Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Be my handicapping Kavorkians: Help me lose with dignity

Written by Brendan O'Meara

Losers walking around with money in their pockets are always dangerous, not to be trusted. Some horse always reaches out and grabs them.
Bill Barich

I wouldn't bet on a horse unless he came up to my house and told me himself.
Eubie Blake (1975)

How do you ’cap ’em?

I’m a notoriously bad handicapper. There are two reasons for this:

1. The Most Obvious, I rarely do it.

2. I lose patience.

I feel ugly every time a lose a race like I expect to win the lottery or something. But maybe if I were armed to the teeth and took some adderall I’d be primed to follow in the footsteps of our beloved Preach.

Some history. My approach largely hinges on pace. Speed figures haven’t meant a whole lot to me. Maybe it’s because most horses running against one another have similar speed figures so it becomes a wash. They all seem to be within 5 or 10 Beyer Speed Figures of one another. Now, before the BSF was bought by DRF, and you read Picking Winners, you had an edge.

Thoro-Graphs are nice in that they factor in for a bad trip. I bet Union Rags’s sheet number for the BC Juvenile is monumentally lower than Hansen’s (the lower number being best with Thoro-Graphs … for those who may not know. Who am I kidding? YOU three know.) Guess what it is. UR ran a 2, Hansen a 6, and Hansen won.
Looking over the sheets, it just doesn’t feel like handicapping. You know what I mean? It doesn’t cover work tabs. I trust Thoro-Graphs numbers over Beyer’s, so I just look at the number, see who has paired up and who looks like they will move forward. It’s easy. Then you have to get crafty with gambling—another skill more important than picking winners.

Another reason I’m lousy at handicapping is I’m bad at placing conflicting tickets— going up to the window knowing I'm dropping more bank a losing ticket to cover another one. Hedging is smart, but it’s a mental barrier for this bilge-drinking wannabe.

Then there are trip handicappers, name handicappers, horse color handicappers, video handicappers, paddock handicappers, and the short, bedeviling, pretentious handicappers. There’s kind handicappers who offer picks, and others who squirrel them away like the Pentagon Papers.

Some people have success with the daily program, others use Daily Racing Form. DRF helped me win with Curlin and Hard Spun in the 2007 Breeders’ Cup. Thoro-Graphs helped me pick Awesome Flower in the 2010 BC.

My losing periodical of choice has always been DRF. It’s what I learned on, so it’s a crutch, but I’m ready to move on if I’m ever to have a fun day at the Racino, track, or Vegas.

Oh, brothers, where art thou?

Written by Brendan O'Meara

Comments (14)

BallHype: hype it up!

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