‘Home Away From Home’: 60-Year Handicapping Veteran Wins Tampa’s Online Contest

The first time Frank Mazur came to Tampa Bay Downs – 57 or 58 years ago, when the track was called Sunshine Park – he made money. He took numerous vacations to the area over the years to escape the Chicago winters, and developed an enduring affection for everything the Oldsmar oval had to offer.

“It felt like a home away from home. How do you explain something like that. … it was like I belonged there,” he reminisced. “Everybody was real friendly, and I always felt comfortable there.”

Mazur’s passion over the decades was duly rewarded on Dec. 24 when he won the track-sponsored “10 Days of Festivus” Online Handicapping Contest, finishing with a final bankroll amount of $113.30. His selection of Whispering Rose proved the difference when the (then)-3-year-old filly won the fourth race on Christmas Eve by a head, paying $8.60, $5.40 and $3.

Before settling on Whispering Rose, he asked two friends for their input, and both told him to choose her.

The victory enabled Mazur, an 81-year-old retiree now living in Henderson, Nev., with his wife Dana and son David, to edge contest runner-up Bob Diver of Niagara on the Lake in Ontario, Canada by $3.50.

Mazur collected $1,000 for the victory and Diver won $500. They topped a field of more than 700 handicappers who competed in the event.

“It’s a hard contest to win, and if you’re a horse player, it’s a great accomplishment,” said Mazur, who never had to use a lifeline since each of his picks finished in the money over the 10 days of the contest.

“The racing at Tampa was very formful during that period, and I think a lot of people got eliminated going for long shots. Obviously there is an element of luck involved, but for whatever reason things fell into place. There were two or three times I had to make a hard decision between horses, and I guessed right,” Mazur said.

Mazur looks at class and speed when handicapping and doesn’t pay much attention to the jockeys.

“When the horses start riding the jockeys and trainers, I’ll pay more attention to that. The only thing you want from the jockey is not to fall off,” he said.

Mazur, who has entered “eight or 10” handicapping contests at Tampa Bay Downs, said it remains his favorite simulcast signal.

“I’d say 90 percent of the bets I make are on Tampa. I hold my own,” he said. “My losses would be very minor, and the entertainment value would be way ahead.”

And the memories? Those are priceless.

The post ‘Home Away From Home’: 60-Year Handicapping Veteran Wins Tampa’s Online Contest appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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