For as long as I can remember wagering on harness racing and learning about it from successful pari-mutuel bettors (not all Standardbred-active bettors, either), there is much to be trusted in some of the horses that make it into the final fields of major events.
These may not simply be elimination survivors; these may be prospective winners—the kind that slip under the radar when it comes to public backing and surprise experts and pundits by paying outrageous prices for stealing the glory from celebrity entries.
History tells us that there are horses ready to spend a little time in the limelight and although they may just become asterisks in the record books, their performances remain indelible in the history of their supporters.
The 2013 Breeders Crown eliminations are history, so now it is time to look into history. With a dozen finals coming up on Oct. 19, serious bettors, no matter how they played any or all of the elimination events, will be watching relays of elims—over and over. The keys to valuable wagers in the finals may be beautiful but brief moments in those replays. So, the beauty of betting success in the finals is in the eye of the beholder.
I am not talking about a search for Jack the Giant Killer, a horse that will suddenly awaken with no evidence of being able to defeat an obvious champion (there are a few this season that defy any serious trials of high-percentage win changes). Nor am I talking about some horse that made his or her way into the final on the misfortune of another in the elim, he or she that didn’t have a chance then and takes with them those odds facing the final. I am talking about horses that may have done better—even have won—their elims but for a trip that prevented that outcome.
The longshot candidates being investigated may be horses peaking, horses that have been competitive with their division but not so much as to be considered threats to topple the choices. They are contenders that were in the throes of some situation or other in their elim that dissuaded a winning move. They are horses that have earned the right to be contenders regardless of what the experts profess.
That is why the serious bettors are looking at elim replays like Sherlock Holmes scans a room for inconspicuous clues that, when combined, describes the man or woman that is undeniably the “person of interest.”
Watching the replays with all horses in mind serves the handicapper two important ways. Not only may a savage study of the replays reveal a possible candidate for upset, it may clear all second-guessing that one or two horses are indubitably the only possibilities. One way or another, as my positive influences and personal experiences have revealed, now is not the time to be making decisions on what wagers are best to make come Oct. 19 at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs.
Now is the time to not “like” any horses in the final fields. Now is the time to handicap history.