This week's The
Player's Edge Podcast guest, TVG's Matt Carothers (@MattCTVG) was gracious enough to
spend a little time with Horse Racing Radar before the show for a Q&A
HRR: In a video, you said you learned everything from
your father, what's the number one or most important lesson he tried to teach
Matt Carothers: To not play afraid. If you love a
longshot go all in. If the price goes up, don't worry that others disagree, as
it just means more money for you.
HRR: Your father also said he picked up some insights
from you, name one thing – or more if you would like - you taught your dad that
he tries to take credit for? In a loving way, of course.
Matt Carothers: He was just being kind in that. I
really haven't taught him anything. That stated, if I tell him that I love a
horse in a race that he hasn't looked at, he will play it blindly. That means a
HRR: You also said your dad was the best Pick 6
player, maybe in the world. Is that why Pick 4s and 5s appear to be your
favorite bets? And, what's your strategy for building race to race tickets?
Matt Carothers: I'm all about trying to hit a home
run. As a price player, you're going to have many more losing days than winning
ones, so you have to make the good days count. The pick 6 has become so watered
down that the pick 5 is my favorite play. The takeout is generally lower and
you have that chance to win big. The best sequence for me is when I find a
price I can single. That gives me the ability to spread a bit in the other
races, and if I'm right and get lucky in one or two of the other legs, I can
potentially make a lot.
HRR: You are known for taking prices, what's the
first thing you look for when you analyze past performances? And why?
Matt Carothers: You're probably thinking my answer is
going to be pace of race, but it's not. I do what most do, start with the 1
horse and proceed. Finding out whether or not I think that the favorite is weak
or not is very important.
HRR: You mentioned that getting prepared for your TVG
show is as much fun as doing the show. How long do you prepare before each
Matt Carothers: It depends on the card. The more
difficult the card, the more fun the work is, but at the same time, it can take
a long time. I would say I can get through a mediocre card in two hours, while
a really tough one with full fields might take 4 hours or so. There's only so
much time in the day, so I don't dive into every track that we are showing. I
also find it very disingenuous to turn in selections for a track that I really
haven't looked at. On a weekday, I might dive into 2 tracks, and on a weekend
3. I don't always have to handicap an entire card, so the preparation probably
takes between 3-7 hours.
HRR: Do you set your own odds? If so, how do you
arrive at them?
Matt Carothers: I do not. I'm pretty good at this
point of knowing bad morning lines, and knowing what price my horse is going to
be come post time.
HRR: We are in the business of making horse racing
picks. It's impossible to pick winners all the time. Often, we don't get the
credit when we are right but take criticism when we are wrong. Being a public
figure, you are doubly exposed. How do you handle the critics and how does it
drive you to be better?
Matt Carothers: As long as the criticism isn't
personal, it doesn't bother me at all. I have been doing this way too long to
care about an insult from someone I don't know on social media. I know that
this is one of the few things that I'm actually pretty good at, and I put in
the time. Whether or not my picks are great or awful on a particular day, I
think that most players can tell that I've done the work, which is the most
HRR: Your wife, Ren, is called the Pedigeek – you
should trademark that by the way and sell merch - and it fits her perfectly. If
you had to create one catchy word to describe your handicapping, what would it
be? I'll have a suggestion on Thursday's show, just remind me in case I forget.
Mick Jagger was right, it's a drag getting old.
Matt Carothers: C-Note
Make sure you listen to this week's The Players Edge Podcast
to hear more from Matt. He and the crew will, in Matt's honor, make their Pick
5 picks for Gulfstream Park's Fountain of Youth card.
Matt, we thank you for your time and may all your picks,
especially the ones on TVG, be winners.
Be sure and follow Matt on Twitter @MattCTVG and listen to this week's Player's Edge podcast when it airs later this week.