Nice to meet you Mr. Bookie

Our last blog post told you pretty much how I got involved in this crazy career I’m into. Like Frank Sinatra said, “I did it My Way” and wouldn’t change much of anything to be honest. Oh maybe a few things could have been started sooner, like money management and learning it’s best to wait for a good wagering opportunity instead of chasing wagers. But the good thing is I learned and boy did I. But it really all came to together when I met my bookmaker, or “bookie” as they are called today.

You’ll hear me often  call a bookmaker or bookie your “neighborhood friend”. The guy you may meet a few days a week at the bowling alley or pool hall. Sometimes at the local shopping mall. If you are serious about this business he’s one guy you need to have in your speed dial contact list and let me tell you why.

Simply put, you can wager on credit. Now to many people this probably isn’t a good thing. Some gamblers don’t know how to manage a bankroll and will chase bad bets. But if you are a seasoned veteran, you’ll need one. I will not and refuse to open an on-line account unless it’s an absolute necessity. Why? Because I don’t want any government agency having any of my banking information and wagering history in their hands. Too many offshore accounts have been shut down by our beloved federal government overnight and cash seized and all records seized. No thanks. Don’t need that headache, don’t want it. Now I’m not saying that simply put offshore accounts will get seized but it has happened and I don’t want to take that risk.

So lets back track about 40 years.

I met my first bookie through a little league baseball coach. Yup. No kidding. You see, I was already into wagering on the horses and as I entered my mid-teens I was pretty much all in. I mean, I was buying a DRF everyday and was addicted to the daily doubles and exactas. I often found myself not able to get to the track and way too many times I missed out on chances to make a few bucks. Remember, when I grew up you either wagered at the track or you didn’t.

One weekend, a friend of the family’s was up at our local little league park and I would often hang out there as several of my friends and family members would often go watch games and see other teams play. One day, I pulled out my DRF and was standing by a chain link fence. My friends dad came by and said lets take a look. He read my copy for about 10 minutes and then told me he’d be back. A quick visit to the snack bar pay phone and he was back telling me he had just bet a $5 exacta box in the fifth and needed a 1-3 finish. What you talking about I asked? How did you get that in from here? He smiled and said, “I called my book.”

Another thing needed on these leisurely Saturday’s at the little league park was a transistor radio. You see, back in the day, the stretch calls were broadcast by KNX-1070 every thirty minutes during the sports broadcasts. Whoever was doing the sports scores would blurt out “the results of the fourth race from Santa Anita are now in and for the call here’s track announcer Harry Henson.” Things have changed haven’t they?

If you were lucky you would hear your horses named called as the calls were pretty short. They would give the official order of finish and the prices. Well you guessed it, my friends dad hit his exacta and won some cash. Okay, now I just had to know. What’s a book?

As the saying goes I was on him the rest of the day like white on rice. How did you do that? I want to be able to do that I pleaded with him. “You’re too young for that he told me. Plus your parents would kill me. Besides, you can’t mess with these people Eddie you’ll get in trouble if you can’t pay them.” I didn’t want to hear any of that though. I now wanted to have a “book” even though I had little idea of what one was and how it all worked.

My friends dad wasn’t talking. While he thought he was protecting me, it just made matters worse knowing I was missing out on something. So while I stopped asking, I listened very carefully and soon discovered the bookie I was missing out on was actually a rival pony league coach. This man who I’ll call Mr. X didn’t have the best reputation in the league. His kids were a few years older than I was and Mr. X drove a nice car and was often involved in shady draft deals with his pony league teams and was often involved in protested games.

So one afternoon I got up the courage to ask Mr. X following a baseball game. “Mr. X, can I start wagering with you? I heard you take bets.” I wish I could describe the look on his face, utter disbelief that one of his son’s friends was asking about his bookmaking job.

“What do you know about what I do”? he asked. I took out my copy of that days DRF and said “I need a way to get my wagers in.” I can’t really remember the rest of my conversation with Mr. X but I do know I left the ball park that afternoon with a way to get my wagers in and a “small credit line.” I felt like I had hit it big.

I couldn’t wait. The next race day I was on the phone, a mid-teenage something kid with a bookie.

This is “1612” I said as the person who answered the phone bellowed out, “ya”. I have you at “zero” for the week he said. After I confirmed my total, I jumped right in with a few daily double plays and never looked back.

Next week we’ll talk about my new job as a runner … distributing football cards for my new employer.

