04/18/2017 7:51AM

Goldfeder: What was I thinking? for April 18

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Former Giants coach Bill Parcells most famous quote is probably, “You are what your record says you are.” Despite what we might think of our performance wagering on races, what we do is very visible to us. The beauty of our sport is that our record is something we can review. Some weeks we stink, and no matter how much we try to rationalize our performance, the bottom line is staring us in the face, telling us how we did and who we are.

Finding an identity is important. I use multiple approaches, utilizing different bankrolls for different purposes, all with the same objective of showing a positive ROI. The bankroll I have been using lately is a core bankroll with a list of contenders that I refer to as I proceed through my racing day. With this approach I jab-jab-jab like a boxer. If I see an opening I will try to strike a knockout blow by wagering an exotic that can change the course of my entire day. If the opening does not present itself, I am happy to win by a decision. Just like in boxing, a bad decision or tough break can go against you and a good performance might show a negative ROI for the day. We can’t control losing a head bob or being on the wrong side of a DQ, but we can control how we react to things. It’s easier to stay in control if you have a plan and know who you are.

A quick review of a core approach

I try to bet around 5% of bankroll on any individual race. If I have a strong opinion I will raise that to 10%. The initial approach is to try to attack with simple methods, such as betting basic win-place and then jabbing with exactas and daily doubles. If I have strong keys I will go further and play daily doubles, pick threes, pick fours, etc.

I prepare a list of horses that I think have the chance to be potential keys and put them in chronological order based on post time.

This past week I played 15 horses from a list that included 25 options. These were the plays:

 

Review of some key plays

Keeneland 1: I thought I could get off to a good start by keying 4-Combat Controller, who showed good run in his previous effort. But 1-Take Your Guns, whom I used defensively, was legit. I played 8% of bankroll but 3% of it was actually trying to get alive to the 5-Queen’s Princess in the third race. I did get alive, which meant I didn’t have to invest a win bet in that race, and this allowed me to play pick fours starting in race 2.

Oaklawn 2: The 6-1 morning line on 6-Boalt Hall seemed generous, and although he went off at 2-1 I didn’t have any ideas about exactas and saw enough value in both win-place pools. Good churn play.

Keeneland 2: The card had potential to be chalky early but I tried to get something from a pick four. I felt if I could beat one of the short-priced horses I had a shot at an okay payout, but big favorites won the first three legs. Best hope was with 5-Confederate (one of three used in the pick four) in the last leg, but he faded after pressing the pace. My second choice won, resulting in small profit from pick four wagers.

Laurel 4: 6-Hibernia Fire, a dirt-bred horse with okay back races, had been running on turf and in tougher spots and was good value at 3-1. Jabbed with 4% of bankroll and was rewarded with the win.

Gulfstream 7: 4-Powerline coming off only his second win in 32 starts, wiring the field, seemed liked he’d be loose again and at 3-1 was worth playing against a weak, plodding field. He was bet down to 5-2, tired late, but held for a second straight wire-to-wire score.

Oaklawn 10: I was waiting for 7-Long Station to come back after he ran gamely in his previous start, and I really liked him in this spot. He hovered between 3-1 and 2-1, and given the size of the field I decided to bet win-place after examining the pools. The exacta probables seemed generous, so I keyed him on top of five horses. I used the same five horses in trifectas and superfectas. In total I wagered 9% of my bankroll. He sat a good trip and made a nice run in the stretch to get up for the win. I don’t play supers that much, but when playing with smaller bankrolls I have found it’s an affordable option to take a shot with when you have a key horse you can single on top.

I churned 79% of bankroll and had positive ROI of $1.06/$1.00

Win bets: 5-14 (36%), average mutuel $7.12 with positive ROI of +.38/$1.00

Place bets: 6-9 (66%), average mutuel $3.83 with positive ROI of +.36/$1.00

I was clearly helped by the exotic wagers in the Oaklawn race, but I stuck around, jabbing with the win-place churn. Finally, one of the horses who I keyed in exotics, got it done, and on this day my record said I was a winner - awarded what I would consider a unanimous decision. Although I didn’t get a knockout win, it was a good day.

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