Book it

Books about how to pick winners by the thousands and then cook cheeseburgers over hundred-dollar bills are supposed to be educational and inspiring. More often than not, books like How-To-Pick-A-Winner-With-Your-Eyes-Closed come across to me as irritating.

Most of the How-To-Pick-Winners-While-Floating-On-Your-Back books apply the same basic handicapping secret, hindsight, with the author pretending that he or she picked the stinking 80-1 shot before the race. Most How-to-Pick-Winners-Blindfolded books put forward this tone: See how easy the 35-1 shot was to find!

Listen, lots of stuff is obvious once the race is over.

I don't care anything about seeing a writer's picture in the book, smiling in the Jockey Club after, ho-hum, another $90 winner. If it wouldn't be too much trouble, let's see a copy of a winning ticket purchased before a race that illustrates something in the writing.

It's the charts in the How-To-Pick-Winners-While-Dating books that can be particularly irritating. Just home after losing $200 cash, I don't want to look at charts full of horses that won somebody else money; allegedly.

Here are two things you have to ask yourself before buying a $25 How-To-Pick-Winners-While-Doing-Yoga book. Ask yourself: Should I play a $25 Double instead of buy the book? Then ask yourself: If the author knows so much, why isn't he or she out picking winners with one hand tied behind his or her back?

Writing is hard.

Picking with "the gift" should be easy.

As simply put as possible, why would somebody write a book about picking winners?

Here's a pretty good answer: ego.

If you've won a bunch of money and are a great handicapper, sharing the thoughts that made you famous is an understandable tactic, with the message of in your face written between the lines for competitors. If somebody says here's exactly how I won all the money, and here's precisely what I'll be looking for on down the road, odds are, the readers still can't duplicate the results because so much of racing is personal; even the application, or mimicking, of another's theorem.

Here's probably the best reason to write a How-To-Pick-Winners-While-Dozing book: The writer wants some money.

Picker-books have become very specialized.

You can pull off the racks books that cover angles in every racing and wagering situation. Some picker-books make you feel slightly stupid for needing the information in the first place. So many situations are solved, producing profit, it's amazing we aren't winning more and winning easier.

Contest handicapping, maiden picking, under-lay, over-lay, Frito-Lay, there's a system or theory to be applied to every track occurrence.

Here's how I read a horse race book that has a secret: as literature more than as a treasure map.

The How-To book that should be written is How To Get Killed At The Races, that's keeping it real and informative.

Write to Jay at jaycronley@yahoo.com.