Welcome to another edition of Horseracing Info Newsletter.

Today I'll be covering another assortment of topics that are meant to improve your bottom line when it comes to wagering on the thoroughbreds.

First I just want to vent about something that irks me. On Saturday November 16th and Sunday November 17th I played a couple of horses to win at Aqueduct at what I thought were very nice overlay odds, especially Sunday's play.

But even though they both won, the payoffs were somewhat disappointing. Why? I'll go over each scenario.

From among the 3 races for which I posted selections on the private subscriber web page that Saturday was race 5, a 7F claiming event. My picks in order were #8 Harley Quinn (4-1 M/L - 5-2 my value line), #4 Adams Gold Nuggett (5-2) (2-1) and #2 Grady (7-2) (7-2).

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

And the results chart is here.

I made this one a top 2 situation, meaning I would key on my top 2 picks in exactas and/or trifectas, and play to win on the one with higher odds. In actuality, I did like my top pick over the other 2 selections, but as I've said, I often will cover with the 2nd choice also if the value is there.

When I went to my computer and looked at the odds on the Youbet tote board, I got pumped up at the price of Harley Quinn with about 20 minutes left until post time.

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The first odds I saw for Harley Quinn were 8-1. I wrote down the probable exacta payoffs with my top 2 selections in the win slot, those being: 8-2 $87, 8-4 $72, 4-2 $11 and 4-8 $56.

It was plain to see that Harley Quinn was a value play while the 4-2 combo was too low to consider, which made me adjust my wagering plan to key on Harley Quinn alone in the first two slots of exactas, more with him on top.

What was first a very good value situation, however, eventually became less of one as post time neared. The win odds and exacta probables with Harley Quinn on top were still okay, but were reduced from their original probable payoffs.

With 3 minutes remaining I placed my wagers on the Youbet wagering pad. Harley Quinn was still a very playable 5-1, and the exacta probables with him on top were $36 and $44, with the 8-2 combo suddenly lower than the 8-4.

After placing a win bet at 5-1 and exacta wagers, I went to my T.V. to watch the race. Not paying any attention to the odds on the screen during the running, I was elated to see Harley Quinn jogging well ahead at the 8th pole and Grady safely holding the place. Unfortunately, Adams Gold Nuggett broke down on the turn and was vanned off.

I then went back to the Youbet video to get the payoffs and watch the replay. Then I spotted it. I couldn't believe my eyes. 2-1 on Harley Quinn and an exacta of $26 showing as the probable payout.

I later found out that Harley Quinn had dropped in odds from 5-1 to 7-2 as the gates opened, then dropped to 5-2 nearing the 8th pole, finally showing as the 2-1 favorite while coasting to the wire.

This phenomenon is explained as simulcasting outlet money being fed into the pools. But a drop like that does nothing to instill player confidence in a system that has already been hacked into big time.

Could this have been a case in which some computer whiz was able to get into Autotote's flawed system, placing a nice win bet on a horse who looked like a sure winner at the 8th pole? Say $100K on the nose?

I'd like to think it was just the simulcasting money coming in late as usual, but I would rather have all that money accounted for with final odds showing before the gates open, even if it means closing all wagering at 3 minutes before post.

Imagine my shock the next day. On Sunday I had posted selections for another 3 races on the private web page, the 7th through 9th on the Aqueduct card.

Since race 7 was the second half of the midday D/D, as the 6th race post time neared, I decided to check out that race (one on which my first instinct was to pass) to see if there were any horses that had a shot at a price to play into my 3 selections in the 7th in the form of D/D's.

Because the sloppy racetrack was strongly favoring early speed in the first 5 events on the card, I focused strictly on that attribute. I landed on #5 Classic Endeavor, who had just won wire to wire at the same mile distance on the same Aqueduct main track 15 days earlier, although it was on a fast surface.

The point was that he was hovering at around 23-1, and the D/D probables were good with my 3 contenders in race 7; $252, $185, and $183. I knew the horse was an overlay due to having won his last at the $20K claiming level while moving up to face NW2X allowance runners in this match up.

