Expo Speaker Bios
John Avello is director of race and sports operations for Wynn Las Vegas, the Las Vegas Strip’s newest casino, which opened in April 2005. He previously held the same position at Bally’s/Paris Las Vegas, where he worked from 1990 to 2005. He is the creator of the Kentucky Derby and Breeders’Cup future book betting lines for Wynn Las Vegas and is renowned for putting up the early future numbers.
He also is credited with starting head-to-head wagering matchups in racebooks, beginning witha Sunday Silence vs. Easy Goer proposition bet inthe 1989 Kentucky Derby. These matchup bets have grown to become a popular wager in Vegas and have been used by the Breeders’ Cup in a pari-mutuel format.
Avello hosted two Daily Racing Form/NTRA National Handicapping Championship events at Bally’s on his watch, and this is the third DRF Horseplayers Expo he has hosted in Las Vegas. His annual handicapping event, “The Handicapping Challenge,” which is held in August, is considered to be among the best. He has been a resident of Las Vegas since 1979 and is an active member of the Nevada Pari-Mutuel Association Committee.
Andrew Beyer makes his seventh appearance at the national conference on handicapping, which was conducted for the first time in 1983. Beyer, the longtime racing columnist for The Washington Post, still contributes occasionally to that newspaper and to Daily Racing Form while continuing to play the races from Gulfstream Park, Del Mar, and the den of his Washington, D.C., home.
Beyer is perhaps best known as the creator ofthe Beyer Speed Figures and continues to supervise the team that creates those ratings, which debuted in print in The Racing Times in 1991 and have appeared in Daily Racing Form since 1992. His first book, Picking Winners, outlined his development of the speed-figure methodology. He is also the author of My $50,000 Year at the Races, The Winning Horseplayer, and Beyer on Speed.
At the 2004 Horseplayers Expo, Beyer gave are sounding talk on “supertrainers,” a caustic termhe coined. This year he will talk about the handicappers’ adaptation to technology, and the new tools he believes represent the sharpest edge forplayers.
Simon Bray was born in Hertford, England, just outside London, and has been a racing insider since boyhood. His father owned several successful race horses in the 1980s in England, and Bray became fascinated by the racing scene.
His first stint, was as assistant trainer for HenryCecil. When Bray decided to come to the United States in 1992, he found a job with Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott. He worked his way up–from hot- walker to assistant trainer–and was involved in the brilliant two-year campaign of Cigar. Later, he managed a public stable of his own on the tough Southern California circuit.
In November 2004, Bray retired from training. After some freelance assignments, he went to workfull time for TVG as an analyst, where again his lifelong love of horse racing shows through.
Bray’s commentary on TVG reflects a high degree of preparation and insight, especially inregard to maidens and juveniles. In his first appearance at the national conference, Bray will discuss effective approaches to evaluating those horses.
Caton Bredar brings to the conference a lifetime of participation in racing, mainly as a television commentator and journalist. Her television roles have included stops at CBS Sports, Fox Sports, ESPN, and TVG, where she headed that station’s broadcast team at its 1999 launch.
She contributed to an Eclipse Award for Fox Sports Southwest and the Fair Grounds with her 2001 television coverage of the track’s Louisiana Champions Day. Her journalism experience also includes the writing of a handicapping column forthe Chicago Sun-Times. Her career as a simulcast analyst began at Arlington Park, and has continued at Gulfstream Park, Monmouth Park, AtlanticCity, and Calder.
Bredar is the daughter of trainer Ray Metzlerand the granddaughter of Hall of Fame jockey Ted Atkinson. Continuing the family tradition, she obtained an exercise rider’s license at 16 and a trainer’s license at 20. She turned to television in1990. A graduate of Knox College in Galesburg, Ill., Bredar lives in Louisville with her husband, Doug.
Tem Brohamer has had extraordinary influence on pace analysis and the use of pace figuresin combination with speed figures. His 1991 text Pace Handicapping, reissued by DRF Press in 2001, filled a glaring gap in the literature and introduced to the general public the concepts of energy distribution, turn time, velocity ratings, and track profiles.
