The Discrimination of a Horseplayer

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Remarkably, there are people in this world who dislike horseplayers and maybe even despise them. Some think of us as total and complete lowlifes, merely because we choose to wager on horses instead of playing poker, the slots, the lottery, or betting on sports.

Being discriminated against for being a horseplayer is nothing new to me. I've dealt with it since I was a kid and still do, on occasion.

Surprisingly, horse racing discrimination can come from all angles, even close friends and family.

Watching the Radio.

As a young child, I took a big interest in my grandfather's horse racing bookmaking operation, and one of the first perks I remember receiving from my inquisitiveness was a case of flash paper. This made me extremely popular with the kids in my neighborhood, and we all agreed that any job or hobby that worked with this magical stuff needed further looking into. One could say that flash paper got me (more) interested in horseracing. Our family usually visited my grandparents in Queens, NY, on the weekends. I'd usually find Granddad in the basement quietly doing his paperwork, and counting money while listening to the races and results on the radio. Once in a while, I'd visit or stay with my grandparents during the week and the basement day scene was very different. Grandpa usually had some loud, wild, and crazy friends over.

Up to a dozen horse enthusiasts would be jumping around and screaming a foot away from the radio in the cellar of his "insurance and real estate" establishment watching it like a TV while pounding the racing form against their hips. You could feel the excitement and intensity, before, during, and after the contest and you couldn't help but notice the obvious emotions of the horseplayers. You could sense the pure joy of the people who had the winner and the sadness of the losers and every reaction in between. The entire scene was beyond exciting and a lot to take in.

You had folks who thought it was a perfect ride on the winner and others who said the race was fixed and their horse got stiffed.

There were cheers, jeers, moans, groans, and the throwing of many foreign and domestic objects, especially during and after a close finish.

Paperwork and money were constantly being exchanged and odds were spoken about non-stop by cigar-smoking men with cool nicknames like Vinny the Butcher, One-Eyed Joey, (he had both eyes, so no idea why), Hot Dog, and The Chicken Man. You couldn't possibly make up characters like these fellows and although they seemed to be having fun, they also seemed very serious. This was no ordinary baseball, football, or hockey game. People were so extremely alive when a race went off and seemed sincerely happy, even if it was for only a few minutes. I'm not sure who wouldn't be impressed no matter how old you were and that was without even seeing a horse!

My grandfather lived only a block from Aqueduct Racetrack and he first brought me there in 1970, when I was ten years old. He and I were the only people in our family who even knew how many legs a racehorse had. We were frowned upon by all of the clan, and most friends and neighbors too, for simply being horseplayers.

You would automatically be classified as a degenerate gambler and you sure weren't ever getting a loan from anybody (except from another horse player) even if it was an emergency. You would surely take that money you said you needed to bring your sick kid to the hospital and run directly to the racetrack. You'd put it on a nag to win and come home with a sob story about the horse stumbling out of the gate and losing by a nose at odds of 100/1.

These non-horseplayers even had a preconceived notion of what a horseplayer looked like and how he acted.

The gambling villain would of course be unshaven and slightly smelly, wear a sleeveless stained white tee shirt, have tattoos, smoke and drink to excess, beat his wife and kids, chase married women around, and partake in drugs and prostitution.

I was stereotyped and categorized negatively by most families I knew and had no idea why. Horse racing was a dark evil shitstain to these folks, even though they lived close to several major racetracks. Aqueduct, Belmont Park, and Roosevelt Raceway were all within 20 miles of my house and Yonkers and The Meadowlands were only an hour away.

I attended a strict Catholic school for 8 years of my youth and cut out one day to attend the races at Aqueduct with another schoolmate. When word of our adventure made its way through the loop of school society, one girl went directly to the nuns and turned us in.

I never made it to the principal's office but Sister Joanne did have a chat with me and I was reminded that gambling, skipping school, and lying about it were mortal sins and I might be spending some time in purgatory for my poor choices. 

Corrupted by a Terrible Sickness.

My parents never went to a racetrack, and never bet a horse, or gambled in their entire existence on this planet. It was the same story for my brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, and cousins.

But I caught the horse fever quite early and took first place as the family's black sheep at just ten years old.

My mother was the daughter of a long-time bookmaker, horse owner, and bettor and had seen quite enough of horse racing and gambling in her day.

She witnessed many fellows lose their businesses, houses, cars, wives, and kids due to horse racing, so she didn't want me involved.

My poor grandfather took some tremendous heat for introducing me to this new sport. Most family members viewed his tutoring like he had taken a pure innocent young soul and brought me over to the dark side and had "corrupted me with his terrible sickness," as my father once put it.

My parents weren't happy with either of us for a long time.

When introduced to my father's friends as a teenager, the meeting would go something like this:

"This is my son, Peter. He's a horseplayer."

His friends always laughed at first but usually ended the introduction by telling me what an evil place the racetrack was and that I should stop going there before I lost everything.

I was confused and didn't know what to make of my "classification." The bad things I heard about the racetrack were all from non-horseplayers and I started to wonder since they didn't play the horses and never went to the racetrack, how did they know it was so evil?

I had many wonderful days logged in at the track with my grandfather at the time and never saw any crazy or devious activity among the horse-playing crowd. Sure, there was the occasional fight and the rare scam or robbery and, you could always count on at least one person a day losing their shit over a ride, ticket mistake, or a disqualification.

But this was NY and that could happen on any given street on any given day about anything.

Horse Racing Brings People Together.

What I did see at the racetrack was the exact opposite of the bad habits of a horseplayer that were described to me.

