The "Iceman," from his table above the finish line in the Turf Club at Hollywood Park in the ninth race June 13, watched as his horse, Belle Poitrine, carrying the high weight of 119 pounds and jockey Patrick Valenzuela in the saddle, jumped into second from the No. 4 post position as the starting gate opened.
Belle Poitrine held second against the six other fillies and mares, 4-year-olds and up, in the 1 1/16-mile race until the three-quarter mark, when the nag, with a sudden burst of speed, rushed into the lead and entered the stretch half a length in front. Through the stretch, Belle Poitrine extended her leading margin to finish first by 2 1/2 lengths.
The favorite in the seven-horse field, Belle Poitrine paid $4.80 to win, and the Iceman collected $1,228.80 for the $512 that he had wagered.
Appearing cool and calm during the race, the Iceman, who always wears sunglasses and dark suit and tie, is a study in inscrutability no matter how much money he bets or where in the race his horse is positioned. His cronies find him an enigma, totally obscure and unfathomable, because he can win millions or lose millions and his demeanor and facial expression never change.
After collecting his money, the Iceman found that he had won $206.80 for the day, even though he had lost the first eight races and had ended up with only one winner. What the Iceman is developing is a system that he is patterning after his gambling in Las Vegas.
The Iceman doubles up after a loss, which, his friends say, is the quickest way to bankruptcy. The Iceman believes, however, that the percentages are with him since the favorites, on which he bets every race, win 28% to 33% of the time.
Therefore, he says that, technically, he should win every third or fourth race. So by doubling up from race to race, and starting over again with a $2 bet after a win, there should be enough profit for champagne and caviar and Rolls-Royces and Jaguars.
What the Iceman wagers is a sequence of $2-4-8-16-32-64-128-256-512 for the nine races. If the favorite runs out all nine races, which has happened on occasion, the Iceman is prepared to lose $1,022, believing that he can win such huge sums back on days when the system works and when the favorites come romping home as expected.
The Iceman points out that he has come out ahead on 47 of 67 days (70.1%) this year at Hollywood Park. However, his friends say that, despite the high percentage of winning days, the Iceman would be hard-pressed to show a profit for the entire Hollywood Park season. More than likely, he is a loser, because the favorites at Hollywood Park only won 29% of the time.
The losses, of course, haven't deterred the Iceman. He believes that since his winning days by far outnumber his losing ones, with some slight betting alterations, he will come up with a profitable system that will enable him to beat every track in the country. Meanwhile, he continues to double up, which his friends consider sheer lunacy.
June 27 of this year was another big winning day for the Iceman when his favorite, Jefforee, won and paid a $7 mutuel in the eighth race. Jefforee, running 1 1/16 miles on the turf against 3-year-old fillies, broke from the No. 5 post position and immediately settled into fourth.
At the half-mile pole, Jefforee moved up to third and took a head lead after three-quarters. In the stretch, the horse opened up a length but faded near the finish to end up first by a neck.
In the eighth race, the Iceman had to wager $256. His return amounted to $896. At that point, after deducting $512 in total betting through the eighth race, he had a profit of $384. He then proceeded to wager $2 on the ninth race, lost, and left winning $382 for the day.
One of the more interesting betting sessions of the recently ended Hollywood Park season was July 23, the final day, when six out of nine favorites won. Here's how it went:
In the first race, the Iceman won on Stonehouse, which paid a $5.20 mutual, giving him a $3.20 profit. No Doubles Match went off at $3-$1 in the second and easily beat 11 other horses in a six-furlong sprint to pay $8, giving the Iceman a profit of $9.20 after two races.
The third race saw the favorite run second in a six-horse field and in the fourth the favorite ran last against eight other horses, cutting the Iceman's profit to $3.20.
Chief Runnin Blaze, against 4-year-olds and up in a 6 1/2-furlong sprint in the fifth, started off sixth from the No. 10 post position. By the half-mile pole, the horse was third and, after a sudden move around the far turn, entered the stretch a head in front. At the finish, Chief Runnin Blaze was running easily, pulling away for a two-length victory.
Chief Runnin Blaze paid $6.60 and returned $26.40 for the Iceman's $8 bet. Adding $18.40 to his $3.20, the Iceman found himself $21.60 ahead.
The Iceman returned to a $2 bet in the sixth race and watched as Cuddles easily romped home by seven lengths. The nag paid $6.40 and profit to that point was $26.
The seventh race was a loser, cutting winnings to $24, but the eighth saw Petite Ile run wire-to-wire to win by a half-length, paying $5.40. The Iceman's $4 brought him back $10.80 and winnings of $30.80 through eight races.
In the ninth, the favorite, Agiwin, running 1 1/16 miles on the turf, ran tucked into fourth until the stretch where he began his move. Just before the finish, Agiwin overtook the leaders and managed to win by a nose.
Paying $7.40, the horse gave the Iceman a $5.40 profit, which, added to the $30.80, resulted in winnings of $36.20 for the day.
Of course, the Iceman says, he isn't committed to a doubling-up system if it should prove that it can't win. However, as long as it turns out a profit on about 70% of the racing days, he's going to stick with it, because he believes that a breakthrough is imminent. It's not like Las Vegas and the crap tables, he says, where sooner or later any double-up system has to buck the table limit. At the track, you can bet any amount on any race and that's an advantage.