Welcome to another edition of Horseracing Info Newsletter.

As you may know I have a handicapping data service which in essence is a report containing data derived from automation of my personal handicapping approach to making money on the thoroughbreds called "Calibration Handicapping" (the book about which you can check out by clicking here).

I have to say that much to my surprise, since a few months back when I began the updated C.H. Data Service (which includes eye-opening coverage of the extremely key subject of pace), my handicapping approach has evolved.

This came about because of the fact that I write mini-newsletters I call C.H. Insights 5 times per week, corresponding to the racing days of the New York track in session, but certainly not limited to action at that track.

The purpose of these Insights articles, which anyone can have access to by registering for a 14-day free-look-and-learn experience (click here), is to enable users of the C.H. Data Report to know precisely how to approach any unique match up, and there are plenty of those, especially pace-wise.

Writing these Insights articles has led me to identify specific scenarios.

I've zeroed in on over a half dozen of these scenarios and one of them will be the subject of this month's "December Nuggets" newsletter.

It's called "The Strong Edge AFF Scenario."

The best way to discuss this scenario is to reprint a couple of Insights articles with that as the subject.

Today's first example race was the 7th at Hollywood Park on 11/17/04 and the Insights article had the following headline:

"Strong Edge AFF Scenario Play Gets Up in Time"

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

And the results chart is here.

Recently I have been putting together a number of situations regarding use of C.H. data that I call Strong Edge Scenarios.

I’ve included some definitions of these in the Tip of the Day file that pops up each time you open your Viewer, so please look for them.

In recent Insights articles I’ve been discussing how we can use the C.H. data pace shape analysis quickness point "spread" to help predict how much of a perceived advantage early speed has or doesn’t have in a particular match up.

Today I’ll define the Strong Edge AFF Scenario.

Yesterday, 11/17/04, I found 2 stick-outs plays that fit this scenario, one at Hollywood Park and another at Aqueduct.

There may have been more among the many races that were uploaded to all C.H. Viewers, but I spotted and played these two.

Of course at no cost you may examine any or all past C.H. Data Reports (after 30 minutes have elapsed following completion of a day’s racing).

One Strong Edge AFF Scenario horse got up to win by a nose at 5-2 while the other (on a speed-biased racetrack) nearly overcame an 8-length deficit at the first call to miss in 2nd by a head at 9-2 to the top-ranked pace shape analysis speed horse in a 5-horse field.

After successfully utilizing C.H. data in conjunction with scrutinizing past performance listings to come up with edge and value contenders, we are still at the mercy of intangible dynamics such as jockey performance/decisions, trips and biases, among many others.

As in yesterday’s cases luck will sometimes play an integral role in the final outcome, with some finishes going our way while others do not.

The Strong Edge AFF Scenario is simple.

It’s a match up in which one entry (or on the rare occasion more than one) has at least a 5/5ths last-out AFF advantage over the rest of the entries, with the following conditions:

  • the spread between last-out RFF (raw final fraction) and AFF (actual final fraction) must be no greater than 5/5ths

  • the Strong Edge AFF entry must have earned its last-out AFF on the surface of today’s race, either dirt or turf

  • in this match up there can be no more than 1 surface switch entry (having last run on dirt if this is a turf race or on turf if this is a dirt race)

  • there can be no more than 1 entry having less than 3 career starts

    In yesterday’s Race 2 at Aqueduct, a 5-horse field after the gate scratch of #3 Marquet Rent, Strong Edge AFF Scenrio horse #6 Won Dozen Roses with a 6/5ths last-out AFF advantage finished 2nd by a head to the number 1 ranked pace shape analysis horse, completing an $84.50 exacta.

    Today’s review race is the 7th at Hollywood Park on 11/17/04.

    After the late scratch of #5 Show Me Your Glory it was a field of only 5 going a mile and one-eighth on the turf at the non-winners of 2 other than (NW2X) allowance level, "other than" in this case meaning having never won more than once $7,500 in purse money in a race other than maiden, claiming or starter.

    Since purse distribution includes 60% for winning, that translates into never having won two races with total purse money of $12,500.

    Another condition for this race was never having won three races.

    As this was a turf match up, with each entry having last run on that surface, final fraction was the primary indicator of strong next-out performance.

