On Saturday at 1 p.m., the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame and handicapper Tom Amello are teaming up to help Saratoga-area racing fans brush up on their handicapping skills before the meet opens on Friday, July 19.
A former host of Capital OTB’s “Trackfacts” (unfortunately cancelled in the last year by the network) with more than 20 years of public handicapping experience, Amello is now working with the Museum and the fan advocacy group Thorofan, where he’ll be writing daily, “to try to bring new customers to the game and keep them in the game,” he said.
“This isn’t just about the Saratoga meet,” he added. “It’s about fan education, handicapping, and playing the game.”
Amello believes that the odds board is the entry point of new visitors to the races. “It’s the collective wisdom of the people there who think they know something,” he explained. The program will feature a discussion of the relationship between the opinions represented on the board and the individual bettor, along with what Amello calls the four Cs: conditions, connections, current form, and capabilities.
Amello will discuss some factors specific to Saratoga, such as the track surface, jockeys, trainers, and horses, and the program will end with time for questions from the audience.
“Tom’s been here before to do some basic handicapping for the Kentucky Derby and Breeders’ Cup,” said Brien Bouyea, the Museum’s communications coordinator. “We want to make people feel comfortable with racing terminology so that they avoid feeling intimidated by the Form and can enjoy a day at the track.”
The program is free and open to the public and is expected to last 90 minutes. Handouts will be provided and there will be drawings for prizes from the Museum’s gift shop.
Unable to make this Saturday’s program? Check out Hello Race Fans! (to which I contribute) for additional handicapping and other information as you get ready to enjoy Saratoga 2013. The fan development/education site offers a guide to Saratoga Race Course (to be updated next week with any changes for this year), historical information and features, and of course, handicapping advice. The Spa is known for its 2-year-olds, so start with this look from HRF co-founder Dana Byerly on handicapping juveniles and first-time starters.