The Long Run Part 3: Developing the Game Plan

steve martin

Thinking about game plan development and the importance of following that plan reminded me of a scene from the TV show Seinfeld where Jerry asks a car rental clerk about his reservation.  It didn’t go well:

Jerry:  I don’t understand, I made a reservation.  Do you have my reservation?

 Clerk:  Yes we do, unfortunately we ran out of cars.

 Jerry:  But the reservation keeps the car here.  That’s why you have the reservation.

 Clerk:  I know why we have reservations.

 Jerry:  I don’t think you do.  If you did, I’d have a car.  See, you know how to take the reservation; you just don’t know how to hold the reservation.  And that’s really the most important part of the reservation, the holding.  Anybody can just take them…

It’s a humorous exchange but also instructive.  Once we develop a game plan that we believe can be successful going forward, the most important thing to do is to actually follow that plan!

After players have learned the fundamentals of handicapping, most will realize that they have handicapping strengths and weaknesses.  An individual game plan should be tailored to those strengths whenever possible.  Keeping detailed records of your wagers is a good way to determine what is working for you.  One idea is to break down your wagers by category, for example: track, surface, class level, wager type, odds range.  Patterns may emerge.  Let your dominant handicapping style dictate your play.  For example, pace handicappers may fare better playing dirt sprints where early speed tends to be more important than some other handicapping factors.  If you are a trip handicapper or believer in track bias, focusing on one circuit where you can study daily replays makes some sense.  Class handicappers may prefer turf races or higher level Allowance and Stakes races.  Pedigree and trainer pattern experts may excel in maiden races and races for 2 year olds.  Players who look for angles may prefer the claiming races.

The point is that different types of races have different keys, and it’s not a requirement of this game to become an expert at everything in order to have success.  Stick with what works for you.  There were approximately 46,000 thoroughbred races run in North America over the past year, and most of them were available for wagering via simulcasting at Canterbury Park.  You can be very selective in what you choose to play and still have plenty of wagering action.

Next week I will explore some ideas for what types of wagers to make based on game plan and bankroll size.  Continued success at the windows!

The Oracle

Editor’s Note:  Yes we realize the accompanying picture is from the film Planes, Trains and Automobiles  and not an episode of Jerry Seinfeld. While the scene from Planes, Trains, and Automobiles may be just as applicable to the topic at hand it might be going a bit too far. This is a family blog after all.


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