California Chrome eyes first Triple Crown in 36 years at Belmont

“But, whoever wins in the race, the real winners will be Long Island and New York State.”

Attendance for those 11 races averaged nearly 30,000 more than in years without a contender — going from a low of 37,171 in 1995 when Thunder Gulch and Timber Country split the Derby and the Preakness, to a record 120,139 in 2004 when Birdstone upset Smarty Jones in the last of a three-year stretch of Triple Crown contenders in the Belmont Stakes.

“For the first year of us doing this, under this new format, it’s not going to get any better than this,” Panza said in an interview near his track office, which was filled with boxes of Belmont Stakes caps and bags of other race souvenirs.

General admission and grandstand tickets costing $10 remained available through the track late in the week and more than 3,000 tickets, ranging from $12 for grandstand to $2,300 for a table for two at the Garden Terrace Restaurant, were available on the secondary ticket sales website StubHub.com.

They have filled the undercard with high-stakes races, increased the day’s total purse to $8 million — the second-richest day in American horse racing behind the final slate of the Breeder’s Cup — and surrounded the action with music from rapper and actor LL Cool J, former New York Yankees center fielder Bernie Williams and Frank Sinatra Jr. singing “New York, New York.”

I’ll Have Another’s wins in Louisville and Baltimore sent attendance for the 2012 Belmont Stakes to nearly 86,000 and on-site wagering to $13.8 million even though the horse was withdrawn the day before the race due to a leg injury.

Good weather — 82 degrees and sunny, according to the National Weather Service — could push the crowd into record territory.

“Our intent is to make Belmont Stakes day an important day year in and year out,” Kay said.

.

Local officials and business leaders celebrated too, seeing the race and the added interest of a Triple Crown contender as a boon of sold-out hotel rooms, dinners out and free publicity, so long as the writers and broadcasters were aware the track is actually on Long Island, as NBC’s Bob Costas noted Wednesday, and not in New York City.

And then Belmont Park’s director of racing operations thought about everything else: the tens of thousands of additional people who show up for the Belmont Stakes whenever a horse has a chance at history; the millions more in expected wagers; and the need for more of everything, from seating, concessions to bathrooms, security and about 1,000 additional workers.

If California Chrome triumphs, it will happen on Panza’s turf — or rather, his dirt — at an marquee New York-area event that the track’s new management team reimagined earlier this year as a fusion of sports and entertainment worth attending even when the Triple Crown is not on the line.

The head of the track’s management team said ticket sales for this year’s Belmont Stakes, with its emphasis on high-level racing and daylong entertainment, were already brisk before California Chrome broke from the gate at Churchill Downs in May.

More than 70 percent of tickets and premium tables for the race were sold before the Derby and all were gone before the Preakness, according to New York Racing Association president and chief executive officer Christopher Kay.

This year it has been an important day — and week — for business.

California Chrome is the 12th horse to reach Long Island with wins in the first two legs of the Triple Crown, the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes, since Affirmed won all three in 1978.

Martin Panza celebrated California Chrome’s charge to Preakness Stakes victory three weeks ago like most fans at the packed Pimlico Race Course — bumping fists, slapping hands and thinking ahead to Saturday and the possibility of the first Triple Crown winner in 36 years.

Other hotels were also booked solid, officials said, forcing some out-of-town fans to find lodging in Suffolk County, about 20 miles east, or stay in Manhattan, about 15 miles west.

“From our end, what we need to do now is observe how the day goes and see what we can do for next year, always thinking that there could be another Triple Crown on the line.”

On-site wagering on the race-day program also surged in those years, according to track records, jumping from $6.8 million in contender-less 1996 to $9.2 million the following year when Silver Charm took the first two races, and from $8.8 million in contender-less 2007 to $13.3 million when Big Brown raced for history in 2008.

After the Preakness, Kay said, they added a trackside tent and additional seating to accommodate the surge of interest in a potential California Chrome coronation.

The largest hotel on Long Island, a Marriott with more than 600 rooms in Uniondale, and the ornate Garden City Hotel — ¬†where management said all of the owners, trainers and jockeys in the Belmont Stakes were staying and where the menu includes a cocktail named for each horse — have sold out under race-related demand.

