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
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
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
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
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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
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
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
in this match
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
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
As the day progresses, however, I will look at
other races at tracks that are televised on TVG,
including Churchill, Laurel, Hollywood, Calder,
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
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
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
it has for
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
The bounce can vary in intensity from minor
to career ending, which unfortunately
was the case for Thunderello in this
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
he has the
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
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
to make their
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
still would have
revealed to me
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
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
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
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
bone put an
end to his
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
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
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
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
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
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
ahead of that
one in this
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
run a last out
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
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
the first in a
and the other
the top 4
This just happened to be a textbook
illustration of the 3 areas of focus in
Calibration Handicapping - The Next
Level. Pace shape,
and final fraction
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
You can view and/or print the p.p.'s for this race by
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
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
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
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
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
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
My value lines for my contenders in
#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
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
As things turned out, however, the
10-5 exacta clicked at $62.40 as
did the 10-5-2 trifecta for
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
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