The Cabot Star-Herald welcomes to its online edition,, handicapper Charlie Cooper for the 2013 Oaklawn Park racing season.

"I’m happy to carried on," said Cooper. "I have a lot of fans and friends in the central Arkansas area, and I get notes and calls from folks all across Arkansas. This should be another exciting season in Hot Springs."

Cooper has spent a lifetime around thoroughbreds. He attended school in Pine Bluff when, at the age of 16, he began working at the racetrack.

He started as a hot walker and then a groom at Louisiana Downs, then went to Calder Race Course in Florida where he was an assistant trainer. He’s also been a jockey agent.

His love of racing started when he was 9 years old. His family had gone to Omaha on a vacation where his parents took him to Ak-Sar-Ben Race Track. Cooper became fascinated by the coming and goings of horses, jockeys, trainers and the like. "I was immediately hooked," he said.

Cooper finally was able to beg his father into showing him how to read the Daily Racing Form, and he has been picking horses ever since.

Cooper will be the first to say that he tries not to pick favorites because the payout isn’t much "and they lose 70 to 75 percent of the time." Even at that, he picks winners at a high rate.

"I pick more exactas and trifectas than any other public handicapper in the country," he said.

Cooper and his better half, Marcy Jordan have qualified on multiple occasions to attend the Daily Racing Form/National Handicapping Championship.

The two live in Irving, Texas, but Cooper takes advantage of the fact that Oaklawn races are carried on HRTV, "the Network for Horse Sports" and watches each and every race.

Charlie’s Picks will be carried on the Cabot Star-Herald website,, throughout the racing season.