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Track Tracts

Upside vs. Downside Risk - Part 9 (Answers Continued)
by Joe Takach

26---DOWNSIDE---Unless your horse has a past successful history of falling apart when he sees the starting gate and still winning, you had better get your sneakers in motion and cancel your wager at the nearest teller or ATM.

Being calm, cool and collected thru the paddock saddling, walking ring, post parade and during 9 of the 10 minutes of the pre-race warm-up and then suddenly getting �hot� or washy when nearing the starting gate with a minute to go, is a big time no-no!

The runner is giving a very clear negative signal about this upcoming race and his participation in same.

At best, he�s apprehensive and wasting a ton of energy needed for the upcoming race when unexpectedly getting hot with a minute to loading. At worst, he doesn�t want to run at all and is still wasting a ton of needed energy.

Put another way, this is a lose-lose situation!

A caveat is in order.

Exhibiting very light kidney sweat with a minute to post is not getting �hot or washy�. Hot or washy is getting wet all over to include neck lather and more often than not, dripping kidney sweat.

Some horses get a whisper of kidney sweat when approaching the gate. A whisper might be defined as a very faint half-moon of kidney sweat that is barely visible. This is quite normal and actually a good sign. The runner in question is most likely on his toes, can�t wait to be loaded, and win or lose, will most likely explode from the gate to get excellent early running position.

27---UPSIDE---Unless you are a relative newcomer to the best but toughest game on this planet, sticking to your guns is positively all �upside risk�.

Assuming that you are a journeyman handicapper with tenure to prove it, you surely know that allowing a morning linemaker (track program) or any public selector to influence any of your betting decisions guarantees a sea of red ink at year�s end.

If you are guilty of this when gambling and consider yourself a good handicapper, what you are �silently saying� is that a linemaker or public selector knows more than you do!

You might want to re-read that sentence-----it could explain why you are losing when you shouldn�t be.

If you don�t have your own strong opinion in any race that you intend betting regardless of odds, you shouldn�t get involved in the race-------period!

28---DOWNSIDE---If you didn�t answer this one as �downside risk�, call me tonight---I have a mile of beachfront property in Malibu I can let you have for 10 bucks an acre.

Regardless of methodology, good handicapping requires you to be well-rested and alert, positively unhurried and finally, in a comfortable environment that is free of unwanted noise and distractions.

Half-assed rush jobs just don�t cut it. Gambling is very serious business to those wanting to be consistent winners and requires a ton of work.

Handicapper�s taking shortcuts are losers----period!

29---DOWNSIDE---In California, it is called the �Eurobounce� when any foreign-born runner fails to repeat after winning his stateside debut effort.

You should have many reservations about these foreign debut winners because very few repeat and when they do, they are usually odds-on and from the top barns such as Frankel, Mandella, or McAnally.

Why are they so prone to �bounce�? Who knows and better yet, who cares! I�m sure that if I sat here long enough, I could come up with valid multiple reasons and so could you.

Obviously I can�t speak for the rest of the country, but betting foreign debut winners to repeat on the major Southern California circuit is a very quick highway to financial ruination.

30---DOWNSIDE---The question states that a horse is claimed by a �top� claiming trainer, with the operative word being �top�. Top claiming trainers simply don�t claim horses to run them back at the same claiming level 45 days later. Think about it. Why would they put the new owners thru that unnecessary expense. And again, we�re talking about �top� claiming barns, not charlatan conditioners or outright goniffs!

At best, if a top claiming trainer comes back at the same claiming level regardless of the time factor, what he�s saying is that he has little or no confidence in his new acquisition. At worst, he�s telling all that he might have made a mistake when claiming this horse or perhaps the horse in question injured himself in a morning workout.

That looks like a lose-lose proposition if I�ve ever seen one!

Top claiming barns go up off a claim, not down!


Copyright �2004 by Joe Takach.  All rights reserved.
Joe can be contacted through his website at

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