Brohamer’s essential ideas and practices can befound in his chapter on pace in DRF Press’s Bet With the Best. MPH Software, a collaboration between Brohamer and programmer Ken Massa, is the computerized version of his methodology. The software now selects representative pace lines, an update and advance of the original product.
In 1987, at age 47, Brohamer took an early retirement as an account executive with Pacific Bell to play the races full time. He never looked back, and follows the Southern California circuit year-round, providing a speed- and pace-figure service and weekly updates to a select clientele. He lives in Palm Desert, Calif., with his wife, Shirley.
Kirk Brooks started in the pari-mutuel industry as a Greyhound trainer/owner from 1972 through 1985. During this time he was licensed in several states including New Hampshire, Massachusetts, West Virginia, Colorado and Iowa. In 1985 Brooks began working in the race and sports book industry in Las Vegas. In two short years Brooks worked his way up from writer to director. For the next 10 years Brooks worked as the director of race and sports for major resorts pioneering such ideas as televisions at every station, the first million dollar parlay card and major tote upgrades that are now used all over Las Vegas.
In 1996 Brooks began the process of creating Racing and Gaming Services (RGS). Through his contacts made over the years and his close personal relationship with many players Brooks was uniquely positioned in the industry to understand and meet the need for a telephone service for a niche market of professional players who had a desire to play pari-mutually from their homes or offices. Brooks has always served as RGS’ CEO and managing director.
Toby Callet is the creator and author of the Florida Handicapper’s Sheet, which he started in1995. His reputation for success has found him conducting handicapping seminars from coast to coast, and he has been a featured guest handicapper on Fox Sports Net Pittsburgh and on numerous radioshows.
Among a cluster of roles, Callet has served since the mid-1990s as the official observer for Len Ragozin’s The Sheets at the Florida tracks. He also works as a professional clocker, with his annual Derby workouts published in The Courier-Journal (Louisville), and in 1999 at Gulfstream Park he was instrumental in helping the track to correct the clockings for 79 mistimed races.
Callet’s key selections for the tracks of Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, and California are posted on his website, tobycallet.com.
Gibson Carothers is formerly a board member at Canterbury Park, and the innovator in 1998 of that track’s Claiming Crown. Long before that, he could befound playing the races at Canterbury and elsewhere. He has since moved to San Diego, where he plays the Southern California pick six. Carothers has succeeded with the difficult exotic bet using a method he insistscan be duplicated by many recreational players, and will discuss his approach at the Expo.
Carothers’s professional work began in the field of advertising, where he was responsible for a number of highly identifiable campaigns and brands, including Burger King’s Double Whopper, that company’s answer to McDonald’s Big Mac.
In 2005, Carothers wrote an article for The HorsePlayer magazine on the industry’s failure to recognize the gaming aspects of its product and audience, which received honorable mention in the media Eclipse Award competition.
Matt Carothers has been a lead analyst for TVG from the station’s beginnings in 1999, and last fall played a dual role that included being the on-track simulcast analyst for Hollywood Park. He is the son of Gibson Carothers, and is a definite chip off the old block in his ability to isolate overlays and longer- priced horses.
Carothers lived most of his youth in Minneapolis and then went to college in New Orleans (TulaneUniversity) where, he says, he majored in political science and “minored in Fair Grounds."
On his return to Minneapolis after college, Carothers earned a certificate from a local broadcasting school, then interned at KARE-TV in the TwinCities. When Canterbury reopened in 1994 as a simulcast facility, Carothers took a job announcing raceresults from around the country. With the return of live racing to Canterbury the next year, he became the on-track handicapper and TV host. After three yearsin this role he moved on to Monmouth Park and the Meadowlands in New Jersey. Nearby New York beckoned, however, and Carothers went to work for NewYork City OTB, partnering with legendary track announcer Dave Johnson from a studio at Aqueduct Race Course.
