Ms. Bo enjoyed an excellent season last summer as The Washington Post's harness racing handicapper. Currently she is struggling to keep her hypothetical $1,000 bankroll around the $700 level even though, late last week, she had picked 142 winners from 403 races at Rosecroft Raceway.
Slightly disgruntled, the lady no longer believes everything she sees on the local chariot circuit. But she still is hot on trot.
"Unless I'm losing my eyesight, the drivers appear to be ganging up to beat one driver or one horse in many instances," Ms. Bo contends.
"There's one driver in particular, Dave Seaman. He's not quite as skilled as some of the older drivers but he always gives his best efforts.
"On May 27, driving Pilgrim in the eighth race, he was boxed all the way around. In the next race, driving Knight Nansemond, he was shuffled all over the track and had to hustle to get third. That was the triple race. The winning horse paid $73.60 straight while the triple paid only $701. You figure it out.
"I'll say only that Seaman seems to have an albatross over his shoulder, and I don't mean the horse of that name."
Ms. Bo has a thing about the triple. She abhors it.
"It's the biggest sucker bet ever devised," she declares. "yet it attracts the amateur money like flies to honey. I always have a feeling the big bettors know which horses are not live in the triple; which ones aren't going to be going this particular night.
"There are 10 to 12 big bettors at Rosecroft . . . if they left the mutuel handle would drop 25 per cent or more. They always seem to have the hot information, the pipeline. It is these bettors who prey on the fresh, uninitiated people who come out to have dinner with their civic groups once a year."
Tighter surveillance is needed, Ms. Bo believes, on and off the track.
"We need powerful, even dictatorial judges who will command respect," she said. "Judges who will put a little fear of God into the driver. Drivers around here don't claim foul often enough. They take the attitude that it's the judges' job. In New York, if drivers don't claim foul when they should they're subject to a fine.
Rosecroft and Laurel Raceway programs, Ms. Bo contends, are a font of noninformation.
"The modified sulky offers a good example," she notes. "Eighty per cent of all the sulkies are now the new improved kind, compared to the 20 per cent of the drivers still using the cheaper standard model. Yet the program doesn't tell the bettors when a horse is going from the standard to the modified sulky for the first time - and a lot of horses are running away and winning at high odds when they do that.
"Thad Stringer competed with a standard sulky all last year. His first start this year, in a modified one, he won at 14 or 15 to 1. Then he was slipped back to a regular sulky for two or three races. Then he came back May 11 with the modified sulky and won. Most fans can't tell the difference between the two types, although the drivers sits a little farther back in the modified one."
Ms. Bo believes the modified sulky creates less friction and can improve a trotter or a pacer's time by as much as two seconds. Another major reason for faster time at the Rosecroft meeting has been the new racing strip.
Ms. Bo has kind words for the Rosecroft management and the racing secretary. She is critical of media coverage.
"I've had six winners a night and lost money," she moans. "I bet $200 on one horse and my comment was 'If this was a handicap race, he'd have to start from the paddock.' The horse was Clare Pearl. He broke at the start.
"Another time, with Royal Tagger, I had $50 to win on him and he finished first, only to be disqualified. That's life. I like to give the people who follow my selections in the paper plenty of action, five or six horses a night. That guy they have doing the flat racing picks now, Florio, he's afraid to bet. He's giving out one horse a day for a $10 bet."
Ms. Bo finally has gone too far in her criticism. She was picking on my man, Clem Florio, whose only crime so far is to have shown an extremely healthy profit from the Pimlico meeting.
Florio is a former fighter. Shouldn't Ms. Bo be a little leary about attacking him, the harness driver and the Rosecroft judges all in one column?
Sic 'em, Ms. Bo. Any gal who (hypothetically) sends nearly $3,400 into the breach and still has plenty of The Post's fiction to play with is not to be taken lightly.