But since the odds were so good and he won his last in front running fashion, I decided that it was a value situation that I couldn't pass up. He could have become involved in a speed duel with either or both the 1 and 2 horses and finished up the track, but at that price he was worth a wager.

I wound up playing D/D's in increments according to my listed contender preference in race 7, 5-8, 5-2 and 5-3, even though the 8 horse did not show early speed. His final fraction advantage was superior enough for me to stick with him, as did the public. I also bet #5 to win in race 6.

As the gates were about to open, Classic Endeavor was 21-1, a very nice price indeed. He took command well before the turn and opened up a big lead in the stretch. I was really pumped with this one as I could tell he wasn't going to be caught this day.

As he neared the finish line, however, I couldn't believe my eyes, which had caught the odds on the screen below his his green number 5. They were 13-1!

This horse had gone off at 21-1 and by the time he finished the race a minute and a half later he was 13-1.

Again I thought what gives? I was looking for a win payoff of $42 to $45.

I was amazed. I took the $28.80 payoff and was very thankful when the 8 horse beat the 3 horse in race 7 since I had a bigger D/D on him and the payoffs were nearly the same: $169.50 for the winner to $170 for the 3 horse.

But again I had to shake my head and wonder. In the weeks to come I think we will see more and more changes to assure everyone that all is on the up and up, and that no unscrupulous computer geniuses can steal our money.

As of the start of the Aqueduct Inner Dirt Track meet on December 4th, wagering at all off-track outlets will indeed be closed once the first horse is in the starting gate. This could and should on most occasions be enough time before the gates open to have all bets in by then.

Other tracks have instituted similar provisions.

I've been asked why I don't make selections for other venues besides my home track of Aqueduct. The answer is simple. I make money playing races there and at the other 2 NYRA tracks Belmont and Saratoga.

The first thing I do each morning, or occasionally the evening before, is handicap the Aqueduct races. By the time I finish with that and then writing analysis and posting selections for the races I think are playable, I take a break.

As the day progresses, however, I will look at other races at tracks that are televised on TVG, including Churchill, Laurel, Hollywood, Calder, etc.

I don't fully handicap many of those races, but often will do a Red-Scan as per my book to see if I can quickly come up with the winner and/or other contenders.

Sometimes I'll just make a mind bet, and other times I'll go over to the Youbet wagering pad and actually place a bet.

The race I will discuss now is a perfect illustration of how simulcast players can come up with contenders within minutes using the first 2 steps of my handicapping process, the Red-Scan Qualifying Technique, during which any last-out "moves" are also noted, followed by quick final fraction calculations.

I had my contenders clearly identified inside of 5 minutes for this race, but actually spent about 20 minutes looking it over. You can follow along as I retrace how I handicapped it, obviously without revealing the crux of the material in my book.

Without sounding like this newsletter is an advertisement for Calibration Handicapping - The Next Level, I sincerely believe that owning this book can and will improve your return on Investment as it has for over 1000 players.

Using the Red-Scan Qualifying Technique alone, which would have taken no longer than 90 seconds for this 8 horse field, would have gotten you the exacta and the trifecta, which as you will see paid very nice dividends.

Had you taken the other 2 to 3 minutes to calculate final fractions, you would have narrowed your choice for top selection to only 2 horses.

If you want to sharpen your handicapping skills, and start making money on a regular basis, I strongly advise you to take a test drive of Calibration Handicapping - The Next Level by clicking here.

An example of the potency of my patented Red-Scan Qualifying Technique in and of itself was demonstrated in last Sunday's card at Aqueduct.

This technique continues to amaze me.

Within 2 minutes, users had the Race 1 top contender (from only 2) revealed by the Red-Scan, which won and paid $71.50!

It took no more than 1 minute to do the 7-horse field in Race 2, and the 2 Red-Scan contenders ran 1st and 2nd for a $19.00 exacta.

But more importantly it quicky and easily pointed to the $199.50 D/D.

Race 4 had only 3 Red-Scan contenders and 2 of them combined for a $120 exacta.

In race 5, the top rated Red-Scan horse won paying $14.20, while the entrymate of the only other Red-Scan contender completed the $27.80 exacta.

