02/08/2008 11:51PM

Snail Mail Call



We recently passed the 2500-comment mark here on Cristblog (congratulations to #2500, Floppydog!), which is more responses in six months than I've gotten through the U. S. Postal Service in what's coming up on a decade at DRF. In fact, what little non-junk regular mail still gets sent to me at 100 Broadway tends to be a little, well, different. Three such pieces from the past week were forwarded to me and arrived today. Let's go through my snail mail together.

Letter #1 came from Massachusetts and appeared to have been composed on a manual typewriter:

Females are in softball, basketball, golf, tennis and several other sports; why not handicapping? I want to speak with someone, DRF or elsewhere, who will agree with me that there will be nothing absurd about an effort that probes the potential for females as serious handicappers. The best of them will qualify to be available as assistants to the serious tournament players.

"Assistants to the serious tournament players" -- like the six women who finished in the top 20 at the NHC????

Letter #2 wasn't so much a letter as a small packet of clippings torn out of the DRF and heavily annotated in red, blue and black ink. The first one that tumbled out was a recent column of mine with tan arrow drawn toward my picture and the note "Mop Head."

The next was a different picture with a blue arrow pointing toward my head and the scrawled comments, "You look stupid," "Are you a stupid head?" and "Please pass this along to Mr. Stupid."

At least I'm not alone. The final clipping was a DRF Simulcast Weekly cover with Steve Davidowitz's name circled in mophead-red ink and the comment "Here is another stupid ass! 80 % of his writing are wrong and stupid."

Alas, my correspondent did not identify himself. The postmark read "Lexington, Ky."

Letter #3 was actually a treat. A Japanese horseplayer who has been trying to translate some American handicapping books for publication in Japan sent along some samples of local mutuel tickets and betting slips:


He has been reading "Exotic Betting" and trying to use the A-B-C-x system of main and backup horses but something seems to have gotten lost in translation:

[In] the New Year Kimpai Handicap I won the exacta (3,660 Yen) and trifecta (Y72,880) and I also won the next day's main race exacta which paid Y111,950 by hooking what you call "A" horse with an "x" horse!

I don't remember advocating precisely such a strategy, since "x" horses are meant to be thrown out; but I'm not going to argue with a Y111,950 exacta.

--For those of you who asked what I thought of Thursday's Breeders' Cup announcement, here's the Sunday column with the subscriber-firewall removed. Back tomorrow with some thoughts on Saturday's stakes races.

