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Best of Howard Schwartz

Gaming Guru

 

Eng's Betting on Horse Racing for Dummies -- Smart Buy at GBC

31 March 2005

Richard Eng, who has been writing about thoroughbred racing for more than 20 years (he lives in Las Vegas), has written one of the sharpest, smartest books for newcomers to the sport and those who have a few informational gaps to fill.

His Betting on Horse Racing for Dummies (362 pages, paperbound, $19.99) covers the sport via 26 chunky, well-organized and easy-to-digest chapters. Now the turf editor for the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Eng knows what novices and seasoned pros must understand if they want to make an intelligent decision regarding which horse to bet and why.

He also understands how much has changed over the recent decade in the sport and for bettors, including advanced handicapping resources such as the Beyer Speed Figures, Ragozin Sheets and Thoro-Graph, Brisnet for example; as well as handicapping tournaments and betting by phone or betting in Las Vegas.

Eng doesn't neglect harness racing enthusiasts (10 pages) or quarter horse racing (six pages), for those who need a primer in those areas, but it is the sequence of material and the clarity of writing and his examples and explanations which are the strength of this book.

Thoroughbred racing needs a shot in the arm to revive the sport--new bettors, new marketing, new ideas, fresh energy and Eng's book is a fine start toward education of horseplayers, particularly those who like fast action, compared to the 15 or so minutes they must wait between races. Thoroughbred racing takes thought, research, discipline, patience and money management.

Eng is like the ever-patient teacher we remember in grade school or high school. He has organized chapters explaining the different types of races; how pari-mutuel racing operates; what the various straight or exotic bets are; how to prepare for your first trip to the track; understanding a track's layout and how to observe and learn from what you see during the paddock inspection and post parade.

He outlines the importance of a jockey, the role of trainers, the economics of horse ownership; understanding track surfaces and track biases; the impact of equipment changes plus bandages and the use of lasix.

For many, understanding the Daily Racing Form is still a problem, with its many abbreviations and success depends on how you interpret and apply the statistical material in the Form.

Eng begins to focus on actual handicapping at page 149, with material on finding value in the odds; the importance of post positions, weight, speed, pace and looking for overlays. His discussion of bankroll control or money management is one of the most vital areas, for without it, all horseplayers are lost.

For those who want big payoffs, Eng informs the player about the exacta, quinella, trifecta and superperfecta, then moves to the daily double, pick 3, 4 5 and 6; the place pick all and even future bets, then follows with part-wheels and boxing.

The book offers common sense guidelines and angles to watch for or test. With the growth of national handicapping tournaments, Eng proves background on how it works and how to maintain your focus and survive.

There's a small section on what to expect at your OTB (Off Track Betting) operation; with another chapter on 10 betting angles; 10 best racetracks to visit and 10 common betting mistakes to avoid.

Overall, this is a wonderful book to get a friend or, relative started betting the ponies or one for someone who really doesn't have it all together but always seems to have a challenging question which takes some time to answer. It's a fine gift item for someone or a solid refresher course for you.

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