Along with Daily Racing Form's Mike Watchmakerin the East, Carothers is the Western voice on the provocative and popular TVG Friday morning show Blinkers Off.
Keith Chamblin serves as Senior Vice President for the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA), where he is responsible for the following departments: advertising, national promotions, e-marketing, media/public relations, membership matters and industry relations. He also serves as Executive Director of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge, which will launch in 2007.
Since joining the NTRA in April 1999, Chamblin has conceived, developed and assisted in the implementation of several successful programs, including the Daily Racing Form/NTRA National Handicapping Championship, which in 2007 offered a total purse of nearly $850,000.
In the aftermath of the scandal involving the Breeders’ Cup Pick Six at Arlington Park in 2002, Chamblin convened a group of leading horseplayers from around the country to discuss their thoughts onthe attempted theft and other issues of importance to players. The NTRA Players’ Panel issued a number of important recommendations on myriad issues ranging from tax withholding issues to simulcast standards.
Prior to joining the NTRA, Chamblin served as vicepresident of marketing at Hollywood Park Race track in Los Angeles, Calif. At Hollywood Park, he oversaw the promotion and implementation of a first of its kind guaranteed $1 million Pick Six wager that resulted ina then North American record pari-mutuel handle of more than $3.2 million.
From 1988-1994, Chamblin served in various capacities at Remington Park in Oklahoma. He is a graduate of Boston University.
Mark Cramer is the peripatetic author of handicapping texts, travel books, and fiction, and his novel Scared Money, a not-so-tall tale about good handicappers who underachieve at the track, was recently reissued by DRF Press. This is Cramer’s fifth trip to the national conference, again from Paris, where he has lived since the late 1990s, following tours in Barcelona, Los Angeles, Paris, Bolivia, and Gaithersburg, Maryland. As always, he arrives with angles, spot plays, and opposite logics that have long constituted his iconoclastic approach to beating the game.
Cramer began his off-track exploits as an editor for Gambling Times, and swiftly graduated to teaching the basics of handicapping and parimutuel wagering at Los Angeles City College. He has authored numerous books and articles, and continues as the editor of his personal C&X Racing Report. Aided by a doctorate in romantic languages from the University of Illinois, Cramer has journeyed to faraway places and dissimilar cultures, where he often teaches English as a second language to professionals and business executives. Currently, he teaches at the Sorbonne, in Paris, where his son Marcus is a student.
Steven Crist continues as chairman and publisher of Daily Racing Form, which he rescued froma steep decline by assembling an investment group to purchase it in 1998. He also served as the company’s CEO from then until 2002, upgrading the paper’s journalistic and statistical offerings and launching the company’s book-publishing and online data-sales businesses.
Crist was the racing writer and columnist for The New York Times from 1981 through 1990, after which he was the founding editor of The Racing Times. He next served as a governmental appointee on theNew York State Commission on the Future of Racing, and then as a vice president of the NewYork Racing Association from 1994 to 1997.
He is the author of several books, including the memoir Betting on Myself and the handicapping book Exotic Betting.
Steve Davidowitz was an originator of the Horseplayers Expo and a prominent speaker at the first national conference in 1983, and has been a steadfast friend of the American horseplayer since the original publication of Betting Thoroughbreds, his signature text, in 1977. The third edition, and second major revision, of that bellwether book was published in 1995.
Among his many roles and pit stops, Davidowitz was the editor of DRF’s The American Racing Manual from 2000 to 2003. Concurrent with theopening of Canterbury Park in a virgin market in1985, his year at the Minneapolis Star Tribune found Davidowitz writing a daily handicap, daily news reports, feature stories, and a number of opinion columns. He currently writes regularly for DRF Simulcast Weekly, and has recently moved to Las Vegas.
He is most recently the author of The Best and Worst of Thoroughbred Racing (2006), a book of lists and essays regarding the sport’s highlights and low-lights on and off the racetrack.
