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Old 11-18-2022, 06:08 PM   #16
the little guy
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Watchmaker? That sounds right. At first I was thinking Mike Welsch - and that DIDN'T sound right, though he's apparently been there since 1972 (and the photograph on the website has to be circa 1982)

Would Watchmaker have been the DRF NYRA guy when I first cracked open a broadsheet DRF eastern edition in 1979-80? I can't remember.
He replaced neither of them. I believe he replaced John Piesen.

No on the second paragraph.
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Old 11-18-2022, 06:22 PM   #17
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He replaced neither of them. I believe he replaced John Piesen.

No on the second paragraph.
Thank you Andy!

How long was Piesen at the DRF? I remember him more from the NY Post.

I found something on Watchmaker at DRF site - he wasn't the NY guy when I got into the game in '79-80 but looks like he was a few years later.

"Mike Watchmaker is the national handicapper for Daily Racing Form. He first joined the Form in 1980, and was named New York columnist in 1983. He left the Form in 1991 to join The Racing Times, then worked for NYRA, where he was program handicapper and morning line maker before rejoining the Form in 1998."

So maybe it was (somebody)-Watchmaker-Piesen-Litfin in that order?

Sorry to all for taking this down a road away from purely honoring Dave Litfin. I'm definitely appreciating all the fond memories people have of who he was as a person in addition to being a great handicapper and writer.
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Old 11-19-2022, 11:39 AM   #18
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Watchmaker? That sounds right. At first I was thinking Mike Welsch - and that DIDN'T sound right, though he's apparently been there since 1972 (and the photograph on the website has to be circa 1982)

Would Watchmaker have been the DRF NYRA guy when I first cracked open a broadsheet DRF eastern edition in 1979-80? I can't remember.
Mike Welsch was the Suffolk DRF guy before he went to Florida is the way I remember it.
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Old 11-19-2022, 01:01 PM   #19
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After taking the discussion in this direction, was a little bit fun to see some more NYRA reminiscing at the end of Talking Horses today where Andy asked Anthony who were the first two in the chairs for Talking Horses. Anthony first came up with Watchmaker, and when Andy offered the clue that the other was no longer with us, Anthony guessed Litfin - which wasn't correct. Turned out it was Rich McCarthy, who I was not as familiar with.
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Old 11-19-2022, 03:12 PM   #20
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Fast forward to 2:38.45 in the video below. Rich is the guy on the right. It's from Talking Horses on Belmont day 1995.


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Old 11-19-2022, 03:35 PM   #21
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Fast forward to 2:38.45 in the video below. Rich is the guy on the right. It's from Talking Horses on Belmont day 1995.
Thank you! That is a face I don't happen to remember. Was fun to watch some of the rest of that feed! Also reminded me how spoiled we are now by all the graphics and replays we get with Talking Horses.
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Old 11-19-2022, 06:53 PM   #22
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Rich McCarthy did the in-program analysis for NYRA for a while too, then went on to work for Equibase if I remember correctly as a chart caller.

It's very sad to read that Dave Litfin has passed at far too young an age. I bumped into him a few times back in the day, but never had the chance to get to know him. My condolences to his family and friends.
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Old 11-20-2022, 08:00 AM   #23
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RIP Dave

I have both of the “Bet With The Best” books and his section of the book was very well informed of showing new ideas to handicappers like you and I.

His other books I loved too which I’m going to miss even more when I read them now that he is no longer with us.
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Old 11-20-2022, 08:21 AM   #24
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RIP Dave

I have both of the “Bet With The Best” books and his section of the book was very well informed of showing new ideas to handicappers like you and I.

His other books I loved too which I’m going to miss even more when I read them now that he is no longer with us.
I agree, I too liked his first book quite a bit and mentioned it somewhere. It was right around 2000 after the Horseplayer mag interview, he reached out to me and we exchanged a few emails. I had the impression he was subscribing to On-Target for a while, at least when we first launched, but I don't know about recent years. Seemed to be a very nice person. Never had a chance to read his other books but I'd like too. My condolences go out to his wife and children, what a huge loss. I'll pray for them.
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Old 11-20-2022, 01:04 PM   #25
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RIP Dave

I have both of the “Bet With The Best” books and his section of the book was very well informed of showing new ideas to handicappers like you and I.

His other books I loved too which I’m going to miss even more when I read them now that he is no longer with us.
Handicapping books, which seemed so prevalent for so long seem pretty much extinct. Maybe its me. The last book I read was Mike Maloney's and I thought that was a great book.
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Old 11-20-2022, 02:23 PM   #26
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Handicapping books, which seemed so prevalent for so long seem pretty much extinct. Maybe its me. The last book I read was Mike Maloney's and I thought that was a great book.
The two "golden ages" of the publishing of handicapping books for me were the William Morrow & Co. period and the DRF Press period, the latter of which started while I was involved, and seems to have ended sometime during my 13 year hiatus from the game.
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Old 11-20-2022, 04:31 PM   #27
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Handicapping books, which seemed so prevalent for so long seem pretty much extinct. Maybe its me. The last book I read was Mike Maloney's and I thought that was a great book.
It was one of the best ever, and now you can't even find it.
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Old 11-21-2022, 05:10 PM   #28
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Handicapping books, which seemed so prevalent for so long seem pretty much extinct.
I think we are at the stage where every major factor has been covered in depth by multiple authors. That makes it tough to come up with new material.

One interesting area might be a book of "exceptions". Certain books have become very influential. What's in them has become accepted dogma. But back in the day most horseplayers (myself included) learned by trial and error. Sometimes people are influenced by personal experience, their own successes and failures, or recency bias. So not everything we think it true is actually true.

We have databases and the resources now to check some of these things against the data. I think within some of the general truths of racing, there are exceptions that are not well understood and handled correctly.
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Old 11-21-2022, 05:14 PM   #29
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I didn't know Dave, but I did meet his father. At one time we were both regulars at the downtown OTB on Water St. It was called the "Select Club". His father was also a very knowledgeable horseplayer. Good pedigree. RIP
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Old 11-21-2022, 09:39 PM   #30
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Admired his work. Mr. Litfin.
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