By now, the ball has dropped and the hangover should be gone. You have made resolutions that you have every intention of keeping. You have posted on Facebook “New year, new me!”
Chances are you will fail.
Every year some publication brings up the grim truth. Only eight percent of people keep their New Year’s resolutions. You have a better shot of randomly picking one horse in a full field of twelve to win (8.33 percent).
There is no need to shoot for the moon with your 2018 resolutions. Most people fail because they try to do something monumental rather than something that is smaller and easily incorporated into their daily lives. No one is going to lose 40 pounds or be ready to run a marathon overnight, but you can find success in small doses.
Here is my list of some simple resolutions that are easily incorporated into your daily routine and will help you be a better handicapper and horseplayer — and won’t take more than a few minutes a day.
Handicap at Least One Race a Day
Sound simple? It is simple. With the endless resources that are available on the internet, you can find free past performances for at least one race a day. A great resource is Whobet’s list of free past performances. Here you can find a compilation of what is available for free at various tracks each day of the week!
Handicap the race. Try to figure out the probable pace for the race. Keep track of how well your selections are performing versus how you feel about the race.
It doesn’t have to be your favorite circuit or track, but handicapping daily will ensure that you follow your handicapping routine. You won’t need to “shake the rust off” once your favorite meet starts back up. Who knows, maybe you’ll find that you do well at Mahoning Valley after all!
Track an Angle
Every handicapper that I know will react to a specific scenario at the track. Whether it is “routers never win turning back on the drop” or “Monmouth shippers never win with early speed at Delaware Park”, something made them accept these statements as fact. Do yourself a favor this year: look for one of these conditions and see how well it holds up. You’ll be surprised to find out that it may not work out the way you expected it to over the long run or, perhaps, circumstances have changed. You’ll never know unless you track it and find out!
This one is as simple as it sounds. Keep a list of factors that horses that win at 10-1 or greater show. You’ll be surprised to see the patterns that develop. Track things like class moves, win percentage (jockey and trainer), jockey changes, equipment changes, running styles, etc.
Give Readers What They Want (bonus resolution for me)
Help me help you and help myself!
Over the last two years of writing for US Racing, I have enjoyed the e-mails and chats I have had with the editors, staff and many of you. I encourage you all to continue sending me e-mails or reaching out to me via Facebook or Twitter. I don’t bite!
Let me know what horse racing or handicapping issues you either have questions about or want to know more about. I love to talk about horse racing and handicapping and would love to hear from more of you. Frankly, the more I write about, the better my own handicapping becomes too!
Have a happy, healthy, and profitable 2018.
What are your 2018 handicapping resolutions?
Ray Wallin is a licensed civil engineer and part-time handicapper who has had a presence on the Web since 2000 for various sports and horse racing websites and through his personal blog. Introduced to the sport over the course of a misspent teenage summer at Monmouth Park by his Uncle Dutch, a professional gambler, he quickly fell in love with racing and has been handicapping for over 25 years.
Ray’s background in engineering, along with his meticulous nature and fascination with numbers, parlay into his ability to analyze data; keep records; notice emerging trends; and find new handicapping angles and figures. While specializing in thoroughbred racing, Ray also handicaps harness racing, Quarter Horse racing, baseball, football, hockey, and has been rumored to have calculated the speed and pace ratings on two squirrels running through his backyard.
Ray likes focusing on pace and angle plays while finding the middle ground between the art and science of handicapping. When he is not crunching numbers, Ray enjoys spending time with his family, cheering on his alma mater (Rutgers University), fishing, and playing golf.
Ray’s blog, which focuses on his quest to make it to the NHC Finals while trying to improve his handicapping abilities can be found at www.jerseycapper.blogspot.com Ray can also be found on Twitter (@rayw76) and can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.