I was chatting with a friend when he broke the news to me. He was distraught and upset, and moreover disappointed in himself.
“It’s all over now,” he said “And 2014 is only days old.”
“That’s one way of looking at it, but why not give yourself a do-over ?” I replied.
“A do-over, why would I get one after failing in just a few days?” – he responded.
“The answer is simple. If anyone deserves one it’s you, and not because we’re old pals. You noticed something was wrong 8 days into the year. And rather than waiting until next December to complain, you want to change now.” I added.
He smiled and said, “I never thought of it that way, I guess I’ll have a do-over.”
As gamblers, we try to start the New Year off with a bang of sorts. We want to do more handicapping, have better money management, and only play the races where we find a runner we like. Now that’s all fine and good, but I have to burst your bubble. Try this once, and if it works, use it as a cleanse for the things that are ailing you. Instead of gearing up and getting all serious before you reach the starting gate. Why don’t you try something a little different?
Your 2014 can begin right now… No Baby New Year, no cheesy music, and no silly hats and champagne. Start by going to the track again. I am one that needs to follow this advice as it is not about the trip, it’s about getting back to what we loved. Instead of bringing your bankroll on day one and shooting at the stars. Why not bring a small amount, and just have fun betting one track again? No multi-race simulcast fiesta, just your track and those nine races. No big bets! Take a friend or two and talk about the old days, and who you like on the card. No pressure, just getting back in gear. Find yourself, and what made you go in the first place. We sometimes get ourselves geared up and find excuses. I was talking with my dad, and he told me he hasn’t been the same since the Breeders’ Cup went sour. “That was the first weekend in November, and you still allow that to bring you down?” Long story short, give yourself a do-over, and go into it with an open mind.
Find the four tracks you love. Now, take one of them and toss it out the window. Focus on three tracks and know how the surface plays when it’s wet, know the rider/trainer connections that are hot, and don’t be swayed by every tout at the track. They are just like you. Believe that if what they said had value, they wouldn’t be sharing it. Now you have your three tracks and eliminate the races you don’t play: condition cheap claimers, first off a maiden win, and bad percentage riders and trainers hooking up together. By my account, you have taken 27 races and turned them into ten. With the ten races you can play, focus on the ones you really love. I know it sounds easy, and it is. When you get past just needing the action and re-direct your thoughts to winning. I’ll bet your batting average goes up. From the ten we have five plays that are golden in our beliefs, and five plays that could be used as a small wager, or even tossed into a parlay venture. Now you have two wagering adventures going on at the same time. Sounding like fun again? No heavy duty math, no physics courses, and no chasing your tail by winning $10 bucks and giving back $15.
I once wrote a story on here called “One Day Pro.” Now think about when the Preakness rolls around. If you’re not betting Pimlico, should you be wagering on the entire card because of the big race?” The answer is no… Stick to your knitting, and use a service that you trust to guide you if you want to dance every dance. They do this for a living, and they don’t come to your office proclaiming to be the best in sales. Listen to reputable folks who show their earnings, and have data that is up-to-the-minute. No 72- hours out where the track and weather can change. You may be good, but how many folks day-in-day-out can pick the entire card two or three days in advance without changes? Nobody…
Take it easy on yourself. There is plenty of time, and plenty of races. You don’t have to make things happen, you just wait for the right time, and cash-in on what happens. Patience is a virtue, and at the track it may be your best asset. Take your time, take a do-over, and get back in gear if you have found yourself getting off track. I think you’ll fall back in love again. Just give it some time…