What is our biggest drawback as race players? We’re human. And as such, most of us don’t have the attribute that will help us win. What’s that attribute? It’s the “p” word: patience. Few of us have the patience to wait and wait and wait until the race we feel most comfortable with and then wager.
Can it be done? I’m going to tell you about a person whom I watched in the race book at Assiniboia Downs playing simulcast races for a couple of years exhibiting inhuman patience. Maybe he would make two or three plays in a four-hour span. His typical wagers were place wagers of hundreds of dollars, and sometimes win bets as well such as $100 win, $300 place. He didn’t seem to lose often and, at the end of one year, he said he had made a $65,000 profit.
This was a businessman who had once been all over the map with his wagers and owed everyone money. “I decided I had enough of that,” he told me. “I kept notes on all my bets to see where I was making money and where I was losing money (generally on such things as pick-4s) and made up my mind to bet only wagers where I could show a steady profit. I have certain trainer/jockey combinations that work for me and that’s what I have concentrated on.”
Sitting near him in the Race Book, he would tell me he kind of liked certain horses including longshots and they might win. Did he ever bet even $5 on a horse he kind of liked? Never! Not that I saw, anyway. Now if that isn’t inhuman, I don’t know what is. I would say, “Hey, why not bet just $5 to have some action?” and he would respond, “I have my certain wagers and that’s all I’ll bet. Period.”
So what did he do while waiting for his next wager to come along? Plenty of beer bottles in his carrel told that story. From time to time, he would nod off. Other times he would head to the gym for an hour or so between bets.
Now you’re going to hate what I’m about to say. He was making money — as I said $65,000 in one year — but was he enjoying himself? “I have to say, it never gets any easier having to be so patient,” he admitted. “I have to keep telling myself that the end result is what’s important. I have to say that over and over again. Sometimes I feel like making other bets, but quickly get grounded again.”
But he proved something; he proved that with resolve and that mighty “p” word, a person can make a profit at this difficult game. Maybe what us mere mortals could do is have two bankrolls: one bankroll for the two or three “sure” plays on the day — as that player did — but also a much smaller bankroll for tiny spot plays so we don’t get bored.
Could you do it? What not try it for a month? Use one bankroll for a few plays you like a lot and dip only into pocket change or whatever for perhaps 20-cent superfecta plays. Or perhaps you could see yourself stepping into that player’s shoes and steel yourself to becoming the second-most patient horseplayer in the world. Hey, for just a month, why not?