Michael Memories

Below are many poignant comments, both from those who knew him for decades as well as those who only knew of him through his Rants. It speaks highly of a man to have such a lasting influence over so many, while at the same time making those he never met feel like old friends.

If you have your own remembrances which you’d like included, please submit them here.

When I met Michael in 1997, I knew I had found a comrade, a fellow horse racing enthusiast. Michael’s knowledge and love for the sport of horse racing, as well as his willingness to share was admirable. Michael was always there with words of encouragement and wisdom. A mentor and a friend, Michael will be missed, but never forgotten. “Riposa in Pace, Amico Mio!”

Edna M.

I have known Michael since the old PIRCO days.  He always treated me with respect and kindness and went out of his way to help me with whatever questions I may have had about horses and racing.  I met him a few times, and he always had a friendly greeting and a warm smile.  I am quite saddened by his passing, and I want to express my sincere sympathy and condolences to his family and friends.  RIP my friend.  My life is richer for having met you.

Bob T.

I’d like to share this short story with you. A few years ago I purchased the program I kept it for over three months never really giving it a chance or taking the time to learn it. Of course like so many other players looking for the quick fix I never put any effort into it. Unwilling to accept reasonability for my own failure.
I blamed it on the program (which of course was untrue) Well I wrote Mike a little blaming his program for everything imaginable never ever dreaming I would get a response. Well much to my surprise less than 12 hours later I received a very understanding letter from Michael who was extremally understanding and hence sent me a check for 100% of my money even though I was way past recession and conducted myself like a total ass. 
I immediately reached out for him and apologized for my immature behavior and offered to even return his check. I send “Mike I am not entitled to a refund ” He simply said ” Joe the program did not work for you I want you to keep the check ” I was so taken aback I wanted to just hide my head and at the same time I felt so honored to have met someone with such class and dignity. I will never forget that act of kindness. My deepest condolences to his family and friends we lost a Good Man.

Joe S.

There’s a lot of memories with Michael. Every interaction was like speaking with a close friend. He made you feel important. Michael had that gift even when speaking through his videos. Michael being a Yankees fan and me a Red Sox fan led to easy-going banter and busting chops. Even though I hadn’t seen him in a long time his impact on me for horse-racing has been significant. A gentleman’s gentleman. Sleep well, my friend. Let the bet make you!

Norman J.

I was living out of my car during troubled times in Las Vegas and I had in the past been to several seminars.  Michael saw me in the sports book and I was there just watching not betting.  Michael asked how I was, and I said O.K. but I’m living out of my car now. Without hesitation Michael opened up his wallet and handed me a 100 dollar bill! He will be missed.

Over the years, Michael and I exchanged several wonderful emails. He was always warm and supportive and generous with his time and advice. He penned a little testimonial for me once for a racing book I published 10 years ago demonstrating his willingness to support those who played this ‘great game of ours’ as he always called him. I shall dearly miss his video rants, something I always studied and used to improve my own valuecapping skills. More than that I shall miss the man, the wizard, the genius. Racing did not only lose a great son, life did. Always remembered fondly and missed dearly.


Several years ago when I first started watching you tube feeds from Michael I sent an email to him not really expecting a response…he did respond and it was very friendly and seemingly caring. He made my progress in this field of horse racing a reality for me and he did so by being warm and also realistic…I thought very well of him from that moment: he was a real gentlemen and honorable man. I will miss him…God has a great man with him now.

I have many fond memories of Michael dating all the way back to 1987 when he held “The Enhanced Handicapper software seminar at the St Tropez in Las Vegas. I was new to the game and could not even read a racing form. By the end of the seminar, Michael taught me how to properly read the form and handicap horse races in a professional manner. He even concluded the last evening by performing magic for us. Young Michael was personable, engaging with his spirit and love of horse racing so much so that I attended many of his seminars thereafter. Thanks to Michael, he instilled that same love for the game in me and it has brought great joy in my 88 years of life. We owe him a lot for raising handicapping to a professional level and will miss him and his rants.

Robert V.

