02/11/2015 5:37PM

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.

SR Vegas More than 1 year ago
Hey Lonnie Nice to see you with a blog. Good stuff. It was nice meeting you at the NHC and putting a face to the Customer service 'name.' You and Kathy ROCK! Will be sure to keep an eye out here :) SR Vegas
David More than 1 year ago
Looks like you could have had a dollar 5-12-13 tri box in addition to the $4 exacta. No Supers with the 5 fourth? If you put a horse 3rd in the tri, why not 4th in supers? Regarding time management, what is your advice for someone working full time and then running to the track cracking the form open for the first time 10 minutes before the first? Not a winning strategy, obviously, but it happens too often. alydarguido
David More than 1 year ago
Meant $8 box (4 Xs the old $2 bets) Kind of like punching a wrong number in a pic 4 bet.
machouno79 More than 1 year ago
Great article from my DRF customer service hero !!!
Blake Jessee More than 1 year ago
So tru, Lonnie is aces at his job and was always there to help me when i needed it!!
KWalkerKilroy More than 1 year ago
This is what I have been looking for! Thank you, Lonnie. Betting strategy for long shots, real life execution, and yes--damnnit, waiting too long to place the debt. I hope to read more pieces from you, and others like this on DRF. Thank you Kevin
Lenny Mamola More than 1 year ago
I would have upped and downed her in the exactas 10 times
Blake Jessee More than 1 year ago
Thats what she said;)
Philip Conforti More than 1 year ago
Very good column ! Very relatable to every bettor!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
First of all, congratulations on handicapping keying in on Lori's Store in that race. . As for your main point, time management as regards wagering, an interesting area for discussion. . For me, it depends on how many tracks you're playing in this ADW age. But even if just 1 track, when I have an opinion as strong as "Lori's Store" I go ahead and bet at least 25% of it way in advance. Maybe 100%, it depends. As you well know this isn't the old days of waiting in line in person at the windows. A wager or cancel is only a mouse click away.
hialeah More than 1 year ago
Great to see the infamous Lonnie on the by-line. Even if from faraway. You know, years ago, I would see a person for one week each year at a Fair meet. We hit it off immediately, as we always seemed to like different horses that made up the Exacta an inordinate amount of times. My mind drifts back because I was looking at Toyko Time before the running. Ultimately, the post position was too dis-pleasing to place a wager. Your insight makes complete sense. Good luck Lonnie. I'll be looking for that next 194.20 Exacta.
Kenny King More than 1 year ago
Lonnie, The part I don't get is why you are using 28% of your 140 base investment on what is basically a hedge position with your A in the 3rd position......a triple box doesnt make sense as the only tri play because it defeats the entire point of ranking the 5 as the A! Why not just focus the whole strategy on the 5 in the 1 and 2 hole and using the C's in the most defensive manner underneath in tri's and maybe in small 1 exactas with 5? Even if you got the exacta bet in you really should have that tri a couple of times since you read the race nearly perfect running B,A,B
Blake Jessee More than 1 year ago
obv i cant speak for Lonnie, but when i myself make plays similar to his, Im making those plays on the horse i like in the 1st,2nd,3rd slots, and I'm conceding that all this 16/1 shot has to do, is hit the board and I will get 7/1 on my money or there abouts (theres no way to precisely know for sure, but its not too hard for us to make that guesstimate).. I can understand your point tho, & u very well could b right, but this very method has worked quite well for me in the past, and my only rules to the play are it must be a field of 10 or more, odds must be 10/1 or higher, and I have to NOT like the current betting fave in the field. fwiw
lgoldfeder More than 1 year ago
Your point is well taken. I needed to commit more to my top selection. Given the 18-1 price I wanted coverage in the top 3 slots. My logic was that if she wins my win-place profit is about $700 and had I gotten the exacta wagers in the profit is probably in the $800 range making the overall profit for the race about $1500. Had I gotten the exacta wagers in and she finished 2nd the profit would have been $854 (as stated in the article). Had she finished 3rd under the 12 and 13 the probable triple payoff would have conservatively paid between $200-$300 resulting in a profit ranging between $1000-$1500. I get 10-1 for 1st or 3rd but 6-1 for 2nd. I still end up watering down 18-1 to 10-1 with a win. Finishing 2nd, even with the preferred wagers, should not pay less than finishing 3rd.
jimf552 More than 1 year ago
Great article and handicapping lesson Lonnie. You deflated your place odds by playing exacta boxes. I would have played more to win or doubled up on underneath exactas only.
Mike More than 1 year ago
Great to see Lonnie come out of the shadows!