Money Matters

Money Matters

Before getting into the meat of the post – we’d like to announce that we will again this year be issuing our annual (and highly profitable over the last 12 years) Kentucky Derby Report. (Order link at the end of the post – and on our order page)

Betting the big race days – like the Derby and Breeder’s Cup day/s – is a different animal than day-to-day race betting. I’m not a proponent of the “go for the jugular” philosophy when it comes to betting the horses as a way to make an income – mainly because when it fails, it’s my own own jugular that gets sliced!

Rather – as I’ve talked about several times – I like a “middle-way” approach that is conservative at base while also putting me in front of potentially high-paying horses fairly frequently.

I was thinking on these matters the other day while reading a financial blog that I follow.  There was an article there where the famous (or infamous according to your point of view) Tony Robbins had interviewed several of the world’s most successful investors (Ray Dalio, Kyle Bass, Paul Tudor Jones), and he then boiled down their various approaches into four succinct guidelines.

I (as always) related the ideas to horse racing, and here’s what I came up with . . .

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Year-End Review

Year-End Review

I’m going to do my usual year-end ramble (some might call it “rant”) here – and with the usual warning:

. . .  This post will have more or less (mostly less) to do with handicapping and betting the nags, and therefore will be of more or less (again – likely less) interest to most of you ‘hard-core’ racing fiends. And it will be dis-jointed, and without any redeeming value whatsoever!

But with that proviso, and with a “Have a Great Holiday Season” wish to all of you – here goes . . .

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Exacta Skills

Exacta Skills

Building your skills at handicapping and betting the exacta can make a big difference in your bankroll’s health – IF – you learn and apply the factors needed to be consistently successful at it.

By definition – you first need the skills to find the winner (most handicapping methods concentrate on this aspect) – and then (equally as important) the know-how for finding the horse/s that will most likely run second.

In the discussion that follows – we’ll concentrate on the latter: How to identify the horse/s most likely to run second.  Interested?

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Results Breeders Cup 2014

Results Breeders Cup 2014

We’ve had several ask how the HRG Breeders Cup Report did this year, so rather than respond to each individually, I’ll post the “results” below . . .

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Models

Models

Do you keep a Model?  (No, no – I don’t mean in that way!)  I’m referring to a daily accounting of how the tracks you play are running, and how your own pre-race handicapping matches up with the reality of the actual results of those races.

A very revealing truth is that most race players don’t ‘do’ record-keeping – of any kind.

Why not?  Because it’s a boring and somewhat tedious task.  But . . . cashing tickets is neither boring nor tedious!  The question then becomes are you willing to to put up with a bit of tedium to substantially increase your bottom-line profits?

This one fairly simple task can instantly set you above 90% of all race players, and give you insights that will put you in a highly favorable position as you compete for your desired share of the betting pools. Interested?

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Sucked In

Sucked In

How many times have you bet on a low odds horse?  Hundreds of times . . . thousands of times?

The great lure in this game – the subtle and perverse attraction to the low-odds horse – is (by reason of the very nature of a pari-mutuel event) the weakness that dooms most players to a negative expectancy.

Unfortunately (or fortunately according to how you use it), the actuality of this game is that the odds on the toteboard are extremely accurate overall.  Therefore the lower odds horses win more often than the higher odds horses – that’s a simple fact of the game. And since it is a natural tendency to want to win more often, players (even otherwise good players) will often get sucked in to win-betting a good looking horse at low odds.

You cannot do that and make profits in the long-term – regardless of what the naysayers, chalk bettors, and ‘fine-line’ value players might tell you.  Why not?
(find out – and also get info on our new white-paper, the “Weak Favorite Advantage” Report)

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What – Me Worry?

What – Me Worry?

I was having some ‘mad’ thoughts the other day – crazy ruminations on the whole concept of ‘betting odds.’

It occurred to me that there are three possible (and generalized) views of betting the races;
– mainstream (following the crowd)
– contrarian (counter intuitive), and then
contra-contrarian (?!). 

Now – I’ve already admitted that these were perhaps Alfred E. Neuman type musings, so you’ve been forewarned  . . .