Michael Dickinson is a leading trainer and the designer of the patented Tapeta all-weather surface, which will be installed in 2007 at Golden Gate Fields. Tapeta, a name derived from the Latin word for “carpet,” is also the name of his highly regarded training center in Maryland.
Dickinson began his career in England, where he was a champion steeplechase trainer whose achievements included saddling the first five finishers of the Cheltenham Gold Cup. In 1987 he moved to the United States, where he became a leading trainer on the flat, renowned for his patience and unorthodox methods. In 1998 he performed one of the most memorable training feats in Breeders’Cup history by winning the Mile for a second time with the meticulously rehabilitated Da Hoss, who had won the race in 1996 and was making only his second start after a layoff of almost two years.
Richard Eng is the turf editor and handicapper for the Las Vegas Review Journal. In 2005, he authored Betting on Horse Racing for Dummies forthe industry’s newcomers.
Eng has worked as the public-relations directorat Santa Anita Park, Turfway Park, and ArlingtonPark racetracks. For seven years, he was a researcher and writer for ABC Sports during theircoverage of horse racing and the Triple Crown. Healso has been a contributor to Daily Racing Form. In April 2003, he won the $400,000 handicappingchampionship at the Orleans casino. He currentlyresides in Las Vegas.
He is the author of the forthcoming The Complete Guide to U.S. Casinos and Racinos, to be published in 2007 by DRF Press.
Brad Free is the author of the back-to-basics text Handicapping 101 and is the longtime Southern California handicapper for Daily Racing Form.
Prior to arriving at DRF, Free completed handicapping tours with the Pasadena Star-News, the daily sports newspaper The National, and The Racing Times. He is also the defending champion of the handicapping contest first launched at the national conference at Paris Las Vegas, in 2004.
Steve Fierro is a Reno pro making his debut at the national conference with an innovative approach to setting an 80 percent fair-value bettingline, which he published in a businessman’s approach to playing the races entitled The Four Quarters of Horse Investing.
Fierro is the radio host of Everybody’s Racing, a Reno broadcast, and delivers seminars and educational programs at the Grand Sierra Resort and Casino in northern Nevada and at the Casino Fandango in Carson City, Nevada. In 1998, he began his betting-line service, RaceDayUsa.
Len Friedman has been the public face of The Sheets, created by Len Ragozin, for 23 years, and has been a successful user of the product since 1965. Renowned for his facility in making daily track variants and projected figures, Friedman is the coauthor with Ragozin of The Odds Must Be Crazy, and has produced a number of tapes on pattern analysis using speed figures.
Friedman also has advised horsemen on the development of racing stables, and has managed racing stables himself. In January 2003, Friedman won the Suncoast Invitational HandicappingChallenge, which earned him $350,000.
Bob Ike has been a public handicapper in southern California upwards of 20 years, with his graded handicaps having appeared variously in the Los Angeles Daily News, the San Diego Union-Tribune, the Orange County Register, and the South Bay Daily Breeze. He has been the leading public handicapper numerous times for the meetings at SantaAnita, Hollywood Park, and Del Mar, and currently Ike co-hosts the Thoroughbred Los Angeles radioshow.
Ike’s daily prime selections can be found on-lineat www.BobIkePicks.com, where he also posts a daily blog, called “Notes on a Program.” With an emphasis on trip handicapping and identifying pace scenarios, Ike has developed a keen eye and matching reputation for watching and analyzing race videos.
Dan Illman is the drf.com handicapping editor and the author of Betting Maidens & Two-Year-Olds. Illman specializes in juvenile races, maidens, and turf races, and was a handicapper at Daily Racing Form until early 2006, when he moved exclusively to drf.com. Each summer he produces his “SpaBabies” column, a complete statistical analysis of each 2-year-old race at Saratoga. A frequent radio and TV guest on programs including ESPNEWSand TVG’s Blinkers Off, he is also the host of the DRF News Desk, and has delivered handicapping seminars at tracks across the country.
