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*****Horseracing Handicappers' Free Picks Newsletter***** Welcome. As per usual, time is flying and we're in December already with only 4 weeks until the new Millenium. Hopefully all of us have Y2K-compliant computers and software and we'll all go forward without a hitch. In today's issue of "Horseracing Handicappers' Free Picks Newsletter" I want to cover an important topic again and that is How to Bet. This is not only a subject that is not talked about very often, but it is one that is extremely complex. After all, once you have found a race you like, the wagering choices can be numerous and maybe even overwhelming. Which options should you choose to play? Which horses should you include? Let's begin to try and solve the problem with a review of my 3-step wagering plan. Step 1: after handicapping a race I have to decide if my horse or horses have a decided edge over the remainder of the field. By edge I mean a superior internal fraction advantage, such as a horse having run a 23.3 final quarter in a sprint race versus, for example, a next-best such time of 24.2. Or that edge could be an advantage in the appropriate internal fraction for a turf race. The needed edge could also be a move-within-a-race that a horse has made (such as Profile, Wide Out, WIR, Golden Eighth, or SRE) versus no such other moves by any of the remaining contenders. By the way, all purchasers of "Calibration Handicapping" will soon be receiving by email a supplement of 3 new Chapters, which cover the Wide Out play, Turf racing and Internal Fractions, including the Golden Eighth. If for some reason you have purchased the book and do not receive this supplement by December 11th, please notify me. Step 2: After deciding that I have an edge in a particular race, the next thing I must demand is value. I'm not particularly interested in locating a horse with a decided edge over the rest of the field that has a morning line of 6-5. In all probability that horse will go off at even lower odds, and therefore will not present enough value to risk a wager. One of the problems with handicapping a race and posting picks ahead of time is the value factor. For instance, on Wednesday of this week I posted some picks for Aqueduct on my Website. Although I had the winner of Race 8 listed right on top that had a morning line of 12-1 and paid $46.60, for the 6th race I had a horse listed on top with a morning line of 9-5. The public jumped all over her and she paid $3.10! You can see the graphic difference in value between the two ML's and subsequent payoffs of these two selections. They both had edges, but the value was there for only one of them. If the final odds on a horse or even exotic plays don't pay more than your fair odds line, it is prudent to pass the race and move on. That 1 to 2 shot who won the 6th on Wednesday, however, brings me to the 3rd step in my 3-step wagering process. Carleaville was a Profile horse that had run 2-wide while battling on top for 5 furlongs before fading back to 4th. But that was in a Grade 3 stakes race and she was dropping back to a non-winners of 2 allowance race in this match up. Since she was the "speed of the speed" in a pace shape of mostly early speed horses, she was my strong pick. But what about value? My step 3 states that if the conditions of the first two steps have been met, I must carefully look at each and every (and I stress the word every) wagering option that I have at my disposal for my selection(s). In the case of Carleaville I could not wager to win and I could not wager on the exacta because with one of my other choices the exacta was a paltry $7 & change. What else was available? The pick 3! Could there possibly be enough value in any pick 3 play using a 1 to 2 shot ($3.10) in the first leg? There sure could be if your top pick in the final leg has a morning line of 12-1. Keying on the 6-horse in leg 1, using the 3 horses in leg 2 that were exiting the race with the best internal fractions, and finishing the bet with the two horses I had listed in race 8, a Pick 3 play looked like this: 6/6-7-11/2-6. The winning combination of 6-7-6 paid $536.00 and for a $2 wager, the cost was $12. This was not a stretch. The winners of the 1st and 3rd legs were listed on top on my Website, and if you have access to the p.p.'s of race 7 you can see that what I say is true about the best internal fractions of the race the top 2 finishers exited ($15.80 for the win and $56.00 for the exacta). To demonstrate how careful examination of all wagering options can lead to value payoffs while simply playing any wagers without having your thinking cap on can do the opposite consider this. I'm sure there were quite a few fans at Aqueduct on Wednesday that decided to play the pick 6 instead of the 2 pick 3's. As it turned out, there were no winners of the pick 6. As a matter of fact, no one even picked 5 winners out of the 6 races, 3 through 8. Those who picked 4 winners out of 6 were rewarded with $240.00. Yet keying on a heavy favorite in the first leg of the late pick 3 cashed in on a payout of $536.00 for playing only 3 of the pick 6 races! But hold on. The 2 pick 3 wagers compose the exact same six races as the pick 3, races 3 through 5 and races 6 through 8. And both of these pick 3 wagers were hit! This is another clear demonstration of the notion that your choice of wagers is just as important as your choice of horses. I've attached a file to this newsletter. It's the Daily Racing Form past performance listings of a race from which I made a selection in last Sunday's edition. The race is the 11th at Calder on November 28th, 1999. To get this file Click Here. To view these p.p.'s you need an Adobe Acrobat