Playing The Margin

by Ed Meyer

posted on March 3, 2011 in General Discussion, Handicapping | 2 Comments >>

Every track has players that call themselves professionals. For me, it has had many meanings over the years. But now, it just means someone that can quietly turn a profit without turning a head.

David was a star basketball player, and a real alpha dog. He always had to win, and was addicted to exercise, work, and making money. At 35 years of age, he turned in his first heart attack. This was his curtain call. His entire family had passed away young, and he would end the trend right now. He cashed in his large 401-k and decided to follow his second love of racing.

Oh, he still dabbles a bit in the market. Just enough to cover the nut, and keep his lovely wife and daughter happy. His real passion is horses now. For what started out as a hobby, has turned into a machine.

He plays New York and Florida racing this time of year. He still keeps a keen view for Fair Grounds and Tampa, for special plays that offer value. He never plays California, and I don’t think he really cares much for the game on the left coast. The “D” man looks for plays that offer great place and show value. He plays the margin. He isn’t looking for the million dollar pick-six. He will gladly take that $3.40 to place, and getting $2.80 to $3 bucks to show is great. His plays are limited to 8 to 10 per day. If it is an off-track, he cancels the action due to rain. He likes turfers and allowance runners, as they tend to hold form better than $5k claimers.

Needless to say, he bets about 20% of his bankroll at the track. The rest gets him around 9-10% rebate offshore. Good work if you can find it, and he always does well. He once sat all day at the track and gabbed with friends, and took copious notes. He made one bet that day, and it was a whopper. He wagered $20,000 to place in a seven horse field at Tampa. Well, his pony hung on by a whisker and paid $3.40 to place….. It looked like a $34,000 score, with a profit of $14,000 according to his records. Not a bad day at the track, and he even managed to wager $2,000 at the track, to keep up his reward tally with his hosts. Good work if you can find it…..

He reads and enjoys life. When the day is over, he saunters back to enjoy his family. Long way¬†from 12 hour days, and missing family photos. He is a happy man, and believe it or not, there are many more like him out there. He is not a ghost, and counts himself lucky. We talk, and he tells me about a horse he likes from time to time. That is the secret of horse players, but he does it just to keep me close. Funny thing, I get more action out of watching him ply his trade, and look happy. Well, another day has come to an end, and he and his computer can be seen heading to valet parking, where he tips a $10 spot and makes his way home. He is a long way from that desk at the market, and his stress levels are manageable. I think he has found his center, and things really look good……