Would you like to make money every time you go to the races? That was a goal of mine ever since I handicapped my first race many years ago. I come from a long line of horse lovers and racing nuts. In one of the earliest pictures of me I am sitting on a horse while the folks are outside eating their breakfast. By the time I was a toddler I had seen the horse’s hooves thundering by from the view under the bottom rail at Narragansett Park. That and a natural inclination toward voluntary inertia probably led to my desire to make “easy” money at the races.
As anyone who has tried to make a long term profit from handicapping horse races or dog races can tell you, however, gambling, punting, handicapping, playing the ponies, call it what you will, is not easy. That fact was driven home by many trips to the races and many trips home with empty pockets. I learned a few lessons along the way. First of all, buy something to eat first. On those days when I said I’d get something to eat after a few races, I sometimes lost the money and had to live on my dream of being a professional handicapper.
I was writing about racing back then and had started distributing a newsletter based on the local tracks. The advertising paid for the printing and sometimes a little left over for a meal or a bet. A friend in the publicity department of one of the tracks offered me a job as an announcer. I jumped at the opportunity. My reasoning was that I would be right at the race track and also working in the offices, I’d get all the scuttlebutt. I wrote promotional items for the publicity department and called the races and every day, when I left the track, I had made money. Unfortunately, as an official, I wasn’t allowed to bet on the races. The money came in the form of a paycheck.
Here is another thing I learned, be very specific when you are asking the universe for something because the cosmic wish fulfiller is a literalist. My dream had been to make money every time I went to the track and to make money handicapping the horse races. I got paid to do what I loved, handicapping, because one of my duties was to handicap the races and create a morning line for the program. My dream came true, but I was no longer betting on my choices. Be careful what you wish for. I quit my job and went back to being a race track denizen. I traveled from race track to track and had a good time perfecting my skills and living the life of a rambler.
That was many years ago and you would think that it had taught me a valuable lesson. But recently, with a little pressure from some well meaning friends, I started a handicapping service to help other people to benefit from my years of experience. Every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday I handicap both harness races and thoroughbred races and send my Weekend Warrior Newsletter to subscribers. At first I just sent the computer picks and key horses and fit and ready horses, but now my subscribers have asked for best bets as well.
Once again, I am working so hard, handicapping so many tracks, that I rarely have time to make it to the track. You would think that I would have learned my lesson years ago, but apparently, I needed a refresher. While you’re going over your program and standing at the finish line watching your horses win, think of old Bill Peterson, slaving away in front of the computer and poring over the past performances and muttering expletives, while he picks winners that other people are cashing on. Once again, I make money handicapping the races and once again, my dream came true and once again, I am not betting on my picks. They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, I just wish I could remember the old tricks!