Reader, which can be downloaded for free from Adobe's site by Clicking Here. The reason I listed only the one selection, #3, Gold For My Gal is because of my estimation of the potential long odds of this horse, who had a morning line of 15-1. When I feel that a horse I like (and list) is going to be strong value in and of itself, I will sometimes list only this horse. Why? To encourage those who decide to play my pick or picks to focus on the horse itself before considering other possible plays with it. This does not mean, however, that they should not follow step 3 of my wagering process and decide for themselves which option(s) of the available plays would be most profitable. Let's take a look at this race and see what we come up with. It is a field of 8 two-year-old fillies going 7 furlongs in a non-winner of 2 other than (maiden or claiming) allowance race. It has a pace shape of EP-EP with 5 of the fillies having EP running styles. Since there is a lack of strong closers, it would be prudent in such a match up to look at those with the potential to go out on top. Using my "speed of the speed" calculation, I came up with Gold For My Gal as the horse most likely to emerge with the lead at the top of the stretch. Since this horse was a longshot Profile/Wide Out play also, she became a horse with not only an edge, but one with a lot of value also. Since I can see no great advantage with respect to internal fractions in this group, let's look at the Beyer speed figures. In post-position order, from 1 through 8, here are the lifetime best Beyer speed figures on dirt followed by the best figure in the last 3 dirt races and finally, the last race type:
1. 51, 40 1 mile on turf Again, the reason I'm looking at speed figures is because the internal fractions comparison shows me no advantages. Such a comparison in this particular match up is difficult anyway since the last races vary in distance and surface so much, but without any standouts shown by fractions, and the only move-within-a-race horse being Gold For My Gal, speed figures are the next best place to look for any edges. As can be seen, the horses with the best Beyer speed figures are #'s 2, 6, 3 and 4. A closer look shows that #6 Bea D J is a likely contender, in spite of a 4 1/2-month layoff. She last competed in a stakes race, which followed her only other outing, a maiden-breaking 6 3/4 length victory. As can be seen by the italicized printing of the first three finishers of her last race, all 3 of those horses came back to win their next start. In this case, Bea D J's last race is not a perceived "key" race, but a proven one. That information, coupled with the fact that she possessed one of the top speed figures would make her a fairly logical bet to run well with this group, especially since she was a strong second choice in the betting at 2 to 1. The post time chalk was #2, Cherokee Love who possessed the best dirt speed figure and at 7-5 appeared to have a solid chance with these. Now for the $64 question, how do you play the race? Is there an edge? Yes. #3 shows an edge as a Profile/Wide Out play and also as the speed of the speed. Is there value? Obviously if you like a 36 to 1 shot, there is value in this race. So how do we wager on the race? As I said before, if I like a horse who in my opinion has a solid chance to win or be in the money at odds of 36 to 1, I'm going to play that horse alone and possibly in exotics. Because of the high odds, I would (and did) play her to win, place and show, with more on place and show than on win. The next options available to me were exacta, trifecta and superfecta. Since 2 of my top 3 contenders were pretty chalky, it wouldn't make much sense to box those two together in an exacta. Therefore, I would use the longshot angle horse #3 with the other two in exacta boxes. The trifecta is a different story, as is the superfecta, which I don't play very often. For the trifecta you can box all 3 top choices or key #3 with the next 3 choices. For example, one trifecta wager would be: $2 box 2-3-6 at a cost of $12, while another would be: $2 3/2-4-6/2-4-6, $2 2-4-6/3/2-4-6 and $2 2-4-6/2-4-6/3 at a cost of $36.00. Obviously, a wager constructed for $1 bets would cost half as much. If you are interested in obtaining a real handy exotic wagering calculator for free, go Here. Then click on "Tools and Utilities" and then "download the wager calculator". It calculates the cost for all kinds of exotic wagers, including exactas, trifectas, superfectas, and pick 3's. This is an awfully handy calculator that you can download for free in about 10 seconds and place it on your desktop for handy reference. As Barry Meadow states in his December newsletter, it would be appropriate for anyone who does download this freebie to send a little thank you to its originator, Horatio Kemeny at hkemeny@paralynx.com. Horatio says that if you want to build a portable version of his calculator, he will be happy to supply you with the source code. Now that we know the potential cost of our exotic wagers, we can plan and construct them. While Gold For My Gal never did attain the lead, she ran quite well for a 36 to 1 shot and was never further than 3 lengths behind at any point of the race. She finished second by just over a length while clear of the third-place finisher by 3/4 of a length. Gold For My Gal paid $20.20 for place and $6.20 for show (because both of the favorites were in the money). The exacta of 6-3 paid $186.60; the trifecta of 6-3-2 paid $560.60 and the superfecta of 6-3-2-4 paid $1,801.00. By the way, the trifecta of 6-3-2 fit the criteria of what the Guru refers to as a TBC. If you are a fan of the trifecta, by all means you should check out what he has to say about the