To read about my 2004 Triple Crown Selection Service and see how I did in last year's Spring Classics, please click here.


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This month's Newsletter topic is "Final Fractions."

Wow! you may be saying; so what else is new?

You've heard me talk about final fractions each and every one of the past 18 months in this forum.

Why do I keep hammering away at this topic?

Because it makes me and many others a steady, reliable stream of revenue.

Are final fractions the be all and end all of handicapping every single horse race?

No, of course not.

I'm certainly not suggesting they are.

But they are one of the most consistent indicators of potential for strong next out performance.

And that's a pretty valuable tool when used in conjunction with the other meaningful components of our handicapping approaches.

Speaking of which, within the next couple of months I will be writing a concise handicapping handbook that I will include for free to all subscribers to my C.H. Data Subscription Service.

It's purpose is to review the necessary steps we must take as players to make money at our game.

The focus will be on handicapping and as such will omit much of the other 2 key conditions for success I discuss in my book "Calibration Handicapping - The Next Level" (click here), which are what I refer to as valuation and strategic action.

What exactly are final fractions?

They are often referred to as "come home" times.

And the immediate perception of final fractions is that they pertain to late runners or closers.

While this can often be the case, it is not always so.

As a matter of fact, when a horse qualifies as one of the top speeds in its race and also has the best final fraction showing, he is about the best win prospect we can locate.

In such a case if the horse with the best FF gets to the front, which in the field can be logically thought to catch it?

The final fractions I refer to constantly in this forum are the 3rd quarter in sprints and the 4th quarter in most routes.

As I've pointed out in recent months, the raw final fraction as well the horse's actual final fraction can often be pertinent indicators of potential for next out readiness.

Again, however, there are other dynamics that always should be addressed.

Including how the race is set up to be run pace wise.

Running styles, pace shape, post positions, class hikes or drops, track condition, gains or moves made within a race, trainers & jockeys, and on and on.

How do we put it all together when there are so many factors to consider?

One way is by utilizing the concept of KISS.

Keep it stupid simple. Or stupidly simple.

Meaning, boil things down to what's most important.

Try to simplify or streamline the handicapping process as much as possible.

And what that means to me is:

• Check the pace shape of the race

• Note the speed horses in order of quickness

• Note any recent gains or moves within a race

• Calculate and compare final fractions

• Note any trouble encountered or surface switches

• Note any significant hikes or drops in class

• Be aware of favorable or unfavorable post positions

• Decide which running line is most representative of each entry’s chances today

Regarding the last item on the list, we don't necessarily want to consider only the last race or even the last 2 races.

I believe that the most representative running line will in the majority of cases be among the last 3, but there are times when we should (as Michael Pizzolla states) "open the window."


Without sounding arrogant or immodest I have to tell you that during the past few years I have become very educated as to what it takes to win the Kentucky Derby.

Because of the transformation of the present day thoroughbred during the past couple of decades from sturdy to fragile, in order to win the Roses on the first Saturday in May a horse must meet a few very essential requirements.

Not the least of which is the final fraction prerequisite.

During the past 15 years or so a vivid profile of a Kentucky Derby winner has emerged.

As opposed to the greats of yesteryear, like Seabiscuit who had 35 races as a 2-year-old, today's young colts and geldings that are thought well enough of to be pointed to the spring classics are "protected" and "sheltered" to the extent that most that go into the big race in Louisville have no more than 1/5th of 35 races on their ledger for their freshman and sophomore years combined.

As I say, a very key part of the present day profile of a Kentucky Derby winner is the final fractions it records in its final mile and 1/8th key prep race.

I say fractions, plural, because it must meet the standard of not only the 4th quarter split in its last mile and 1/8th April prep race, but also that of the final furlong of that race.

After the late defection last year of Sir Cherokee, there were very few that fit the needed profile to win the Kentucky Derby.

Regarding final fractions there were 2 that stood out above the rest.

Empire Maker and Funny Cide.

Included in my suggested wagers given to subscribers of my 2003 Triple Crown Selection Service was a win bet on Funny Cide and an exacta box of Empire Maker and Funny Cide.

That fortunately panned out with Funny Cide ($27.60)winning the Kentucky Derby by a length and 3/4 over Empire Maker, who was all out to hold the place by a head (Ex. $97.00).

And the reason Funny Cide turned the tables on Empire Maker, who had beaten him by about the same margin in the Wood Memorial, was very likely that Empire Maker did not have the same amount of what I call "foundation" going into the big event.

His Derby effort and the fact that he skipped the Preakness did however enable him to spoil any chance Funny Cide had of winning the Triple Crown in June at Belmont Park.

The point here is that final fractions are the real deal.

And Funny Cide, with the 2nd best last out final fractions going into the Derby (closely behind Empire Maker) was never more than 3 lengths off the lead at any point during the big race.

