This website has had a couple false starts since I put it online. I thought once I went to being a full time handicapper, I would be able to post more often. That was clearly not the case… seeing that my last post prior to this was about the Kentucky Derby, yikes!As some of you know in January of this year I decided to quit my full time job to become a Professional Thoroughbred Handicapper. I’d like to share with you everything I have learned about myself, handicapping, life, and the delicate balance I need to maintain over these last ten months. This is going to be a quite honest assessment, and I plan on leaving no stone unturned.
Part I – Self Analysis:
I had been investing on horses part time for the previous four years with good success, so I thought there was no time like the present to make the full time jump. I was completely frustrated with my previous job, long hours, little sleep, and a few co-workers that I could do without, I decided to go the full time route as a handicapper. Little did I know these past ten months were going to be the most challenging of my life. I was living just outside the city of Boston, Massachusetts; A stones throw away from Suffolk Downs. It was the first week of January, winter in the Northeast, and the beginning of my new journey. It was wonderful. I was able to catch up on some sleep, relax, and get into a good frame of mind.
A Daily Routine will get you started on the right track. This is so important because otherwise your day has no structure which leaves you floating along with no purpose for the first part of the day. I would generally get up around eight in the morning, and take my dog for a walk. Once home I would make some breakfast, read the paper and most recent Thoroughbred Times. From there I would shower, get dressed and then look at the races I had selected the night before for today. I would go through the races, saving some and tossing others. I would put a few on when looking for scratches. After doing that I would generally have two to three hours of “free” time to do house work and run errands.Lunch time rolled around, and it would be time to get busy. I would have a quick bite to eat then log into my online accounts, get scratches, and see what races to keep. I generally knew who I was looking at in each race to win, and from there would look at possible exacta opportunities. I hardly ever went past the Win and Exacta bets. Depending on the day of the week and how many tracks were running, I may have only a couple bets each day from the ten to eleven tracks on Monday through Wednesday. Thursday was when more tracks started running, but still a manageable number, usually around fifteen, and maybe a few bets more that day. The the explosion during the winter months were on the obvious days, Fridays through Sundays, which would have twenty to twenty-five tracks, and possibly twenty to thirty races I would be looking at each day. My day could be over as early as 1:30 in the afternoon or could go until 10:00 at night depending on the day and which tracks out west I was still looking at.
Time Management must be on your side! It is a two way street mind you. Be at the computer when you should be, and when you don’t have to be sitting there, go do something else. Always be mindful of the time! I could have hours in between races so I would need something to do in the down time. The best advice I can give for down time is, get up and do something! Go get some light food, or go for a walk. Do not sit at the computer and stare at the screen. Keep your brain sharp and your energy level up. On the other hand, get back to the computer to put the bet in! So many times I have heard friends say, “oh, I missed that race, I don’t know what happened, I must have fallen asleep at the computer.” or “I missed that easy $11.00 winner because I was out of the house”. I’ve been subject to those same excuses. They are inexcusable.Daily Exercise is an awesome way to get the blood pumping. A great example is in the movie Two For The Money, when John (Matthew McConaughey) would be working out during the day while thinking about the picks he was going to send out? Same idea!
Proper Diet is also very important. Eat healthy food will make your body and mind feel better. if you are going to workout please eat a proper diet. Eat food, mostly green, and don’t over eat. The right fuel in the body will make a world of difference in your daily life. The more balanced you are, the better decisions you will make not only in handicapping, but also in life!
The Emotional Roller Coaster of handicapping can be quite severe. I once went through a thirty race losing streak. I was a disaster emotionally. I could not believe I lost thirty in a row! Before, when I was playing part time the longest losing streak I had was no more than five or six races. I was full of self doubt, I was over betting my bankroll, and my confidence was shot. I had lost my Mojo! Getting it back was easier said than done. It seemed like I was stuck in a rut forever (okay, more like 2 months). I had to go back to the drawing board, and start fresh. I started wagering only on my bread and butter plays only and revamped my money management strategy. From there on, I started winning again.
Keeping your emotions in check is sometimes difficult, but it can be done. You never want to get too “honked up” over one races because you usually have more coming up after it. Its like getting hung up because you had a loser/bad ride/bad beat or whatever else. Acknowledge the loss and move on. Think of yourself as Iceman from the movie Top Gun; You keep cool under fire and nothing can rattle you.
In my next post Part II, I will talk about what I have learned about handicapping. I will discuss what tools I have been using, helpful books I have read, and everything else handicapping!
Thanks for reading!