Unlike my father, my grandfather seemed so proud to introduce me to his friends at the track and I was proud to be there. I was immediately accepted because I WAS a horse player. I also sincerely loved hanging out with these old fellows. Their experiences and stories were incredible and they were always eager to share their vast horse-racing and worldly knowledge. I realized being at the racetrack with my 70-year-old grandfather and his friends was where I wanted to be. There seemed to be respect among horseplayers and a brotherhood like no other. It was almost as if you were soldiers in a war together, sometimes tending to each other's wounds and encouraging each other through the uphill 9-race battle.

When I looked at my grandfather's crowd they were all clean-shaven, wore nice suits and ties, and even smelled good. Everyone seemed to have a great time talking and laughing together and no one was crying, getting beat up, borrowing money for their habit, getting drunk, or chasing anyone's wife.

I spent the next several years observing the masses at the racetracks, always looking for signs of the degenerate horse players I was warned about.

Surprisingly, my summation was that horse racing brought people together. People who might be enemies on the mean streets of New York and looking to stab each other could sometimes be seen sharing a smoke and a racing form under the tote board at Aqueduct. Old winning and losing horse stories were abundant and usually ended with laughter and a slap on the back, or a light punch in the shoulder. The crowd seemed almost respectable and the day pretty wholesome, with a semi-family-like atmosphere.

It was also cool that you could start a conversation with any stranger at the track by asking them who they liked in the upcoming race. This person might turn out to be a total dick and want to fight you or he might provide some valuable insight for the race and become your best friend. Even if you disagree with their assessment, you probably felt good meeting and speaking with another horseplayer and trading picks. Over the years, these social encounters at the track have led to countless new acquaintances, jobs, and even girlfriends for me and I'm 100% sure it also kept me out of a lot of trouble.

I also absorbed how much horseracing kept these older fellows alive. It gave them something to occupy their time and kept them out of the hospital and probably the graveyard, as they never wanted to miss a day of racing or even a single race.

There was no simulcasting back then at the racetracks and the Off-Track Betting parlors were few and far between. So, the Aqueduct and Belmont meetings were a major event in the area and the locals were religious at attending. Old Italian guys would stake out a quiet corner and plop down a big brown oil-stained bag containing snacks and their lunch. They'd talk about how their tomatoes were doing and trade stories of how their figs survived the winter and how bad the Mets (NY baseball team) sucked.

This was their daily life and entire social connection. They hated Mondays and Tuesdays as there was no racing and they didn't know what to do with themselves on those dark days stuck in the house. A few hours of handicapping and a day at the races while socializing filled their day with joy.

It seemed the day wasn't always about winning or losing.

These are some of my ideal memories and initial interpretations of horse racing. Things have changed a bunch since those days but some remain the same. 

Few could argue there is nothing like the thrills encountered and the pure intensity of live horse racing and there never will be anything close. I feel extremely sorry for those who have never bet on a live race. Sadly, some people will live their entire lives without ever experiencing this unique action.

But I feel even sorrier for those who look down on horseracing and horseplayers and perhaps if they spent a day at the track they might change their tune.

For we are not animals, we only bet on them.

By Peter Monaco.

Photo: Freepik 

Top 8 UK Online Casino Games: Experts' Ranking of the Greatest Table Games for 2024

Top 8 UK Online Casino Games: Experts' Ranking of the Greatest Table Games for 2024
Online casinos have become a vibrant hub for both seasoned gamblers and curious newcomers. As the digital gaming landscape evolves, so do the preferences and trends of casino enthusiasts. If you're looking to immerse yourself in the best table games the UK online casino world has to offer in 2024, you're in the right place.

Whether you're drawn to the strategic allure of "Blackjack at FanDuel casino" or the high stakes of poker, let's explore the top ten table games that experts are raving about this year.

1. Blackjack: The Classic Favorite:

Why We Love It: 

Blackjack remains a timeless favorite among casino players and for good reason. The simplicity of its rules combined with the strategic depth makes it an engaging game for both beginners and experts. The thrill of trying to beat the dealer without going over 21 is unmatched. Online platforms have refined the experience, offering various versions like Classic Blackjack, European Blackjack, and Perfect Pairs.

Tips for Success:

• Learn Basic Strategy: Familiarize yourself with basic blackjack strategy to reduce the house edge. 
• Manage Your Bankroll: Set limits to avoid significant losses. 
• Practice Makes Perfect: Use demo modes to hone your skills before betting real money. 

2. Roulette: 

The Wheel of Fortune:

The Allure of the Spin:

Roulette's charm lies in its simplicity and the variety of betting options it offers. Whether you prefer the classic European roulette with its single zero or the American version with an extra double zero, the excitement of watching the ball spin around the wheel never gets old. Betting Strategies.

• Martingale System: 

Double your bet after a loss to recover previous losses:

• Fibonacci System: Use the famous sequence to guide your bets. 
• Try Outside Bets: Lower-risk bets like red/black or odd/even give you a nearly 50% chance of winning. 

3. Baccarat: 

The Sophisticated Choice:

Elegance and Simplicity:

Baccarat, often seen as a game for the elite, has a straightforward objective: bet on the player, banker, or a tie. Its low house edge makes it an attractive choice for players. The online versions, including Live Baccarat, bring the glamorous feel of the game to your screen.

Playing to Win:

• Banker Bet is Best: The banker bet has the lowest house edge 
• Avoid the Tie Bet: Despite its high payout, it has a significantly higher house edge. 
• Know When to Quit: Set winning and losing limits to manage your playtime effectively. 

4. Poker: 

The Game of Skill:

Mastering the Mind Game:

Poker stands out as a game where skill and psychology are as important as luck. Online poker rooms offer a variety of games like Texas Hold'em, Omaha, and Seven-Card Stud. The opportunity to play against real opponents adds a competitive edge.

Poker Pointers:

• Study the Game: 

Understand the rules and strategies of different poker variants:

• Observe Your Opponents: Watch for betting patterns and behaviors. 
• Bluff Wisely: Use bluffing sparingly and strategically. 

