Handicapper, Interrupted

by Ed Meyer

posted on February 16, 2021 in Blogroll, General Discussion, Handicapping, Horse Racing, WinningPonies.com | Comments Off on Handicapper, Interrupted

We have a path, a plan, and a vision of what it’s supposed to be. Sometimes our love of betting is hitting on all cylinders, and other times there are distractions. I’ve had a few in my life. A place where you try to reconnect with your love of watching and wagering on horses only to find you’re lost. This is a place where inner-soul searching takes place to find your way home again.

Horseplayers are different than other gamblers. We relish the process of mining the data and finding our nuggets of gold. We’re not about speed and rapid-fire bets where reels dizzy our senses and realize we’re broke before we started.

I’ve worked in racing since I was 18 years old. It was a stepping stone into many other opportunities, and I enjoyed every step along the way. – The track I was working was changing. No longer were we making huge strides and breaking new boundaries. It was being taken over by smaller minds who wanted to wash away the creative juices and replace them with rules, and not taking calculating chances with plans for the future. No longer was I in love. It was time to leave.

It was June 2003, and I asked my wife if I could leave and go back to teaching school. – My only real ask was if I could cash in my small 401-k and try my hand at gambling to make money before going back to school. She agreed, and little did she know my plans were never to see the school. I had my opportunity.

On July 23rd, I walked to my car on a Sunday afternoon. No gold watch, ticker-tape parade, or even a handshake. I tossed my keys on my desk and walked out after 17 years. I thought it would be my last day working in racing, but the road has many twists and turns. – I started taking copious notes and kept a journal in a leather binder. I only watched New York, Florida, and California. My plan was to make two to three-place bets every week ( mainly on Saturday due to the size of the pools). I would go to the track after reading charts and making a list of horses to play. Finally, after two weeks of scouting horses to play, I was ready for my first bet. I think he is still running. This first shot showed me quickly it was harder than it looked.

After a few losses filled with worry as I walked to the car. Things began to come together. – I started with $14,000 and it dropped to $10,000 very quickly. – It was a $700 place bet on a turf horse that paid $5.60 that started my fire. As I cashed for $1,960; I knew I had a plan. That summer was filled with many smaller winners; with my acceptable place value of $3.40. Things were fitting like a glove. – No impulse plays, small tracks off the radar, and my focus was New York turf races mainly. I did venture to Chicago on marquee turf days, and California offered many small fields that could hit my target odds. I remember my big score of the summer. I waited for a horse to run for three weeks as the turf was rained off. But, today it was perfect and he looked even better. His odds went off at a sweet 8-1, and I was going to bet more than ever before.

After watching him sneak up the rail and draw away. I was more than elated. He paid $7.20 to place, and I had made a $1,750 place wager. $6,300 later heading back to my seat to watch and take notes. I knew I had a fighter’s chance. – I was only making two or three wagers for the weekend and felt like it limited my exposure to the windows. Every once in a while a list horse popped up on a Wednesday or Friday. I just popped in, made my bet, and headed back to the car after the race. -I was getting pretty good at reading the charts and watching replays from home. Things were moving.

My only change for my regimen was playing Breeders’ Cup. – There is plenty of money on the table and opportunities would soon be dwindling as racing goes to sleep for a few months after Breeders’ Cup. I had made all of my bets for the day and watched the first race. As soon as the horses crossed the finish line I had a call from my wife at work. ” I bet you didn’t have that price horse.- Well, it paid for all of my wagers and the rest of the day is profit.” – Not a bad start for an under-card race on the day. It turned out to be a good day for this handicapper. Things were looking good.

I would skip days just trying to grind out daily wagers. This helped my focus and would keep me watching the better horses. – Off days were playing with son, cutting the grass, and cooking out nightly. Things were working out and everyone was happy. But, as with every story, not every page is golden. – We went to bed one night and my wife never woke up. Life had changed on a dime. In an instant, I became a single parent, no job, and my handicapping experiment monies allowed us to stay in our new home for two more years. I stopped playing for quite some time. I had lost my better-half and my mind was not in the game. The betting experiment was over.

My son and I moved into a smaller home, and we’ve had plenty of good times. Oh, there have been some bumps in the road, but life did eventually move forward. – I found a turn-around opportunity at River Downs as the marketing director, and after my six years of having fun in the sun; other doors have opened since. Racing was my first love. It allowed me many opportunities and has been my partner most of my life. – I look back and feel that time was an interruption for me playing the horses. There was no telling where it may have taken me, but life calls, and things can change quickly. But, the changes to my life may have been a wake-up call. It allowed me an opportunity to take a shot, but as quick as it started it was over. But other chapters and life filled the pages.

With each passing year; I feel gratitude and happiness getting to follow my love. Rarely are we afforded the opportunity to take our big shot. – I count myself lucky to have had the chance to play for a living. I still love to play the horses and the excitement still sends chills down my arm. I’m a horseplayer, and I think I’ll always be. But more importantly, I’m a father, son, and brother to the best man I know. – I’m lucky. To have family and friends and a job history painted with colors of happiness. What more could a man ask for? –  In the title, it says “interrupted.”- Looking up the meaning you’ll see; “to break uniformity or continuity of a hot spell occasionally interrupted by a period of cool weather.” – After many rounds of good and bad, we’re in a good place. It is wise to appreciate these times and remember them on days where we need a boost to get us back on track.