Here's what's going to happen in 2014.
We're going to be ready to hit some big tickets.
We will reap the benefits provided by the "value" players. Looking for "value" is a habit that can't be broken. It's what handicappers do when they can't handicap so well, when they're so far behind they need a miracle. "Value" and "miracle" are synonymous. The more money a person needs to break even, the higher the "value" number is on the board.
We will continue to operate on the premise that all winners have value, that you should handicap horses, not numbers. Handicapping numbers is the lottery. "Value" horses enable the winning horses to pay more than should be the case.
We will not listen to idiots, drunks or friends of friends who heard something. We will bet $2 on all tips, which is part superstition, part tradition. We will use expert selections to our full advantage, eliminating from consideration horses favored by TV and print pickers who would have to think hard about what to tab in the replay. We have long campaigned for TV pickers to make their selections earlier in the process so we can change or increase wagers with time to spare. It's heartbreaking when a public picker wrecks a race too late for us to get to the windows to recalculate.
The leaders will swing wide on the turn for home and our dog will slide through on the rail to win and pay something like $40.
We won't step outside to confront a loudmouth.
We won't ask to see a security guard's credentials.
A rider on a well beaten horse will flop, will stand as though blindsided. The light on the board will start flashing. The jockey who flopped on the even-money horse will be moved by the stewards from fourth to third, making a winner of our large trifecta.
We won't be mugged in the parking lot after a big day.
We'll spot the biases.
Somebody will return our billfold.
A smart and attractive widowed female will come to see why her husband had been so interested in this sport, before the accident.
Slot machines will post record profits.
We'll have the right one in the first Derby futures book.
Singled horses on exotic tickets will win by seven.
Our jockeys will show exquisite timing. Our trainers will play by the rules. Our long shots will get great trips. Favorites will experience trouble when competing against us. Photo lights will make us smile.
All the tellers will have manners at our venues. All the chicken will be cooked thoroughly in the middle. All restrooms will be scrubbed on a daily basis. All the TV monitors will work. All the parking lots will be swept clean of broken glass. All the compulsive obsessives will stop at two beers. All the automatic betting machines will work. All the bettors will be treated with courtesy and respect. All the horse players will come to 2014 in a positive frame of mind and will be ready to have the best year ever.
Until we don't.