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Best of Howard Schwartz

Gaming Guru

 

Betting longshots, KY. Derby focus of two new books

3 April 2008

Advice often heard about Kentucky Derby time in May is "Never bet the favorite." Over the years, that advice has held true. The average horseplayer would love to connect on a longshot once a day; likewise, the same player enjoys advice on how to find that overlooked beauty to get him even or ahead for the day.

So? So we've got two books that fill the needs of many punters seeking a fresh way of hitting winners. They are Betting the Kentucky Derby (How to Wager and Win on America's Biggest Horse Race) by Dean Keppler (112 pages, paper bound, $14.95) and Bet With the Best 2 -- Longshots by a host of authors and handicappers including Andy Beyer, Steve Davidowitz, Brad Free, Dave Litfin and Lauren Stich (249 pages, hard bound, $29.95).

Author Keppler has more than two decades of handicapping going for him, and he is director of the Daily Racing Form Press. His book contains 10 chapters and includes focus the use of Beyer Speed Figures to evaluate Derby contenders; the post position and track bias which may or may not exist at Churchill Downs; Tomlinson Ratings and Pedigree Handicapping; the reliability of pre-Derby workouts and Derby preps. He moves from there to the big-name jockeys and trainers on Derby Day; later to intra-race and multi-race betting and the Oaks. Keppler examines trainer intentions and preparation for the big day -- what to watch for, patterns, indicators and common denominators for success.

Although a small book and well-priced, it packs a power punch of valuable information for the Kentucky Derby bettor. Information in this book can be applied to racing on a year-round basis.

Some of the biggest names in thoroughbred handicapping literature have contributed to Bet With The Best 2. The first volume, done seven years ago was also well received.

Books concentrating on longshots alone are rare. One exception, Dan Geer's classic Pro Rated Longshots (1975), remains ever popular and sought after. Bet With the Best 2 contains 10 chapters, many race examples to alert you to potential situations and much analysis. You'll find yourself reading this marvelous compendium slowly, armed with a highlighter to isolate key facts. (I do wish the past performance summaries would have been a bit larger; but, there's just so much you can pack onto one page I guess.) A few of the many areas analyzed by this virtual All Star team of writer-handicappers are par times, pace, the Sartin methodology, pace and synthetic surfaces by Tom Brohamer; trainer and track-specific angles by Davidowitz; how to find vulnerable favorites by Litfin; class angles by James Quinn; Stich on hidden turf angles and sires, and Mike Watchmaker who addresses Grade I races in including the Breeders' Cup. One particularly important section by Alan Shuback, a European racing editor, zeroes in on betting foreign imports, including those from South America.

Read this one slowly -- sip it like fine wine. By book's end, you'll be a smarter, more patient handicapper.

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