Attitude Cashes Tickets

by Ed Meyer

posted on September 14, 2016 in Blogroll, General Discussion, Handicapping, Horse Racing, | No Comments >>

You can have the best data in the world, and even have your lucky hat on straight. But if you don’t think you can win, chances are you won’t. – Over the years, I have been treated to some of the most unique sights in the sport. There are the screamers from the back row who have every horse leading around the far turn. If they start to fade you’ll hear them start up on another who was set up perfectly by the fast pace. – Then you have the “clams” of gambling. They never say a word and if they have all the pearls, you’ll never know as they are as quiet as church mouse. – Then there are the big mouth sour-puss Joe’s who act the part but are as fragile as rice paper. – It’s fair to say I’ve seen about every type of gambler at one point or another in my years of working at the track.


Attitude is everything. – In the words of Muhammad Ali; “It ain’t bragging if you can back it up.” – I have watched gamblers who make a bet and sometimes its a large one. They start talking the talk about how they really don’t think they have a chance and they probably should have let this go. – There are two things going on here; The first is setting up an escape if it loses and they can talk about how they should have skipped the race, the second school of thought is if they say it can’t happen, it has a good shot of coming true. – I have watched this for years and sometimes it gets down right funny. – The other day at work my friend asked me after I made my wager; “do you really think he can win ?” – The answer was simple, “I haven’t ever made a bet where I planned on losing.”

We all go through good times and bad, but it’s the positive players who stay alive and reap the rewards. – It’s not just wishful thinking, it is believing you have put your best foot forward. – Now, there are more losing tickets than winners if we play long enough. – If you don’t believe you can win, do you think anyone else ever will ? Horse players use to travel in packs and hang out with others. That was the best part of pari-mutuel gambling. It is something you’ll never see at the quarter slots as people play with a feverish stare and wouldn’t hear a bomb go off if it were in their pocket. – Racing offered up a chance to banter back-and-forth and talk the lingo. – “ You couldn’t win a place bet in a match race. – If your horse was on top by ten with 70 feet to go, it would jump the rail and head back to the barn.” – Race trackers have a lingo and a talk all their own. You won’t see this at the blackjack table, and how many times have you and your crew yacked the night away playing roulette ? – Never. -Racing use to offer up a time and a place where folks could meet and talk about the ponies. It still does to a small degree, but nothing like it was as more players sit in front of computer screens at home.  No lines, making last second bets, and sitting in your shorts and t-shirt when there is 8 inches of snow outside. – That is where racing is losing, and it will never regain traction. When the last of the real race trackers move on to Pearly Gate Downs, the place will be filled with younger crowds swilling dollar beers waiting for the band to play. You won’t have to get there early to get a seat as the place is empty, and the one-of-a-kind wafting cigar smoke will vanish in mid-air. – Your grandpa wouldn’t recognize the place today.


Something you can change other than your underwear is your attitude. – Just like your old baseball coach use to preach and every teacher you liked. They knew the power of positive reinforcement and it applies to gambling as well. – I knew an older gent who would come in dressed as if he was going on a job interview. He had table reserved and he would meticulously have all of his programs, pens, and note pads all in their place. ” Ed, I worked like this for over 30 years. My office was well-kept and everything had a place. It makes me feel prepared, and just like a day at the office. My make-shift office is ready to accept business.” – At the time I just smiled and never caught the drift, but as I started playing more confidently I know what he’s talking about. Being prepared was more than half his battle and if he wasn’t ready mentally, it wasn’t getting down at the windows. – Staying away from the trash-talking was Bob’s strong suit. You never heard him once talk about a bad ride, horrible trip, or track bias. He kept copious notes and went along as nothing had gone wrong. His words still stay in my head when I want to bitch about a bad ride, etc. “ I have won on bad rides from others so why would I complain when the shoe is on the other foot ?” – Right as rain.  – Cheering is welcome, but complaining, bragging, and bitching was not allowed at his table.


I was standing in the door with my races handicapped and my race-by-race notes ready. – The track had a horrible wind storm and the power lines were downed; the marquee day was going to be scrapped. I was mad because I was ready to handicap for the in-house TV, and now I’ll have to wait. – At that time a young rider walked in the door to say goodbye to her sister who worked in the office. – When I asked her if she was mad about the big day getting put off she smiled and gave me the best answer. “ I’m going to work out, eat a healthy dinner, and get a good night’s sleep. I’m going to be ready in the morning, and I’m going to bring my “A” game.” – She won three races the next day, and I’m still tankful for the words of wisdom from Donna Barton Brothers. – “In my travels, positive energy attracts good vibes and winning. I don’t recall many who cried and complained and took home the gold.”