Being best of the bettors lures them to track

  • Article by: PATRICK REUSSE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 21, 2011 - 11:57 PM

Tom Anderson and Mike Ferrozzo are among the regulars at Canterbury Park, enthralled by the challenges of handicapping.

Johnny Grimm took his grandkids to the Chicago racetracks in the 1960s. There was one youngster who became hooked on those days at the track.

"I was maybe 8 when I started going with Grandpa regularly," Tom Anderson said. "Johnny was an amazing guy. He went to the track during the day and played cards at night. I don't remember him ever going to work."

And Grandma? "Ethel ... and she was very understanding."

Anderson paused. He smiled. "Like my wife," he said. "Sue. She should go straight to heaven."

The second day of live racing was being conducted Saturday at Canterbury Park, along with the simulcast of the Preakness. This combination has drawn well in the past, although the morning monsoon made for a late-arriving audience.

Neither live racing nor a Triple Crown race nor heavy rain had an impact on Anderson's decision on whether to make the short drive from his Burnsville home to the Shakopee horse palace.

Anderson can be found at his favored location on the second floor "every day," according to Canterbury sources.

"Let's not say that," he said. "Let's say 'frequently.' That sounds better. I'm here frequently."

Anderson's family moved to the Twin Cities in the early '70s, when he still was a kid. His only racetracking for over a decade occurred on occasional visits to Chicago. Then, on June 26, 1985, thoroughbred racing with parimutuel wagering started at Canterbury Downs.

"I was out here the first day, and it didn't take me long to be hooked again on horse racing," Anderson said.

Canterbury was allowed to add limited simulcasting in 1990. In 1993, the facility was closed, and it came back with new owners -- the Sampson family and Dale Schenian -- and full-blown simulcasting in 1994.

Tom Anderson, meet favorite corner location.

Anderson does most of his wagering on races from Florida and New York tracks. He also will bet Santa Anita, now that it has pulled out the poly track.

"I don't handicap poly unless I have to in a tournament," he said. "Dirt or grass. That's it for me."

Anderson tries to find winners the way Johnny Grimm did so -- by using a printed Daily Racing Form. "I don't do anything by computer," he said. "I don't pay attention to those computerized systems that are supposed to help you beat this game."

More than any form of gambling, playing the horses is a game -- a contest where an individual is trying to beat the variables involved with eight or more horses, jockeys and trainers, as well as thousands of other bettors.

"That's what I enjoy, I guess ... the competitive part of it," Anderson said.

That angle has served Anderson well over the previous several months. Last August, he was the runner-up in the "Dog Day Afternoon" handicapping tournament. This gave him one of Canterbury's two spots in the 12th National Handicapping Championship for thoroughbred racing that was held in January at the Red Rock Casino outside Las Vegas.

There were 305 qualifiers in the two-day, 30-race tournament. First place was worth $500,000, and Anderson held a strong lead after day one.

"On the second day, I had Jessica is Back at 14-1 and she lost in a photo," Anderson said. "That was a big turnaround for me. I wound up finishing third, behind a full-time horse player [John Doyle] and the guy that owns Ellis Park [Ron Geary]."

And? "Third paid 100 grand, which was OK," he said.

Twenty-five yards across the room, Mike Ferrozzo from Eagan was at a cubicle in the simulcast center. He has been in the computer industry since the 1980s. And on Saturday, he had a laptop with some figures he had generated for himself to handicap the races.

"I came to Canterbury in about '87, somehow won $200 on a quarterhorse race, and that got me started," Ferrozzo said. "I'm here every Saturday, sitting with this same group of 10, 12 regulars.

"We have our own little tournament, and today, I'm playing in a couple of other tournaments. I'll bet at home online once in a while, but I'd rather be out here at the park. Being around people that enjoy playing horses as much as you do ... that's the appeal."

Whether they lean on the Daily Racing Form or the computer, there are scores of like-minded souls that can be found year-round at Canterbury, enthusiastically trying to beat the most challenging game in gambling.

Patrick Reusse can be heard noon-4 weekdays on 1500ESPN. • preusse@startribune.com

