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The Jersey Boss

Posted by Brian Mulligan on 8/24/2010 3:43:04 PM

That Thunder Road known as the avenue to Monmouth Park in New Jersey has seen a new boss this season and it’s not Springsteen or Obama but a veteran named Bruce Levine.

Because of the change at Monmouth this year to the ‘elite meet’ status, Levine has not saddled as many horses as he has in the past but he has seen his share of winners.

From short prices to long prices horse bettors that just isolated his stock at the shore this year cashed a ton of tickets. He was popping at just under 30% from his first 33 starters and nearly 60% ran in the money.

If a horse bettor can kind of get into the head of a trainer, maybe be able to anticipate where that trainer may spot his horses, then this is the type of exercise that can pay huge dividends with hard work.

Bruce Levine is a lucky man, and not just because he’s a human win machine. Not many people in this country can turn a hobby into a successful career and enjoy it all the way and it’s always nice to know when you pluck your money down, you are backing a trainer that knows the game inside and out.

Levine’s quote in the official New York Racing Association bio says it all, Levin: “I always came to the track to play the horses. That was my biggest hobby. Eventually, I found my way to the backstretch and started walking hots.”

Born in New York in the winter of 1955, Levine wasn’t really bred for the racing game but it found him and he found the sport.

Always attracted to the gambling aspect of the game, Levine was always going to the track to play the horses. He eventually found his way to the backstretch and what was once just a hobby, turned into a way to make a living. Right out of high school, Levine became associated with John Russell and started, like so many, on the bottom rung walking hots.

After a year of so, he started to work for John Campo. This was before Campo became a national figure as his Pleasant Colony won two thirds of the Triple Crown. But Campo had already won the Mother Goose Stakes with Girl in Love and the Wood Memorial with Good Behaving, so he was the consummate New York pro who could teach and nurture Levine through his educational process.

It was this relationship as assistant trainer with Campo that showed Levine all the tools he would need to go out on his own. He did just that in 1979 when he took out his trainer’s license.

I’m It provided Levine with his first winner when he got the job done at Aqueduct. That runner also gave Levine his first important stakes when he won the Grade 3 Grey Lag Handicap in 1982. 

What are the best angles to consider when betting Levine horses now?

First of all, he’s solid with comebackers, claimers, and if he enters in a stakes, it’s to win and not get a slice.

In the last 5 years he’s popped with 22% of his starters coming off a layoff of 180 days or more.

Not known for his work with juveniles, he can get sophomores to fire at first asking and they usually get bet. He doesn’t move his horses from surface to surface often and is much more potent on the drop than on the raise with claimers.

Blinkers off is a clever Levine move to the tune of 24% the last 5 years.

One of his most potent moves is when he cuts back from a route to a sprint. Again, the number is 24% the last half a decade.

With maidens, his signature move is when he enters a maiden claimer with a runner that has been racing in Maiden Special Weight company. He is 30% with this ploy the last 5 years with a median price of 5-2.

Levine was lucky enough to turn a hobby into a career. And the career flourishes.

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