5. Craps: 

The High-Energy Dice Game:

Rolling the Dice:

Craps might seem complex at first, but once you get the hang of it, it's incredibly fun. The game is centered around the roll of two dice, and players can make various bets on the outcome. The communal aspect and fast pace make it a favorite in online casinos.

Craps Strategies:

• Pass Line Bet: A good starting point with a lower house edge. 
• Come Bets: Similar to pass line bets but can be placed after the initial roll. 
• Practice Online: Familiarize yourself with the game in demo mode before betting real money. 

6. Sic Bo: 

An Exciting Alternative:

The Thrill of the Unknown:

Sic Bo is a lesser-known but highly engaging dice game. Originating from ancient China, it's easy to learn and offers a variety of betting options. Players bet on the outcome of three dice, making it a game of chance with the potential for significant payouts.

Betting Tips:

• Small and Big Bets: These bets have a higher probability of winning.
• Combination Bets: Riskier but can lead to higher payouts. 
• Understand the Payouts: Familiarize yourself with the different betting options and their respective payouts. 

7. Casino Hold'em: 

The House vs. The Player:

Poker with a Twist:

Casino Hold'em offers a unique twist on traditional poker, where you play against the house rather than other players. This version is perfect for those who enjoy poker but prefer a more straightforward, head-to-head challenge.

Winning Tactics:

• Learn the Hand Rankings: Know the value of different poker hands. 
• Optimal Strategy: Follow a basic strategy chart to make the best decisions. 
• Stay Disciplined: Avoid chasing losses and manage your bankroll effectively.

8. Pai Gow Poker: A Fusion of Cultures:

East Meets West:

Pai Gow Poker combines elements of the ancient Chinese game Pai Gow and traditional poker. Players aim to create two hands (a high hand and a low hand) from seven cards. The game is strategic and offers a slower pace, making it ideal for thoughtful players. 

Playing Smart:

• Understand the Rules: Familiarize yourself with the unique rules of Pai Gow Poker. 
• Focus on Balance: Create two strong hands rather than just one. 
• Banker Advantage: Playing as a banker can give you a slight edge. 

Tips for Playing:

• Understand the Payouts: Different spreads offer different payouts. 
• Stay Conservative: Smaller spreads have a higher probability of winning. 
• Practice Makes Perfect: Get a feel for the game in demo mode before placing real bets. Dive into the Action Today! 

These top ten table games offer a blend of strategy, excitement, and potential rewards that cater to all kinds of players. Whether you're new to the online casino scene or a seasoned pro, there's something here for everyone. So why wait? Dive into these thrilling games and experience the best of what UK online casinos have to offer in 2024.

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American Sports Betting: Live Betting Pros and Cons

American Sports Betting: Live Betting Pros and Cons
Live betting, also known as in-play betting, has revolutionised the sports betting landscape in the United States. This dynamic form of wagering allows bettors to place wagers on sporting events as they unfold, offering a thrilling and interactive experience. As live betting continues to gain popularity, it's crucial to understand its advantages and disadvantages. This article explores the pros and cons of live betting in American sports, providing a comprehensive overview for those considering this exciting form of gambling.

Pros of Live Betting:

Live betting brings several advantages that enhance the overall betting experience, making it an attractive option for many sports enthusiasts. Below are some of the key benefits of live betting:

Enhanced Engagement:

One of the most significant benefits of live betting is the heightened level of engagement it offers. Unlike traditional betting, where wagers are placed before the event starts, live betting allows punters to make decisions in real-time. This in-the-moment aspect can make watching a game more exciting and immersive, as every moment could present a new betting opportunity. Bettors can respond to the unfolding action, making the experience more interactive and engaging. For example, you can bet MLB playoff berths as the season progresses, adding another layer of excitement to following the games.

Increased Betting Opportunities:

Live betting opens up a plethora of new betting opportunities that are not available with pre-match betting. Bettors can place wagers on a wide range of in-game events, such as the next team to score, the outcome of the next play, or the number of goals in a specific period. This variety can make the betting experience more dynamic and offers numerous chances to win throughout the event.

Better Informed Bets:

In-play betting allows punters to make more informed decisions based on the actual performance of the teams or players during the event. Observing the game’s flow, team strategies, and player conditions can provide valuable insights that are not available before the game starts. This can potentially lead to more accurate predictions and, consequently, higher chances of winning.

Hedging and Minimising Losses:

Live betting provides the opportunity to hedge bets and minimise potential losses. If a pre-match bet isn't looking favourable, punters can place an opposing live bet to offset the potential loss. This flexibility can help manage risk more effectively and offer a form of insurance against unfavourable outcomes.

Opportunity for Arbitrage:

Live betting provides unique opportunities for arbitrage, where bettors can exploit differences in odds offered by various bookmakers. As the game progresses, different bookmakers may adjust their odds differently based on the unfolding events. Savvy bettors can place wagers on all possible outcomes across different platforms to guarantee a profit regardless of the result. This strategy, while requiring quick thinking and access to multiple betting accounts, can lead to secure gains without risk.

Cons of Live Betting:

Despite its exciting nature, live betting comes with its own set of challenges that bettors need to be aware of. Here are some of the main drawbacks of live betting:

Impulsive Decisions:

The fast-paced nature of live betting can lead to impulsive decisions. With the action unfolding rapidly, bettors might feel pressured to place wagers quickly without thoroughly analysing the situation. This can result in poor judgement and potentially significant losses. The excitement and urgency of live betting can sometimes override rational decision-making.

Higher Potential for Losses:

While live betting can offer numerous opportunities for profit, it also carries a higher risk of losses. The constant flow of betting options can tempt bettors to place more wagers than they would in traditional betting, increasing their exposure to risk. Additionally, the need for quick decisions can lead to mistakes and impulsivity, which can be detrimental to one's bankroll.