“This Triple Crown opportunity doesn’t come too often,” state hotel association chairman John Tsunis said

10 Tips for Betting on Football

Even Hollywood is not immune – think Two for the Money with Al Pacino and Matthew McConaughey.

Another difference between squares and sharps is how they approach betting on game day.

6. And why not? We have unconditional love for the sport and betting $50 or $100 on a game adds an extra rush of adrenaline. “As for me, the best bet in football is betting the point spread or over/under totals on individual games.

1. Focus on Conferences – “The best way to win money betting football is to develop a niche and follow it closely,” Moseman advises. “In the NFL, a game will often be totally turned around by one or two plays, or even a single penalty. The only locks that exist are those that need keys to open them.”

So, is it possible for the average square to become a little sharper in making football bets this season? According to professionals like Vacarro, Konik and Gordon, amateur bettors have the best chance to win if they demonstrate a little patience and follow the 10 basic tips below. Locks Don’t Exist – “Anyone who has watched sports for about a month realizes that the difference between winning and losing, especially against the spread, can be infinitesimally small,” Gordon says. “If you listen to their advice, you are sure to lose. Bet at the Right Time – “The sharp bettors tend to bet underdogs, and they tend to bet them early,” Moseman says. The payout is just the same as far as he is concerned. So underdogs tend to be slightly undervalued – except by the sharps.”

So, how much should you bet a game?

Newspapers and popular sports sites routinely publish the lines or point spreads for games, and football insiders offer their picks to viewers each week on ESPN and other cable networks.

“Most people with an understanding of football gambling bet between 3 percent and 5 percent of their bankroll, increasing when they win and reducing when they lose,” Vaccaro says. To be a successful sports bettor you need to operate with a clear mind.”

“A square is the average, unsophisticated gambler whose decision making is based on hunches, media manipulation, or spurious systems that cannot overcome the bookmaker’s inherent mathematical advantage,” Konik explains. “He is not jaded by teams and does not bet with his heart. “Common wisdom says that over the course of a long football season the average man or woman will pick approximately 50 percent winners. “The sharps are usually members of a betting syndicate privy to the most up-to-date information on injuries, weather, game plans, and, most important, the real power of the teams involved. “Because alcohol clouds your judgment and usually helps you to make rash decisions you usually wouldn’t otherwise make.

“The bookies fear and despise a tiny coterie of professional bettors known as ‘the sharps,'” Konik says. Oakland comes to mind) seem like the Super Bowl. “There will be more discrepancy in the numbers at different sports books. In fact, sports bettors must pick 52.4 percent winners just to break even.”

Moseman agrees and especially likes home underdogs. Drinking and Gambling Don’t Mix – “There is a reason the casinos in Las Vegas supply you with free drinks while you are gambling,” Moseman says. The only touts bettors should consider are the ones who talk about the long haul and realistic winning percentages, which are in the upper 50 percent to lower 60 percent range.”

“The talking heads on TV know nothing about sports betting,” says Sevransky. If you like an underdog, it is best to get your bet in as late as possible, where there is heavy action from squares on favorites.

But that doesn’t mean you have to bet like a “square” and throw away your hard-earned money.

7. If North Texas is his best bet on a Saturday then that is his bet. Consider Underdogs – “In the long-run, it’s easier to win betting on the underdog,” Konik says. They use powerful computers that can process millions of bits of data and produce a more accurate point-spread line than the bookmakers.”

Also, it’s probably a good idea to disregard advice from the myriad of ex-players and football experts you see on television each week. These books change their numbers according to the betting patterns of their customers, so it is not entirely uncommon to find two or three point differences in the lines.”

“There is probably no better bet in sports than playing an underdog at home,” Moseman says. “Most people prefer to bet on the ‘better’ team, the one that will probably win the game.

8.

5. Giving 11 to 10 odds is almost always the cheapest price you can give.”

“A sharp or smart has a plan of what he wants to do,” says Vaccaro, the director of sports operations and public relations at Lucky’s Race and Sports Book in Las Vegas.

Certainly not back into the pockets of the average bettor.

10. There are almost an infinite number of scenarios that can happen in a single football game. “Over the course of several seasons, the percentage of bettors who turn a profit is minuscule.”

