Week of April 12, 2010
Listening to Our Own Advice
By Dana Byerly, Hello Race Fans Co-founder

In an attempt to bring some continuity to our weekly publishing (and have a better place to direct our giant image on the homepage!) I’ve started this new section. I’ll probably do most of the posting, but who knows? There could be an occasional guest poster.

Last week we started to roll out posts in our Wagering Strategy section. Handicapping is only half of the battle! Take it from me: if you can’t put your handicapping together with a solid wagering approach you’re going to get frustrated and demoralized faster than you can say dime super.

Among the things we offered last week were Singling and Spreading: Simple strategies for getting started with multi-race wagering by Kevin Martin and Win, Place, Show: Finding Value in the Basics by Chris Rossi. Another item that folks seemed to like was our HRF Index Top 5 Favorite Wagers. I know I find it helpful when people discuss their approach, so we’ll look to do more of that in the future.

We promoted a lot of last week’s posts by asking whether your wagering strategy needed a spring cleaning. After reading all the great contributions I decided that mine could use a freshening. Swifty (HRF co-founder Adam Wiener) and I made a trip to Gulfstream last weekend decided to try a few things that we normally don’t do.

One thing that worked out well for both of us was keying a single on top of a dime super. Usually I would just box-up four choices, but in a few instances I put an overwhelming favorite on top that I thought was hard to beat and then spread it around underneath… which applied the principles of Singling and Spreading to a single race exotic. Superfecta keying worked out well for Swifty too: his usual approach is trifecta keying but this trip was all about the dime supers. Another rarely used approach that worked out well was going across the board on the Arkansas Derby winner Line of David (pictured on the homepage) at odds of 17-1. Swifty called this one and I used him as a back to my real choice, New Madrid, who was nowhere. Thanks Swifty and thanks keying, we both came out ahead this weekend!

This week we’ll be publishing a few more Wagering Strategy pieces. Chris Rossi follows up his post on the basics with Some Considerations for Single Race Exotics. Swifty will dive deeper into a few considerations for “across the board” betting. And Kevin Martin will build on his multi-race exotics post with some tips on what to look for when including a horse in your multi-race tickets.

We also published the first post in our new section Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda: The “Weak” in Review. The goal of the section is to share our mistakes and missteps to help you, our beloved readers, learn from our errors and realize that everyone learns the hard way. In our inaugural post, Curlin Won, I Didn’t, I share my blunder of not betting my pick to win the 2007 Breeders’ Cup Classic because I thought odds of 7-2 were “too low” (I still fee like a moron).

And finally, as you can imagine, I keep close tabs on our traffic. We get a lot of visitors searching terms like “how to read the racing program” or “how to bet horse racing.” The answers to both of these queries are that there are no quick answers. We hope to help you answer these questions as we build out the site, but in the meantime if you’re looking to quickly ramp up on reading a past performance, download the Daily Racing Form’s “Wagering and Winning” pdf. This will give you a great overview of basic information and simple strategies that will help you enjoy a day at the track. It’s not in-depth but it will get your started. Also check out our Top 5 Handicapping Books. And while you’re there note that my personal handicapping idol, Steve Davidowitz, stopped in to thank us for voting his book #1! Naturally, I fanned out on him.

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