Break The Bad Habits

Last week we looked at some Winning attitudes attributed to successful horseplayers. Seeing as how it’s the resolution time of year, today’s topic is bad habits (at the track), and how to overcome them.

We all have them, from novices to the railbirds. Some bad (track) habits are worse than others. The good news is that you can break a habit, but first you need to identify these flaws and see if apply to you.

#1 Not Playing Because The Odds Are Too High Regular readers of the Daily Racing Blog know that this is one bad habit we don’t need to personally address. But there are people who do. To them we ask; Isn’t the goal to Win more money ?

How many times do you handicap a race card, find a horse you love that has morning line odds of 3-1 and you see him bet down to 4-5 by Post Time? You should dance (something subtle) to the window if/when your lock edges up to 5-1. You may be seeing something that the betting public isn’t.

As humans, we are often looking for confirmation of our thoughts or, as horseplayers, our picks. If no one else is jumping on your play, you may start wondering if you are missing something.

Stick with your gut and enjoy cashing on that overlay.

#2 Not Check The Will-Pays Have you ever lost money when you hit an Exacta or Daily Double? have you ever gone too deep on short-priced horses? You aren’t alone. But please stop !

DRB likes to have multiple contenders in each race. String them along to hit rolling Daily Doubles and Pick 3s. We check to see if it makes sense to play the Pick 4, Pick 5 or Pick 6. However, if you have more than two contenders per race in a Daily Double, you had better have some Value in there. If not, you can Win the bet, but lose money.

How do you figure will-pays on the Pick 3, 4, 5, or 6? You have to extrapolate from the Daily Double will-pays. If you like a couple of low-priced horses and the Daily Double will-pays aren’t looking too profitable, chances are your Pick 3 or 4 won’t pay that well either.

#3 Being Indecisive At The Window You did your homework the night (or morning) before the race. You have loved the #5 horse since you arrived at the track. He looked amazing in the paddock. In a so-so field he looks unbeatable.

So, why are you changing your mind with two minutes to post?

Don’t ! Stick to your plan.

#4 Needing To Play Every Race The racing gods are well aware that DRB is guilty of this offense when spending the day at Saratoga. So in regard to playing every single race on the card, you need to ask yourself, are you really that confident on every race?

Chances are, you are not. If you are not confident in playing a race, don’t play it. Maybe the race is a part of a multiple-race Wager (DD, Pick 3), if not, start a rolling Daily Double with the not-so-confident race.

Take a break, grab a drink, walk the grounds- take in the sight and sounds, or play on paper until you get to your next confident play.

#5 Poor Money Management Do you burn through your bankroll in the first three races? Do you up your bet amounts after you lose a race? Do you continue to throw good money after bad?

While there is no one-size-fits-all fix, you can start by limiting your bet size to a percentage of your bankroll based on your level of confidence in that race.

By being accountable for each dollar you wager, you will be more conscience of each bet you place.

#6 Not Learning From Mistakes “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”
– Albert Einstein

Not sure AE was a horseplayer, but my guess is that he would be fun at the track. Every race is a learning experience. Tracking results is important, as is doing a post-race recap to see what went the way you expected and what didn’t. It’s also not a bad idea to assess what could go wrong prior to the running of the race.

Regardless of how you assess your performance, you need to learn from every race and adjust your handicapping and Wagering accordingly.

If you are committed to Winning, you need to eliminate your bad habits. With some focus and effort, you can improve your handicapping and become a better Bettor.  

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