Robert V. Rowe
June 30, 2000
How good are "tips?" Letís first define what we mean by tips. According to our standards the only ones even worth considering are those that emanate from the backstretch i.e, owners, trainers, jockeys, exercise riders, etc. However, even these often well-meaning scraps of information should be looked on with a jaundiced eye.
Fifty years ago Jamaica was the hub of New York racing, and may still be considered such today. Regardless, the Whitman Hotel, in Jamaica, was the community center for horsemen racing at either Aqueduct, the old Jamaica track or Belmont Park. If one sought "inside information" he or she could do worse than hang around the Whitman.
Sam Finkelstein, the proprietor, and his two sons were horse owners which obviously didnít distract from other horsemen making the hotel a hangout. In fact a large number boarded there during the racing season.
It was around this time that a medical doctor and his wife arrived from Switzerland, and despite having a European license the good doctor still had to take and pass a New York medical examination. From sheer boredom I guess, while waiting for the Doc to take his test and be licensed, this couple joined our poker sessions and soon became regular participants. They subsequently became good friends.
What has this got to do with tips? The point is that Steve, the doctor, who was an extremely likable individual was well known and - due to his profession - much sought after. In consequence, any time there supposedly was a goodthing going Steve would be told about it. Did the good doctor get rich from this invariably well-meaning information? No!
It soon became obvious to Steve, and I as well, that the only really good info he received was of the negative sort. If we were tipped that a sort-priced horse was off feed or had walked its stall all night it would be the signal to lay off.
On the other hand if a trainer came to the Doc and enthused that he had a cinch going in the fifth the Doc soon caught on that this type info should be taken with more than just a grain of salt. Too often positive info is supported by little more than personal bias; sort of like momma who thinks her little darling is the cutest ever born.
In summary we're saying that valid information should be considered, but before putting cash on the line add the ingredient of your own judgment. Don't swallow evertyhing hook, line and sinker.
Look for HH #33 to appear on or about July 15th.
The Running Horse (http://www.isd1.com/)