News - Videos - Blogs

Steve Taylor High-Fives Way to Vegas in August 20 Arlington Handicapping Contest

Arlington Park Communications | 03/24/2014 #

Andy Gardner, Mike Rusovick, Ken Maier, Curtis Kimbler Round Out Top Five

It was high fives all around trainer Mike Campbell’s box following last Saturday’s tenth race when Campbell client Steve Taylor hit the Super High Five.  Taylor not only hit the Super High Five, he set a record in doing so. 

Those of you who have gone through my handicapping classes, and those who have read my stories here on my blog, know that I preach “Make a little money do a lot of work.”  Taylor did.

Taylor explains.  “When I play in a handicapping contest, my method is to be very aggressive, to go for a big hit that puts me in contention for the top prize.  I often zero out, but I know to expect that I will end up with little or nothing on my contest card if I miss the home run.

“I like to play down in races, vertical exotic wagers,” Taylor continued.  “A favorite is the Super High Five since it goes the deepest, which means it offers the highest probability of a big payoff. 

“My usual approach is to handicap the race down to six horses then use them in a Super High Five part wheel.  I start with my three top horses in the first and second positions, then I expand to four, then five, then six.  The ticket graphic would be 3 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6.

“This time, however, I only used five horses total,” Taylor revealed.  “The ticket graphic would be 3 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 5.  The math would be 3 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 1 = 24 combinations.  Since the Super High Five is a 10-cent bet, the ticket cost $2.40.”

Let it sink in.  Taylor set a record and did it by turning $2.40 into $3,982.58.  The final odds of the top five horses in the Super High Five, in order, were 9-5, 42-1, 39-1, 3-1, and 4-1.  “How’s that for making a little money do a lot of work?” he asked, rhetorically, of course. 

Expressed in odds, Taylor hit a 1,658-to-one shot.  For his success, he wins an expense-paid trip to Las Vegas to play in next February’s Horseplayer World Series (HWS) put on by Coast Casinos at The Orleans.  The prize package includes a travel voucher, some cash, hotel accommodations at The Orleans, plus an entry into the HWS where the top prize is estimated to be $300,000.  Wouldn’t it be something if Taylor continued to parlay that $2.40 into $300,000.00?

Andy Gardner must also have some kind of record.  Twice in this summer’s contests he has posted a total that would often win, only to settle for runner-up.  But that could ultimately work out. 

On July 9 Gardner finished third with a final bankroll of $1,029.20.  Since half of these contests are won with a total of approximately $800 and up, his total often would have gotten the job done.

Last Saturday Gardner did even better.  His total was higher, $1,287.50, and his final placing was higher, second, but still not good enough.  However, perhaps it will be.  He is now the front-runner for the cumulative standings prize, which is the same Las Vegas prize package as the weekly winners receive.

“And to think I wasn’t even going to come to Arlington and play in the contest last Saturday,” Gardner admitted.  “My records show that I don’t do well when we are hit with heavy rain, like we were that morning, and my first inclination was to stay home.  But the contest got me out there.  I decided I should go, play conservatively, and just try to add to my cumulative total.

“I hit on a couple of small bets early in the card so had built up my balance some,” he continued.  “Then I looked at the Pick Five and decided I could have a decent chance of hitting it with only an $18 investment” Gardner revealed.  “That was conservative in my book, so I made the investment, and I did it with a single, Ville, in the last race.  With consolations, my return was $1,087.”

Play conservatively and turn $100 into over $1,300, prize money included.  Nice day.

Gardner’s nice day pads his lead in the cumulative standings.  “That’s all well and good,” Gardner observed, “but I’m taking nothing for granted.  Everyone has two more chances to have a big day, or two big days, and pass me up.  So I’ll be there for the next contest, trying to win it outright and let the others scramble for the cumulative prize.”   

Mike Rusovick is a familiar name, and face, and voice, on the local contest scene.  “Thanks for the call,” he began when I contacted him to tell him he finished third.

“My story is nothing compared to the top two guys,” he continued.  “My hat’s off to them for what they scored.  Tell them ‘good job, guys.’  And by the way, tell Andy I’m pulling for him to win the next contest and take himself out of the cumulative chase.  That’s if I don’t win the next one, of course.”

Rusovick’s $415 final bankroll came as a result of liking one horse.  “I liked A Nice Slewish Boy (18-1) in the fifth race, so I wheeled him forward in the Daily Double.

“The winner of the sixth was Priceless Shore, the 5-2 second favorite, the double paid $156.80 for $2, and I had it for $7, and that’s it,” Rusovick concluded.    

To view the final standings from the August 20 contest, click here.

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

Your next chance to take a FREE chance to win a Las Vegas trip is Saturday, September 10.  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 September 10!  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