02/11/2015 6:37PM

Goldfeder: What Was I Thinking – time management

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What was I thinking?

Life and racing can be unpredictable. One minute you’re up, and things seem to be going your way, then everything changes, and nothing is going your way.

My goal has always been to be the best horseplayer I can possibly be. I am comfortable in the knowledge that no matter how much I think I know about racing, there is a lot more that I don’t know. I prepare to the best of my ability only to find out that there is more.

When reviewing any wager, I always think I could have done better. If I make a score, the first question I ask is, “Could I have made more money?” It’s not greed – it’s just me wanting to maximize opportunities (and, okay, perhaps a little bit of greed).

There are times I make a bad bet, review it, and say to myself: “What was I thinking?”

What’s the best way to bet a longshot?

Obviously, you need to put some win money down, but other pools offer value as well. The big mistake I made this past weekend was waiting to make the bet. Why wait when it’s obvious that your key horse is going to go off at a good price? What was I thinking?

Gulfstream, Saturday, Race 8

My Key Horse: A

(5) Lori’s Store (18-1 final odds): First time in the hands of savvy local trainer Marty Wolfson. Distance specialist with tactical speed, second start off a layoff, coming off a sharp effort at Tampa Bay Downs when conditioned by another sharp trainer, Tom Proctor. Showed a good turn of foot in the last race and should move forward given that she had six weeks off.

Contenders: B’s

(12) Tapicat (7-2 final odds): Class of the field, dropping into a $100,000 optional claimer from stakes company. Had run well off a layoff before, and if she was ready, was a serious player.

(13) Tokyo Time (6-1 final odds): Had a number of good efforts in New York in 2014 and is a proven commodity. In addition, she had run well over the Gulfstream surface in the past, sporting a win and two seconds in five races. If not for the outside post, she would have been a shorter price. Given her tactical speed, I had her as a top-three contender in this race.

(8) Street Sailing (5-1 final odds): A horse making her 4-year-old debut after recently breaking through a nonwinners-of-two condition, she seemed well spotted after being ambitiously entered in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and Ginger Brew. Likes both the distance and track and could move forward off a recent lifetime-best 84 Beyer Speed Figure going 7 1/2 furlongs Dec. 19.

Contenders: C’s

(6) Triple Charm (3-1 final odds): Went out for ever-dangerous turf trainer Christophe Clement with Joel Rosario aboard. Won at Gulfstream going a mile last year. Had back class, was coming off a layoff, and was getting bet. Although not that high on her at the price, I felt if she ran her race, she could be a threat.

(9) Dauphine Russe (16-1 final odds): Ran in some big races in France at 3. Came to the U.S. and had some success sprinting at 4. Inconsistent runner with a sharp turf trainer worth using in exotics at a price.

How I played the race:

$30 to win and place on (5) Lori’s Store. When a horse is 10-1 or higher in a 10-horse field, I will bet place as well as win because there usually will be good value in that pool.

Original ticket:

Win-Place Base   Wager
(5) Lori’s Store $30   $30
(5) Lori’s Store $30   $30
    Total: $60

Since I was covered in the first and second positions, the next thing I did was bet trifectas to cover myself in the third position.

Original ticket:

Trifectas Base   Wager
6,8,9.12,13/6,8,9,12,13/5 $1   $20
8,12,13/8,12,13/5 $3   $18
12,13/12,13/5 $1   $2
    Total: $40

I usually wait until less than a minute to post to make my bets. As I said before, when you are keying an obvious longshot, why do that? What was I thinking? As a result of my delay, I failed to get my exacta wagers in. Given my handicapping opinion on the race, I would have keyed my longshot in the following exacta boxes:

Exactas Base   Wager
5/6,9 $2   $8
5/8 $5   $10
5/12,13 $8   $32
    Total: $50

Outside of Lori’s Store, I felt the two most likely winners were Tokyo Time and Tapicat, so I would have played them heavier in the exactas. Street Sailing was a B but not as strong as the other two, in my opinion, so given the budget for the race, I would have played for a little less.

Lori’s Store settled toward the rear, trailing the field through the far turn, where she keenly made her move, splitting horses in upper stretch and unleashing a strong run in deep stretch only to fall a nose short of catching Tokyo Time at the wire.

The results of the bets I made:

Win-Place Base   Wager Result
(5) Lori’s Store $30   $30 ($30)
(5) Lori’s Store $30   $30 $198
    Total: $60 $168
Trifectas Base   Wager Result
6,8,9.12,13/6,8,9,12,13/5 $1   $20 ($20)
8,12,13/8,12,13/5 $3   $18 ($18)
12,13/12,13/5 $1   $2 ($2)
    Total $40 ($40)

The results of the bets I missed:

Exactas Base   Wager Result
5/6,9 $2   $8 ($8)
5/8 $5   $10 ($10)
5/12,13 $8   $32 $744.80
    Total: $50 $726.80

Had I gotten the exacta wagers in, I would have made a profit of $854.80, which is 6-1.

There are other ways to play this, such as making a stronger win bet and, instead of using a place bet, to just bet exactas with your longshot in the second position. I have done that in the past and been burned, but I’m sure I will do it again when I feel the situation merits that approach. That doesn’t make the strategy I used wrong, but in this case, I just felt that there was enough value in the place pool that I would profit. I even could have boxed my top three choices in the trifecta for $1 ($6) and made a profit of $619.90. Had Lori’s Store won or finished third, I would have done much better because I was covered pretty well with the contenders. To see my horse finish second and not be covered because of my habit of waiting to make the bet instead of putting it in earlier was painful. However, because of my review, there will be no excuse if this should happen again. Timing your wager so you get it in is an important part of the process and should not be ignored.