That winning smile

It might be easier than you think when it comes to picking who's going to win this Triple Crown season; which people will win, not which horses.

Winning handicappers are hard to read because they're so private.

How'd you do?

Oh, not bad: 90 percent.

About even: 5 percent.

I got wiped out: 4 percent.

I had a great day: 1 percent.

Letting people know you won invites borrowers, inquisitors, and robbers.

Tellers might know which type of person consistently collects. I served as a teller at a small track for a brief period of time, learning things for a magazine article. And I have done a few shifts as a teller at Kentucky Derby fundraisers, where the smiles were artificial, but the bets were real. Going by personalities, after a while, you could come pretty close to guessing what type of bet somebody was about to make, good or bad, safe or sorry.

Based on what you hear on both sides of the windows, there appear to be four main types of horseplayers:

Dumb people.

Those of average intelligence.

Highly intelligent people.

Creative people.

If you know some really dumb gamblers, here's where they belong, in order of compatibility.

1. Slots.

No significant thought process is required. No offense, but a deceased person could play as well as a live person, if he or she fell just so onto the slot machine buttons.

2. Roulette.

Covering numbers with money is a relatively simple process.

3. Sports gambling.

There are only two teams.

4. Poker.

Memorizing percentages and having a huge sum of money help.

5. Horse racing.

Each race poses a mystery.

I know many people who give the impression of possessing average intelligence, while having great trouble at the horse races. Many of them seem to play to extremes, conservatively, then wildly on long shots, with patience escaping them.

Highly intelligent gamblers I have known seem intent on formulating their ways to success, and often try to turn variables into stone-cold absolutes.

Gambling successfully on horses requires an equally good way with numbers, logic and guts.

The most consistently successful horseplayers I have known are creative people.

What's a creative thought? It's something original. The reason we like everything from TV commercials to movies is because the best have an original element to them, a fresh plot, a new setting, an unforgettable character.

Each horse race starts with a blank sheet of paper; creative horseplayers can think outside the box of odds on the tote board.

The creative person is:


Can sit quietly with his or her thoughts for more than 10 minutes.

Can be original.

Has a sense of humor.

If that's you, get a Form.

Write to Jay at jaycronley@yahoo.com.