10/02/2003 11:00PM

Race books provide more resources for handicappers

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When simulcasting first reared its head in horse racing, Las Vegas was quick to embrace it.

At first, ticket writers wrote up horse bets because the casinos booked the action. It was always an "us versus them" mentality. Once parimutuel wagering came in 1989, the pressure was off the race books.

In theory it was now possible for every horseplayer in your race book to win. The books are rooting for that because winning horseplayers created the betting churn that leads to higher profits.

In Las Vegas, horseplayers receive more free help than anywhere else in the country. The two Las Vegas newspapers, the Review-Journal and Sun, have turf editors who handicap the Southern California tracks.

There are local horse racing radio shows such as the Race Day Las Vegas and Track Talk that cater to horseplayers.

Free race replays can be viewed in Bally's, the Palms, and some other race books.

Handicapping materials like Jerry J's Power Page, Brisnet, and Gordon Jones Easy Pickings sheet are provided free in many race books.

Now, there are two more free selection sheets available in the race books at the Coast Resorts properties and at Bally's and Paris Las Vegas.

Bob Gregorka, race director for Coast Resorts, has contracted with Jon Lindo to produce the daily "Lindo Report" through the Oak Tree meet.

Lindo, formerly of Today's Racing Digest, will make selections, suggest key plays, and give news and notes from Southern California.

"We have a lot of respect for Jon and his expertise," Gregorka said. "We thought it'd be something our players would really like. We're the only game in Las Vegas that roots for all of our players to win. Jon offers our players a little edge that might just help them."

This Wednesday, Lindo and Ralph Siraco of Race Day Las Vegas, will give a free handicapping seminar at the Suncoast race book beginning at 11:30 a.m. There will also be a guaranteed $5,000 handicapping contest with a $10 buy in.

John Avello, director of race and sports at Bally's and Paris Las Vegas, has enlisted syndicated newspaper handicapper Bob Ike. Ike will generate a daily sheet that will also include selections and key plays.

"Anytime you can help the horse handicappers it's beneficial to you," Avello said. "That's what Bob Ike does. I thought his work could be helpful to my players."

Ike also produces a valuable "horses to watch" list based on his expert trip notes.

Richard Eng is the turf editor for the Las Vegas Review-Journal and host of the Race Day Las Vegas Wrap Up Show.