Saturday, May 29, 2021

The Winners' Alchemy

I was looking at the Derby Pick 4 a few weeks ago as the board opened for leg one. There were two horses I was looking at - Wesley Ward's and Patrick Biancone's - and both opened completely dead on the board at around 20-1 respectively. The three chalk were live, none of whom I was super-fond of. I was alive in the pick 5 so thought about not betting, however, with those juicy prices in leg one no less, I decided it may be a good idea. 

I created a ticket with just those two, and another ticket with Biancone (who I liked more) keyed. 

I was chatting with a couple of folks during the day and wondered to myself if anyone wanted half. And I realized, who in the hell would want half of a pick 4 ticket starting with two 20-1 shots? This is the type of bet that you keep to yourself. 

I thought about one person, though, who I figured might be interested. I pinged and his response was quick, "sure, two long ones in leg one. We can absolutely kill off tons of money on a Derby Day. Let's go!"

There was no thought that we'd likely be out after leg one, that we should add other horses. 

I wish the story had a happy ending but Wesley ran up the track and our key, who I think ended up at 17-1, ran a nice second, but second don't pay. We were out. 

As I got to thinking, why I offered out such an against the grain, two longshot leg one ticket to this guy was simple. He's one of the best pick n players I know (much better than me); he's a winner at these bets and has been for a long time (if he doesn't win he doesn't eat). I've seen many of his hits where a 15-1 was singled, or two longer ones with dirtied up form are the horses his pick 5 or 6 ticket is built around. He might hate my handicapping, not like the way I structured the rest of the ticket or what have you. But he'd understand what I was trying to do. 

As I go through this game, ever learning, trying to get better, trying to achieve more, it strikes me again and again, there is a winners' alchemy in this sport. It's a witch's brew, stirred with an unconscious competency of winning that few people have. It's like that movie where one character can see a path home lit up through the woods, while the other can't.  

I try to follow this strange brew as much as I can, and I am the first to admit it's just so damn difficult; we've been engrained with the same conventional thought for so long. But, what's most comforting to me, is that following the correct path can only lead to good places. 

Have a nice Saturday everyone. 

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