Sep 29 2014

Well, did you win?

Or …

How did you do?

Did you have a good day?

Did you make any money?

After a day at the race track, you inevitably get one of these questions from family, friends, and co-workers.

I suppose it would be a fair question if you were a professional gambler, and profits and losses were the absolute measure of your success.

But for most horseplayers, horse racing is a hobby, something we like to do. And to me, a hobby requires a different measure than … did you win money? When someone enjoys a hobby; like golfing, fishing, or skiing … they’re not expected to justify themselves by “making money.” In fact, it’s expected they will spend money on golf clubs, fishing poles, boats, greens fees, lift tickets, etc.

Gulfstream Paddock

The Paddock at Gulfstream Park

As I said on my Bio page, I am not a professional gambler. But, I often do well enough to justify my hobby and even pay for many of my racing trips. My hobby brings me to interesting places, where I have met fascinating people; in beautiful settings. I’ve enjoyed numerous thrills, with endless opportunities for measured risk and reward, and stories … oh, the stories I can tell.

So, here’s how I look at it; when the racing dust settles, did I spend more money than I would have golfing, boating, or skiing? No. Did I have fun? Absolutely. Is there a chance I could come home with more money than I left with? Yes. And how many hobbies can you say that about?

So from now, when someone asks, “Well, did you win?”, just smile and reply, “I had fun!”

Neal Headshot2
By Neal Benoit

5 comments on “Well, did you win?

    • If you spend money on lift tickets, greens fees, or charter a fishing boat … are those considered “losses”? Most people would consider them the expense of enjoying a hobby. Personally, I don’t see any difference … except that with horse racing, you have a chance of recouping some or all of them. Unless of course you are losing more than a normal hobby might cost, then that’s a different problem entirely.

  1. Neal, Right on the mark as always! Keep up the good work. Raving Fans involve themselves in the game in so many ways beyond just placing wagers, but it’s assumed that’s all they do. Many fans of other sports dont get the same assessment. Think of all the money spent on team jerseys and other fan gear, plus the time spent on fantasy leagues that are basically handicapping pro player’s performances in order to win prizes. How many fans who play fantasy leagues or make wagers at the sports book in Vegas get asked if they won on Monday?

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