Life imitates art at Santa Anita on Friday?

Trainer Julio Canani saddled longshot Wild Revenge to a win in the first race Friday at Santa Anita. The horse was ridden by Kayla Stra.

In the first episode of HBO’s new horse racing-based show ‘Luck’, Turo Escalante, a character played by John Ortiz and is modeled after Canani, put a rookie jockey on a longshot that he had primed to win and could not lose unless the jockey bricked it. Well, in the show, the jockey bricks it and the horse still wins.

Although Kayla Stra isn’t a rookie (or apprentice), she often leaves a lot to be desired with her rides. And for Canani to use her on a horse says that either he thought the horse had no prayer, or he was, as in the show, trying to “put one over” to cash a ticket.

Wild Revenge paid $26.20.


Santa Anita gambling legend “Woody” lands role on ‘Luck’ … What’s next, Jimmy The Mouth gets a cameo with Hoffman?

If you know Woody, you know that he didn’t go to wardrobe for this scene.

Well-known Santa Anita gambling legend “Woody” has landed a role in HBO’s ‘Luck’, which is a new drama about a myriad of characters one might expect to see at a race track, but not know much about. It’s written by famed horse racing bettor David Milch.

What in the name of Ron Anson is going on around here? OK, seriously, I’M PUMPED FOR WOODY!

Well, two episodes in and the first bombshell (for me personally) has landed. “Woody” … who some of you may know, is cast as a trainer trying to get some degenerate bettor “Renzo” to claim the horse that keyed his monumental score in the Pick 6.

If any of you have met Woody, you know he’s a character in real life. Nice guy, but hot tempered at times. He actually used to be a trainer long ago. I’m happy for him and curious to see where this character goes.

First time I saw Woody I was in high school and at the track in “The Regency Room” at Santa Anita with my dad. Woody hung with a pretty rough crowd — Jimmy The Mouth, Jimmy The Greek (not the famous one) and some others. My dad looked at me and said “Do not go near those guys.”

Anyway, over the years that whole crew went away (literally and figuratively), but Woody remained. One day my friends told him about how I laid -450 or something on Tyson to beat Botha and Woody loved the story. Tyson won the fight, but not without drama. And so every time Woody saw me, he would LOUDLY ask for boxing betting advice.

One day, I decided to be the one who started the convo with Woody and when I did, he MF’d me up and down for interrupting “while he worked”. He was handicapping/filling out a betting sheet. Beyond that, Woody has always been cool to me. I saw him at Del Mar a few years back and we rapped. I saw him outside a pizza joint in South Pas and he stopped and talked to me and a friend for a while.

That’s my Woody story.


CHRB to discuss exchange wagering at tomorrow’s meeting at Santa Anita …

I will be anxiously awaiting what is said. WE NEED EXCHANGE WAGERING in California. Not just because I’ll take all your money if we do, but because it will do wonders for the sport.

Stay tuned …


Dude who makes horrific bet and wins will donate proceeds to charity …

The man who made a $1,000 wager on the first score of Sunday’s Super Bowl being a safety by the NY Giants has decided to donate the proceeds of his winning bet — $50k — to charity.

It’s a noble move, and I’m happy he hit the bet. But taking 50 to 1 on something that should’ve been more like 2,000 to 1 is just plain stupid.

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Super Bowl winnings and “almost” in the Pick 6 at Santa Anita …

As most of you know, the Super Bowl went our way in a big way. If read my column last week and watched Bet It and Sweat It Live! you were hopefully inclined to play the Giants.

Zack Pierce (Giants and Under), Dave Malinsky (Giants), Mike Wilkening (Giants) and of course yours truly (Giants).

Hope all of you crushed it. We WILL do many more handicapping shows in the future when the big event arise.

Also, on Sunday, there was a monster Pick 6 pool at Santa Anita. My own ticket hit five out of six (for a lousy payoff of 31 bucks three times). I was a nose away from hitting all six, but my horse got beat a lip in the first leg after leading EVERY STEP OF THE WAY.


