It’s back to the real world after the Breeder’s Cup flash — questions from people looking to be happy.
Question: Late money drives me crazy. Every time I see it, I want to bet it. What exactly is late money? What should I do about it?
Answer: Seeing late money pop up as the horses move down the backstretch is a common occurrence at small tracks; or so it seems.
Oftentimes what late means is somebody close to a horse thinks it is going to win. A friend of mine is deep into stats. He says it beats thinking. Whereas each horse race is its own mystery, certain generalities repeat themselves. The stat man says classy first-timers bet late are worth your money. Also stuff knocked down five or more tote board points by late money tends to run better than what shows in the Form.
Successful late money based on inside information is like a bad hop in baseball, it all evens out.
You should trust your own handicapping ability over rumors, crooks or drinkers.
Q: What kinds of races consistently produce the biggest upsets?
A: Races that are all wet are just that, the consensus is almost always wrong. And young horses frequently come back and put up big numbers by defeating somebody who had recently beaten them. It’s like trying to pick football winners based on comparative scores. The obvious has a limited future when it comes to investing in sports.
Q: Last Thursday I had a $13 trifecta at Penn National. What’s wrong with me?
A: Nothing too serious, I had the same ticket. What are you going to do, leave a dollar bill on the street?
Q: What’s the most common mistake made by handicappers?
Going back over the majority of the races, you can see why even the most outlandish horses won; perceived vagueness can take on new meaning the second or third time around.
Q: I’m new to horse race handicapping and enjoy it very much. How can I tell if I have the knack of picking winners?
A: One of the best learning experiences is listening to the resident handicappers at a variety of tracks whose races are available at most simulcast venues. Resident handicappers give reasons for their selections.
It is encouraging to learn that few so-called experts know more than what is available to any handicapper, that it is the interpretation of the basic material that separates horse players from slot machine players.
Q: What’s a bad favorite?
A: Something that could lose as easily as it could win. Anything cheap.
Q: What’s up with football?
A: Boise State could probably take any of them. It only plays a game-and-a-half schedule and can devote three months to focusing on a major power. Anybody unfairly eliminated by the Bowl Cheating Series (BCS) should sue.
The pro game is being redefined by the stupidest rule in sports history, the pass interference penalty where the football is placed at the spot of the alleged foul, as it is assumed the pass would have been completed.
By definition, that’s as nutty as can be. A good pass completion rate is what, 60 percent? And most of those are two and five and ten-yard completions. The completion rate for 40-yard passes is probably less than 50 percent. Yet, misguided 40-yard penalties are commonplace.
Pass interference should be a 15-yard penalty. Nobody in college tackles a receiver to keep him from catching one.
Most pro teams look the same.
Take the points.
Q: What kind of personality is best suited for horse race handicapping?
A: People who know what’s funny.