Features Articles

Horseracing: The Meaning of Jockey Changes

Few factors can be as meaningful in handicapping a horse race as a jockey switch.
While even the best of jockeys lose two out of three races, when one of a circuit’s top riders hops aboard a horse it’s a reason to take a careful look at that runner.
When you can deduce a valid reason for the change, it’s time to head to the betting windows.
On Feb. 22, Chart Topper ran in an optional claimer at Gulfstream Park on the turf. He was ridden by Abdiel Jaen, who is currently winning at about a 9 percent clip at the Florida track.

Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Biloxi – $32.5 Million Platinum Power Tower

BET YOU DIDN’T THINK Biloxi knew how to rock ‘n’ roll? Well, as Eric Clapton would say, “We got the boogie-woogie right down to our very soul!” Considering Mississippi is the “Birthplace of America’s music,” it is fitting that the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Biloxi is rocking a lot harder after investing $32.5 million in a captivating hotel that is unlike any of its kind on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. 

Named the Platinum Tower, the hotel is themed and decorated with memorabilia from only platinum recording artists. Shakira, Bette Midler, Meatloaf, Brett Michaels and eight other artists each have floors dedicated to their talents.

Each floor is decked out with costumes, photos, paintings and quotes throughout the halls and smoke-free rooms.


Mighty Mississippi: Visiting Natchez

NATCHEZ, MISSISSIPPI IS THE PLACE to visit for a real dose of Gone With the Wind charm. The oldest settlement on the Mississippi River, Natchez once boasted more millionaires per capita than any other city in the country, including New York.

Although its plantation economy crashed and burned after the Civil War, the city’s impressive mansions –there are more than 1,000 historic buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places – remain a huge draw for history buffs and tourists. 

Located three and a half hours from New Orleans, and less than two hours south west of Jackson, Natchez offers a slice of American history with a healthy dose of Southern hospitality on the side.



Tax Time for Gamblers: Get the Scoop

MARCH IS A WONDERFUL TIME of year, especially in Southern states; however, if you didn’t get ahead of the game by completing your taxes in February then you may be stressed over finding all the data needed for tax preparation.

States differ over whether or not you can write off your losses to the extent of your winnings, but it’s the same for all on federal returns.

Here are some tips to help you along!



Behind the Scenes: NASCAR Kasey Kahne’s Pit Crew

THINK OF AN NFL quarterback facing a two-minute drill with 90 yards to go. Now, drop that down to 14 seconds, and those 90 yards to 250 miles. No disrespect, Peyton, but that is pressure. In a sport like NASCAR, where winners are decided by tenths of a second, absolutely everything – a missed lug nut, a dropped gas can, a loose cap – counts and can cost your team a race. That’s what the pit crew of Kasey Kahne’s No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports team faces every week during the season, which began in Daytona in mid-February and runs through November.

Yet, for crew chief Kenny Francis and the crew of the Farmers Insurance Chevrolet, it’s less about pressure and more about performance. Each race week, the crew rehearses its moves like a dance company so each pit stop is an effortless replay of practice.



Horseracing: Triple Crown Handicapping Help

JUST AFTER 6 P.M. ON MAY 3, Stephen Foster’s compositional masterpiece, “My Old Kentucky Home” will serenade one hundred thousand emotionally charged zealots situated underneath the famed Twin Spires of Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. Subsequently, 20 optimum three-year old thoroughbreds will warm up over our nation’s most hallowed granular oval before attempting to commandeer the 140th Kentucky Derby.


In 1872, Col. Meriwether Clark Jr. (grandson of William Clark from the famed Lewis and Clark expedition) traveled to England and France where he witnessed Europe’s two most eminent horse races, the Epsom Derby and Grand Prix de Paris. Wholly inspired, Clark established the Louisville Jockey Club upon his stateside return and with it, Churchill Downs; the world’s most recognized thoroughbred horseracing cathedral.


Slot Floors of the South: Great Places to Play!

Slot machine play is at an all-time high, and casinos know it. Whether you’re enjoying the reels at a casino in Indiana or winning big on a glitzy Vegas floor, you will find that the machines once known as “one-armed bandits” are now centered around some of the most popular themes in the world, including chart-topping movies, games and music icons.


Today, the slot machine manufacturing business is booming. As more casinos open and existing properties continue to expand around the world, everyone is looking to get their hands on the latest and greatest machines that they know their players love.


Horsing Around with Michael Beychok- National Handicapping Champion

When it comes to handicapping a horse race, there are many approaches you can take. Pick a number, color or name, and cashing a winning ticket becomes as simple as playing the lottery. Or, maybe your buddy calls you with a “sure bet,” that he says, “can’t lose” and you take the bait.

But there is a more advanced way to go about finding the right horse in the right race at the right odds. By evaluating everything from recent workouts and past performances, to track conditions and more, professional handicappers have more information at their fingertips than ever before.


Spin it to Win it – Big Bands and Brands of Bally Technologies

Licensed themes have long been a small part of the mix of games at Bally Technologies. So when Bally decided to expand its presences in the segment – boom! It did it in a BIG way. Michael Jackson King of Pop. Grease. NASCAR. Pawn Stars.

And, of course, Betty Boop: Fortune Teller. Some of the biggest, brightest, glitziest, bonus feature-laden games have been coming out of the design studios at Bally.

And now, you can add the new ZZ Top Live From Texas, Grease Pink Ladies, Titanic, and the Magic of David Copperfield to that mix – big titles, done in a big way.


Gulf Shores Getaway: Going Coastal

UNLESS YOU’RE IN THE KNOW, you might not realize that Gulf Shores, Alabama rivals the Florida coastline for some of the finest sandy beaches in the South. Cruise along Beach Boulevard and the Sunshine State’s border is just a stone’s throw up the road.

This family-friendly Alabama destination – a sleepy town until the height of the summer season – delivers the perfect balance of non-stop activity and lay-around-and-do-nothing time.