05/26/2015 12:29PM

Fornatale: For Moomey, seeing in his head is believing


Eric Moomey is known for his math skills and the tireless hours of database reserach he does. But the 2014 Tour champ doesn’t believe that success can be achieved with numbers alone. For Moomey, it all comes down to what goes on in the space between his ears.

“I generally know when I’m going to win prior to the first race,” Moomey said, after capturing his second outright online win of the season on Saturday on NHCQualify.com. “If I can visualize how the day will play out and I’m on my game my success rate is about 500 percent above when it’s not.”

Moomey isn’t just pulling a number out of thin air there – he actually keeps records of how he plays vis a vis his mental state. Moomey has a tremendous amount of respect for his fellow competitiors – he speaks proudly about how he has patterned his game after veterans like Rich Goodall and Ken Seeman – and he is impressed by the younger generation of players as well.

“The competition on the NHC Tour has never been stronger and players like Ryan Flanders and Jonathon Kinchen are off to  great starts,” he said, “but I really believe that my biggest competitior is myself.”

As an example of this, Moomey relays the story of not cashing at Monmouth last year despite having 14 entries in one of their tournaments, on a day when he was in the wrong mental state, but being able to go to Belmont last June and win their tournament with only one entry.

Getting into a good mental state isn’t a passive process for Moomey. “One thing I’ve been doing this year is to visualize exactly how I’m going to win the tournament,” he said. “I know where I’m going to look for my prices and I know where I’m going to go shorter. In prior years there were times where I’d just be hoping to hit something, this year I’m more sensible in my play.”

Moomey pointed to his success this past weekend. “I had selected the odds-on favorite, Red Vine, in the second to the last race as my original pick because I had already visualized being in contention in this contest,” he said. “My only major change for the day was in the ninth at Monmouth when I saw [longshot] Fake Dreams as a better value play than my original selection. Once I hit that I just needed to extend my score by a small amount so I was OK playing favorites late.”

The rules for Moomey are different at this point in Tour contests – since he has already qualified twice, they’re all about Tour points, specifically the 25 percent points bonus for fininshing first. If he doesn’t win, he might as well finish last. “I wasn’t going to let chalk beat me after hitting two bombers earlier in the day,” he said. “I didn’t even like the favorite in the last but it was a good play given I was barely in the lead at that point.”

Moomey walks a fine line between arrogance and confidence. He is unfailingly respectful of his competition, but no small part of his success comes from believing that success is there for the taking. “When I do not win, it’s because I didn’t let myself win,” he said. It sounds fanciful, and all the more surprising out of the mouth of a player whose work is so data driven, but he truly believes it. “When I’m on my game, most people won’t catch me,” he continued, before pointing out that there are players out there, like Rich Goodall, who can beat him even when he’s on. “I hit seven of 13 winners at Treasure Island recently,” Moomey explained, “That’s a winning performance, but Rich Goodall caught me that day. He’s that good.”

Goodall in turn is very impressed with Moomey. “He’s the wave of the future,” the 2008 NHC champ said. “His play is fearless and aggressive. He’ll play horses that not many others will play, and he’ll do so at any time. That’s why he’s so dangerous.”