Complexity and Overwhelm:

Live betting can be complex and overwhelming, especially for novice bettors. The sheer volume of available markets and the rapid pace of the action can make it challenging to keep track of everything. This complexity can lead to confusion and mistakes, particularly for those who are not experienced in in-play betting. It's crucial for bettors to stay focused and disciplined to avoid becoming overwhelmed.

Technological Reliability:

Live betting relies heavily on technology, including internet connectivity and the performance of betting platforms. Technical issues, such as lag or site crashes, can disrupt the betting experience and result in missed opportunities or errors in placing wagers. Bettors need to ensure they have a reliable internet connection and choose reputable betting platforms to minimise the risk of technical problems.


Live betting in American sports offers an exhilarating and engaging experience, with numerous advantages such as enhanced engagement, increased betting opportunities, better-informed wagers, and the ability to hedge and minimise losses.

However, it also comes with its set of challenges, including the potential for impulsive decisions, higher risk of losses, complexity, and reliance on technology. As with any form of gambling, it's essential to approach live betting with a clear strategy, discipline, and an understanding of both its benefits and drawbacks. By doing so, bettors can enjoy the thrill of live betting while managing risks effectively.

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Betting on Belmont Stakes 2024: Everything You Need To Know

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Betting on Belmont Stakes 2024: Everything You Need To Know
The Belmont Stakes, the final leg of the Triple Crown, is always an exhilarating event for horse racing enthusiasts. The 2024 Belmont Stakes, scheduled for June 8 at Saratoga Race Course, promises to be a unique edition with several changes and new contenders. Here's everything you need to know to place informed bets on this prestigious race. 

Introduction to Belmont Stakes 2024

This year, Belmont Stakes is being run at Saratoga Race Course. It is usually held at Belmont Park but has been moved due to renovations at its usual venue. This year marks the 156th running of the race, which will cover a distance of 1-1/4 miles (10 furlongs). The shift in location and distance adds an extra layer of intrigue for bettors, as the traditional “long-distance horses” aren’t as much of an emphasis this year. With a field of ten promising horses, including the favourite Sierra Leone, understanding the nuances of this race will enhance your betting strategy.

Key Contenders:

There are three key contenders you should consider according to the Belmont Stakes current available bets

Sierra Leone:

Sierra Leone, the 9-5 morning line favourite, is trained by Chad C. Brown and ridden by Flavien Prat. With an impressive track record and strong performance in previous races, Sierra Leone is expected to be a formidable competitor. At the Kentucky Derby, the horse finished second by a nose, and this track provides the same distance as Churchill Downs. Bettors should closely monitor this horse's odds and consider its consistency and training background. 


Mindframe, another strong contender, trained by Todd A. Pletcher and ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr., has been given 7-2 odds. Pletcher's reputation for preparing horses for big races combined with Ortiz Jr.'s skillful riding makes Mindframe a horse to watch. Analyzing its past performances and training regimen can provide valuable insights for bettors.

Mystik Dan:

Mystik Dan, trained by Kenneth G. McPeek and ridden by Brian Hernandez Jr., also presents a strong case with 5-1 odds. He narrowly beat Sierra Leone and Forever Young to clinch the 2024 Kentucky Derby and finished runner-up to Seize the Grey at the Preakness. Known for its resilience and competitive spirit, Mystik Dan has the potential to surprise many. Evaluating its recent races and training reports can aid in making an informed betting decision.

Other Notable Entries:

• Seize the Grey (8-1): Trained by D. Wayne Lukas and ridden by Jamie Torres, this horse could be a dark horse in the race. It won the Preakness Stakes this year, so anything is possible. Its odds suggest a decent chance, making it worth considering for exotic bets. 

• Resilience (10-1): With Junior Alvarado as the jockey and William I. Mott as the trainer, Resilience has the potential to perform well. Mott's expertise and Alvarado's experience can influence this horse’s performance positively. 

• Antiquarian (12-1) and Honor Marie (12-1): Both trained by notable trainers, these horses could be interesting picks for place and show bets.

Betting Strategies:

In order to have a higher chance of winning in this year’s Belmont Stakes, ensure you follow a betting strategy.

Understanding the Odds:

The odds in horse racing indicate the probability of a horse winning the race. Favourites typically have lower odds, reflecting their higher chances of winning. However, betting on underdogs with higher odds can yield significant returns if they perform well. For instance, a bet on Sierra Leone (9-5) is safer but offers lower returns compared to a bet on Dornoch (15-

1)Types of Bets:

• Win: Betting on a horse to finish first. 
• Place: Betting on a horse to finish first or second. 
• Show: Betting on a horse to finish in the top three. 
• Exacta: Predicting the first and second-place horses in exact order.
• Trifecta: Predicting the first three finishers in exact order. 
• Superfecta: Predicting the first four finishers in exact order. 

Analyzing Form and Performance:

Before placing bets, examine each horse's recent form, performance in similar races, and training reports. Horses that have consistently performed well and have shown improvement in their training sessions are more likely to succeed.

Track Conditions:

Saratoga Race Course's track conditions can significantly impact race outcomes. Horses that have performed well on similar tracks or under similar conditions should be given priority in your betting strategy. As of now, the forecast in Saratoga on Saturday looks promising, with partly cloudy skies and only a slight chance of a passing shower.

Betting Tips:

1. Diversify Your Bets: Instead of placing all your money on a single horse, spread your bets across different types (win, place, show) and horses to increase your chances of winning. 

2. Monitor Odds Fluctuations: Odds can change leading up to the race based on various factors. Keep an eye on these changes as they can provide insights into which horses are gaining confidence among bettors. 

3. Research Jockeys and Trainers: Experienced jockeys and successful trainers can significantly influence a horse’s performance. Betting on horses with top jockeys and trainers can increase your chances of success. 

