The question I am most asked is this: Do you bet your own selections? The reference is to my daily handicapping of the Southern California racetracks that appears in this newspaper.
The answer is yes, but with a caveat. I don’t play every day, and, when I do play, I don’t bet on every race.
The reason for my declaration is a preface to a handicapping feat that occurred on Monday.
A good friend, Rich Perloff, is an analyst and handicapper for the TVG network. On Monday, he suggested on-air a Pick 6 ticket for Saratoga costing $80. The ticket, in which he singled the final three winners, won and paid $53,212.
According to the TVG Facebook page, four customers clicked on Perloff’s play on the TVG website, and each won $53,212. Pretty good payday for not doing any work.
However, in the aftermath of Perloff’s outstanding handicapping, he has been criticized on social media because he admittedly did not play his own ticket.
Personally, I am offended for Perloff’s sake because I know the blood, sweat and tears that go into doing the work. To paraphrase Andrew Beyer, noted handicapper and writer for the Daily Racing Form and the Washington Post, doing public handicapping opens one up to public humiliation on a daily basis.
Why Perloff did not play the $80 ticket is irrelevant. Bottom line, he put forth his best effort on behalf of the viewers and his employer, TVG, and suggested a winning ticket.
I have had some good wins in my public handicapping, but did I bet them all? Absolutely not. I get more satisfaction from working hard and hopefully helping, in some small way, my readers cash tickets.
I’m sure Perloff feels likewise. Four TVG customers made a huge killing on Monday. Also, I’m positive that Perloff’s TVG return on investment for 2013 is now very much in the black.
And that’s the only area I have a rub with all this. The TVG handicappers put out dozens, if not hundreds, of expensive plays all year. There is no accounting of how they’re doing. There is an axiom that “a blind squirrel finds an acorn once in a while.” That might apply to Perloff, but maybe it doesn’t. No one is keeping a return-on-investment scorecard. However, I’m sure all of us horseplayers would be happy to stumble upon a $53,212 acorn just one time.
■ WYNN LAS VEGAS — The $200,000 Guaranteed Race Handicapping Challenge is today and Saturday at Wynn Las Vegas. Two seats to the 2014 DRF/NTRA National Handicapping Championship are available. The entry fee is $2,000, and Del Mar and Saratoga will be the two tracks in the contest.
■ JERRY’S NUGGET — For those with a smaller bankroll, Jerry’s Nugget in North Las Vegas offers a $1,000 Del Mar contest each Saturday of the meet. The entry fee is $10, and there is a buy-two, get-one-free option.
Richard Eng’s horse racing column is published Friday in the Las Vegas Review-Journal. He can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter: @richeng4propick.