About The Founder
Cary Fotias, the founder of Predicteform.com (formerly Equiform.com), is best described as “one of a kind."
Cary was born to a loving family in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in 1953. He grew up with an enthusiasm for life and a rabid interest in all sports, the Detroit Tigers, bridge, the stock market, APBA baseball, music, poetry, poker, card counting in Blackjack, reading, and of course horse racing. He wanted to analyze and improve everything. As his good friend Bill Feingold says, “No topic was unworthy of exploration to him, and he was constitutionally incapable of being boring.”
After getting his degree from the University of Michigan, Cary spent a couple of years making a living as a poker player. Then deciding he wanted to work in finance, Cary returned to school and earned his MBA from Indiana University, becoming a successful Wall Street currency trader. His interest in horse racing and its analysis became so strong that after hitting a large pick 6 in the early 1990's, Cary retired from Wall Street and used the money to finance the start of Equiform.
Also about this time, Cary met a lovely lady, whom Cary introduced to his many interests, including horse racing. Married in 1994, Mary gave her support to the development of Equiform and they had 20 years joined together in a beautiful and loving marriage.
The start of Equiform occurred in the fall of 1992. In paraphrasing Cary's own words in his book, Blinkers Off, “After a year-and-a-half of work….using my proprietary formulas and algorithms….I had a workable prototype and the results were gratifying. Recognizable patterns in the numbers that predicted an IMPROVING or a DECLINING performance emerged with absolute clarity. Because these patterns were not evident to the crowd or even to the “sheets” players, I had a big advantage.”
Cary continued to run Equiform, practically as “a one man show” for 21 years, working ungodly long hours. His time was spent creating “the numbers” EVERY day, handicapping and betting on races, being a vocal advocate for horse racing change with many groups (including the NTRA Players' Panel and HANA), hosting seminars, being a guest on horse racing shows on radio and TV, talking personally with his customers, writing his book Blinkers Off, and qualifying for the National Handicapping Contest in four out of the six years he attempted to qualify. He loved what he did, and his enthusiasm was infectious.
Cary's personality was something to behold. He was polite, witty, funny, kind, entertaining, and an incredibly loyal friend. He was friends with multimillionaire CEOs, cab drivers, doormen, poets, waiters, large investment brokers…it didn't matter what you did, Cary saw the good in everyone and loved being with them all.
Cary loved good food, strong black coffee, and good conversation. He loved discussion and debate on many diverse topics and all types of ideas. In the words of Peter Fornatale, “Cary was the loudest, brashest horseplayer of them all, but he also truly enjoyed the exchange of ideas and was a good listener. Although his opinions were strong, debates with Cary never got ugly because Cary never took himself too seriously—he was too busy enjoying life.”
Unfortunately, Cary left us too soon. He died from cancer in July, 2013. He is truly missed by his many friends and loved ones. And for each, the world isn't as exciting or as much fun without him.
--Bruce “Kit” Kittle (Best friends with Cary for 55 years), BoD Predicteform
Predicteform (formerly Equiform)—The New Ownership Group
I had the occasion to meet Cary in Saratoga about seven years ago through a mutual friend. We immediately hit it off and soon became fast friends. As time went by, we talked often; I became captivated with his perspective and approach towards playing the horses. He sent me an autographed copy of the book Blinkers Off, which I dove into, and was mesmerized by Cary's advanced mathematical approach and his unique perspective on form cycle analysis.
And, while my avocation continued to focus on horse racing and improving my handicapping skill set through discussions with Cary, my vocation was moving towards mainstream sports handicapping. In December of 2009, I joined forces with the sharpest mind in sports simulation, Paul Bessire, to launch PredictionMachine.com. Fast forward four years and PredictionMachine.com has become the top sports simulation company led by its 35-9 Against-the-Spread record for NFL playoff games since launch. The PredictionMachine.com tech team is incredibly strong as exemplified by the first of its kind, in-game simulation technology,Live ScoreCaster™, which predicts the final score and win percentage for each team immediately after every play.
Leveraging the business and media relationships we developed at PredictionMachine.com, I began talking to Cary about taking Equiform to a broader horse racing community in the fall of 2012. At first, Cary was reluctant to grow his business in that manner. He loved what he did and felt any time away from making the numbers (manually, of course) could compromise the quality of the product. After weekly discussions over the course of a year, “Greek” (how Cary's friends affectionately referred to him) began to embrace the idea of growth, not so much because growth would drive revenue, but that expanding Equiform would bring new players into the game he loved.
Cary's health became compromised in 2013 and the vision we talked about for Equiform faded. He was a very special man to many of us and his passing (as “Kit” says above) saddened us all deeply.
Many of Cary's friends who were also Equiform shareholders began thinking the same thing: How can we keep Equiform going and growing? We knew that is what Cary would want. We all knew that continuing Equiform would be a monumental task as Cary made the state-of-the-art Pace Figures for each horse through a manual process which took upwards of 6-8 hours a day. It was often thought that, without Cary, Equiform would not exist.
It was one eventful day in August 2013 when a dozen of us, friends, shareholders and customers, sat down to dinner in midtown Manhattan to discuss the idea of assembling a team to purchase Equiform. Thus began the first of many conversations on the vision of carrying Cary's legacy into Equiform 2.0.
Led by Paul Bessire and his crack tech and development team at PredictionMachine.com, we slowly began to “look under the hood”, at the technology and math that Cary built. And, while the computer language was outdated, the math and modeling was proprietary and truly and appropriately sophisticated. True to his form, Cary had built a methodology that provided cutting edge perspective on velocity based Pace Figures.
Over the course of the last five months, the new team has taken the Equiform manual process for producing Pace Figures, to transform it into a dynamic database with updated math and simulation that can automate numbers for every track, every day. This current technology, along with the brilliance of Cary's algorithm is the foundation for Equiform 2.0 (now rebranded as “Predicteform.com”).
--Dan Zucker (co-founder Predicteform.com, formerly Equiform)