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Fred Speck, Jr., Wins 10/30/10 Arlington Handicapping Contest at Trackside Arlington Park

Arlington Park Communications | 11/18/2010 #

Dave Shaw, Bob Albanese, Rich Zipp, and Fred Speck, Sr., Round Out Top Five

Last Saturday Arlington Park's Fall, 2010, OTB Tour moved to the Trackside Arlington Park off-track betting facility for the Tour's fourth stop in the series.  In a unique finish Team Speck "bookended" the top five finish positions, meaning the father-son team finished first and fifth.

Each Tour stop features handicapping seminars and contests.  Each handicapping contest is free-standing and prizes are paid to the top five finishers each week.  As the top finisher Speck, Jr., wins a trip to Las Vegas to compete in the February, 2011, Coast Casinos Horse Player World Series (HWS).

Here are the top finishers in last Saturday's contest, plus their winning final balances.

1.  Fred Speck, Jr.      $ 332.05

                                                           2.  Dave Shaw                 301.00

                                                           3.  Bob Albanese            174.50

                                                           4.  Rich Zipp                  109.70

                                                           5.  Fred Speck, Sr.           90.80

"I'm surprised that my total was high for the day," Speck, Jr., responded when notified of his number-one finish.  "With so many people in the contest, I thought a bigger total would be needed."

When I was in the Air Force, our superiors were fond of saying, "You never know, you know."  I doubt they ever realized the illogic. 

But we never know what total will win a contest.  What we do know is this:  Half of all OTB Tour contests are won with a balance above $427, and half below.  The last two contests fell into the "Below" category.

"I'm basically, but not solely, a win bettor," Junior resumed.  "At one time I thought about changing my style, but I've read the blog stories about how Paul Hoffman has won these contests with win bets, so I decided to stick with my approach since I'm comfortable with it."

Junior and his father are regulars at the Arlington live-meet contests and have traveled to most of the Tour stops, as well.  At times Junior's mother, Millicent, and girlfriend, Tammy, are in attendance and also play in the contests.  "It's a fun family outing, whether it's two, three, or four of us," stated Junior. 

Junior's biggest score came after his balance had dwindled to just $14.  "We were heading into race nine with River Bear," he explained.  "You (this correspondent) talked about him as a contest horse, one with a chance at a price.

"You also pointed out how he won a similar race last spring at 49-1, and that brought back memories," continued Junior.  "I liked him that day but got scared off by his high and climbing odds.  I learned my lesson and wasn't about to make that mistake again, so I bet $14 to win on him.  He won at 8-1, nothing like 49-1 but enough to put me back in the game.

"In the last race I bet $20 to win on He's Bonafide (10-1) since he was another contest horse and was the defending champ in the Buck's Boy Handicap," Junior concluded.  "He won and there's my balance.  Now it's on to South Elgin where I will play for prize money and my dad will try to win his way to Vegas and the HWS."

David Shaw won his way to Las Vegas and the HWS during the Spring, 2010, OTB Tour.  Last Saturday he followed his same, all-in strategy.  "I bet all $50 on the first daily double, Gibby's Tornado to Therion, "Shaw began.  "It was a ‘favorites' double at $13.20, but it made the bulk of my ending balance.

"But here's my bad-beat story," Shaw continued.  "I liked a later race and was planning a strategy for part-wheeling it, and even made the bet, but then I went back and cancelled it.  I would have collected about $160 if I had kept the bet, enough to win a second entry into the HWS.

"But I didn't, and that's that," Shaw summarized.  "Actually, I'm glad to hear Fred won.  I have my Vegas trip but he doesn't so I'm glad to hear someone who hasn't won, did."  Camaraderie among competitors.

Bob Albanese scored in the top five just two contests after accomplishing the same feat.  "Yes, one could say I keep sniffing victory, and one day I'll get it," he offered.  Take him at his word.

"My style is to shoot for the home run," Albanese continued.  "That results in a lot of misses compared to hits, but the hits make one competitive in these contests.  My big hit in this contest was a sizeable win bet on a 10-1 shot.  That really boosted my balance but I kept going for more, and ended up third. 

"That's fine, my time is coming," stated Albanese, philosophically.  "In the meantime, I'll be at every Tour stop as my schedule permits.  I'm going to be betting at least $50 anyway, so why not take a shot at the Vegas trip and 50 times on my money?  Plus, I really like going to a different location each Saturday.  It doesn't get stale, like sitting in the same parlor week after week."

Rich Zipp is back.  As a veteran who has gone to Las Vegas tournaments many times, his presence in the top five is never a surprise. 

"I did what I did in the last two races," explained Zipp.  "I had the race 8-9 daily double, Luck With A Kiss to River Bear, which paid about $62.

"I came back in the last race with a three-horse exacta box and He's Bonafide came in over the favorite, St. Maximus Gato, which paid about $78," continued Zipp.

"Any time I can finish in the money in one of these contests, it reassures me that I'm doing things right," Zipp revealed, "and that my day is coming."

Fred Speck, Sr., also has become prominent in contest finishes.  He was often in the money, and in the upper ranks of the cumulative standings, in last summer's series.

Senior's approach is different from Junior's.  "He's mostly a win bettor, and I especially like to play exactas," Senior explained.  "Plus, my son is often slow into stride, conserving capital and waiting for his favorite races to come up.

"Me, I like to break fast from the gate and try to bump my contest account up early so I have more money to work with," revealed Senior.

How did that strategy work for him last time?  "Well, the first part worked well," he answered.  "I hit an early exacta but couldn't add to it, so my balance fell back."

Is Senior going to Las Vegas with his son?  "We've talked about all four of us going," said Senior.  "But I'm intent on winning my own entry so he and I can play the HWS side-by-side."               

To see the complete order of finish, click here then click on McMannis blog and scroll down to the Results story.  The Cumulative Standings story appears just above the Results story.

Your next chance to win a coveted trip to Las Vegas to play in the 2011 HWS is this Saturday when the Tour stops at Trackside South Elgin.  For a complete Fall contest schedule, click here.

For an overview of how the handicapping contest works, click here.

My FREE pre-race handicapping seminar starts approximately one hour before first post.  We will handicap the Hawthorne races with an analysis based on scratches and other late program changes, and with an emphasis on finding ‘contest' horses and races. 

Questions?  Send them to me at

We want to send you to Vegas, but you must get in it to win it!  See you Saturday, November 13, at Trackside South Elgin!!  It just may be your turn to win!!!  You could be walking around lucky and not know it!!!!


M. Scott McMannis

 - Seminar and Contest Coordinator, Arlington Park

 - Expert Selections Handicapper,

 - Midwest Correspondent, The HorsePlayer Magazine

 - Owner/Publisher, Arlington and Hawthorne Trainer Patterns,

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