If you've followed me throughout the year, you know I'm a fan of lists, and since we're approaching the New Year, we have some resolutions for horseplayers as we head into 2012. It's easy to get caught in a rut or in a slump and fall into bad habits, so don't be afraid to follow a few simple ideas as you start tapping your bankroll as the calendar turns over.
1. Bet on the tracks you know. Don't fall into the trap of betting tracks you're not familiar with. Stick with one or two tracks that you follow regularly. You know the jockeys, trainers and horses so much better at a track you follow throughout an entire meet. You'll see the difference and can catch a live horse the second time he/she runs during the meet by making notes of bad trips, bad conditions during the horse's initial race.
2. Don't chase losses. You've had a tough day at the windows and you want to try and you think you can make it all back in the last race and you chase the long shots and try to make a big score to make up for a bad day. Nine times out of 10, you'll falter badly in the last race. Chalk it up to a bad day and don't give them any more moo-lah.
3. Don't bet every race. It's not mandatory that you have to bet every race. Pick your spots. Look for races with big fields that offer value.
4. Bet with your gut. You've read the Form, and you can't understand why the morning line is so high on a horse you like. No one is picking the horse you like to win. Bet with your gut and go for it. Maybe you've found a nugget that no one else has seen. The morning line guy probably isn't even wagering on the race. Don't be afraid to bet your instincts. You know as much as the guy/gal sitting next to you.
5. Play races and wagers that you're comfortable with. You know the 2-year old maidens. Bet it. You love turf races. Bet it. You do better with sprints than routes. Bet it. Stay away from the races that you've struggled with in the past. You killed exactas in 2011. Bet them. Check your ADW account and review your statistics from 2011 and see which wager-types (exacta, Pick-X's, etc.) and what races you've had the most success with.
Happy New Year everyone and Good Luck in 2012!
Gene Kershner is a Buffalo-based turf writer and handicapper who blogs at equispace.blogspot.com and tweets @EquiSpace.