Hey folks: The following is an archived “confession” from sometime late in 2007. It’s theme is still relevant–and always will be. Learn to manage your money and your pride. It’s just not possible to succeed at this game without mastering both. What you are about to read is true, the humor added to hide the tears.
If given preference, I would think that most of us would like to be a big fish in a small pond. In such a situation, the big fish control the environment, consume the weak and swim unperturbed in the calmest of waters.
But let’s face it, in case you were wondering, we’re not fish, we are gamblers…err..humans, and we base most of our decisions on impulse and impossible pipe dreams. Occasionally we enjoy floating in the neighbor’s pool but usually we prefer swimming with the sharks, where peril is abound, and survival highly unlikely.
Say hello to the Hollywood Park pick six…and my ego.
With a carryover of more than $200,000 on their Sunday card, I faced a very usual dilemma. After astutely handicapping races four through nine, I had come to the conclusion that to have a reasonable chance to win, I would need $8,820. No sweat. I’ll simply put on my ski mask, shoot a few wealthy looking people, and proceed to the SAM machine. There was no logical way to play the gimmick otherwise.
However I had many crime-free alternatives and a whopping $100 to invest. When faced with a small bankroll and large dreams, one needs to look beyond the immediate and remember such sage expressions as “Rome wasn’t built in a day” and “You have to walk before you can run.” No, if I wanted to be a big fish in a small pond I needed to take my money and find smaller pools in which to play.
The fourth race at Hollywood began the pick six, but it also started a daily double and a pick three, two betting options that allow the smaller fish to prosper. I even liked the race from a handicapping perspective, a two year old maiden race running a distance of 4 ½ furlongs.
Knowing I would only have limited resources at my disposal, I allowed myself only three selections for this first leg of the pick six. With so many first time starters in the race, it became a best guess scenario. My best guesses were Premier Issue, Sky Cape and Booted. It wasn’t until I further examined the card, that I realized that this pick six was that much beyond my means.
Flash forward about four hours and the fourth race at Hollywood is moments away. As it turns out Booted is the overwhelming 4-5 favorite, Premier Issue, one of the few with previous experience is bet down to 9-2 and Sky Cape is completely and utterly ignored at 71-1. Do long odds intimidate me? Not a bit. They can, however, make a normally solid horse player, real stupid. Suddenly thinking that if Sky Cape wins, I would have a chance at a six figure pay day, I concoct a pick six ticket at a cost of $72.00. I play a $1.00 exacta box using the three horses highlighted, and play a pick three using my three horses in the fourth with the #6 horse in the fifth race and three horses in the sixth. Total investment $87.00. I have $13.00 left but I save that for some gas and a smoothie.
I have now become a small fish in a big pond.
Serious, deep pocket horse players invest thousands of dollars in a pick six carryover of this size, but me and my pea shooter, as usual, attempt to beat the odds and show everyone who’s who.
To just about everyone’s surprise but my own, Sky Cape wins the maiden race, holding off Booted by a diminishing head, returning $145.60 to win. The exacta pays $200.50. I am pumped! I ask you who is better than me? I just made over $100 and I have a chance for gazillions more!
Thirty minutes later I punched two walls cursed the planet for my existence.
Needless to say, I lost the following race, rendering my pick three and pick six tickets worthless. I have been eaten by the sharks yet again. If I had only used the $72.00 in a wiser fashion maybe I wouldn’t have turned 71-1 into even money. A lousy $20 win bet on all three horses in the fourth race would have netted me more than $1400.
I shot for the moon and I misfired. I swam in the ocean and I drowned. I knew playing the pick six was wrong, yet I insisted on playing with the big boys. Lesson learned? Sure, but it will happen again, it always does. I do know, however, where to be a big fish in a small pond. I think I’ll start the bath.