Category Archives: Handicappers

Handicappers

Star of upcoming CNBC reality show on sports gambling an unsafe bet, sources say

Stevens’ website boasts a winning percentage of 71.5 percent “to be exact,” a figure that — to say the least — raised some eyebrows within betting circles. “70 percent? No shot.”

. “What I find particularly stunning is that the network is telling viewers to draw their own conclusions as if this were a guy who was merely controversial for his opinions as opposed to his financial shenanigans.”

Howard Kurtz, a Fox News media analyst, said he found the matter to be problematic.

“We are aware of Steve Stevens’ 1999 conviction, and while we are very clear in the press release that VIP Sports clients risk big dollars in the hopes that Stevens and his agents have the expertise to consistently deliver winners, viewers should tune in on September 10 at 10pm ET/PT to draw their own conclusions about VIP Sports,” CNBC said in a statement to FoxNews.com. “The media consciously chooses to validate the wrong personalities, creating an aura around characters that are no better than modern-day carnies.”

“It certainly doesn’t inspire confidence for CNBC to showcase a man with this kind of checkered history,” Kurtz told FoxNews.com. “Did they talk to respected voices in the field? Did they reach out to actual sportsbook operators? Did they track Stevens for at least two seasons to see if his claims were warranted before giving him his own show?”

Todd Fuhrman, a former oddsmaker at Caesars Palace who now runs gambling site ToddsTake.com, characterized Stevens as part of a “disturbing trend” within the sports gambling world.

[pullquote]

Stevens declined to comment when reached early Wednesday by FoxNews.com at his Las Vegas home.

Kurtz continued: “By giving Stevens this platform, CNBC is implicitly vouching for him and no corporate PR statement can change that.”

The controversy surrounding Stevens — who was lauded by CNBC as a “well-known handicapper” in a July press release announcing the “docu-soap” — was first reported by Business Insider, which cited a report by WagerMinds.com that found that the domain name for Stevens’ business was registered eight months ago under the name Darin Notaro.

CNBC may be taking a huge gamble on Steve Stevens.

Noted NBA gambler Bob Voulgaris, who did not return a message seeking comment early Wednesday, denounced Stevens’ claim of winning more than 70 percent of his bets.

“Why the [expletive] you calling here so early?” Stevens said before hanging up.

Notaro is also listed as the renter of the office space at 4004 Schiff Drive, the location of VIP Sports, records show.

Stevens, a 39-year-old Las Vegas handicapper and upcoming host of the network’s “Money Talks” reality series on the world of sports gambling, runs VIP Sports in Sin City.

“We’re seeing a disturbing trend start to emerge; the proliferation of docudramas, movies and articles that lead to sensationalizing dishonest personalities within the sports betting industry,” Fuhrman wrote in a blog post on Monday. But Stevens’ prior conviction in a telemarketing scam that bilked elderly investors of at least $234,000 nearly 15 years ago is now being scrutinized as CNBC officials begin to distance themselves from Stevens’ picks.

Notaro, then 25, was sentenced to one year in jail in 1999 for his role in a Las Vegas telemarketing scheme that victimized elderly residents nationwide. As one of six men charged in connection to the Century Pacific Group, Notaro was also ordered to make $12,230 in restitution.

Fuhrman then noted that “no one, and I mean no one” knows Stevens, who was touted as something like a Las Vegas fixture.

“Obviously the guy in the video is a complete scam artist,” Voulgaris posted on Twitter on Monday. “We are merely betting that viewers will be interested in the world of touts and handicappers and in no way endorse either Stevens’ picks or his business model.”

“My disgust with the topic runs deeper and is with the supposedly reputable network for their half-baked attempt to do appropriate research on the featured personality,” Fuhrman wrote

The Best Horse Racing Books

Sadly, several of the books mentioned here are out of print, but they can often be found on ebay or at abebooks. Crist is a pick six specialist, and his treatment of how to use multiple tickets to tackle that difficult bet is well worth the price of the book.

Commonsense Betting by Dick Mitchell

Winning at the track takes more than good handicapping. I’ve divided this article into two sections, one focusing on handicapping books, and the other on more general interest books. In this book, recently republished by DRF Press, he brings together a comprehensive overview of most aspects of modern handicapping theory. In addition to an excellent chapter on money management, Mitchell teaches you how to calculate the cost of any exotic wager, make an odds line, as well as how to know when a bet is offering value on the tote board.

