Box Full of Betting Advice

It’s a cool rainy day outside as I begin my final descent into handicapping zen. There’s nothing like it for racing fans. as we’ve been waiting all year for the big weekend. – Over the years, I’ve collected a box of handwritten notes I peruse before the real handicapping begins. These were little-handicapping patterns and plans from some of the biggest players I’ve ever known. Some were great bettors and others were better handicappers. The two are like apples and bowling balls. – They are two different items altogether, but when you find the sweet mix great things can happen.

For those that will be doing battle with the biggest two days of racing, best of luck. – For our friends, fellow handicappers and people we met along the way who are no longer going to be wagering you are not forgotten. – Without further adieu, let’s dive into my little box of handwritten history.


Tune in and turn up

You need to turn on your favorite music and play it in the background to lift your mood. – Don’t do this when you’re watching video replays, as that is when you really need to have complete focus. – But don’t forget to turn on something you enjoy. – This little piece of advice comes from one of the biggest players in the nation. Please don’t second guess his success, as he is one of the very best handicappers in the game. You read his name in articles, contests, and gambling related pieces. – I consider myself pretty lucky to have met this gentleman and every time he sees me we speak briefly. – Right now, I’m listening to the Beatles.

Take it a piece at a time

Remember how we use to cram for the big test in school? – Well, don’t do that. – Take it a race at a time and take a break. No more than two races in a day. – This gent was the king of cool. – We still quote him 17 years later after he’s been gone and his words still hold true. – He had multiple pick-six winners with big gamblers, track owners, and men who hold baseball records. – He was one of the best guys you’d ever meet and dressed to the nines every day. He had his own lingo that the “Rat Pack” would have been jealous they didn’t use. – “Take your time, what’s your hurry kid?”

Euros must be respected

For decades some of the best handicappers felt Europeans couldn’t hold court with the American runners. – Now, that may be the truth in the Kentucky Derby, but this is a whole new game. – They have been targeting this weekend all year. – When you see strong one mile efforts, that is worth its weight in gold. European connections find this test to be the answer no matter what distance. They wouldn’t be here to embarrass themselves. – “Jock” was a longtime rider in England and Ireland and came to the states after he gave up the saddle. – He would wait all day to play two races and have more winners than losers. Pay heed to his words. “They wouldn’t be here if they weren’t ready, and there is more of a respect for the sport instead of overzealous owners wanting to watch.” – The day that Arcangues won the Breeders’ Cup Classic in 1993, there was only one voice cheering above all others. This Euro had only raced on grass before trying the dirt for the first time. He won under Jerry Bailey at odds of 133-1 and a Breeders’ Cup record of $269.20 for a $2 wager. – Thanks for passing by, Jock. You are surely missed.

Don’t bet just because you can

Betting the Breeders’ Cup at the track is like watching hordes of tourists. – I’m not putting them down, but the money in the pool favors the better handicappers with skill. – The hats and outfits, and piles of cash making a false favorite is a dream come true for a good handicapper. – Wait for your move. You’ll find more horses that pay $20 and should have paid $10. There is a bevy of players who like the chalk, and on this day every horse is bringing their running shoes. Getting left a beat out of the gate, an outside draw, or shut off in a stampede is good news for those looking for the right price. – Don’t bet just because you have money. – Thanks, Louie.


The Breeders’ Cup is the final goal of the year before it all starts over. – I am grateful for the chance to sit down and handicap; and been counting the days for quite some time. – I’m sitting this one out as far as making the trek to Churchill Downs, but you can bet I’ll be in front of the TV watching with baited breath as they crown the champions. – As I turn on the Allman Brothers, here are a few of my own handicapping rules.


1. – Stay away from low price chalk – Seek better value for your dollar. – This is for all the marbles.

2. – Respect European shippers. – They love coming over this time of year.

3. – Every year there is a trainer of the weekend. This year it will be John Gosden.

4. – Pay attention to the Weather Channel. – Right now, the weather looks like showers during the week, sunshine on Friday, and a chance of showers and cool for Saturday. If that doesn’t sound like a Euro forecast not much does.

5. – If you don’t play a pick-six, don’t make this the day to try your hand. – There are some incredible guaranteed pick-fours and pick-fives. – A good friend shared some great advice; “stick to your knitting.” I guess that means doing what you’re best at.

6. –  Remember, there are plenty of races and don’t go tapped early. – Pick your best runners and try and focus on how you’re going to bet them.

7. – Have fun. We’ve waited all year and it’s here!