ResolutionsI don’t think I’d be going out on a limb if I said that, when it comes to wagering, nearly all horseplayers have had or will experience buyer’s remorse at some point. An exacta ticket purchased and subsequently torn up despite one’s top choice winning in a canter; a heavy bet on an even heavier favorite that tanks down the lane; a three-horse trifecta box that was supposed to have been a four-horse box. All of these betting maladies can lead to a bad case of the “woulda, coulda, shoulda’s” or, in some cases, even surgery — to extract one’s foot from… well, a place it doesn’t belong.
I suffered from just such a case of buyer’s blues last weekend, when I managed to waste some pretty solid handicapping on multi-race exotics, as well as exactas and trifectas — all of which ended up making that “giant sucking sound” former presidential candidate Ross Perot once talked about. Afterward, in the hospital recovery room, I made a vow.
“I’ll never do that again,” I bellowed, prompting a snort and a muttered “I should hope not” from the nurse bandaging my foot.
But I’m serious. For five years now, I’ve been a very successful public handicapper with a terrible secret (actually, two terrible secrets if you count my love of scented candles) — I am a bad bettor. And I’m not talking about Shaquille O'Neal-at-the-free-throw-line bad; I’m talking about Shaquille O’Neal-in-the-movie-“Kazaam” or Shaquille O’Neal-trying-to-rap bad. Yes, my money management is that horrible.
In 2011, it is going to change.
I, like a lot of handicappers I’m guessing, have never really adapted to the advent of simulcast wagering and the myriad of betting options now available. Instead of viewing these additional races and bets as money-making opportunities (like I should), too often I look at them almost as obligations and wager on each and every race with about as much thoughtfulness as the MTV execs that thought “16 and Pregnant” was a good idea.
So, starting today, I’m implementing some strict wagering guidelines:
1) Absolutely NO multi-race bets of any kind.
It’s not that these kinds of wagers are necessarily bad, but, traditionally, I have constructed them around a single pick that I actually liked… and a bunch of others that I didn’t.
2) Only my Win Factor Report “Prime Overlays” and “Key Selections” will be considered for automatic play.
Creating a computerized fair odds line (the Win Factor Report) was one of my greatest and worst accomplishments as a horseplayer. It’s a fantastic tool that has greatly aided me in my handicapping endeavors over the years — but it is only a tool. Far too often, I treat it as a tip sheet, even while warning others not to.
3) Single race exotic wagers will be played only after careful consideration.
This should go without saying, but I am Kazaam.
Now, to put my new resolve to the test, I’ve selected a few races on Friday and Saturday:
Friday, Jan. 7, 2011
COMMENTS: GAS HOUSE is a Prime Overlay possibility on my Win Factor line, so without examining the race any further, I’ll bet him… at the right price.
MY WAGER(S): WIN/PLACE on 3 at odds of 3-1 or greater.