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Trends of Change
Tuesday, July 22, 2014 - by Frank Cotolo

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If you are a regular player, even if you are a weekend warrior, so to speak, in no time you will have found yourself handicapping and wagering thousands of races. If you are consistent and follow through on distinct methods of play, you are on a positive path to profits.

Still, you have to be aware of certain trends that surface in your loyal, redundant actions—trends that may change your patterns for the better.

Here’s a personal experience that gave me pause and presented much potential. Over the past year or so I noticed that many of my win bets have chewed on my bankroll in the saddest way such a thing is possible—by coming in second and third to public choices. Since I am a win bettor first and foremost, I don’t pay much attention to anything but win prices.

As many of my readers know, my win wagers are not often my own first choices. I only play any horse when it offers me more than the win price I demand and that forces me to play a lot of horses that fail to conquer the common math of the game; they get beaten by horses I deem unworthy of their prices. Because this is a profitable method for me in the long run, I have not monitored specifics of the short run. So, I was not keeping abreast of what my second-and-third-place finishers were paying to place and show.

While looking back at my records from the beginning of this year, I noticed that I had been recording across-the-board prices of all the horses I wagered upon. This, of course, included winners and second-and-third finishers. One page after another, I was awakened to a lot of place-and-show prices that were better than win prices from horses I played solely to win.

Check the following place-and-show prices of horses that finished second for me (this is a spot check from my personal wagering records through the 27 weeks of play thus far this year).

Feb. 2
Sullys Guide, $22.00, $10.30, Flamboro

March 31
Notreadytobenice, $12.00, $7.20, Meadowlands
Pacific Escape, $10.60, $4.00, Freehold

May 5
A Real Miracle, $14.20, $3.40, Cal Expo
Fritzie Rocket, $10.60, $5.20, Scarborough

June 2
Upfrontsthegold, $14.60, $8.40, Meadowlands

July 7
Captain John Henry, $17.20, $8.60, Hoosier

My utter best occurred on July 14:
Chrome Cruiser, $53.80, $43.20, Pocono

I am going to carefully calculate what it would have cost—using a base price of $6 ($2 win, place and show) to have played all of my win bets across the board. Then I am going to weigh the investment against pure win bets and think hard about expanding my wagers into the other pools. We must adjust our wagering behavior when we become aware of profits slipping away from us.


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The views contained in this column are that of the author alone, and do not necessarily represent the opinions or views of the United States Trotting Association.