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Joseph McCarthy Wins 10/16/10 Arlington Handicapping Contest at The Mud Bug

Arlington Park Communications | 11/05/2010 #

Gary Gallagher, Rich Glowicki, Ray Wachala, John Tran Round Out Top Five

Last Saturday Arlington Park's Fall, 2010, OTB Tour moved to the Trackside Chicago off-track betting facility for the Tour's third stop in the series.  The Chicago parlor is better known as The Mud Bug, or simply The Bug.

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.  The top finisher 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.  Joseph McCarthy   $ 301.00

                                                           2.  Gary Gallagher         221.10

                                                           3.  Rich Glowicki            169.50

                                                           4.  Ray Wachala             158.70

                                                           5.  John Tran                  152.00

Joe McCarthy decided to try the Arlington handicapping contest for only the second time when our OTB Tour came to his home turf, The Mud Bug.  "I had played in one other contest when I came out to Arlington during the live meet," McCarthy explained.  "I'll certainly be playing in more of them, more frequently, now that I've won one."  There's nothing like the taste of victory.

"I guess one could say that horseracing, and betting on horses, is in my blood, since I was born and raised in Saratoga Springs, New York," offered McCarthy.  "My hobby came with me when I moved to Chicago eight years ago.


"I must say, I am surprised that my total of $301 won the contest," stated McCarthy.  Maybe, maybe not.  Every Tour has at least one winner in the two and/or three hundreds, and the all-time-low winning total is $74.

McCarthy's big hit came in the second race.  "I really liked Native Denouncer (7-1) so I back-wheeled him (used him with all horses in the previous race) in the first daily double," he revealed.  "Midwinter (9-2) won the first race and Native Denouncer won the second, so my $5 double ticket was worth 2-1/2 times $136.  That's it.  That's all I could do that day."

In a way, yes.  McCarthy also wheeled Native Denouncer with the rest of the field in the second-race exacta, but that was not a contest bet, just more money in his pocket.

"I've been to Las Vegas many times but never to play in a national tournament," revealed McCarthy.  "I'm really looking forward to this.  I'll have to talk with some folks who have been there before in order to get some pointers."  Easy enough to do.  On Saturday, December 11, all winners of the Las Vegas trips will meet at Trackside prior to the final contest in the current Fall Tour series for an orientation covering all the questions anyone can have about participating in the HWS.        

Gary Gallagher, a Mud Bug regular, decided to enter a Tour handicapping contest for the first time.  "It made sense to try it, since it was free to enter," explained Gallagher.  "I'm just surprised that my $221 would take second."  We never know, ahead of time, where any balance will place us after the contest is over.  But Gallagher's total, plus his $100 prize money from Arlington, means he made six times over on his beginning bankroll of $50.

"I made several exacta bets in the contest, and hit on three or four races," Gallagher admitted.  "If I had to highlight one race on the card, it would be the last race.

"Well actually, the last two," amended Gallagher.  "I started the late daily double with the eighth race, won by Shake N Quake (3-1), and had the winner of the ninth, Crown of Aragom (5-2).  The double paid a generous $45.40 for $2.

"In the ninth race I had the winner boxed with the second-place horse, Sharp One (9-1), and that exacta paid 58.20 for $2," continued Gallagher.  "Unfortunately, I only had a dollar box.

"I see now where I could have won the contest and be going to Vegas if only I had bet a little more aggressively," Gallagher continued.  "But I guess you hear that often."  Of course.

Gallagher loves to reminisce about his personal history as a race fan.  In May of 1978 he bet Sensitive Prince in the Kentucky Derby, with no luck, but in September he saw where Sensitive Prince was coming to Hawthorne.  ‘I couldn't wait to bet him again, and I told anyone who would listen to bet him," Gallagher admitted, "and not only did I get to see him win, and get to collect, but I got to see him set the track record which still stands (1:39.60 for 1-1/16 miles, 9/23/78)." 

Ray Wachala is the most well-known name in this week's top five.  Wachala has played fairly consistently in Arlington's handicapping contests, on and off track.  He and associate Otto "Spiffy" Yahnke have traveled to almost every Arlington OTB contest.

"The race I liked best was the second," Wachala began.  "I considered the favorite to be vulnerable, and I preferred Native Denouncer (7-1), the eventual winner.  So, I worked all around that horse.

"I started with the early (races one and two) daily double," Wachala began, "and Midwinter to Native Denouncer paid $68 for my dollar ticket.  I also worked around Native Denouncer in the exactas and my $2 on him over Be Brave (8-1) returned $176 for my $2."

Wachala wasn't done there.  "I made a number of 50-cent trifectas using Native Denouncer as my key horse," he continued.  "One of those hit for about $190.

"Therefore, after the second race, my contest card (entry) with those bets on it had a balance of $434, not bad for making small bets," Wachala summarized.  Not bad at all!

"But I didn't stop there," added Wachala.  "I figured I should have at least $500 for the day to have a chance at winning the contest, so I kept going.  If I would have known that $434 was going to be good enough for first place, of course I would have only bet minimums in order to meet contest requirements. It sure is easy to see what should have been done when you have the benefit of 20-20 hindsight.

"But I'll be back next Saturday at Trackside, and every Saturday after that as long as my schedule permits," Wachala concluded.

To see the complete order of finish, click here and scroll down to 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 Arlington Park located at Euclid and Wilke on the SE corner of the Arlington Park property.  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, October 30, at Trackside!!  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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