Becoming a Better Horseplayer Part I: Getting Over Lazy Bettor Syndrome

How much time do you spend, on average, handicapping a race?

How much time do you spend, on average, planning your bets/deciding to pass on a race?

While you think about those two questions listen to the video below and when the music finishes I’ll need your answers.

Ready?

If you are like the average person that I have asked this question to the ratio is probably somewhere between 10 and 20 to 1 in favor of question number 1.

That means for every 10 or 20 minutes you spend on handicapping a race you spend around 1 minute planning your bets or deciding not to bet at all.

If your ratio is lower you are on the right path but if it’s higher it’s time to re-evaluate your process.

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Press Release: The Truth About the Recent Santa Anita Press Release

Santa Anita

Tomorrow Santa Anita will kick off it’s 2014 fall meet, which is highlighted by the Breeders’ Cup on October 31st and November 1st.

A few days ago Santa Anita issued a press release regarding the wagering menu for the fall meet.

After reading through it I found it to be very disingenuous.

To the lay horseplayer it would appear that Santa Anita has a fabulous, player-friendly wagering menu.

The truth is Santa Anita (and the rest of California race tracks) are far from player-friendly and they are heading in the wrong direction.

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Bringing Down the Twinspires: The Inside Story of a Small Group of Horseplayers Who Cost Churchill Downs Millions

Corporate Genius 1: “We need more cash in the till to please the shareholders and increase our bonuses.”

Corporate Genius 2: “I have the perfect idea, let’s look like the good guys and take on those racing dates in September to drop our daily handle below $1.2 million so we can increase takeout rates.”

Corporate Genius 1: “That’s brilliant.  We’ll get good press for helping the local racing circuit now and then we’ll fleece our mindless customers next spring.”

Corporate Genius 2: “They won’t even notice because all the talk will be about the Derby and before they know it the meet will be over and revenue will be up a couple million.”

News of the takeout increase spreads like wildfire because unbeknownst to the two corporate geniuses a lot their mindless customers use the internet and social media.

It only takes a few days to orchestrate an official boycott of the takeout increase but the two geniuses ignore the warning and take a wait and see approach.

The end of June rolls around and to their surprise wagering handle is down $49 million and the increase in takeout rates can’t overcome the decline and results in a slight drop in takeout revenue.

Excuses quickly roll out but none can account for the dramatic drop in wagering handle.

Since the corporate geniuses won’t tell the true story and the racing media only tells part of it I’ll give you the whole story.

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2015 Breeders’ Cup: Trick, No Treat For Me

Keeneland Breeders Cup 2015

Today the worst kept secret in horse racing was announced: the 2015 Breeders’ Cup will be held at Keeneland for the first time.

The decision had been leaked well in advance so there was no surprise when the official announcement was made today.

I was happy to see the Breeders’ Cup return to a track east of the Mississippi and looked forward to attending the event for the first time.

The plan was to either buy tickets or better still qualify for the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge, which is in my opinion has the optimum format for determining the best handicapper (live bankroll, not limited to win/place and on the best two days of racing of the year).

Unfortunately for the second consecutive year those plans will have to be put on hold.

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2014 Belmont Stakes: Coronation or Disappointment?

A few minutes before seven o’clock eastern time the horses will load into the gate for the Belmont Stakes.

Roughly two and a half minutes later we will either be celebrating the twelfth Triple Crown winner or like so many times before lamenting another year passing without one.

California Chrome is the best horse in the Belmont and there are many reasons to believe he can win the Belmont but there are just as many reasons to doubt he will cross the finish line first in “The Test of Champions.”

The Belmont Stakes is the pinnacle of the racing card and along with the supporting races make Belmont Day the best day of racing outside of the Breeders’ Cup.

Following are my opinions on each of the thirteen races on the Belmont Card along with the betting strategies I will be using.

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5 Reasons California Chrome Can Win the Belmont and 5 Reasons He Can’t

California Chrome Belmont

With two races down and one to go California Chrome is on the brink of horse racing immortality.

He dispatched eighteen rivals in Kentucky and nine in Baltimore.

He will face about a dozen in the Belmont, which will be his toughest test to date.

California Chrome is talented enough to win the Belmont but he isn’t invincible.

Following are five reasons I believe California Chrome can win the Belmont and five reasons why I believe he can’t.

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2014 Preakness Picks

The dilemma when handicapping the 2014 Preakness is whether to trust your eye or the clock.

California Chrome won the Kentucky Derby with an eye-catching burst entering the stretch but the final time over a track that was playing fast all day was well below average.

My first inclination was to toss California Chrome as he may be running beyond his preferred distance and he got a dream trip in the Derby but the rest of the field doesn’t consist of any world beaters.

If California Chrome runs back to his San Felipe or Santa Anita Derby he will be very tough to beat.

If he regresses again there’s a good chance he won’t hit the board.

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