Greyhound Handicapping: What Works and What Doesn’t

An excerpt from Book 1 of Greyhound Handicapping series 1-6

It took me about three years of handicapping to discover something that everyone should know about playing the dogs: almost everything works for awhile. I had been going over programs from Twin Rivers, a track with decent dogs where speed mattered. Always did there, because the dogs were good compared to a lot of the tracks that had gone downhill.

Anyway, I was going over past programs, trying to figure out how to narrow the dogs down to three dogs and then trying to handicap the winner from those three. So, for every race, I underlined the dogs with the best time in their last race. Then I handicapped and picked the dog I thought should win. Then I checked the results.

I was amazed when I discovered that even when I didn’t pick the winner, the dog I picked and the other two dogs with best times in their last races were very often the quiniela and at least two or three times on a program, they’d be the tri and pay well. I couldn’t believe my eyes.

Could it be this simple, I thought? Had I been making it too complicated? Was the secret to making money at the dog track at Lincoln just a matter of boxing the three dogs with the best times in their last races in quiniela and trifecta boxes? I was flabbergasted and so eager to try it out, that I only did a few more programs – which it worked on – before taking it to the track for a test drive.

I started on a Wednesday and hit six quinielas and two tris to the tune of $126 more than I spent. This was magic! There was no racing on Thursday, so I waited and went back on Friday. Same thing, only I didn’t make as much. Only $80 profit, but any profit was better than the losing streak I’d been on.

On Saturday, there were two programs and I handicapped both of them very carefully, then went to the track with enough money to play both of them. I bought my tickets and sat up in the stands away from everyone else so that I could really watch the races and keep track of what was going on. Only, for me, there was nothing going on.

I cashed one quiniela ticket for $18 on the second program and nothing on the first. I was down over $200 and the wonderful system I had discovered didn’t pick one quiniela or trifecta and very few winners. And when it did pick a winner, some longshot would get in for second and I wouldn’t get the quiniela. I was really discouraged, but I told myself that I just had to be patient and keep trying.

I tried until I had blown over $500 and then I came to my senses and realized that it wasn’t going to work. The simple system I had “discovered” was just a fluke, a temporary thing that I took for a pattern. If I had checked it out on more past programs, I would have realized that without spending so much money.

That was my first introduction to how easy it is to think that you’ve found the secret to winning at the dog track with some simple formula. Believe me, there isn’t one. The only way to win at the track is with handicapping. That’s why my books can help. It’s a lot easier if you work with the knowledge and insight that other people have spent time learning instead of always starting from square one and doing everything yourself.

But as much as we’d like to believe that there’s some simple mechanical way of picking winners at the greyhound races, I think we really know that there isn’t any such thing. That’s why learning to handicap from people who have put the time in to learn the ropes is so important. Most everything works for awhile or some of the time, but nothing but handicapping, good judgment and self control works in the long run.

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