Stud: Adventures in Breeding by Kevin Conley

A behind-the-scenes look at the world of high-class breeding, where millions of dollars are at stake, and wealthy breeders roll the dice as they “breed the best to the best and hope for the best.” Conley gives as a look into the breeding life of the great sire Storm Cat, as well as the Godolphin breeding operation, where Dubai’s Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum spends tens of millions trying for that elusive Derby winner

My $50,000 Year at the Races by Andrew Beyer

Andy Beyer always delivers a good read, and this account of his home run year of 1977 when he beat the races for 50 large while splitting his time between Gulfstream Park and the Maryland tracks is one of my favorite racing books ever. The focus here is on non-fiction books, although there’s no shortage of fictional horse racing books. I particularly enjoyed Ragozin’s war stories about his experiences as a horse owner and bettor (he and his partner Len Friedman have poured millions into the parimutuel pools over the years). I can’t imagine a horse racing fan who won’t enjoy paging through this book.

Seabiscuit: An American Legend by Laura Hillenbrand

A book that hardly needs an introduction, given the sensation it made when published. The information is certainly a bit dated, but there’s still lots of good food for thought considering the book was published 25 years ago.

Modern Pace Handicapping By Tom Brohammer

If you only read one book about pace handicapping, this should be the one. Not a great place to start for the novice, but well worth reading for more experienced players.

Kinky Handicapping by Mark Cramer

Cramer is one of the most entertaining and thought-provoking handicapping writers there is, and Kinky Handicapping is his magnum opus. A great portrait of the greatest horse of all time.

Laughing in the Hills by Bill Barich

Barich is a terrific writer, and here he gives a wonderful account of bumming around the Northern California racing circuit in the late 1970s, marking time and getting to know the colorful denizens of the Golden Gate Fields backside.

Horse of a Different Color by Jim Squires

A great account of what it’s like to be a small time breeder by Jim Squires, the former Chicago Tribune editor turned thoroughbred breeder who hit the big time when he bred the Kentucky Derby winner Monarchos.

What are the best horse racing books? ┬áHorse Racing has an excellent body of literature that surpasses most sports in its quality and variety. I’ve spent countless happy hours with this book revisiting some old friends as well as learning about the greats before my time. A great book to dip into when a losing streak has you looking for new ideas.

General Interest Horse Racing Books

Champions by Daily Racing Form Staff

An awesome collection of lifetime past performance for every eclipse award winner since the 1890′s. Quinn gives an introduction into how figures are made, as well as their application as part of the general handicapping process. Ragozin doesn’t give away the store here, but there’s still plenty of good information as well as an enjoyable read for horse racing fans.

. Davidowitz gives a solid treatment of virtually all aspects of handicapping from speed and pace handicapping to workouts, conditioning, trainers, pedigree, and betting strategy. Here are my choices for the best horse racing books.

Handicapping Books

The Winning Horseplayer by Andrew Beyer

Written in 1983 it’s still an excellent introduction to trip handicapping and how to relate trips to speed figures. He also provides a figure method for the turf based on late speed as a deciding factor.

The Race for the Triple Crown by Joe Drape

New York Times writer Joe Drape gives an excellent history of a year on the Derby Trail among the high class stables of New York, a world far removed from the scrape-along lifestyle at most race tracks.

Exotic Betting by Steven Crist

Most of the best handicapping books were written before exotic betting came to dominate the mutual pools, and this has left a big hole in the literature for horseplayers seeking the big score. Beyer on Speed gives a solid overview of how speed figures are made as well as how they might be employed for betting success. There’s something about the beauty of the thoroughbred and the color of the backstretch that brings out the lyrical side of many writers. MPH contains a complete overview of the classic Sartin Methodology by its best-known (and perhaps most successful) practitioner. It also requires solid money management, and that’s where Commonsense Betting comes in. Beyer always interleavens his handicapping books with lots of good stories that bring out the magic of the track from the bettor’s point of view.

Figure Handicapping By James Quinn

As the title suggests, speed and pace figures are the focus here. Meadow is a serious player and the information here is rock solid.

Thoroughbred Handicapping State of the Art by William Quirin

Quirin was among the first to do a major computer study of American horse racing. Cramer virtually invented the idea of unconventional handicapping as a way of uncovering hidden value, and here he offers ways to use pedigree handicapping, company lines, and other contrarian methods to beat the speed handicappers at their own game.

Speed Handicapping by Andrew Beyer

By the time this was written in 1993, speed figures had lost most of their value in the parimutuel pools, but Beyer is nothing if not a die hard figure player. The book is more notable for its exiting narrative than its handicapping secrets, but speed figures and track bias played a large part in his success.

Handicapping Magic by Michael Pizzolla

There haven’t been a lot of additions to the body of handicapping knowledge since the glory days of the 70′s and 80′s, but former Sartin disciple Pizzolla at least contributes something new with his Balanced Speed Ratings and Fulcrum Pace. A must for every horseplayer’s bookshelf.