TBC's; It's nothing short of amazing how often they come in. You will find his website location at the end of this newsletter. These value payoffs were created by one horse, the Profile/Wide Out play at 36-1. The other 3 finishers went off as the top 3 choices at 7-5, 2-1 and 7-1. This race clearly demonstrates the concept of value and how to go about taking advantage of that value. Although plays like this will lose more times than they win, and in this case running second was good enough for some pretty decent value payoffs, playing them when they do arise is how we can keep ahead of this game. That's it for today; until next week, I wish you clear skies and fast tracks and.....knock 'em dead! Jim ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ To get an additional unique and valuable slant on handicapping the thoroughbreds, see what my friend the Guru has to say at: http://www.a1handicapping.com/ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Email: Jim@horseracinghandicapper.com fax: (603) 676-1216 *****Horseracing Handicappers' Free Picks Newsletter***** Sunday's edition of this newsletter is normally just selections. But I received an email from Hap on Saturday and I figured I would answer it here. Here is part of Hap's email: "I really am enjoying your newsletters. I told (someone) in a comment about your self criticism that "such honesty is refreshing in this age of cynicism." Also, your discussion about searching for value bets is an area little touched upon by most pros. How to Make Wagers 101, is not taught in any college or university that I know of. Too bad! In my own case, I am sadly lacking in the ability to construct bets. This keeps me from playing the pick 3 and making place parlays and other value exotics because I really don't know how and have nobody to show me." The best thing I can think of to address Hap's self-admitted lack of ability to construct bets is to go over how I played the picks I had posted yesterday, Saturday. Like I've said in the past, the wagering process is just about as important as the handicapping process. I'm sure there is a wide range of expertise in the subscriber base I have in this forum. I know of a few who are good enough to be in the red at the end of the year. I know also, that there are total beginners to this game who know very little about any of it and are in the learning process. And of course there are hundreds somewhere in the middle. Following is a reprint of Saturday's picks as listed in this newsletter: Aqueduct Race 1
7. Slash Cottage (5-1) (5-2) Slight drop off 2 strong mile races Race 4 2. Dolfmeister (4-1) (5-2) Near-Profile had trouble in stretch Race 6 5. Away (7-5) (1-1) Pick 3 single? Race 7 8. Sense of Duty (6-1) (3-1) Profile/Wide Out likes distance Race 8 5. Crab Grass (7-2) (3-1) Profile/Wide Out looks good if she goes Race 9 2. Sir Smooth (7-2) (5-2) Profile/Wide Out moves inside; better shot Calder Race 4 8. Casino Kid (10-1) (5-1) Profile/Wide Out play likes Calder Here are the wagers I constructed for these 7 races: Aqueduct Race 1 With the late scratch of my top choice, #7 Slash Cottage, I was left with 2 picks, #6, Your So Fine and #5 Jaye's Hope. I listed #6 over #5 because I liked her better due to her moving in from the 9-hole and also because of her two consecutive wins on the inner track last year. When I saw the odds, I had to wager to win on #6 and I also boxed an exacta of 5-6. The 6 won at $18.20 and the 5 ran 4th so I made a nice profit on the win bet and lost the exacta. Race 4 Since my top pick, #2 was around 5-2 and I wasn't that thrilled about the value in this race, I passed. #2 ran 2nd. Race 6 From the gitgo I intended to use this race as the start of the late pick 3. I played that wager like this: 2-5/3-8-9/1-4-5. The cost of this wager for $2 is $36 and the payoff of 2-9-4 was $293. A $1 wager cost $18 and the return was $146.50. I also then put in more with the 5 horse in race 6, but she ran second to the runaway #2. In other words, I used every single horse I had listed in the late pick 3, and luckily hit it. Race 7 In this race, I went with a win bet on the Profile/Wide Out #8 and then I put in an exacta box of 3-8-9, for which a $2 bet costs $12. Again, if you downloaded that free exotic wager calculator I mentioned in Saturday's issue you can see what the cost is of just about any wager. I then used my top 2 picks, 8 and 9 in a much heavier box exacta, for which a $2 bet costs $4. The exacta of 9-8 paid 22.40. Race 8 Since I liked the second half of the Daily Double, I decided to stress that wager more than the exactas in race 8. I played the following late D/D's: 1-4-5/2-3-8, for which a $2 bet costs $18. Since I liked the first two listed horses the best in race 9, I also played this double: 1-4-5/2-3, for which a $2 bet costs $12. I then played an exacta box in race 8 of 1-4-5. The exacta lost, but I was alive in the doubles with 3 horses in the 9th when Pentelis drew off in deep stretch and paid $48.20. I also hit the pick 3 for $293. Race 9 I decided to not make any wagers in this race since I was alive with my top three choices in the D/D and they would pay the following: 4-2 $268.50, 4-3 $211.50 and 4-8 $283.50. The favorite, #3 won the race paying $8.50 with the 8 running second. The exacta paid $32.00 and I finished a real nice day with the $211.50 late D/D. Calder Race 4 I went with a win bet on the Profile/Wide Out play, #8 but he disappointed and ran out of the money. I also played exacta boxes with him and the other two picks, #'s 4 and 7. I hope this helps somewhat, but know that for all of us it takes some time and practice to become a good bettor. That's it for today; until next week, I wish you clear skies and fast tracks and.....knock 'em dead! Jim ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ To get an additional unique and valuable slant on handicapping the thoroughbreds, see what my friend the Guru has to say at: http://www.a1handicapping.com/ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Email: Jim@horseracinghandicapper.com fax: (603) 676-1216
