Good Opinions, Bad Opinions, and Where We Go From Here
It’s been nearly four full days since Accelerate took down the Breeders’ Cup Classic, and I’ve had plenty of time to travel home, play with the kids, do a ton of laundry, and watch election coverage on TV. I’ve also had time to gather my thoughts about not just the Breeders’ Cup, but also the BCBC, my wagering, my future, and the future of LoneSpeed. We’ll get to all of that in the words below.
I think you will agree with me that in the 14 Cup races, we avoided any “where did that come from?” winning performances. Shamrock Rose’s win in the Filly and Mare Sprint defied the odds, but wasn’t totally impossible to foresee even if you didn’t like her chances. She figured to close into a fast pace should one develop. And that’s what happened, just as LoneSpeed contributor Steve Decaspers said it might when he tabbed her as Second Look Horse in his article last week. Other than that, every winner over the two days was very logical. I wish I had given Jaywalk more credit. Knicks Go caught me by surprise. Divisidero picked the right time to run big over his favorite track. And Gunnevera won’t ever be ignored in the wagering again.
We need to trust our eyes in this game. Or at least I do. Three horses, all trained by Bob Baffert, told my eyes that they were bets-against in the Breeders’ Cup- Abel Tasman, McKinzie, and West Coast. But I fell into the trap of listening to the words of others, including Baffert himself, and included all three in my wagers (only mildly, however). All three looked very iffy to me. So there is a lesson learned. Trust your eyes.
Of course, your eyes can lead you astray too. But at least you only have yourself to blame when it’s your own opinion. I loved Complexity and didn’t really like Game Winner. Bad opinion. I also felt Lily’s Candle was going to run down Newspaperofrecord. Another bad opinion. But, some good opinions that lost were Catapult, Magical, and Wild Illusion. So file that away under “Learn to win when your good opinions run big but lose.” Because I didn’t cash a ticket on either of the three I just mentioned. And I probably should have.
I also failed to capitalize on good opinions that won. I jumped off Line of Duty in the win pool because he was bet down early to 2-1 off the 10-1 morning line before climbing back up to 7-2 after I had landed on a different horse. And in a move that cost me $16,000, I had decided to play an $800 cold exacta of Roy H over Whitmore before, for some reason that I can’t explain, deciding to play a $20 trifecta wheel with a $1,200 price tag that ended up returning almost exactly $1,200 to me when it hit. It was a monumentally stupid decision. Not a good decision that didn’t work out. A pure, undeniably moronic decision. Had I done what I planned to do, I would have been at $21,000 in the BCBC and well within striking distance of a prize with just a few races to go. And then who knows what might have happened? But, instead I took a good opinion on Roy H and Whitmore and made $0. From there, it was two near-misses that cost me big time. Both Catapult and Magical ran huge at nice prices, but I cashed nothing. A neck here and a length there, and I am way up the BCBC leaderboard.
Into the Classic, I centered my wagers around Mind Your Biscuits, Yoshida, and Gunnevera after dismissing my initial pick, West Coast, when Abel Tasman ran so badly and I decided mid-card to trust my eyes. I dismissed Accelerate like a snob because I just didn’t think he’d be able to do his thing outside of California. Things always look simple with the benefit of hindsight, but it really made no sense for me to dismiss him. He ran well enough at Oaklawn earlier in the year when losing to a beast of a racehorse who had just won earlier on the card in City of Light. And Accelerate’s prep for the BC was visually impressive if not fast per the speed figure people. Not using Accelerate was just silly, but I would not have had Thunder Snow in any tris I played anyway. So I didn’t make a mistake that cost me the BCBC. However, I failed to make as much as I should have on my strongest opinion of the weekend, City of Light. And the Sprint debacle also hurt me.
One more lesson, if I may. I think it’s important to enter into any day of wagering, whether it be the Breeders’ Cup or a Tuesday at your favorite mid-Atlantic track, with an open mind and both eyes on the tote board. For one thing, we have to demand value and can’t fall into the trap of playing a horse at 2-1 simply because you liked him at the 10-1 morning line price and you feel you’re committed. You aren’t. I did the right thing by passing on Line of Duty. But what I did NOT do was forgive myself for passing up a winner, and that is what cost me. I felt committed to other plays throughout the weekend because I didn’t want to jump off another winner. And that was stupid. So the lesson is, do your homework, prepare, and be ready. But wait until you see the prices you are getting. And if your top pick wins as the favorite at a price you felt was too low, don’t beat yourself up if you jumped ship.
Ok, now for a little about me and LoneSpeed…
As many of you know, after nine years in software sales, I lost my job earlier this year. It was something I knew was about to happen, although I thought it would be my decision in April rather than my company’s decision in March. But whatever. Life happens the way it happens. The only thing, other than my kids, that I am truly passionate about is horse racing. And while I know that it ain’t easy to make a living writing and talking about this sport, I wanted to at least see what I could create and see where it went. That’s how LoneSpeed came about. We debuted in August with the first goal of making more than zero sales of our Breeders’ Cup Package. And I’m happy to report that we made more than zero sales. It wasn’t a lot more than zero, but it was more than zero.
Now that the Breeders’ Cup is over, I think the next realistic surge in traffic to LoneSpeed will come as we get into the Triple Crown. I don’t see myself making two or three posts a day like I did in the weeks and days leading up to the BC. But I am hopeful that LoneSpeed will be informative and entertaining to new and old fans of horse racing on more than just the sport’s biggest days. And it would be nice to have other regular contributors besides just me. I think that will happen.
As for me, I expect to return to the workforce in the coming weeks. I am fortunate enough to have options, as most people in sales do. But whatever I end up doing, LoneSpeed isn’t going anywhere. A few people approached me at the Breeders’ Cup and told me how much they enjoy visiting this website and reading my stuff. That gave me the boost I needed to keep cranking out the racing content at this early stage where I have to scratch and claw for literally every visitor to the site. And who knows? Maybe at the next Breeders’ Cup, it will be more than a few. Thanks again to the folks who said hi.
And thanks to everyone who has visited LoneSpeed over the 10 short weeks since our debut. I have enjoyed creating the content you’ve seen here, and I know I’ll enjoy watching LoneSpeed grow. Hopefully you’ll keep stopping by.
Justin, very much enjoy your site. You’re live blog pre-BC was terrific. I’m glad to hear that LoneSpeed will continue. Your articles and takes on the races are interesting and incisive. Seems I always learn something new. Thanks.
Did you dictate your text, or is Autocorrect playing games with you?
Please see screenshot:
That’s auto-correct combined with bad typing. Fixed. Thanks.
I tried disabling auto-correct for a while because it led to so many typos when combined with my sloppy typing. But in the end I decided I needed it.
feel free to delete my post 🙂
Very excited to keep reading
I’ve been following your posts on Twitter since it was delivered to my flip phone via SMS. The morning of the Kentucky Derby 2009 I found out I Want Revenge was scratched from your post, which I loved since I was all over Pioneerof the Nile, we know how that turned out… Anyway my point is I have been following along for a long time and always read and respect your options, takes, and commentary through the various media. Lonespeed has been great and I hope you continue on.