Handicapper Deicke Hoping To Rise To Gotham Challenge

Ed Deicke, a 54-year-old financial advisor from Lido Beach, New York, has turned a lifelong love of horse racing into a potentially lucrative hobby as a prominent player on the National Horseplayers Championship [NHC] tour.

“I do mostly retirement planning. It’s all I’ve ever done and I really do love it,” said Deicke, who also serves as a mentor for prospective NHC players. “The market has its ups and downs and managing expectations is probably harder than managing the money, but I enjoy it. I do math during the week and I do even more math on the weekends.”

Although currently enjoying winter as a snowbird in Florida, Deicke said he was raised on New York racing.

“I was born and bred at NYRA. My father brought me to Belmont Park when I was 13-years-old and it was a group of guys who loved sports and horse racing and loved to gamble and have a couple cocktails,” said Deicke. “They’d sit around and tell big stories which my father later told me none of them were true. The horse they needed didn’t lose by a nose; it lost by two lengths and it didn’t cost them $10,000, it only cost them $300. But it was just great fun.”

Deicke reconnected with horse racing when he attended the 1998 Preakness at Pimlico Race Course, watching with a group of friends who hailed from the Floral Park area near Belmont Park and cheered home Kentucky Derby-winner Real Quiet.

“Three weeks later, Real Quiet took a big lead in the Belmont,” recalled Deicke. “He looked like he was going to break the string of all those years without a Triple Crown winner, but Victory Gallop got him by a nose that day.”

Deicke had his first major tournament experience at the 2017 Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge [BCBC] at Del Mar in San Diego.

“I took my son-in-law to Del Mar for the BCBC and we came in tenth,” recalled Deicke. “We were first or second at one point in that tournament and had a great weekend. If I knew then what I know now, we maybe could have won.”

Deicke said that learning when and how to make big bets on key races requires experience. That first Breeders’ Cup learning experience centered around lessons learned from Bar of Gold’s win in the Filly and Mare Sprint [Race 6, $135.40] and Wuheida’s victory [Race 7, $24.40] in the Filly and Mare Turf.

“On Saturday, my partner said his best bet was Wuheida and I said that’s funny, that’s my best bet,” recalled Deicke. “Right before the Filly and Mare Sprint, we hadn’t made many bets and were down to $6,000. I knew we had to start betting about $900 per race five times, those were the rules. I forget who I liked, but he liked Bar of Gold, who won at 66-1. We had the exacta [with Ami’s Mesa] for $2 and got back $2,000.

“We also both loved Roy H [won the Sprint in Race 8 and paid $11.80],” added Deicke. “Thing is, I’d never made a $900 bet in my life. We couldn’t even conceive of betting that type of money. I was a $20-$20 win/place bettor back then. Now I’m a $50-$50 bettor. We probably should have played the $900 double Wuheida onto Roy H [which returned $160.80 for $2] and we loved the exacta cold in the Sprint [onto Imperial Hint, which returned $25.80 for $1].”

Deicke said he went into the Breeders’ Cup Classic with a chance to win the BCBC and had $4,000 to win on Gunnevera, who finished fifth at 15-1. His final bankroll of $48,860.50 was good for tenth place purse money of $25,000 and a seat in the NHC.

The winner, Nisan Gabbay, turned his day around with a $4,000 win bet on Talismanic, who won the Turf at 14-1. Gabbay closed his day with a $15,000 exacta of Gun Runner on top of Collected [which paid $17 for $1] that ballooned his winning bankroll to $176,000, earning $300,000 in purse money and an NHC seat.

“It was a day of days. I’ve never had as good a day handicapping as I had that day and I came in tenth,” said Deicke. “I’ve since won other contests that I didn’t see as well, but now I understand the betting of the contests.”

Deicke said the 2017 BCBC was a game-changing experience.

“Now, I’m in the NYRA contest every week and I try to win free entries into the Breeders’ Cup and NHC,” said Deicke. “I’ve done pretty well at the NHC the past few years. Last year, I came in 20th and the year before I was around 50th out of 600 people.”

But not everyone has to dive in at the deep end. The NYRA Challenge series includes weekly tournaments that start with a $300 buy-in and offers cash prizes and seats in future challenge events. In all events, NYRA returns 100 percent of the prize pool to the players.

“In general, you’re betting with takeout and then in the contest you bet with no takeout and that’s an advantage for the player,” said Deicke. “And I love that the weekly contests are $300, so you can start to participate in tournaments for smaller amounts of money that can get you into bigger tournaments. You can work your way up to winning an NHC seat and that’s great for the players.”

There are significant differences in strategies from the NHC contest – where players make a series of $2 win/place bets on a set number of races – and cash tournaments, like the BCBC or the $3,000 Gotham Challenge, where before the end of the tournament, a contestant must wager a minimum of $400 in a permitted wager type [Win, Place, Show, Exacta, Trifecta, Quinella, and Daily Double] per race on a minimum of five (5) Challenge Races.

Deicke said he uses Thoro-Graph sheets and the Daily Racing Form as key study aids for his tournament play along with select race replays via NYRA Bets.

“If I see a troubled-trip line of steady or checked, I’ll re-watch the race,” said Deicke. “Sometimes, a horse will steady and check when they’re about to win and sometimes it happens when they’re about to lose and the fact that they’re losing momentum and the jockey is checking them up doesn’t matter.”

The now veteran player said he has learned to keep an open mind and bet the board.

“I study the morning of the tournament and try to make my decisions as late as possible,” said Deicke. “I don’t want to get focused in on one particular thing. Also, the board can vastly change how you play a given race. One thing I’ve learned at tournaments is you can sit there all day to bet a 10-1 shot in the last race and the horse will open up at 5-2 because everybody else likes it too.”

“If speed is winning or the inside is good, I can adapt a little bit,” added Deicke. “I keep a journal of every tournament I’m in and write down every bet I make – from the type of race to the bet itself and the result.”

Deicke said adaptability is a key component of tournament play, referencing the recent Cigar Mile Challenge.

“You have to be flexible,” said Deicke. “I loved True Timber that day. He was 10-1. But the tournament rules said you had to make five $40 bets, so I picked a few 3-5 shots to show that I thought couldn’t lose so I could bet it all on True Timber in the last race.”

The strategy did not pan out with a number of his horses running off the board. At the penultimate race, the Grade 2 Demoiselle, Deicke spent his remaining $120 on a cold double of Malathaat onto True Timber in the Grade 1 Cigar Mile.

“Malathaat just got up to win and then True Timber won and catapulted me into second,” said Deicke. “What I planned to do when the day started and what I ended up doing at day’s end to be successful were two different things.”

True Timber paid $16.60 to win, capping a double that paid $16.40 for $1.

Deicke said he will play the Gotham Challenge ($2,000 Live Bankroll/$1,000 Prize Pool) which in addition to significant prize money also offers two NHC seats along with a seat at a future $3,000 NYRA Challenge event.

“Those NHC seats are valuable,” said Deicke. “Anyone out there wanting to play the Gotham Challenge because they want to win an NHC seat, I’d totally recommend it.

“My goal every year is to double qualify for the NHC,” added Deicke. “It’s not just for the money. The first place prize last year was $800,000 but they also give you an Eclipse Award as handicapper of the year. That trophy is going to go up in the middle of our house enclosed in glass with a big picture of me smiling ear to ear with a check in my hands. I’ll build a shrine in my house if I ever win it.”

The post Handicapper Deicke Hoping To Rise To Gotham Challenge appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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