02/01/2006 1:00AM

Radio host Grossman signs off after 16 years


The "You Can Bet On It" radio show turned 16 this past year, and though it has been a sweet run, host Larry Grossman is taking his own gambling advice and quitting while he's ahead.

The show, which aired from August through the Super Bowl every football season before going year-round in 2005, has aired the past four seasons on KENO AM-1460, and Friday's show from 2-3 p.m. will be the last for Grossman. Though locally based, the show has also grown a following over the Internet with its affiliations with audiovegas.com and most recently with cardplayer.com.

"When I first started out, there wasn't a show to cover all aspects of gambling, and that's pretty much still true today," said Grossman, who in addition to the main menu of football has always peppered the show with discussions of blackjack, poker, craps, and slots, including interviews with the top experts in every field. "Basically, I wanted to do a show that I wanted to listen to, with people I respect and who brought some dignity to what we do."

Grossman has long tried to expose the "scamdicappers" who boast outrageous winning percentages, and he reprimanded anyone who used the words "guarantee" or "lock."

"I tried to bring out the true picture of sports betting," he said. "It's not easy winning money, and there are no guarantees, but I tried to give a peek inside the tent of what goes on in Vegas on both sides of the counter."

But even though the world of betting is a small part of life and people can get wrapped up in it, Grossman's show also looked at the big picture. He often dedicated shows to people who had died, honoring them in his own way.

The only show he ever ran commercial-free was a musical tribute after 9/11. That is, until this Friday, when he says he will go commercial-free. Guests on the final show will include Art Manteris, the Stations vice president of race and sports book operations, and professional bettor Lem Banker, both of whom have gotten the side and total right in the last two Super Bowls. Also on hand will be Jay Kornegay, the Las Vegas Hilton's sports book director, who will discuss prop bets and a rundown of the consensus selections from handicappers that Grossman had on in the last two weeks.

Grossman said he's not riding off into the sunset, though he probably will spend some sunsets in the Red Rock mountains west of town. He said he plans to travel, as well as continue with his photography and artwork, much of which has to do with poker.

"I'm at a point in my life where I want to smell the roses," Grossman said. "The show is what I've wanted to do and what I've loved to do, but I don't want to get in a rut and 10 years from now, when I might not be as healthy as I am now, look back and wish I had taken this opportunity to do other things. Not enough people take advantage of the time they have."

So even though it's odds-on that Grossman will go out to the "You Can Bet On It" theme song of "Luck Be a Lady," it would also be appropriate to say "Happy Trails to You."

Leroy's Sports Hour takes over

Filling Grossman's time slot starting Monday will be the "Leroy's Sports Hour" with host John Kelly and Leroy's marketing director Jimmy Vaccaro.

Leroy's also has a weekly Friday night show on KDWN AM-720 from 8-9 p.m. That show is in the midst of a "Beat Boston" promotion in which professional bettor Alan Boston is being challenged by handicapper Brent Crow of sportsmemo.com. Boston and Leroy's put up $30,000 vs. $20,000 by Crow and his sponsor, nine.com, in an eight-week contest picking six college basketball games a week (with a best bet worth 1 1/2 points) for the winner-take-all prize.

Boston posted a 12-6 record through the first three weeks of the contest and had 13 1/ 2 points (thanks to a 3-0 record in best bets) to lead Crow, who was 11-7 with a 2-1 record in best bets for 12 points.

The contest wasn't held last week, however, because Boston was attacked on the way to the show at the Riviera. Boston parked his car at the Stardust valet across the street and walked to the Riviera, where he was attacked from behind by two men with a lead pipe. Boston entered the sports book and Vaccaro called for paramedics.

After discussions earlier this week, Boston and Crow agreed to continue the contest.

Presenting the Hooters Casino

The former San Remo on east Tropicana Avenue unveils its new look Friday as the newly themed Hooters Casino-Hotel, owned by the restaurant chain of the same name. Even though the opening is scheduled for Friday, the website at hooterscasinohotel.com says you can get an early look at 9 p.m. Thursday.

Just like the restaurant, waitresses will be wearing the iconic orange outfits. If you want better food than Hooters is known for, there are other options, including Dan Marino's Fine Food and Spirits.

Cleaning out the NHC notebook

With so much going on during last week's Daily Racing Form/National Thoroughbred Racing Association National Handicapping Championship, there's always plenty of leftover information in a reporter's notebook. Here are some tidbits:

* Defending champion Jamie Michelson of West Bloomfield, Mich., finished 86th in the field of 225, with a score of 102.80 based on making 30 mythical $2 win-and-place bets over the two days. Michelson made some noise Friday - and drew the attention of the ESPN2 camera crew - when he had a longshot winner and vaulted into the top 15, but he wasn't able to maintain the momentum this year.

* Dominick Coppla, 87, of Hallandale, Fla., was the oldest competitor and finished 58th with 123.10 points. Lisa Kauffman, 22, of Hacienda Heights, Calif., was the youngest and finished 75th with 109.50.

* No one claimed the bonuses awarded by Churchill Downs Inc., Emerald Downs, or Sam Houston Park. Of the 17 eligible for bigger prizes if they had won the event, William Gonsoulin, 68, of Harahan, La., had the best finish, placing 12th with 200 points to claim $2,500 for being in the top 20. Gonsoulin, who lost his home in Hurricane Katrina, was gracious to all well-wishers, and his strength in facing adversity showed as he kept his sense of humor.

"This is a hard game," he said during a losing streak. "Heck, even when it's easy it's hard."

* The big winners were the insurance companies, who didn't have to pay out the extra money and also got a lot of publicity for offering the bonuses. The unclaimed "Million Dollar Bonus Tour" trophy will go on display at Churchill Downs, according to CDI's Jeremy Clemons.