2. Money Management – “This is without a doubt the most important aspect of betting on sports and possibly the most neglected,” says Morey “Doc” Moseman, a professional gambler and sports consultant with DocSports.com for nearly 40 years. If you are going to go with a favorite, it is best to place your bet early in the week when the sharps are laying heavy money on the points. Not all games work according to this formula, but it is usually a good rule of thumb.”

“A square or recreational player might have a vague plan, but after two Corona’s he will definitely run to the window and make a hasty decision on the USC-Notre Dame game because he wants to be involved in the party atmosphere,” Vaccaro says. Big underdogs often find ways to cover the spread and they rarely give up toward the end of a game in front of the home crowd.”

So, how much are we gambling each football season?

Although exact figures are impossible to calculate, according to Jimmy Vaccaro, widely considered to be Las Vegas’ most influential bookmaker, Americans probably wager more than $50 billion a year on NFL and college football combined. Avoid Exotic Bets – “For very skilled handicappers, with a proven track record, there can, at least in theory, be value in betting parlays,” says Gordon on the type of bet that combines two or more individual wagers. “For example, if you have a $1,000 bankroll for the season, you should generally bet no more than $50 a game.”

And where does all that money go?

“The biggest mistake that amateur bettors make is they increase their bets when they are losing,” Sevransky says. Also, being “in action” can make a dull late-afternoon game (Buffalo vs. Chasing losses is the fastest way to the poor house.”

3. “When you’re in a good rhythm and winning, you want to increase your bets.

And remember, in the immortal words of “Fast” Eddie Felson, “Money won is twice as sweet as money earned.”

Ted Sevransky, a well-known Las Vegas gambler and sports consultant with Sportsmemo.com, agrees.

“In an average season, fewer than one bettor in twelve turns a profit,” Gordon says. Research Football Services – “Most sports services realize that most people who sign up with them are insecure,” Gordon warns. Avoid Chasing Bets – “Don’t do it! There is no worse way to mismanage your bankroll than to chase your bets after a losing day,” cautions Moseman on the dangerous practice of trying to immediately win back your losses. There is a wealth of information on the Internet; it is just up to you to find it and research it daily.”

9. On college you will be able to find different lines at different sports books. “In trying to bamboozle potential customers, many services make claims about having scouts all over the country that give them inside information and promise 70 or even 80 percent winners, as if the bookmakers were the biggest suckers in the world.

While these tips don’t guarantee you’re going to win, hopefully they can make you a little less square and a little more sharp in your picks this season. “Teams play inspired ball at home. “If you become an expert on a smaller conference like the WAC, you have a good chance to beat the house because sports book operators do not have the time or resources to follow this conference the way you can. “Thus, the bookies love and cherish the squares.”

Michael Konik, a sports writer and best-selling author of The Smart Money (Simon & Schuster 2006), explains why it is so hard for the recreational gambler to win at betting on football. If you want advice about sports betting, find someone who has a successful track record.

However, Konik adds that there are some bettors who actually know how to beat the bookies.

Betting on football games; whether it’s through a local bookie, an offshore Internet site or a Nevada casino (still the only legal place in America to make football bets), most of us have done it or know of someone who has. Otherwise, you’re better off doing your own research.”

4. But, when you’re struggling, that’s when you want to reduce your bet size until you get out of your slump. “The key to proper money management is to be sure not to bet more than you can afford to lose.”

But even though the math says it’s virtually impossible to win on a consistent basis, Americans continue to bet on football.

“The standard bet requires gamblers to lay $11 for every $10 they want to win with the extra $1 or 10 percent known as the juice,” Konik says. Slim underdogs regularly win outright. Thanks to the juice, the only one who profits in this scenario is the bookmaker. He is not taken in by being involved in USC-Notre Dame just because it is the biggest watched game of the day. . The NFL, for example, will have very similar numbers at most of the betting shops you visit. “Squares usually bet later in the week and they tend to pick the favorites. He loses year after year, according to Dan Gordon, a top football handicapper and author of How to Beat the Sports Books (Cardoza Publishing 2005). Shop For Numbers – “Another important aspect of betting on football is shopping for the best number,” Moseman explains