Walter the Hit Man ready to help patrons

April 11, 2001: Walter Bruechert can take a hit. As a matter of fact he likes taking a hit, the more the better.

No, he is not a punch-drunk boxer -- or even a platinum-seeking recording star.

Walter is a horse racing handicapper with a twist, a techno wizard on-line, who puts up big, and increasing, numbers for Fraser Downs. He has a company -- Simuhelp -- and a web site -- www.simubet.com -- where he handicaps Fraser Downs and many other harness racing tracks (a total of 37 as of last week).

Downs patrons may also recognize his name as one of several handicappers who make their choice as to who will win each race on the televisions on location throughout the Downs.

What started as a hobby a few years ago, “I was doing some handicapping of a couple of tracks just for myself. People began to ask to see them and I started doing more tracks. It led to a business,” says Walter who is retired from years of hotel management.

Bruechert, who was born in Germany but who has lived in Canada for 50 years and B.C. for 20 years, also handicaps at other tracks but the Downs ranks high on the list for hits. Leading the way is The Meadowlands followed by Mohawk and Balmoral. Fraser Downs is a strong fifth with 1,000 hits a month.

“I’m gaining about 12 per cent in hits a month.” Walter said recently like a proud papa of his website which still is a free service although he is considering “adding a fee later.”

Bruechert feels, that with the growth and popularity of multi-track simulcasting, it has become increasingly difficult for experienced handicappers and track newcomers alike to keep pace with contenders in each race. Therefore, he and Simuhelp want to provide racing fans with a new important tool that is easy to use to achieve success at playing the horses. While their service will benefit fans it also carries the potential to increase revenues at the tracks that simulcast.

Simuhelp handicaps and rates every major harness track daily and publishes a Simusheet for each track. Horses are listed according to their computerized Top Potential Rating: bias and rating factors are compiled into one easy-to-understand figure for the patron’s convenience. All ratings apply to a fast track The Top Rated Horse in every race is always listed at "100" as an indicator and other horses rated less according to their form.

Walter provided TrackMarks with some stats showing how well he has been handicapping.

In 2,649 races (at 34 tracks) he (Simuhelp) has a top picks winning percentage of 37.8, a top picks place percentage of 54.1 and a top picks show percentage of 66.0. His top two winning percentage is 54.5, place 75.5 and show 86.2. The average odds of a winner when a first pick is $2.93.

Bruechert is also considering adding thoroughbred handicapping in late 2001.

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