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Indecision Paralysis

Indecision Paralysis

Indecision . . .

What causes it? Why is it sometimes such an overwhelming feeling?

Of course, if you’ve just lost several wagers in succession, and see the bankroll diminishing fairly rapidly – then it seems almost a natural response. 

Nature has evolved to protect us in this way. It’s why we’ve survived and flourished as a species – because we think about things that cause us pain, and tend to avoid those things in the future.

But – digging deeper – I think there are three important things going on here – primary things that can lead to inconsistent wagering, and lowered bottom-line profit . . .

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Finding the “Pay Streak”

Finding the “Pay Streak”

“Pay Streak”  (a new, and highly profitable, handicapping method)

In today’s world, more than ever before, ‘time’ has become extremely important to us.

Not talking about race times here – referring to our personal time, and how we choose to use it. 

Most players don’t like to spend a lot of time handicapping the races, and most of us who do put in the long hours – still don’t particularly like it!

Time is, in fact, precious.

We’ll never have enough of it, and we’ll never get back any of it – which makes the time spent doing tedious things particularly irksome.

In our newest method, we have stripped away much of what was previously considered necessary to handicapping a horse race –  and got it honed to the bare bone.  It allows handicapping a race (between races if you like) in less than 3 minutes! 

We’ve uncovered a ‘zone’ of concentrated profits.   We have found a . . .

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“Magic” Versus Tolstoy

“Magic” Versus Tolstoy

I’m sure you’ve seen offerings, in racing and elsewhere, of “magic” methods (and in numerous variety!).

The promoters of these methods generally insinuate that by following whatever “ritual” set of convoluted rules and processes they have collected together, that the practitioners will thereby accrue to themselves power, or profits all out of proportion to what the average person could expect.

They further claim to have a “secret” – some occult and mysterious understanding that can be exposed only to initiates. As well, it often takes many years to climb the ‘levels’ of learning in order arrive at the place of being one of those special ones allowed to “know” the secret.

. . . Unfortunately, it’s almost always a bunch of self-serving mumbo jumbo.

I prefer to approach racing (and most everything else) using the sage advice of Leo Tolstoy – when he said, . . .

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Following Your Own Rules

Following Your Own Rules

Warning: unpopular topic below!

Betting rules / handicapping guidelines / bankroll management organization / race passing stipulations / goal setting – etc. etc. 

Do you have them?  If you do – good for you, and if you don’t . . . why not?

If you are one of the few that have them, do you follow them to the letter?

I think the real truth is:  Most players don’t have them, and of those that do, most of those don’t follow them strictly enough.

Why is that?

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Is Your Opinion Valuable?

Is Your Opinion Valuable?

How valuable are our opinions in horse racing?

That is – what level of profits are shown from a long series of betting decisions – and when the ‘opinion’ light bulb goes on – is it as bright as it should be?

If a player isn’t netting much in the way of profit – the key problem could just be that his judgment of the value of his “picks” is too high – he thinks them more capable of winning (and more importantly of making profits) than they truly are.  When this is the case, opinions become less valuable than they should be.

Most folks (in almost all aspects of their lives) award an inflated worth to their own opinions. It’s only natural – our own opinions are the only ones we have!

But in horse racing, we really need to be sharper as to the relative value of the horses on whom we’ve drawn those opinions.

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Bankroll Squeeze

Bankroll Squeeze

Did you ever have a time when the ole’ bankroll was getting squeezed pretty good, and your handicapping seemed to be simply running out of juice?

Naturally.  If you’ve been in the game for even a few months, you have almost certainly gone through “one of those” losing streaks that tested your nerve and your money management approach!

As most of you know, we started issuing the HRG Index again on January 9th subsequent to our usual break after Breeders Cup, and wouldn’t you know it – a monster losing streak hit us pretty much right out of the gate.

We started off with a good-profit first day on the 9th, and the 10th was going okay – but ended up the day with 3 losing races.      And the next two days?!

Well, if you have a strong stomach, and if you want to know how to cope with a blue-moon losing binge . . .