*****Horseracing Handicappers' Free Picks Newsletter***** Welcome to another edition of "Horseracing Handicappers' Free Picks Newsletter." Today I'll continue with the subject of last Saturday's issue, "Handicapping and Wagering" I received a number of emails concerning the topic of wagering, asking me to elaborate on it. First, however, I want to ask that any purchasers of "Calibration Handicapping" who did not receive the supplement of 3 additional chapters please contact me by email. Due to the total crash and loss of everything on my old computer's hard drive, the names of early buyers from Jerry's group have been lost. If you want the 3 chapters emailed to you, please drop me an email requesting them and I'll fire them off to you immediately. Last Sunday's 7th race at Aqueduct provides me with a good example of how to handicap a fairly typical sprint pace scenario and also how best to wager on it. I listed picks for that race on Sunday, but unfortunately I was influenced by factors other than those that pointed to the first two finishers pretty clearly. Obviously, I would prefer to use a race I was successful with, but this one provides some insight for our mutual future benefit. I've attached the Daily Racing Form past performances for this race, and as per usual, you will need an Adobe Acrobat Reader to view them. To download a free copy Click Here. To get the PP for this race Click Here. Each weekend on Saturday and Sunday, an online friend of mine, Larry emails me with his picks from Aqueduct before he looks at my newsletter selections. Race 7 from last Sunday was included and after a late scratch of #3, which was his second choice, his picks ran one-two in inverted order. In other words, he only had two horses remaining and the winner and the exacta came from those two picks. Pretty good handicapping, right? He must have made a nice score, right? First answer, yes; second answer, no. Although Larry is becoming more and more adept at picking live horses, he admits that he needs help with wagering and this is a pretty good and probably fairly typical example of how things can go right and yet wrong at the same time. I have to believe that Larry picked the horses that finished 1-2 because of what I've been trying to hammer home about comparison of internal fractions as an important handicapping tool, especially in sprint races. Like I've said more than a few times, I believe the best way to go about handicapping a race is to begin by scanning all the entries with a fine-toothed comb and getting a pretty good idea of the contenders versus the pretenders and also deciding if the race seems to have enough value to warrant spending the necessary time on. Next, I identify the running styles and write them down somewhere on each horse's past performance section in the Daily Racing Form. Then at the top of the race, I indicate what the pace shape is of this particular match up. Once I have a good idea of the pace shape and likely pace scenario, I look for any angle horses and then I do the internal fractions comparison calculations. Following is what I came up with and had marked on my Form for race 7 at Aqueduct last Sunday. It was a 6F allowance sprint for fillies and mares, which had not won three races other than maiden, claiming or starter. Here were the entries after the defection of #3: Horse Running Style Angle Play Turn Time Final Fraction 1. Devil's Quid E None 23.1 24.4 By looking at this chart, which may be scrambled somewhat during this transmission, you can see instantly that it was quite tilted in favor of early speed. Five out of the six entries were either E or EP runners. With a pace shape of EEE, the first thing I do is check out the E horses. I must try to determine if there is a dominant early speed horse among those with the E running style. If there is such a horse, then the most likely scenario will be that the other E horses that will chase him into the stretch will tire and fade out of the exacta. If indeed there is a dominant early speed horse from among all the early speed types, the question then is will he go all the way and win the race? The answer can be determined by a couple of factors. Number one, how hard will that dominant speed horse be pressed early and late? Will any of the other speeds press him to the point where he will have to run ultra-quick fractions to the top of the stretch? If so, do any of the remaining horses have a good enough closing kick to go by him in deep stretch? These are the questions that we must ask and answer to unravel the puzzle of each match up, and of course, there are many different match ups and pace shapes that we will encounter, each of which will require their own correct answers. First let's look at the early speed horses in this lineup. Obviously, #1 Devil's Quid is an E horse that goes for the lead each and every time he leaves the starting gate. The two other E horses, #2 One More Walk and #7 Sunshine Teri also seem to desperately want the lead, and the p.p.'s reveal that in October, Devil's Quid and Sunshine Teri had a real battle all the way with the latter prevailing with the win. Because of the likelihood of Devil's Quid going right out on top from the inside and the potential for her being severely pressed by either the 2 or the 7 or both, it would be smart to take a look at the other 3 horses in the field to see if any of them have the