This week at the track, I was standing in line ready to place a bet. The guy in front of me, who’d been reading his program while we stood there waiting, plunked his program down on the counter, ran his fingers over the dogs’ lines and said to the clerk,
“So who do you like to win this?”
The tote just said, “I’m sorry, sir, I can’t advise you.”
“That’s too bad,” the guy said, “Because I don’t have a clue.”
And he stood there reading his program until the tote told him he had to bet because there were other people behind him. He moved his head up and down, his eyes scanning the page and then he made three or four tri-key and tri-wheel bets. By that time, I think he’d raised the blood pressure of everyone in line and the tote’s too. But I didn’t mind.
I always feel better when I know that I’m betting against people who don’t have a clue and won’t do anything about getting one. These are the people who don’t get a program until they get to the track, about ten minutes before the first race goes off or even after it’s gone off.
They’re the people who don’t make up their mind what they’re going to bet until they’re standing in line or even up at the window. Then they make a spur of the moment decision based on a quick look for the dog with the early speed or the one who has the most First To Turns or one who is “due” because it hasn’t won for a few races.
Some of them could probably be good handicappers if they settled down and got there early and went over the program in more depth. Sometimes they remind me of one of my kids who has ADHD. When he’s doing his homework, he skims right over it, missing half the facts, because he wants to get it over with quickly so he can do something fun. He doesn’t do very well on tests, even though he’s a smart kid who would like to get better grades. Sometimes, he even asks me for answers so he won’t have to look them up. (I don’t give them to him, but he keeps trying.)
The bettors who skim their programs really fast, so they can get to the fun part – winning – are like my kid. They want the prize without the fight. They want someone to give them the answers. They want to skip right over the boring handicapping part and get to the winning part. And that’s why they never get there. It’s like thinking you can get to college without getting good grades in high school.
Don’t be clueless. Get your program early. Go over it in as much depth as you can. Keep records so you’ll know whether what you’re doing is working or not. Don’t ask other people for picks. That’s as bad as using the tip sheets that everyone and his brother is using.
Most of all, please, please don’t get in line while you’re still deciding what to bet. If you can’t decide in time to bet without handicapping in line, you should lay off the race and spend the time handicapping the rest of the program so that you do better on those races.
Get a clue or better yet several clues. Handicapping greyhound races is like solving a crossword puzzle or a math problem. The more clues you have, the more likely it is that you’ll solve it and win at the track. Get all the information you need to crack the code at the dog track.