I have known Michael for 15 YEARS and i enjoyed every minute of our friendship. What stands out the most for me was him telling me.
Harry use the Fulcrum for God sake and stop backing slow horses.
Michael turned into a winner after reading PACE MAKES THE RACE.
He will be sadly missed by myself from Australia.
God bless you Michael
Your friend from Australia.

Harry L.

I ran into Michael at Red Rock casino and yell stop betting slow horses. We had a brief conversation and ask him autograph my book handicapping magic. I ran home and got it came back and he autographed. A week later we had another conversation in Red Rock for about 25 minutes talking about handicapping.

Aaron L.

Just overall memories of his numerous rants and a few of them he nailed pretty good. Big fan of computer analysis of horse racing. RIP Michael

James B.

Loved his rants prior to big races always look forward to listening to him.

Sidney A.

I never had the honor of meeting Michael in person but his communications in recent years were such a pleasure. He was a true professional in the sport and will be greatly missed.  My deep condolences to his family and friends.


I first spoke to Michael in 1992, he happened to be at the sports book and he was so kind to take my call.  He was very helpful and accommodating to my needs in regard
to questions I had about THE MASTER HANDICAPPER (the original with the dongle)
After ordering the software I had several more conversations and as always extremely
helpful, accommodating, and professional. He surely will be missed and did a fantastic job with his software, rants, and great concern for his members.

Richard I.

It is hard for me to describe how important Michaels’s work has been in my life. For many of us, handicapping races is a place of solitude where we can escape from the challenges of everyday living. In order to enjoy this long term,( for me 50 years +)  we need some modicum of success. Michael paved that path for countless individuals who tribute decades of joy directly to him. Always answering emails, always helping. I had invited him to Lexington last year for a first-class trip to Keeneland. That will always be a regret that it did not occur. Legacy directly relates to how much you give and how you make the world a better place. Michael checked all the boxes. Rest peacefully my friend

Thomas L.

I have enjoyed Mike’s work since the 90s. RIP at that great racetrack in the sky. I am sure he is handicapping the Breeders cup right now. I will miss his rants!

Michael was like a younger brother to me for a long, long time.
He will be missed.

Marshall B.

I would like to send my condolences to the family of Michael Pizzolla. I have been a big fan of Michael’s work since the very beginning with his book Handicapping Magic. It was a great read and it started me on the right path on understanding the approach to value handicapping. It made me a better handicapper. I would sometimes email him if i had a question or to see how he was doing and he would always answer me back. Michael was a very kind and humble person. He will be missed dearly. May he rest in peace.

Hello everyone, my condolences to Michael’s family, like many here this took all week to process this horrible news. What does it say about a man, who’s passed, I’ve never met in person, that would make me feel a huge pit in my stomach? Like something’s missing? Something just isn’t right? Many of you said it’s a shock. It is a shock. I watched a handful of the Inner Secret’s video’s this week and something clearly stood out. While many wanted to see his winning races and tickets he structured, I believe the front bookend of his video’s were way more important to him. If he had a point about life he wanted to share, he was gonna share it, intertwined with how we go about looking at horse racing. In how we approach the game. How we invest our hard earned money.

This man cared.
Also like everyone here, he personally guided me through the early steps and struggles of using ValueCapper. Then his pleasure and encouragement when the A-HA moment arrived. Looking through my PM’s? I want to share just one PM we had from 2019. I had just hit my biggest score to date and also structured one of my early superfecta tickets, which lost. The $2 ticket was, 2 Blue VIP’s over the fulcrum, RW and another horse in an arc 6. My costly mistake was I left one horse from the arc off my ticket -the favorite with AV. That .10 Super paid like $800. So do the math? After suffering for an afternoon I sent Michael a PM sharing my tickets and my disappointment in that missed opportunity. We know Michael didn’t like typing in all CAPS! It’s shouting he would say, right? So when he typed this I knew he was pleased. Here’s his reply.