capability of closing down on the horse that emerges with the lead after an early battle. Can you spot any such horse or horses? First of all, the turn times don't show us much of an advantage. The last turn times of #'s 4 and 7 were achieved from being dead-last and second-to-last on the turn respectively in their last races. Just from looking at the p.p.'s and the first quarter fractions you can see that there should be a real early speed confrontation in this match up. But if you look at the final fractions of the last races, you can see a pretty decent differential that should come into play with such a likelihood of an early duel. Horses 4 and 5 both ran 3rd quarters of 24.2 in their last races. #6 ran as what I call a Profile horse in her last race and based on that had to be considered by me to have a good chance to catch a tiring pacesetter. Additionally, in her winning effort one race prior she ran a strong 23.3 final quarter. With this information right in front of us, we can see that any or all of the three non-E horses could close well into an anticipated strong early pace. If you had to choose between the 4 and the 5 as to which you would think had the better chance, consider this. Although both ran identical final fractions in 24.2, the 5 did it in a race that was run one full second faster. Yes it was run at the Meadowlands, but Di's Time had previously shown the ability to win in New York and also showed a record of 1 win and 3 second-place finishes from 4 races on the inner dirt track. In addition, she is an EP runner versus the 4 being an S horse. In 20-20 hindsight it looks pretty clear-cut doesn't it? And that's one of the problems with going over a race and coming up with results that I didn't post correctly; it's real easy afterward. But this is a good example of how to handicap this kind of sprint match up. As you either know or can guess by now, the winner was #5, Di's Time who paid $18.80. The 4 horse, Perlinda got up in time to get the place money clearly over #1, Devil's Quid, who hung on for the show after being forced to run the fastest splits of the day. The exacta box of 5-4 that Larry picked correctly paid $82.50, not bad for a 6-horse field. While I'm at it, I'll state again that I'm extremely grateful to Mr. Beyer for allowing his speed figures to be printed in the Daily Racing Form for all to see. Although I didn't have this winner or exacta, I've had many scores from scenarios very much like this and I know there will be many, many more just like it to come. Before I go on, I should explain why I had the wrong horses listed. First of all, I made #6 Youbetterbelieveit my top choice because as mentioned she was the only angle horse in the field and also because of her previous race final fraction. As it turns out, she didn't run well. I then picked Sunshine Teri to hang on over Devil's Quid for the place and show. All this while having the 24.2 final fraction for #'s 4 and 5 underlined in red right in front of me! It's a case of not following my own methods, which unfortunately does happen once in a while. Why do you think that the 4 and the 5 horses were given morning lines of 20-1 and 15-1 respectively in this field? Di's Time had gone off in her last 3 races, beginning with her latest at 5-2, 4-1 and 7-1. How could she be given a morning line of 15-1 in this match up? Simple; the Beyer speed figure differential. Here are the last few Beyers for the field beginning with the latest race, followed by the lifetime best on a dry track. 1. 85 91 96 96 As you can see, the first two finishers (#5 and #4) had the worst Beyer speed figures in the field. In her entire racing career, the winner, #5 Di's time had not run a speed figure anywhere near any of the last 3 figures achieved by #1 Devil's Quid and yet in this race, beat that rival by almost 5 lengths, which is the equivalent of about 12 Beyer speed figure points. What does this tell us? Simply this. If you base your handicapping and wagering decisions on speed figures, you will miss out on a ton of overlay opportunities like this one. And this kind of scenario happens more often than you might think. This exercise demonstrates the power we can have as handicappers to properly assess the pace shape and likely pace scenario of the race. This example also shows why logical horses like these top two finishers can pay huge overlay prices. The morning line oddsmaker even got swayed by the speed figure differential. Horses that are entered in the right match up, which is favorable to their running style can and do win in spite of a huge speed figure disadvantage. In the case of our example, I'm sure Di's Time ran a lifetime best speed figure in this race, which was due to the very fast early pace that set it up for her. By the way, if this particular race had a different pace shape, the results would very likely have been a lot different. Suppose Devil's Quid was the only E horse entered and the rest of the field had running styles of EP, S, P, P and P. She very likely would have won with ease, after running much softer early fractions. This race also shows the importance of internal fractions comparison. Once we found that there was going to be a hotly contested pace, we could then see which horses possessed the last-race final fractions that suggested they would be able to close into that pace. Now what about the betting? How could Larry have not made any money on this race? Well, he didn't. As a matter of fact, he lost money. What Larry did was make a decision to play his top choice, #4 to win and that was the extent of his wagering plan. Why? First of all, I believe he second-guessed himself once he saw the morning line odds on his picks. That's why it's a good idea to make your