Welcome to another edition of Horseracing Info Newsletter.
Today I'll be discussing a number of things pertaining
to handicapping the thoroughbreds, all of which are geared
to improving your bottom line or R.O.I. (Return On
My focus will be on a topic I consider to be
equally important to success as the
handicapping process itself - wagering. Without
a sound wagering plan, making money at the
thoroughbreds will be that much more difficult
than it already is.
I have developed a 2-page wagering plan that
I have printed and laminated in plastic. Each
time I prepare to construct wagers for a race,
I review this plan, and it has served me well
since its inception.
With all the possible wagers and situations we
confront, making the most productive wagers is no
easy task, and this wagering plan has in and of
itself strongly contributed to me being a
Don't get me wrong, in order to make money at
this game, you have to at least occasionally come
up with horses the public does not consider top
contenders. But it is crucial to be able to make
the proper wagers for each individual situation.
Anyone who wants to view and/or print out a
copy of my wagering plan can click here.
Or you can get the same information on my
website by clicking here.
It will be a common practice in this forum for me to
review past races, giving you my thoughts on why they were
good betting opportunities. While I will be illustrating
successful results, it should be understood that most such
occasions will not pan out for a variety of reasons.
Because of the nature of this challenge we call
handicapping and playing the horses, a success rate of
near 50%, let alone better than that is in my opinion
There are too many things that can go
wrong, including results that are unpredictable. But
if we stay with what we know gives us the best
advantage possible, we can indeed stay ahead of this
game despite having a relatively low hit rate.
That's accomplished of course by playing value
situations only. When I say low hit rate, I mean 18% to
22% on the win end and lower than that on the exotic
If you are playing strictly to win and have
your standard minimum odds at 3-1 or higher, connecting
at an average of 20% of the time with an average payoff
of $11.60, you will make $32 for every $200 wagered.
This comes out to a 16% R.O.I, which any professional
player would certainly appreciate.
Hitting on 1 of 5 win wagers at the above
connect rate and average payoff can make one a decent
living of $32,000 annual cash income (no taxes) for
10 $200 wagers per week 50 weeks a year.
Why don't more people do this? Simple answer that
will surprise no one. It ain't that easy to
consistently come up with winners at that rate and at
that average payoff.
But if you have a handicapping formula that works
and you understand the concept of value, you can do
this well or better if you have the proper control
Now I want to discuss a race I played on October
14, 2002. It was Monday and Columbus Day was being
celebrated, so my home track of Belmont was open for
business as opposed to normally being dark.
Since racing at Belmont was being run for the
3rd consecutive day on a severe off track, I decided
to skip trying to guess which horses would prefer or
dislike those conditions.
I had in my possession the Daily Racing
Form, and decided to look for a possible
wagering opportunity at Santa Anita Park, 3
thousand miles away. I could watch on my
television and wager on the races there just
as I could at Belmont through TVG (Television
Games Network) since I have Dish Network
instead of cable.
Following are my thoughts on the 4th race that
day, a field of 7 after the late scratches of #3
Pick Of The Valley and #4 J J Wantsthefront.
It was a group of 3-year-olds going a mile
and a sixteenth for claiming tags of $16K down to
$14K. You can view and/or print the DRF past
performances for this race by clicking here.
And the results chart is here.
Following was the field in post position
order with running style, last-out final
fraction (raw/actual), Beyer speed figure, and
any moves-within-a-race as per my book
Calibration Handicapping - The Next Level:
1. Proud Alvin P 25.0/25.4 71 -
2. Six G's S 23.4/24.0 77 -
5. High On The Throne EP 24.4/24.4 72 -
6. Mamone P 25.4/26.3 67 -
7. Slouisiana Lew P 24.2/26.4 55 -
8. Jared's Pride S 27.0/27.0 80 SRE-T/M
9. Butte City P 26.1/27.2 61 -
I'll handicap each of these entries as I
did using the approach I use as described in
my book. The first thing I do is give the
field a quick look as per my Red-Scan
While doing this simple 2-minute exercise
I also locate and label any "move" horses. Then
I label running styles and note any pace shape
advantage(s). Finally, I calculate and compare
1.) Proud Alvin - I use the BRIS abbreviations
for labeling running styles, E, EP, P and S
for Early, Early Presser, Presser and
Sustained or late closer.
I could have labeled this horse either
P or S. What I do to differentiate when it's a
close call between those 2 styles is look at
the beaten lengths at the pace calls showing
in the past performances.
In the case of Proud Alvin, his pace
call beaten lengths for the 12 races
showing were 2 3/4, 6, 2 3/4, 6 3/4, 1 1/2,
5 1/2, 4, 1 3/4, 7, 8 1/2, 3 1/4 and a head.
