Decent horse players have to know what a possible winner looks like.
So, after having accumulated basic personalized handicapping skills, then what? What are you supposed to do with your 5-1 horse — what amounts of money are you supposed to bet, and on what wagering proposition?
Proper money management is thought to be as essential to the horse racing experience as is the analysis of statistics, rascals and trends. A skillful selection of a $12 winner requires more than a warm feeling — next, you need to decide how much to bet, and in what regard.
But one person’s win bet is another’s rolling double opportunity.
When it comes to money management, there’s no index card to look at, like the one that tells football coaches when to go for two points, which is when you’re two points behind with five seconds to go in the game; there’s not much in horse racing like the basic double-down strategy in blackjack.
As each race has its own unique energy, so, too, is each money management opportunity different from the last. Therefore it seems to me that money management is a function of your basic handicapping skills. Great blackjack players count cards. Great handicappers count winners. If there are four or five possible winners in a race, that means there will be hundreds of possible money management decisions to ponder. As you wait patiently for an agreeable race to come along, money management choices will be simpler. One thing you should have on your Handy Dandy Money Management Card is: If you like a horse that will pay double figures with a victory, be sure to bet it to win, dummy. Maybe that’s the only rule that belongs on the card. I try to keep my money management strategy as simple as possible, and to the point: When I find a horse I really like, I bet more.
I find mind management to be more important than money management.
Mind management is paying attention to what you do best. Not to sound like somebody just back from a long weekend of playing musical vortices in Sedona, but there are times when a person handicaps better. It isn’t necessarily when you bring the most money to the track, or are in the best mood.
So what’s the right time to play?
I know people who have gotten even on the late double, and who have won thousands on the last dollar they had to their names at a slot machine. But about all I have done with my last dollar, and the 99 or more that preceded it, was say goodbye.
My creative skills seem to run in streaks. I have written a number of novels. It’s work, hard work, just look at the tortured expressions in the author photos on the book jackets. Whereas ideas are everything, you still have to get at them. The beginning is the most important part of anything worthwhile. There is only one way any great story starts. And the writer has to find it. When I write anything, I will start it ten times, 20, a novel, a screenplay, a newspaper or internet column, it makes no matter. The proper start makes what’s to come easier. I have actually thought at the bottom of the first page of a story that’s going to run 350 pages, it’s over, this one is going to work. And I have thought after getting off to a successful start at the horse races, it’s going to be very difficult to keep from making money on this particular day.
On more than one occasion during the week, I have been known to stop by the horse race simulcast venue to see what I am seeing, to run a check on whether or not I could be walking around smart without even knowing it. If a horse I like is in the middle of a card, I’ll start there. I don’t know what it would feel like to struggle through a lousy day and then rally at last call, as I’m usually gone before the straits get too non-negotiable.
Basic horse picking strategy, particularly for the middle of the week, is, listen to your inner handicapper.
Originally Posted on ESPN