Goodbye to a legend, a partner and a teacher…
If you were deeply involved in New York horse racing from the 1970’s through 1995, you would likely agree that Richie Schwartz was about the biggest (he as 6′ 6″ and he wasn’t slender) and almost certainly the best horse player in the game. On the first day I met Richie, in which I was demonstrating my Speed Figures to him – they were novel at the time – because of the way we did our PACE figures – Richie informed me he wasn’t the best handicapper, but he did bellow out, in a booming voice, “I have the best judgment!” This past week Richie, just about 78 years old, passed away.
By saying, “I am not the best handicapper”, this allowed others, who thought they were the best handicapper, to work with and feed ideas to Richie, so he could play the game with his superior judgement. After spending an enormous amount of time with Richie, over a 2-year period from 1993 through 1994 and a lesser amount of time thereafter, he might well have been the better handicapper, better than everyone else, who knows.. But it simply doesn’t matter, because when it came time to putting his money down, he was the very best player!
In 1993, Richie Schwartz, Arnie F (prefers anonymity), Cary Fotias and myself started a 4 man group of handicappers. Cary and I were partners in Pace Power Plus, and Riche and Arnie were our two most important clients. They were as much a part of our business as they could be. Richie job was to take, the rather raw SPEED FIGURE boys ( Cary and me) and sharpen us up. And he did…
Of the 4 who started playing together in 1993 and did so for a fevered 2 year period, I am the only surviving member.
If I could pass along a single idea to you, giving you something to think on, something Richie passed along to me – it would be to step back from yourself and try to see a bigger field of information and possibilities – don’t overate yourself and your opinion.
One day, in 1997, before I left New York for Las Vegas, Richie gave me a call, which wasn’t that often anymore, it was midday in the middle of the week, and Richie asked me what I was doing. I replied, I was looking at the Aqueduct card and “there is a horse I like, I am thinking of playing, but he is only 8/5.” Richie replied,” Simple, Don’t… let’s talk!” It proved the right advise.
My personal relationship with Richie was – shall we say different – as I am sure it was with everyone he encountered. To be the best at anything, has it’s own challenges, I am sure that’s how it was for him. But I would feel terrible, if I didn’t take some time to talk with you, about him. For sure, if he had not discovered me – and believe me – he discovered me, not the other way around, I doubt I would be doing the JJPPs for you now. I just want him to be remembered and noted in our game – at least here at JJPP.
So to my most important TEACHER, and one time BETTING PARTNER and one time Customer, now that you have crossed the big finish line in life, maybe had your picture taken, it’s time to cool out and have yourself a comfortable place to rest.
PS… Richie was also a world class Bridge Player, something he was enormously proud of…