4. Consider Exotic Bets: While riskier, exotic bets like exacta, trifecta, and superfecta can offer substantial payouts. Combining favourites with long shots in these bets can be a lucrative strategy.


Betting on the Belmont Stakes 2024 is an exciting opportunity for horse racing enthusiasts. With the race being held at Saratoga Race Course for the first time in decades, this year's event is unique. Understanding the key contenders, betting strategies, and tips can help you make informed decisions and enhance your betting experience.

Photo: Unsplash

How To Beat The Bookie

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How To Beat The Bookie
With my grandfather being a successful horse racing bookie in Queens, NY, for over 40 years, I always felt I had the bookmaking gene in my blood.

As a kid, I found his work to be extremely intriguing.

The entire concept of trying to win money from people who were trying to win money themselves seemed fascinating.

So when the local Off-Track Betting (OTB) parlors on Long Island announced they wouldn't be taking bets on the 1979 Kentucky Derby due to a contract dispute, I could hardly believe my good fortune. I would follow in my granddad's footsteps and take bets on the Deby and clean up.

The plan seemed well set up. There were countless bookies around who took sports bets but no one wanted to get involved with booking horse bets.  

Most of these Derby bettors were once-a-year players who didn't know squat about horses and played names, numbers, and saddle cloth colors.

Of course, the first person I told about my plan was my Grandfather and I sure had a few questions.

He seemed startled and dumbfounded at my idea at first and when he returned to reality he started to shake his head and moan. I waited for him to stop moaning so I could speak my piece but he never did, so I interrupted his minor seizure.

"It's only one race, Pop, and it's a big field. If OTB won't take their money, I sure will."

He continued to shake his head but at least he stopped moaning.

"I'm going to do it anyway, so you might as well help me," I pleaded.

"What do you need to know,?" he asked. 

I remembered the few bookies that dabbled in horseracing only took win bets but I also knew people like to bet their Derby horses across the board.

"Do I just take win bets? What about place and show? What about exactas?"

"That's easy," he said with a small smile. "Take em' ALL!"

"There's a million ways to lose a race but only one way to the winner's circle. If you're gonna take bets on the Derby, you gotta take them all." Having heard what I wanted to hear, I took his words as a blessing of sorts and went on my merry way. But I should've listened better to the last piece of advice on my way out: "Just keep the books straight and have enough loot under the mattress, just in case. And, don't touch ANY of the money till after the race."

At 19, I didn't know many horseplayers my age so I went to the local OTB to recruit some big players.

But no one took me seriously and I got laughed out of the building. I knew I needed another plan.

So, I took full advantage of being a very active social butterfly and pitched my new project at parties, concerts, sporting events, and bars.

I had a decent spiel where I'd tell people how cool it would be to have a ticket on the Kentucky Derby winner. It'd be something they could tell their children about and they would be a part of history in the process.

Surprisingly, it worked and it worked well.

I was beyond busy for a few days when the entries and post positions came out.

I'd write my customer's wagers on a purple pad with the amount circled and initial it. I'd then write the bet down on a separate pad for my records and give them the purple ticket.

I took in a bit over $1,100, mostly in across-the-board wagers and exacta boxes.

Spectacular Bid won the big race by a few lengths at odds of .60 cents on the dollar and besides a few small show bets that won, not one person had the horse to win, nor the exacta.

I netted a bit over $1,000 and declared myself a professional and successful NY bookmaker at 19 years old.

The following year, the OTB again announced they wouldn't be taking Derby bets.

I was another year deeper into the social and horse racing scenes and most of my customers from the previous year came back and brought their friends, as I was the only game in town. 

I took in about $2,000 but this time most of the wagers were $100 win tickets on various horses. 

A filly was running against the boys that year and a few ladies gave their husbands money to put down on the girl, Genuine Risk.

I went out on Derby Eve to celebrate my future payday, drank way too much, and bought way too many rounds for the bar.

I woke up with a severe and killer hangover and $200 less than I went out with.

I honestly didn't think I could feel any worse and still be alive but as I watched Genuine Risk win the 1980 Kentucky Derby by a length at odds of 13/1, I was even sicker.

I was sure there was a $100 win ticket on my pad somewhere and I also remembered other assorted place and show tickets on Genuine Risk.

As I scrolled down the wagers, I noticed there wasn't only one $100 win ticket but two!

As I wrote down the prices as they appeared on the TV screen, my basic figuring told me that I had to come up with $3,000 and I only had $1,800.

I really didn't have any backup plan. Most of my customers were friends and family, so I thought they'd understand if something like this happened. 

I assumed I could make payments, rake their leaves, or wash their cars or something.

But I didn't know the folks who had tickets on Genuine Risk.

I just sat there staring into space for 5 minutes afterward, trying to take it all in, and noticed through the curtains two unfamiliar cars pull up in my driveway.

Five people emerged from the cars; three were big tattooed biker-type guys and two squealing women clutching two purple tickets from my pad. 

It was one huge freakin' nightmare, except it was real.

I unplugged the phone, closed the curtains, and thought about going out the back door.

But after ignoring the police-type knocks for several minutes, I realized they weren't going away and opened the door to face the music.

I explained to them how it was quite common for shortages to occur in horse racing payoffs and most racing enthusiasts are used to it. I assured them they would eventually get all their money and thanked them for their patience and understanding.

I gave the two ladies $900 each, wrote out a few IOUs for the place and show bets, and set up dates for a payment plan.

I felt very lucky. They seemed like very nice people and were so understanding. We even laughed about the entire situation!

The ladies left first and I escorted the giant men toward the door when one of the men turned around quickly and asked if I ever participated in a threesome.

I laughed and said I had not.

"Well, Petey, this is your lucky day," he said. "You're about to have your first!:

Looking back now, I don't think that big biker guy could count for shit.

I'm pretty sure when two guys are holding you and one is hitting you, it's called a foursome.