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

And the results chart is here.

After making a profit on Aqueduct's card of Saturday November 16th, I decided to play Laurel's race 10, a 6F sprint that was being simulcasted as the 10th race on the Big A program.

I had looked at it while waiting for Aqueduct's race 9 as well as before the race itself.

This race, the Grade 1 DeFrancis Memorial Dash at 6F illustrates another phenomenon in thoroughbred racing, the "bounce" factor, which I will discuss before analyzing the race.

I'm sure the great majority of you have heard of bouncing. It is a very real phenomenon. What is not so real is the ability to accurately determine ahead of time when a horse will for sure bounce or not bounce.

A bounce can be described as a negative reaction to a very strong performance. It happens to humans as well, but I'll stick to the equine athletes on which we wager.

Often, but not always, when a horse runs a very strong race that results in a win and a lifetime best effort, that horse will react adversely to his top performance and run a poorer race in his next outing.

A horse can bounce off a strong 2nd or even 3rd, as long as it is close to a lifetime best. And it can bounce from an effort that is not a lifetime best, but a recent best.

This is one reason why I underline in red the best Beyer speed figure showing for each horse in each race, and that usually accounts for up to 12 past performances.

In Grade 1 races like this one, the DRF lists lifetime past performances.

Let's say a horse has run a lifetime best Beyer of 99 22 races ago and has not come close to it until it's last outing when it ran a 96. He is a bounce candidate for his next start. But again, that doesn't mean he will bounce, just that he could be set up to bounce.

The bounce can vary in intensity from minor to career ending, which unfortunately was the case for Thunderello in this race.

A horse may run a lifetime best Beyer speed figure of for example 100, having never earned higher than 88 in the past. This horse could bounce down to a 90 and finish off the board, or the possibility exists that he could even win while bouncing.

Determining when or if a horse will bounce is simply not a science.

A horse could bounce off a top effort, run a poor off the board race, and then come back and win in his very next outing. Another reason to underline the best Beyer for each entry.

What can we look for to best guesstimate when a horse will bounce and not win off a good looking last out effort?

There are a number of things that can alert us to a possible bounce, including trainer percentage. A high win percentage trainer is less likely to have a horse bounce than a low one.

When did the horse run in his race prior to the big effort? If there was a long layoff prior to that race, he may be more likely to bounce. If he was on the lead and ran the fastest early splits of his career in the comeback race, that is also a bounce situation.

Also very important is how long ago the lifetime top race was. It is widely agreed that a horse needs the proper time to "recover" from a top effort, say a month or longer at least, most think 6 weeks or more.

One more potential indicator is how long the horse in question has been in a good cycle, or in form. If it has been running well for an extended period it probably will be more likely to bounce than a horse who recently signaled a strong next out performance and just ran it, having been off the board in his prior few tries.

The bottom line is that all we can do is guess when a horse is going to bounce or not going to bounce. So on most occasions it is probably wise not to do so.

If, however, we can locate match ups in which we have good reason to estimate that a horse will bounce off a top effort, especially one that is sure to go off as the favorite or close to it, we may very well have found a value situation.

When I find a match up in which I think there is at least a better than even chance of a favorite to bounce, I let Calibration Handicapping do the work and trust the contenders it points out to to run the way they are supposed to.

If I'm right, I make a nice profit. When wrong I move on to the next playable race, whenever that may be.

The DeFrancis was an instance when I was right. If ever there was a potential bounce candidate, #7 Thunderello was it, and he was sent out by the nation's leading trainer in terms of wins. Scott Lake is successful in part because he has the money to spend on essentials that less effective trainers do not, including better diet and dental care.

But he brought back Thunderello just 3 weeks after his amazing and lifetime best (no matter how you measure it) performance when finishing 2nd at 48-1 in the Breeder's Cup Sprint.

If you take a look at that last race in the p.p.'s, you'll see not only a lifetime best 113 Beyer speed figure, 13 points above his next best which was his race prior, but also a lifetime best pace figure.

In the B.C. Sprint he was forced into a 43.4 half, a very fast split to be sure, and was not exactly a real seasoned horse, having run only 4 times in 2002, all within the prior 2 months.

