Expert Las Vegas Odds-Maker Picks TV Host Mark Steines To Win 2013 Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race<7203.T>

Tue Apr 9, 2013 11:00am EDT

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Pro Handicapper Anthony Curtis Puts Actor Michael Trucco, Racing Analyst
Rutledge Wood Close Behind in "Wide Open" Competition for Charitable Race
LONG BEACH, Calif.,  April 9, 2013  /PRNewswire/ --TV host  Mark Steines  is
making his fourth return to the Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race, and professional
handicapper  Anthony Curtis  thinks this might be his winning year. Steines,
host of the Hallmark Channel's "Home & Family," and past "Entertainment Tonight"
personality, is one of 19 participants who will race in the prestigious 10-lap
charitable event on  April 20  as part of the 39th  annual Toyota Grand Prix of 
Long Beach.  

Curtis is president of and one of the world's most
recognized gambling authorities. For the past six years, Curtis has bench-marked
Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race participants by watching training exercises and
drawing on his knowledge of the famed 1.97-mile circuit through  Long Beach,
Calif.  streets. Steines' 6-1 odds are the longest for a favorite since Curtis
began evaluating the field, and they are closely followed by the handicapping on
actor  Michael Trucco, racing analyst Rutledge Wood, motocross champion  Andy
Bell  and philanthropist  Carter Lay. All participants will drive 210-horsepower
Scion FR-S race vehicles.

The Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race is the longest-running, corporate sponsored event
of its kind and benefits Racing for Kids, a national fundraising program
supporting U.S. children's hospitals. Since 1991, Toyota has donated more than 
$2 million  on behalf of this race and its participants.

Last year, Curtis gave comedian  Adam Carolla  an early advantage in the race
and the funny podcaster sped beyond them to win the race overall, even beating
out the four professional drivers. This year, Carolla will race as a
professional, but his odds are 12-1 due to the challenge that all professional
participants face starting slightly behind the celebrities.

"This year's odds structure paints a picture of a wide-open race with several
skilled celebrities challenging the pro drivers for the win," Curtis said.
"Watching all the challengers in action gives me insight into who is ready for
the adrenaline rush of race day and who needs more practice. In the end, the
celebrities and pros alike play an important role in supporting the charitable
goal of the Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race."  

Curtis's exclusive expert predictions are solely for entertainment purposes on The full list of racers' odds are as follows:

 Mark Steines (6-1)        It's been eight years since the Emmy award-winning journalist and TV host tried for the Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race trophy. He was looking strong at training and maybe the past attempts will give Steines an edge over the competition.  
 Michael Trucco (7-1)      Back for a second time, the actor of "Battlestar Galactica" fame loved the FR-S during training. Trucco will need to drive the sports car at his best to earn a spot in the winner's circle.                                             
 Rutledge Wood (8-1)       Another second-time racer, the racing commentator has both analyzed drivers and driven at high speeds. Can he combine the knowledge and edge out the other racers?                                                                       
 Jesse Metcalfe (11-1)     The "Dallas" actor may be a race rookie, but he learned to drive a NASCAR racecar for his television role. Metcalfe's fans will no doubt be cheering for him to take home the prize.                                                     
 Kate del Castillo (11-1)  The acclaimed Mexican actress is back again, with significantly improved odds over last year's 24-1. She'll need to continue her upward momentum and add some fiery passion from her movie roles to win.                                 
 Dakota Meyer (15-1)       Familiar with staying calm under pressure, the Medal of Honor recipient will need to rely on quick-thinking and driving to edge out the other racers.                                                                                    
 Jeremy Sisto (16-1)       The "Suburgatory" star displayed lots of focus during training, but Sisto will need to dig deeper to finish strong in this star-studded competition.                                                                                     
 Jessica Hardy (18-1)      The swimmer and Olympic medalist showed her competitive spirit and drive at training, but she must increase her pace if she's going for Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race gold in her hometown of Long Beach, Calif.                             
 Brett Davern (18-1)       He may star in MTV's hit series "Awkward," but Davern showed track poise and a commitment to learning every technique. He'll need to overcome his inexperience to claim a victory.                                                       
 Jackson Rathbone (19-1)   His role in the hit "Twilight" movie series may have earned him devoted vampire-loving fans, but the competition is alive and kicking on all sides of him.                                                                               
 Jenna Elfman (27-1)       The funny "1600 Penn" actress couldn't wait to get behind the wheel in training. Elfman will likely finish with a smile if she can beat out a few other celebrities.                                                                     
 Wanda Sykes (38-1)        The Emmy award-winning comedian had ready jokes and fun during training, but she'll need to pick up the speed if she wants the last laugh.                                                                                               
 The Southern CaliforniaToyota dealer seat is being filled by Glenn Faber, partner and general manager of Los Angeles area Keyes Toyota. Also in this year's race are charity auction winners Dave Pasant and Carter Lay.                                            
 Carter Lay (8-1)          With a love of sports cars and desire to do good, the Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race is the perfect fit for the philanthropist and LAY'S chips heir. Can he translate it to a win?                                                            
 Dave Pasant (9-1)         Participating for his fifth time, this retired insurance executive has lots of experience with the race. Pasant looked strong in training and may surprise the crowd.                                                                    
 Glenn Faber (17-1)        This Toyota dealer knows all about cars but will need to push the FR-S to its limits to stay competitive on race day.                                                                                                                    
 The celebrity field gets a 25-second head start on the professional drivers. This year's diverse racing group includes drivers from several different types of roads.                                                                                               
 Andy Bell (8-1)           The motocross champion and MTV's "Nitro Circus" star has earned Guinness Book World Records and made death-defying stunts look easy. Will Bell's daredevil driving land him on top of the podium?                                        
 Tyler Clary (10-1)        The Olympic gold medal swimmer has begun a second career in racing, bringing his athlete intensity and dedication. Can he triumph on the track?                                                                                          
 Adam Carolla (12-1)       Funnyman Carolla won last year's race as a celebrity but faces stiff competition as a pro. Can he keep everyone laughing and come out ahead?                                                                                             
 Melanie Troxel (12-1)     The National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) driver has set records driving at speeds above 300 mph but must transition to the curves and style of this race. If she can adapt, she may take the prize.                                       

