10/15/2014 11:08AM

Fornatale: Navy man Enborg making waves


Many contest players prepare for important events as if they were military maneuvers. Edward Enborg, a 25-year-old Lieutenant Junior Grade in the U.S. Navy, takes this idea to the next level – he’s a contest player who is actually in the military.

On Oct. 5, he played in a contest on NHCQualify.com, finished third, and punched his ticket for his first appearance in the National Handicapping Championship. Enborg first became a racing fan when he went to Del Mar two years ago on a whim. He was immediately hooked. “What started out as a good excuse to dress up, drink, lose money, and pretend to be a high roller, turned into an obsession for me,” he said.

Enborg’s burgeoning second life as a handicapper was interrupted by a deployment on a warship to the Horn of Africa, working on counter-piracy. When he got back to the States, he saw the "Horseplayers" television show and decided he wanted to try to qualify for the National Handicapping Championship.

Enborg’s racing education has happened in a hurry. He credits Rich Eng’s "Betting on Horse Racing for Dummies" and "The Complete Handicapper" by James Quinn as the two books that helped get him started. He also mentioned Neil Benoit’s blog, gettingoutofthegate.com and contest player Kevin “Brooklyn Cowboy” Cox’s work as influences on him. “I like Kevin’s philosophy on beatable favorites and measuring success based on having an ROI higher than the track takeout rate,” he said.

He’s also a dyed-in-the-wool DRF guy. Enborg noted, “I primarily use DRF Formulator when I analyze the races and enjoy Dan Illman and Matt Bernier’s weekly race previews on drf.com.”

As a new player, Enborg doesn’t consider himself a student of any particular philosophy but he does have a few guiding principles. “For contests where the format is such where everyone is required to bet on the same 12 races, I’m in the camp that likes to mix favorites in with longshots,” he said. “It’s nice to have the extra $10 or so towards the end from hitting a couple 2-1 horses early on.”

He definitely sees a connection between the work he does for the Navy and contest preparation. “There definitely are some similarities,” he said. “Both endeavors involve taking in a lot of information, determining what’s most important, and making an educated, confident decision in order to get the ship where it needs to be.”

Sounds like a pretty apt metaphor for contest play, where players sift through seemingly endless amounts of information and make decisions to help them meet specific goals.

Enborg’s academic background also helps explain his love of racing and contests in particular. “I majored in finance a few years ago,” he noted. “So naturally I also enjoy analyzing stocks and keeping up to date on market trends whenever I have the time. The type of analysis done in handicapping is similar to that done on stocks and financial instruments in my opinion. I just happen to find handicapping much more fun than options trading.”

As a younger fan, Enborg has some opinions on how to promote racing to others like himself. “A show like 'Horseplayers' was a great start,” he began.“Anytime the industry can show celebrities and dynamic people enjoying the sport through television and media it goes a long way.”