DUBLIN, Ireland- An international cast of “horse racing nuts” will be invading the Emerald Isle for an assault on bookmakers at the Irish Derby, June 26,
This will be the seventh venture for the group; called KGs (Known Gamblers), as the equine Einsteins make their first foray across the Big Pond for the 140th running of one of the world's great horse races.
Oddsmaker Roxy Roxborough, who, prior to his retirement, made the official sports betting odds for Las Vegas casinos and this year provided Kentucky Derby future book odds for the
race’s official web site, got the idea to return to the Curragh after a 1992 visit to the Irish Derby with the late, legendary, and eccentric Dublin bookmaker Terry Rogers.
“I was blown away from the moment I first caught a glimpse of the track nestled in the lush Irish countryside,” revealed Roxborough. “And the Irish love a pint and a punt. These are our people.”
The KG adventures, which take place once a year, have evolved into more than a weekend of horse racing.
This year's road to the Irish Derby makes wagering stops at Royal Ascot (York), Edinburgh, Belfast and Athlone where, if history is a guide, hard drinking and eager story telling will merge seamlessly with astute handicapping and vigorous gambling.
Interestingly, the KG Club was foaled from tragedy eight years ago when Walt Tendler, a San Diego based Venture Capital Fund CFO, re-evaluated his life following the premature death of a friend. While such earnest self-examination might lead some men to spend more time with their spouse, enjoy a few more sunsets or stop to smell the daffodils, Tendler decided it was an opportunity to pursue his life’s passion, horse racing.
“My friend’s death made me realize how short and fragile life is,” said Tendler. “I knew then that I had to enjoy every minute of it.”
Tendler made a list of races he wanted to see and racetracks he wanted to visit. Not surprisingly, it wasn’t difficult to find a dozen other men who would rather see the sight of a longshot than sight see, by a longshot, and the club was formed. Previous KG trips have included sojourns to the Melbourne Cup, the Preakness Stakes and the Breeders’ Cup. The members decided to call themselves the KGs, after the police term that detectives use for Known Gamblers.
Australians Murray Dwyer and Mel “Each Way” Hopwood, Virginia’s Maury “Lone” Wolff and Canadian Dave Taylor joined Roxborough and Tendler as charter members of the club. Even in a country where the average Aussie spends more money on gambling than he does for food, Dwyer’s wagering prowess is legendary. Hopwood is the man they couldn’t root, shoot or electrocute. Wolff was a racing economist before becoming a successful professional bettor. Taylor, an electrician turned horseplayer, once was faced with the dilemma of having time to grab only one item before fleeing a burning apartment building. He earned his thoroughbred handicapping chops when he emerged from the fiery edifice with a copy of Daily Racing Form.
Often the KGs find other insalubrious characters to join them on their travels. A new member, who breaks the mold, is the respectable Jay Privman, (and a fellow who should know better) the national correspondent for Daily Racing Form who joins the gambling junket for the second straight year.
Irrespective of their individual wagering aspirations, each KG member will donate money to local Irish charities.