Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - by Frank Cotolo

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There is one chore I complete every week (and often share publicly) that has become a valuable tool for my wagering behavior. It’s my H2W list, which translates as my horses-to-watch list.

I read charts, watch races and follow the odds flow of overnight races at many tracks. Over the course of a decade now, I have added horses to the H2W list from just about every track in North America. As my readers know, I am adamant in my pursuit of overnight contenders that escape the public’s fancy. Most of the highest-priced winners I have during any particular season surface from the H2W.

I feel everyone should maintain their own H2W list because there are horses that offer players an edge based on the players (most people) who keep no record at all of notable trips. But that isn’t why I bring up the H2W list.

Keeping the H2W list intact has become laborious—not because of the amount of horses I follow, but because the similarity in horses names must have increased by tenfold over the years. I have to research all of the entries of the track programs coming up in order to find horses on the list. I do this manually and find that my margin of error may be increasing unless I work more slowly because the similar names of horses racing these days presents a boggling parade.

I have no commentary about the names themselves, it’s just that the sheer number of similar names makes my job take longer because whether you know it or not, there are a lot of horses racing each day of each week and it’s become a comedy to watch me attempt a measure of accuracy.

How many “Rock” horses, for instance, are there racing now? Rock shows up in one-name horses—Rockathis and Rockathat—and in double-named horses—Rock This and Rock That—and in thrice-named horses—Rock The This and Rock The That. Holy Rock, who is who here? The Westerns follow in riotous numbers, along with the Machs and other sire-oriented names.

Then other similar names somehow multiplied or squared even, to make it difficult to know one Steuben from another and which Upfront I am following? As well, I see all the Brickyards and the Bettor Bes and the Stormonts and the Red Stars and the Hillcrests, Brookdales, Sectionvilles, Pembrokes, Ballykeels, Lonestars, Oakleas and DVCs (wait, is that upper-case D and lower-case v and c or what?)

It’s my problem, I know, but I have to vent. I long for a time when there was a short list of Hanovers and Byrds and I was not exposed to a slew of raceways and most of them only offered nine races at best. Now I have to get back to the H2W list; I notice that I was following Rocknroll King when I should have been tailing Rock King Roll, or something like that.

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