Looking for some answers

Updated: July 22, 2005, 7:02 PM ET
By Jay Cronley | Special to ESPN.com

Are we learning anything?

1. References to "value" at the horse races are most frequently heard:
(a) At the IRS window.
(b) On national television.
(c) In the barns.
(d) At Gamblers Anonymous.

Answer: (d). Gamblers in search of value bet because of a horse's odds, a good way to wind up borrowing gas money home. Have value hunters ever heard of big bets being cancelled at the last moment? All winners have value. Value is a perk that goes with a successful wager.

2. True or false: Because of his relatively decent finish in the Preakness, Giacomo is back in the win picture of the Belmont Stakes.
Answer: He's all yours. False. Talk about a handicapping angle that is inexplicably backward: Many otherwise decent gamblers believe that a horse that closes considerably at one distance will close even more over a longer offering of ground. Contact your local high school math or physics department. Late gets later as time and space increase, something like that. Anything later than a stalker need not apply in New York in two weeks.

3. Technical handicapping relies on historic trends and treats horses and sports teams like stocks and bonds and commodities. Relying on trends when betting is beneficial:
(a) Often.
(b) More often than not.
(c) You must be kidding.

Answer: (c). The horses are different. The jockeys are different. The tracks are different. Betting trends eliminates the need for thought from the handicapper's head.

4. True or false: Trouble lines are over-bet.

Answer: True. Trouble lines are a little like the dumbest penalty in all of sports, the pass interference call in professional football where the ball is placed at the spot of the foul, the dumbness being: a completion is assumed. People tend to generalize that had a horse not had trouble, he would have run fast on this occasion and not the way he had the last five.

5. Which sport needs a make-over, and fast?:
(a) Horse racing, look at the average Thursday crowds.
(b) NASCAR, where competitors can catch up during timeouts.
(c) Men's tennis at Wimbledon, which is more like target practice than tennis, forget serve and volley, the contemporary game is serve and walk.
(d) The regular-season PGA golf tour, because who cares?
(e) The pro bass fishing tour because nobody fries what they catch.
(f) College football.

Answer: (f) College football. There's no playoff. Who votes on the top teams this year, Congress? Congress should investigate the injustice, that's what Congress should do.

6. True or false: You can make more money at a live horse race meet than at an off-track joint.

Answer: Positively and absolutely true. A live meet slows you down.

7. At many tracks and simulcast venues, the average horse players is treated like:
(a) Royalty.
(b) A perp.

Answer: (b). A royal pain in the backside, that's how most track management see us. People who gamble with dice and jacks get free suites. Horse players get free advice. Last time you heard "please" at the races might have been: Please spread your feet and place your hands against the wall. Here's what just might attract new business to the races: Good service.

8. The best bet is:
(a) A win, place or show wager.
(b) An Exacta.
(c) Daily Double.
(d) Pick 3, 4 or 6.
(e) Rolling Double.

Answer: (e). Occasionally you can pick a winner, right? After 20 years of regular race track attendance? A multiple-race bet is best in terms of easing the house take-out bite. Also, on a pick 2 through 6, you get to pick winners, what kind of person is comfortable searching for thirds and fourths, anyway. On rolling doubles, easy winners can be surrounded by good money. That's my choice; if you can't pick one a day every other day or so, think about sewing.

9. True or false: A good $2 trifecta could put you in the winner's circle as an owner at a Triple Crown race.

Answer: With enough left over for dinner. Before the Derby, you could have bred your mare with Giacomo's sire Holy Bull for less than $20,000; prior to last year's juvenile season, Afleet Alex's sire had a stud fee of well less than $10,000, before the Preakness, less than $20,000. ubai must be wondering what is going on over here anyway.