A Harvard dropout’s memoir of playing the horses—a great read for handicappers or those who enjoyed Ben Mezrich’s Bringing Down the House.
In 1977, before he was known as the creator of “The Beyer Speed Figure,” Andrew Beyer set out on a gambling odyssey, determined to prove himself as a horseplayer. He would marshal all his handicapping skills for assaults on four racetracks: Gulfstream Park, Pimlico, Saratoga, and the Barrington Fair.
The then thirty-three-year-old Harvard dropout had the credentials for this undertaking: two years earlier, his book Picking Winners had won a claim from bettors and critics alike. But the theory of handicapping and the practice of it are two very different things, and Beyer did all he could to prepare himself for this new challenge. He consulted with other professional horseplayers. He undertook detailed analyses of trainers and their methods. He refined his speed-handicapping techniques. He developed a revolutionary method for evaluating horses shipped from one track to another. He formulated a bold betting strategy. During the year, he experienced the dizzying thrill of winning more than $10,000 in an afternoon, and agonizing frustration that drove him to bash a hole in the wall of the Gulfstream Park press box. When it was over, Beyer had amassed a profit of $50,664.
His account of the year offers a rare, unromanticized look at the world of professional gambling. For horseplayers who have dreamed of beating the races, he proves that the dream is, sometimes, attainable. And he explains, in specific detail, how it can be done. There are no gimmicks in My $50,000 Year at the Races. Instead, there is a proven method of beating the races—and Andrew Beyer’s marvelously entertaining story of how he put it in practice.