“My $50,000 Year at the Races” by Andrew Beyer
Horse Racing, memoir, handicapping, gambling
April 1, 1980
3 1/2 of 5 stars (good)
Andrew Beyer was already established as a respected writer on horse racing and on handicapping the sport in order to have regular success on betting. During the 1977 racing season, he had a very good year and chronicles this season in this book that was originally published in 1980.
Beyer highlights his successes and failures at four tracks – Gulfstream Park in Florida, Pimlico in Maryland, Saratoga in upstate New York and Berkshire Fair in Massachusetts. During his tales at each venue, Beyer talks about the methods he used to bet, what was working at the time and what wasn’t, and also how inside information is crucial to being able to win consistently. This is not just from reading the daily racing programs, but also obtaining whatever information can be received from trainers, jockeys and owner. He also talks about different methods of studying and analyzing statistics such as the times for each horse at different distances.
However, this book is not simply a manual, a how-to book or one that promises to make someone rich by betting on the horses. This is a memoir and recounting of that magical year of 1977 for Beyer when he was able to earn a nice wage for an entire year (keep in mind this is in 1977 and he earned over $50,000). He spins tales of his interactions with various people, including a “kid” who was learning how to hone his handicapping skills. The book is entertaining as a whole, and those readers who are horse racing fans or bettors will especially appreciate these stories. For readers like me who are not as invested in this type of gambling, it is still worth the time to read as it is fairly short, entertaining and some of the tricks Beyer uses are explained in layman’s terms. If a reader is looking for a change of pace that will be a fairly quick read, this will do the trick.
Pace of the book:
As someone who does not bet on horse racing regularly, I found parts of the book a little slower to read, but the overall story of Beyer’s season is a good read.
Do I recommend?
I would recommend this book to anyone who is seriously considering trying to improve his or her success on betting at the track. The author mentions regularly throughout the book that this is not a how-to manual but instead a compilation of recording and sharing his success in 1977. That advice should be taken and the book read as a story, not a manual.