Taking Your Professional Skills to the Racetrack
- The Owner and Trainer. These are two heads you must get into, along with the crowd’s. “Horses for Courses” is Ainslie’s dictum. Don’t bet on a turf horse that’s running on dirt or vice-versa. Don’t bet on a horse in a mile race that’s only won at six furlongs (3/4 of a mile). Chances are these horses are being raced under alien conditions for training purposes only—to toughen them up for races that they have a chance of winning.
The same is true in direct marketing. You don’t send a lead-gen piece offering a John Deere Lawn tractor to addresses in inner cities.
- The Horse. What kind of shape is the horse in—really? Watch for danger signals. In the past performances data is a “comment line” that describes the performance in every race. Beware of betting on a horse where the comment line for the last race sends a danger signal: “lugged out,” “bled,” “bore in” or “tired.”
In direct marketing, a danger signal is when the seed names did not receive their mailings.
At the same time, if the comment line says, “breezing,” “handily” or “easily,” take that into serious consideration.
The more a horse has raced, the more you know about it. If the past Performances show experience in 10 races, you have a lot more data than for a horse that has raced only once or twice. Same thing in direct marketing: The more test results you have, the more sound your decisions.
Look for very recent fast workouts—12 seconds or less per furlong or five furlongs in 59 seconds and breezing. This means the horse is currently being trained into shape. This directly relates to Martin Gross’s dictum: “Direct marketers who fail to take current news into consideration will be sunk by it.”
Breaking it Down
• Class: “Cheap horses know it.”
Higher class horses:
—Have greater reservoirs of racing energy
—Can maintain speed as long as necessary to discourage a lesser rival
—Run as hard as they have to in order to win
Thus a claiming horse priced at $5,000 that is running in the company of $20,000 claimers is probably a lousy bet.