The mourning after: take your medicine

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Ed DeRosa

November 5th, 2014

More often than not I can look back at a bad day playing the races and say, “Well, at least it wasn’t my worst day ever.”

I couldn’t say that following Saturday’s Breeders’ Cup event where only a single “A” selection of mine (Dayatthespa in the Filly & Mare Turf) won a World Championship race. Overall on the day I went “X” (Take Charge Brandi), “A” (Dayatthesap), “C” (Judy the Beauty), “C” (Bobby’s Kitten), “C” (Texas Red), “C” (Main Sequence), “C” (Work All Week), “B” (Karakontie), and “B” (Bayern).

Hey, at least I won’t get scurvy.

One silver lining to this kind of day is there aren’t any bad beats. My biggest thrill came following the Filly & Mare Turf when I was live to my “A” picks in the Filly & Mare Sprint—Artemis Agrotera, Leigh Court, and Stonetastic—for $3k+ each. And that thrill faded at the eighth pole along with Stonetastic (Leigh Court no excuse after a stalking trip and Artemis Agrotera didn’t fire at all).

From there it was just one bad opinion after another:

  1. Between thinking others were better and buying into the downhill course experience hype I used Bobby’s Kitten sparingly.
  2. In the Juvenile, I didn’t think Pletcher was invisible but overlooked the horse coming out of the American Pharoah-Calculator race. The former was the favorite and the latter was a lot of people’s sexy upset pick, so taking the third at a nice price when the Frontrunner exacta scratched was a good way to play it.
  3. The Turf was one of my worst opinions, as I thought the Euros couldn’t lose and bet accordingly. Only one of the four truly fired and a domestic three-time (now-four-time) Grade 1 winner got the job done at a nice price.
  4. Not that it mattered with other bad opinions around him, but Work All Week should have been a “B” considering his record on fast dirt, competitive speed numbers, and generous price.
  5. A “B” for Karakontie seems right. I might have some regrets about not placing him as an “A” just for being a Euro if I had gotten anything right around him, but since I didn’t it’s tough to worry about it.
  6. The Classic joins the Turf Sprint (downhill experience) and Turf (a Euro WILL win) as one of my three worst opinions, as I was pretty much all in on Shared Belief, who yes had trouble, but still wasn’t worth pinning all my hopes on as a favorite. Cigar Street was my second pick, and that didn’t work out either.

Nobody Picked 6 in a $2.5-million pool, and I would have had a hard time picking two on the same sequence, but at least my brethren had some good opinions. E.g., Michael Beychok liked Bobby’s Kitten, and James Scully liked Bayern.

So that’s where I was on Saturday, and now the question as a bettor after such a thorough shellacking is how you get back on the horse.

Time away definitely helps. Like a young professional nursing a headache on the way to work and swearing off weekday drinking, not even a seven-figure carryover on Sunday at Santa Anita Park had me jonsing for a bet. Monday and Tuesday are pretty dark days, anyway, so that brings us to today with both Churchill Downs and Aqueduct in action.

Betting just to bet—especially after a loss with a “chase” mentality—is a sure way to the poorer house, but if you’re the type of player who at least looks at races every day at your favorite circuit, then not doing so (provided you’re in the right frame of mind) is, as they say in the poker world, negative expected value (i.e. –EV).

Success in racing is at least in part due to pushing edges, and I think I have one as a user of ALL-Ways software and the models I’ve created using the data. Smarting after a loss and distracted with travel home was not the time to push that edge, but we’ll be back at it today, and no matter what happens, I’m confident that it won’t be my worst day ever.