I took a well-deserved beating less than 10 minutes after the 1980 Kentucky Derby was declared official and I learned a bunch that day.

I never told my grandfather about the loss or the beating but he wasn't a stupid man by any means and sometimes two black eyes and a bad limp can be a dead giveaway.

My stupid young self healed up just fine and I had everyone paid off in a few weeks but the embarrassment still lingers today.

And, I'm still not sure if you're supposed to count yourself in these things but I also found out I didn't like a threesome or a foursome.

Author: Peter Monaco 

Coral Bookmakers: A Comprehensive Look at Their Betting Operation

Coral Bookmakers, one of the leading names in the betting industry, has a rich history that dates back to 1926. Renowned for its extensive betting operations, Coral has successfully combined a robust brick-and-mortar presence with a cutting-edge online platform, offering punters a diverse and engaging betting experience. For new and existing customers, Coral frequently provides enticing promotions, including the popular Coral free bet offer, which adds an extra layer of excitement to their betting endeavors.

Brick-and-Mortar Presence

Coral's physical betting shops are a familiar sight on high streets across the United Kingdom. With over 1,800 locations, these shops provide a traditional betting environment where customers can place bets on a variety of sports, ranging from football and horse racing to tennis and boxing. The in-shop experience is enhanced by knowledgeable staff, who offer insights and assistance, making it accessible even for novice bettors. Additionally, these venues are equipped with state-of-the-art facilities, including large screens displaying live sports events, and self-service betting terminals, allowing for a seamless and immersive betting experience.

Online Platform

Coral has also made significant strides in the digital arena, developing a comprehensive online betting platform that caters to the modern bettor. The website and mobile app offer a wide range of betting options, live streaming of major sports events, and innovative features like in-play betting, where customers can place bets on ongoing matches. The user-friendly interface ensures that placing bets, navigating through different markets, and managing accounts are all straightforward processes.

The online platform is complemented by Coral's commitment to customer satisfaction. This includes regular updates to the website and app, a variety of secure payment methods, and a dedicated customer service team available 24/7. The convenience of betting from anywhere, combined with the excitement of numerous betting options, has solidified Coral's position as a top choice for online punters.

Promotions and Offers

One of the key attractions for Coral’s customers is their range of promotions and offers. The Coral free bet offer, for instance, is particularly popular. This promotion provides new customers with a free bet when they sign up and make their first deposit. Existing customers aren’t left out either, with ongoing promotions that include enhanced odds, cashback deals, and accumulator bonuses. These offers not only attract new customers but also encourage loyalty among existing ones, enhancing their overall betting experience.

Big Wins and Memorable Moments

Coral’s history is replete with stories of punters who have turned small bets into significant wins. One such memorable story involves a regular customer who placed a modest £1 bet on an accumulator comprising 12 football matches. To the astonishment of many, all 12 predictions came true, resulting in an astounding payout of over £100,000. Such stories not only highlight the potential thrill and reward of betting but also reinforce Coral’s reputation as a bookmaker where dreams can indeed come true.


Coral Bookmakers has masterfully bridged the gap between traditional and modern betting through its expansive network of high street shops and a sophisticated online platform. By offering a range of promotions like the Coral free bet offer, they cater to both new and seasoned bettors. With a commitment to customer satisfaction and a legacy of life-changing wins, Coral continues to be a dominant force in the betting industry, providing a reliable and exhilarating betting experience for all.

Photo: JC Fakenham Races 2024 

Horse Racing Can Be Bizarre

Horse Racing Can Be Bizarre
The oddities in horse racing are never-ending and every day can surely be an adventure when hanging around the ovals. Here are a few strange tales that are 100% true but might be unbelievable unless you're a horseplayer.

One Very Bad Day 

On July 19, 2016, jockey Chris Meehan was beyond excited, as he had a live mount in a hurdle race at Mercano Racecourse in Italy and thought he had a good shot at winning.

But his dream of having a winning day (and his face) was shattered when his horse went down trying to clear a fence. Meehan took a hoof to the old kisser in the ordeal and lay in the dirt unconscious with a broken nose and a huge gash on his chin. When track personnel got to him, it didn't look good.

"The starter came over to help me because I was on my back and choking on my own blood," Meehan told the Racing Post in a 2016 interview.

The consensus among the track people there was that he was messed up badly and needed an ambulance immediately. Meehan was probably relieved that the ambulance was on its way and thought his day couldn't possibly get any worse but he would be dead wrong.

"He (the starter) put me in the recovery position with my right leg straight out," he said. "The racecourse ambulance came up alongside us and reversed right over my leg! Then they stopped the ambulance on top of my leg, so I started screaming. My leg just broke straight away. Everyone around me had to push the ambulance off me."

Chris Meehan came away from the spill with a broken nose and a gash on his chin that required 27 stitches to close. But he also received a new and exciting broken leg and a dislocated ankle, courtesy of the top-notch ambulance crew that came to help him but ran him over instead.

"What makes it worse is that my father, brother, and auntie; are all ambulance people," Meehan said with a laugh.

"It's all so bizarre. You just couldn't make it up."

Meehan is 100% correct but what's even more bizarre, is four months after the accident, when he was just about healed up, he broke the same leg in a trampoline accident while training for his comeback. 

Horse Wins, Yet No One Had a Winning Ticket?

On December 17, 1934, at Charles Town Racecourse in West Virginia, a winning payout was made on the second-place finisher. This might not sound odd at first but this wasn't a case where the winner was disqualified but rather a very rare situation where no one had a bet on the first-place finisher.

Sweep Vessel crossed the wire 5-lengths to the good but there was a long delay in posting the results while the confused stewards decided what to do. They eventually awarded the victory to the second-place finisher, Tiny Miss. She was declared the official winner and the stewards ignored the 5-length score by Sweep Vessell, as far as the win payoff.