 

 

 

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Horse Racing Old School Memories

Every year around this time old school memories start to pop up on how I got involved in this crazy game. With all the material I have, I could write a book. Rumors have it that one is indeed in the making. Today we’ll just make it simple and talk about horse racing as horse racing is first and foremost in my heart.

I remember coming into the game around the time Secretariat and Sham were doing battle. I was torn between the two as the media touted Sham but my older brother was in Sham’s corner. I ended up falling in love with Secretariat and rooted for him every time he stepped on the track. “Big Red” will be the best horse I saw compete, not in person but over the television. I have lots of favorites but stand firm on him being the best horse I have seen in my lifetime. You’ll never change my opinion on ‘Red.

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I really got hooked the first time I set foot at Santa Anita. It was on a Sunday as my family and another big time horse racing family set foot into the infield for a family picnic. I can’t remember the exact amount of cash I brought but remember I had a banner day wagering on horses to show and walked out with much more than I went in with. For a runny nose kid of about 12 years old, it wasn’t a bad day and I thought I had found the secret of making cash. On the drive home I figured “who needs to mow lawns when I can bet on the horses.”

Of course that idea went out the window when I lost on all of my next wagers but I was still hooked. There was something to be learned here I thought and if I stick with it I’ll be able to make cash. While that was sound reasoning at the time, there was still so much to learn about money management, bankroll, etc.

I maybe was the youngest subscriber to the Los Angeles Herald Examiner. I idolized the public handicapper’s … Jerry Antonucci, Professor Gordon Jones and the other ‘cappers that had their picks listed in the consensus box. At the end of the day, the horse section in the sports page was marked up like I was an old pro. I didn’t really know what I was marking up but all I knew is I was learning and was fascinated at the game.

I soon found myself riding with my mom in the morning as she would often take my dad to work. Heading west on route 66, I would ask “turn it on KIEV.” Each morning KIEV gave out scratches and changes with Bill Garr who gave a 15 minute radio report on a.m. radio. Back in the days, the radio was the source. Internet? What is the internet? I soon found out that scratches in the mornings meant the horses wouldn’t be running that afternoon and less horses to concentrate on. Thanks KIEV! Plus jockey changes were important too! I don’t like jockey “A” but what if all of a sudden jockey “B” was riding? More powerful information I needed to learn about.

I also marveled at the “touts” ads printed in the Examiner that would run at the bottom of the page. I even called them trying to pry information from them for free. Mostly I heard “get lost kid” before they hung up but did grow found of this one guy, Jay Richards who told me to call back after post. Jay was awesome, gave me some advice but politely asked me not to call again until I was 18. Probably his way of saying no more freebies until you can bet legally and purchase our info. Okay Jay, I gotcha.

While my parents became more curious as to why I was getting up at 6:00 a.m. to get all this information, I think It was my father who figured it out before mom did. It wasn’t that I wanted to make sure he safely made it to work but rather I was gathering info for the track and stopping for doughnuts along the way didn’t hurt either.

I’d go off to class and would frequently gaze at my “marked up” Herald Examiner. I couldn’t wait to see how my horses ran. All I remember was I want to be at the track. I don’t need to be here sitting in a junior high school wasting time.

One day I thought I got busted. Snatched from my hands was my beloved paper by the wrinkled hands of my typing instructor. He looked at it, walked to his desk and simply said, “Ed, please see me after class.” I was busted. This was no freaking Leave it to Beaver episode where I was going to get chewed out by Ward Cleaver. My mom was going to kill me I thought.

But when the bell rang, and I sheepishly went to my instructors desk and he said “this is very impressive son. How long you been interested in horse racing.?” I almost fainted. I wasn’t in trouble at all. My teacher was in the game as well! “I like the 6-8 daily double today he told me. Lets see tomorrow how we both do.” As I was walking out of my typing class, I was thinking, what’s the daily double? I guess by now we have figured out why still to this day I use the two-fingered “hunt and peck” method.

The following day we found out we both lost. He even told me that I didn’t need to wait until the following day to get results from the paper, that I could get the end of day results on the radio at KIEV. How awesome was that? I could start my ‘capping earlier!

My typing instructor became my new “mentor” He told me about different wagering, explained to me about the weights and why sometimes trainers switched jockeys and a fascinating thing called claiming races. I also found out about this fascinating thing called the Daily Racing Form in which had all the stats and figures that the professional handicappers used to make their decisions. He pulled his out from the grade book he had it stashed in and let me look at it. I felt like I was drowning in a swimming pool. So much information. This is it I though. My key to success.