    And the Strong Edge AFF Scenario horse was #1 Navaja.

    Her last-out AFF of 22.2 was 7/5ths the best.

    Having earned that figure in a Grade 2 race when finishing only 4 1/2 lengths behind, she was the win contender and key to any exotics wagering.

    Her 2 prior outings showed AFF stats of 23.0 and 23.3 when finishing 2 1/2 off the winner in a Grade 3 event and 1 3/4 behind in an optional $62K claimer/NW2X race.

    As you can see if you click on the link above for a no-cost download of the C.H. Data Report for this race, each of the remaining 4 fillies and mares had shown at least some indication that they could fill out the exacta or trifecta.

    One possible exception would be #4 Forty Paulina, who had returned from a 298-day layoff 76 days earlier with a 7th place finish.

    Her previous 5 races had been in Argentina, and with another long break between races one could have concluded that there was a very real probability that she had soundness problems.

    With her or without her it wouldn’t take a large investment to use remaining contenders underneath the key win candidate.

    And at odds of 5-2 a win bet was in order.

    Including Forty Paulina, exacta and trifecta wagers could have been constructed like this:

    Ex.: part-wheel 1/All, or put another way, p/w 1/-2-3-4-6 at a $2 wager cost of $8

    Tri.: p/w 1/All/All at a $2 wager cost of $24

    The payoffs were:

    1 $7.00

    1-2 Exacta $59.40

    1-2-3 Trifecta $111.80

    It was a battle to the finish from inside the 8th pole to the wire between Navaja and Spark Sept, the former emerging victorious by a nose with another 2 1/2 lengths back to Conspiring, who completed the trifecta as the 6-5 public choice and leader to the furlong marker.

    Today's second example race was the 1st at Churchill Downs on 11/18/04 and the Insights article had the following headline:

    "Strong Edge AFF Scenario Horse Wins Easily…But What About Value?"

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

    And the results chart is here.

    Race 1 at Churchill on 11/18/04 was a field of 8 going 6 1/2F at the $20K claiming level.

    Allowances included that if an entry had not won a race since 9/15/04 it was allowed to run with 2 pounds less than the assigned weight of 122. If it had not won a race since August 15th it was allowed 4 pounds off.

    And another way to have 2 pounds off the assigned weight was to enter for a claiming price of $17.5K instead of $20K.

    There are those, including some trainers, who believe weight to be significant, but I’m not among that group.

    One final way trainers could get weight off their horses in this race was to use an apprentice jockey, which trainer Steve Asmussen did for today’s Strong Edge AFF Scenario horse #8 Markofexcess.

    Steve is the younger brother of Cash Asmussen, the rider aboard the last Triple Crown winner Affirmed in 1978.

    Steve will soon eclipse the mark of 496 wins in a year set many moons ago by Jack Van Berg in 1976, two years earlier than the great feat accomplished by Cash and Affirmed.

    The running style recap was 3E 2EP 3P (8) in an Ad Early pace shape with a pace shape analysis of [1] +3 > [7] +2 > [8] +2 > [5] +3 > [4].

    A quick review of C.H. data identified #8 Markofexcess, one of those in the pace shape analysis (PSA), as not only a Strong Edge AFF Scenario horse with a 5/5ths last-out AFF advantage, but also as a Pattern Play with incremental AFF and I38 gains in his last 3 outings.

    His status as lone win contender was strengthened even more by his last-out gains as signified by C.H. indicators of T+ and F+.

    There was one lingering question regarding this horse, however.

    Could there be any value with him in the win slot at odds hovering around 3-5?

    The probable exacta payoffs with him on top and the rest of the field underneath in post position order were: $21, $84, $94, $15, $17, $25, and $11.

    An exacta wheel with him over the other 7 horses would not be a wise $14 investment with the potential for a return as low as $11.

    But what about the exacta payoffs using Markofexcess over #2 Forzas Pride (at odds of 71-1) and #3 Oro Bravo (at 85-1)?

    #3 Oro Bravo did not figure with a P (Presser) running style stepping up off a $7.5K maiden claimer score, but Forzas Pride was an interesting long shot.

    He was a P runner also, but was dropping from a 6F race at the $25K claiming level in which he flashed some speed during the first quarter before fading back out of it.