My rule of thumb is when behind most
often by 4 lengths or more at that pace call,
which is the 4 furlong point in sprints and
6F point in routes, I will consider him as
more of a closer than a presser.
Proud Alvin showed a mixture of 4 & over
and less than 4, more toward the latter,
which made me go with the P label.
The art of running style labeling can be
learned pretty quickly and takes very little
time per race. But as you will see in
this example, it can be time very well
Proud Alvin had won 2 of his last 3
outings, at a mile for $14K, and his last at
7F for $16K. With a pace shape here of
1 EP - (7) or Lone Early, he looked like a
contender for a minor share. His last-out
final fraction (FF) of 25.4, however, which
was adjusted from 24.4 for stretching
out for this, was not as good as those
of the top contenders.
2.) Six G's - I labeled him an S runner off
his last few tries, which had him pretty
far off the pace, even at the stretch call
let alone the pace call.
But it was hard to miss the fact that
he had been running with better company,
including a last try against $100K rivals.
The purse of this race was $20K. He didn't
show much in that last one, but still
recorded a 24.0 FF (actually for mile and
an eighth races I measure the 4th quarter
and call it the FF).
When I see a horse like this who was
obviously overmatched in his last, I'll go
back further in the p.p.'s. His prior was
on the turf at $40K, again not similar to
But his 3-back effort was better
and more comparable, having run 2nd
against $20K claimers going a mile. As
a matter of fact, that 3-back 2nd was
preceded by 4 straight good races, 2
wins and 2 seconds.
All things considered, Six G's would
have to be placed on my short list of
contenders in this field, and the
public liked him also, sending him off
as the 8-5 favorite.
5.) High On The Throne - this one caught
my attention immediately since he was
labeled the only speed horse, an EP.
But was it enough to be the lone early
Many times it is enough as long as
the horse shows at least something in
his recent past performances. In his
case, he exhibited more than just good
His last was a win at today's
distance, and only he, Six G's and
Jared's Pride had won at the trip. What
really sealed the deal was his 24.4 FF
to go along with his perceived early
When a horse shows a match up
advantage of both early and late, he is
usually one that should be taken very
seriously for the win.
His last-out Beyer of 72 was in the
neighborhood of the best showing, and
the jump back up in class from his win
at $12.5K meant that he was likely to
be an underlay, or a value horse that
would be under bet by the pubic because
of their assumption that the class
hike would be a significant hurdle
This type of horse is what I define
as value. One that is in good form, and
in his case it was not prolonged good
form, only recent good form. And also
one that showed other strong
factors pointing to a possible top
next-out performance, in his case a
pace shape advantage and a very good
FF match up.
6.) Mamone - was coming off a
series of sprints, including double
Beyer tops. His 26.3 FF, adjusted
up from 25.3 at 6 1/2F was not good
enough for me to consider him as a
7.) Slouisiana Lew - ran decently
at a mile 3 races back, but his
last 2 non efforts at 6F did
not include any signals of a
pending strong next out
performance, so in spite of the
drop in claiming price, he had to
be considered a non-contender.
8.) Jared's Pride - the Red-Scan
Qualifying technique pointed out
this one, and since he was also a
double move horse (SRE and T/M)
he had to be included on the short
list of contenders.
Here is another point
regarding last-out final
fractions and especially speed
When a horse makes a
last-out move, in particular what
I call a T/M move, on many
occasions that horse will have
derived enough energy
from his performance that will
enable him to run a much better
next-out FF and especially a much
higher speed figure than he has
There was a prime example
of this phenomenon in the Breeder's
Cup Juvenile race run last
My top 2 selections for
that race, #2 Kafwain and #7
Vindication had prior 3 Beyer speed
figures of 93, 92, 92 and
87, 84, 87.
I don't make selections based on
speed figures, I'm just using these
2 as examples of how horses that
are overlooked to varying extents
by the betting public can and
often do surprise with strong
efforts and better speed figures.
In that B.C. Juvenile the
favorite and 4th choice in the
wagering, WhyWhyWhy and
Toccet had last-out Beyers
of 102 and 97 respectively.
Whywhywhy was made the
5-2 public choice off that
last-out 102 Beyer speed
figure, which in effect
towered over Vindication's
But what the public
didn't see were the last-out
"moves" that were made by
both the $10.20 winner
Vindication and the
19.80 to 1 Kafwain.
These "moves" signaled
the potential for strong
next out performances,
and as things turned out,
those 2 were all by
themselves during the
last 70 yards,
producing a $164.60
By the way, Vindication
sure did increase his Beyer
speed figure. His 102 was the
2nd highest in the 19-year
history of the
behind only the 103
recorded by Unbridled's
Song in 1995.