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Desert Story

Desert Story

The Cardon and the Gringo

* Note: the following story has little-to-nothing to do with horse racing – except that it is from the same setting as the “Greatest Race Day” story I posted a while back. This is another vignette from those long-ago times I spent in Baja California Sur – Mexico.

———–

The last fluttering tendrils of bluish smoke drifted up towards the brick-red rim of the narrow canyon far above. The lazy plume issued from what was left of a giant old Cardon cactus carcass. The once-majestic icon (it had been the only specimen of any size on the canyon floor), was now a smoldering, but still-glowing, crisscross-patterned skeleton – the remaining inner hard-wood that refused to be consumed by the initial flame – that was willing itself to hold together for a bit longer before losing its final vestige of selfness, and crumbling into ash.

Two of the local urchins, Paquito and Sanci Rivera, watched from a thick-trunked, knarled Pomegranite tree that grew at the far edge of their grandfather’s property. Shirtless Paquito was smiling in rapt attention at the proceedings while astraddle one of the lower branches. Cute little Sanci was sitting in the dust below – alternating between hunched-forward silent concentration, and screaming, gleeful, hand-clapping – all the while cooling her brown feet in the slushy mud of a shallow irrigation ditch . . .

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Year-End Musings

Year-End Musings

As we head into the New Year – which incidentally will be the “Year of the Horse” by the Chinese calendar – I’m gonna muse out loud here for a bit. You may or may not have the inclination to actually read these musings.

Some of you will likely get a little ways into it, and then (like the old English cartoon general) think: “Egads! – What poppy-cock and puffery.”

It will all be tied in to handicapping and betting the ponies . . . but only loosely, so fair warning – you might want to get out now while you still can(!?)    🙂

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Bet Management

Bet Management

In handicapping – as in life – not everything we think is true (factual) is actually true, nor does it merit our consideration as such.  Anything that can be considered out there is so much more intricate than is possible for us to fathom . . . and what’s really true is always more (or different) than what appears to be true.

Now – after that $65 intro – let’s bring it back down to what really concerns us all:  How to make more profits from a series of wagers.

Part of the figuring out what’s “actually true” might be to get a better handle on what constitutes a “series” of wagers. Most players look at races by-the-race. That is – they tally their bets by how much was bet, and how much was made or lost in an individual race.

What if you completely changed that kind of thinking?

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Pointers Along The Way

Pointers Along The Way

Which way to go?

In this game, it seems there are a never-ending number of ‘paths’ a player could go down. Systems, methods and approaches of every shape, size and color. Which do you choose?

I’ll just list some of the main sectors and factors of handicapping the races . . .

Types; Maiden, Maiden Claiming, Claiming, Optional Claiming, Allowance, Stakes, Graded Stakes / Restricted or open / For; 2 yr. olds, 3 yr. olds, 3 yr. old and older / On; dirt, poly, turf.

Factors; Distance, Speed (early and total) / Pace /Class / Form Cycle / Trainer / Jockey

Now – there are many other factors that could be considered separately, or as a sub-group in one of the above – like; individual track, interior fractions, pars, track variants, track condition (fast, sloppy, muddy, good, firm, yielding etc.), pedigree, workouts, trips and trouble, and on and on.

Okay – then when forming a handicapping approach – what are your possible choices . . . i.e. how many combination of factors exist from which you can choose? Let’s say you decided to choose just 5 from those listed above, and you wanted to ‘weight’ them by importance to your method – how many combinations/permutations of your potential method would there be?

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Risk vs. Reward

Risk vs. Reward

For most players, sooner or later a “happy medium” in their wagering activities is found.  They establish for themselves and settle into a comfort zone where they feel alright with the level of risk versus potential for profit.

– A couple of posts back, we discussed a money management approach – progression betting – which is a higher risk, potentially higher reward way to approach the game.

Progression betting may be of interest to some few players with a tolerance for higher risk (and the bankroll to match), but I think it likely that the far larger proportion of race bettors are conservative in their nature and do not well tolerate (nor can afford) large losses.

– Then in the last post, we brought up the value of studying what the “old time” handicapping gurus had to show us and then applying it to modern racing.

This post will do both . . .

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