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JJMartin
01-01-2013, 09:38 PM
What are your top 3 must have handicapping books?

I'm looking to buy some online, would appreciate some suggestions and the main focus of each book, thanks. Especially anything most recent.

Magister Ludi
01-01-2013, 10:16 PM
What are your top 3 must have handicapping books?

I'm looking to buy some online, would appreciate some suggestions and the main focus of each book, thanks. Especially anything most recent.

I have a sizeable library of handicapping books. I deeply regret wasting precious hours of my life reading them. I can honestly say that I've not incorporated even one idea from any of those books in my trading platform.

By reading handicapping books, you will only "gain" information that is already reflected in the public odds. To be a highly successful investor in the racetrack betting market, you need to learn how to "buy straw hats in the winter and overcoats in the summer" (Russell Sage). You won't learn that by reading what everyone else is reading.

thaskalos
01-01-2013, 10:26 PM
1.) Thoroughbred Handicapping: State of the Art ... by William Quirin

IMO...as good a handicapping primer as anyone is ever likely to find.

2.) Pace Makes The Race ...by Dick Schmidt et al.

Pace handicapping may not be everyone's cup of tea...but this one deserves special mention.

3.) See How They Run ...by Thomas McCormick

If only McCormick could write like Dick Schmidt...

Robert Goren
01-01-2013, 10:44 PM
I have a sizeable library of handicapping books. I deeply regret wasting precious hours of my life reading them. By reading handicapping books, you will only "gain" information that is already reflected in the public odds. To be a highly successful investor in the racetrack betting market, you need to learn how to "buy straw hats in the winter and overcoats in the summer" (Russell Sage). You won't learn that by reading what everyone else is reading.That is pretty well my feelings as well. The last useful handicapping book was the first book by Beyer and it is well out of date. I haven't read the Wang book or anything by him, so there might be something useful in there, but I doubt it. One of the " pace handicapping " books might some day be useful if we ever get reliable times. I am holding my breath on that. Most of the books out there were written a long time and the game has changed is continues to change at a rapid rate. They are useless in today's game. Some of them were just flat wrong when they were written as well. Read Delta's post and think long and hard about them. You will learn more than if you read all the books on handicapping ever written. With all due repect to the other posters, He is miles ahead of the curve when it comes handicapping, at least in my opinion.

thaskalos
01-01-2013, 11:51 PM
That is pretty well my feelings as well. The last useful handicapping book was the first book by Beyer and it is well out of date. I haven't read the Wang book or anything by him, so there might be something useful in there, but I doubt it. One of the " pace handicapping " books might some day be useful if we ever get reliable times. I am holding my breath on that. Most of the books out there were written a long time and the game has changed is continues to change at a rapid rate. They are useless in today's game. Some of them were just flat wrong when they were written as well. Read Delta's post and think long and hard about them. You will learn more than if you read all the books on handicapping ever written. With all due repect to the other posters, He is miles ahead of the curve when it comes handicapping, at least in my opinion.

I cannot agree with this way of thinking...simply because the neophyte horseplayer needs to be intoduced to the game's fundamentals somehow. I can't possibly imagine that the beginning player would not be helped substantially by reading a book like Quirin's Thoroughbred Handicapping: State of the Art.

CincyHorseplayer
01-01-2013, 11:55 PM
Kant and Wittgenstein had a baby,twins actually,Goren and Ludi.The best way to win is to not read anything about the game at all.I think you guys are full of crap.Theory and loserdom.

JJMartin
01-01-2013, 11:58 PM
Read Delta's post and think long and hard about them. You will learn more than if you read all the books on handicapping ever written. With all due repect to the other posters, He is miles ahead of the curve when it comes handicapping, at least in my opinion.

Delta who?

thaskalos
01-02-2013, 12:04 AM
I have a sizeable library of handicapping books. I deeply regret wasting precious hours of my life reading them. I can honestly say that I've not incorporated even one idea from any of those books in my trading platform.

By reading handicapping books, you will only "gain" information that is already reflected in the public odds. To be a highly successful investor in the racetrack betting market, you need to learn how to "buy straw hats in the winter and overcoats in the summer" (Russell Sage). You won't learn that by reading what everyone else is reading.

I don't know what books you've read, my friend...but it is shocking to me that you have not been able to implement even one idea from them.

