The main reasons race lovers go to the track are winning money, excitement and maybe camaraderie. It’s a wonderful escape from the everyday and is actually one of the few sports today where the fans are a part of the game. Horse racing at a race track or a simulcast location is not, by any means, passive. In fact, my handicapping service website is designed to help such race goers relieve some of the pressure in preparing their bets.
Back before simulcast came onto the scene bettors had one track and 30 minutes to figure a winner of one race with about 8 horses. It was relaxing and serene. Now, for the active bettor however, there are 3 to 7 tracks going at once and information on 25 to 100 horses every half hour to decipher and calculate and enumerate and strategize bets with exactas, trifectas, supers and pick 3,4,6’s, part wheels, keys… whew!…. well, to say the least it’s mind boggling but, oh, so much fun.
It’s a mental contest between bettor and fellow bettors and horses, jockeys and trainers. So concentration is very important and the disruption of focus can cause misjudgments, oversight and eventually the loss of funds. The following is a short list of people you will meet at the track or OTB that you must avoid and ignore at all cost in order to maintain concentration:
The Scooter…. This guy takes a seat about 3 chairs down and after about 2 races has moved to within an arms length. Do NOT make eye contact! In fact, next time you sit down angle your chair away from him in hopes that he’ll get the message.
The Question Man…. This is not the guy who asks, “Is this the end of the betting line?” No, it’s the guy who asks, “Whatta ya think of the 3 in the 7th?” or “Whatta ya got in the 5th?” (I like to say, “I got Evan Williams in the 5th” , and watch as he goes off trying to find it in the program). Always look too busy for idle chit chat and never answer horse questions seriously.
The Stander…. This is the guy that will stand up for hours at a time and unfortunately and many times in the middle of the aisle or in front of you as you watch the big screen. Here are a couple of hints. When standing in your way, just walk over them, bump their arm and remember to say excuse me, sir. When he stands in front of you to watch the race, let out a cough that would attract a Canadian goose. They usually clear your vision quickly.
The Wheeler Hog…. You’ve got “0” flashing next to the MTP (Minutes To Post) and you know you’ve got maybe 90 seconds to get your $20 Win bet in the books. Then you hear the conversation in front of you,”…and a $1 part-wheel tri 2458 over the 123458 over All” – “Sorry sir the 4 is scratched” – “Is this Aqueduct” – “Yes, sir.” – “OK, then take an exacta box with the 2458.” – “But sir, the 4 is still scratched.”….. When you hear something like this you have three things to do, go to another window if one is open, go to an automated teller if one is available or go to the concession stand and order a hot dog with chili, cheese, mustard and slaw if they have it. And hope that the horse you missed out on falters down the stretch to finish 7th.
If you are a serious bettor or a serious beginner, then, no matter what the type of character you may cross at the races, remember to always stay focused as if you are wearing blinkers. Be cordial and considerate at all times and be a good loser and a better bettor.