His presentation at this Expo, his second appearance at the national conference, will emphasize value plays with first-time starters, trainer-jockey combinations, and the nonclaiming juveniles, especially in routes and on the turf. Illman is a graduate of Nova Southeastern University and currently resides in Brooklyn, New York.
Gordon Jones has traveled a marathon distance in the sport and game, from one of the original speed handicappers and authors on the subject in the 1960’s, to his presently popular ‘Easy Pickings’seminars at Sam’s Town in Las Vegas. Along theway, he wrote Gordon Jones To Win and Smart Money, the latter an early timely empirical examination of exotic wagering and the strategies likely to prove most effective.
During summers, Jones has focused on the northern California fair circuit that encompasses the good racing at Pleasanton and Santa Rosa, and climaxes in September at Fairplex Park near LosAngeles to complete the southern California circuit. An aggressive player for upwards of four decades, Jones can contribute variously to the discussion on Cal-breds intended to help simulcast bettors in the California Pick-6 and Pick-4 pools, where the statebreds are more prominent than ever.
Jones is the former turf writer and handicapper for the Los Angeles Herald Examiner, and has beena popular radio host in Los Angeles and Las Vegas. He lives in Las Vegas.
Joannne Jones has been involved in horse racing for more than 20 years from the backstretch to thepress box. She was the first woman on the West Coast to do television commentary at a racetrack when she worked at Hollywood Park. Jones has been seen on HRTV, TVG, New York City OTB, FOXSports Net, FOX Sports Midwest, SKY Channel in Australia, Gulfstream Park, Fairplex Park, Handicapper’s Report and Bet the Race. She is currently a host/analyst for HRTV in Los Angeles.
Attracting women to racing is something near and dear to Jones’s heart. She created her popular“Track Diva Days” designed to entertain and educate women about racing. The events have beenwell attended from coast to coast.
Jones has owned, ridden and worked around horses and served as stable foreman for Hall of Fame trainer Jack Van Berg. She is the daughter of speaker Gordon Jones.
Ken Kirchner is a consultant on product development to the NTRA, the organization he served until recently as a senior vice president in charge of managing the simulcast and wagering operations for the Breeders’ Cup championship races. Kirchner introduced the pick four to the Breeders’Cup cards, and for the past eight seasons has guided the growth of the Cup handle from $64 million tothe $132 million wagered in 2006.
Kirchner has been a member of the NTRA’sWagering Technology Working Group, and as a member of the NTRA Players Panel, formed following the 2002 Breeders’ Cup pick-six scandal, he connected that panel to various offices within theNTRA, to the member tracks, and to the broader industry. Kirchner also contributed to the growth of the Daily Racing Form/NTRA National Handicapping Championship. Kirchner lives in Lexington, Kentucky.
Thomas L. Levenick is the Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Youbet.com, Inc.
While starting with Youbet.com August 1, 2006, Tom has more than 20 years of general management, sales and marketing experience. Levenick oversees programs aimed at growing Youbet’s consumer advanced deposit wagering (ADW) franchiseand expanding sales of technology-based products and content distribution services to tracks and other potential business partners. He develops and coordinates marketing and advertising programs for all three of Youbet’s operating units: online ADW leader Youbet.com, rebate provider International Racing Group, and United Tote.
Prior to working with Youbet, Levenick was Senior Vice President of Sales for E2 Strategies, oneof the nation’s top corporate incentive, entertainment and meeting companies. Before joining E2, he spent a decade (1995-2005) in executive capacities with major brewers, growing national sales and profits for Miller, Coors and Labatt USA.
Levenick is a 1984 graduate of the Ohio StateUniversity where he lettered in football and played in the 1979 Gator Bowl and 1980 Rose Bowl. He completed the Ironman Triathlon in Kailua Kona, Hawaii in 1989. Levenick also graduated from theExecutive Development Program at the University of Pennsylvania Wharton Business School in 1996. In 1997 and 1998 he earned the Coors Key Contributor Award for Sales.