Today’s degenerate move …

… would be to NOT listen to my buddy who specializes in prop betting on not just the Super Bowl, but really any football game. Last year, he went 7-1 in Super Bowl props.

This year he likes:

R.Gronkowski pass receptions/ Under 5½ -120 (Half Unit) – Only going half unit because I also have under 75.5 rec yds. Not the best line because I saw 6 receptions ten days ago but the book has taken it off the board. This is the best line I could find for now. Either Way, I don’t think he’s 100% healthy. Whatever.

R.Gronkowski receiving yards/ Under 75½ -130 (Half Unit) – Only going half unit because I also have under 5.5 rec yds. Same goes for this line, I saw 80.5 yds ten days ago but has since been removed. Whatever.

A.Hernandez rushing attempts under 3 -155

A.Hernandez rushing yards under 14½ -135

B.Green-Ellis rushing attempts under 13 -130

Tom Brady rushing attempts under 3 -120

B.Jacobs rushing attempts under 8 -130

V. Cruz receiving yards under 89.5 even

S.Gostkowski FG’s made over 1½ -130

NE players with a rush attempt under 5 -130

Both teams WILL make a field goal of 33 yards or more in the game +140 (Half Unit) – Only going half unit because I already got Gostkowski over 1.5, which I think is a stronger bet.

Patriots under 30.5pts -130

Total passing yards under 639.5 -105

Lebron James Points -2½ (-135) vs E.Manning completions (Half Unit) – I don’t usually play Mickey Mouse props, but I Iike Lebron to bounce back with a decent scoring game after only scoring 19 last game. His trend is to score big after a down game. If he goes for 27 or more points, your getting a better line than the 24.5 currently posted for Manning completions. Earlier in the week this line was 1.5, but I still think it’s worth half unit.

Follow me on Twitter @ChemicalAT


Super Pick 6 CARRYOVER of $353K at Santa Anita … pool expected to reach $1.5 million …

Looky here, looky here: the action before the action. Daddy’s gonna read up on some workout reports and will have something (small) mapped out by morning. That’s right, I’m gonna forgo the PPs and go strictly off the National Turf workouts.


Today’s degenerate move …

… Would be to go to Santa Anita and get involved in what track head of PR Mike Willman called “the best card of the meet so far”.

And, there’s a Pick 6 carryover.

But to do so would be a degenerate move because one might be jonesing for action the day before all the action. If you’re having football betting withdrawals, then days like today are rough. And the rest of the month will be rough. Basically, everything until March Madness will be rough.

Follow me on Twitter @ChemicalAT


Bet It and Sweat It: Super Bowl betting preview show with’s Zack Pierce, Covers expert David Malinsky, Pro Football Weekly’s Mike Wilkening and Buddha …


Super Bowl prediction: Aram likes the Giants because this point spread makes no sense …

It has been estimated that half of American adults will have some form of gambling action on the Super Bowl, be it squares in an office pool, a legal bet made at a Las Vegas sports book or most likely an illegal bet made with an offshore sports book … or the guy down the block sitting outside the barber shop.

There are no official numbers on something like this, but it’s safe to say that most Americans want some form of action on the game. If to you that means an office pool or betting on the coin flip, then please stop reading this column. But if you’re one of the many who want to read one man’s opinion of the point spread and total, then please read on.

This year’s Super Bowl line has the New England Patriots a three-point favorite over the New York Giants with an over/under of 54 points for the total.

Personally, the Super Bowl is the last in a long string of bets I will make during a football season. Despite all the hype, I see it as just another wager. And in some years, I don’t see it as a wager at all. I’m a hardened football bettor. I’m just as excited to cash a ticket on UNLV-Air Force when nobody’s watching as I am the Super Bowl. Fortunately for you, I just so happen to have an opinion on this year’s game that’s worth backing with my own money.

