Mourning Moreno- The “I Almost Had It” Syndrome

Cue the Violins- A Handicapper’s Sad Tale

Mourning MorenoI have been around horse racing nigh on to forty years now and I have seen most everything. I have heard all of the horse players’ stories and all of their outlandish lies and all of their near misses. I have heard all of the excuses as to why a horse did not win and how close they came to a king’s ransom and why they were back here crying in their beer. Yes I have heard and experienced it all. In fact, some of those sad tales I can call my own. That is what I am going to tell you now. A sad and heartbreaking story that will only be sad and heartbreaking to me, but I am going to bore you with it just the same for the sake of a handicapping lesson.

I Really Should Have Had Moreno

MorenoSaturday’s Dwyer Stakes has significant implications for me, but I’ll have to back track a bit before laying this sad tale of woe on you. For those who may not know it, I am the author and developer of The Oldest System on the Planet. Whether you have heard of it or not is not really relevant. Without going into the details of the system, I must tell you this story about the 2013 Dwyer Stakes and why I should have had Moreno, especially since I am the author of that system.

I sat down to do what I always do on Friday, follow orders, because I was assigned to write specific articles for this website. My son runs the site, and he dishes out the assignments for articles and I drew the Suburban and the Dwyer stakes for Saturday and the Queen’s Plate on Sunday. I dove into the form to give out my selections for the Suburban first and after just a few minutes I had settled on Flat Out for my pick to win that race.

Moreno-Dwyer StakesWishing to get through early, I decided to breeze through the Dwyer entries and make quick work of it and go for dinner. I do what I always do. I check the conditions of the race, the distance and whether it is on a turf or a dirt surface. Then I scan the race looking for characteristics of the Oldest System on the Planet (OSOP). It did not take me long to find one and that was #2 Moreno. So I checked him out a little bit closer and saw that it had taken him until his 10th race to break maiden. Despite what the system said to do… you, know, the system I created… I ruled him out and went on in search of the winner. 🙄

I went back to look at Moreno one more time and noticed that not only was he a play according to OSOP, but he met the conditions of a special OSOP selection where the percentage of wins increases dramatically. I call this type of play in the OSOP manual “The Twist”. I hesitated for a moment because of a tug at my conscience or my inner man or something… but I ignored it and picked Saint Vigeur as the winner and I went on to dinner.

Watching My Mistake Unfold

The next day the Suburban rolled around and it was somewhat exciting as my selection (and half of America’s) won the race and paid even money. I was satisfied as I had bet Flat Out and doubled my money. But then came the Dwyer. I noticed a strange thing when the windows opened and I made a comment on it to my son who was watching with me. Moreno opened in the betting at 3 to 1.

“That is strange. If he goes up to 6 or 7 to one, I will be concerned because that tells me the smart money was on him early. He should be about 10 to 1 and here he is at 3.”

Well, as they went into the gate his odds had sure enough increased to 5 to one. They got out of the gate and he went straight to the lead. The fractions were somewhat slow and I could feel the regret creeping up my leg. By the half mile marker I was near tears.

“He’s gonna steal it”, I managed to stammer.

And steal it he did. And he paid $13.40. My selection Saint Vigeur was second and the exacta paid $57.50. Here’s a replay of the race in case you missed it-


Moreno Wins 2013 DwyerSo what is so heartbreaking about that you say? Well, the selection from OSOP (which I authored) won and paid $13.40. And to top it off it was a “Twist” version of OSOP which says this is a higher percentage of winners here. It is as close to a sure thing right up there with death and taxes. And I ignored it, because it had taken him 10 races to break maiden. That was the only reason I did not bet him.

So I have heard every excuse in the book when it comes to the “I almost had it” syndrome. This story may not make you cry, but it sure brings tears to these baby blues. So what’s the lesson here? Never second guess your selection when it’s based on something you know works. Because once the race is over you can never get that one back.

Happy Ending In Queen’s Plate

Midnight Aria Wins Queens PlateThis is to update the article above, because I hate to end things on a sour note and there is a second lesson to be learned concerning my mistake on Moreno. I wrote that part of the article on Saturday night as the sting of my loss was still fresh in my mind. Like any other handicapping loss, I licked my wounds and tried to make the most of it, sharing with you my terrible mistake. But honestly, this lesson is meant to be two-fold. It is important to never second guess your selections or over-think a process when you already have a selection because you can’t get that race back, but more importantly it is crucial to recognize similar situations in other races, right? Enter the 154th Queens Plate.

The exact same situation was there, slapping me in the face this time. Midnight Aria was the only OSOP in the race. Oldest System on the Planet and From the BackSide members had it- this time I was going to have it, too! Moreno had been a rude reminder of how foolish I had been to pass him up, but Midnight Aria was my reward for remembering my handicapping failure in the Dwyer and cashing in on it in the Queens Plate. Paying $35.20 to win, Midnight Aria more than made up for my loss on Moreno!



The following two tabs change content below.

Handicap Horses

Co-lead Author & Admin at Handicap Horse Racing
Mike Lane, Sr is co-lead author and administrator of With over 38 years of experience and a degree in the "School of Hard Knocks" for handicapping, Mike has seen it all when it comes to thoroughbred racing and wants to help other horse players learn how to handicap and avoid the mistakes he has made in the past.

Latest posts by Handicap Horses (see all)

Leave a Reply