When I started high school, I had vastly improved my handicapping education. My network of fellow handicappers had vastly widened and the best handicapper I knew was actually my fathers best friend who would often attend the races as both families would get together on Sunday’s to have picnics in the infield. I had located another “horse friendly” instructor in high school as well and had become his “teacher’s aide” with my sole responsibility helping him grade papers for 6th period. I didn’t grade many papers but did find my self catching the last race at Santa Anita with my best friend who didn’t have a sixth period. With my instructors $2 in pocket, my friend would drive, I rode shotgun. With the valuable DRF in hand and my marked up Examiner, my friend would ask me questions and I belted them out. “Hurry, we may miss post time I would remind him

With patrons getting in free for the 9th race, we often found ourselves first in line waiting for the gates to open and we would spring from the gates and be off to the betting windows.

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With a new-found circle of friends and the newly found Daily Racing Form, my game vastly improved. I couldn’t get enough. I also found that my father’s interest increased as did my trips to the track. I found myself heading to the track with my brother and just about anybody I could hitch a ride with.

Evenings would be spent pouring over the Herald Examiner and making selections. But the magical time frame was early evening when my father and I would often make a mad dash to our local liquor store to purchase the Daily Racing form for the following day. To me, the DRF was a valuable tool that was well worth the cash that was paid. Back then, the DRF cost around a buck but only contained the past performances of So Cal racing. Often, I couldn’t wait to get home and with pops behind the wheel, I’d often start handicapping before we got home. BTW, my cost for the free ride to the liquor store? I had to let pops get a free glance sometime after we arrived back home. Before bed, he’d slip me $2 bucks and say, 4/7 daily double.

Back in the day, before the internet, waiting in the liquor store parking lot for the DRF runner was common place. I even befriended the liquor store clerk and would call him before pops and I ventured out. “Sammy, forms there yet?” “Just got here he’d say or not yet, he’s running late.” Either way, I always got one. How could you handicap without one? They were like gold.

And gold they were. People needed one and were so obsessed everybody knew the car the DRF runner drove. Should patrons get there before he arrived, we’d wait for him. As soon as “James, the DRF guy” pulled in the lot, you’d see about 4-5 casually dressed men exit their cars to line up inside to purchase one. For those not in the know, many probably though there was a mob hit in the making.

Nowadays things are so much different. With the price of the DRF approaching $10 bucks, the DRF or “PP’s” as they are also known by are printed off the desk top. Cheaper that way for sure and you get the track of your choice.

Every year around this time brings back memories of pops and me waiting in the liquor store parking lot. Why this time of year? Opening Day at Santa Anita and obtaining a fresh copy of the DRF was a requirement. Also, the break in racing between the now defunct Hollywood Park Meeting and Opening Day at Santa Anita was around 30 days. Yeah, 30 days! Handicappers were like rabid animals waiting for the DRF and the Santa Anita meeting. You don’t have that urgency anymore. Just another day. Although with a nine day break between Los Alamitos and Santa Anita this year I have been a bit more anxious than normal.

While I miss my dad more than you’ll ever know, I still will stroll through Santa Anita and remember the good old days. Recalling the memories will never be forgotten like the day dad fell in the rose bushes (sober) running to the T.V. monitor to see if his 99-1 shot he bet on held third. Cut up and bleeding, he emerged only to realize he had been nosed out of the show and didn’t know of his need for a few band aids until after they posted the photo sign and the race went official. Also, my fathers best friend chiding him for finally hitting a race.

“Throw enough shit against the wall and some of its bound to stick,” he said.

Oh the memories.

 

Next time we’ll discuss how I met my first “bookie” or “bookmaker.”

Thoughts out to San Luis Rey

As horsemen muddle through the aftermath of the San Luis Rey Downs fire let’s remember that although the healing process may have begun, we have no way of knowing how the fire will affect those equine athletes that were caught up in it. Breathing, health and mental issues, we could see months of changed behavior from our four legged friends. Let’s be kind and patient with them as they heal and train to get back to their routine.

Did we see the 2018 Kentucky Derby winner at Del Mar on Sunday?

People that have been following this blog and handicapper know that I rarely get excited over a two-year-old winning and then the talk about him running in the Kentucky Derby as a three-year-old. But that may have changed this past Sunday at Del Mar as Analyze It took down the GIII $100,000 Cecil B. Demille Stakes.

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Analyze It wins the 2017 GIII $100,000 Cecil B. Demille Stakes at Del Mar on Sunday, November 26.