Sweep Vessell would have returned $1,318.50 for a single $2 win ticket, had there been one. 

The tote board showed Tiny Miss returning $6.80, $3.20, and $2.40, across the board. Sweep Vessel paid $105.80 and $7.60, while Quick Wit paid $2.60 to show.

After the race, the track posted signs trying to explain the weirdness and distribution of the pools but fans were confused and angry, as most had already thrown their tickets away.

There were reports of people storming the steward's office, fights breaking out, and of course, a lot of overturned garbage cans and knee-deep refuse from winning ticket seekers.

Jock Takes 28 Years to Win First Race, Then Immediately Retires

Anthony Knott was a jockey who rode on the southwest side of England for a little over 28 years. In all that time, this poor bastard never won a race. In fact, Knott never even hit the board, as his all-time career-best placing was a very distant fifth-place finish.

But in 2008, at Wincanton Racecourse, the rider found himself in very unfamiliar territory. He was actually in front of an entire field heading for home with only a furlong remaining and it looked like he would finally score that elusive first win.

But old losing habits are hard to break and even though Anthony Knott looked home for sure, he would still make it a challenge to get to the winner's circle.

The crowd at Wincanton was fully aware that Knott had never won a race and they stood, cheered, and clapped as horse and rider went by the stands in front by several lengths.

Knott acknowledged the congregation by waving back, standing up in the irons and pumping his fist.

But as he was celebrating, his antics enabled a horse to sneak up the rail and almost steal away his first victory.

"It was just pure instinct to stand up and give them a wave," Knott said in an interview after the race. "I wasn't thinking straight for a minute. Then I thought, 'O God, it's not over yet,' and I could hear another horse coming up behind me, so I sat back down and got on with it."

After 28 years of riding and finally bagging his first and only winner, Knott immediately retired from race riding right there and then.

"I just wanted to win one race," he said. "I've done that now, so I think I'll leave it at that." 

Big Balls on a Foggy Day

On January 11, 1990, on an extremely foggy day at Louisianna Downs, jockey Sylvester Carmouche was loaded into the gate for the one-mile, $2,500 claiming event aboard his mount Landing Officer.

The horse was 23/1 and sported a dismal racing record.

It's unclear whether the horse stumbled at the start or completely missed the break but the horse and rider were hopelessly left behind.

Apparently, Carmouche pulled up his horse, made a left turn through the infield, and waited for the other horses to come down the stretch.

Carmouche then rode his mount out in front of the pack and won by 24 lengths, only 1.2 seconds off the track record.

But there were immediate problems and concerns with the rider's romping win. Two out of the nine jocks in the race lodged objections and the remaining riders were questioned and not one of them remembers Carmouche ever passing them.

The stewards knew something wasn't right and called the track vet to look at Landing Officer.

He relayed that there wasn't a speck of mud on the horse, his bandages, or the jockey, and Landing Officer wasn't even breathing hard.

A review of the videotape was inconclusive as all you could see was a screen full of fog.

Carmouch pleaded his case but by a vote of 7 to 1, the Louisiana Racing Commission banned the cheating rider from all US racetracks for ten years. He was also arrested and charged with felony theft by fraud.

After a year in the court system, he was sentenced to 30 days in jail but it was later reduced to 10 and a $250 fine.

After 8-1/2 years, the ban was lifted and Sylvester Carmouche made a brief comeback in 1998, and according to Equibase his last his last ride was in 2010.

Yes, folks, everyday can be a true adventure at the racetrack.

By Peter Monaco

Photo: Freepik

Every On Course Gambler Needs A Trusty Old Chromebook

Image by freepik

Every On Course Gambler Needs A Trusty Old Chromebook
It’s lovely to have a day at the horse races. However, the alternative to working at home makes betting on course feel kind of alien. Not only that, but you can be prone to making mistakes by either losing track of time or being caught up in the razzmatazz.

Who doesn’t enjoy a bit of razzmatazz?

The amount of times I’ve had a day at Great Yarmouth races and missed a winner is too many. It can be very frustrating. Who is to blame? You’ve guessed it, myself. But that’s the problem of trying to enjoy a day at the races. It may well be travelling via train to your destination. In the pub before heading to the course. Or you simply get sidetracked by the atmosphere and all that jazz. 

I have visions of the late Lionel Blair doing the light fantastic as we speak. 

The way to maintain professionalism at the racecourse is as much to do with your planning and approach as anything else. And it is reason why you shouldn’t take a day at the races as reason to let your standards slip. From experience, I can tell you it happen all too often which is no surprise as there are lots of distractions. 

Planning is key. 

Without a plan of attack we are like a headless chicken. You simply run until you hit something or you run out of blood. Yes, I know that is a rather illustrious depiction of a day at the races. It sounds more like a sacrifice. 

You don’t want to be laid on the alter.

Anyway, I think you get what I’m talking about. 

I purchased an old Chromebook from Wowcher. It cost about £70 including postage. It is some reconditioned number but it works well and the battery lasts for four hours or so. Sure, I could use my iPhone but I hate trying to use that as the text is so small it strains my eyes and the information on the Racing Post and Betfair, in its simplified format, just doesn’t work very well. Also, the amount of times the battery has run down is unending. There doesn’t seem to be a phone on the market which holds a decent charge. 

I can’t be doing with it. 

So the 11.6 inch Chromebook is ideal. 

I have a retro Gola sports bag which is perfect to fit all of the essentials. 

However, you need more than a Chromebook to be professional. You need to be observant and specially those 20 minutes before the start of the race. If you have a busy day of racing selections and potential bets you shouldn’t be anywhere but at home. You cannot do it all and reason why those day’s out need to be picked well. 

