Horse sense

September 29, 1990

Call Charles Lamb's record a streak of luck. As racing editor for the now-deceased Baltimore News American, Lamb correctly predicted in print the winning horses in all 10 races in a single day at Delaware Park.

The "streak" came to pass on July 28, 1974, and it's never been beaten, at least not according to the Guiness Book of World Records, which lists Lamb as "Topmost Tipster."

Not only did Lamb's published picks match every winner on the 10-race card in Wilmington that day, he also correctly predicted all three exactas and both triples.

"Someone figured that if a person had bet $2 on my husband's selection in the first race and parlayed the winnings on his picks in the nine succeeding races, his winnings would have exceeded $77,000," says the handicapper's wife's Kathryn.

Lamb worked for the newspaper for 53 years, until it folded in 1986. Now 73 and retired, he remembers the particular handicapping experience as "a very tough day."

"In those days, we didn't have the advance editions of the Racing Form," he says. "We'd handicap from our own records and from memory." On Saturdays, Lamb would make his selections for Sunday's races at Delaware Park for publication in the Sunday morning paper.

"The last race was really tough," he remembers. "I couldn't separate the first three horses. I must have spent an hour on that race. Finally, I picked the jockey I thought was best on grass."

That jockey was Hector Pilar, and his horse, Machu Picchu, paid $11.20.

Lamb, who covered sports for the News American in one way or another since he was 16, says he got into racing by going to the track on his days off. But he seldom bet on the horses.

"I probably never bet more than $100 in all the time I was a handicapper," he says. "I've seen so many bettors lose their homes and families. It clogs your thinking."

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