Analyze It, is a two-year-old colt by Point of Entry out of the mare Sweet Assay and was making his second start of his career. Now undefeated, both wins have come on the turf course and both wins have come under Jose Ortiz. While trainer Chad Brown seems to have a very talented colt on his hands, we’ll be anxious to see him try to transfer his solid form over the dirt course, obviously something he’ll have to do if his connections wish to try him in the Kentucky Derby which is held the first Saturday in May.

A filly were sort of impressed with was Allianna, the daughter of Flat Out out of the mare Elusive Royalty. While this filly has some potential, we were impressed by the way this Peter Miller trainee broke her maiden in her second career start and we wouldn’t be surprised to see her continue to improve. We’ll be keeping tabs on her for sure and suggest you do as well.

 

 

 

 

Action bets can be your best friend

I often take friends to the race track that have never been or maybe will go once or twice a year at that. The most common complaint I get is that there is too much time between races and they get bored. I try to teach “money management” to them and that the goal is to leave the track with more cash than you went in with. Easier said than done.

I’ll often go to the races and maybe have one or two serious wagers to make. Sometimes not even that. I can sit there all day and watch the races, have a few cocktails and make my wagers. Sometimes, I’ll go and not even wager and just take notes and observe for future bets to make down the line. Or, simply get caught up with associates and other professionals with regular B.S. banter. But what do you tell your friends that you have in tow that are constantly asking, “when do we bet?”

When you are making a few “large” wagers, sometimes you’ll get caught up with looking at the form and/or making trips to the paddock to check out the horses. But in between the seriousness how do you keep others entertained? Action bets.

Action bets are something I’ll make as well. These are relatively small wagers that will keep you or others entertained in between the serious wagers that are going to make you the money. They are small and won’t distract you from the bigger game down the road and will keep your friends amused. I recommend these wagers to be minimal bets, like $1 or two dollar bets and can be exacta plays, across the board wagers on a horse that is 70-1 that has your first pets name in it, etc. You get the ideal. I find myself making these often, especially with horses that don’t fall into the serious wager category. Nobody likes to sit there and see these type of bets win and not have any cash on them so go ahead and bet. It will also take away the stress of having to keep your friends amused while they are waiting to take their first home-run swing.19990150_1345839512120643_1861375612647349495_n

 

 

 

Eddie’s VIP cashes again on 03/30/17

Eddie’s VIP play cashes for clients on 03/30/17

Winner winner chicken dinner! Eddie the Hat’s VIP play cashed on Thursday, March 30, 2017 with first race winner Vibe. Returning as a gelding off what some may call a lackluster work pattern, we knew better and so did our clients!

1st Race:

Vibe (#2) @ $7.20 and $3.20

$1 Exacta (2-6) @ $8.90

 

 

Yup, lots has changed in the world

The other night I was sitting in the recliner thinking about how things have changed in the world. As us “old timers” like to refer to as the “good old days.”

Technology has brought us to a new frontier there is no doubt about it. Sports? Hell yes. Now, we can watch pretty much any game on a tablet or laptop computer. Even our cell phone can bring us the live feed from the arena. Back in the “good old days” we would have to listen to the sports scores on the radio. A quarter past the hour or a quarter before the hour you’d find me tuned into KNX News Radio awaiting sports scores. “The Lakers lead the Spurs 78-67 in the third” would be all the information we would get until the next broadcast.

Horse racing was no different. The morning of the races, my pal Bill Garr from KIEV radio would start off the morning early. Each racing day from the track he’d broadcast the day’s scratches. “In the third, take out the four and seven.” Then, we would have to wait until either quarter past or 15 minutes before the hour to get the stretch calls from KNX News Radio. “the results of the fifth race are now in and for the call here is track announcer Harry Henson” would be the intro, with good old Harry’s voice bringing in the results. “Into the stretch, It’s Blinkey Ben in front by a length, Old Feathers is second …” If you missed the days racing, don’t despair. Bill Garr had his racing wrap-up show on each racing evening to do his own race results and race re-creations for fans. However, you missed that you were out of luck until the next morning when the newspaper would hit the driveway.

Of course as time went on, the invention of the “900 numbers” came to pass and for a fee you could get results and changes billed to your telephone. We thought that was technology.

Yes, things have indeed changed. Now, instead of waiting at the local liquor store for the runner to bring by the Daily Racing Form for the next days entries and past performances I just have to wait in front of my computer to get them.

Can I go back to the old days now?