own morning line or "fair odds" line. In a short field of 7, I don't believe that 2 contenders with final fractions in their last races of 24.2 should have ML's of 15-1 and 20-1. Because he likely figured that the probability of both of these two morning line longshots running one-two was slim, he picked out the one he liked best and wagered to win on it. But did he go over all the wagering options? When faced with a situation like this, with the two top selections going off at 8-1 and 4-1, here is perhaps the best way to wager; a win bet on both picks and an exacta box on the two of them. Do I say this just because both bets won? No, I believe that in the long run you will generate a better ROI this way. Which is better, spending $8 and cashing or spending $2 and losing? For each $2 to win on "dutching" both of your top selections plus a $2 exacta box of those two, the cost is $8. In this case, even if the exacta failed, with Di's Time winning Larry would have spent $8 and received a payoff of $18.80. Which is better? Since both win bets and exacta bets have merit, it may be best to play both most of the time. If the payoffs warrant it, in the above scenario, you could also include a third horse in the exacta box, which would raise the cost of that bet to $12 and the overall outlay from $8 to $16. I understand that many players would say that's too much of a per race outlay for me right now. Unfortunately, in this game, in order to make the right wagers, you have to invest the correct amount also, and you have to cover most of the possibilities to do this. For anyone who is having difficulty with wagering, I would suggest that you choose some "value" plays that you come across in the future and make "paper" bets using the wagering plan I suggest and calculate the results. If you make 7 such wagers in which there is enough value to justify betting 2 horses to win and playing a 3-horse exacta box, which would cost a total of $112, see what the return would be. Establishing and maintaining a good-sized bankroll is one of the most difficult feats in horseracing. Because we are absolutely destined to lose far more wagers than we win, it is imperative that we play for value and also cover as many bases as possible. We have to be like some professional athletes. Did you ever notice baseball players at bat or golfers addressing the ball? They go through exactly the same precise routine, each and every time they step up to the plate, or get ready to hit a golf ball. Wagering on the horses should be no different. To succeed, we must have a routine that we will follow without thinking about it, automatically. If we are confronted by a race that we will play by itself, meaning not in a daily double or a pick 3, etc., after reviewing all our options for the race, we should have a standard play like the one I've mentioned above that we know from experience will keep us going in the right direction. Of course, the wagering plan I've mentioned is just a basic one. After building up a good-sized bankroll, you will likely expand the plan. For example, in addition to wagering on both top choices to win, you may play extra exactas. In addition to an equal amount 3-horse box, you may play an additional amount on a 2-horse box and even more with one of your choices on top. You may opt for a trifecta play. The point is, you can't really get ahead with a small win wager on one horse, unless you are really good and really selective to the point that you are playing live longshots each and every time. I'll probably continue along these lines in the near future. Until then, I wish you clear skies and fast tracks, and.....knock 'em dead! Jim ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ To get an additional unique and valuable slant on handicapping the thoroughbreds, see what my friend the Guru has to say at: http://www.a1handicapping.com/ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Email: Jim@horseracinghandicapper.com fax: (603) 676-1216 *****Horseracing Handicappers' Free Picks Newsletter***** Welcome. Next Saturday being Christmas, there will be no edition of Horseracing Handicappers' Free Picks Newsletter. I want to take this opportunity to wish each and every one of you a happy and joyous Christmas holiday and seasons greetings. My home track Aqueduct will be open on Monday 12/20/99 and will be closed for 5 days, Tuesday through Christmas Saturday. If I get a chance at any time during that period and find value plays at any other tracks, I will either send an email or I will post them on my site under Free Selections. Well, the wagering plan I set forth in last Saturday's newsletter has paid great dividends to a few of you already as stated in your emails to me. Here is a review of that plan and the profits it would have yielded using my picks for Saturday and Sunday, the 11th and 12th of December. Step one is to dutch the first 2 selections to win, providing the odds make it worth doing so. I would say a good rule of thumb is that the post time odds of the two top picks should combine for a minimum total of 7-1. If they combine for a total of less than that, it would probably not be prudent to wager to win on two horses. Then the decision is to skip the win wager or pick one of them, and if they are fairly close in odds, I would usually opt for the longer price, but there are other variables that would point you to one or the other. Of course this step can be modified when one of the picks is a pretty hefty longshot. For such a horse you may want to split your win wager to include the place and/or show slots. The examples I will be giving will be hypothetical wagers of $2, including on the win end, while in reality, at least for the win wager, more money will