by Greg Melikov - 11/02/2005
I enjoy watching two TV wagering shows on my satellite network because I learn what horse betting angles NOT to follow.
Often I'm treated to various wagering methods when listeners e-mail their thoughts. I recall one afternoon when co-hosts told viewers they'd do better throwing out their selections when either so-called expert said a horse was a lock.
I believe that when either guy's selection lost, it was a reflection on their handicapping prowess, nothing more. I don't see how anyone can do well NOT betting on their prime picks.
One viewer said his system was to throw out the horses you believe don't have a shot and dump your prime selection. Right? Wrong!
If you discard your first choice, it doesn't bode well for your handicapping method. My advice: If you suffer a losing streak, try new approaches:
*Quit wagering for a spell and take notes. Watch for horses that finish well despite a troubled trip and tab them for later.
*Alter your handicapping system. Maybe you've been ignoring the track bias. Maybe you've been playing too many favorites and they're not hitting the board. Maybe you're dropping not-so-logical contenders and they're winning.
I also try to avoid:
*Talking myself out of playing the top selection I like. This is a no-brainer. If the horse doesn't look washed out or fractious, I stick with it.
I've often overheard this conversation over the years at racetracks:
"I should have played that horse."
"I thought you liked him."
"I did, but I went for the other one."
*Playing more races than I handicapped when on a winning streak. I've been guilty of playing a race or two I hadn't planned on, but the wagers have been small.
I don't like giving back via off-the-cuff handicapping what I earned putting some thought into selections.
There are circumstances when you should alter your picks, like when the rains come and you've handicapped for a fast track. And when races are taken off the turf, several selections are scratched and a jockey or two are replaced.
I recall one afternoon when one so-called expert on TV observed that it takes a century to grow a topnotch turf course, citing Saratoga and several old tracks.
Well, Hialeah, which didn't open until the 1925, was hailed as one of the prime turf courses in the world and remained so until closing down several years ago in South Florida. Weather has much to do with track conditions as does maintenance, which is more sophisticated today.
I hear some bettors complain there's too much time between live races. Well, I welcome the opportunity to review my picks and adjust for changes.
If you're placing exotic wagers, a scratch allows you to include a horse you feared.
Horses that do well on off tracks are fairly obvious. So it shouldn't take long to refigure an off-the-grass contest since scratches often are numerous.
Most important is to pay attention how a particular track is playing. For example, if front-runners are winning early races, you might want to include legitimate speed horses in bets if you've gone for only stalkers and closers.