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Russ Winterbotham Wins July 23 Arlington Handicapping Contest

Arlington Park Communications | 03/24/2014 #

Ray Wachala, Tom Reed, Tim Jacobs, Michael Benthaus Round Out Top Five

“It’s déjà vu all over again,” said New York Yankee catcher Yogi Berra, watching Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris hit back-to-back home runs in game after game.

Except this time we are watching Russ Winterbotham win another Arlington handicapping contest with back-to-back home runs in game after game.

Two years ago Winterbotham’s wife, Rosie Johnson, took Winterbotham to Arlington for his July birthday.  Winterbotham played in an Arlington handicapping contest and finished first by hitting the early pick four.

This year the same story line was in play.  “Rosie asked me what I wanted to do for my birthday,” began Winterbotham, “and I reminded her of my successful birthday of two years ago.

“She graciously agreed to not only take me to Arlington again, but to also stake my bankroll for the handicapping contest,” Winterbotham revealed.  Nice birthday presents.

The déjà vu continued. 

“I hit the early pick four, again, and I finished first in the handicapping contest, again,” chuckled Winterbotham.

For turning his birthday present of the $100 bankroll into $904.85, plus prize money that brings his total for the day to almost $1,100, Winterbotham wins a trip to Las Vegas to play in the February, 2012, Coast Casinos Horseplayer World Series (HWS) to be held at The Orleans.  The Arlington-financed package includes an HWS entry, a travel voucher, and hotel accommodations for the four days of the tournament, with a total value of over $2,000.  Therefore, Winterbotham now has the chance to turn his $100 birthday present into as much as $300,000, the estimated top prize in the HWS.  

How did he get this far?  “The pick four is my favorite bet,” Winterbotham revealed.  “I especially like to use just one or two horses in each of the first two legs, then spread more in the second two legs.

“My winning ticket was 1 x 2 x 3 x 7 which is 42 combinations, and my 50-cent ticket paid $898," explained Winterbotham.  “That’s the bulk of my winning final bankroll.

“I started with a single and ended with an ‘all,’” he continued.  “I singled Street Flyer (5-2), got by that race, then remained alive to the last race where obviously I knew I was going to cash and of course was hoping for a long shot.  I got that with W W American, second-longest odds at 12-1.”

Winterbotham relies first on trainer pattern data, then considers speed figures.  “I’ve learned the value of trainer intent, and knowing when and how a trainer tends to get his wins,” he explained.

Winterbotham is very excited about winning the entry to the HWS and the trip to Vegas.  “This is something I have wanted to do for a few years - test my luck and skill against the best in the country. I am grateful to Arlington Park for providing me with this opportunity. I am also grateful to my wife for her tolerance and support of my passion for handicapping. She's the only good luck charm I need!"  Winterbotham has confirmed that Rosie Johnson is accompanying him to Vegas.  That may be the best $100 she ever spent.

Ray Wachala also has reason to feel good about W W American.  “I kept looking at that horse and thinking how he could be on the lead, then never look back,” explained Wachala.  “So, I said to myself, ‘At 12-1 this a contest horse, one with a solid chance and long odds.’

“My original intent was to bet $80 to win on her on one entry, and less on my second entry.” Wachala continued.  “But that would have been a big move for me on just one horse, and I backed off and only bet $50.  That’s how I built the bulk of my final bankroll.

“I’m very pleased to finish second, and I’m containing my natural instinct to browbeat myself for not betting the $80 and winning the contest,” Wachala summarized.  “But I feel I’ve been too conservative in my contest play in the past and, although I’ve made money in contest play over time, I need to step out more like I did last time in order to win one of these.”

Third-place finisher Tom Reed was apologetic.  “This time I don’t have any exciting stories for your interview,” he began.  “My contest play was mostly a grind-it-out method, by necessity since I didn’t find any races to pounce on for contest purposes.

“I’m much more a vertical handicapper and bettor, rather a horizontal one,” Reed explained.  “That was reflected in my play in the contest where I made a bunch of exactas and hit four that accounted for much of my bankroll.  I also had the late daily double to bump up my balance a bit.”

Reed has been a big-dance participant.  “I’ve won my way to the HWS and the NHC (National Handicapping Championship) before, and I thank Arlington for sending me. Believe me, I’ll be back for future Arlington handicapping contests because I really want to get back to Vegas.”

To view the final standings from the July 23 contest, click here.

To see the cumulative standings after four contests in the summer, 2011, AHC series, click here

Your next opportunity to take a FREE chance to win a Las Vegas trip is Saturday, August 20.  For more details go to McMannis Blog by clicking here, scrolling down, and reading Arlington Will Pay You This Summer to Win $300,000.00 Next Winter!

We want to send you to Las Vegas, but you must get in it to win it!  See you August 20!  Contest signup begins at 11:15 AM, followed by my FREE handicapping seminar at noon.  You do not need to be in the contest to attend my seminar.


M. Scott McMannis

  • Handicapping Seminar and Contest Host, Arlington Park

  • Expert Selections Handicapper,

  • Midwest Correspondent, The HorsePlayer Magazine

  • Owner and Publisher, The McMannis Speed Figure & Trip Note Service Newsletter,

  •      And Arlington and Hawthorne Trainer Patterns