Don’t stray far for your best bets!

Oct 8, 2002 7:09 AM

            WE’VE GOT YOUR HORSE RIGHT HERE! We’ve also got your team, as well! Now that we’re well into the football season, it’s obvious that GT’s Bookies Battle as well as our columnists are out-picking the so-called experts.

            Case in point is our Bookies Battle, which sports a 44-29 won-loss record for its consensus picks. Some bookies are doing much better, while others are sinking like stones.

            Regardless, the Bookies selections have dwarfed the “professionals” who have participated in the Stardust’s weekly Invitational (they’re under .500 for the season), and other online contests in which the touts come up with more losers than winners.

            As for horse tips, there are none better than Richie Saber’s Horses to Watch. He recently tapped several winners that included Vronsky, I For You and Jerrad’s Desire. One of his best picks was Bailar, which he identified as ready to run “a big one ”¦ at a huge price.” The horse ran, won and paid $19.80.

            As always, News You Can Bet — and win! — On.


      HOW GREEN IS GREEN VALLEY? From a rosebud who keeps the resort in focus: “Green Valley Ranch is doing gangbusters! It’s one of my favorite hangouts these days and I can tell you first hand that the place is jumping. The Valley has never been greener.”


      IT’S ALMOST FUNNY how some things in racing do flip-flops. I remember how a young (at the time) rebel was trying to sell the slot machine concept to the owners of racetracks. They were firm: “Our game wants no help from other forms of gambling.”

      Now, a number of years later, slot machines are ka-chinging at racetracks. So much so that there is a drive on in Detroit to legalize gambling in the suburbs to allow for other forms of gambling.

      Pending bills that could be voted on this fall would provide enhanced gambling at Hazel Park. What games? Under consideration are electronic gambling, slot machines, pari-mutuel poker clubs and keno.

      It seems to me that betting on the dit dot dits needs help. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again -- people who gamble want instant gratification. Horse betting was king until it ran into competition.


            END OF AN ERA: After months (some say years) ex-Gov. Edwin Edwards of Louisiana will soon be wearing prisoner’s pinstripes. All his efforts to avoid incarceration have failed and he will report to a Fort Worth, Texas, prison prior to Oct. 21.

            For the flamboyant politician, who enjoyed as much as anybody spending short breaks in his governing days visiting Caesars Palace and trying his luck at the tables, this ends a political career that nearly rivaled that of the legendary Louisiana Kingpin, Gov. Huey Long.

            Despite his failings, Edwards, who was convicted of shaking down people looking to get riverboat licenses, including disgraced former San Francisco 49ers owner Ed DeBartolo, Jr., still retains the support of a number of Cajuns and will go to jail as one of the most popular state officials Louisiana has ever produced.

            Sadly, also going to jail is Edwards’ son, Stephen, a lawyer who was affiliated with his father in a number of business projects. His seven-year-old sentence will be served at a prison in Beaumont, Texas.


            ON THE SUBJECT OF JAIL-TIME: And, another note, an individual who gained notoriety in the gaming industry a couple of years ago when he challenged the right of the State of New York to charge him with violating gaming laws by taking sports bets at his Caribbean web site, also joins the pinstripe brigade on Oct. 15.

            Jay Cohen, a founder of World Sports Exchange based in St. John’s Antigua, elected not to hide in his Caribbean office after being indicted in New York for violating the Interstate Wire Act of 1961. He allegedly accepted wagers from New York state residents and claimed that since he was based in the Caribbean he violated no laws.

            The prosecution disagreed charging that the telephone bets originated in New York and crossed state lines, thus violating the federal law. Both a jury and an appeals court agreed and Cohen was sentenced to a 21-month jail term.


            BEING POLITICALLY CORRECT: Rogue jockeys have been banned from racing for decades but an interesting situation has developed in Iowa involving track officials who overrode a stewards’ ruling and barred two riders for allegedly pulling a racing prank.

            It all started when a jocks’ room custodian claimed that he was subjected to racial jokes that culminated in one jockey imitating a hooded Ku Klux Klansman. The jockey said the hood really was a wet towel he placed over his head to cool off between races.

            The stewards interviewed 23 people and determined there was no evidence of wrongdoing. That should have ended the matter but it didn’t. Attempting to be politically correct, he track operators decided they knew more than the people who investigated the matter and banished two jockeys forever.

            The jockeys ran to the courts and a judge ruled Prairie Meadows had no right to ban the jockeys without due process and ordered that they be reinstated at the next 2003 race meeting.


            G2E SETS ATTENDANCE MARKS: The audited results are in and they indicate the overwhelming success of this year’s Global Gaming Expo (G2E). The show held last month in Las Vegas had a 53 percent increase in attendance, which rose from 8,653 participants last year to 13,237 this year. The exhibit floor also saw a significant increase from 375 companies in 2001 to 616 this year. Also generating great interest were the new Interactive/Internet Gaming and Bingo pavilions launched at the event.

            “There is without a doubt a demand for cutting-edge new products and educational information to drive the success and growth of gaming entertainment facilities domestically and worldwide,” said Frank J. Fahrenkopf, president and CEO of the AGA, which co-sponsors the annual gaming convention. “Reed and the AGA are committed to facilitating such growth by producing this event every year. We’re pleased that G2E has become one of the strongest business-to-business forums for our industry.”

            This year’s G2E participants represented all 50 states and countries from around the world, including Argentina, Belgium, Costa Rica, Germany, Sweden, Peru, and Slovenia, to name a few.


            GIVEAWAYS CAN BE HAZARDOUS! That’s the message from gaming law firm Lionel Sawyer & Collins, which warns businesses that giving away prizes through sweepstakes on the Internet can result in serious violation of anti-lottery and trade laws.

            Lawyer Scott Eaton said the private lott