Levitt as Horse Bettor: Eh.

In addition to its Freakonomics Poker Portfolio, James Altucher at Stockpickr.com has also posted a Freakonomics Horse Racing Portfolio, thus creating indices in honor of two of Steve Levitt‘s greatest passions.

FWIW, Levitt’s picks the other day on the Kentucky Derby weren’t terrible. One of the two long shots he liked, Hard Spun, placed and paid $9.80. On the other hand, the winning Street Sense was one of two favorites that Levitt said he “wouldn’t touch.” Oh well.

I learned a long time ago not to put my money on Levitt as a horse bettor. When I first visited him in Chicago for the New York Times profile I wrote about him, we spent half a day at Maywood Park, a trotter track. There weren’t any live races there that day (they’d rented it out for a paintball tournament), but it was a better alternative than an OTB.

Levitt had handicapped a Pick 6 (at a California track, I think, but I don’t have my notes handy so I can’t say for sure). He bet about $500 on 250 $2 tickets, covering a lot of alternatives. It was a weird day of racing. There were a ton of scratches, especially on the long shots that Levitt favored, which meant that those bets got transferred to the favorites. And then the favorites kept winning.

After the fourth race, Levitt still had a bunch of potentially winning tickets but he didn’t look very pleased. Then another favorite won the fifth race, and also the sixth. Sure enough, Levitt had won a Pick 6 — which is usually cause for raucous celebration — but he was the grimmest looking Pick 6 winner I’d ever seen. And no wonder: His winning ticket, after you subtracted what he bet, was only worth about $300. When I reminded him of this the other day, he said, “I haven’t seen a Pick 6 in three digits before or since.”


Jason

Slightly off topic, but you've been nominated for "Best Blog About Stuff" at the Blogger's Choice Awards.

Vote for the Freakonomics Blog here. If HTML doesn't work here, go to www.bloggerschoiceawards.com and search for "Freakonomics".

You should get your badge, too.

Jason

hsloboda

I would love to win a Pick 6!

steveM49

Steven might want to listen to the speaker at this luncheon. He picked the trifecta at this years Kentucky Derby.

Chicago Chapter of the American Statistical Association
Luncheon Announcement
Noon to midnight
FRIDAY!!!
June 1, 2007
The Trackside Restaurant
2200 W Euclid, Arlington Heights, Illinois 60006

Please join us for this final exciting Friday event in the CCASA's Luncheon program.

Our April speaker is Joe Kristufek, Professional Handicapper, and the talk is entitled The Statistics of Handicapping.

Abstract
Joe has written and spoken extensively about horse-racing, and most recently was the Kentucky Derby Analyst for radio station WGN. Joe has an extensive knowledge of horse racing, and will share this knowledge with us in an afternoon of fun and relaxation at Arlington Park.
Directions to Trackside. If you are driving, take the Kennedy to the Northwest tollway. Exit on ILL 53 north, and take the second exit onto Euclid Avenue, east. Trackside is about a mile from the expressway exit on the north side of the highway. If you are taking Metra, there is a train station at Arlington Park, and Trackside is about a quarter mile walk from the station. Walk southeast on Northwest Highway half a block to Wilke Road. Turn right (south) on Wilke, and follow it for a long block to Euclid Avenue. Then turn right (west) on Euclid, and Trackside is about 500 feet down Euclid.
. Plans for our future luncheons will be included in our upcoming announcements. Lunch is $30 for CCASA members, $35 for nonmembers. Nonmembers, join the chapter for a year for only $15 and get the discount plus all the benefits of membership!

Contact Lou Fogg, VP for Luncheons
Phone: 312-942-6239 or E-mail:louis_fogg@rush.edu.

Read more...

Jason

Slightly off topic, but you've been nominated for "Best Blog About Stuff" at the Blogger's Choice Awards.

Vote for the Freakonomics Blog here. If HTML doesn't work here, go to www.bloggerschoiceawards.com and search for "Freakonomics".

You should get your badge, too.

Jason

hsloboda

I would love to win a Pick 6!

steveM49

Steven might want to listen to the speaker at this luncheon. He picked the trifecta at this years Kentucky Derby.

Chicago Chapter of the American Statistical Association
Luncheon Announcement
Noon to midnight
FRIDAY!!!
June 1, 2007
The Trackside Restaurant
2200 W Euclid, Arlington Heights, Illinois 60006

Please join us for this final exciting Friday event in the CCASA's Luncheon program.

Our April speaker is Joe Kristufek, Professional Handicapper, and the talk is entitled The Statistics of Handicapping.

Abstract
Joe has written and spoken extensively about horse-racing, and most recently was the Kentucky Derby Analyst for radio station WGN. Joe has an extensive knowledge of horse racing, and will share this knowledge with us in an afternoon of fun and relaxation at Arlington Park.
Directions to Trackside. If you are driving, take the Kennedy to the Northwest tollway. Exit on ILL 53 north, and take the second exit onto Euclid Avenue, east. Trackside is about a mile from the expressway exit on the north side of the highway. If you are taking Metra, there is a train station at Arlington Park, and Trackside is about a quarter mile walk from the station. Walk southeast on Northwest Highway half a block to Wilke Road. Turn right (south) on Wilke, and follow it for a long block to Euclid Avenue. Then turn right (west) on Euclid, and Trackside is about 500 feet down Euclid.
. Plans for our future luncheons will be included in our upcoming announcements. Lunch is $30 for CCASA members, $35 for nonmembers. Nonmembers, join the chapter for a year for only $15 and get the discount plus all the benefits of membership!

Contact Lou Fogg, VP for Luncheons
Phone: 312-942-6239 or E-mail:louis_fogg@rush.edu.

Read more...