On June 25, 2008 — in the spirit of the book “My $50,000 Year at the Races” — I started off with an imaginary bankroll of $50,000 and attempted to bet my way to $100,000 by June 25, 2009.
The night before the races, I posted summaries of the merits of each prospective maiden contender then wrote up my betting plan for the day. When the results were in, I posted them on the site with a recap of the money that I either won or lost.
My results were as follows:
For the year, I won 42 of the 133 races that I wagered on, or 31.5 percent. I bet $59,715 and collected $76,495 for a profit of $16,780. My average race bet was $448 and my average payoff on the races I won was $1,821. Over the 133 races, I made $1.28 for every $1 bet for an average yield of $126 for each race wagered on.
I didn’t reach my goal of matching Andy Beyer’s $50,000 year, but even billionaire Warren Buffett would be pleased with a 28 percent annual profit.
Almost all horseplayers know Beyer. He popularized speed figures in several books he wrote while working as a Washington Post racing scribe. In 2007, I met Beyer at a seminar and asked him how much money he won over the course of his lifetime playing horses. He said that if he told me, I would never believe him.
In 1978, Beyer published “My $50,000 Year at the Races” after experiencing, in 1977, a dizzying year that took him on the roller coaster ride of winning $10,000 one day, while being so frustrated on another day that he bashed a hole in the Gulfstream Park press box wall.
When the ride stopped, Beyer had won $50,664 from a beginning bankroll of just $8,000.
On this blog, it hasn’t been all wine and roses. I’ve had some successes, yes. But I’ve also experienced setbacks.
Toward the end of the first 12-months that I was blogging, which ended in June 2009, I began to recognize that I was falling behind with the information I keep in a database. Therefore, I wasn’t betting with as much confidence and my profits were disappearing. So, in the fall of 2009, I stopped the blog and did more research. A year later in 2010 at Del Mar, my attempt to make $10,000 during the meet by wagering $1,000 a day was cut short when my results clearly showed that many of the money-making trends that were so good to me from 2008-09, weren’t working anymore.
Although I haven’t put anything on the blog in a while, I worked hard to get my information up to date and did well betting the 2011 Hollywood Park fall meet.
So, now I am back with a new theme for Maiden King.
During 2012, I plan to play every 6-1/2 and 7-furlong maiden claiming race in Southern California. Also, I will bet every maiden special weight race for 3-year-olds at these same distances.
Why only 6-1/2 and 7-furlong races?
I tend to do well in these races because most horseplayers put a premium on early speed, which is valuable in shorter sprints, but not so much at 6-1/2 and 7 furlongs. It’s amazing how many times horses who ran strong races near the lead at 5-1/2 and 6 furlongs, get nailed when stretching a little bit farther. In these elongated sprints, other bettors can have the lightly-raced early speed at a short price, and I’ll take the 4-to-1 shot who is shortening up after spending his life trying to win turf routes.
Starting on opening day at Santa Anita — which is always Dec. 26 — I will stake myself a $100,000 imaginary bankroll with the goal of making a $50,000 profit by the end of the 2012 Hollywood Park fall meet. I estimate that I’ll bet about 100 or so races, which works out to about two a week. That will give me plenty of time to handicap, write and work my day job while keeping up on my records.
Of course, I think I will have an extremely successful year and I will almost certainly be writing about some of my bets with supreme confidence. But if you read about a race on this blog, please bet conservatively because this is horse racing and the only thing certain in this game is that there are no sure things.