usually be allotted. Step 2 is to play an exacta box using all three selections. Here is the compilation of results using this wagering plan on my posted selections for Aqueduct on Saturday and Sunday of last week. Saturday I listed picks for four races, #'s 1, 5, 8 and 9. Since there were no late scratches, and the top 2 selections in each race combined for at least 7-1 odds, and there were no extreme longshots, the win wagers would be on 8 horses for a total of $16.00. The exacta box wagers would be on the three choices in each race at a cost of $12.00 per race or a total of $48.00. The total outlay would then be $64.00. The first 2 races connected on the win and the exacta boxes as my top choice in each won and the second choice in each ran second. The 2 win payoffs were $9.50 and $7.10 for a total of $16.60. The 2 exacta payoffs were $29.60 and $48.00 for a total of $77.60. The combined payoffs equaled $94.20. Subtract the total wagers of $64.00 and the profit on the day was $30.20 for an ROI of 47%, which is far above average. For every multiple of $2 you increase these wagers, obviously you would increase your profits by $30.20. So, for example if you made $6 wagers, your profit on the day would be $90.60. Although Saturday's results were not all that bad using this wagering format, Sunday's turned out quite a bit better. The picks for Sunday at Aqueduct were for races 2, and 5 through 9, six in all. After late scratches, races 2, 6 and 7 had only two picks and in spite of the 6 horse in race 6 going off at 6-5, I'll assume we wagered on both picks in that race because the other choice went off at 16-1. As it turns out, the 6 horse in that race dead-heated for the win and paid a paltry $2.30. There were 12 win wagers totaling $24.00 and the payoffs totaled $35.50. There were a couple of longshots in my top two selections, one of which, #4 in race 5, paid $18.60 to place, but for the purposes of this tabulation, I'll not include that payoff. The exacta boxes cost $4 for the 3 races with 2 horses listed and $12 for the 3 races with 3 horses listed. The total outlay for exactas was $48.00. This combined with the win wagers equals a total outlay for the day of $72.00. The exacta box payoffs were $234.50 in race 5 and $277.00 in race 9, which is a total of $511.50 returned and a profit of $463.50. The profit on the day was $475.00 for an ROI of 660%. Again, if you made all $6 bets, the day's profit was $1,425.00. While we cannot expect results like this all that often, it demonstrates how on a good day, this simple wagering plan can take advantage of the payoffs, without missing anything. I'll be the first to admit that using this plan would not have yielded great profits for each and every weekend I've posted picks. But in the long run, I believe the ROI is well above what would be considered very good. For example, the $39.00 horse listed on top on Thanksgiving Day plus the cold exacta of $116.50 in that race combined to make for another very nice day and there have been more. If you are in it for the long run you want a wagering plan that will hold up and keep you in the black. While this play does that in my opinion (using my picks), it does not cover all the bases. From time to time there will be value situations that call for other wagers, such as the pick 3 or the daily double and you would have to decide for yourself when these plays would be appropriate. I'd like to show you now how I came up with the exacta box of $234.50 in race 5 last Sunday. It's a good example of how to compare internal fractions in a race that has a number of different last-race distances that horses are exiting. I've included an attachment of the Daily Racing Form past performances so you can follow along. To get the file Click Here. You will need an Adobe Acrobat Reader to view them. To download a free copy Click Here. The internal fraction I looked at and compared for that race at a mile and a sixteenth is the final or near-final fraction. Here's how I looked at the field from the top down and the fractions I compared. I'll list the number of the horse, followed by the distance of the race, followed by the internal fraction I look at for that distance, followed by the actual fraction for each horse: 1. - 1 Mile - Fraction from 6F to Mile - 27.0 2. - 7F - Fraction from 4F to 6F - 25.2 3. - 6F - Fraction from 4F to 6F - 25.2 4. - 1 Mile - Fraction from 6F to Mile - 27.2 5. - 1 Mile - Fraction from 6F to Mile - 26.0 6. - 6F - Fraction from 4F to 6F - 26.4 7. - 1 1/8 Mile - Fraction from 6F to Mile - 24.4 8. - 1 Mile - Fraction from 6F to Mile - 26.0 9. - 1 Mile 70 Yds. - Fraction from 6F to Mile (must be adjusted by subtracting 4 seconds from final raw time) - 25.4 10. - 6F - Fraction from 4F to 6F - 25.4 From looking at this chart, which should be clearly written down for each race we are thinking of playing, a big red circle should be put around #7 as having the outstanding final fraction of the group. So why did I pick him third? Simply because the 4 horse and the 1 horse were both "angle" horses. The 1 horse was one of my discoveries, what I refer to as a Wide Out play and the 4 horse was one of the Guru's discoveries, what he calls the WIR move-within-a-race (both of which of course are detailed in my book). Since this pace shape match up led me to believe that the 4 horse had a real good chance to go all the way on top at a nice price, I made him my key, and he almost lasted at 17 1/2 to 1 ($18.60 to place), but still completed the nice exacta of $234.50 when the 7 closed like a runaway train and got the win at $14.40. In other words, the 7 horse did exactly as the above chart suggested he might do. And if you looked at the pace shape of the race, which was E-E, with 