Wagers are not Marriages

Often I am asked how long I will follow or stick with a horse I have wagered on that didn’t win. While I will almost certainly be aware and “watch” them the next few times they run, that doesn’t automatically mean I will wager in them.

A few months ago at Gulfstream I thought the Pegasus Turf race came down to two horses. Zulu Alpha and Without Parole. I went with Without Parole. He had such a horrendous trip that day under Frankie Dettori he made his way into my trip notes service Tracking Trips and I was pretty sure he was sitting on a peak or at least a big effort. You can learn more about Tracking Trips and see what it offers here.

When Without Parole finally surfaced it was last week in the Shoemaker Mile at Santa Anita. Sure I was excited, and sensed a potential score, but my excitement was to get to the PP’s not AmWager to bet just yet.

No matter how bad a trip might have been, every new race, and pace set up is different. I won’t marry a horse just because I bet them and they didn’t win or had trouble in the previous start. Often I will, but it is not an automatic. I always do my homework unlike when I was in school and never did my homework.

When I saw the past performances somehow missed Without Parole playing bumper cars for an eighth of a mile I was happy. This is an advantage of replays and Tracking Trips, at least many of the times. The pace set up was good, the competition was reasonable, and all looked good. I dove in.

As happens in racing once again Without Parole had a terrible trip, at least when it counted. He was trapped on the rail all dressed up with no place to go. He eventually got out and rushed between horses and finished good, galloped out excellent but didn’t win. His stablemate Raging Bull ran a huge race and we will never know if Without Parole would have beaten him with a clean run. Anyone who says they know whether he would have or not goes on the pay no mind list for me.

I don’t believe in shortcuts in this game. You have to bring a loaded gun. That takes preparation.

Now Without Parole gets an updated note in Tracking Trips. He will be coming off not one but two brutal races. Is he an automatic play for me next time? There are never automatics, free squares, or one horse races in the Sport of Kings unless it’s the rare Spectacular Bid walkover. Don’t believe me? Just ask War Admiral.

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Jon Stettin

Since childhood, Jon has always had a deep love and respect for the Sport of Kings. His years of experience have earned him a well respected spot in the industry as a handicapper. He now is a frequent contributor to AmWager as well as writing for his own site.

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