Felix Jakubowski More than 1 year ago
To print the s mear against Davidowitz uncalled for: He is a "Racing God", his book Betting Thoroughbreds is one of the finest written to date, I have read it four times and learn something new each time. Sure hope A could reveil some of his knowledge.
Traci More than 1 year ago
Mr. Crist, I agree with your comments on the BC at Santa Anita. I also agree with realist on racing who talks about people not knowing about the bets. I work at the track as a mutuels teller and every day at work, I am amazed by the lack of education about betting! I have to explain even the simplest $2 show bet to customers whose family or employer have purchased a table or section to have a 'day out at the races'. Realist is also correct that the management doesn't care about educating their public. They believe that ignorance of betting will result in people 'spending' more money. I have found the opposite to be true. Once I have explained the different bets, I find that people are more receptive to spending *more* money because they have more confidence in what they are doing. I have proposed, on more than one occasion, that there be a class / seminar on betting that these newbies could attend before they sit down and have their dinner and 'day at the races'. The management attitude was less-than-receptive, even when I suggested they charge an additional fee for the class. Another point I'd like to make is I wish you'd take down the firewalls to the special columns after a period of time so I could read them. I really love reading Jay Hovdey's and your columns because they are very informative. I can't always get a Form because they aren't available in the part of town where I live and I don't go to the track every day. Keep up the good work and I look forward to reading more CristBlog! Yours truly, Traci
Floppydog More than 1 year ago
2,500. I'd missed that comment on the milestone. Cool. 2,500,000 to go. I swear to Seattle Slew, at about the time you were writing the snail mail post, I had a dream that I'd won some sort of Cristblog contest (I can't friggin' remember the details.) Those envelopes are priceless---must frame, Tell everyone to stop salting the sidewalks. Ever walk barefoot on acid? Flop
Dave More than 1 year ago
Dear Steven, I am totally new to racing. I don't yet know the basics. Hopefully the educational material on the DRF site will help. But my question today is regarding the wagering advisory services. Some charge by the day, some by the month, some charge in advance for the year.The ones that I'm aware of that charge by the year say one will make 1000% and more per year net. If the service costs $2500, expect to make $25000, maybe more, beginning with a $500 bankroll. If the service costs $10,000, one should make $100,000. You don't have to know anything about horses or understand the sport, many of their clients don't. That's why they use the service. All you are supposed to do is call in, they tell you what bet to make, and then you go make the bet. So if I got together a group of twenty businessmen who each put up $5000, we could could have 20 or more advisors--a sort of mutual fund of betting advisors, so that incase one advisor was having a bad week or two, the others would make up for it. Then we would make 1000% a year. But is this reality? Would you join and put up $5000 with the expectation of making 1000%, or even 500%, or even 250%? If it is a realistic idea, lets do it. But I am a total novice. Surely I am not the first to think or this. I think there's a flaw somewhere. Hech, you could have put together such a group. With your knowledge, experience, reputation, and connections, you could you could several thousand people join such a group in no time if you could assure them they would net even 100%. And think how much money you would make if you charged a hedge-type management fee! Yet you are not doing it and I don't think that's because you don't like making money as much as the next guy, I think is because the proposition is flawed. I'd be interested to know your thoughts on this, and I'd be glad to hear the thoughts or experiences of anyone else reading this, regarding expensive betting advisory services and 1000% net returns. Thanks, Steve, for having this blog. How else am I supposed to find out what is the reality of the proposition of benefitting from the inside knowledge that the advisories claim to have, and which enables them to earn their clients such hign returns on their investment? Looking forward to your comments --and anyone else's. Dave 2/12/08 My email is: daiv8128@gmail.com
Smash More than 1 year ago
Steve, loved your column on the Breeders' Cup! We have been saying much of the same around the office. I, too, have been wondering why the BC never went back to Woodbine--the Euros would certainly come over for that. What other venues have been in the running recently?
Richhf More than 1 year ago
This Breeders' Cup has been brought to you by Magna Entertainment Group. If that starts showing up on the racing forms... then you can forget about anywhere other than Santa Anita or Gulfstream getting the cup. Let's not make the rules for getting the Breeder's Cup be like the Super Bowl. Yes, fans are more prone to want to attend when it's nice outdoors, but geez. Let's give the fans who live in New York, Toronto, Chicago and Louisville... and even those who live in smaller racing markets a chance to get to host this big day. I'm not saying that we alter the rules for places like Emerald Downs to get the Breeders Cup, but let's give other places a fair chance at hosting these big races. Especially the ones not owned by CDSN or MEG. Especially if they have the means to transform their facilities to host such an event. [and if Monmouth should be overlooked to host another event, how about you throw the Meadowlands a thoroughbred bone?]
Realist on racing More than 1 year ago
What continues to be lost on the (fine folks?) who run racing in the U.S. is the fact that to most new visitors here, the picture of racing while at the track closely resembles that Japanese pamphlet. They look around and see a bunch of writing they don't understand, and they can make out the human figures lined up at the betting windows, and little else. But nobody every does anything about it! Race track management in the U.S. is still stuck in the 1950's when it was just a cash cow that you sat back and allowed to run itself. Today management completes the same exercise, but it runs itself into the ground these days. Maybe it doesn't matter where they run the Breeders' Cup when there are clearly much more prominent problems still not dealt with. An average football game might have 25 people (out of 60,000) arriving who truly know "nothing" about the game. An average day at the track finds at least 25 who have been there for years and still know nothing. There are dozens if not hundreds (out of 2737, or 8294 on a big day) who walk in for the first time and walk out with the discouraging feeling that "the insiders know everything (and have a big edge)". Race track management just doesn't do anything to educate their fan base.
kevroc More than 1 year ago
I agree with Lenny (aparagon4u). I do my homework the night before the races and I've lost many much dinero on cancelled cards... (Turfway Sunday really annoyed me, I was excited to play both pick fours.. had what I felt were live longshots to play). Interested in any reply on this. Cheers, Kevin
Stewart More than 1 year ago
Steve, great article on the blundering BC awarding the Cup to Santa Anita for a second straight year. A quick question, why hasn't the Breeder's Cup gone back to either Arlington or Woodbine for a second time?? I went to the BC at Woodbine and Arlington and thought both venues were well suited for the Breeder's Cup. It seems to me that Arlington in particular is a logical place for a Breeder's Cup once a decade or so. While the late October weather wasn't exactly balmy, Chicago is a terrific city with lots of great restaurants, hotels and attractions, and I was able to travel to Arlington on BC day by train directly from the downtown. The Euros have no difficulty shipping in for Million day each August and give the turf course positive reviews. To me, it makes sense to have a consistent 4 year BC rotation of Belmont, Churchill Downs, Santa Anita and a varying different 4th year venue such as Monmouth, Arlington, Lone Star, Woodbine, Del Mar, Pimlico, etc.
Las vegas More than 1 year ago
Honestly, I thought it was a great idea for SA to host it again in 2009. I was very excited when I first heard it was going there for 2008 let alone for 2 years straight. Maybe it's because I live in Las Vegas and it's an easier flight for me. But I agree with the comment about the weather. Both Belmont (extremely cold) and Monmouth (wet, nasty) were long days. CD wasn't horrible but if they're going to complain about the revenue then I couldn't care if it ever went back there (which, by the way, if any upstanding Louisville citizens are listening, I spent A LOT of money on food and entertainment as well as the hotel taxes etc. so you might want to think about that when you're trying to work things out for the possible future). And let's not evn talk about Lone Star. If you were there you know what a cluster f it all was (remember how you couldn't take your beer back to your seat because they only had a temp liquor license for that small area and the ticket takers were seriously clueless?) Yes, the weather will be beautiful, the track certainly is beautiful, and I can't wait. Thanks BC committee. You get my (and my friends) vote.