I can pair my Chromebook with Wi-Fi data on my phone and sit at the top of the grandstand away from the hustle and bustle. Also, it is an ideal place to watch the horses running down to the start if your bet is at the track. Your trusty binoculars are better than the big screen so another thing to keep in your bag with a shoulder strap. So much better than holding something all day which can be cumbersome. 

If you need to concentrate simply say to your friends or family that you have to concentrate and you will be back in half an hour. They won’t mind as they want you to be professional and enjoy your day. If you back a winner they know they will be for a good drink. 

The handy size of the Chromebook, giving access to all your apps is a brilliant addition to your day at the races. 

I have learned hard lessons far too many times at the racecourse and watching a winner go unbacked is a depressing aspect of what should be an enjoyable day. However, if you plan and are prepared there is no reason to miss out. 

Get a cheap little Chromebook as part of your gambling method. 

It’s the answer to the question. 

Always bet responsibly and with professionalism. 

Photo: Freepik 

The Masterminds of the Track: Top 10 Professional Horse Racing Gamblers in the UK

Image by kues on Freepik
Horse racing, often dubbed as the "Sport of Kings," has a rich history and a dedicated following in the United Kingdom. Amidst the thrill of the racetrack, there exists a select group of individuals whose names are synonymous with success in the world of professional horse racing gambling. These masterminds have made a mark not only for their financial achievements but also for their deep understanding of the sport and their ability to outsmart bookmakers. In this article, we delve into the lives and strategies of the top 10 professional horse racing gamblers in the UK.

1) Phil Bull:

Considered a pioneer in the field of professional gambling, Phil Bull is hailed as one of the greatest horse racing minds in the UK. Born in 1910, Bull founded the Timeform organization, which revolutionized the assessment of horse racing form. His analytical approach to racing, coupled with his mathematical expertise, allowed him to identify value bets and consistently beat the bookmakers. Bull's legacy continues through Timeform, which remains a vital resource for punters seeking informed insights into horse racing.

Books: Phil Bull: The Biography

2) JP McManus:

Known as one of the most successful and influential figures in the world of horse racing, JP McManus is both an owner and a shrewd gambler. With a net worth that rivals some small countries, McManus has a reputation for placing substantial bets on his carefully selected horses. His passion for the sport, combined with a keen eye for talent, has earned him numerous victories at prestigious events like the Cheltenham Festival and the Grand National.

Wikipedia: JP McManus

3) Alex Bird:

Alex Bird was a legendary gambler known for his unparalleled knowledge of horse racing. Born in 1920, Bird gained notoriety for his fearless betting approach and his knack for spotting undervalued horses. His success on the racetrack earned him the nickname "The Banker," reflecting his ability to consistently turn a profit. Bird's impact on the world of horse racing gambling is enduring, and his legacy lives on through the many punters who have drawn inspiration from his strategies.

4) Patrick Veitch:

Patrick Veitch is a mathematician turned professional gambler who achieved fame for his remarkable winning streaks. Veitch, with a background in statistics and probability, applied a systematic approach to horse racing betting. His ability to exploit market inefficiencies and identify mispriced horses led to significant financial success. Veitch's story is a testament to the power of data analysis and disciplined betting strategies in the unpredictable world of horse racing.

5) Harry Findlay:

Harry Findlay is a colorful character in the world of professional gambling, known for his larger-than-life personality and audacious betting style. Findlay has had his fair share of ups and downs but is celebrated for his fearless approach to risk. His success in backing high-profile horses like Denman and the legendary Arkle has solidified his reputation as a daring and successful gambler.

6) Barney Curley:

Barney Curley was a maverick in the world of horse racing gambling, renowned for orchestrating some of the most audacious betting coups in history. His ability to manipulate the system and execute well-coordinated betting schemes earned him both admiration and criticism. Curley's influence on the gambling world extends beyond his winnings, as he inspired a new generation of punters to think outside the box and challenge the status quo.

That Epic Barney Curley Rant 

7) Terry Ramsden:

In the late 1980s, Terry Ramsden gained notoriety for his extravagant lifestyle and his success as a professional gambler. Ramsden's approach involved using his considerable wealth to manipulate betting markets, particularly in the field of horse racing. Despite facing financial challenges later in life, Ramsden's impact on the gambling world is remembered for his daring exploits and unorthodox methods.

8) Dave Nevison:

Dave Nevison, also known as "The Lord," is a respected figure in the world of horse racing gambling. His success is attributed to a combination of astute race analysis, a deep understanding of the betting markets, and a keen eye for value. Nevison's journey from a struggling punter to a successful professional serves as an inspiration for those aspiring to make a mark in the competitive world of horse racing gambling.


9) Alan Potts:

Alan Potts, although not as well-known as some other figures on this list, earned his place among the top horse racing gamblers through consistent success. Potts, a former bookmaker, transitioned to the other side of the betting spectrum and applied his insider knowledge to gain an edge. His strategic approach to betting and understanding of market dynamics allowed him to achieve sustained success in the competitive world of horse racing gambling.

10) Bill Benter:

Bill Benter is a legendary figure in the world of horse racing gambling, known for his groundbreaking use of computer algorithms to predict race outcomes. Benter's analytical approach revolutionized the industry, and he became one of the most successful professional gamblers in the world. His algorithmic models, developed with mathematician Alan Woods, allowed him to consistently outsmart bookmakers and achieve unprecedented success in Hong Kong and beyond.


The world of professional horse racing gambling is filled with intriguing characters, each contributing to the rich tapestry of the sport. From pioneers like Phil Bull to modern-day innovators like Bill Benter, these individuals have left an indelible mark on the industry. Their stories of success, coupled with unique strategies and approaches, serve as a source of inspiration for aspiring punters and highlight the ever-evolving nature of horse racing gambling in the United Kingdom. As the sport continues to captivate enthusiasts worldwide, these masterminds will be remembered for their contributions to the art and science of professional horse racing gambling.