I don't think there is one serious handicapping book that I haven't read...and I have gotten useful ideas from most of them. Even if an author's idea is of dubious value, the mere fact that he presents it to me often encourages me to try and improve upon it by applying my own twist to it.

I don't need someone to give me the answer; just pointing me to a direction that I would otherwise miss is good enough for me sometimes.

Overlay
01-02-2013, 12:10 AM
Delta who?
DeltaLover (http://www.paceadvantage.com/forum/member.php?u=10859)

Robert Goren
01-02-2013, 12:11 AM
I cannot agree with this way of thinking...simply because the neophyte horseplayer needs to be intoduced to the game's fundamentals somehow. I can't possibly imagine that the beginning player would not be helped substantially by reading a book like Quirin's Thoroughbred Handicapping: State of the Art. A very dated book that will cost the new player a lot if he heeds its advice. Remember he has given up betting horses long ago because he could not make money for his backers. I read all 3 of his books and reread them a couple years ago. They aren't worst books ever written about handicapping, but aren't helpful either.

JJMartin
01-02-2013, 12:11 AM
I don't know what books you've read, my friend...but it is shocking to me that you have not been able to implement even one idea from them.

I don't think there is one serious handicapping book that I haven't read...and I have gotten useful ideas from most of them. Even if an author's idea is of dubious value, the mere fact that he presents it to me often encourages me to try and improve upon it by applying my own twist to it.

I don't need someone to give me the answer; just pointing me to a direction that I would otherwise miss is good enough for me sometimes.

I was thinking along similar lines. It may be reasonable to assert that an advanced player may find very little if anything beneficial from books to apply directly to their handicapping technique but something contained within may serve as an inspiration in the development of something new. Hearing various perspectives on anything can definitely contribute to having a revelation that may otherwise escape you had it not been triggered by one source or another.

thaskalos
01-02-2013, 12:13 AM
DeltaLover (http://www.paceadvantage.com/forum/member.php?u=10859)

I have gotten to know DeltaLover...and readily testify that he is the "real deal".

An intelligent player who is not afraid to back his opinions with both hands.

Respect! :ThmbUp:

Robert Goren
01-02-2013, 12:15 AM
Delta who? Answered correctly by Overlay. DeltaLover (http://www.paceadvantage.com/forum/member.php?u=10859)

thaskalos
01-02-2013, 12:17 AM
A very dated book that will cost the new player a lot if he heeds its advice. Remember he has given up betting horses long ago because he could not make money for his backers. I read all 3 of his books and reread them a couple years ago. They aren't worst books ever written about handicapping, but aren't helpful either.

Nonsense.

Calling this book "worthless" is as close to blasphemy as you can get in this game.

Tell me something, Robert:

I read where you said that you have made a profit betting horses in 46 out of the last 48 years; did you figure this game out all by yourself?

thaskalos
01-02-2013, 12:21 AM
I was thinking along similar lines. It may be reasonable to assert that an advanced player may find very little if anything beneficial from books to apply directly to their handicapping technique but something contained within may serve as an inspiration in the development of something new. Hearing various perspectives on anything can definitely contribute to having a revelation that may otherwise escape you had it not been triggered by one source or another.

I couldn't agree more. :ThmbUp:

Robert Goren
01-02-2013, 01:19 AM
Nonsense.

Calling this book "worthless" is as close to blasphemy as you can get in this game.

Tell me something, Robert:

I read where you said that you have made a profit betting horses in 46 out of the last 48 years; did you figure this game out all by yourself?Pretty much. I learned couple things from my dad. One or two from Roy Landis who was a professional horse race bettor in the 50s,60s and 70s who I have mentioned on occasion here. I learned a little about how sore horses look in the DRF from old guy who used to train one day sitting the shade of a tree waiting for cab at the track. I made some money from Beyers's book because for a long time nobody figured his numbers on the Nebraska circuit. I took a course in SPSS in the the early 70s in which a very understanding teacher help me run a multi regression on what today would be considered a very small sample of horses which showed me system with seasonable adjustments showed a profit until training methods changed and horses stopped running as frequently. I think I mentioned the Reynold's book that had something in it I found useful about once a month for a few years. A piece, by I forget who, said something about sore horses prancing in the post parade. That about it. When I first started, I got some very good tips about a horse from time to time from trainer friends of my dad that kept me in the black while I learned the game including couple that paid more than $100. That ended when I quit college. He used to say they told me more they than told him which was probably true. I am sucker for books because love "non fiction" on things that interest me. I think have read most of the books written on betting between the late 60s and the mid 90s. Almost all were pure crap and I knew it when I read them, although a few were convincing enough to cost me some of my wagering bankroll. I believe that horse race betting is pretty much a "learn by doing" thing. There nothing like a torn up ticket to drive a lesson home. Everybody that I know personally that evens comes close to making money on the ponies was self taught and is/was very bright. I want to emphasize the very bright part. None of them have 125 IQs and studied their way to winning.

