Wednesday, April 1, 2015

A Day at the Races

                  I guess I was mistaken when I said he cannot lose.

                  Why do these things keep happening to horses that I choose?

                  I liked a horse last Friday and I chose to make a bet.
                 The problem is its Wednesday and he hasn't finished yet.

The first time I saw live horse racing was in 1970. I had just moved from West Virginia to Cincinnati, Ohio. A good friend invited me to go to the local race track with him. I had only seen races on television so I was excited about the opportunity.

My friend had been a fan of  racing for years and loved to bet on the horses. He showed me his Racing Form and began explaining the correct way to pick a winner. After several trips to the betting window and no trips to the cashier's window, I realized that my friend knew much less about handicapping than he would admit.

As soon as I looked at my first Racing Form I was hooked. I didn't need to bet on the horses as much as I needed to see if my calculations would find the winner. I wanted to know if someone could actually pick winning horses on a consistent basis. I would buy many Racing Forms and spend many days at the track without ever wagering a dime. I loved math and I was good at it. It seemed to be a match made in Heaven.

I gradually started betting on my best picks of the day. Many times I would sit in the grandstand watching eight races, only to bet on the ninth. There is an old saying that you can beat a race, but you can't beat the races. That means that if you are good enough you can pick a winner on occasion. You can't pick them all and that's where most horse players mess up. They tend to wager on every race of the day.

I have also learned another very important lesson. I've learned that nothing is certain and sometimes things happen that can't be accounted for in any system. I was reminded of that fact this past weekend.

I watched as the horse that I bet on left the starting gate. I was anxious to see if I was right about my pick. Unfortunately, the race was over as quickly as it had started for my entry. Another horse veered over and knocked mine into next week and sent  the jockey tumbling to the ground.

The horse that I had bet did not look good in the program. In fact, the horse had only raced one time before, ran last by a total of 32 lengths and went off at odds of 44-1. So, you might ask what was the big attraction? It was the same feeling that I had gotten over thirty years ago.

I dedicated a chapter of Mr.Joe  to my love of handicapping horses. I also talked about times when I could sense that a horse was going to win. There were times when I could not understand it myself, but most of the  times I was right.

I thought it might be fun to give you a chance to follow this horse with me. To give you a chance to see if there is anything to this latest hunch. The horses' name is "How High" and it normally races at Mountaineer Raceway in West Virginia. This horse  has run in two races and came in last in both by a total of 76 lengths.

Since it is getting close to Kentucky Derby Day, my mind is on the races. I will keep you posted concerning my "hot pick". As my sister always tells me; "You never know."