Final fraction advantages do not pertain only to closers.


Without taking up too much more of your time I will now review races 6, 9 and 10 run at Aqueduct on March 20, 2004.

The results demonstrate how placing some of our handicapping emphasis on final fractions can lead to value payoffs.

Race 6 was a short field of 6 going 6F at the preliminary allowance level.

You can view and/or print the p.p.'s for this race by clicking here.

And the results chart is here.

Since today's newsletter is about final fractions, I'll list the horses and their last 3 raw and actual final fractions from the 3rd race back to the last.

And as usual these calculations have been adjusted for distance switches.

1. Knight of Darkness - 26.2/29.1, 24.1/24.1, 24.2/24.1

2. Brite Memory - 26.4/28.4, 26.0/27.1, 24.2/24.2

3. Snub the Devil - 25.3/26.0, 26.0/26.4, 23.3/23.3

4. Crafty Player - 26.1/27.2, 25.0/25.2, 24.0/26.2

5. Cherokee Spook - 25.3/25.3, 26.3/26.0, 25.4/25.4

6. Tale of Woe - 25.4/24.3, 26.3/26.3, 22.4/24.1

I thought the most representative running lines for this field were the last for all but the 2 horses that were exiting route races.

For those I choose the previous running line.

If you look at the past performances you can see that there was plenty of early speed signed on in this match up, which would put a deep closer like #6 Tale of Woe at a bit of a disadvantage.

#5 Cherokee Spook was made the 3-5 public choice because of his perceived early speed advantage.

There is no question that he looked like the speed of the speed off his wire to wire win the only time he raced on the Aqueduct main track 3 races back in November.

And he was exiting a race run 35 days earlier at Gulfstream Park with sizzling early splits of 21.2 and 43.2.

But his RFF/AFF figures indicated he may be somewhat vulnerable in this spot.

He did look tough because of the perceived early speed advantage, and rightfully so despite having recorded lesser final fractions than some.

As I have said, final fractions don't tell the whole story.

One of the things we want to see in the pace line we have chosen that puts horses on our contender lists is what we can call a "good" race.

The best RFF/AFF in a representative race was that of #3 Snub the Devil, 23.3/23.3.

Next best was the 24.2/24.1 for #1 Knight of Darkness.

Both of these horses were exiting good races, actually their maiden breakers.

Ditto for #2 Brite Memory with RFF/AFF of 24.2/24.2.

Here is an interesting aspect of final fraction comparison.

I would think the huge majority of players, myself included, would think it very very unlikely that the horse in this match up possessing the best actual final fraction, #3 Snub the Devil would be able to outbreak and get to the front over #5 Cherokee Spook.

Although Snub the Devil did go wire to wire in his maiden score, compare the splits:

24.0 48.1 1:00 1:12.0

to

21.2 43.2 1:09 1:22.4

The raw pace call (4F) fraction in Snub the Devil's race was almost a full 5 seconds slower than that of the race Cherokee Spook was exiting.

That's like 24 lengths slower!

There's power in them there final fractions.

I did not expect Snub the Devil to go gate to wire again in his first try against winners, but he did just that, and it shows once again that even off much slower early splits a strong final fraction can indeed be a good indicator of the potential for a winning next out performance.

Cherokee Spook did get up to complete the exacta, holding off Knight of Darkness by 2 1/4 lengths, who finished a head in front of Tale of Woe.

The $2 payoffs were:

3. $21.40
5. 2nd - 3-5 ex. $48.80
1. 3rd - 3-5-1 tri. $128.00


Race 9 at Aqueduct on Saturday March 20, 2004 was a field of 6 going 7F in the Grade 3 Cicada, with 2 or 3 that could have been thought to have designs on the early lead.

You can view and/or print the p.p.'s for this race by clicking here.

And the results chart is here.

Because in this short field the favorite looked like the top win contender, the perceived value was in the late D/D if indeed there was a contender or two in race 10 that would combine for decent probable payoffs.

Here was the field:

1. Baldomera - 24.3/25.3, 26.1/25.1, 24.3/25.1

2. She's a Mugs - 26.4/27.2, 24.2/24.2, 25.2/25.1

3. Bohemian Lady - 24.3/24.2, 25.3/25.3, 24.3/25.0

4. Whoopi Cat - 25.4/25.4, 24.2/25.1, 25.3/26.3

5. Freeroll - 24.4/24.4, 26.0/26.2, 28.1/27.3

6. Whirlwind Charlott - 26.1/26.0, 26.3/26.3, 25.3/26.0

Since #4 Whoopi Cat was exiting a Grade 1 mile event her prior outing was the more representative running line, and her AFF for that outing was 25.1.

For the other 5 entries I used the last out running line, and from those #3 Bohemian Lady showed the best last out AFF as well as the best 3-race grouping of that internal fraction.

Also, the races with the best representative race RFF's were the last out 24.3 for both #1 Baldomera and #3 Bohemian Lady, and the prior outing 24.2 for that of #4 Whoopi Cat.

The non-contender status shown by the final fractions for the 2 outside horses, #5 Freeroll and #6 Whirlwind Charlott was confirmed by an examination of their past performances.

#3 Bohemian Lady looked like the controlling speed of this short field, and with her possessing the best last out actual final fraction, she was an example of a horse I spoke of earlier.

One that projected to take command early (or sit off a lesser quality pace setter before taking over, which was the case in this race) that certainly appeared would be difficult to run down from on the lead.

She ran as expected, assuming control at the top of the lane before drawing off to a 6 1/2 length score as the 3-2 favorite.

She was the key horse to be used to kick off the late D/D with what we will see was a value play in the 10th.

The $2 payoffs were:

3. $5.10
4. 2nd - 3-4 ex. $9.10
1. 3rd - 3-4-1 tri. $25.60


The finale on the 3/20/04 Aqueduct card was a field of 11 going 7F at the N.Y.S.B. preliminary allowance condition with 3 or 4 expected to be vying for early control.

You can view and/or print the p.p.'s for this race by clicking here.

And the results chart is here.

Here was the field:

2. Casper Peterson - 26.0/27.2, 24.3/24.3, 25.1/25.4

3. One Talented Pro - 25.4/25.3, 25.2/24.4

4. Jol - 23.4/24.3, 25.3/25.0, 25.1/24.2

5. Captain Smith - 25.2/28.1, 26.0/24.3, 25.1/24.1

7. Clever Cowboy - 25.1/26.3, 25.2/25.2, 26.0/26.2

8. Will's Journey - 24.4/24.2, 26.0/24.4

9. Deputy Thief - 25.2/26.0, 24.1/25.1, 23.4/24.3

10. Whosgotthejohnnie - 24.2/29.2, 24.2/29.1, 25.3/26.0

11. Hay Mr. Brassman - 25.2/25.2, 25.2/27.3, 26.0/26.0

13. Brass Arrow - 25.4/27.2, 25.2/25.3, 25.3/26.0

16. Sherm - 25.3/27.3, 25.3/27.1, 23.4/ X

The final fractions that caught my attention in this match up belonged to the horse with the best last out figure of 24.1, #5 Captain Smith, as well as those for #2 Casper Peterson, #4 Jol, #8 Will's Journey, and #9 Deputy Thief.

An examination of the past performances didn't bring to the forefront any other entries that made me place them on the short list of contenders.

Seemingly being an early speed horse turned closer, #5 Captain Smith projected to be in need of some quick early splits to set up another late run, similar to those he made in his previous couple of outings.

There appeared to be enough early speed up front to give him a solid shot, and as things unfolded, the very quick early splits for this class of horses of 22.1 and 45.0 did just that.

#2 Casper Peterson was a case for which I would go back to his previous outing as the most representative running line, this despite his last having been his only try at this level.

It was a case of appearing to bounce off a very good maiden breaking win in his 3rd try off a 410 day layoff in only his 3rd career start.

His prior race RFF/AFF of 24.3/24.3 put him on the top 3 contender list.

#4 Jol was also a closer exiting the same race as Captain Smith, but the difference in his p.p.'s was a prior race clunker when finishing 8th by 11 lengths.

Unlike Captain Smith he had not demonstrated in any of his last 3 outings at this level that he was capable of an on the board finish, and he had many tries against similar company on his ledger with little success.

#8 Will's Journey was stale, having not run in 412 days, but with 2 lifetime starts that included competitive final fractions of 24.2 and 24.4 and very competitive speed figures in those 2 tries, had to be considered as an on the board threat, especially with those two 59 & change works showing.

#9 Deputy Thief showed good last out RFF/AFF of 23.4/24.3, but had not run in 72 days, and did not show a whole lot in his last couple of attempts at this condition, finishing 5th by 10 and then 7th by 12 3/4.

The horses I wound up checking probable D/D payoffs for with the winner of race 9 were #2 Casper Peterson, who went off at 3-1, #5 Captain Smith, who went off at 10-1, and #8 Will's Journey, who went to the post at 5-2.

From those 3 the only horse with a value D/D probable payoff was #5 Captain Smith.

The $2 payoffs were:

5. $22.80
2. 2nd - 5-2 ex. $115.00
8. 3rd - 5-2-8 tri. $372.50

3-5 D/D - $91.50


For the free selections I post most racing days on my private web page for subscribers to this newsletter, you can bookmark this page:

http://www.free-horseracing-info.com/hinpsp.html

Or you can click here.

Until Saturday May 1, 2004, Kentucky Derby Day!, I wish you Fair Skies and Fast Tracks.

Jim

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