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John Preble Wins May 11, 2013, Handicapping Contest at Trackside Waukegan

Arlington Park Communications | 03/24/2014 #

John Steffan and Rich Zipp Round Out The Waukegan Three

Here’s a message for all potential handicapping contest players out there who don’t enter Arlington’s free contests because they think winning requires big totals:  last Saturday’s first-place finisher won a trip to Las Vegas by simply doubling his beginning bankroll.

For John Preble, last Saturday was graduation day.  In the previous Arlington handicapping contest on March 30, Preble finished second. 

“I’m surprised, more than anything,” answered Preble when informed of his first-place finish.  “In the last handicapping contest I came in second with a total of almost $1,500, but this time I win it with a total of $200.  When I walked out of the Waukegan parlor last Saturday, I thought I had no chance at winning anything, other than the $100 I won betting.”

How did he do that?  “Mostly, it was the proceeds from a winning wager on the last pick three at Arlington,” answered Preble. 

His parlay was substantial, when one figures that Preble turned his $100 beginning bankroll into over $2,000 in value.  His win earns him a paid entry into the Boyd Gaming (formerly Coast Casinos) Horse Player World Series (HPWS), accommodations at Boyd’s Orleans Hotel, and a travel voucher.  

“I’ve been to The Orleans before, for their secondary handicapping tournaments, and I’ve paid my own way,” Preble revealed.  “Next March I get to go to their major tournament on Arlington’s dime.  This is a big deal to a long-time horseplayer like me.”

What is long time?  “I started coming to your (this correspondent’s) handicapping seminars when you had the Handicapping Center in the old Arlington building, before it burned down (July 31, 1985),” explained Preble.  Those were the days.

Last Saturday’s second-finisher, John Steffen, and I also go back a long way.  “My brother, Kurt, and I would come to your seminars at Arlington, if you were conducting one,” Steffen reminisced.  “When we saw you were coming to Waukegan, our home parlor, we made it a point to attend.  I’m glad we did – it was fun, just a great time.”

It was a pick four that earned second place for Steffen.  “I decided to play the 50-cent pick four at Belmont,” he explained.  “That hit returned about $200 and accounted for my day’s profit.

Steffen’s final contest bankroll total was $185 and change.  “It’s great to make a little money any time one goes to the races,” Steffen stated.  “It’s even better when Arlington gives me $250 (second-place prize money) for winning $85.  You can be assured I will be playing in future Arlington handicapping contests when my Saturday is free.

Rich Zipp rounds out The Waukegan Three and is also the third contestant with a history with this correspondent.  “I started coming to your seminars at Hawthorne whenever I came out there,” began Zipp.  “That was in the old Handicapping Center you had there, before you designed and moved into the fancy one about a dozen years ago.  It was a great place to get some helpful insights and then spend the day.  I feel the same way about your Arlington handicapping seminars and contests.”

Zipp was pleasantly surprised to finish third.  “All I hit were a couple of doubles at Churchill,” he explained.  “In no way did I think my final total of about $145 would be good for anything, other than for a profit for the day, which is good in itself.”

Zipp echoed an observation offered by Steffen.  “Anyone who is going to bet at least $100 for the day should get in these contests.  It’s free, and you could win something extra with a good day.”

Here’s another observation.  By playing in these contests you will find that you concentrate more, study a little deeper, look for value and attractive risk-reward prospects, and sharpen your money management skills as well as your handicapping skills.  And those improved skills will benefit you all the time, not just in handicapping contests.

Your next chance to do just that is this Saturday, May 18, when we offer the first on-track handicapping contest as part of the 2013 Arlington Handicapping Challenge series.  Contest registration opens at 11:00 AM and closes at 3:00 PM.  The contest begins at 11:30 AM and goes to 6:30 PM.  My pre-race handicapping seminar on the afternoon’s Arlington races begins at approximately noon in the Starting Gate Theater, second floor, next to the Grand Staircase.

For complete contest rules, click here.

To see the final results from last Saturday’s handicapping contest, click here

Check back on this site for updated information regarding Arlington handicapping contests.  To make it easier to stay up to date, you can also send me your email address and I will add you my list of persons who wish to be notified on a regular basis of information related to handicapping seminars and contests.  Send your email address to

If you have any questions about the handicapping seminars and contests, send to me at the same email address,

We want to send you to Las Vegas, but you must get in it to win it.


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