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Track Tracts

The Good Ole Days
by Steve Fierro

(Editor's Note: This is an excerpt from Steve Fierro's new book, The Four Quarters of Horse Investing, now available in the NetCapper Store.)

There are currently some tremendous opportunities for players. I am not talking about tomorrow; I am talking about right now. The big issue is that we have to do it in ways that, just like racetracks, have not been standard operating procedure. I really get a kick out of players that talk about the good ole days in racing. They talk about how things used to be. When you listen to them, and unfortunately many agree with them, you would think that racing � from a player standpoint � has gone backwards. Let�s take a short reality check and talk bout the good old days. Lets go way back in time to 1980. I would think that 221 years would qualify for the good ole days. Let�s plan for a day at the races.

The next day�s preparation starts � if you�re lucky � the night before. You get to head down to your corner liquor store or newsstand and wait. Yes, wait. Sometimes you would wait for hours. You would also get to make two or three trips to the same store to see if "the guy with the Form" had gotten there yet. I am not even addressing weather conditions. Sometimes it wouldn�t show up by the time the stores closed and you�d have to wait until the next morning. The majority of the stores didn�t open until 9:00 a.m., which was only 3-to-4 hours until post time. Oh yeah, those were the good ole days.

You then got to head out to the track. There was traditionally a nine-race card, but there were the only nine races you could play, period. There was one daily double and three exactas. Any other form of exotic wagering was rare. There was no such thing as the pick three, superfecta, rolling doubles, etc. You got nine races with basic win, place and show wagering, plus a couple of exotics. One of the things you also were privy to was a 30 to 40 minute wait between races. Oh yeah, those were the good old days.

Now let�s talk a second about off-track wagering. When you made a trip to Nevada you really got a taste of the good ole days. The racebooks were not parimutuel yet, as they still booked the action. You did get a better multi-track menu, which was a definite upside. You also got limits on your exotics. You could experience the thrill of hitting a $1,000+ exotic wager and getting whatever the house limit was (generally $300). You also got no picture or direct sound feed from the track. What you got was a re-creation about 10 minutes after the race was run. Oh yeah, these were the good ole days.

I haven�t even touched on (and won�t) about how the information in past performances has changed, or information available to the player in general. This could be a whole chapter in itself.

Let me tell you something folks. These are the good ole days for racing as a player. This is only if you want them to be and if you let them be! Let me continue by moving from 1980 to 2002.

You now can go on the World Wide Web, choose from a variety of on-line vendors and get past performances 72 hours or more in advance. If that�s not enough, some of these vendors even have software that lets you build the past performances the way you want them. What a country! Wouldn�t you agree this is a far cry greater than the good ole days of 1980?

Now you get ready to head out to the track. Of course, nowadays heading out to the track has a whole new meaning. You may be heading out to the same "live track" that you used to go to, but in some cases that has changed dramatically. The night before is now very different as well. Why is it different? The big reason is that you now � if you choose � must prepare to go to the tracks, if you will. You are no longer tied down to the live card your home track presents. The player is now offered generally a minimum of four tracks from which they can play. Your home track�s first live race may not be until 1:00 p.m., but you still can show up and start playing on the West Coast as early as 9:30 a.m. sometimes. If you play on the East Coast, then the West Coast tracks are now excellent after-work alternatives. Tell me these aren�t the good ole days.

Once you arrive, you are treated to a full menu of exotics as well. Exactas every race, trifectas, rolling doubles, pick threes and fours, the pick six and quinellas, with some at $1 minimums. The players now get to choose their spots and also get to play the races they want and how they want. This doesn�t come to us without some traps, since you must be selective or you won�t be around long, but it certainly beats waiting around for a half-hour between races. These new options are tremendous, and there will be more in the near future.

Let�s take a second and talk about that trip to Nevada. Well, that�s also changed drastically. Racing is now hot and heavy seven days a week. It starts in the early a.m. and continues well into the night. Some days the menu consists of 14 or more tracks. This is all live with direct television feeds from the track. It gets better. The majority of racebooks are now pari-mutuel, meaning the bets taken at these establishments are now co-mingled right into the pool at the home track. This means full track odds on any and all exotics. So, when you hit the $1,000 trifecta, you get the whole $1,000. I need to also mention that these Nevada racebooks are not exclusive anymore. Various types of wagering facilities have popped up in virtually every state in the union.

Those of you who believe these are the good ole days are the ones that will benefit most from this book. Those of you who realize this is a tremendous era of opportunity for the player will also benefit from this book. Those of you who are willing to accept racing as a business and treat it that way will benefit from this book. Those of you who are ready for racing in the 21st century will benefit from this book...

What I am leading up to is this: I believe the successful 21st century horseplayer will be the one who will use all the new technologies available to help them run a profitable Horse-Investing portfolio. Don�t get me wrong and don�t be short-sighted. If you are thinking so narrow-mindedly that you think I am speaking about becoming a computerized player, think again. The items I am addressing as new technology go far beyond computers. I am speaking of taking advantage of this new full-card simulcasting capability. I am speaking of taking advantage of any and all on-line options. There are a ton of new opportunities that can aid your daily play. The ability to get the weather with a keystroke or click of the remote control from anywhere in the country is just one. Yes, a computer is necessary, but it is just one of the many 21st century tools we need.

The most important tools the successful 21st century player will need are a strong business plan coupled with a positive mind set. This book will definitely do its part as far as the business plan is concerned. The mind set part will actually be tougher. Ancient racetrack attitudes and paradigms must be abandoned. Here�s the bottom line from a mind set standpoint. If you don�t believe it can be done, then it can�t be. All the new technology in the world can�t help the person that doesn�t believe in themselves or their capabilities. Guess what? This is no different from any businessperson starting any new business.

This book is dedicated to the 21st century winning player. All the time and effort put into it revolves around creating a business plan that facilitates this goal. This business plan is introduced in the form of The Four Quarters of Horse Investing. NC

Copyright �2002 Steve Fierro.  All rights reserved.

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