It was more about strategy & less about luck

05:07 AM 20 Jul 2010 NZST
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Harry Magalinos with his new favourite
Harry Magalinos with his new favourite - driver, Mike Langdon
Harry Magalinos with his new favourite driver, Mike Langdon, following race seven at Grand River Raceway on July 19.

Harry Magdalinos has been an avid harness racing fan and bettor for more than 50 years. So, you can be sure his 15-1 selection in the final of Grand River Raceway's latest handicapping tournament was more about strategy, and less about luck.

"I bet Johnny Drama for second last week, and he beat me," Magdalinos explained upon learning he was the winner of Grand River Raceway's Geek Squad Summer Handicapping Championship on Monday night. "He won that week, and I knew he had a good shot this week too. I was shocked when he went off at 15-1."

Shocked and delighted, Magdalinos was faring only so-so coming into the final dash of the six-race contest. When Mike Langdon steered Johnny Drama to win by a mere nose over Scott Zeron and Arts Mac, Magdalinos' contest bankroll shot to $70.90.

The Listowel, ON resident wins the lion's share of the $1,000 final and advances to represent Grand River Raceway in the $25,000 (est.) TROT Canada National Handicapping Championship at Georgian Downs on October 30. Should he win at the big dance, Magdalinos says he will treat himself to a trip to his native Greece.

The Elora, ON track will be awarding two more coveted seats in the national show-down. The next opportunity is in the Grand River Raceway Geek Squad Industry Day Handicapping Tournament, which kicks off with a bonus leg on July 26 during elimination rounds for the track's signature races, the Battle Of The Belles and the Battle Of Waterloo. Those finals are part of the track's marquee event, Industry Day, which celebrates its 20th anniversary on Monday, August 2.

Kelly SPENCER

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