Being around horses all my life, I have seen most everything. And I try to use horse sense all the time when visually analyzing a horse and their body language in the few pre race minutes either in the paddock or the post parade. Most of the time I am at the mercy of the video on my computer screen or TV, and the person who is behind the camera.
But there is a handicapping rule I live by. Are you listening? When a horse is full of himself in the paddock, I don’t mean over- the- top-unwound-lost- it, but throwing a good buck here and there, that’s when I RUN to the windows.
This all started when I was lucky enough to be in the Preakness infield saddling area for the brilliant Alysheba. Having placed all my bets on the son of Alydar, we were all ushered over the track surface to the area where the horses would be saddled. Anyone who remembers how he touted himself that day knows what I am talking about. How I so wanted to head back to the windows and bet everything I had in my pockets, but you were not allowed to walk back until the race was over. His race was spectacular and I was happy to be hob-knobbing with racing royalty, but how I wished I could have gotten back to the windows.
That won’t ever happen again, not with phone accounts!!!
But I have used this “handicapping tool” many times and have been rewarded.
While many experts thought that the big red boy was becoming unwound in yesterday’s Preakness, they missed something very important. After Shackleford threw a few good bucks in the paddock, his handlers immediately positioned him by his trusty pony, where for the next 5-10 minutes he was as calm as a pussycat. He even cocked his back leg, (what a horse does when they are “at rest”). This was a HUGE sign to me that this horse was, 1) Very content, 2) very relaxed and, 3) Thinking” I want to run but I will behave.”
Shackleford wasn’t coming unwound, he was excited to run. He was ready to run a big one and he did. If he came unglued, like everyone thought, I don’t have to tell you how he would have finished.
So I doubled down.
Thank you Shackleford!