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PH Celebration of Winners
It's official! The winner of the PH Challenge in 2018 is hgfactor, a/k/a Harris Factor!
Harris is 82 years young and has been handicapping for 65 years! He wins a trip to the Horse Player World Series in March 2019, including entry, hotel, and $500 for travel. He also wins a one-year, unlimited subscription to DRF PPs, in Formulator or PDF format. And a trophy, and a PH T-shirt! We asked Harris, a resident of Maryland, a few questions about his handicapping, and here is that Q&A:
Is this your first time qualifying to a Vegas contest? This is the first time I've qualified for either the Horse Player World Series or the NHC, although I have come close a few times. In the long-ago past, I qualified for the finals of the Penn National World Series of Handicapping 7 times, never winning but finishing fairly high up in the standings. Among the contestants in those contests (who, by the way, also never won it) were Andy Beyer, John Pricci, Dick Jerardi and Steve Davidowitz (who, along with Tom Ainslie, is just about the best handicapping writer I've ever read).
What got you into handicapping? I have been a horse player/handicapper/race tracker for more than 65 years, with the earliest memory of my father being of me on his shoulders at some East Coast race track or another. He used to take me most Saturdays when I was a kid in the 1940's--Garden State, Atlantic City, Delaware Park, Monmouth and occasionally one of the New York tracks. (I grew up in Philadelphia--before there were any tracks there, graduated from Penn State in 1958, moved to Baltimore in 1960 after 2 years in the Army, and started frequenting the Maryland/West Virginia/Delaware tracks--Bowie, Laurel, Pimlico, Timonium, Hagerstown, Cumberland, Marlboro, Shenandoah Downs, Dover Downs (which was thoroughbreds only in the 60's) and Charlestown.
What is your most important handicapping angle? Over the many years I've been a player I've developed my own way of doing things (as have almost all horseplayers, I'm certain) and there isn't any one angle I'd say was my favorite. I early-on developed and began using my own speed and pace and "angle" figures (long before Beyer and derived mostly, probably, from the Tom Ainslie and Steve Davidowitz philosophies, as explored in their books, and my own observations).
What was your biggest score? What I consider my biggest scores would not be thought all that big by players today, given the size of some of the payoffs on exotic bets (which didn't exist in my betting heyday) nowadays. I once swept the card at Shenandoah Downs, in the early 60's, but the total winnings amounted to less than $3000. Still, that was probably my most memorable betting day--9 straight winners. There have been many days of over $5000 winnings but nothing spectacular or life-changing. Those were all in the days before pick 3's and pick-4's and pick-6's.
I'm now an infrequent player and, while not a $2 bettor, I no longer "go for the okey doke", as I did years ago. And, oh yes, my play on Shamrock Rose in the first Breeders Cup race was probably as good a score as I've had in recent years--netted me not only the lead in the contest but also over $6000 from my online account bets (had the exacta, trifecta and superfecta, all cold--no brag, just fact).
Were you involved with other aspects of horse racing? In the mid-60's I got into owning some horses and raced a few in partnership with my father and brother. All were cheap claimers but all provided us with many thrills and more than a few wins. Among the trainers I used over the years were Bill Boniface, Bobby Hilton, Dick Small, Doug Small, Larry Craft, Al Johnson, Mary Eppler and Raymond Class. The first couple years of my marriage my wife, Liz, and I lived on a farm in Hydes, MD and bred, raised and raced a few horses, again with little success beyond the claiming ranks, but lots of fun, excitement and education (and back-breaking expense).
In the 70's and 80's I formed a few partnerships with friends and co-workers (before Cot Campbell became famous for doing the same thing--of course, his horses were frequently good ones--mine not so much) and we raced a few more with moderate success but, again, lots of fun. Attached is a photo showing me with the first foal my wife and I bred, raised and raced--Taste of Sunshine--broke her maiden at Charlestown in, I think, 1978 and was claimed from us.
See You in December
The top 20 official PH Challenge results (if you see your name here and did not get a prize notification, please email us, as the email we have on file for you may be out of date):
The official results for this week on PH:
||Final Standings 2018
Congratulations to all who picked winners!
Be sure to check out the new standings
See you next week for more great racing!
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Final Standings 2018
Aqueduct, Race 10, 4:00 PM ET, Tuesday, November 06,
Grade I Stakes
1 1/2 miles