Year End Review 2015

Year End Review 2015

Another day – another dollar.”

I’ve always kind of mistrusted that expression – even though it is most often true . . . that we make our way through this life “by the sweat of our brows.”

Unfortunately – far too much energy is given to ‘earning a living’ – as if we are, after all, just a higher-thinking version of any of the other beasts of burden.  We get pretty much captured by the desire and the need to earn.

In race betting it seems that even more energy is given over to that motive. It’s the way we keep score if a ‘recreational’ player, or the way we make ends meet if a ‘professional’ player.

So – what are the pre-requisites to attaining higher levels of profit for 2016 and beyond?

Will you ever make enough money betting the races? Likely not.

“What! Why not?”

Basic human nature: We never seem to be quite satisfied with what we have. It’s what has defined us as a species – we are always striving for more – in every aspect.

I mean I wish I’d made more this year!  I had my eye on a cherry  ’57 Chevy Bel Air convertible that a guy had for sale down the block from me . . . but it still isn’t sitting in my driveway today.

The striving to make more profits from any business or investment endeavor – is a natural drive.  We want to support our families in a better style, or to purchase more and fancier toys, or to help those less fortunate – whatever.  So . . . how do we accomplish that in horse betting?  The mastery of what skills will get us there?

1. Patience.

I’ve talked a lot on that subject in various posts – the not needing to play in any particular race – regardless how much pre-race work went into it.  If the value doesn’t present itself, why push it? Why bet lower odds than we told ourselves would be fair, or lower odds than our records show have been making us profits, or why bet a multi-race wager when we don’t have any opinion in one or two of the races involved, or why bet if the day comes up with terrible weather, or ? – well the list could go on.

Impatience seems to be another of our traits as humans. We really don’t ‘wait’ very well.

2. Recognizing Value.

As mentioned above, and so many times before – by so many knowledgable handicappers: A steady or even partial diet of low-odds horses will eventually starve your bankroll.

A player needs to move the acceptable odds parameters up. The ‘sweet spot’ grouping is higher than most players believe it is. You might want to consider 7/2 a minimum odds (with maybe an occasional 5/2 standout that should be at 8/5) – and with most of your concentration on horses at 6/1 on up to 25/1 or so.  Doing this will, of course, require an extra measure of the aforementioned “Patience.”

3. Record-Keeping.

You need to – no, you must – find out where your strengths are as a handicapper.  You need to stop squandering the long-term profits you would have been making – by restricting your betting to only your strengths.

Most players have no earthly idea where their profits are coming from:  Is it stakes races at minor tracks? Non-restricted claiming races at major tracks? Turf racing? Maiden racing? Is it only the New York and Kentucky circuits, is it exactas, is it . . . etc. etc.? If you keep complete and accurate records for a couple of years (“OH my God – did he really say a couple of YEARS!!”), and then play into only your own positive niches – the cream of your own handicapping . . .  You’ll get into the black – guaranteed.

4. Error Elimination.

The mental game . . . Of utmost importance is staying “on point” – during the daily handicapping phase as well as when making betting decisions prior to each race.  Oversights and ‘silly’ mistakes are inevitably costly.  Focus – and recheck everything.

5. Committment.

Of course this can – and does – take in all the other headings above. We call this thing we do a “game.”  I know I do that all the time – and use the word “play” and “player” . . . and for 95% of all participants in race-betting, that’s exactly what it is (and is indeed one of the greatest games of all).

However – if you would succeed to a higher than game-level standing – you’d need at a minimum the same kind of commitment that you’ve shown in other aspects of your life.


I’ll stop here – before this turns into a rant, or begins to sound like it’s coming from some condescending know-it-all!  As I read over this post prior to publishing, I realized that for most of you I’m very likely only reminding you of what you already know!  But maybe that’s what we all need (especially at this time of year) – an occasional “review” of the important things (in whatever aspect our lives), so that we can appreciate – and recommit.







  1. Hi Gary,
    Really enjoy reading your articles! Could you send me a copy of Zen and the art of handicapping.

  2. Hello Gary,

    I have a 10-page report from you titled “Zen and the Art of Spanking the Races – Good and Proper”, with 12/12/2005 at the bottom of each page.

    Is that the same one?

    Thanks for all you do!

    Joe B.

  3. Please send me the free report, zen and the art of handicapping.

    Thank you.

    Nick M

    • Nick – Done deal – check your enmail box. – Gary

      • Nick – Your AOL address was returned as undeliverable. I’ll need a different one in order to deliver the Report.
        – Gary

  4. Blake McHenry

    Happy New Year Gary! I would appreciate a copy of the report. Best to you and your kin 2016.


    • Blake – Thanks – a prosperous New Year to you also. Report is on its way. – Gary

  5. Ted Barrow

    Gary, please send me a copy also. I think I got awhile back, but can’t find the print out. Thanks, Happy and prosperous New Year!

  6. Gary, could I have a copy also? Thanks! It took me years to realize that it’s not about picking winners, but picking which horse comes in with the winner. That’s the jackpot for me! Have a happy New Year!

  7. Please send me the report. I have been away for awhile and the report may help my return to this endeavor.



  8. Would appreciate a copy !! Thanks & Happy New Year!!!

  9. Please send me copy of Zen

    Thank you

    Happy New Year

  10. I would appreciate a copy of zen and the art of handicapping. Thanks

  11. Would appreciate a copy of zen and the art of handicapping. Thanks

  12. iwouldlikezacopyplease

  13. Gary
    Please email me a copy of Zen and the art of handicapping
    Best Regards
    Paul R

  14. Gary

    could i get a copy of ZEN? Thanks and to you and yours a Safe and Happy New Year

    • Terry – Thanks brother, and a prosperous New Year for you and family as well – Gary

  15. Gary, Can you send me another copy of Zen . I printed the last one and misplaced it!

  16. I’d like a copy myself. Thanks.

  17. I would like to recieve the Zen report

  18. Gary:

    Please send me a copy of “Zen” report. Thanks

  19. Charlie Hughes

    Thanks for reminding me what I seem to forget each time I play. I’ve got to find my strenghts & weaknesses and have been keeping records for years but only in the past year have been betting mostly wins and exacta’s so all the exotic bets will do little to show what I need in the way of odds. I would appreciate the Zen Report if you’ll be so kind as to send it. Thx Gary…enjoy your articles.

    • Charlie – Thanks for the comments . . . yes, it’s so easy to “stray off the path” isn’t it?! All success to you in the coming New Year – Gary

  20. gary,ilove reading your articles,please send zen and the art of handicapping, thank you. larry

  21. Gary, please email me the ‘Zen…’ white paper.
    Thank you in advance. Jim

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *