Newsletter of March 4th

        Newsletter of March 11th

        Newsletter of March 18th

        Newsletter of March 25th


*****Horseracing Handicappers' Free Picks Newsletter*****
*****Saturday March 4, 2000*****

Welcome to this edition of "Horseracing Handicappers' Free Picks Newsletter."

Last weekend I had a couple of decent plays that clicked, including Sunday's 10th. It wasn't a boxcar payoff, but it was a race that provided some insight that I haven't previously talked about. It was a pretty standard 6-furlong event, an allowance race for non-winners of 2 races other than maiden, claiming or starter, 4-yr-olds & up.

An original field of 10 was reduced to 9 with the early scratch of Frosty Coy and then to 8 with the late scratch of #7, Gallyn's Star. As per ususal you can get the file Here.

You'll need a copy of Adobe Acrobat Reader to view these past performances and if you don't have one, you can download a free copy Here

It would be most helpful to you if you would print out these past performances and then follow along. I'll list the entries and then list next to them my running style labels, followed by the last-race Beyer speed figure, the 3rd quarter fraction (raw/actual), except for #'s 8 and 9 who ran at routes so for them I'll list the 4th quarter fraction, the official morning lines and any moves-within-a-race.

1. Silver Magistrate      P   87   24.3 / 24.0   3-1
2. Luther Rose            EP   86   24.3 / 24/1   5-1
3. Rainstick                    P   83   24.3 / 23.4   5-1
4. Doswel                     EP   71   25.0 / 26.3   8-1   Profile
5. Cox's Sweep               P   87   24.3 / 24.2   6-1
6. Thirty Six Hours      EP   84   25.0 / 25.3   6-1   Profile / W.O.
8. Sushi                           E   46   25.0 /           8-1
9. Brian's Dancer           S   83   25.4 / 25.1   6-1

The pace shape of this field of 8 is E-EP with a race shape of Honest. Since there are 4 early presence types and 4 that come from off-the-pace to varying degrees, there is no immediately apparent edge in running style advantage.

Who are the speed horses and does one of those have dominant speed over the others? #8 Sushi is an E-type and as such seeks the early lead every time. But #4 Doswell has sharp early speed also and since Sushi is exiting a route race, figures to be part of an early duel between those two and possibly even #6 Thirty Six Hours. Since none show an advantage that would indicate they should go wire-to-wire, this match up looks to favor a horse or horses from off the pace. But from how far off the pace?

What do we look for to come from off the pace? A P running style, an S running style? EP runners should always be considered first, but it also depends on how fast the early splits project to be run. Since Doswell ran a 46.2 half in his last on a 21 track variant, and Sushi is gunned from the gate every time, we can expect them to get to the half in this race pretty quickly.

If that is the case, then the horses with EP running style would have the best shot at the projected tiring pacesetters. It's good to remember that closers with a P running style and especially an S running style need a fast pace to set up their stretch run. If there are only a couple of E or EP runners in the race that's one thing, but if as in this case there are 4, that's another.

When we can be fairly certain that the early fractions, namely the 1st 2 fractions - the 1st quarter and the half - will be contested by only 2 horses, neither of which has dominance over the other, we can look to the remaining EP-style runners as our first considerations.

There is a fine line that separates early fractions and which running style has the advantage. As we know, late runners need fast fractions to close into, but if those early fractions are exceptionally fast, then the horses coming from farthest back will have a whole lot more work to do than those in the second flight and in spite of getting the needed fast fractions are still at a disadvantage.

What this all adds up to is that in a race that projects to have a sizzling early pace, if there are any decent-looking EP horses in the field other than the projected pacesetters, they will always have a better shot at the win than the P horses and a much better shot than the S horses.

In last Sunday's selections newsletter, part of my comments for this race were, "he figures to sit off a hotly contested early pace."

As the results chart shows, Doswell and Sushi did indeed run extremely fast to the 1st quarter and the half. They were heads apart at both call points, 2 lengths ahead of the rest of the field at the half and registered splits of 22.4 and 45.0. Compare those fractions to the prior race, The Hollie Hughes $83K handicap and the 6th race $61K Handicap and you'll see how fast they really were. Here are the splits for all 3 races:

Race      6   23.0   45.2   57.0   109.2   Purse: $61K

Race      9   22.2   44.4   56.4   109.2   Purse: $83K

Race    10   22.4   45.0   57.0   109.3   Purse: $45K

The raw internal fraction times were also fairly impressive with a turn time of 22.1, which means they ran the 2nd quarter 3 fifths of a second faster than they did the 1st quarter, and a 3rd quarter of 24.3, which also compares favorably with the higher class horses from races 6 and 9.

Let's go over this field from top to bottom and see which are the most likely contenders.

#1. Silver Magistrate - P - he's tied for the best last-race Beyer speed figure. If you noticed, 6 of the 8 entries had fairly comparable last-race speed figures so there was no large advantage there. This horse also shows a fondness for the Aqueduct Inner Track with a record of 3-2-0 from 7 tries. He is in good form and with a 24.0 final fraction certainly figures to be one of the horses who projects to be able to pass the tiring pacesetters. I placed him on my periphery play list only because of being 7th on the turn in his last and as such I thought he may be further back in the early going than some of the other contenders.

#2. Luther Rose - EP - he won his last and was claimed out of a $22.5K claiming race. At first glance, I looked at him as possibly a periphery play rather than a top-flight contender. For new subscribers, my periphery play list is composed of horses I think have a shot at 2nd, 3rd, or 4th, but not an especially good chance for the win. After taking a more detailed look at the pace shape, however, I could see that Luther Rose, with his just-off- the-pace running style, would probably get first run at the leaders. But could he win with the jump from $22.5K claiming ranks to NW2X? Looking at his final fraction of 24.1 and the fact that he backed up his maiden win with a NW1X victory, I thought he could very well be in the catbird seat among this group.

#3 Rainstick - P - here was another going from claiming to NW2X and he had the top last-race final fraction of 23.4. This was quite impressive. So why did I not even mention this horse in either of my lists? Because in his last race, the first after a short layoff, he was positioned around the turn in 10th and 11th in a field of 12. One of the themes I'm stressing in this newsletter is positioning, and Rainstick in this match up again figured to be among the early trailers. With a projected very quick early pace, in spite of his last- out final fraction, in my opinion he would still be at a disadvantage due to his running style versus the pace shape of the race.

Here is a demonstration that we cannot always simply calculate final fractions and choose the best as our top contender. Pace shape is the first determining factor and I certainly put it ahead of a number of other considerations, like whether or not a horse that last ran in a claimer can successfully move up to NW2X company.

#4 Doswell - EP - he is a Profile horse with sharp speed. I also did not list him in my selections, mainly due to the presence of Sushi. If Shushi had been a late scratch instead of the 7-horse, I may have wound up with egg on my face because Doswell very likely would have run slower splits and probably would have held up for 2nd or 3rd.

#5 Cox's Sweep - P - out of the same race as the 2-horse and finished similarly well in that race. I chose him ahead of Silver Magistrate because I projected him to have better early postioning. I was wrong in that assessment and although he ran well, finishing only a head and a head off the show spot, Silver Magistrate obtained better positioning from the start.

#6 Thirty Six Hours - EP - a Profile/Wide Out play, I made him my second pick, based on his being a move- within-a-race play with enough speed to sit just off the early pace. For reasons I can't completely understand, he sat 3rd early and then completely petered out. It's possibly as simple as him having reacted to a last-out lifetime best Beyer speed figure, I don't know.

#8 Sushi - E - as an E runner, he figured to be contesting a hot pace with the 4-horse and he didn't fail to do so, in spite of cutting back in distance from a mile and a sixteenth to 6 furlongs. In spite of displaying his customary sharp speed from the 11-hole in his last, I couldn't see a reason to put him on my contender lists. As it turns out, he and Doswell set such sharp early fractions that most of the field couldn't catch up and as a result he and Doswell held up for 3rd and 4th respectively; barely. If we had some way of computing the exact early fractions that would be run in any given race, we could predict a lot more accurately which horses would be able to close and also if the pacesetters would be likely to hold up for part of the purse.....but we don't.

#9 Brian's Dancer - S - with his running style, he's always at a disadvantage and in this particular case, he was at even more of a disadvantage. Why? Because not only was he exiting a mile race, but he was positioned on the extreme outside. I thought he had a chance for 3rd or 4th and as such, placed him 2nd on my two-horse periphery play list.

The final results turned out pretty much according to how the race set up. My picks were in order, #2 Luther Rose, #6 Thirty Six Hours, and #5 Cox's Sweep. My periphery plays were #1 Silver Magistrate and #9 Brian's Dancer.

Luther Rose did sit just off the 2 speeds and when asked to run, came on strongly and won easily. Although Thirty Six Hours ran poorly, Cox's Sweep and Silver Magistrate did close well finishing 5th (again, missing 3rd by a neck) and 2nd respectively.

Here are the official results:

2. Luther Rose $9.40
1. Silver Magistrate ex. $28.20
8. Sushi tri. $455.00
4. Doswell super. $4080.00
Late D/D with my top pick in race 9: $36.20

Until next week, I wish you clear skies and fast tracks; knock 'em dead!


Back to Top         Home

*****Horseracing Handicappers' Free Picks Newsletter*****
*****Saturday March 11, 2000*****

Welcome again to this edition of "Horseracing Handicappers' Free Picks Newsletter." Now that we have passed the 600 mark in subscribers, it dawned on me that I should offer the opportunity for any of you who so desire the chance to be heard from in this forum.

Anyone who has any questions, comments or even suggestions for newsletter topics, please email me at: and I'll try to respond in an upcoming issue. Maybe you have a handicapping angle that you would like to share with the rest of us. Or a strong opinion on the upcoming Kentucky Derby. Whatever.

You can also opt to fax me at (603) 676-1216. No question is dumb or stupid. We all have to begin at the beginning and most of us continue to learn better ways to handicap even if it eventually entails only slight "tweaking" of established procedures.

A couple of months ago I mentioned that I would be writing a new book, sort of an "addendum" to "Calibration Handicapping" which focused entirely on "Internal Fractions Comparison." I also stated that this book would be sold at a lesser amount and that all previous book buyers would be given a discount.

Due to juggling a number of projects and the time constraints that have resulted, I have not yet finished this book and I don't know if or when I will. The point is that if anyone wants a copy of what I have finished so far, they can have it now at no cost. Although it covers only sprints to this point, you are welcome to have it and at least learn how to calculate internal fractions for any and all sprint races.

If you would like this addendum, please send an email to: and in the subject line simply put "fractions" and I'll get it out to you. It is in Microsoft Word format.

Last Sunday I happened to pick a cold exacta and trifecta in the 4th race at Aqueduct. In that short field of 7, there are some things to be learned. As per ususal you can get the file Here.

You'll need a copy of Adobe Acrobat Reader to view these past performances and if you don't have one, you can download a free copy Here.

This was a race at a mile and 70yards for Maiden Special Weight 3-year olds foaled in New York State. In my book, "Calibration Handicapping", I state that it's not always a great idea to ask or bet on a horse to do something that it has never done before. One such thing we can ask a horse to do is win a race if it's a maiden. Until he or she has proven it can win a race, we really can't be sure it ever will, let alone so so today.

Another task we can ask a horse to accomplish is to win a race at a distance longer than it has ever raced. As it happened, in this field of 7, which was reduced to that number after the late scratch of #3 Light Years Away, not only had none of the entries won a race, but only one had ever even tried going longer than 6 furlongs, and this was a 2-turn event.

If for example this race had been scheduled for a mile and a sixteenth or 40 yards more than this distance in June at Belmont Park instead of March at Aqueduct, it would have been a 1-turn race, which is a little easier to negotiate than 2-turns. The Belmont track being a mile and a half in circumference features 1-turn races for a mile and a sixteenth and a mile and an eighth.

Speaking of Aqueduct, one of the local signs that Spring is just around the corner is the fact that the Aqueduct Inner Track will be closing after Sunday's racing. All the action will be moving to Aqueduct's Main Track and eventually its Turf Course and this will result in a greater variation of distances run.

There are certain occasions that appear to present enough value to take the extra risk and ask a horse to do something it has not ever done before. When I first looked at this race, I thought I would pass it and not list it in my selections. But then something caught my eye, and it's worth remembering.

As we all know by now, the most important thing we should be looking for is value. My definition of value is simple: a payoff of more than we would expect. I put my own value-line odds to the right of the official morning line odds of each selection I post in these newsletters. This is so I (and you) can get a better idea of what I think a horse's true value is in a particular match up.

The first thing that stands out after a quick rundown of these 7 horses is a double-advantage Beyer speed figure horse. What this means is that #2 Don't Not has 2 consecutive Beyer speed figures that are superior to any figures ever run by any of his competitors.

So where's the value? This horse figured to go off pretty much as an odds-on favorite. The morning line oddsmaker made him 8-5 and I made him 4-5. 8-5 pays anywhere from $5.20 to $5.55 and 4-5 pays from $3.60 to $3.95. A closer look at Don't Not shows an intangible, something that numbers don't measure. The will to win; his heart; how much he'll dig in during crunchtime.

A.P. Indy possessed the greatest will to win I've ever seen in a racehorse. He was a truly one of the greats in racing and I have no doubt that he would have won the triple crown if an injury had not pulled him out of the Kentucky Derby the day of that race. Although he had to miss the Preakness also, he went on to win the Belmont Stakes and register the 2nd-fastest time for that mile and a half race since the great Secretariat set the still-standing record of 2:24 in June of 1973. He also won horse-of-the year later that season as a 3-year-old after winning the Breeder's Cup Championship race against older horses. On the flip side of the coin, some horses exhibit early on in their careers a preference for minor awards.

In his 2 races this year, Don't Not ran second each time. Additionally, in his last race he missed by a nose. While this is not enough evidence to put a "hanger" label on him, it is enough to make me wonder if perhaps he should have won at least one of those races and to look carefully at this field to see if there is a horse who can beat him.

And if there is and he does, bingo! We have automatic value because when there is an odds-on horse in the race, all or most of the others have inflated odds and will pay more than we might expect them to. Have you ever questioned the payoff of an exacta when an odds-on horse runs 1st or 2nd?

Often the payoff will be less than a parlay simply because the other horse's odds were inflated due to the large percentage of money bet on the favorite. In other words, the other horse may have gone off at 20-1, but had the favorite not been in the race, he would have gone off more likely in the range of 8-1 to 10-1, or even less.

Let's take a closer look at this field. If you print out the past performances and write down this information you can keep it and and learn from this race for the future. I'll list the 7 entries and then list the running style I've labeled each, the last-race Beyer speed figure/the lifetime high Beyer, the final fractions (raw/actual), the morning lines/and my lines, and finally any moves-within-a-race.

1. My Pal Al               S   38 / 57   24.4 / 25.4   8-1 / 9-2
2. Don't Not             EP   61 / 71   24.4 / 25.0   8-5 / 4-5
4. Hibbs Bridge          P   30 / 37   24.4 / 27.0   20-1
5. Thunders Luck       P   50 / 50   24.4 / 24.4   2-1
6. Welldoit                  S   47 / 47   24.4 / 24.3   4-1
7. Dashua                   S   24 / 43   25.3 / 27.1   15-1
8. Toddler                EP   52 / 52   25.3 / 26.2   10-1 / 4-1   Profile

Let's analyze this information. The first step for me is always to see what kind of pace shape I'm looking at. We can clearly see that in a field of 7 we have only 2 EP or early presser horses. We also have 3 S or sustained closers in the race. In most instances this pace shape would give a substantial advantage to the EP horses because they will be allowed to set a fairly slow early pace and therefore make it very difficult for the others to close strongly.

I was surprised, unpleasantly I might add, when I saw one of the S horses, Dashua, shoot out to a totally unexpected clear lead. Why did he? Simple. He was a first-time user of that non-performance-enhancing (yeah, right) drug lasix. In his previous 2 starts he broke 9th and 10th.

Needless to say, not only was I annoyed, but I was less optimistic about cashing my tickets with that unexpected early turn of events. But back to our race. Immediately upon seeing the pace shape, I had to give the edge to the odds-on favorite #2 Don't Not and the other EP runner, #8 Toddler, simply because of their running style advantage.

Next, you can see the Beyer speed figure advantage for Don't Not. With such an advantage, he figured to be a strong candidate for the exacta, not to mention the trifecta. But what about value? There would be some of that only if he could be beaten.

Let's check out the turn times for the two EP horses. Don't Not last did a 24.3 on a 22 track variant, while Toddler did a 23.2 on an 11 variant. Quite a difference, but the former was achieved on a much tougher track. Let's go back to Don't Not's prior race, which was run on a very similar degree of difficulty, a 13 track variant.

His turn time that day was 23.2, a virtual tie with Toddler. This can lead us to believe that Toddler has a decent shot to run late with Don't Not, just on the basis of turn times alone.

What about final fractions? The 5 and 6 horses have better final fractions than the favorite, 24.4 and 24.3 respectively to 25 flat. But what are their running styles and where were they early in their last races? Where do they project to be early in this encounter?

The answers are that they were both far back in their last races. And while #6 figures to be far back again in this race, #5 is going for the first time with blinkers in this match up, and as such could project to be closer than in his only other 2 lifetime starts. The public grabbed ahold of this angle and made him the strong 2nd choice at 2-1.

Like I said before, if there is an odds-on horse in the field, all or most other odds will be inflated. This meant that 2-1 on the 5-horse was really like about 3-2 ($5.00). This was a hot horse in the eyes of the betting public and I'll have to admit, he looked good.

Here's a quick look at the field from top to bottom:

1. My Pal Al - an S runner - he stumbled on the turn in his last so we would want to take a look at his prior races also as he had somewhat of an excuse. While I could not see an S horse beating both of the EP horses in this race, he had a couple of things going for him over the rest. First and foremost, he was the only entry with 2-turn experience, which can count a lot in a spot like this. His Beyer speed figures for those route races were comparable to the sprint figures for most of his competition. And in his 2nd-race back he showed good closing punch in a sprint despite being bumped at the start.

2. Don't Not - an EP style - I've covered the virtues of this horse. It was pretty much a matter of whether he would run 1st or 2nd and what the odds were of the horse(s) that could possibly beat him.

4. Hibbs Bridge - P - outside of flashing a little early speed in his last, which wasn't enough to make him a contender, he was a toss-out.

5. Thunders Luck - P runner - as mentioned, he had a very good final fraction and the addition of blinkers would probably help his positioning. He also had a nice finish in his last and looked like a definite contender in this group.

6. Welldoit - S horse - in spite of having the best last-out final fraction, which was achieved while being far back, his running style made him a non- contender.

7. Dashua - S runner - another whose chances appeared to be compromised greatly by his deep closer running style. While the lasix enabled him to change running styles completely and open up on the field early, he collapsed at the quarter pole and finished second to last. This is an example of a horse who prefers to make a late run. A complete change in early positioning was apparently not to his liking.

8. Toddler - EP - the other early presence horse. He was the reason I decided to play this race. Being only one of 2 EP runners gave him a shot, but a couple of other factors made me think he was the one who could pull off the upset and make this a value situation. First of all, if you look at his post time odds in his 3 lifetime races, 48-1, 62-1 and 49-1, you can pretty well assume that he will be a decent price in this match up, especially with the presence of a likely odds-on favorite. Secondly, he had the 2nd best last-out Beyer speed figure. And last but not least, he was a Profile play, a move-within-a-race that is featured in "Calibration Handicapping." All of that coupled with the possibility that the favorite may be vulnerable due to a perceived lack of "heart" made this race an enticing proposition.

(For all of you "Calibration Handicapping" book buyers, to see a real good example of another winning "Profile" horse, look at race 8 at Gulfstream on Thursday 3/9/00. In a small field of 7 that included a 2-horse entry, he won for fun at a win mutual of $45.00. This guy looked awfully good to Profile players.)

Getting back to our race, everything hinged upon Toddler being 1st or 2nd. If Don't Not got brave and Thunders Luck ran better with the hood on, we were looking at a tiny exacta and no value. That was a risk I was willing to take. My selections in order were: #8 Toddler, #2 Don't Not and #1 My Pal Al. How could I throw out Thunders Luck?

In a field of 7 I didn't want to use more than 3 horses and it came down to choosing for the 3rd slot either Thunders Luck or My Pal Al. I went with 'Al due to his experience with 2-turns and on this occasion I was right as he managed to go by Thunders Luck late to get the show money.

Look at the prices and you'll see that the exacta of $83.50 was truly a value payoff. As stated earlier, most of the time when there is an odds-on favorite in the exacta, the payoff will be less than what a parlay would yield. By a parlay, I mean the payoff that would result if you mulitplied the winner's price, in this case $25.40, by half of what the 2nd-place horse would have paid had he won the race.

In this case that was one-half of $4.20 or 2.1. $25.40 multiplied by 2.1 equals $53.30. The actual exacta payoff was substantially MORE than a parlay rather than less. And those of us who were tracking the probable payoffs of the exacta plays knew that this was a race that presented solid value, which after all is what we should be focusing on any time we are contemplating a wager.

Winner - 8 Toddler - $25.40
Place - 2 Don't Not - ex. 8-2 $83.50
Show - 1 My Pal Al - tri. 8-2-1 $296.50 (a Guru TBC)

One final note. Another lesson we can learn from this example race. There were two horses that ran with a change of equipment, Thunders Luck with blinkers on and Dashua with lasix added, both for the first time. While these changes improved both horses' early presence, they also took them out of their preferred running styles. The first-time addition of blinkers and/or lasix does not always translate into in-the-money finishes.

Until next week, I wish you clear skies and fast tracks; knock 'em dead!


*****Horseracing Handicappers' Free Picks Newsletter*****
*****Saturday March 18, 2000*****

Welcome to this edition of "Horseracing Handicappers' Free Picks Newsletter." I received about a 10% response to my offer for the free addendum to my book, "Calibration Handicapping." This unfinished work is about Internal Fraction Advantages for sprint races and does include one of the "moves-within-a-race" I speak of from time to time in this forum.

That move is a quick gain during the segment of the race I refer to as the "golden eighth." You won't see or hear about this move anywhere else. One of the main reasons I made Mighty my top pick in last Sunday's Louisiana Derby at the Fair Grounds was his "golden eighth" move in his race prior.

In last Saturday's newsletter, I suggested that anyone so inclined could send me any questions or comments about horseracing to be shared with the rest of our group of subscribers and I did receive a few.

Here were some nice comments from Scoot Minnix: Hi Jim. "I must say right from the start when I first read about your handicapping method I thought 'here we go again' another guy with a system that works maybe 4% of the time. But you said something that got my attention right from the start, know when to lay off a race.

I knew then and there that you had something worth listening to. Because a truly smart player knows when to not bet! And you explain in detail how it works. Also, I'm fascinated with the Profile horse. In that I mean the value of the play! It's amazing how many times these horses win!! And of course the payouts are never disappointing. I have been playing the ponies a long time and I must say that this method of finding a, I'll call it a bustout horse, is the best!!!!!

I have always thought that class will overcome just about any situation! But some of these Profile horses are put in a situation where this is neutralized completely. The old saying, 'pace makes the race' has never been so true the way you use it!!! In closing I will say Sun. March 5th you nailed all 3 horses in one race and in so doing you won a fan in me! That was really impressive! I can't wait to get your book; I know that I will learn a lot from it. So keep 'Nailing em'....."

Scoot Minnix

I sent Scoot a thank you for those kind words.

John Martino wrote, "Hi Jim, I think that is a great idea to have an open forum. All the members could exchange angles and ideas. I know that for years I have been hearing about " the Sartin method ", but don't know anything about it. Maybe some of the members do..."

Good luck...John

If anyone wants to share any information on that subject, please send me an email and I'll put it up for the group.

Mike Bertolet was kind enough to send this email concering a couple of angles he doesn't mind sharing: "Jim -- thanks in advance for the great offer. I am always interested in learning. I am sending a couple of angles that have proved to be very useful. Share them if you wish. A good example of the first one is Toddler, who was the subject of your 3/11/00 newsletter.

Starting with the 3rd race back check the diagonals in the horse's positioning in its past performances for improvement or at least no worse. In the case of Toddler you have 11-5-4 & 10-7-4, sometimes this is enough by itself, other times I look for improvement in the finish, starting again with the 3rd race back. Toddler: 10-8-4. A real beauty!!! I tend to bet on this type horse only when it's a price!!!

The other one -- after breaking its maiden, a horse improves his or her Beyer in the very next race without winning. The horse is played to win for 3 starts. If it wins within the 3 starts that ends the play. If you check out the the Flordia Derby you handicapped you will find a few of them that qualified and won. Hope you can use this info."

Mike Bertolet

This last angle of Mike's seems to really have some merit. Check it out. I'm sure his first angle has some merit also, but I've seen some good evidence already on his second one.

And Ed Marlowe wrote: "Hi Jim, would appreciate the information (the internal fractions addendum), thanks much. In a 3-year-old allowance race, do you prefer 3-year-olds coming out of maiden races which they just won or 3-year-olds that have been competeing in mid-level claimers, or do you just do the race shape and turn times and go from there? James Quinn says that 3-year-olds competeing in claiming races are weaker than 3-year-olds that have just broken their maiden and 3-year-olds that have been running in NW1X allowances competitively. Look forward to your response, AND THANKS FOR THE FREE RESEARCH."


Here is my response to Ed's question:

"To tell you the truth, I normally try not to pay too much attention to things like that, but if I were to have to answer that question, I would have to agree with James Quinn. I've seen a number of good value plays involving horses moving up and winning a preliminary allowance race of NW1X immediately following their maiden-breaker.

What I normally do, however, is what you stated. I go through my 3-step process of first identifying the pace shape and examining that to see which horses may have an advantage on that factor alone.

Then I see if there are any moves-within-a-race plays. And finally, I calculate internal fractions. For sprints I look at the turn time and also the final 8th and the final quarter. For routes I look at the 4th quarter mostly.

If you happen to have the Daily Racing Form for Friday 3/10/00 which includes Aqueduct, there is a good example of a horse who was value and had a great final fraction advantage. She also had the best last-race Beyer. I had a nice win bet on her and she paid $15.40."

I'll use this race as my example of handicapping for today's issue of this newsletter. But before I get into that, here is some advice on handicapping with value plays in mind. The best situation we can come up with is a horse that we really think has a good chance to win that we can be fairly certain the public will not like.

The race I'm going to handicap in a few moments is a prime example. The winner had the best final fraction, AND the best last-out Beyer speed figure. How could she possibly pay a hefty $15.40? Simple. She was taking a hike up in class from a claiming race with a $25K tag to the NW1X allowance level. True, these were not 3-year- olds as in Ed's question, but she was ignored for the same reason of moving up in class.

Apparently a whole lot of players feel that when a horse is making that transition from claiming ranks to allowance race, it's too much to ask it to win in the first attempt. I say if you find such a horse with the combination of top last-out Beyer speed figure and some other prime reason to like it, it's a doubly strong play, especially because of the likelihood of also being a great price. Even without a Beyer advantage, I'll play it to win moving up.

I've talked about how certain moves-within-a-race plays can topple horses with much better Beyer speed figures. But anytime you can come up with a horse that is not being bet and also has the best last-out Beyer, you have not only a high-percentage play on your hands, but also obviously a value play as well. That's why in every race I handicap, I put a large red checkmark above the best last-race Beyer speed figure and compare my contenders' recent figures to that.

Now we'll go on with the race in question I said we'll handicap. As per ususal, you will find the file for today Here.

You'll need a copy of Adobe Acrobat Reader to view these past performances and if you don't have one, you can get a free copy Here.

Our example was the 7th at Aqueduct on 3/10/00. It was an allowance race for Fillies and Mares four years-old and upward which had never won a race other than maiden, claiming or starter (NW1X) or which had never won 2 races.

I'll list the 9 entries and then list the running style I've labeled each, the last-race Beyer speed figure, the final fractions (raw/actual), and finally any moves-within-a-race, of which there were none. #1A Rarelenda was a late scratch.

    3. Touching             EP    68     25.4 / 26.0
    4. Telling Tales         S    59     26.2 / 26.2
    5. Eastside Girl         P    67     25.4 / 26.0
    1. Hum the Tune       P    72     23.4 / 24.3
    6. Dandy Andy          P    81     23.4 / 23.4
    7. Evil Deed              S    74     24.3 / 24.1
    2. Dittany                  S    64     25.4 / 25.2
 2B. Twotime              EP    67     25.4 / 26.0
    8. Don't Pinch Me  EP    66     25.4 / 26.3

If we look at the pace shape of this match up, we can see that 3 of the 9 entries have some early speed. Unless one of these speeds is dominant over the others, with 6 out of the field being closers to varying degrees, this shape would generally favor a good closer. Since I don't see any recent evidence of a dominant early speed horse, my thinking would lean toward a closer winning this race.

The best way to determine which of the closers has the best chance is to compare what I call final fractions, which in this case is really the 4th quarter fractions for all but the last-out sprinter, #7 Evil Deed, for which I'll figure the 3rd quarter fraction and since she's stretching out, I will add 1 full second to her fraction.

If you look at the columns above, you can immediately spot a standout final fraction. 23.4 for Dandy Andy towers above the rest of the field (when you adjust #7 and her fraction becomes 25.1). When I see such a discrepancy, the first thing I look for is if the race such an advantage horse last raced in had inordinately slow early fractions that would allow her to come on much more strongly than if the fractions had been more normal.

In the case of Dandy Andy's last-out win, her fractions were: 23.2  48.1  113.4  144.3   variant: 13

There is a common race that 5 others are exiting that we can compare to:

24.1  48.2  113.0  142.4  variant: 18

First of all, what do I mean by variant? This is simply the Daily Racing Form's calculation of degree of difficulty of that day's running surface. The difference of 5 points in variants is not really that noteworthy so the degrees of difficulty are not that far apart for the two races we are comparing.

If you compare the two races (which combined involve 7 of the 9 horses in the field), you can see that the race that Dandy Andy won actually was FASTER just about all the way through. If you want to project what the other race would have been run in if it had been 40 yards longer, which would have made it the same distance of a mile and a sixteenth, you add on 3 seconds and get 145.4 vs. 144.3.

When I looked at all this information and saw the tremendous advantage Dandy Andy had on paper and then saw her last-out Beyer speed figure, I figured I was looking at a real solid possibility, but one that probably would not pay all that much.

Then I saw the important key. Dandy Andy had won her last race against $25K claimers. Did that matter to me? Not in the slightest. But I did figure that the price could be better than I would normally think. A horse with this much advantage, including the wide discrepancy in Beyer figures, normally would figure to pay around 3-2 or $5.00 at most. But with the move back up to the company she had been keeping regularly, she figured to go off maybe at 5-2 or 3-1.

You have to admit though, this horse was pretty much a standout on paper. The fact that she paid $15.40 is a testament to the extremes the general betting public goes to as a whole in their belief in certain "myths" about thoroughbred horse racing. Such as when a horse moves up in class you stay away from it like it has the plague. I find that some of the best value situations involve class hikes and as I said, when they include the best last-race Beyer speed figure, they become doubly strong.

As it turns out, a couple of the obvious contenders from that common race ran 2nd and 3rd and here are the final results:

Won: 6. Dandy Andy $15.40
2nd: 3. Touching; ex. $53.00
3rd: 2B. Twotime; tri. $174.50 (6-3-2 is another Guru TBC)

Hope you picked up some helpful info in this edition.

Until next week, I wish you clear skies and fast tracks; knock 'em dead!


Back to Top

*****Horseracing Handicappers' Free Picks Newsletter*****
*****Saturday March 25, 2000*****

Due to a glitch, some subscribers may not have received this issue. In the interest of saving time, I am re-sending it without the attachment, which takes up to 6 hours to send to each subscriber. If you already received your copy, please disregard. If you want it the file is Here. If you need the Acrobat Reader you can get a copy Here.

Welcome to another edition of "Horseracing Handicappers' Free Picks Newsletter." Last weekend my picks featured the good, the bad and the ugly and I'll have to admit that on Sunday in my desire to handicap as many races as possible for this newsletter, I overlooked the 2 cardinal rules of wagering, having value and having a strong perceived edge.

On Saturday, there was plenty of value in the 5 selections I made from Aqueduct as from among them were an exacta with the top 2 picks paying $178.00 and also one of $90.50 boxing all 3 picks. In addition, there was another top-ranked winner that paid $12.00.

Sunday was when the bad and the ugly reared their heads. I've decided to agree to what Bill Piazza had asked me to do some time back. He said that he and a group of his friends who were also subscribers thought a select few picks would be better than a lot of picks that may include some less than ideal match ups. It would cut down the number of plays, but increase the ROI or Return On Investment.

I received the following 2 emails on the subject of my Sunday picks:

Hi Jim,

Just wanted to congratulate you on a very good job Saturday. I also wanted to make a point about Sunday's selections. I was somewhat disappointed as I'm sure you were. I decided to take a look at the results charts at Equibase since I was betting at home and did not see the races. Here is what I found regarding your top selections:

Race 2 #4 Thanks Coach---stumbled at start, lost rider
Race 3 #5 Flying Baron---awkward start(finished 2nd)
Race 4 #7 Cosette---awkward start(finished 3rd)
Race 9 #3 Acres---awkward start

Who knows if any of these would have won with a fair start. The point is no matter how good a handicapper one may be, one is still at the mercy of racing luck. So for those of you who might be considering "jumping off the bandwagon"----- take note.

Have a great week,


I have read your newsletter and followed your picks for a while now. After your picks on Sat. I thought maybe the main track at Aqueduct was your strong point. So on Sunday I thought I would follow some of your picks backed up by my own methods. Well you were right on for the most part, when your horse didn't lose its jockey out of the gate or start slow and get trapped in the quagmire of horses and not get a chance at winning (the other 3 horses you picked still came in 1,2,3) or had other bad luck situations. Out of 5 races you had 4 legitimate bad luck causes. Otherwise I was impressed. (A little sarcastic humor to keep things light). Keep up the good work.


In response to John Martino's question about the Sartin Methodolgy, I received the following emails:

Hi Jim,

In regard to John's question regarding the Sartin material, I used to subscribe to his methodology; all it is is pace handicapping, but for it to work for you you have to buy his computer programs, which are not cheap. I spent thousands of dollars on his stuff. So John, take my advice. Buy Jim's book "Calibration Handicapping" and you will learn more about pace handicapping in this 145-page manual than anywhere else; it truly works, but you have to practice using it. The beauty of Jim's material is that you do not have to be a rocket scientist to understand it; heck you'll be up and practicing races from the Racing Form within a few hours.

See You At The Windows
Bob Tatasciore


John asked about the Sartin method.
1) It was started by Dr. Sartin out of California.
2)It deals with and reads the races with pace analysis, turn time, ability time, closing time and gives a betting line for the user to use.

That's a very short and brief discription. He offers 2 or so programs. There is a website to go and see a version, but I won't use this e-mail for any ads or endorsements. Thanks.


If anyone would care to ask a question or make a comment to share with the rest of our growing group of subscribers, please send an email to me at: and I'll address it in this forum.

I recived the following email from Scorpio:


Thanks for the winner last weekend I had Mighty and the exacta. This past weekend I was out of town. I like Hals Hope in the Kentucky Derby and I will be there in person. Thanks I'm new at this PC stuff. Peace, Out.

For this week's race example, I've chosen race 7 at Aqueduct on Saturday, 3/18/00. As per ususal, I'll include the Daily Racing Form past performances for this race as an attachment to this newsletter.

The main track at Aqueduct is one of 5 racetracks in the U.S. that feature one-turn mile races. The others are Arlington Park, Belmont Park, Churchill Downs and Colonial Downs.

Our race was at a mile and it was a preliminary allowance race for Fillies three-years-old that had never won a race other than maiden or claiming or that had never won 2 races lifetime. After the late scratches of #4 Authentic Caller and #6 Out Of The Buggy, there remained a field of 7.

I'll list the entries and then list the running style I've labeled each, the last-race Beyer speed figure, the final fractions (raw/actual), and finally any moves-within-a-race.

     1. Cherokee Racer           EP    40    25.2 / 27.2
     2. Chocolate Overdose     EP    57    26.2/26.2
     3. Hugmelikeyouloveme     P    51    28.1 / 27.0    SRE
     5. Weekend Kaper           EP    62    25.2 / 25.3
     7. Yahk Forty                    EP    58    25.2 / 26.1
     8. Hemline                           P    85    24.3 / 24.2
     9. Silver Advantage            P    57    24.2 / 25.2

If we examine the pace shape of this race, we can see that there are 4 early speed types, or early pressers and also a sprinter stretching out, #9. This scenario would normally favor an off-the-pace type, unless from among the early speeds there is a standout and dominant front-runner.

Since there is no such apparent dominant early speed horse, the focus should be placed on final fractions and any horse with a good closing kick. As can be seen by the chart, #8 Hemline had the outstanding closing fraction advantage and as such, figured very strongly in this match up.

Since she also had a huge Beyer speed figure advantage, one could assume she would be the chalk and she did go to the post at 7-5.

Let's go over the field:

1. Cherokee Racer - showed some speed stretching out in her last, but since winning in the slop, she has shown no closing punch whatsoever and figured to be a longshot with little chance once again. Now the field is narrowed down to 6.

2. Chocolate Overdose - showed much-improved speed in her maiden-breaker at the 25K claiming level. In spite of moving up to this preliminary allowance level, I thought the accellerated move she made may indicate a realistic chance with these. Contender #1.

3. Hugmelikeyouloveme - despite having to alter her course in the stretch, she closed like a rocket to miss by a neck. Although her closing punch didn't appear to be as good as Hemline's, as an SRE play that fit the probable winning profile, she had to be considered contender #2.

5. Weekend Kaper - her main problem in this match up was her projected running style of possibly mixing it up early with a number of other horses. Despite her having run a good last-out second and possessing the 2nd-best Beyer speed figure and final fraction, I passed on her. Being basically an out-of-town invader, I wanted to see if she could duplicate that last effort at Aqueduct.

7. Yahk Forty - I eliminated her on the basis of her last running line. If you look at her last race, she made a strong move to the 8th pole, and then quickly dropped over 6 lengths to the finishline. While the two best closers, #'s 8 and 3 had to be in my top 3 (after late scratches), the 3rd horse could have been Yahk Forty, Weekend Kaper, or Chocolate Overdose. I went to the latter off her strong move, in spite of her rise in class.

8. Hemline - with the strong internal fraction advantage and the large Beyer speed figure advantage, I had to make Hemline my 3rd contender and the #1 at that. The only questionmark was how she would do at this racetrack, but her figures seemed dominant enough to make her a very strong choice to win or place against these. She would therefore be a key in any exotic wagering.

9. Silver Advantage - the stretchout horse. She had never tried a distance of more than 6F and as such was a questionmark. It was also a guessing game as to how much early speed she would flash against this field. Due to her 25.2 final fraction having been run at a sprint, that figure had to be adjusted to a second slower or 26.2 to match up with the rest of this group of routers. I couldn't make her a top 3 choice.

My choices were in order after late scratches, 8, 2 and 3. Since #8 Hemline was 7-5 and no value in the win slot, what was the play in this race? The odds on my other two choices were #2 at 21-1 and #3 at 12-1. Therefore, an exacta box of 2-3-8 was certainly in order, as well as additional boxes of 2-8 and 3-8 and again a part-wheel of 8/2-3.

If one is a $2 bettor, the cost of those plays are $12, $8 and $4 respectively. That's a total of $24.00. If your mindset is that it would be hard to beat Hemline, then you probably would forego a win bet for this race due to her low odds. What about trifectas? Since the exacta probable payoffs were good with the other 2 contenders, the trifecta projected to be good also.

With a horse having standout figures like Hemline had, she would be a good key for the first two slots in a trifecta wager, providing there would still be value. To assure a value wager, one would have to use #8 in the first two slots and then use only the 2nd and 3rd choices in the win and place spot, the same as in the exacta plays.

Calculating the cost using the handy free Exotic Wager Calculator I've mentioned a couple of times in this forum, here would be a possible trifecta wager keying #8 in the first two slots and #'s 2 and 3 as having to be 1st or 2nd, while using in the show slot every remaining horse in the field other than #1, who seemed to have very little chance of hitting the board:

8/2 - 3/2 - 3 - 5 - 7 - 8 - 9  cost for $2 wager = $16
2 - 3/8/2 - 3 - 5 - 7 - 8 - 9  cost for $2 wager = $16

The results were as follows:

1 st - 3. Hugmelikeyouloveme $26.60
2nd - 8. Hemline - ex. 3-8 $90.50
3rd - 9. Silver Advantage - tri. 3-8-9 $631.00 (another Guru TBC)

I'm showing you this trifecta wager structuring as an example of how we can use chalk that figures strongly and at the same time get value for our investment. The outlay for the $2 wagers I have listed would be $56 with a return of $812 or a profit of $756 and an ROI of 1350%. The ROI would remain the same for $1 wagers and the cost and profit would be cut in half to $28 and $378 respectively; not bad for a 7-5-shot key.

If you go back and look at the above chart, you will see that the winner of this race, #3 Hugmelikeyouloveme possessed the 2nd-worst last-race Beyer speed figure in the field - 51. And yet, she came on like gangbusters and beat a horse with a last-out 85 Beyer quite handily. The speed figure differential of a huge 34 points accounts for the value payoff of $26.60. The question is, how could she have possibly won? The answer is the SRE move-within-a-race she made in her race prior.

For anyone who wants the free Exotic Wager Calculator, you can go to: This is a harness racing website. Scroll down and click on Tools & Utilities; at the next page, click on download the wager calculator. I downloaded it to my desktop and it's right there in front of me any time I want to calculate the cost of any exotic wager.

Until next week, I wish you clear skies and fast tracks; knock 'em dead!


Back to Top

Interested in having a presence on the internet? Whether you have a product idea or simply a desire to get in on the greatest technological advancement in history, you can learn how to make money on the web. I did and believe me, so can you. You'll be amazed at how inexpensive it is to learn everything, and I mean everything there is to know about how ANYONE can make money on the 'net! This is the only book on the entire internet I recommend and it's about 1/10th the cost of most other "courses".

Would you believe $17.06 for over 800 pages of "gold?" It's called "Make Your Site Sell" and you can instantly download it or a 100-page sample, which by itself is better than most complete books. If you've ever had an inkling of a desire to make money on the 'net, whether or not you have your own site, you owe it to yourself to take a few seconds to log onto:

MYSS     or    MYKS

If you're not impressed and pumped up after reading the free download sample, I'll have to come and check your pulse| :-)


To get an additional unique and valuable slant on handicapping the thoroughbreds, see what my friend the "Guru" has to say in

The "Secrets of Handicapping"        


**Horseracing Handicappers' Website**
Wagering on a horse race without knowing which are the true contenders is like running under will get nowhere fast. Order "Calibration Handicapping" TODAY... increase your ROI (Return On Investment) TOMORROW!


Web site:  
Email: Jim    fax: (603) 676-1216

Back to Top         Home