Hi Rob,
Don’t be too tough on yourself: No one has ever taken enough money out or bet enough on a winning combination. In retrospect. At the time you made the bet, you structured it the way you thought was optimal.
And let’s be clear: You took $3,600 out of a race that you had $75 in. I’d say that was a day/week maker.
Seriously, congrats, good work in a big arc race, have to love it when 2 Blue VIP’s run 1-2!!!
All the best, Michael

That man cared.

Rob S.

Michael was a great handicapping friend and handicapping wizard that I grew to have a great deal of respect for his handicapping wizardry and ability to teach the ins and outs of handicapping.

While I was never able to meet Michael face to face, I considered him one of my best friends and asked him many times for his advice and participated in his many handicapping videos.

Michael was always willing to have the answer I needed (good or bad) and always followed up on my amateurish questions.

Yes like many of his friends and team members, I will miss Michael.

Wishing the best for his surviving family and friends.

My memories of Michael was how helpful he was on helping me set and understanding the system he created I had lots of good scores plus his rants were fun to watch. RIP Michael it won’t be the same when the big races come up and you’re not there to give your expertise. My condolences to the family.

Brandon J.

So sorry for your loss. I enjoyed his u tube videos prior to all the triple crown races.  He was extremely smart and a character.  I’m bummed.

Tommy T.

I started out as Michael’s customer and soon became one of his many ardent fans. I met Michael only one time, at one of his seminars many years ago. He had a high energy level and excellent communication skills as he presented his software on finding value bets.
Over the years I watched many CD’s and videos made with his close friends, as well as his “rants” for the major races during the year.
Sometimes I would send him an email with a query, to which he would respond promptly, usually within the hour, truly amazing for such a busy guy.
Thank you, Michael, for bringing increased enjoyment (and profit) to my game.
To your family, I extend my condolences on your passing, much too soon.

Ron H.

I just wanted to give my condolences and to say that he has helped me in my handicapping and in other areas of my life by adapting some of his thought processes. He will be missed

Michael and I played horses together at the MGM w Jerry Wayne numerous times He loved calling the race out loud when his long shots came turning for home.

Robert G.

Michael changed so many, with his brilliant approach to horse racing. What always impressed me, is as busy as he was, he always had time for his customers, and fellow players. No question was silly, and no person unimportant! He made you feel like a friend.

Jeff M.

Met Michael with Howard Sartin at JFK Airport Seminar in 1985.  What a memorable event, hard to believe nearly 40 years ago.

Thanks to PIRCO and now Michael for pointing me in the right direction, I was a 1995 convert to Michael’s great online form, still enjoying it to this day.

Hope you all can keep the business up and running and growing.

Best wishes

Nick G.

I met Michael at a PIRCO meeting around 35 years ago. He was a great teacher and a very warm and charming person. I emailed him often and he always responded post haste. I can’t really express how much I will miss him. My thoughts, prayers, and warm  wishes to his family. Rest in peace, Michael

John J.

I never missed the YouTube videos that he created before every big racing day. Michael was an awesome guy who always answered my emails even though I was not in the Wizard forum. he would always make me laugh when he would mimic what some race goers would probably comment. He will surely be missed!

Billy B.

I have been following Michael since Handicapping Magic was published.
As I was getting involved in many types of analysis in my own life , he presented a refreshing way of acknowledging that human beings were vulnerable to needing to know the not to do distant future.
 The first time I  heard him speak about “SW3”
Some will, some won’t , so what …it resonated with me .
He talked about “sharpening the knife till it was dull” I was looking back at races and thinking if I do it this way then I ‘ll have it figured out as he stated in his own handicapping journey. After reading 40-50 books on handicapping it was his sincerity and humility that led me to adopting many of his principles of life/handicapping.
I will truly miss hearing from him. I’ll always remember him this time of year when he’d produce his rants near the “big” race days.

My heart goes out to his family.

At one of Michael’s seminars … when betting and standing in line. I saw that look in Mike’s eye’s and asked him if he wanted to cut in front. The gentleman he was… he touched me and said Thank you… while still checking out the board…and waited til his turn… almost being shut out. A real caring and Professional Gentleman.
He’s contributed So much to the handicapping of the sport… his name should go on… for Many, Many years. 
I’m Very proud to have known him.