The reason I did
not have either
Whywhywhy or Toccet on
my 4 horse contender
list was simple.
Both had run
their last race around
one turn at Belmont.
Whywhywhy at only 1
mile, and Toccet
at 16th further.
Without having made a
"move" in their prior
outing, or having a final
fraction advantage, they
did not figure
according to the way I
While I did not have a
high hit rate for the 8 B.C.
races, this race as well
as the other 2-year-old
race produced results that
were plenty good enough to
put me well in the black
for that big day of
Later I'll discuss how
I constructed wagers on both.
But now back to our
example race. I was
discussing #8 Jared's
His last-out FF of 27.0 was
not as good as my other 2
primary picks, but that was at
a mile and 3/8ths. Going back
one more race showed a 24.3 FF
going this trip of 8 1/2F,
making Jared's Pride a dangerous
looking horse in this match up
despite his sustained
closer running style.
9.) Butte City - was stepping up
from being claimed for $12.5K off
a race in which he beat one horse
after making a good middle move.
Going back to his prior, he
recorded a 25.2 FF when winning at
a mile at somewhere with the
initials of Bmf when in for
He could be considered for a
small share of this, but with only
7 horses going, I had to whittle
this group down to 3 prime
I did remember him and Proud
Alvin, however, with inclusion
of both in the show spot in my
My final 3 were #5 High On
The Throne, #8 Jared's Pride,
and #2 Six G's. I thought that
Six G's could be a false favorite
of sorts that would be played
because of the big drop in class.
He definitely could get into
the money, but was worth trying to
beat for the win.
That left High On The
Throne with the pace shape
advantage, and SRE-T/M play Jared's
When I saw the price
differential between the two, it
was obvious which I would go with
for the win. High On The Throne
was 10-1 and Jared's Pride 7-2.
As per my wagering
strategy, this was a small
field with a situation in
which I preferred 2 of the
3 contenders, #5 High On
The Throne, and #8
Since the near-post time
odds on those 2 were 10-1 and
3-1, I went with the longer
one, High On The Throne for
the win wager, 20 units.
I placed the following
exotic plays also:
ex.p/w 5-8/2-5-8 for 5 units
ex.p/w 2/5-8 for 3 units
tri.p/w 5-8/2-5-8/1-2-5-8-9 for
The cost of these wagers
per $1 unit was: $20 for the
win bet, $26 for the exactas,
and $12 for the tri.
The return for that $58
outlay would have been
$596.60 for a profit of
The race unfolded in a bit
of a surprise to me as I had
High On The Throne pegged as
the lone speed.
As it turned out, Slouisiana
Lew took over the lead from him on
the first turn and held it for
6F, at which point High On The
Throne assumed command again.
Inside the furlong marker
it was a 2-horse battle between
my top 2 picks, and High On The
Throne barely held off Jared's
Pride by a nose for the win.
Six G's, like Jared's
Pride an S horse, closed from
dead last to get the show by
a length over Proud Alvin,
who was a neck in front
of Butte City.
5 Win $22.60
5-8 $2 ex. $90.60
5-8-2 $2 tri. $288.20
Since I had a tri. p/w
wager of 5-8/2-5-8/1-2-5-8-9,
I was rooting for Proud Alvin
or Butte City to save the
show, but class dropper Six
G's was too strong and
completed a decent payoff
This is an example
of not only a pace advantage
situation, but also of
the other 2 areas of
handicapping I stress,
and final fraction
As well as, of
course, the all-important
Here's a quick review of how
I structured wagers on the 2
Juvenile races last Saturday.
This was my order of
preference in the
Juvenile Fillies race,
followed by the morning
line, my value line and
the final odds.
3. Composure (5-1) (5-2) (7-2)
4. Storm Flag Flying (1-1) (1-1) (4-5)
7. Sea Jewel (50-1) (12-1) (27-1)
1. Santa Catarina (4-1) (3-1) (5-1)
As per my wagering plan, I
came to the conclusion that
this was a situation in
which I preferred the top 2
over the other 2.
The exacta option was
eliminated due to the 4-3
probable near-post payoff
of $13 to $14.
The trifecta was also not an
option due to the odds of my top
3 selections adding up to only
In this particular
circumstance, the superfecta
became the actual lone play.
While my top choice was a
slight overlay (7-2 vs. my
value line of 5-2), it was
not as attractive to me as
the superfecta since my
3rd choice was around 25
to 30 to 1.
My wagers were simple. A
part wheel as follows:
3-4/3-4/1-7/1-7. At a cost of $8
per $2 wager, it was an
inexpensive way to play the
race with a shot at a decent
payoff. And if it didn't
work out, it was no big deal
in terms of net loss for
When Sea Jewel appeared
on the TV screen late and
finished 4th, it turned
out to be the right play as
the 4-3-1-7 combo paid
$189.40 for each $8 wager.