Greyfox
01-02-2013, 01:30 AM
I have a sizeable library of handicapping books. I deeply regret wasting precious hours of my life reading them. I can honestly say that I've not incorporated even one idea from any of those books in my trading platform.

.

That says more about You than the books that you've read in that large library.

Robert Goren
01-02-2013, 01:40 AM
Outside of the the Beyer's book there only a few books that ever help a lot me gambling. A couple on Blackjack and card counting and a couple books on bridge. Reading a good Blackjack book or two is must if you are going to count cards. I read a couple bridge books on bidding and one very useful one on the "play of the hand". I like to think that I would have figured out the "play of the hand" stuff soon or later, but there is no doubt it moved the learning curve up a few years. Books on Poker have always cost me money,too although I was sucker for them, too.

Overlay
01-02-2013, 01:40 AM
I have found the late Dick Mitchell's Commonsense Betting very helpful.

Robert Goren
01-02-2013, 01:47 AM
Now thaskalos, what exactly did find in the Quirrin book(s) that made you a few bucks.

thaskalos
01-02-2013, 02:00 AM
Now thaskalos, what exactly did find in the Quirrin book(s) that made you a few bucks.

His thoughts on using speed and pace figures in combination have been very helpful to me. I did not agree entirely with his methodology, so I added my own twist to the process...but I give HIM the credit for pointing me in that direction.

I know all about his "retirement" from the game, and also strongly suspect that he was never a winning player...but, like I said; I don't need the complete answer from someone before I consider him of great help to me.

All I need is the idea and a little push...and I can usually figure out the rest all by myself.

Robert Goren
01-02-2013, 02:03 AM
I am glad you got something useful from the book.

Robert Goren
01-02-2013, 02:12 AM
I have found the late Dick Mitchell's Commonsense Betting very helpful.As Handicapping books go, Mitchell's books aren't too bad. I not sure they are going to make anybody any money, but they might, maybe. At least they aren't likely to cost you an arm and leg trying to bet them. As you have probably figured out by now, That is high praise from me.;)

Greyfox
01-02-2013, 02:15 AM
His thoughts on using speed and pace figures in combination have been very helpful to me. .

Shh!

(Those who dig deep enough in his Figure Handicapping might find out what you are talking about.)

Robert Goren
01-02-2013, 03:00 AM
Kant and Wittgenstein had a baby,twins actually,Goren and Ludi.The best way to win is to not read anything about the game at all.I think you guys are full of crap.Theory and loserdom.I feel quite honored to be considered a twin of Magister Ludi. He is the one of the brighest posters to show up here recently.
Cincy, you have caused a lot of hits on google for Witgenstein by the readers of PA. It almost crashed the site.:rolleyes:

CincyHorseplayer
01-02-2013, 04:20 AM
I feel quite honored to be considered a twin of Magister Ludi. He is the one of the brighest posters to show up here recently.
Cincy, you have caused a lot of hits on google for Witgenstein by the readers of PA. It almost crashed the site.:rolleyes:

I haven't learned a thing from either of you about horse racing because you never talk about it.All this dismissal of everything in print.Guess what?You better be cracking our brains open like geodes with these revolutionary thoughts.I hear angle talk but never a play in real life.The both of you,go over to Thask's thread and throw your life out there.I don't think you have the game or the balls.

thaskalos
01-02-2013, 06:02 AM
I can only speak from my own experience...and I don't expect my opinions to be shared by all the other members of this board. There are as many horse racing opinions as there are horseplayers...and we are all pretty much set in our ways.

This game has NOT been an easy one for me to figure out...and the more I play it, the more it seems I still have to learn about it. The crowd gets increasingly smarter...and the player has to keep improving too, if he hopes to successfully compete.

This game is my passion...and I work very hard at it. There might be an "easier way" to beat it...but I haven't found it in 30 years of searching. I handicap late into the night every night, and I read every serious work I can get my hands on...searching for new ideas which might allow me to look at the old game with a new set of eyes.

