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Individual experts
Tuesday, February 18, 2014 - by Frank Cotolo

In just about every case imaginable, having a multiple-personality disorder is a serious debilitating condition. Yet, people function daily at home and in their careers with dual identities entirely under control.

Perhaps it is a thin line between wellness and sickness, but most of us can balance our roles in life and be mindful of our responsibilities—productive, even.

This is why pari-mutuel players need to perform the necessary personality surgery that splits each of them into a pair of individual experts when addressing the racetrack experience.

One personality is the handicapper; the other is the bettor.

They need to each do their job for the good of both, but not in the presence of both. Indeed, they are as combative as Freud’s Id and Ego when it comes to accomplishments. One benefits the other, but they both play best on individual stages.

This is a schism, however, that works like a well-greased machine if and only if the bettor trusts and follows through on the foundation the handicapper builds because the handicapper never thinks once about the bettor when he does the essential work of evaluating the chances of horses in a race. Remember, a handicapper does not pick winners; he or she estimates the chances of each competitor to win, using percentages turned into odds.

At no time does the handicapper use as influence the fact that the races being evaluated will become wagering experiences. The handicapper doesn’t care which horse will win because the concept of winning is not part of the handicapping consciousness. The job is to evaluate, to find evidence that justifies the assignment of odds and plant the values on the competitors.

The handicapper doesn’t care about wagering, no less how much or how the bets will be performed (win, place, show, exotic); the handicapper’s job is done when the races are evaluated.

The bettor takes over and the only task at hand is to find the horse or horses whose chances to win are less than the odds presented in the public wagering. The bettor uses the handicapper’s work as the do-or-die guideline to make wagering moves that profit. The bettor trusts the handicapper’s figures and has complete control over the bankroll, knowing what to wager and when to wager. The bettor is far more mechanical than the handicapper, but quite the opposite because all the bettor thinks about is how to bet; the bettor trusts the handicapper’s work entirely.

This is the team of personalities you need to develop and keep in balance if you are to make a profit at pari-mutuels. These characters are the brains and brawn of your outfit. They may enjoy the same drinks and music and they may even love the same people—but they do what they have to do best on their own.


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Editor's Note: The views contained in this article are that of the author alone, and do not necessarily represent the opinions or views of the United States Trotting Association.
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Hoof Beats Magazine The forum of Hoof Beats bloggers, featuring some of the best writers in harness racing: New York writer Tim Bojarski, handicapper Frank Cotolo, Tom LaMarra, Harness Racing Communications’ Ellen Harvey and Ken Weingartner, and Hoof Beats’ T.J. Burkett.
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