This Q &A appeared in the May/Track Ratings edition of Horseplayer Monthly. To read the rest of the issue FOR FREE, including several more of these Q & A's and HANA's annual track ratings, please click here.
Q: Are you enjoying the betting side of the game more or less than you were a year ago? Why?
A: Each passing year that goes by, I enjoy the pari-mutuel game less and less for a number of reasons:
(1) The number of overlay situations has sharply decreased as there is less “dead money” in the pools. There are a myriad of reasons why this is the case, but that is a subject for its own piece.
(2) I would generally set aside 25%-30% of my yearly bankroll for the Keeneland Polytrack, which I found to be nuanced in a way that I understood while the balance of bettors did not. With the main track surface back to dirt, it’s just another run of the mill opportunity in terms of value. Nice fields, great track, wonderful place, but no longer advantageous from a betting standpoint for my personal strengths as a handicapper.
(3) Saratoga is also not what it used to be. The increased number of race dates has hurt the Spa from a betting attractiveness standpoint. Many of these fields are “Aqueduct North,” and the six-day a week schedule creates fatigue for all parties involved.
(4) There are countless other entertainment offerings out there that feature a lower price point and better customer service. I’m a glutton for punishment, but can only take so much.
Q: With more international racing being shown on TVG and elsewhere, along with important cards like Dubai being front and center, do you find you’re more interested in watching and wagering on it?
A: No, not at all. I really like International racing, specifically the English and French Classics, but do not know enough about it to feel I have any sort of edge nor are the post times conducive to a productive family life. Yelling for the 26 horse to win the seventh race at Moonee Valley at 3 A.M. generally doesn’t go over that well in my household.
Q: Jackpot bets, yay or nay?
A: Nay, no, nein, nyet, meiyou, le, lo.
Q: Do post drags ‘drag on you’, or do you feel they’re part of the game and you factor them into your daily or weekly play?
A: Since Gulfstream now runs 30 races a day, 365 days a year, I just assume that every 32 minutes there is some sort of a race in Hallandale Beach no matter the day or time, so post drag is basically like death or taxes.
Q: What’s worse, inconsistent stewards' calls, or tracks running on top of each other?
A: Wow, that’s like deciding which of the Osmonds is most annoying. I’ll say steward inconsistency as those decisions have monetary consequences.
Q: What were your impressions of Always Dreaming's Derby performance?
A: Very solid, professional effort. Johnny V worked out a superlative trip and he was much the best.
Q: Out of any of the possible Preakness "new shooters" (Conquest Mo Money, Royal Mo, Senior Investment, etc.) do any of them interest you from a betting standpoint?
A: I think the Triple Crown races are epidemically over-handicapped. I find it difficult not to take some preconceived biases from intently watching all the Triple Crown preps which can be beneficial, but at the same time you can easily overthink it. As such, I’ll be waiting until the field is drawn to start any tangible analysis.
About Jerod - Jerod Dinkin is a HANA Board Member, a
former Canterbury Park Handicapper of the Year, 6’3”
small forward with suspect lateral foot speed, in the Top
50 Lifetime at publichandicapper.com, and loves nothing
more than a comfortable spot on the couch to listen to the
soothing stylings of Richard Grunder on the weekends.