Greyhound Handicapping With Snowbirds And Penguins
By: Eb Netr
In the winter, I'm a snowbird. If I can get to Florida or TX or any place where it's warm and there's a dog track, I'm gone. However, when the heat starts to set in down South, I head up to my family's old camp in Maine. I guess that makes me a penguin, because I leave to get cool, while in the winter, I leave to get warm, which makes me a snowbird.
This summer, there's a heat wave that has managed to make it even into the usually cooler areas of New England. Believe me, when it gets above 89 in this part of Maine, it's unusual. And when the humidity rises along with it, it's miserable. The local harness track has to hose down the horses and, sometimes the drivers look like they've been running under the hose too. Our gardens droop and so do we and when it comes to playing races at the local OTB, we have to keep the heat in mind.
Although we can only play horses in Maine, if you're playing either horses or dogs anywhere in the US right now, you need to check the weather channel before you start putting down bets. I got a tweet today that Delaware Park shut down after the second race because the jockeys didn't think it was safe to ride in a temperature of 101. I would think that it would have been obvious to management, without the jockeys having to point it out, that riding in those temperatures is courting heat stroke for the horses AND the jockeys.
The same goes for greyhounds. Although many of them are used to running in pretty warm temperatures, because they regularly race in states like Florida, Texas and Arizona, when it gets too hot, they can run into trouble too. And even if they don't have heat stroke or suffer any ill effects, when it's really hot, it affects their performance. This is why I recommend that you model yourself on snowbirds in the winter and penguins in the summer.
In the winter when the winds are blowing the snow into the dogs' faces and the only thing colder than the track's surface is the heart of the legislator who sponsored the Unlawful Internet Gambling Act, I play tracks in Florida, Arizona and Texas. In the summer, when the tar is melting in the parking lot at Palm Beach and the leadouts are red-faced and dripping with sweat, I look at Dubuque, Bluffs Run and maybe West Virginia, although it can get pretty warm there also.
Weather is almost always a factor in handicapping, but much more so when it's extreme. So, take it into account and make sure it's not raining, snowing, blowing a gale, too hot or too cold before you attempt to win at the dog track. It's hard enough to handicap a race without having the weather against you.