In the book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” author Steven Covey uses an analogy of a lumberjack who has been sawing wood for several days. As the days go by, the sawing process dulls his blades and the lumberjack is becoming less and less productive.
Covey’s solution for the lumberjack to regain top production is to take time out to sharpen his saw, then get back to work. Although he probably never plays the ponies, Covey’s life lesson is also valuable to horseplayers.
On this blog, I depend mostly on information that I compile myself to come up with horses. Pulling data out of the Daily Racing Form then entering, reorganizing and filtering it in a computer is a time-consuming process. In fact, big-money horseplayer William Benter wrote that he and his crew spent five man-years getting ready for their assault on the Hong Kong races.
Since July 2008, I have been juggling researching and handicapping with wagering and writing. But I now find myself far behind in the information gathering part of this process. So before both my production and confidence slip too far, I need to stop.
To me, an important aspect of the psychology of betting is having the confidence to wager large amounts of money without the fear of going on long losing streaks. Horseplayers might have a winner that pays well, but profits will be limited if they have no confidence and bet just $5.
And the only way to get this kind of confidence is to gather large amounts of past data then analyze it correctly. So, with Fairplex running now, I will stop betting for a while and take the elevator down to my research lab, which is some 60 feet under the basement of the Wynn Hotel & Casino (not really).
I will try to finish up by the beginning of Santa Anita on Sept. 30, but it’s unlikely that I’ll meet that deadline. When I am done, I’m hoping that my saw will be sharp enough to cut down an Oak Tree.