Free Advice is Worth Every Penny

You’re sipping your coffee on the patio, the sun is brightly shining, and the wind that is gently blowing the trees and rustling your Sunday paper. For a moment, you feel like the king of all humanity enjoying the small pleasures in life. As a habit, you take the phone with you not to disturb your serenity. Just as you sit back in your comfy chair and taste the warmth of your morning pick-me-up, the phone rings. You hesitate to pick up the line, but you do anyway as you don’t want your karma disturbed. Fifteen minutes later and a headache that is beginning to pound behind your eyes, you’re only wish on this beautiful morning was to leave the damn phone in the tub while it was filled to the brim with water.

I have a pal who loves the races. He travels and saves up money to take his one-man-show on the road. He starts announcing his arrival months in advance, and it has the sound of a severe weather alert. You know what is coming, and you can’t stop it. The sirens should be blowing to alert the public, but this tornado has your name on it, and it will touch down any minute. You get up and spill your coffee down your robe and run to shave and shower before the big arrival. The hurried act is not for his benefit, but it is so you can use as it as an excuse and explain you have to head into work.

Just as you tuck in your shirt, the doorbell rings. There he is dressed like a tourist and bellows out, “what’s happening lazy ass.” – “Not much here, just getting ready for work.” As he belly bumps his way through the door and starts yammering about horses he has been watching. You think back to the bright morning sunshine and the gentle breeze blowing through the trees, and how good he would look tied to the tree with his list of hot horses stuffed in his mouth. But I digress, it isn’t the odd visitor who disrupts your harmony, it isn’t the bellowing voice that could wake the dead – it is the imaginary system he has “invented” to bring all the world the fruits of his handicapping labor. After a 15 minute machine gun attack, he looks at you and lets out his call to the wild, “So, who do you like lazy ass?”

I explain that working at the track takes up most of my time, and I don’t have as much spare time to keep up on the horses. He snorts, and takes off his blue-blocker sunglasses; “bull crap, you have all the time in the world.”  He is right, and we all have the same amount of time in the day. I choose to use my time creating the morning line and making notes about the races for the day. – I have had a secret weapon since 2008, and it has served me well. It saves me time, and allows me to focus my efforts on how I will bet instead of who looks good. My pal loves to take on the world with limited time, and uses the excuse of loving to bet as his calling card. When I asked him the golden question of the morning, he turned his head like a dog and look at me in the most curious manner.

“Dude, how would you like to have a process where the field is broken down into tier levels? How about handy icons to alert you to special works and changes? How about a one-of-a-kind rating system that allows you to see where the runner stacks up against the competition? And last but not least, you won’t have to pack around two folders of notes and two Daily Racing Forms?”  – ” Great, but it doesn’t exist on this planet!”  – I looked at the clock and saw that I have ten minutes before I hit the door. This should be about 3 minutes longer than I need, but here comes a lesson for the great lender of free advice.

I grabbed my computer from my bag and dialed up the Winning Ponies site. – I showed him how to log on, purchase Winning Credits, and take a look at his favorite track. We are 2 minutes in and he is viewing the color coded tier levels, and I show him the handicapping icons which grab his eyes and the rating system numbers. He is now scrolling like a mad man, and we are 4 minutes into handicapping. His smile shows me he is on board, and for a man who would not shut his trap, he now is looking at the detailed past performances with gusto. – ” t has everything in my bag, Ed. Notes, past performances, and notated Race, Composite, and Turf class ratings… I could save a ton of time, but how good are they?” – When I pulled up the $5, 924,200 paid out in 2014 for exotic payouts. He began to smile even bigger, and the best part was he was not giving out his one-of-a-kind advice. – “Could you print this out for me?”  “Sure, no problem this one time. I want you to spend more time handicapping and less time trying to pour over the data. Just purchase your credits, and you can follow along any day. They put up every result in real time (or as soon as the race is official) and you can see how the Winning Ponies E-Z Forms are preforming.” He thanked me and grabbed the pages as they came off the printer. As soon as he had them all he started toward the door. “Thanks, lazy ass. I’ll see you at the races.”

Later that day, he came up and said he was $125 up and it was only the fourth race. For a guy who made his way by dolling out free advice and creating his own handicapping methods, he was winning with professional guidance. I think the next time we speak, I’ll look forward to his visit. We’ll have some data to discuss, and how we’ll plan the day of wagering. Overall, it lasted 9 minutes. It seemed to go quick, and it was even easier to show and use. As I drove home that day, my phone rang with his special ring tone of “the call to the post.” He said he has never enjoyed a day at the races like that in a long time. He thanked me for showing him the data, and I think another player has just taken his game to the next level. When you find a data service that puts out their selections in real time as soon as the race is official, charges for only the races used if you are getting a late start, and gives you all of what you were looking for in the click of the mouse look no further. I’ve never known of a data provider who allows you to change the weather tab if the track comes up muddy, or if they are off the turf. You’ll get a brand new set of E-Z Win forms to allow you to adjust to the day. No charge. How about using the easy to read color coded tier levels with handicapping remarks? Or if you’re a fan of detailed past performance notes on riders, trainers, and what their specialties are for the year. Look no farther.