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I know placing bets at the horse track may not seem to fit within the scope of this Blog, but if you read along you’ll find out that it is quite relevant. Connections abound. As I plan my annual Spring pilgrimages, I’ll fill you in on what strategies you may want to consider. And even if you don’t win, you’ll feel like a winner! A few items we’ll discuss:

* Preparation * Attire * What to eat at the Track * Mojo * Energy Spots * Confidence * What the Racing Form Won’t Tell You * Tipping * Jockeys * The $50 Window * and more!

Preparation is crucial. The first questions to ask yourself are what is my plan and how will I know if I’ve been successful. If you are going with the idea of betting on several races, then you are going for fun and not to win – which is fine – but recognize that the odds say you will lose money. If you are going because you have prepared, are focused on only one or two races, and you have defined success, you are headed in the right direction.

Preparation means knowing which race you are going to follow and why. Have you seen this horse race before? Is the horse moving up or down in class? Has the horse raced at this track in the past 30 days? Does the horse race better on grass or dirt? Has the rider changed? Is the horse coming off of an injury? Is the horse carrying more or less weight? What do you “sense” that makes the horse attractive for a wager? I cannot tell you what criteria to consider, or which are more important – that’s for you to decide. Just tune in to your feelings.

Regardless of your answers to the questions above, come to the track with a plan and a specific race or two in mind. Are you planning on betting on this race or only observing? If you are likely to wager a bet, decide the amount before you go to the track. Determine the odds that would slide the wager to favorable or unfavorable. If you place a wager, bet the horse to “win” or do not place a bet. If you do not sense that you have selected a horse that will win, why place any wager at all?

Success may be that the odds were not favorable for you to place a wager. However, you had an overwhelming feeling to place the bet. Whether you won the wager or not, you tuned in to your feelings. We will loop this issue back in when we discuss confidence.

Attire is an important decision for me whether I’m playing music, exercising, or going out on a hot date with my wife. It’s not that I dress to impress anyone – other than my wife on James Bond nights – but rather that I need to feel comfortable and efficiently dressed in order to stay focused on the task at hand. For the horse track, this means casual comfort with lots of pockets. I prefer jeans, with a white shirt, and a black or kakhi sports jacket. I feel good whether seated inside, standing outside against the rail, hanging around the Paddock, or drinking a martini in an inside bar. I fill the jacket pockets with two pens and my visual aids – both sun readers and clear reading glasses, and something to wipe the crud off the lenses. I look pretty good for me, and I’m beginning to feel confident about winning.

Deciding what to eat at the track is a delightful challenge. For me, a head first dive into a dozen fresh oysters on the half shell with lots of lemon and horseradish (naturally) just can’t be beat. If there’s a fried oyster poor boy or salad in the house, I’ll make this part of the daily double. If I feel like some red meat and a visit to TUMS City, I’ve got to find a corned beef or reuben sandwich. Regardless of what you eat, it just tastes better at the track. The fresh air and smells, the sounds, and the excitement of the crowd, all contribute to a heightened awareness of the senses.

More to follow…..

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This is the first of a several posts I hope to publish on Waiting In Line. I have had much experience in this area over the years, and I am still looking for better ways to learn and grow while waiting in line.

Part I – The Early Years

I admit it, I hate to wait in line. Even as a young kid, I associated waiting in line with fear of the unknown. I did not like waiting in line to see Santa when I was seven years old. I had successfully avoided personal contacts with him before – why did I need to talk to him now, face to face in Lowenstein’s Department Store, with my mother lurking in the background? I was worried that he knew about the stink bomb I had made in Andy’s back yard. And the dart I threw at my brother that stuck in his rear. And the cats that had parachuted from the roof of our house. I waited and rehearsed my lines. I wondered – was anyone else in on this caper? Was my run of great Christmas Day experiences about to end?

When I was 10 years old, Dr. Campbell, DDS, found a record number of cavities in my mouth. So many that my parents had to take out a second mortgage. I spent many hours in his office that summer watching the lava lamp and listening to cheesy Tijuana Brass numbers on the radio. All of the appointments were scheduled in the afternoons when I would have been playing baseball. I can still smell the Lava Soap in the rest room and hear the high whine of the drill. I always thought the left over pieces of Lava made their way into Dr. Campbell’s tooth cleaning powder.

In 1969, I stood in line with 50 or so teenage males to register for the draft. I thought it odd that we were completely naked and everyone was coughing as the military doctors walked the line. I silently practiced a low, manly, throaty cough. And when the Chief Doctor stood before me, and I was told to turn my head to the right and cough, I let out a violent thunderous roar that could have awakened Mothra and Godzilla from their deep monster sleep. I don’t know who was more surprised – me, or the Chief Doctor. Regardless, I was spared from the “big squeeze”.

In the role of the Instructor, you set the stage, the tempo, the rhythm of the class, the overall feel. In that sense, are you like the artistic director and the lead actor in a live theatrical performance?

Scientists report that we hear more notes that the musician actually plays. So, is that listener-filled-in space the most important part of what’s heard?

I’m tuning my Myers Briggs – grew up an INTP, transforming into an ENTP

Some theorize that instant msging, texting, etc., allow us to communicate the day-to-day chit chat stuff easier, thereby freeing us to have more meaningful face-to-face communications. Others believe that electronic means are shaping the way we communicate which extends to face-to-face interactions. Your thoughts???

How much influence does music, rhythms, and sounds in general have on what we like and who we like? How does it shape our thinking and how we socialize?