Dave Litfin is Daily Racing Form’s analyst for racing on the NYRA circuit and a handicappingcolumnist. He is the author of the books Dave Liftin’s Expert Handicapping and Real Life Handicapping, a personal memoir of his play.
Whether he is examining figure patterns, trainer patterns, form patterns, shifting track biases, or the mere day-to-day tracking of track profiles, Litfin is devoted to the record-keeping that is part and parcel of recognizing such patterns. Not surprisingly, in DRF’s 2001 handicapping anthology, Bet with the Best, Litfin contributed a chapter on record-keeping.
Mike Maloney, who is making his initial appearance at the conference, is a professional player in Kentucky, where he plays on-track at Keeneland from a private suite. Maloney was a member of the NTRA Players Panel, where he was keenly instructive on the complications bigger bettors experience with the anachronistic reporting and with holding provisions of the parimutuel tax laws.
Barry Meadows is one of the most disciplined handicappers and bettors playing the game today. He constructs a 100 percent fair-value betting line for straight wagers and exacta probables for every race he plays, and he never deviates from it. He publishes his MasterWin Ratings, which he applies steadfastly, for Southern and Northern California, and from 1997-2003 he wrote and published the newsletter Meadow’s Racing Monthly.
Shortly after he abandoned a popular and successful career in harness racing for the Thoroughbreds in thelate 1980s, Meadow wrote and published Money Secrets at the Racetrack, a treatment of money management and betting strategy.
Meadow, who lives in Los Angeles, makes his fourth appearance at the national conference.
Noel Michaels is the director of player development for Nassau Off-Track Betting in New York. Michaels has prominently reported on the DRF/NTRA National Handicapping Championship since the event’s inception in 2000, and his Handicapping Contest Handbook, published by DRF Press in 2002 and 2005, has made his name synonymous with the tournament scene. He enjoyed a 12-year association with Daily Racing Form, where he held positions ranging from handicapper, to sports and gaming reporter, to Internet editor.
Randy Moss is the leading analyst for ESPN’s racing coverage of the roads to the Triple Crown and Breeders’ Cup. He sees the analyst’s role on national television as a continual push and pull between commentary for the novices and the regulars. He does both well enough to draw comparisons with the leading analysts of the mainstream sports.
A figure expert and devotee, Moss has developed Beyer Speed Figures for a number of Southern tracks. He formerly reported on horse racing on the Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas circuit for The Dallas Morning News, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, and the Arkansas Democrat.
He has been preoccupied lately with the development of a new approach to the making of pace figures and recently launched Moss Pace Figure on DailyRacing Form’s Website, DRF.com. He is scheduled to report on his progress at the kickoff session of the Expo. Moss lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Harvey Pack is the legendary face and voice of New York racing. His time with the horses on radio dates back to 1972 at WNBC, and on television, to 1985, on local stations and his immensely popular Thoroughbred Action and Inside Racing shows. He provided the first television exposure for many of the game’s leading handicappers and analysts and was the public face of handicapping at Saratoga for many years with his popular Paddock Club there.
Pack continues in classic form as the host of Daily Racing Form’s morning seminars at Siro’s duringSaratoga, and is currently writing a memoir that will be published this summer by DRF Press.
Jay Privman is the national correspondent for Daily Racing Form and an analyst on the ESPN telecasts. In 2000, Moonlight Press and the Breeders’ Cup, Ltd., selected Privman to compose the text for Breeders’ Cup: Thoroughbred Racing’s Championship Day, a coffee-table book providing pictures and narrative of every championship day and race since the inaugural in 1984.
As a journalist who has covered several sports, Privman served as the West Coast editor of The Racing Times in 1991-92 and joined DRF in 1998. Privman also hosts a one-hour Saturday-morning radio show on the races of Southern California.
Les Onaka is the perfect featured speaker for the first-ever Expo presentation on the handicapping of the quarter horses, a platform he will share on Saturday afternoon with Mark Cramer’s insights on harness racing.
