500!

   Another contest that we always enjoy is the Stardust Invitational, in which supposedly the world’s best handicappers go head-to-head with seven picks a week. If memory serves me, last year these “experts” were under .500 for the season! No way to make money when you can’t cash more bets than you lose!

   AUTOTOTE HITS JACKPOT! Scientific Games (SGMS) is waking the town and telling the people that its Autotote Systems subsidiary has received extensions of three contracts worth about $15 million.

   Leading the band is the New York Racing Association. NYRA signed an agreement extending the provision of totalisator systems and services through the fall meet of 2004. Suffolk Regional Off Track Betting and Nassau OTB signed renewal agreements for tote systems through 2009.

   The contracts include Autotote’s new Natural Language Voice Recognition Systems for phone wagering, ECLIPSE â„¡ central systems, software for back office wagering data archives and reporting systems, and additional freestanding STAN â„¡ self-service wagering terminals.

   Lorne Weil, chairman and CEO of SGMS, said, “The extension of these agreements continues our long-standing tradition of high customer satisfaction and retention — a major focus of ours.”