Unscientific Horse Betting

April 6th was opening day of the 2012 Keeneland Spring Meet. I ventured out on opening day with some friends to celebrate my birthday. We sat in a box for probably the first and only time as I won it as a silent auction item for a local charity. Keeneland boxes are at the bottom of the grandstand (mezzanine level) and aren't available for purchase. They've each got a plaque on them with the name of the box owner. Lots of horsemen and old blood in Kentucky. Many of them sit empty during the races: if the owner doesn't have a horse running, they might not be in town.

Anyway, it was beautiful.


During my time in Kentucky, I've come to realize that not everyone knows about horses, and not everyone is an expert in making bets at the track. Some of those who study the racing forms judiciously end up leaving with empty pockets, while others with dumb luck (like myself) leave with enough money to pay for valet and the bourbon consumed while betting. That's what I call winning!

Here is my completely unscientific betting strategy.

Rule 1: If the name resonates with you, bet on it.  This name had "mac" one of my favorite foods, combined with "mayo," a condiment that I abhor. Alas, it was a loser.

Rule 2: If you lose your first bet of the day, you need to make 2 bets on the next race to recover your money. I chose these because they weren't favorites, but they weren't longshots. Guessed correctly on both! (Error in the photo, the Don't Tell Sophia bet yielded $9.20 since it was a $4 bet)

Rule 3: Forget the "strategy" you used to win in the previous race and pick a name you like.  This was a long shot, so I picked him to show. He ended up winning. No complaints from me!

Rule 4: Actually remember the name "Noble's Promise" from a bumper sticker you see in your neighborhood every day. It says "I believe in Kentucky-bred Noble's Promise." Remember it was a Derby horse last year. Bet on it. Make money. Next, pick a name you like. This is probably no coincidence that the name I like is related to food. See Rule 1: Mac & Mayo.

Tell me: How do you choose your bets?