Friday, January 3, 2014

Fan or Handicapper? Find Out Now!

This article by Jerod Dinkin originally appeared in December's Horseplayer Monthly magazine.  To read that issue, or any of the previous issues, chalk filled with handicapping articles and stats, please click here. It is 100% free.  

In recent issues of Horseplayer Monthly, we’ve asked Q & A interviewees the following question: “What percentage are you a fan and what percentage are you a handicapper?” This is seemingly a straight forward enough question, but for those seeking a little guidance, here is a quiz to help you determine your ratio: 

1.    When planning a weekend trip to Lexington in April or October, which of the following best describes your dream itinerary/thought process about the trip?
A.    Two days straight without leaving the Bluegrass Room, except perhaps for an occasional restroom break, but only if there is more than 20 minutes left to the next post (10 pts)
B.    One day at Keeneland, one day visiting horse farms (5 pts)
C.    Feeding retired race horses carrots at The Kentucky Horse Park (1 pt)
D.    Putting on a set of goggles and doing the backstroke in a giant oak bourbon barrel at the Maker’s Mark production facility (No points, but sounds like fun)
E.    Both A and D, but not C (7.5 pts)
F.    What’s so special about Lexington? (Automatic disqualification from bettor or fan status)
G.    The Drive-Thru betting windows are the greatest invention since the gift of flight (20 pts)

2.    You overhear a discussion about the “Horse of the Year” and your first instinct is to think to yourself which of the following?
A.    Who cares? (10 pts)
B.    I will defend Zenyatta to the death (1 pt)

 Zenyatta - Breeders' Cup Photo

C.    I will defend Zenyatta to the death and then haunt you after my passing with impunity (0.5 pts)
D.    Yeah, yeah, yeah….Anyway, who won the fourth at Portland Meadows? (15 pts)
E.    Seems like a popularity contest for really wealthy grown-ups (no pts up for grabs, just an observation)

3.    The term “Dime Supe” refers to what?
A.    A four horse vertical wager made in 1/10 fractional increments (10 pts)
B.    An option that comes with the lunch special at Wong Foo’s (0 pts)

4.    While attending a Breeders’ Cup or Triple Crown race card, you must see and/or do the following:

A.    Visit the horses in the paddock before every race (2.5 pts)
B.    Concern yourself with sartorial choices (0 pts)
C.    Drink beer (5 pts)
D.    Have a mixed drink with any form of fruit or mint (1.5 pts)
E.    Only drink water since you, “can’t focus properly on your handicapping while buzzed” (10 pts)
F.    Remember to print out Track Bias and Trip Notes prior to leaving the hotel (15.5 pts)
G.    Check the website of the hotel you plan to stay in for the event ahead of time to confirm proper Business Center accommodations to make sure you can print out Track Bias and Trip Notes (16.5 pts)

5.    Let’s say “hypothetically” you went to France to visit your then girlfriend who would eventually become your wife as she finished her last week of a semester abroad at a large university. Let’s also “hypothetically” say that while she was in class, despite the French language proficiency of a preschooler, you purchased the French version of the Form, visited Vincennes Harness track, spoke broken French lacking any form of lucidity to a mortified teller who couldn’t stop laughing at a silly American, won four of six races with enough ROI to upsize from a croissant to a chocolate croissant (oui, oui) and was back in time for dinner. (100,000pts - especially if you passed on visiting the Louvre or Musee d’ Orsay)

6.    William Hill and Ladbrokes are:

A.    Characters on Downton Abbey (0 pts)
B.    British based wagering services (7.5 pts)

7.    My favorite horse of all-time is:

A.    The one in which I cashed the biggest ticket (10 pts)
B.    Silver Charm, because he always gave his best (2.5 pts)
C.    The one with the same name as my pet turtle when I was a kid (0 pts)

8.    Aside from horse racing, my other hobbies and interests include:
A.    Watching and/or wagering on football, basketball, and hockey (7.5 pts)
B.    Luge (0 pts)
C.    Challenging my friends to various bets such as which raindrop will get to the bottom of the windowsill first (100 pts)
D.    Watching the Oscars (0.5 pts)
E.    Watching the VMAs (-500 pts)

9.    You are most likely to be able to name:
A.    All of the winners of the NHC (25 pts)
B.    The Kentucky Derby winners of the past 20 years (5 pts)
C.    The Louisiana Derby winners of the past 20 years (500 pts)

10.    A Triactor is:
A.    The Canadian term for Trifecta (10 pts)
B.    A triple threat that can sing, dance, and act (0.5 pts)
C.    Unplayable in the state of Pennsylvania with a 30% takeout (25 pts)

If you scored less than 50 points, you are more of a fan than a bettor.  50 or more points and you are more of a bettor than fan. If you scored 500 or more points, e-mail me your contact information and you can join my support group.

In all seriousness, this is a great game no matter your specific fan to bettor ratio. All of us are passionate about the game regardless of our specific lens, slant, or specific involvement in it. Breeders’ Cup weekend was a nice reminder of what many of us love about the sport without care if your handle is five figures or two figures, you own a Classic starter or just a can of Classic Coke, or if you just love to be with friends and family watching thoroughbreds do what they do best.

For just a few days, hopefully we forgot about realities such as signal fees, ADW fights, medication issues, takeout concerns, and wagering integrity, and could take pride in all that is good about the game.

Good luck and good racing.

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