2 E-style horses, 2 EP's, 3 P's and 3 S's (including the 7), it seemed as though there may be enough of a pace to set up such a late charge by the 7. Don't misunderstand what I'm saying here. I'm not implying that internal fractions comparison is the whole ball game. It is simply one of the pieces to the puzzle of handicapping. Other very important factors are the pace shape of a race, the moves-within-a-race horses make, and the condition that horses are in. Even speed figures, which our competition focuses on can be very useful. Without knowing about the Guru's discovery, the WIR move-within-a-race, I wouldn't have used, let alone keyed in on the longshot 4 horse who accounted for the big payoff. In his last 4 races, Billstown was beaten by a combined 53 lengths and his Beyer speed figures as such were far inferior to most of his competition. There was little to suggest to John Q. Public that this horse was going to run such a big race, at odds of 17 1/2 to 1. If you can learn to work with fractions and also learn about moves-within-a-race, you can uncover value plays like this. What's real interesting and gratifying to me is that the general public does not understand how to and therefore did not handicap this race in the above-described manner. What they saw and focused on were the Beyer speed figures for the 10 and 3 horses and made them the favorites based on that factor. Those horses ran well, but not well enough to stop the big exacta which was composed of logical horses to a select few of us. As you know, that's the name of the game. Finding plays that others ignore and this is an example of doing that. And I'll say it again, even if you have a hit rate of only one or two out of 10 with these plays you will remain way ahead of the game. In reality, however, you should have a better rate of success than that on either the win wager or the exacta wager or both. If we focus and wager on value plays that are ignored by the masses and skip playing races with the small payoffs on which we agree with the public, we can maintain that all-elusive positive ROI. If I handicap a race and determine that my clear-cut choice is even money and that there is no logical exacta payoff that is enough to justify the risk, I'll pass that race and move on to the next value situation. I continue to be amazed myself at the value payoffs that just seem to be waiting to be taken using the principles I've been stressing in this forum for the past few weeks. Take for example the last two races at Aqueduct just a couple of days ago on Thursday. The winner of race 8 was the move-within-a-race called play the WIR (again, the Guru's great discovery). She paid $12.00, while the top speed figure horse, #1 Cold Stare (who the winner, Two Fer Boston had demolished just 3 races back) managed to get only 3rd as the heavy chalk. Race 9 got better. The winner, #4 Rumble Along came up on top (with the 1 horse) using internal fractions comparison and the runner up horse was none other than a WIR (or near-WIR) horse with the addition of blinkers. The 4 paid $19.80 to win; the late D/D paid $115.50 and the 9th exacta paid $294.50. And by the way, the co-top choice with regard to final fractions, the 1 horse got up for 3rd to complete a 4-6-1 trifecta in the amount of $1,602, while the favorite, and horse with the highest speed figure was totally out of the money and all exotic payoffs. Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that horses with the best Beyer or other speed figures never win. They do. What I'm saying is that the process I'm using right now points out a number of plays that pay big prices and at the same time are completely invisible to the huge majority of players. What I'm referring to is using the primary tools of pace shape and running style match ups, moves-within-a-race, and internal fractions as the entire basis for handicapping the thoroughbreds. I will continue to try to help you learn what I know and what is producing a fantastic ROI right now. But obviously I cannot reveal the moves-within-a-race in this newsletter. Nor will I talk in detail about the internal fractions comparison further than what is in the body of this issue. I've begun working on a short publication covering that subject and it will be sold separately from "Calibration Handicapping". I will, however, continue to give out the best possible value Free Picks each and every weekend. My suggestion would be to try and save up enough money to purchase both of these books, because in my opinion when you have both in your possession, you will have the final anwser to handicapping the thoroughbreds. Of course, when the short book on internal fractions is ready for distribution, I'll mention it in this forum. I don't know the pricing at this time because I don't know how long the book will be. The cost for the internal fractions book will definitely be a lot less than "Calibration Handicapping" and all owners of that book will receive a discount on the new book. For new subscribers or those that missed it, there is a real handy exotic wagering calculator that you can dowload for free. If you would like this neat freebie Click Here then click on download the exotics calculator. It calculates the cost for all kinds of exotic wagers, including exactas, trifectas, superfectas, and pick 3's. Until next week, I wish you clear skies and fast tracks; knock 'em dead! Jim ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- To get an additional unique and valuable slant on handicapping the thoroughbreds, see what my friend the Guru has to say at: ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- **Horseracing Handicappers' Website** ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Web site: |