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Chicago 17 FINAL
Detroit 34
Philadelphia 33 FINAL
Dallas 10
Seattle 16 3rd Qtr 4:35
San Francisco 0
Cleveland 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Washington 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Tennessee 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Houston
San Diego 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
NY Giants 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Cincinnati 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Oakland 11/30/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
New Orleans 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Carolina 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota
Arizona 11/30/14 3:05 PM
Atlanta
New England 11/30/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Denver 11/30/14 7:30 PM
Kansas City
Miami 12/1/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
Edmonton 0 3rd Prd
Nashville 0
ULM 54 FINAL
Robert Morris 71
Santa Clara 57 FINAL
Tennessee 64
Oklahoma 59 FINAL
Butler 46
Austin Peay 79 FINAL
Brown 58
Princeton 56 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 62
Coastal Carolina 67 FINAL
Chattanooga 78
Kansas 76 FINAL
Rhode Island 60
Wisconsin 68 FINAL
Georgetown 65
FIU 53 FINAL
USC Upstate 68
Long Island 54 FINAL
Stony Brook 73
San Diego 71 FINAL
Xavier 82
Illinois 88 FINAL
Indiana State 62
Cal State Fullerton 67 FINAL
Wright State 62
Western Ky 62 FINAL
Saint Josephs 59
Michigan State 77 FINAL
Rider 45
UCLA 56 FINAL
North Carolina 78
Long Beach State 73 FINAL
Western Mich 55
Marquette 59 2nd Half 5:32
Georgia Tech 49
Stephen F Austin 44 2nd Half 12:36
Prairie View 37
UAB 22 2nd Half
Florida 27
Rice 28 2nd Half
Mercer 33
San Jose St 10:00 PM
Washington
Washington St 10:59 PM
UC Santa Barbara
Baylor 10:59 PM
Memphis
LSU 20 4th Qtr 6:42
Texas A&M 17
(6) TCU 27 4th Qtr 12:15
Texas 10
Northern Ill 11/28/14 10:00 AM
Western Mich
Nebraska 11/28/14 11:00 AM
Iowa
Western Ky 11/28/14 11:00 AM
(19) Marshall
UCF 11/28/14 11:00 AM
So Florida
Houston 11/28/14 11:00 AM
SMU
Akron 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Kent State
Ball State 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Bowling Green
Buffalo 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Massachusetts
Toledo 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
Arkansas 11/28/14 1:30 PM
(17) Missouri
Navy 11/28/14 2:00 PM
South Alabama
(13) Arizona State 11/28/14 2:30 PM
(12) Arizona
Stanford 11/28/14 2:30 PM
(9) UCLA
(21) Colorado State 11/28/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
Virginia 11/28/14 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
East Carolina 11/28/14 7:30 PM
Tulsa
North Texas 11/29/14 11:00 AM
TX-San Antonio
Old Dominion 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Fla Atlantic
(16) Georgia Tech 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(8) Georgia
Kentucky 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(24) Louisville
So Carolina 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(23) Clemson
West Virginia 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
Rice 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Louisiana Tech
Michigan 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(7) Ohio State
Purdue 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Indiana
Illinois 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Northwestern
Cincinnati 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Temple
NC State 11/29/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Syracuse 11/29/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Louisiana 11/29/14 11:30 AM
Troy
Utah 11/29/14 12:00 PM
Colorado
Texas State 11/29/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Idaho 11/29/14 1:00 PM
Appalachian St
Wyoming 11/29/14 2:00 PM
New Mexico
New Mexico St 11/29/14 2:00 PM
Arkansas State
UAB 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(4) Miss State 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(18) Ole Miss
Notre Dame 11/29/14 2:30 PM
USC
(10) Michigan State 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Penn State
(22) Minnesota 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(14) Wisconsin
(5) Baylor 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Texas Tech
Florida 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
Rutgers 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Maryland
San Jose St 11/29/14 2:30 PM
San Diego St
Tennessee 11/29/14 3:00 PM
Vanderbilt
Kansas 11/29/14 3:00 PM
(11) Kansas State
Connecticut 11/29/14 3:00 PM
Memphis
BYU 11/29/14 3:30 PM
California
ULM 11/29/14 5:00 PM
Ga Southern
Middle Tennessee 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Hawaii 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Fresno State
Wake Forest 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Duke
Pittsburgh 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Miami-Florida
(15) Auburn 11/29/14 6:45 PM
(2) Alabama
(3) Oregon 11/29/14 7:00 PM
Oregon State
Utah State 11/29/14 9:15 PM
(25) Boise State
Washington 11/29/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Nevada 11/29/14 9:30 PM
UNLV
UCF 12/4/14 6:30 PM
East Carolina
Hamilton 11/30/14 5:00 PM
Calgary
Hartford 43 FINAL
Furman 53
Clemson 77 FINAL
Ohio State 86
Idaho State 53 FINAL
San Diego State 68
East Carolina 58 FINAL
(22) Syracuse 69
Santa Clara 0 Cancelled
Texas-El Paso 0
Florida State 68 FINAL
Washington 80
Wichita State 39 FINAL
Fla Gulf Coast 56
Wisconsin 44 FINAL
(1) South Carolina 67
Kansas State 0 Cancelled
LSU 0
BYU 73 FINAL
BYU-Hawaii 52
Charlotte 58 FINAL
Montana 67
Illinois 77 FINAL
(9) Kentucky 71
Central Michigan 61 FINAL
Richmond 56
Oklahoma 68 2nd Half 0:10
South Florida 83
Princeton 72 FINAL
Wake Forest 55
(19) Oregon State 85 FINAL
Butler 53

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Will the Gophers bring home The Axe?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close