Greyhound Handicapping - Go Online in the Summertime

Eb Netr

July 4th, 2013

Although I like live racing, I find that - especially in the summertime - I'm usually more successful at home, sitting in front of my computer watching and playing races on Bet America. I've tried to analyze why that is and I've come up with a theory or two.

For one thing, in the good ol' summertime, greyhound tracks take on a carnival-like atmosphere. In an attempt to attract families, vacationers and casual players, they add things to the program that have nothing to do with dog racing. Some of the things I've encountered at greyhound tracks are brass bands, clowns making balloon animals for the kids, people dressed up in giant character costumes such as dogs and popular cartoon figures, and barbeques.

Don't get me started on barbecues! I was at a track once, where the smoke from the grills was so thick that I couldn't see the races! At another track, one of the grills tipped over and spilled live coals right behind me, just as my dog was leading around the final turn at 9-1. I turned my back on the track and did a little dance to avoid the coals, which were rolling around near my feet, and when I turned back, my dog was crossing the line in fourth. I had to watch the replay to find out what had happened to it.

I find it hard enough to concentrate anyway when I'm at the track. Add a tribute band playing "Purple Haze" or some guy juggling on a unicycle and I might as well throw my money on the tote counter and go home. Don't get me wrong. I understand why the tracks do things to attract people who like things like BBQ and kiddie-pleasing rides and such. They're there for a good time and it helps if there are things to keep the kids entertained and busy while Dad and Mom play their favorite numbers and dogs with cute names.

I, on the other hand, am there to make money. I assume that most of the people reading this are there to make money also. If you're a fan of carnival-like attractions at the track, then ignore this advice and enjoy yourself and call me an old party pooper. But if you find attractions more distractions than anything else, here's some advice.

One, if you can, stay home on weekends when the sideshow is at its height. Face painting for the kiddies and giant inflatables shaped like circus animals tend to be featured on weekends, not during the week. Saturday is a good day to hunker down in front of your laptop or lounge in the backyard with your phone or tablet, playing and watching races with your favorite beverage and something to munch on.

One of the things I like about playing the dogs online is that I can download my program and sit in peace and quiet and go over it without someone spilling mustard on it or hitting me in the head with a frisbee. True, my cat may walk over it, but he's easily removed and is very quiet.

One other thing about playing the dogs in the summertime, is that you have to remember that heat affects greyhounds, even though they're not longhaired. Just like human athletes, dogs that break can get cramp or have their muscles tighten up. Dogs that close sometimes do better on really hot days. The breakers have trouble sustaining their early speed and fade and the closers still have something left and pass them near the wire.

So, enjoy the dog days of summer, but keep your cool by avoiding the noise and confusion of summertime at the dog track. Look for closers that are doing well. Look for dogs that have done well at southern tracks and are moving to tracks that are farther north. Look for dogs that have done well on days that were really hot, and for dogs in inside posts, because they don't have as far to run in the heat.

Fall and cooler weather will be here before you know it and things will settle down. The kids will go back to school and the pony rides will fold up their rings and disappear for another year. Leaves will fall and then snow, and, then, I'll be playing online to avoid the cold, instead of the heat.