I have been asked on many occasions ‘what do you think of the favorites in a horse race’. This is the question that Stu used to ask me. I would give Desperate Housewives a rating of 4.5 on a scale of 5.0. So I might rate Desperate Housewives as 4.5, making it the obvious choice for Favorites.
Anyway, the question is, do we still follow the favorites? I have been involved in many a race – even down to the last donkey – and I can categorically say that I have never followed the favorites. Maybe that is just me!
One afternoon, I was deep in thought, deep in meditating on what the actual truth of the matter was that I was fairly certain of. Something dawning on you – that everyone goes for the same methods and programs in horse racing. Even the slightest variation in thought can affect the outcome of the race. Unconsciously, we want to like what we have. Similarly, what we think is subconsciously true about horse racing. Personally, I like Supreme Palace. Why? Supreme Palace has been racing on all methods in the past 4 years. I don’t even remember the last time I was that much of a gambler! I can only imagine it being great fun when I say that I have won on that site! Though, that was then and this is now, and a totally different matter altogether.
Since that day, though, I have spent hours and hours looking at every race in Europe. I don’t mean to say that I don’t love the betting; I love it and I want to make some money – but I love doing it on my own terms. statistics and knowing prevalent patterns are two things that I have mastered to my benefit. I love being able to roll out a strategy and not have to rely on others to do it.
When I hear someone bragging about how they have made a killing through laying systems, I counter with something like ‘you woke up Saturday morning and decided to pay attention to racing for the first 24 hours, then you bet on every race for an hour and suddenly all 4 have sprung red like a ripe liver’. Bingo. It’s true, and all I can say is yes, most of what they say is true, but not all of it.
Laying a bet, or a portion of one, without going on board and doing the necessary research first – in any sport – is the fastest way to lose cash. Anyone can do it because pretty much everyone does it. And yet I hear about professional gamblers who make their living solely on the edge of racing. They are, in a way, incredibly disciplined. And yet these people seem to be pretty easy money lately. You know what I mean?
When I hear someone bragging about their ability to make fast money laying bets, I counter with something like ‘you woke up Saturday morning and decided to pay attention to racing for the first 24 hours, then you bet on every race for an hour and suddenly all 4 have sprung red like a ripe liver’. Bingo. I’m sure the guy’s bluff is that he’s not quite as good at picking winners as others, and he’s competitive to such a degree that he’s not really that bad at the whole thing. But you know what I mean?
I’ve had plenty of laughs listening to some of these self propelled opinions. The idea that betting is a weird art; the idea that some people are born to it, other people learn it at a later date. You’re only as good as your last bet. I learned a lot about horse racing just by spending hours and hours going from town to town, from track to track, learning the sport. Some of the greatest learning curves, and most importantly, biggest pitfalls, can be hurdle races that seem to prevent people from falling in love with their chosen sport.
then, when the Erik Seidel Memorial Trophy is presented, there’s a real sense of classicism. You can almost hear the collective gasps and groans from the rail onlookers as the Triple Crown lovers celebrate. It’s a horse race! It’s a race for horses that are not generally thought of as horse races. At least not until the final five or four consists of just two thoroughbreds and a hybrid. It’s a race that some people could call a race, a race for the most die hard horse loving folks out there.
And what would that make it any different from any other horse race in the world, with the value of “value” in the outcome of a race? I’d say this: it would make horse racing live up to its historical reputation of being nothing more than a sport for the rich and for thebred.