In the Juvenile 5 races
later, there was a completely
different situation at hand.
Here was my order of
preference for that one:
2. Kafwain (12-1) (7-2) (19-1)
6. Vindication (4-1) (3-1) (4-1)
4. Listen Indy (30-1) (6-1) (13-1)
5. Bull Market (12-1) (6-1) (12-1)
In this case I was looking
squarely at a nice overlay on my
top choice, and since it was a
situation in which I preferred
my top 2 over the others,
it was a no-brainer as to
which I would play to win.
Since the near-post odds
were 20-1 to 22-1, as per the
wagering plan, this was a
win/place wager on T/M play
Following the plan, since
there was very good value
showing in this race, I could
not play a "futures" bet in
the form of a Pick 3.
The other options were indeed
okay though, and here is how I
constructed wagers, again using
$1 as the unit.
20 units win, 20 units place
($40 bet). Since I really liked
my top 2 T/M plays over the
others, I immediately put in
a 20 unit exacta box of 2-6
($40) and then also played:
5 unit ex.p/w 2-6/2-4-5-6 ($20)
3 unit ex.p/w 4-5/2-6 ($12)
2 unit tri.p/w 2-6/2-4-5-6/2-4-5-6 ($24)
For that particular series of
wagers totaling $136, the payoff
would have been $2,217.50 for a
profit of $2,081.50.
If Bull Market had been able
to hold 3rd, the tri. would have
been at least $3,000, but he had
to settle for 4th as Hold That
Tiger put in a great
performance to get the show
after a horror trip.
The wager structure of these 2
B.C. races typifies how one can
get the most out of the occasions
when they are right about their
Had I not taken the time to
review all aspects of the plan, I
very possibly would have missed
out on the superfecta of
$189.40 because I'm not at
all accustomed to making that
If you wonder why I didn't
play the superfecta in the
Juvenile, it was simply because
as I say, I normally don't
consider that wager, preferring
to opt for the much easier
exacta and trifecta plays.
Any number of non-contenders
can clunk up for a 4th place
finish that can result in a
loss, when perhaps the trifecta
clicked and was lost due to
opting for the superfecta play.
In other words, I prefer
to take what I can from the
easier exotic play(s) rather
than spread myself too thin
by trying to cover each and
every wagering possibility.
But a review of each is
Here is another quick review of a
race I had posted on the private
subscriber selections page.
It was the finale, race 9 on
October 24, 2002, a field of 9
three year olds going a mile and
an 8th for tags of $20K down to
To view and/or print the p.p.'s for this one you can click here.
And for the results chart click here.
My order of preference was:
8. Boldest Heart (6-1) (3-1) (6-1)
2. Smokester's Knight (5-1) (7-2) (3-1)
6. Mystic Storm (5-2) (5-2) (2-1)
9 Gleam Supreme (4-1) (4-1) (9-2)
I decided it was a situation in
which I preferred Boldest Heart
over the others, but since I
thought Smokester's Knight had at
least somewhat of a chance at the
win, I decided to key both of my
top 2 in the exotic plays.
This was a no-brainer as to the
win bet since Boldest Heart had
near-post odds of 7-1 and my value
line was 3-1.
For those who play to win or
win and place only, the 3 races
discussed today that had overlay
odds on the top picks,
illustrate that money can
indeed be made with that or
It may seem like a simple thing
to recognize an overlay. A 6-1
shot is a 6-1 shot, which is value.
But learning to and making your own
value lines is a valuable part of
the whole process. Trust me,
people who consistently
make money on the
their own value lines.
My plays for this situation
20 units to win on WIR/W.O. play #8
4 units ex.p/w (part-wheel) 2-8/2-6-8-9,
3 units ex.p/w 8/2-6-9
3 units ex.p/w 6-9/2-8
1 unit tri.p/w 2-8/2-6-8-9/2-6-8-9
The cost for these plays using
$1 as the unit would be $20, $24,
$9, $12, and $12 for a total of
$77, a return of $643.15 and a
profit of $566.15.
Obviously, it is not written in
stone that one must opt for all
possible wagers. Settling for
the win wager alone or that
play with just the exacta or
trifecta can often get us the
results we want.
But I firmly believe that if one
has a sound wagering plan that they
stick to like glue, they can and
will construct the proper wagers
for each unique situation,
including and foremost the
win wager at appropriate odds.
There is no need for me to
duplicate in this forum my selections
for today. You can find them in the
Until Saturday December 7th,
2002, I wish you Fair Skies and