06/14/2001 11:00PM

Sports book targets Tuesday horseplayers


An old axiom is "if it ain't broke, don't fix it."

Well, don't tell that to Brad Bryant, race and sports book director for Boulder Station. As the creator of two successful horse racing contests on Tuesdays and Saturdays, he announced that one contest was canceled, but the other improved.

"We started both contests at the same time on the same week," said the man known as 'Boulder Brad.' "We envisioned both being successful, but the Tuesday one has really gained popularity. The players stay with us all day and play. It's turned a dead day into a day as good as a Wednesday or Thursday."

Tuesday's contest is "Pick the Losers" at Philadelphia Park. To win you need to pick a horse in each race that will finish out of the money. Saturday's contest was more complex, based upon the last five races in New York and Southern California.

"We had people say, 'why do it on Saturday when you're already busy?' " Bryant said. "I think we proved them wrong. It was a success, but a lot of those people are here on Saturdays already so we decided to enhance the Tuesday experience."

Bryant opted to cancel Saturday's contest and increase the seeded prize money on Tuesdays from $500 to $1,000. Also, eight prize drawings for betting vouchers and comp dinners were transferred to Tuesdays.

"Last Tuesday we had 88 entries with no carryover," Bryant said. "Before we upped the jackpot to $1,000, we'd get around 50 players. We've never had a two-week carryover. There's no telling what this place would do."

Thus, the trend continues to have handicapping contests on weekdays and allow the chips to fall where they may on Saturdays and Sundays.

For example, two new handicapping contests recently started at Terrible's and the Excalibur were placed on Wednesdays and Fridays, respectively.

Boulder Station put the finishing touches on a 50-seat expansion to its race book.

"The renovation stemmed from business being so good that we ran out of seats," said Bryant. "We added a big-screen TV, and re-did the scratch sheets and results board to further enhance the race book and make it more player-friendly."

In an era when some newer Las Vegas strip casinos have built miniature-sized race books, this is good news.

"If you're a race player where else would you want to play than in Las Vegas?" said Bryant. "You get free drinks, free admission and parking, free overnights, the ability to earn comps for food, free [Daily Racing] Forms and these contests. And wherever you live, there's probably a race book within a few miles of you."

Richard Eng is turf editor for the Las Vegas Review-Journal.