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    By Sarah Kelley

    David Levitch is on the phone again, pacing back and forth. He walks fast, talks faster. The gist of the call, based on what I can parse, is that a notable horse owner just bought a promising two-year-old Thoroughbred. The horse is going to run on grass in an upcoming race, and Levitch thinks it’s a solid bet. But it’s going to cost you if you want all the details.

    On this recent weekday afternoon, Levitch is multitasking. While he’s working his day job as a liquor distributor, ensuring shelves are properly stocked inside Total Wine and Spirits, his mind is also on his side hustle: handicapping horses.

    The former U of L basketball player traces his love of horseracing and hoops to his father, who played basketball at Centre College. As a boy, Levitch would ride horses on the family’s sprawling Goshen farm. “I wanted to be a jockey growing up. Obviously, that didn’t work out,” says the 6-foot-3-inch Levitch. He says his dad has owned many racehorses over the years, including, at one point, Lil E. Tee. “Unfortunately he sold it before that Derby win (in 1992),” he says. Levitch’s first Derby was 2003, when Funny Cide won, and he hasn’t missed one since.

    In 2013, Levitch joined the Cardinals as a walk-on guard, and he saw minimal playing time his first two seasons. By his junior year, though, he had earned a full scholarship, along with the nickname “Baby-Faced Assassin.” With each three-pointer he drained in a nationally televised game, TV commentators like Jay Bilas and Dan Dakich would tout Levitch’s handicapping chops. Last year, Levitch graduated with a degree in sports administration, but he was just a senior at North Oldham High School when he took to handicapping. “I started going really in depth in researching horses. I’d look up every horse’s mom and dad, brothers and sisters, to see how they raced. I’d watch replays. Then I’d crunch the numbers. I learned it all from my dad pretty much,” he says. His first winning Derby bet was Orb in 2013. He’d been paying close attention to the horse since the previous fall and texted his buddies: “This horse is gonna win the Derby.”

    He relies heavily on the Daily Racing Form, studying speed figures and past performances. He’s not a fan of closers. On his site, TheHorseCapper.com, he offers daily picks at Aqueduct in New York and Santa Anita in California, along with picks on big racing days at other tracks. He spends about three hours on each sheet and includes analysis of his top three choices in every race, along with wagering strategies. They sell online for $3 a pop. Levitch says his site recently had its most profitable day, when he sold $60 worth of forms. “Which I know doesn’t sound like much, but it’s actually pretty good,” he says. His goal is to attract subscribers and, eventually, be featured in the Form.  “I just have to win," he says. "If people buy your sheets and you’re not doing well, they’re not going to buy them again.”

    This originally appeared in the April 2018 issue of Louisville Magazine. To subscribe to Louisville Magazineclick here. To find us on newsstands, click here.

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