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Rich Mandra Wins 10/9/10 Arlington Handicapping Contest at Hodgkins

Arlington Park Communications | 10/15/2010 #

Paul Georgian, Rich Hoffman, Bob Albanese, and Vince Nissen Make Up Top Five

Last Saturday Arlington Park's Fall, 2010, OTB Tour moved to the Hodgkins off-track betting facility for its second stop in the series.  The Hodgkins parlor is located with the Salerno-Pincente Italian Ristorante.

Each Tour stop features handicapping seminars and contests.  Each Tour 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.  Rich Mandra      $ 1,691.40

                                                            2.  Paul Georgian         992.96

                                                            3.  Rich Hoffman          266.20

                                                            4.  Bob Albanese         254.35

                                                            5.  Vince Nissen           158.60

To see the complete order of finish, click here and scroll down to the Results story.

For Rich Mandra it's been somewhat of a dry spell.  In 2006 through 2008 Mandra won handicapping contests that sent him to the respective next-year HWS.  "After I went the first time, I couldn't wait to get back," Mandra admitted.  "But I wasn't successful in 2009 in earning my way to the 2010 HWS.  It's great to finally earn my way back, this time for 2011 edition."

Mandra had a single hit that made last Saturday's contest for him.  "I was looking for trifectas, superfectas, pick threes and fours, wagers that would stand a good chance of winning for me," he explained.  "Out of all that, I had one bet that hit, the fifth race trifecta.  

"I noticed that three horses in the race had competed against each other before, so I could use that history to make some assumptions about today's race," Mandra continued.  "I ended up keying Denham (5-1) over Serengeti Tour (9-1) and Giant Shift (28-1) to run 2-3 or 3-2. 

"That's the way they came in, although I didn't know it at the moment because I had lost track of one of those horses during the race and was looking for him in the back of the pack at the time he crossed the finish line," Mandra chuckled.  "Naturally, I was delighted, seconds later, when they put the numbers up."

Paul Georgian had a good day, too.  Any time one can turn fifty dollars into almost a thousand dollars, it's a good day by any measure.  Add in prize money and 22 times your money is an even better day.                    

For Georgian, like Mandra, it came down to one bet.  "I had made a few bets during the afternoon but hadn't hit anything," Georgian lamented.  "I thought I could construct a reasonable late pick four ticket, which I did, for a $24 investment.

"Fortunately, that hit and paid just shy of $2,000 for $2, so half of that accounts for my balance for the day," Georgian concluded.

If the name Georgian is familiar, it could be due to the fact that he won the second handicapping contest of the Spring, 2010, OTB Tour.  As contest players say, "He has his ticket to Vegas stamped."

Georgian's second-place finish last Saturday establishes him as the leader, by a sizeable margin, in the net cumulative standings.  To see the cumulative standings, and see where you are in those standings, visit the story on my blog by clicking here and scrolling down to the story.

Rich Hoffman got off to a fast start but couldn't maintain his speed into the stretch.

"I hit the very first pick three and collected close to $300," Hoffman reported.  "However, I could not improve on that balance and actually fell back to about $260.

"I'll settle for that, it's a good day's total," Hoffman summarized.  With prize money Hoffman multiplied his bankroll better than six times over, not a bad day indeed.

"And, congratulations to the first- and second-place winners on a fantastic day," added Hoffman.

Vince Nissen is a relative newcomer to Arlington's handicapping contests.  "I've been a race fan for a long time, but it was just this past summer that I decided to try playing in the contests," explained Nissen.

"And I'm glad I did because contest play has helped my overall handicapping and money management," Nissen added.  "In the contests, I've gradually done better and this is my first time in the top five so I feel real good about that."

Nissen pursued a number of prospective opportunities last Saturday.  "I hit the daily double on races three and four, and it paid about $160 for $2, and I had a $5 ticket on it," he revealed.  "That helped my contest balance, as did my $9 win bet on 16-1 Aspire To Succeed.    

"Unfortunately, I made a number of bets that didn't work, and my balance drifted back down to about $160," Nissen admitted.

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 Arlington's Trackside Chicago OTB, The Mud Bug.  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 16, at The Mud Bug!!  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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