Monday Morning Message with Jason Beem Jan. 2, 2023

January 2nd, 2023

A good Monday morning to you all! Also a happy new year to everyone. I want to do my horse racing new year’s resolutions for Thursday’s column, but today I wanted to talk a little bit about the opportunity the new year gives us. In recent years I’ve gotten better about making changes in my life and have realized that any day, heck any minute, is a perfect opportunity for change. But I also realize that the start of the new year is a great place to implement change or at least start over on some things with a fresh slate. 

The number one thing I think a lot of players like to do is start the ledger over at the new year. We’re all even on January 1! Well, yes and no. We’ve written a bit about bankroll management and record keeping before here in the column, so I won’t talk as much about the particulars of it as I will the practice. I think record keeping is vital not just as a horseplayer, but in every avenue of life.

Whether it came to my weight or my finances, I used to never check either one. It was my way of avoiding the reality of either number. However, I don’t think I made the necessary changes and improvements that I needed to in either category until I knew exactly where I stood. Once I had accepted the stone cold truth about where I was, I could now act and try and move forward. By keeping those records and being truthful about where I was, it motivated me to start working towards progress. 

So, if you’re someone who hasn’t kept records before or someone who has and it was a brutal 2022, use this new start as a way to motivate yourself to play better. Utilize some of the resources out there to improve your handicapping. Maybe focus on circuits or tracks that you think you have a better opinion at. Take a listen to some of our past podcast episodes of the Jason Beem Horse Racing Podcast that feature solid horseplayers talking about their practice of betting and handicapping. 

Making changes is hard and it’s so easy to fall back into our old habits and traps. I remember when I was first learning about horse racing as an adult and started to consume all the handicapping books I could find. Early on I saw a sheet that played every trifecta the exact same way. Put your two top picks on top. Add your third pick in for second, and then add picks four and five underneath in third for a $12 play for a $1 base. Made sense to me at the time, I didn’t know any better. So, I would play this exact same format of trifecta on every race, often with tons of chalk. And wouldn’t you know, it at year's end, I got crushed on trifectas.

The reason I bring this up in regard to making changes is that, even years later, I’d still sometimes find myself falling back into that style of play even though I knew better. Old habits die hard! I still remember Inside the Pylons telling me in our first interview, “It’s much easier to teach someone who doesn’t know anything about horse racing how to properly bet than someone who had 10 or 15 years of bad habits.” Think about the mistakes you’ve made as a horseplayer over the years? How many of them do you still sometimes recess back to doing sometimes? 

I’m 42 years old and I still make the same mistakes in many avenues of life that I’ve been making for decades. It’s hard to make changes. I think what’s helped me is to try and make them incrementally, but also to be forgiving of myself when a step backwards happens.

So, be kind to yourself but also be vigilant as you put into play some of your new ideas and practices for 2023.  Good luck out there!