Since he did not show any last-out moves or possess a better final fraction than some of his competition, I had to consider him a bet against favorite.

In his case he had a lot of hoopla surrounding him off the famous last race, which would make many people bet him on reputation alone. Then again, many players routinely do not depend upon past performances in the Daily Racing Form or elsewhere to make their decisions.

So if I was going to toss Thunderello because of him being a prime bounce candidate and also for not showing an advantage other than being fast early, who were the contenders?

Like I said, with or without spending the time to uncover a potential bounce favorite, in this case Calibration Handicapping still would have revealed to me the contenders rather readily.

Does this happen in every race I handicap? I think you know the answer to that question first hand. Not even close. I lose far more races than I win, but I still make money at this game.

Here is the field in post position order, followed by running style, last out Beyer speed figure, final fraction (raw/actual) and any what I call "moves-within-a-race."

1. Outstander E 104 24.1/24.1

2. Boston Common E 81 24.0/26.4 (T)

3. D'wildcat P 91 23.3/23.4 (T) T/M play

4. Rusty Spur E 99 25.3/26.1

5. Deer Run P 102 24.1/23.4

6. Avanzado E 106 25.2/25.2

7. Thunderello E 113 25.0/25.1

8. Sassy Hound EP 102 24.1/24.2

The first thing that jumps out in this match up is is the number of early speed types, 5 that live and die by attempting to get to the front, and 1 early presser in a field of 8. The remaining 2 horses were pace pressers.

As it turned out, the speed balls dueled themselves into off the board finishes, while the early presser took over in the stretch only to be passed by the 2 off the pace pressers.

A textbook finish for such a pace shape.

In a pace shape such as this, one wants to be sure to focus on final fractions or recent closing punch since the projection is for a fast and contested early pace resulting in some tiring front runners.

It seems pretty obvious that Thunderello was brought back to the races too soon, as he bounced badly, having been pulled up on the turn and vanned off. As I said, he is okay, but his fractured splint bone put an end to his racing career.

He simply was not a good bet to come back so soon off a lifetime best and run well again.

You can see by the result chart that the horses with the best final fractions filled all 4 superfecta slots.

The best was 23.4 for #5 Deer Run, and when I saw his inexplicably long odds I made him my top selection.

D'wildcat earned the same 23.4 in the Grade 2 Oak Tree Mile on the Santa Anita turf course. While it's no easy matter comparing last out final fractions from turf routes and 6F dirt sprints, both of these were impressive.

A quick look at the Beyers shows that Deer Run had run a 104 on a wet fast Laurel track back in March, as well as a 103 at Pimlico in his prior race. So he was not coming off a lifetime best performance, but a good one for sure with that 23.4 final fraction showing.

I really liked him in this match up, but the best he could do was second by a length and a half to D'wildcat, who got the perfect trip from Chavez and had plenty left for the drive.

Scanning the p.p.'s for D'wildcat showed that he had earned a 110 Beyer for his win in the Grade 3 Swale at Gulfstream Park as a 3 year old. He obviously was no slouch at the sprinting game on dirt, and with his last out final fraction of 23.4 and T/M play status, was my second choice.

This was a wagering situation in which I preferred my top 2 picks over the others, and my complete order of preference based on what I have just discussed (and very importantly what the Red-Scan Qualifying Technique pointed out) was 5-3-8-1.

Obviously, things worked out real well as Deer Run held on for the place by a nose over Sassy Hound, who was a length and 3/4 in front of Outstander, with D'wildcat surging in the final furlong for the win.

You may wonder how I could rate 2 horses ahead of another that had beaten both. The reasons why I had both Deer Run and Sassy Hound, who had finished 3rd and 2nd - noses apart behind Outstander ahead of that one in this match up were the following.

First of all, the Red-Scan Qualifying Technique pointed to them over Outstander. Secondly, all 3 finished within less than a length of each other, so the separating factors were the final fraction advantage of Deer Run and the fact that Outstander had run a last out lifetime top.

