Taking Your Professional Skills to the Racetrack
It’s not often that you will find my wife, Peggy, and me jumping up and down in front of the TV set, pumping our fists and screaming, “Go girl! Go!”
Such was the case last Saturday during the thrilling stretch dual between Rags to Riches and Curlin in the Belmont Stakes.
As sometime devotees of improving the breed, Peggy and I are above-average horse-pickers. The four secrets of success: (1) Know when not to bet; (2) Never bet the favorite to win; (3) Expect to bet only on one or two races a day—maybe three if you’re lucky; (4) Know the rules and slavishly follow them.
One rule that is inviolate: girl horses never beat boy horses.
Well, hardly ever.
After a heart-stopping stumble out of the gate on the punishing mile-and-a-half Belmont oval, this exquisitely beautiful filly gutted it out with Preakness winner Curlin and beat him by a head in the toughest thoroughbred race in America.
A $20 wager on the nose would have brought you $106—not a bad return on your money in two minutes and 28 seconds.
A number of years ago, I was invited to give a talk to a magazine circulation group in Chicago that was having its summer outing at Arlington Park, one of America’s premier race tracks.
In a lovely glassed-in, air-conditioned suite overlooking the track, I delivered the screwiest luncheon talk of my life: “If You Can Make Money in Direct Marketing, You Can Make Money Betting the Horses.”
Could a direct marketing professional who knows all the rules and foibles of the business—or a professional handicapper—have picked Rags to Riches to win the Belmont?
A Publisher’s Dream
Once or twice a year, my first boss, children’s book publisher Franklin Watts, would declare a racing holiday and take the entire office out to Aqueduct Racetrack in New York City.