Following a flirtation with the Thoroughbreds at Hollywood Park, Onaka shifted his interest to the quarter horses in favor of their conformation and exciting speed. A quarter century has passed since a $20 bill he found became a first-ever bet that returned $250, and after 12 years working at Los Alamitos as an analyst and clocker, Onaka now serves as a frequent guest commentator on TVG’s late-night coverage of The Quarters.
The daily handicapping routine produces his Handicapper’s Racing Report, a report that analyzes every horse in every race in depth, and features interpreting workouts, video analysis of replays, troubled trips and horses to watch, and selections. Class levels and speed indexes are duly reported, but Onaka’s preference typically will be for horses having hidden trouble lines.
Tom Quigley is the publisher of The Horse Player magazine, combining his background in magazine publishing with a daily habit of playing the races. He is also a handicapping-tournament regular and has won two six-digit firstprizes.
Quigley is a rare species among daily handicappers in that he studies the body language of horses up close wherever he plays. His place on the apron at Del Mar where the horses parade out of the walking ring is recognized as Quigley’s Corner.
James Quinn got the idea for a national conference on Thoroughbred handicapping in the fall of1982, and when leading authors Tom Ainslie, Andrew Beyer, Steve Davidowitz, and Bill Quirinagreed to participate, the inaugural Expo was launched in February 1983 at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel, in downtown Los Angeles. The 1983 conference was a huge hit, and it was held for a second time in 1984 at The Meadowlands Hilton, in Secaucus, New Jersey. In 1990, the conference moved to The Mirage, in Las Vegas, only three months after Steve Wynn had opened the first mega-resort hotel on the Strip. Then, when a new, player-friendly team purchased Daily Racing Form in 1998, Quinn knew instantly the national conference had found its new partner. DRF first conducted the conference in 2000 at Paris Las Vegas, and it has been bigger and better ever since.
Quinn has been a leading author on playing the races since he wrote the paperback version of The Handicapper’s Condition Book (1981), which remains in print through three later hardcover editions. A second Quinn text, his popular anthology The Best of Thoroughbred Handicapping, was rereleased by DRF Press after Quinn updated the1987 original with 13 new essays. Quinn has played the races for three decades and in 2003 was selected to form and moderate the NTRA’s PlayersPanel.
A staunch proponent of the importance of player development, and a stern critic of the industry for not bothering to educate its customer base, Quinn lives in Arcadia, California.
Andy Serling, a native of Saratoga Springs, New York, has been a familiar face and voice around New York tracks since he began following the races while still a child. As an adult, he has become known as a trenchant and highly opinionated analyst. He was the first co-host (with MikeWatchmaker) of the “Talkin’ Horses” segment ofthe NYRA simulcast show, and currently serves as a weekend-stakes commentator on drf.com web-casts. He is also a regular guest and the Monday host of Daily Racing Form’s handicapping seminars at Siro’s during the Saratoga race meeting.
Alan Shuback is the foreign editor of Daily Racing Form, where he has been responsible for the expanded coverage of imported horses in the past performances. These additions now include Timeform ratings for major race meetings in Europe and Asia; the gradings and purse values of stakes; and extensive trip notes on running styles and mishaps. He is the author of the chapter on foreign racing in Bet with the Best and writes a regular column for DRF.
Shuback first volunteered his services to The Racing Times, where he developed the two-line format for foreign past performances that has become the industry standard. From 1992-1998, he was the American correspondent for the British racing daily The Sporting Life. Shuback annually attends the classic events of Europe, plus the Dubai World Cup, the Japan Cup, and the important international December races in Hong Kong. Lately, Shuback has been reporting more often on the horses from Germany, Dubai, and Japan, and he will talk about the new imports from those countries at the Expo.