The Odds Must Be Crazy by Len Ragozin

Ragozin is the creator of the famous “Sheets” performance figures (which some consider a bargain at $25 a pop), and this autobiography cum handicapping tome gives a broad overview of how the numbers are created as well as how their users employ pattern matching to find live horses that may offer solid value in the mutual pools. Crist, an executive and columnist with the Daily Racing Form, has ably filled that hole with this book, which offers some solid strategies for tackling both single and multi-race exotics. This book covers speed and pace figures, Quirin Speed Points, pedigree handicapping on the grass, even trip handicapping. My favorite part of the book details Beyer’s expedition into the virgin territory of Australian racing, where he attempted to use his figures to conquer the fat betting pools down under.

Betting Thoroughbreds by Steve Davidowitz

For my money this is the best general handicapping book ever written, and a great place to start for novices looking to expand their knowledge as well as more seasoned players looking to move up. Nack gives us a ring side seat for all the twists and turns leading up to his incredible Triple Crown Campaign. A meticulously researched account of Seabiscuit’s rags to riches story, as well as that of his owner, trainer, and jockey.

Secretariat: The Making of a Champion by William Nack

Nack is a long time Sports Illustrated writer who had unprecedented access to the great Secretariat and his connections during “Big Red’s” amazing career. Money Secrets at the Racetrack by Barry Meadow

Many consider this the best book ever written on money management and the mathematical aspect of value betting and exotic betting. If you’ve ever wanted to know about feet-per-second calculations, early, late and sustained pace, decision models, track profiles and all the other tools of high-tech pace handicapping, this is the place to start.

The Best of Thoroughbred Handicapping by James Quirin

Quinn was the most prolific of handicapping writers in the 80′s and 90′s

What voters want in a VP

Overall, 35% have a favorable impression of him, down from 41% in January. 43% among GOP-leaning men).. The poll includes interviews with 891 registered voters. In that group, 12% say Trump’s choice of a female running mate would make them more likely to back him, 3% less likely to support him. Nationwide, she’s less well known: 40% of voters say they haven’t heard of her or don’t have an opinion, while those who do have an impression are about evenly divided, 31% favorable to 29% unfavorable.

One candidate with political experience who may be under consideration as Trump’s running mate, New Jersey Gov. Among Republicans, his favorability rating has held roughly steady over that same time — 57% favorable in January and 54% now.

In an election year when the politics of gender have been front and center, voters are largely agreed that they won’t be swayed by the gender of any vice presidential selection. But the Democratic electorate isn’t sold on Warren as the ideal running mate for Clinton; just 34% say Clinton ought to select Warren while 54% say they’d rather see someone else share the ticket with Clinton.

The CNN/ORC poll was conducted by telephone June 16-19 among a random national sample of 1,001 adults. Elizabeth Warren makes frequent appearances on handicappers’ lists of possible picks for Clinton, largely on the strength of her sharp attacks on Trump and her ability to appeal to the more liberal Democratic voters who supported Bernie Sanders. Chris Christie, hasn’t done much to improve his standing in the public eye since his run for the GOP nomination ended earlier this year. That group tilts the other way on Clinton and is not much different from other voters on this question, with 9% saying they’d be less likely to back Clinton with a female running mate and 3% more likely to.

On the Democratic side, Massachusetts Sen. Results for registered voters have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

Clinton is poised to become the first woman to lead a major party ticket at next month’s Democratic convention, and more say they would be dissuaded from backing her if she chose a woman (10%) than said they would be more likely to back her if she chose a female candidate (4%). Just 8% say they’d like to see Trump select someone with a background in the business world, while the rest are divided between a running mate with experience in the military (47% would prefer that) or in politics (43% prefer a politician).

The poll also finds that House Speaker Paul Ryan, the Republican Party’s vice presidential nominee in 2012 who will preside over the GOP convention next month, is viewed positively by Republicans who support Trump (55% have a positive impression) as well as those who would rather see someone else atop the ticket (65% favorable).

Republican women are a bit less apt than GOP men to trust Trump to handle the responsibilities of commander-in-chief, according to CNN/ORC poll results released Tuesday, and GOP women are also more likely to say Trump should choose someone with military experience (51% say so vs.

Trump’s supporters in the party are a bit more likely to say he should choose someone with military experience — 49% say so vs. 41% who prefer political experience, while those who would rather see someone else heading the GOP are more evenly divided between a political (46%) or military (44%) running mate.

But among movable voters, that is those who say their minds could change between now and November, a female running mate is more of an asset for Trump. Almost 9 in 10 say that if Trump or Clinton were to choose a woman as their running mate, it wouldn’t impact their vote either way. For Trump, whose challenges with female voters have produced a nearly 20-point gender gap in overall presidential preferences, choosing a female running mate would be largely a wash: 6% say it would make them more likely to back him, 4% less likely.

The survey finds just a handful of Republican voters want their presumptive nominee to choose someone just like him. Warren is viewed favorably by a narrow majority of Democrats — 51% have a positive impression, 14% an unfavorable one and 35% aren’t sure — but her appeal is slightly larger among those already behind Clinton (54% have a favorable view) than among those who would rather see Sanders as the party’s nominee (48% favorable)