Five Rules to Follow

This week will be full of chock-full of how-to and what-to-look-for info. The final works are being tabulated, and the weather channel will be the hottest watched program. The Derby clock is ticking away, and you’re finalizing your wagering plans. Here are some last minute wagering plans that you may want to examine.


1. – Last year, is last year = Because the last year’s winner prepped and won a particular race has no bearing on this year’s Derby. – Get this out of your head, and you’ll find yourself looking at the race with a clear field of vision.

2. – It happens = Over the next 5-6 days, someone will undoubtedly will defect, have a small injury causing a scratch, or spike a fever. It happens, and we need to get used to it. I always live in hope my runner won’t be a part of the bad-luck-boogie, but one thing you can count on is it will happen.

3. – The G-1 prep angle = Use runners who were in-the-money in their last (G-1) prep. – It doesn’t matter where it took place, and just eliminate those who haven’t. Give extra credit to those who won their last in one. If it was a (G-2), make sure it was super impressive or just toss the runner.

4. – There is no place like home = You want to keep in mind runners who didn’t have to have their track with them to win. – Pay special attention to those who shipped well, and worked well leading up to the race. Theses notes can be found on the Churchill website.

5. – Don’t be afraid of price = The Derby is always tough, and this year has the feel of one of the toughest in decades. Don’t let the tote board make up your mind. If your hot runner is 12-1, stick to your plan. The race will have a loaded gate draw and everything from weather, post position, last workout, and a crowd of 150,000 screaming fans make a difference. That (2-1) shot may look the best, but is this runner bulletproof? – This is a rare occasion where you can pass the odds board, and not give it a glance.

So what’s a player to do this week? – I would start here, and not miss a beat:


1. – Go back and take a look at the video replays here on Winning Ponies. Trip handicapping cannot be beat, and may be the deciding factor for you.

2. – Read the following: The Blood Horse, The Downey Report, the Churchill Downs website, and Horse Race Nation. These publications are good for up-to-the-minute happenings and changes.

3. – Don’t get caught off guard by a new handicapping tool promising the moon and stars. – Part of my job at different tracks was to look over handicapping information and examine the best ones. Simply put, use data that is proven, they post results (good or bad). Download information that allows for up-to-the-minute changes, and doesn’t come out as soon as the post draw takes place. You won’t have to go far, it is right here and they have paid out over $2,706,610 in exotic payouts.

4. – If you don’t play the pick-six, don’t start on this day. Stick to what you do best, and this will help extend your wagering bankroll.

5. – Start a group wager. Grab up three, four, or as many as you can and toss in some money. Have two handicappers handle the wager, and take a shot at one of the guaranteed pools. This way you can have more bang for your buck and still have a shot at big money.

6. – Don’t go crazy on the undercard. It is a long day, and a great weekend. Don’t cut yourself short on cash.

7. – Have fun, and enjoy the weekend. Do your homework, come prepared, and don’t let it overwhelm you. Best of luck this week as we settle in and make final decisions!