As you can see, the payoffs were extremely good. D'wildcat paid $14.00 to win with Deer Run paying $13.80 to place; the 3-5 exacta was $173.40, the 3-5-8 tri. was $1,031.20, and the 3-5-8-1 superfecta paid $3,556.20.

And you can also see an example in which the betting public backed the wrong horses.

Thunderello was a prime bounce candidate with no final kick advantage in a race loaded with other early speed types, and Avanzado was coming off 3 straight wins, the first in a claiming race, and the other two with final fractions that didn't compare to the top 4 finishers in this field.

This just happened to be a textbook illustration of the 3 areas of focus in Calibration Handicapping - The Next Level. Pace shape, "moves-within-a-race" and final fraction comparison.

And of course for those who didn't have the time to handicap in full, the top three finishers in this instance were identified immediately by the Red-Scan Qualifying Technique alone.

Again, this was an example of a success story. In spite of cases like these being outnumbered by the failures, it demonstrates how we can make money at this game by connecting on the value situations that unfold the way we expect them to.

Here's one more race we can take a quick look at. It was race 3 at Churchill Downs, one on which I spent about 5 minutes handicapping before post time on November 16th when scanning races for potential value situations.

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

And the results chart is here.

Why don't you look over the past performances. See what you come up with as the top 5 contenders here, and then come back to read my comments.

First of all, the speed horses look like #2 Enlighting, #11 Big City Lover, and #5 Cowboy Wedding, in that order.

The only other 2 contenders I can see are #10 Savannah Way and #7 Promised Call. If you came up with these 5, we're on the same page as far as contender selection goes.

If you also gave consideration to the Maiden Special Weight #6 Taylor J, I can't fault you, because one of the most significant drops in racing is from Maiden Special Weight to Maiden Claiming.

This one did not, however, show much in her debut race.

I wasn't as impressed by the lone outing of #7 Promised Call as I was by the last running line of #10 Savannah Way or the 3 speeds, so my contender list was 2-5-10-11.

Since I didn't allow myself a whole lot of time to handicap this race, I was looking for a win bet that would provide at least some value, say 3-1 or higher.

My top selection was immediately #10 Savannah Way. First of all, I thought there would be a contested and fairly quick pace up front with the 3 speeds signed on.

And secondly, she was showing odds which made me have a double take. How could a horse who had run twice at the Maiden Special Weight level, that included a good 3rd place finish be hovering around 5-1?

She had run what I describe in my book as a very nice drop back race in her last when in for $50K and was dropping off that to today's $30K-$25K level.

The keys to her being the top selection were not only the drop in class and smooth fade race, but also that she had run up close to the pace in her last at a mile and a sixteenth.

Having shown some speed at that route would give her more of a chance to close well in this 2 1/2F shorter race.

My value lines for my contenders in order were:

#10 Savannah Way 5-2 - she had gone off at these odds in her last at a higher level, and with all she had going for her in this match up would have to have a fair odds line of at or below those odds here.

#5 Cowboy Wedding 3-1 - as a Wide Out play who was the top Red-Scan contender and figured to get the first run on the 2 main speeds.

#2 Enlighting 7-2 - as the best-looking of the speeds moving in from her last-out 11 post.

#11 Big City Lover 6-1 - went from the 1 hole in her debut to the 11 post here; deserved to be a good deal less than her debut race odds of 21-1.

At odds showing of 5-1 on my top selection #10 Savannah Way, I went ahead and played her to win and cashed on the $12.20 overlay payoff.

As things turned out, however, the 10-5 exacta clicked at $62.40 as did the 10-5-2 trifecta for $199.40.

Gary C. from Kentucky as I found out the next day had the ex. and the tri., as I suspect a number of other Calibration Handicappers did also.

Our group has now reached over 800 strong, but I can't help but notice that more than half of you are not viewing my daily picks for racing at Aqueduct.

It's your choice of course, but in case any of you are either unaware that these free selections are available to you as a subscriber to this newsletter, or simply don't know where to find them, here is the link:


AOL users: click here.

Or anyone can click here.

Until Saturday January 4th, 2003, I wish you Fair Skies and Fast Tracks.