Behind the Wire

Listed below are the people behind the Winners Wire. We play many harness racing contests along with some thoroughbred contests. We are all Horse Racing Handicappers.

Frank “Cam” Jovine (Founder/Co-Owner/Handicapper)

CamMajor League Baseball is my favorite sport and growing up in New York, it was the Yankees. My dad was a diehard fan and the torch was passed onto me. I consider myself a baseball historian and a fan of the sport with a knack for being objective. My favorite moment was at Yankee Stadium when Don Mattingly and Dave Winfield were competing for the American Leagues highest batting average. Donny baseball won by tenths of a point. Great day!

My other favorite sport is horse racing and mostly harness racing. I was first introduced to harness racing back in 1980 when my neighborhood friend invited me to Roosevelt Raceway. I had no idea what I was doing and my friend said “just bet on any horse Carmine Abbatiello is driving.” I made several win bets and I did hit a few winners. I was so excited and from that day on I was hooked. My greatest night was when I hit the straight triple in the 3rd and it paid $1,200 and my dad who wasn’t fond of me betting on the horses was elated when I gave him a few hundred from my winnings. My uncle Duke loves the ponies and I use to bump into him at OTB (Off Track Betting) when I couldn’t make it to the track.

I have watched and handicapped Harness and Thoroughbred racing for over 35 years and have been a spectator at many race tracks. My most memorable race was the 1983 US Pacing Championship at Roosevelt Raceway. I was born and raised in Astoria, Queens (New York) and was fortunate to see many great races at Yonkers, Belmont and at my home track, Roosevelt Raceway, which was closed down on July 15, 1988.

Frankie “FPL” Leonardo (Co-Owner/Statistician/Handicapper)

Frankie LeonardoI have always been immensely interested in the sport of horse racing (harness racing in particular), growing up a few miles from Yonkers Raceway (now part of the Empire City Casino) in Westchester, NY. Only in the past couple of years however, have I started to understand the intricacies of the sport and truly appreciated what these horses and drivers do over the course of a mile. I really enjoy heading to the track several times a week (often times with my dad, fellow poster “Frankie the Fixer”), and love the opens and series that Yonkers offers.

As for other sports, growing up in New York I could not help but become a Yankees fan, and a hopeless supporter of the Jets (I have to blame my father for this one, but he also introduced me to my guilty pleasure-golf-so I can’t hold it against him all that much). I graduated from Stanford in the Bay Area and watch our basketball and football teams whenever they were playing. I’m also a bit of an NBA nut (fan of the Lakers thanks to the Shaq-Kobe pairing in ’96, but I have a soft spot for our local teams in the Knicks and Nets), and watch as much as possible (big fan of vintage pro basketball as well).

Posting on the Winners Wire has given me a chance to interact with others who love the sport, improving my knowledge and feel for the races. Additionally, I definitely feel like I now have a pretty good idea of what goes into handicapping and wagering. It certainly is an interest worth pursuing, and I encourage all readers-whether novices or seasoned veterans-to stop by the Wire message boards to chat with the wonderful group we have.

Josi “Josi” (Co-Owner – Communications/Statistician/Handicapper)

Donna SmithHorse racing is my favorite sport, it truly is and the only sport I care to partake in. My beginning experience with horse racing was when my dad would take me to the races at a very young age and him asking me to randomly pick a horse. I’ve always been fascinated with the beauty and strength of horses. Though at a young age while my parents were trying to take a picture of me, I was thrown and dragged down the road by a horse when the flash of the camera went off. Luckily my Dad caught the horse and I’m here today to talk about it. Ever since I’ve been a bit concerned about getting too close to horses, they will always fascinate me. Nothing is more exciting to me than watching all the horses on big race days. You can hear me scream for miles.

I started out mostly with thoroughbred racing but have progressed to harness racing. I find it very challenging and interesting. I have made many friends through horse racing forums that have been on the inside and outside view of horse racing. People that have owned horses, raced horses, rode horses, worked at the track, bet the races, it’s all so interesting.

I was born in Camden, New Jersey and lived in various cities down by the shore. I also lived in parts of Orange County, California for more than 30 years. I own a home in Philadelphia, PA and my other hobby is dogs, cats and fish (betta fish in particular).

And she’s a pretty damn good handicapper – Cam

Brian “5Star” Volakos (Statistician/Handicapper)

Brian VolakosI have been a harness racing fan 35 years. When I was 16 years old, my friend took me to Maywood Park, and I had no idea what this buggy racing was. By the end of the night, I was hooked, and the rest is history. Handicapping was much harder back in the day. We didn’t have access to race replays, what we seen while at the track and the program was our only tools. The race program was like the bible, they would start selling the next night’s program after about the 6th race. Back in the day, hard work would get you rewarded with some nice payouts. In today’s racing, everyone has access to all the replays and everyone has all the same info. I would do anything to bring back Sportsman Park. That was the best place to watch racing and have a good night outside.

One of my goals is to win the World Harness Handicapping Championship. I finished 3rd the one time I entered that contest back in 2015. I haven’t made it back to the Meadowlands for that contest since due to my health. I am a cancer survivor, I was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma in 2015. I am doing well right now, and totally cancer free. My goal is to be healthy and go to the 2019 contest. I love all sports, I am a big White Sox fan, it is tough being a Sox fan while the Cubs are doing well.

My goal for Winners Wire, is to bring some excitement and have some different contests. Hopefully word will spread, and we will get many new members. We have a really great group of members right now, and they all are fantastic handicappers. I believe the more the merrier, the more info, the more different opinions can only help us all become better handicappers.