Pace Makes the Race Blogcast:
How to Make Playing Multiple Tracks Easy
Someone from our Talking Handicapping Group on Facebook asked how they could better manage playing multiple tracks because they were often missing out on some pretty good bets. During the heat of battle it is just so easy to make mistakes or to miss the obvious.
Despite the fact that my approach is very comprehensive, HSH just spits out plays like a machine gun. Yet, like you, I face the same problems.
As a general rule, I start the day with 4 tracks in the hopper. I find more than that to be just too much. Although the early posts begin around the same time and often on the same schedule (i.e. 30 minutes between races), the posts quickly get staggered. That is a blessing in itself.
Here are a few tips to make the entire process work better.
1) Get a head start on your handicapping day by beginning your handicapping 30-60 minutes before 1st post. Pick up early scratches from the web for the first few races and jump right in.
When I was playing full time back in the late 1980s, I would show up in the racebook at 6:30am for a 9:30am first post (pacific time) to get a jump on the handicapping work. By the time the 1st at NYRA was getting ready, I’d already have perhaps 15-20 races handicapped. Of course, I was also not going to quit before 10pm so it was a very long work day.
Even then I understood that “need for speed” was not just about the horses.
2) Skip races that are not in your wheelhouse. For me, that would be races with first-time starters. Even though I can beat them, they are a complication in the sense that there are a couple of extra steps to the handicapping process.
Besides, the day just goes easier if I am not handicapping every single race.
3) Reduce toteboard dependency. Work to find a way to not be completely dependent upon the tote board as part of the final decision. This allows you to get your betting for a race solidly locked in well-before post time. I still do not pull the trigger on my bets until the tote flashes “0 minutes,” because I want to be alert for gate scratches.
When I say, “0 minutes,” I do not mean as the 1st horse loads the gate. I mean the first flash of 0 minutes to post. Some tracks, such as MNR and CT, must be adjusted for.
4) Use an alarm reminder. Once I have added my bets to the website’s betting queue, I set an alarm for 1 minutes to post on my phone. This is actually a pretty important idea because it allows you to be fully immersed in the handicapping work so you don’t miss a bet.
Without an alarm, you will find yourself watching the clock and then losing 2 minutes or so because you’re afraid if you go back to handicapping you’ll miss the race.
5) Set aside unplayable races. When you’ve determined that a race is not playable, do not continue to follow it. Just forget about it. You can always pick up the results later.
6) You can’t watch EVERY race. I try to watch every race. It is very enjoyable to me. But sometimes that is impossible. Don’t sweat it. There are plenty of other races to watch.
7) Do not skip small fields. There are some wonderful betting opportunities to be found for the very reason that caused you to skip them in the past: people who do not handicap well want big prices in the hope of getting lucky.
Another advantage of small fields is that there are less horses to handicap, so less work. That means it will take you less time!
8) Train yourself to not agonize over every decision. You will win or lose not based upon how you did in THIS race, but how well your PROCESS works overall.
9) Learn to trust your process. The closer you adhere to your process, the easier it will be to improve it in the future. My watch phrase is PRESERVE THE PROCESS.
10) Your goal should be to simplify your handicapping; to streamline it. Instead of spending THREE hours handicapping the night before, spend ONE hour working through old races, trying new things, and trying to improve your handicapping.
If you spend that ONE hour instead of THREE for a couple of months, you will find your results changing for the better. You will also find that you’re enjoying the game more. Besides, your family will adore you when you say, “I’m only going to handicap for an hour so we can watch a movie together instead.”
#9 and #10 are critical to winning. You must stop judging your ability/success/failure (and especially self-worth as a handicapper) on just a race or two.
I would say, “Stop judging yourself so harshly,” but I doubt that you will listen.
Instead, learn to judge yourself on the QUALITY OF YOUR PROCESS. The process really is everything. You must learn not to dilute its power by adding stuff that is not part of it.
11) Sign up for my upcoming 1-2-3 System Webinar. This will change your game in a big way. You will learn a powerful, simple, easy system and much more.
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