Usually when you ask a horseplayer how he or she got into racing the answer is the same. An older relative is typically given the credit &ndash; an uncle, an aunt, a grandfather, a father. For 57&#45;year old Pete Acocella, the answer was a little different. When asked how he got into racing, he mentioned an old TV show &ndash; &ldquo;Bowling for Dollars&rdquo; (kids, ask your parents). When the attorney from Great River, N.Y., was a teenager in the mid&#45;1970s, if he and his siblings hadn&rsquo;t given his parents too much grief, they&rsquo;d be rewarded with a show on the family&rsquo;s 9&#45;inch black&#45;and&#45;white TV. That show was &ldquo;Bowling for Dollars&rdquo; on WOR&#45;TV. &ldquo;Immediately after that show, Frank Wright and Charlsie Cantey hosted a program where they would broadcast the late double from the then&#45;active New York racetrack,&rdquo; Acocella said. &ldquo;I enjoyed trying to select the winners and when I found out that there was a publication called the Daily Racing Form where you could find the horse&rsquo;s past performances to base your selections on, my problem/puzzle&#45;solving intrigue was piqued.&rdquo;It was only natural that a game&#45;show lover with an interest in racing and an instinct to solve puzzles would become attracted to handicapping contests. Acocella is a regular online at DRF Tournaments, and he&rsquo;s had top&#45;15 finishes in contests at Laurel Park, Gulfstream, and Monmouth. He&rsquo;s also qualified for the National Horseplayers Championship eight of the nine times he&rsquo;s tried, and an in&#45;the&#45;money finish at that event remains a &ldquo;bucket list&rdquo; item for him.DRFT is one of his favorite places to play. &ldquo;I am a fan of the 10&#45;entry limited contests,&rdquo; he explained, &ldquo;as they present a great opportunity to qualify, competing against what is always a talented but small group of serious, like&#45;minded handicappers.&rdquo;He also likes contests because of how they allow him to keep in touch with racing while still managing his work and spending plenty of time with his family &ndash; his wife, Patty, and their four children, Drew, Ashley, Zach, and Jake. &ldquo;Recreational activities such as handicapping are a difficult commodity to squeeze into such a challenging though rewarding lifestyle,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;Contest play allows me to pursue my passion for the sport and handicapping endeavors, at off and late hours. Most days of competing I am checking the results in the wee hours of the morning, whether contests were live or all&#45;in. And that&rsquo;s just fine by me.&rdquo;This approach of not following along live is going to work a lot better in a game where you have to be best of five or 10 entries and can therefore pick winners in advance, as opposed to tackling a giant field where you&rsquo;re more likely to have to shoot for prices to finish in the money in the contest&rsquo;s final third.As for his handicapping, that same publication he learned about back in the &rsquo;70s is still at the forefront of what he does. &ldquo;I am a pencil&#45;and&#45;past&#45;performance guy,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;I have considered and admire computer&#45;based handicapping programs and would like to work the information processing and analysis that they provide into my repertoire, but have not done so to date.&rdquo;He tries to get an edge through note&#45;taking and taking a holistic approach to the Form. &ldquo;I try to note trends &ndash; has the track been speed favoring or have closers been having greater success? &ndash; and also envision how I see the particular race or races playing out,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;Figures are important, but not definitive. Class is not to be ignored.&rdquo;It&rsquo;s been a long time since &ldquo;Bowling for Dollars&rdquo; went off the air, but its effect on a young Pete Acocella can still be measured to this day. He&rsquo;s been betting for dollars ever since.