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The Long Run

i hate the eagles, man

“Who is gonna make it?  We’ll find out in the long run”- The Eagles

Maybe you’re like the Dude from “The Big Lebowski” and you hate the #$%& Eagles.  Here’s a story for you anyway.

Fifteen years ago, a man much wiser than me was sitting at table 414, jotting down trip notes and internal fractions for each race run that night at his favorite track.  He watched each race with a purpose, looking for a track bias or any horse that might be playable next time out at large odds.  That day was no different than any other day, as he was a man of routine.  He was old school.

“Let’s win today” I casually remarked, as I sat down at the table next to him and fumbled to get the TV turned in my direction.  It was really a nothing comment, just my way of saying “hello” as I was getting set up.  But his response wasn’t a nothing response.  His response was profound, a response that planted a seed in my mind and ultimately changed the way I played the game.  Life is full of forgettable moments, with a few unforgettable ones sprinkled in.  Sometimes it can take years before you realize which is which.

“I don’t care if I win today” he said, not looking up from his notes.

“Well I do!” I replied, not understanding his point whatsoever.  You see, back then I used to set a win goal for the day, and I would play until I reached that goal or until I was tapped out.  It wasn’t a particularly successful method.

“I don’t care if I win today” he said again.  “I don’t care if I win tomorrow. I don’t care if I win this week.  I don’t care if I win this month.  I only care if I win this year.”  Then he looked up from his notes and added: “It’s all about the long run”.

Fifteen years later, that might be the best piece of advice I’ve ever received when it comes to playing the horses.

The long run mindset is beneficial in many ways.  Most importantly, it helps one stick to a game plan that we believe will be successful long-term without regard to the results on any particular day.

Cashing large tickets for fat stacks of cash is a thrill ride that we all enjoy experiencing when it occurs.  But we also need to be aware that every day isn’t going to be the greatest day of our life, and nobody is immune to bad beats and losing streaks.  And when a series of unfortunate incidents happen in succession, it can spell trouble for even the most disciplined players.

It’s frustrating when your “lone speed” horse at 6-1 breaks slowly, or when your horse doesn’t find room in the lane while being full of run at the 16th pole.  But focusing on the long run can help us resist the temptation to alter our game plan because we are “owed” something, when in reality we are experiencing a normal part of the game called “chaos”.  Next time the chaos might work in your favor.

I will be exploring this topic in more detail in future weeks.  Continued success at the windows!

The Oracle