"Each year,  Anthony Curtis's predications add another level of friendly
competition to this charitable race event," said  Les Unger, Toyota's national
motorsports manager. "Our drivers push themselves to beat the odds, bringing
fans a great performance and benefiting sick kids who need the support."  

Each year Toyota donates  $5,000  to Racing for Kids on behalf of each
participant and another  $5,000  to the winning racer's charity of choice. A 
$15,000  donation accompanies the annual  People  Pole Award, the  People 
magazine-sponsored award honoring the pole-position qualifying session winner on
 April 19.  

To learn more about the Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race, go to,
visit Toyota Racing on Facebook or on Twitter @ToyotaRacing, or join the
conversation with the participants using #TPCR.

NOTE: Celebrity odds are provided for entertainment purposes only. Wagering on
the outcome of the race is neither encouraged nor implied.

Anthony Curtis  is one of the world's most recognized and quoted gambling
authorities. The president of, he has appeared as a casino
expert on "Dateline NBC," "48 Hours," A&E, E! Entertainment, Discovery, the
Travel Channel, the Food Channel and the Learning Channel. He has been the
subject of articles in  TheWall Street Journal,  USA  Today, San Diego
Union-Tribune, Los Angeles Times Magazine,  Los AngelesTimes,  Arthur Frommer's
Budget Travel  and  Discover  magazine. Curtis is author of  Bargain
City-Booking, Betting and Beating the New Las Vegas  and  The Art of Gambling
Through the Ages.  Considered one of the world's foremost experts in tournament
play, Curtis's top tournament wins include  $76,000  in the World Matchplay
Blackjack Championship,  $125,000  in the Atlantic City Craps Championship, 
$50,000  in the Las Vegas Keno Championship and  $60,000  in the Las Vegas
Blackjack Championship.

About Toyota
Toyota (NYSE: TM) established operations in  the United States  in 1957 and
currently operates 10 manufacturing plants. Toyota directly employs over 31,000
in the U.S. and its investment here is currently valued at more than  $23
billion, including sales and manufacturing operations, research and development,
financial services and design.  

Toyota is committed to being a good corporate citizen in the communities where
it does business and believes in supporting programs with long-term sustainable
results. Toyota supports numerous organizations across the country, focusing on
education, the environment and safety. Since 1991, Toyota has contributed nearly
 $700 million  to philanthropic programs in the U.S.   

For more information on Toyota's commitment to improving communities nationwide,


Les Unger    
Toyota Racing          

Erika Romero
Toyota Racing

Rebecca Lee                                        
GolinHarris  for  Toyota                                                     

Sharon Noot
Noot Incorporated

SOURCE  Toyota

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