    His prior maiden-breaker was competitive with C.H. data stats of 26.2/25.3/36.4 T+, F+, and he certainly seemed worthwhile for use underneath in exacta and/or trifecta and/or superfecta wagers.

    #1 Lindstrom seemed logical for a couple of reasons.

    He was tops in the PSA and he was also dropping in class from a speed/fade try against $30K claimers in which he received the T+ indicator.

    And his prior couple of C.H. data lines pointed to him as a contender in this match up.

    #5 Pleasant Patter was a must-use colt due to his last-out 2nd best AFF of 26.1 at the NW1X allowance level in a 6F race run in the slop at Hoosier.

    #4 Hoofin’ It was 2nd choice in the betting and 2nd lowest in exacta wagering, and off his last-out speed/fade try at 7F with $25K company and the addition of blinkers for this could have been used in trifecta and/or superfecta wagering.

    The low number exacta horse (at $11) and 4th lowest in odds #7 Noifsnoandsnobuts was a bet-against as far I was concerned.

    For both #1 Lindstrom and #2 Forzas Pride I went back in the C.H. data lines and past performance listings.

    But for #7 Noifsnoandsnobuts I did not for these reasons.

    His last was a win, one in which he broke his maiden and scored by 7 1/4 lengths.

    His C.H. stats for that race were 27.1/27.1/37.0 T+, Evn and they did not match up with the main contenders in here.

    We can’t go back to his prior stats of 25.4/25.4/36.4 Evn which would have made him competitive, because he won out of that strong-looking race and off a win we don’t have good reason to go back in C.H. data or p.p.’s.

    Our order of contenders (with M/L and final odds) was:

    Win: #8 Markofexcess (2-1/1-2)

    Place, Show, and 4th: #1 Lindstrom (6-1/11-1), #5 Pleasant Patter (5-2/7-1), #2 Forzas Pride (10-1/71-1), and #4 Hoofin’ It (5-1/5-1)

    Since our win candidate had odds that were far too short for the win wager, our options were to key him in the exacta and/or trifecta and/or superfecta wager, the latter 2 choices having the most perceived value, but also the greatest risk using only 4 horses underneath.

    Appropriate examples of each include:

    Ex.: p/w 8/1-2-5, 8-5

    Tri.: p/w 8/1-2-4-5/1-2-4-5 at a $2 wager cost of $24

    Super.: p/w 8/1-2-4-5/1-2-4-5/1-2-4-5, the $1 wager (to receive one-half of a successful outcome) costing $24

    The payoffs were:

    8 $3.00

    8-2 Exacta $84.00

    8-2-1 Trifecta $316.60

    8-2-1-5 Superfecta $3,134.00

    As expected, Markofexcess had little difficulty and drew off to a 4 1/4 length win after pressing for a half.

    Pleasant Patter was clearly 2nd best by the margin of 4 lengths over long shot Forzas Pride, who got the show by a mere head over early pacesetter Lindstrom.

    But as mentioned in yesterday’s Insights, Lady Luck will on occasion rear her head one way or another in the outcome of some races we play.

    Those who strongly backed the most logical 8-5 exacta combination worth $17.00 for each $2 invested were extremely disappointed when Pleasant Patter was taken down for interfering with Lindstrom while blowing by that one in mid stretch, coming in a few paths and forcing him to steady.

    Perhaps it was the substitute jockey that caused the D.Q., many of which are exercise riders now riding for real in the afternoon after many of the Churchill regulars have walked out due to insurance coverage complaints, or maybe not; we’ll never know.

    But since he interfered with Lindstrom, Pleasant Patter was placed behind that one in 4th, this to the delight of those using 71 to 1 shot Forzas Pride in the place hole for the exacta, trifecta, or superfecta.

    Whether you calculate raw and actual final fractions yourself or use the C.H. Data Report, it can pay off to identify the Strong Edge AFF Scenario, which does show up a number of times per week at every track.

    For some spot plays I post many racing days for subscribers to this newsletter, you can bookmark this page:


    Or you can click here.

    Until Saturday January 1, 2005, I wish you Fair Skies and Fast Tracks.


    C.H. Handicapping - The Next Level!