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Jan 20, 2004 3:30 AM

The Morning Telegraph was what the racing form was called when I was growing up. Old timers called it "The Tele" or the "Bible."

I loved that big form so much, it was hard tossing them out. In fact, my garage was full of the old forms all brown and worn. In those days there was only the one form for us guys living East of the Mississippi and it cost about 90 cents.

Since moving to Las Vegas back in the late ’70s and working in the race and sports books for over 20 years, this paper was one of the biggest expenses for the books bottom line. Back in the 80s, the books all formed an organization that would work together to solve things like the big expense of racing forms.

Some books would give them away, some would charge $1, some $2. Others would charge a buck and refund it if you returned the form at days end. Eventually, they decided to all do the same thing, but that and the organization lasted about a week.

When I was behind the counter, my idea was to take the forms out of the race books, place them in a gift shop or a race and sports shop adjacent to the book and sell them like being at the track. No dice on that idea.

Throughout the last 20 years, there have been several publications that have tried to go head to head with the Daily Racing Form, but all have failed. The books are still stuck with two or three different forms each day for different tracks around the country and the expense is growing.

That’s an expense that I don’t want on myself. I used forms on a daily basis, not only for work but also for my own wagering enjoyment. I was in Palace Station last week and they were giving away a new form put out by Sports Eye, INC. This form so far has only been put out for Saturday races but contains all major tracks in one form and the base price is only $3. This would enable the books to cut down form expense and have no problem giving these to all the customers.

I used this new form on that Saturday and it took just a little while getting used to. It has all the good stuff that the other form has and all the past performances are provided by Equibase. What I really loved about it was the print, I could actually read its new big type and that’s good for us old guys.

My vote is Sports Eye is going to save me money. I know its hard to change but once you use this method a few times you won’t even know the difference. You will wonder how you even used that other paper for so many years. But I will always miss my Telegraph. It just seems there were so many winners listed.

Talking about the racing form reminds me that the NTRA/DRF National Handicapping Final will be held this Friday and Saturday at Bally’s.

Race and sports director John Avello would like to invite all to come over and check things out, make some bets and maybe find a live longshot.

College slam dunks:

Wednesday, Jan. 21

Cincinnati (+5) at Louisville: Titanic battle here as 13-0 Bearcats go into sold out Freedom Hall to meet the Cardinals. Louisville won at home over Cincy last year ,77-71. The Cards were blown out at Cincy, 101-80. You can bet Pitino will have his crew ready for maximum effort in front of soldout 18,000-plus. Lay the points with the Cards as they pin first loss on Bearcats. LOUISVILLE.

Minnesota (+15) at Purdue: Normally don’t like to lay this type of spread in the Big Ten but will make an exception here. The Boilermakers are looking to extract revenge from humiliating 82-61 loss at Minny last year. Purdue is on a roll with big win at Illinois as 9-point dog and a nice win over a tough Wisconsin team. Fans will be rocking and rolling at Mackey Arena. Lay the wood. PURDUE.

Thursday, Jan. 22

N.Carolina (—3) at Florida St: Tar Heels, off draining win over UConn, now go into Tallahassee to face revenge-minded Seminoles. FSU lost to the Heels last year, 69-48. Just love this game and if getting a bucket or more I just may go all in. Take the Noles to ambush a team that can’t get up for this game. FLORIDA ST.

Saturday, Jan. 24

Pittsburgh (+4) at Syracuse: The Orangemen, off three straight tough road games, finally get home. Last year’s national champs won’t have an easy time facing tough Panthers, who almost got them here last year. Points looks good if able to get two buckets. PITTSBURGH.

Last week: 3-1

Season: 23-12