Goodbye to an a**hole of a year

As 2017 ended and 2018 began, I was sitting at what was then the peak of my career as a horseplayer.  August 2017 brought an in-the-money finish in the Wynn Handicapping Challenge and a prize of $8,500.  In the span of one week in November, I ended the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge with a bankroll of $25,000, and then hit for $6,000 when Greyvitos won that juvenile stakes race the following weekend.  In January, I was near the top of the Pegasus Betting Challenge leaderboard and up over $10,000 before Sharp Azteca threw in a clunker and sent me back down to the break-even point.  And in March, only a late rush of money on Runaway Ghost in the Sunland Derby kept me from a 2019 NHC seat, as I missed that coveted prize by $1.80 in mythical money as his odds dropped from 7-1 to 7-2 essentially during the race.  From there, it was all Crapville.  Not just in tourneys, but in actual wagering.

If Wonder Gadot wins the Kentucky Oaks, it’s a $25,000 day for me.  And if she wins and Good Magic goes by Justify the next day, it’s at least a $75,000 weekend.  That was documented on social media before the fact, by the way.  I don’t redboard.

From there, the year was filled with big prices that just didn’t quite get it done.  Johnny’s Bobby in Race 2 at Saratoga on August 11th just missed at 23-1 with the backing of a big bet from me.  On Labor Day, a simple $16 Pick 4 play of my documented and published top two picks from Saratoga would have returned $15,000.  But I spent the day with the kids instead.  The debut of LoneSpeed saw us crush the Travers exacta at 154-1 odds.  But just days later, a questionable DQ at Kentucky Downs meant instead of hitting for $6,600, our 1x1x2 $50 Pick 3 was a loser to the tune of -$100.

And it all continued through yesterday.  Hot Autumn wins the La Brea with a more aggressive ride from the start, in my opinion.  She was 33-1 with me on her back.  We also had Emboldened at 10-1 in our exacta box.  They ran 2-3.  Its been that kind of year.

All of the above has me disappointed, yet (pun intended) emboldened.  2017 ended with a (pun intended) hot autumn for me, but unfortunately things didn’t progress into 2018 as I had hoped.  That said, with just a sightly better trip from this horse, and a better timed ride from that horse, and maybe a slower break from this other horse, I am really, really not far from a $100,000 year in 2018. That’s why I feel beaten, but not defeated.  Not defeated.  Even though 2018 has been the worst year of my career from a profit/loss perspective.

Today will be my last wagering day of the year.  I’ll play the Pick 5 at Gulfstream Park because of the carryover.  My ticket will be posted on Twitter.  Although based on how this year has gone for me, you may want to fade my plays.  Because as we’ve established, it’s been that kind of year.



  1. Doc B. on December 28, 2018 at 1:25 am

    Just recently started following you here and appreciate the honesty and analysis (horses and self!). Have you done any data analysis of your hypotheses to see what works for better (or worse)with your handicapping or wagering systems? Thanks for the time and looking forward to a great 2019!

    • Justin Dew on December 28, 2018 at 11:20 pm

      Hi Doc. I plan to keep better records in 2019.

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