It’s been a while since I have been to our local horse track, Golden Gate Fields, but my wife organized a day around the Christmas break. I wasn’t into the idea at first, knowing that I have a tendency to over-think the races and waste a bunch of time doing it, so I ignored the event until the day came around. We went with a variety of people, our kids, 2 of which can gamble now and a cousin of my wife and his girlfriend. I picked up the Racing Form, which is now in a smaller magazine format, a tip sheet and a program. It was Dollar Day so this didn’t hit my wallet too hard.
We started breaking off into groups and devising ways to pick horses. I’ve got my own mixture of voodoo, but my first step is to walk over to the bulletin board and see what the results were so far in the day. My daughter quickly noticed that the number 5 spot had hit a bunch the day before, so I noted that in my head as a possible track bias. This was indeed some of the best insight of the day, although I didn’t over-focus on it when I looked at the horses. The day appeared to be a light mix of favorites with some medium odds horses, just the way I like it. One of the kids wanted to watch how I did my handicapping, so this allowed me to think out loud and we developed a committee of sorts looking at speed numbers, pace, class and past performances.
I placed a horse early and got a small exacta, nothing big, but it got my confidence up. My daughter on the other hand picked a winner right off and began turning a $2 bet into a small dynasty. We all did moderately good that day and the races built up excitement as everyone increased their knowledge on how to pick a horse. By the end of the day we were putting all of our energy into yelling at the horses to make sure they got over the finish line before the other horses did. I then made a pronouncement before the last race that if the number 5 comes in, which was the last bet my daughter made, she could never say she wasn’t lucky, her mantra, again. My wife nudged me that I shouldn’t put such a statement on a single event that wasn’t very likely given the odds of the horse, but I didn’t listen or qualify the statement. This could also be taken as if the horse loses then she must be unlucky. It was a long race, but needless to say the number 5 horse came out of the background and blazed right past my daughter through the finish line before anyone else. It was glorious and my daughter can no longer say she isn’t lucky, which was my biggest win of the day.