Ralph Siraco is a 30-year veteran of radio, television, and print, but is best known perhaps as the creator, producer, and host of Race Day Las Vegas, a broadcast that has covered Thoroughbred racings even days a week, 52 weeks a year, for the past 11years. Siraco also served as turf editor of the LasVegas Sun for eight years, until the paper ceased operations in 2005. He has been a contributing writer for Daily Racing Form, and his company, Siraco Productions, produces sports-and racing- related programming out of its Las Vegas base. His current venture, Sports Book Extra, is a one-hour radio program that focuses on the day’s leading sports events from a bettor’s perspective.
Siraco likes to play the tournaments, and he has won twice, including a $98,000 first prize for beating 700 players in the 1998 Orleans National Handicapping Challenge.
He began in racing at Hollywood Park in the mid-1970s, where he progressed to be director of the track’s radio and television department. He eventually helped Turfway Park launch the first simulcast network in Kentucky, and did the same for the Northern California Fair circuit.
Lauren Stich has been a student of pedigrees since her teenage years. Her time in racing traces back to a stretch with The Morning Telegraph, and when the paper closed in 1972, Stich sang professionally with three girl groups of early rock ‘n’ roll: the Chantels, the Delrons, and the ShangriLas.
When The Racing Times debuted in 1991, Stich returned to the sport she loved, working on the copy desk and writing pedigree analyses of 2-year olds. She now writes a weekly pedigree column for Daily Racing Form and Simulcast Weekly. Stich also contributed a chapter on that topic to Bet with the Best and is the author of Pedigree Handicapping.
In 1997, she moved from the East Coast to LasVegas, where she plays the horses full-time. Her specialty has also taken her to various sales and auctions, where she serves as a consultant to breeders and buyers.
Lou Tavano is the co-founder of International Racing Group (IRG). A lawyer out of McGeorge School of Law since 1985, Tavano and co-founder James Scott sold IRG to YouBet.com in June, 2005, and today serves as general manager of the company. His background in gaming encompasses four years as general counsel to Bally Gaming, Inc., 1993-1996, and the private practice of the law in Las Vegas from 1997 through 2001.
After forming IRG, Tavano served as president and chief operating officer of the company from its formation until June of 2005.
Tavano’s appearance at Expo 2007 affords the handicapping audience a rare opportunity to ask questions and exchange perspectives on rebates with an executive who has experienced the topic in its various ramifications for the industry and its customers virtually from the beginning.
Lee Tomlinson is the creator of the Tomlinson Ratings, a scale of numerical ratings, the higher the better, based upon the performances of the sons and daughters of sires and the corresponding broodmare sires on wet tracks, on turf, and attoday’s distance. The ratings have appeared inDaily Racing Form’s lifetime statistical box since 2001 and now cover more than 11,000 sires. Before the ratings appeared in Daily Racing Form, Tomlinson published his research in booklets titled Mudders & Turfers.
Tomlinson spent 27 years in financial services, 22 of those on Wall Street, but in 1995 left to devote his time to family, friends, and Thoroughbred racing. He has owned race horses, and competed on the New York circuit with trainer Bob Dunham.
Mike Watchmaker is the national handicapper for Daily Racing Form. He ranks the leaders in the nation’s stakes divisions weekly, and analyzes the major weekend events of the sport for the paper. He is also the co-host with TVG’s Matt Carothers of that station’s Friday-morning show Blinkers Off, where he provides an East Coast perspective and spars with Carothers on seemingly every topic of interest. In Bet with the Best, Watchmaker contributed a chapter on stakes races, providing a contemporary profile for evaluating the Triple Crown candidates.
Watchmaker has more than a quarter-century of experience in Thoroughbred racing, mainly as an employee of DRF, which he joined in 1980. He had covered as many as 20 racetracks before becoming the New York correspondent. Watchmaker also worked for The Racing Times and for the New York Racing Association, and was named that circuit’s morning-line maker and official track-program handicapper in 1994. His speed figures appeared in the official NYRA track program and was a co-host for NYRA’s daily Race Day program before leaving to rejoin DRF in 1998.