That doesn’t mean you should follow suit. You should use my thoughts and the thoughts of many others to help form your own opinion. I don’t partake in the enjoyment of your winnings, nor do I feel the pain of your losses. So, do your own due diligence.

Last season, this newspaper asked me to write a Super Bowl prediction column with a gambling focus. I obliged, and laid out the reasons why, despite the strange line, I liked the Green Bay Packers to cover the number against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

This season, today’s Super Bowl prediction column marks the launch of a new directive by this newspaper to cover the gambling aspect of sports, horse racing and poker.

What better way to start than the Super Bowl?

What will have me involved in this game is the fact that perception does not match reality when it comes to the point spread. When posting a betting line, a sports book must consider which way the public will bet. It must also hang a number that will attract equal action on both sides so that the house can simply hang on to the “juice”, or 10 percent tax it puts on all losing wager, thus ensuring a nice profit.

The problem with this year’s point spread is that it’s flat wrong. It’s a very dangerous thing to often make such assertions about the numbers the expert odds makers set on a game. If you constantly think they are wrong, it will be you that’s cleaned out. But sometimes they are forced to make lines that don’t necessarily reflect the true difference in the two teams, but rather the difference in perception.

The Super Bowl is a game for the masses. Vegas will see many tourists hit town this weekend ready to plunk down cash on the big game just to be a part of the party. Most of these people are not week-to-week bettors. Most of these people couldn’t name any players in the game beside Tom Brady and Eli Manning. Oh, some might have seen that cute salsa-dancing receiver from the Giants … Victor Somethingorother. But that’s the extent of their knowledge.

That’s where we step in. The books have to make the Patriots a three-point simply due to the presence of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. The Patriots’ recent history as one of the NFL’s winningest franchises ever since the “Tuck Rule Game” win over the Raiders in 2002 DOES factor in this line because, right or wrong, it’s part of pubic perception.

The reality of the Patriots, however, is that this has been a team in decline ever since the franchise peaked in 2007 when an undefeated regular season ended in defeat to the Giants in Super Bowl XLII.

In no year more than this one was the evidence of the Patriots’ decline, especially on defense, so vividly apparent. The Pats own the league’s worst defense. The Pats are a team that’s been out-gained on the season by over 2,000 yards. The Pats are a team that entered the postseason having played just three playoff teams during the regular season and went 1-2 in those games.

The Giants are quite the opposite. New York hails from the much stronger NFC and the wins the Giants have been piling up over the past month is nothing short of spectacular, and it’s eerily similar to what the Packers did last season.

Since Jan. 1, the Giants have beaten Dallas (a near-playoff team), Atlanta, Green Bay and San Francisco by a combined score of 112-53! It does not get anymore impressive than that.

Meanwhile, the Patriots’ playoff road has been a home win over a Denver Broncos team that left its best game in Mile-High Stadium after upsetting the Steelers in the wildcard round, and a win over the Ravens that almost wasn’t if receiver Lee Evans holds onto the ball a second longer.

Not only have the Giants been the hotter team with the better defense, they also beat the Patriots in New England back on Nov. 8. And in that game, the Giants were nowhere close to as healthy as they are now. Not to mention, receiver Victor Cruz had not emerged as the offensive threat he is now.

And now you have the Patriots possibly without top tight end Rob Gronkowski, who if he does play will be far from full strength.

So, again, why exactly are the Patriots favored? Brady and Belichick and the memory of seasons past. That’s your answer. Obviously, both coach and QB could be enough for the Pats to win the game, cover the small point spread and nobody would be surprised. But a bet on the Giants gets you the hotter team with a better resume, an equally hot quarterback as Brady, the better defense and, oh yeah, an entire field goal in your pocket before the game even starts.

As for the over/under. The natural inclination would be to go “under” such a lofty number. But this is the new era NFL and we’re not about to stand in the way of a rules system that makes quarterbacks un-hittable and receivers untouchable. Pass on the total and make the rooting quite simply a Giants win.

Follow me on Twitter @ChemicalAT