News - Videos - Blogs

Dan Pavlik Wins December 1, 2012, Trackside Arlington Park Handicapping Contest

Arlington Park Communications | 03/24/2014 #

Kenny Shaw, Tom Sykes, Chris Whitlock Round Out Top Four

 For Lawyer Dan, as his racetrack friends call him, it was graduation day. 

Dan Pavlik finished third in Arlington’s November 17, 2012, handicapping contest held at Trackside Rockford, accumulating a total of approximately $212 to do so.

Returning for Arlington’s next contest, the December 1, 2012, installment held at Trackside Arlington Park, Pavlik did more than six times better than he did in Rockford, amassing a total of $1,374.02 and finishing first.

“What a good feeling,” Pavlik understated.  “I’ve been playing in most Arlington contests, trying to get back to Las Vegas for the Horse Player World Series (HWS), and I finally began heating up this fall.”  Last year Pavlik won his way to the 2012 HWS and says, “Anyone who has been to the national handicapping tournaments can’t wait to get back there.”

How did Pavlik graduate from third to first? 

“I subscribe to the advice you (this correspondent) regularly give,” Pavlik explained.  “You say one should play these contests using bets one feels are his strengths, plus listen to the race and let the race dictate your moves.

“After handicapping the Gulfstream races, I felt it made sense to go after their pick seven,” Pavlik continued.  “It just seemed like I had a chance to make a little money do a lot of work.”  Another of my dictums.

“After the last leg I ended up with six out of seven, and thought that there must be guys out there with seven-of-seven,” Pavlik surmised.  “Boy, was I surprised when they announced ‘no winners’ and ‘the pick seven pays on six of seven.’

“I had two such consolations, paying $600+ each, which gave me the bulk of my final bankroll,” concluded Pavlik.

His first-place finish earns Pavlik a paid entry, worth $1,500, into the February, 2013, Coast Casino’s Horseplayer World Series (HWS) to be held at The Orleans Resort in Las Vegas.  Pavlik will also receive a travel voucher worth $350.  If he so chooses, Pavlik can accept $1,500 cash in lieu of the Vegas trip. 

Top prize in the HWS is estimated to be $270,000.  In last February’s HWS, prize money was paid down to 60th place. 

Finishing second behind Pavlik was newcomer Kenny Shaw of Plainfield.

“A friend pointed out that Arlington was offering some handicapping contests this fall, so I investigated and made plans to go up to Arlington Trackside and get involved,” Shaw explained.

“I handicapped several tracks and found several races that interested me,” continued Shaw.  “I started out with some Aqueduct and Gulfstream races, then I moved on to Hawthorne and Hollywood.

“I was busy,” admitted Shaw, “in order to accumulate my total of about $1,208.  I collected a trifecta for about $300, hit a $50 exacta bet, and I hit a couple of $100 win bets on lower-odds horses.

“But here’s the bad part,” Shaw cautioned.  “I had my total up to about $1,558.  I knew that was more than the winning total for the previous contest at Rockford, and I considered standing pat with that total, but I reconsidered.

“I had a 9-2 shot that I really liked, so I decided to try to put the contest away by betting $100 across the board on him,” Shaw revealed.  “He ran fourth.  So my high balance would have won, but I dropped back by $300 to finish second.”

Is Shaw deterred?  “Not at all, he declared.  With prize money ($250) included, I made over 14 times my original $100 bankroll, and that’s always a very good day.  So you’ll see me at the Hodgkins parlor on December 15, ready to go again.” 

While Shaw made the journey from Plainfield, third-finisher Tom Sykes came from Beloit, Wisconsin.  “I love these contests, and therefore I don’t mind making the drive at all,” Sykes declared.  “It’s fun to make a day trip out of it and play in different surroundings.  I like the variety.”

And the reward.  “I turned my $100 into almost $800 with prize money ($100) added.  “One of my group of three had her birthday on that day, so I was able to buy a steak dinner for all three of us in Rockford, on the way home, plus I have money left over to fund several more contest bankrolls.”  Contest players are ever the optimists.  

Sykes’ major cashing was an exacta.  “I follow Parx, and I like to think I’m in tune with that track.  I made a straight $100 exacta on a Parx race, it hit, and that’s almost all of my final bankroll of almost $700.

“It’s a drive, but I’ll be at Hodgkins on December 15 if my schedule permits,” Sykes predicted. 

Chris Whitlock finished fourth with a final bankroll of $383.45.  “I didn’t hit anything special to accumulate my total,” he explained. 

“I won on several bets.” Whitlock continued.  “Mainly, I collected a couple of small trifectas.”

Whitlock wins $50 in prize money, bringing his total to over $400, a four-times return on his investment.

"I'm a 'hopeful' for Hodgkins," Whitlock announced.

Will you be joining Shaw, Sykes, and Whitlock at Trackside Hodgkins?  You should because the handicapping seminar and contest are free, and you may win bonus prize money, even a trip to Vegas, for doing something you are going to do anyway:  handicap and wager! 

For a map and directions to Trackside Hodgkins, click here then scroll down and click on Trackside Hodgkins.

To learn all about the Fall, 2012, OTB Tour featuring free handicapping seminars and contests, click here to go to my McMannis Blog then scroll down and read Arlington’s Fall Trackside Parlor Tour Returns with Handicapping Seminars, Contests.

To view the final standings from the Arlington Park Trackside contest, click here.

We want to send you to Las Vegas, and give you prize money, but you can’t win it unless you get in it!  You may be walking around lucky and not even know it!

See you at Trackside Hodgkins located in the Salerno-Pincente Ristoranti on Saturday, December 15, in the banquet room.


M. Scott McMannis

  • Handicapping Seminar and Contest Host, Arlington Park
  • Midwest Correspondent, The HorsePlayer Magazine
  • Owner and Publisher, The McMannis Speed Figure & Trip Note Service Newsletter,  
  •      Arlington Trainer Patterns, and 
  •           Hawthorne Trainer Patterns