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Best of Howard Schwartz

Gaming Guru

 

Angles, habits, facts focus of three new horse bet books

18 October 2007

Savvy horseplayers continuously prowl the universe for new ideas, an angle, fact, a statistics that can make them smarter or more confident in their research and at the betting windows. Sadly, though, it's getting quite rare to see anything new on betting thoroughbreds. Luckily, there's a surprise around the corner this month because two new books offer new ideas, while a third is a great research tool and time-saver. The three are "Smart Angles Betting for Thoroughbred Handicapping" by Marc Levy (116 pages, paperbound, $24.95), "The 10 Habits of Highly Effective Horseplayers" by Charl Pretorius (127 pages, paperbound, $18) and the 2007 edition of Daily Racing Form's "The American Racing Manual" (584 pages, hard bound, $40).

Levy, who hails from Sugarland, TX, learned to read a racing form at age five in New Orleans, and until recently, bought horses. His book is truly about angles-what he believes is the smart way to bet the ponies. He includes more than three dozen factors and angles, with a nice array of material on watching the toteboard.

He wants to teach you when to bet and when to pass, plus he emphasizes the importance of money management. Levy covers a lot of territory.

The book does not contain past performances or sample races. Chapters include material on trip handicapping, the class drop, first time starters, track bias, body language, turf racing, exotic betting including the superfecta, value on the board, the tote, the morning line, use of lasix (first and second time), equipment changes, the place and show pool and the maiden special weight dropper. Also, he covers horses for courses, trainers and jockeys, the stretch-out, post positions, the quitter, the Pick 6, field sizes, bad betting habits, tournament handicapping and pedigree.

The book is good for beginners and old pros looking to fill in some informational handicapping gap or for seeking a new idea from a knowledgeable, facts-only handicapper.

Charl Pretorious (an unusual first name spelling of an author from South Africa), is one of his nation's top racing journalists. He admires Steve Davidowitz of the U.S. and Nick Mordin of the United Kingdom and has drawn a good portion of his book from the notes of two dozen expert horseplayers in his own country.

Included in his first two sections we find material related to gathering information, keeping records, developing a rating system, following maidens, researching pedigrees, understanding speed ratings, eliminating non-contenders.

This common-sense approach to handicapping refers to meters, not furlongs, yards or feet. The book is well-priced and the information culled comes from a variety of sources and contains a good amount of racing examples from South African racing forms.

The final book is like an old friend. This is the book's 112th annual edition. It settles arguments, offers details about track configuration, contains information about Beyer Figures since 1992, contains Breeders' Cup facts and figures, major sections on breeding, the progeny of leading freshman, juvenile, broodmare sires for 2006,, fastest clockings at all tracks for 2006, foreign racing information including track profiles and diagrams, records of the greatest horses, pari-mutuel handle year by year plus on and offtrack figures, where to write, call or find information about all North American racetracks, a listing of the top 2006 horses and how they finished plus money earned plus jockey records and purses earned. Overall, a wonderful reference guide, gift item and research tool, for fan or bettor.

Howard Schwartz
Howard Schwartz, the "librarian for gamblers," was the marketing director for Gambler's Book Club in Las Vegas, a position he held from 1979 to 2010, when he retired. Author of hundreds of articles on gambling, his weekly book reviews appear in numerous publications throughout the gaming industry.

Howard Schwartz Websites:

www.gamblersbook.com
Howard Schwartz
Howard Schwartz, the "librarian for gamblers," was the marketing director for Gambler's Book Club in Las Vegas, a position he held from 1979 to 2010, when he retired. Author of hundreds of articles on gambling, his weekly book reviews appear in numerous publications throughout the gaming industry.

Howard Schwartz Websites:

www.gamblersbook.com