Have you ever had a horse that you absolutely love? You know, one that for some reason or another you got attached to. Maybe it was a winning horse that enabled you to cash a big winning ticket. Or, a horse that came from a sire or dam that you were absolutely crazy about.
How about a gray…everybody loves gray horses right? We have all been there, latching onto a horse for this reason or that. It’s rather common. Developing a feeling of attachment to a horse is no different than having a favorite football, basketball, or baseball player. No matter horse or human, we want to see our favorite athlete do well. Know the difference, though, between pulling for your favorite horse and betting on it.
Every horse race is an individual and unique event. If your favorite horse won its last race, it’s because of the conditions and dynamics of that race on that particular day. How was the track playing? What was the pace scenario? What post did your horse break from? What was the distance of the race? All are factors that played a role in your horse’s win.
It’s important to remember, too, that the past does not necessarily guarantee what happens in a future event, in this case the horse’s next race. Yes, we handicap off past races and figures. Those can all be found in the past performances. However, if winning were simply betting on the horse that had the best figures and statistics coming into race day, then we would all be cashing tickets at the windows after every race.
Horse racing is a sport where you need to leave your heart out of your handicapping. I’m not saying you can’t scream and cheer loudly for your favorite horse in a race. But when it comes to picking winners, you need to be objective. Your passion for the horse is one thing; your money backing it should not be tied to your feelings for it.
When handicapping a race and going through the PPs, you need to stay focused on the variables of that particular race and not sell yourself short by just picking your favorite animal. I know it can be tough. Your heart wants your horse to win but you need to train your mind to treat your horse as another competitor in the race. Your emotional connection to the horse is not going to get it to the wire first. Its performance on that particular day will. By evaluating the race objectively, you are giving yourself the best chance of picking the winner.
In racing, much like life, we develop biases based on our subjective viewpoints. Train yourself to evaluate the information at hand with an open mind. The next time your favorite horse shows up on the entries list, smile. But when it comes to studying the past performances, try not to elevate its chances of winning because of your feeling towards it.
Your heart can flutter all day, but it’s not going to put money in your back pocket.