09/18/2002 12:00AM

Vindication bandwagon popular in B.C. futures


John Avello has good news for the people running the Breeders' Cup future bet. Avello said he thinks the Juvenile and Juvenile Fillies pools this weekend will do better than the Sprint and Distaff pools that were held the past two months.

And he should know. As the director of race and sports at the Bally's and Paris hotels on the Las Vegas Strip and the horse racing oddsmaker for all of the Park Place Entertainment hotels in Nevada, Avello is the only bookmaker with fixed future book odds on all eight Breeders' Cup races.

In the first three pools of the B.C. future bet, only the Classic handled more than $50,000. The Sprint and the Distaff both attracted less than $40,000 in nationwide handle over the Labor Day weekend.

"This week's pools won't match the figures for the Classic, but they should bypass the others," Avello said. "The 2-year-old races get people excited more than the Sprint and Distaff, which are pretty wide-open divisions, especially where there are a couple of hot horses. People see a Vindication win a big race or a Santa Catarina" - a strong second in the Del Mar Debutante - "for the fillies, and they bet them down."

Daily Racing Form oddsmaker Mike Watchmaker made the field the 5-1 favorite in the Juvenile, with Sky Mesa at 6-1, Vindication at 8-1, and Whywhywhy at 10-1. Avello has seen a lot of bettors jump on the Vindication bandwagon, betting this son of Seattle Slew down from 4-1 last week to 5-2 after he won the Kentucky Cup Juvenile last Saturday, and Avello thinks he will get bet heavily in the parimutuel pool.

"There's no way in the world that horse is 8-1," Avello said. "When the dust clears, he'll be no higher than 3-1, maybe even 2-1."

Avello said early money on favorites leads to late money on others, helping to drive handle.

"When you get a big favorite, the odds rise on other horses and people take a shot," he said. "We all know the 2-year-olds are volatile."

In the Juvenile Fillies, Watchmaker made the field the 4-1 favorite with Storm Flag Flying at 6-1, Awesome Humor at 8-1, and Santa Catarina at 15-1. Those are also the three favorites at Park Place with Storm Flag Flying dropping last week from 8-1 to 4-1, Awesome Humor holding steady at 6-1, and Santa Catarinia getting bet down from 15-1 to 7-1.

Horseplayers will be watching the parimutuel wagering closely, comparing the odds to those available at the Park Place properties.

One overlay is sure to be found at Park Place. Watchmaker has made Del Mar Futurity winner Icecoldbeeratreds 20-1 in Pool 4, but Avello has raised him to 40-1.

"In my estimation, he is a stone-cold sprinter," Avello said. "I won't mind taking some hits on him at those odds."

Picking pigskin winners

Every Friday afternoon during the football season, the selections of all the Las Vegas Hilton SuperContest participants are available in the sports book, both in printed sheets and with the leaders posted on a board for all to see. Also included is a compilation of how many contestants took each team so bettors can see the consensus plays.

For years, bettors have migrated to the Hilton to see who the top handicappers in town are playing, but they were never as successful as this past Sunday and Monday. The consensus plays went 14-2 against the spread in the NFL (after going only 7-8 on opening weekend), losing only with the Titans and Seahawks. It's no wonder the sports books all over Vegas had a rough weekend. In all, 25 of the 281 entrants went 5-0 in Week 2.

One handicapper is a perfect 10-0 and in sole possession of first place: mywinners.com, which if you log on, takes you to the Jim Feist homepage. Four share second place at 9-1: Winners Inc., whocovers.com, Tony Smith Sports, and an entrant named I Don't Know.

* Sporting News Radio host "Papa" Joe Chevalier went 4-3 with a best-bet winner (Chargers -12 1/2 over the Texans) to eliminate defending champion Bert Osborne (2-5) in the opening match of the $10,000 Stardust Invitational. This week's match, held at 9 p.m. Friday night in the Stardust sports book and aired live on KDWN AM-720, will be between two-time champ Ken White and Houston radio host Lance Zierlein.

* Noel Michaels, who posts his selections along with mine on drf.com, is also off to a hot start in both college and pro football. Michaels went 4-0 in his college plays last weekend and 4-1 in the NFL (losing only with the Redskins on Monday night). In the young season, he is 7-1 in college and 8-2-1 in the pros.

Siraco is the Toast of the Coast

Moving to horse handicapping, Las Vegas Sun turf editor and Race Day Las Vegas radio host Ralph Siraco won the "Toast of the Coast" promotion at the Coast Casinos.

Eight handicappers made $100 in plays on each of the 43 days of the Del Mar meet with selections available to horseplayers each day at The Orleans, Gold Coast, Barbary Coast, and Suncoast.

Siraco's plays showed a profit of $420 and won him the $5,000 winner-take-all prize. Bruno De Julio of Today's Racing Digest was second with a net loss of $34.