I found him to be a gentleman and eager to help. My condolences to his family and his staff and members. Make him proud.

Michael C.

Very sad day for horseplayer. His enthusiasm and love of the game was contagious. He had lots of stories to tell about the game, and plenty of know how too.

He was a giant of handicapping, a great teacher, and mentor. He will be missed. And he will be remembered, as will his motto, “let the bet make you.”

My prayers and sympathies go out to his family, and those who have followed him in this wonderful game of horserace handicapping.

Charlie B.

I have seen alot of Michaels videos and enjoyed all. He put his heart and soul into it. From just watching and listening to him I found him to be a true gentleman and more important honest in his work.

I will miss his information and seeing him on video greatly.

Glenn M.

Michael has forever changed my way of betting ( investing). I have listened to many so called Handicappers and no one will ever come close to his knowledge and understanding of betting. I’m sure there are many of us who are going to miss his Rants.
Please accept my Condolences.

Amazing person who changed the industry. The information he provided was the best. He constantly made sure that the customer received value. I will miss his fantastic lectures.

Dan A.

I have been using Michael’s handicapping software since he began with The Master Handicapper.  In addition, I attended several of his seminars in the early days.  And I have had a regular email correspondence with him over the years.  His passion for and knowledge of the game of handicapping and his willingness to share with others is unsurpassed.  I will miss him.

Tom D.

mikes rants, his sense of humor mixed in with his knowledge made me realize we play this for both for the challenge but mostly for the fun. To the Pizzolla family thank you for sharing him with the rest of us.

Gemi R.

We lost a great person in Michael, his commitment to all of us will never be equaled. When you had a question about VC, he was quick to get back to us. My fast memory of Michael is, I was in Las Vegas at the RED Rock and ran to Michael. I mentioned to him that I went to Roma Deli on Spring Mountain the day before and ran into James Woods, he smiled and said I must have just missed you, I saw him there also. He told me that he and Woods lived on the same street at one. Goodbye Michael, we all miss you.

Bill W.

I remember anxiously awaiting the release of Valuecapper (I did not have the older software at the time) and I reached out to Mike to discuss general concepts of his methodology. His generosity truly had no boundaries He went out of his way to mail me material of prior meetings and teachings so I could learn while I waited for the new software. A few months into my Valuecapper experience he paid me the ultimate complement of “One of the sharper players.” I wear that complement like a badge of honor. Everytime I open Valuecapper up I am reminded of his generosity and ability to make folks feel special.

Francis P.

Met Michael at a seminar near Phila Park. Top notch guy.

Carm C.

How do I start I met Michael about 20 years ago I was just learning his book. I was at Boulder station and this Man sitting near me was using a computer I asked him what he was using and I told him I was using Handicapping magic from the book and then he told me he was Michael Pizzolla I was starstruck we became very good friends. rest now Michael

Mike, was my mentor and my friend I’m so sad behind losing him, we would talk on the phone about handicap thoroughbred horses. We would text each other our winning tickets and he would just teach me a lot. I wanted him to be present in the Las Vegas, Nevada world handicap challenge and watch me compete. He is and will always be one of the honest handicappers I’ve ever known. May My Buddy rest in peace hope to see him in heaven, one day my condolences to his family.

Edward P.

I have known Michael since 1976 – when he worked at Tannin Magic on Broadway. I worked next door at Universal Costumes. Michael was in NYU Law School at the time and I was doing a co-op in NYC. We became close friends. We spent time walking and exploring the West Village and we remained friends since 1976.
He later became my meditation teacher. We spent hours discussing Philosophy and Religion, health, family, books and business. His friendship changed my life – I’d never known a vegetarian when I first met him, and I must admit that I thought some of his ideas were a bit radical – including meditation. But he was so kind, so funny, convincing and charismatic and a fabulous close up magician. He had more influence over my life than any other single individual. We were not in touch often of late, but I will miss hearing from him. I reached out to wish him HBD, and when I didn’t hear back, I found that he’d passed. I am profoundly sad.

Denise A.