I am headed to Keeneland today, a bit of calm before the Derby storm. With that in mind, I thought I should share some of my fun betting tactics!
Don't get me wrong, I know how to handicap a bit. I learned from the best - my dad! I am constantly amazed at how he can read a program and tease out intricate details that aid him in betting.
The fun part about horse racing is that it depends on live animals and humans directing them. You never know if a horse ate its wheaties and is going to have the best race of its life or if a horse that should cream its competitors is feeling cantankerous. This is why my dad just laughs and shakes his head when I choose to eschew the handicapping lessons I've grown up with and bet based on one of my frivolous methods.
The horses parade in the paddock for the bettors, on the theory that people should be able to observe the horses. This is where I like to make two of my most ridiculous, but fun bets. First - I am shallow and will see which horse is straight up the most beautiful. Yes - all horses are majestic creatures, but sometimes a horse saunters out and I jump up and beeline for the betting machine. Their personality can shine through and make them glow with horsey beauty. For example, when Zenyatta would do her walk she would DANCE for the cameras! I am usually partial to the gray horses of all shades. My all time favorite is a horse we were in on that won the 2011 Breeders Cup Juvenile at Churchill and then finished 9th in the Kentucky Derby. He was a beauty and kind of a jerk, kept you on your toes with his feisty personality as can be seen from him trying to nip me in the picture below!
Besides beauty, one of my sure-fire bets is based on which horse poops in the paddock or on the walk to the gate. Go ahead and laugh. My sister turned me on to this one and her reasoning is so good: Don't you feel better after you go? I shared this with my girl Bella in the paddock before the Florida Derby, telling her I was pumped that Audible had pooped. She and her husband laughed and then agreed that my reasoning was sound. He went on to win! When Justify was racing in the Santa Anita Derby, I laughed out loud when Bella texted that Rick was chanting, "C'mon! Poop!" at the TV! Justify also won ;)
A fun way to get your friends and family into the day at the races to bet on the Come Back Pool. It is simple - you write the numbers of each horse in the race on slips of paper. Whoever wants to play buys their slips - usually $1 but you can get crazy and do $5 if you fancy. This has nothing to do with the results on the board. After the race, you watch and see which horse MAKES IT BACK first. Usually, this is one of the horses that didn't finish in the top 3. You end up screaming for a losing horse to just GET BACK ACROSS the finish line. People look at you like you are nuts, til they realize what you are doing and get into it too!
Hope these little tidbits make you laugh and help you bet! ;). 14 days til Derby 144!!!!
In honor of Keeneland, I thought I would share these adorable Keeneland finds most by Draper James: