Volume 77 / Number 39 - Feb. 27 - March 04, 2008
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933

Down to the wire; What are the odds OTB survives?

Interviews by Caroline N. Jackson

Mayor Bloomberg has announced his intention to end Off-Track Betting, saying he doesn’t want to subsidize gambling. OTB is starting to cost the city money to operate because of a formula under which an increasing percentage of the public-benefit corporation’s profits are going to the state. At the OTB branch office at 200 Varick St. between King and Houston Sts., horseracing bettors sounded off on the potential loss of OTB.

Peter Yap, 52, Queens, deliveryman

How do you feel about Mayor Bloomberg saying he wants to shut down Off-Track Betting?

Oh, half and half. It’s good, I play less games lose less money. Other half, I lose the fun of coming here. (laughs)

What will you do if there’s no more OTB?

It’s O.K., I’ll just do less betting. I go to the track once a week.

How often do you bet at OTB?

Oh many, many days a week. (laughs)

What’s the most you’ve ever won in a race?

On a good day, four or five thousand, but the rest all lose bets.

How much have you lost in one day at OTB?

Average, $40. The most, three, four hundred.

Which horses do you like in today’s races?

Usually, I pick a big horse. It’s a big track, so there’s a lot of them. But it’s more the racer than the horse.

Which is the greatest racehorse of all time?

For me, Cigar, probably.

Tim Black, 55, Queens, DHL employee

How do you feel about Mayor Bloomberg saying he wants to shut down Off-Track Betting?

I just come to OTB because I don’t have time to go to the track, but I don’t think he should close it down. It’ll put more people out of jobs.

How often do you bet at OTB?

Whenever I’m coming from work and can’t get time to go to the tracks, I just come here and bet.

How much have you lost in one day at OTB?

Maybe 1,000 and 500.

Which is the greatest racehorse of all time?
Cigar.


Paul Pzena, 49, Long Island, internal auditor for FEGS

How do you feel about Mayor Bloomberg saying he wants to shut down Off-Track Betting?

He might as well. If it’s losing money and they can’t fix it. I guess too much competition. You can bet at home, you can get TVG, there’s racetrack channels. … I used to own a pacer, I had a couple horses way back before I got married. My wife does know though. … Oh that stumbler, he looks good warming up. …

What will you do if there’s no more OTB?

I won’t come here ever again and I’ll be happy. I’ll watch TVG on Cablevision.

How often do you bet at OTB?

Like twice a week over here. I don’t bet much. I block six horses for a dollar; I bet like $6 a race.

What’s the most you’ve ever won in a race?

Believe or not, I hit a triple. I was on vacation, I went to the track. I don’t know how I won, but I think I got like 1,600.

How much have you lost in one day at OTB?

Maybe about — a real bad day — $50, $60.

Which horses do you like in today’s races?

Not what I bet! I bet three horses — two of them went off stride but the other one came in third. So, none of them.

Which is the greatest racehorse of all time?

I saw Secretariat. Fern was one of the best. I didn’t see Salutation, so I wouldn’t know. Fern was really good, though — he kept winning by a nose.


Robert Corley, 65, Uptown, building servicing

How do you feel about Mayor Bloomberg saying he wants to shut down Off-Track Betting?

He’s a good politician. I don’t think he should shut down OTB. It’s going to put people out on the streets — illegal gambling — because that’s why they put up OTB in the first place, to keep people from going to bookies.

What will you do if there’s no more OTB?

I’ll just have to go to the track, I guess.

How often do you bet at OTB?

I’d say about two or three times a week.

What’s the most you’ve ever won in a race?

Couple thousand dollars, but I had to put out about 40 or 50 dollars.

How much have you lost in one day at OTB?

Four hundred bucks.

Which horses do you like in today’s races?

Today’s a little different because it’s the off track.

Which is the greatest racehorse of all time?

Secretariat. Strong horse.


Paul Sudia, 53, Chelsea, “gambler/musician”

How do you feel about Mayor Bloomberg saying he wants to shut down Off-Track Betting?

It’s inevitable. There used to be a bunch of them and they were all packed and now there’s a few of them and they’re all empty. Even now, all they’ve got to do is condense it down to a couple locations and they’d do very well. Why do they have locations like this? People will go to another neighborhood where the rent isn’t so high.

What will you do if there’s no more OTB?

I don’t know. It’s very, very convenient but I went to the racetrack all my life, so I’ll end up at the racetrack, probably. Or the Meadowlands maybe. … Why don’t they keep one or two OTB’s open?

How often do you bet at OTB?

Most every day, except Sunday. Maybe five times a week.

What’s the most you’ve ever won in a race?

A thousand or so.

How much have you lost in one day at OTB?

A couple hundred dollars.

In your opinion, which is the greatest racehorse of all time?

Seabiscuit was the best of his time, and probably Forego — he was like giant.

Villager photos by Jefferson Siegel

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