It increases your odds of winning. In fact it’s almost impossible to lose when you already know who won.

The trick was for my partner Scotty to walk out of the race track in such a way that he could hear the announcer calling the winner just as he was leaving the track. Timing needed to be perfect. Walk quickly, but not too quickly. This is not a situation where you want to attract attention. Once he was out of the gate and hopefully out of surveillance, he would run. I waited in the phone booth across the street from the race track with the race program in my hand and my boss on the other end of the phone while Scotty walked in and out of the track. Those hand-stamps come in handy! The parking lot is huge and it’s a long walk, so when Scotty got close enough he would use a hand signal to flash me the number of the winner. I relay the information to my boss on the other end of the phone and he makes his bet. A sure winner. You can only do this so many times before the bookie taking the action begins to get suspicious. Bookies are suspicious by nature anyway, so caution was in order. I don’t know what our target would have done if he found out we were cheating him, and I didn’t want to find out!

I was in my early 20s during the 1970s. There were no cell phones and all the phones at the track were locked up during races to prevent exactly what we were doing. It’s called “past-posting the bookie.” It is probably called other things as well; dangerous, underhanded, and profitable. Exciting too. All the pieces have to fit. Who is going to accept a bet at the same time the race is going off? There was no off-track-betting in those days, so bookies handled all the illegal gambling action. My boss on the other end of my phone-line kept his bookie on hold while were were relaying the results to him, over the phone. He kept his bookie on-hold, telling him that he had an important call on the other line. He sure did. It was me with the name of the horse that had just won the race. Then he would place his bet. Can’t lose!
I grew up partly in Inglewood California around Hollywood Park Race Track, so I was very familiar with the layout. I was also familiar with Santa Anita, Del Mar and Belmont Shores race tracks. We operated the scam at all of these tracks. My pal and partner-in-crime was the same age as I was, and we didn’t mind a little excitement. We had no fear of the police, although I suppose we should have. If we were caught by the bookie, it might get ugly, but he wouldn’t be calling the police!
I’m admitting to doing something wrong here, and I am not proud of it. But at that time I was more of a product of my environment than I am now. This influenced me in ways I would not realize until many years later when my life would be transformed in a profound manner.


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