There are some very intelligent players out there...and a few of them have written some very interesting books. No, they haven't shown us their whole playbook...nor should we have expected them to; there is more money to be made BETTING than writing handicapping books. But they have shown us enough to get us started on creating a playbook of our own.

They are offering us some of their knowledge and experience -- gathered over a span of decades -- for only a few measly bucks.

Some of the "geniuses" out there may afford to pass up on offers like that...

Regrettably...I can't.

eurocapper
01-02-2013, 07:45 AM
I have ordered Mahl's book on pace, I have come to believe pace studies were maybe somewhat derailed by the Sartin/Brohamer group. But I also now believe one needs at least some intuition to succeed at this game, the more stats there is the lower the mutuel is as well.

Tom
01-02-2013, 08:37 AM
Beyer on Speed
Modern Pace Handicapping
Exotic Betting

bob60566
01-02-2013, 08:51 AM
Thoroughbred Cycles :ThmbUp: :ThmbUp: :ThmbUp:

Thoroughbred Profits

Ten Steps To Winning

Magister Ludi
01-02-2013, 10:07 AM
Renaissance Technologies (RenTec) is a spectacularly successful hedge fund. It is also very secretive. However, it is known that RenTec has hired some of the world's foremost experts in the field of speech recognition. Why? Because of their unique skillset, they are able to use dynamic Bayesian networks and linear quadratic estimation to extract dynamic signals from noisy observations in economic time series.

I'm not implying that you need to earn a PhD/Physics with an area of concentration in voice recognition to be a successful trader in the racetrack betting markets. However, you may want to get some screwdrivers and pliers for your tool pouch. How many hammers is enough?

TBred17Roan
01-02-2013, 10:09 AM
Kinky Handicapping by Mark Cramer.....entertaining at the least.

Robert Goren
01-02-2013, 12:31 PM
1.) Thoroughbred Handicapping: State of the Art ... by William Quirin

IMO...as good a handicapping primer as anyone is ever likely to find.

2.) Pace Makes The Race ...by Dick Schmidt et al.

Pace handicapping may not be everyone's cup of tea...but this one deserves special mention.

3.) See How They Run ...by Thomas McCormick

If only McCormick could write like Dick Schmidt... I can't seem to find the McCormick book for sale any where. All searchs by Google and Bing lead back to here. I tried the RPM website. Where did you get it? I have never heard of it before.

thaskalos
01-02-2013, 02:51 PM
Books on Poker have always cost me money,too although I was sucker for them, too.

You haven't found any useful poker books either?

turninforhome10
01-02-2013, 03:01 PM
A little twist but
Great Breeders and their Methods by Abraham Hewitt for Pedigrees
Become a Winner Claiming Thoroughbred Race Horses: Handicap Like a Pro
By marino specogna to understand Trainer intent
Conformation: How To Buy A Winner by Bloodhorse Videos for physical handicapping

DeltaLover
01-02-2013, 03:24 PM
I find modern horse racing books to add very little to our existing knowledge since their vast majority is focusing to the novice player.

What is needed is topic specialization and scientific methodology not introductions to the game.

In contrary to poker literature grew to become very wide and vertical covering every aspect of poker. Today we have books about tells, poker psychology, game theory, general poker theory, short handed games, low stakes, high stakes and pretty much everything you can imagine. Not every poker writer repeats the fundamental theory of poker of the importance of position in each and every of his books.

thaskalos
01-02-2013, 04:04 PM
I find modern horse racing books to add very little to our existing knowledge since their vast majority is focusing to the novice player.

What is needed is topic specialization and scientific methodology not introductions to the game.

In contrary to poker literature grew to become very wide and vertical covering every aspect of poker. Today we have books about tells, poker psychology, game theory, general poker theory, short handed games, low stakes, high stakes and pretty much everything you can imagine. Not every poker writer repeats the fundamental theory of poker of the importance of position in each and every of his books.

Yes...I agree; the modern handicapping books add very little to the existing knowledge of the accomplished player. But how did this accomplished player acquire his existing knowledge in the first place? Was it all "original" research...or did he, in part, also rely on the opinions of other well-seasoned players?

Beyer, Quinn, Quirin, Brohamer, Schwartz, Mitchell, Schmidt...it it fair to categorize the contributions that these people have made, as WORTHLESS?

I don't know who JJMartin is...and I know nothing about his existing knowledge of this game. All I know is that he asked for our top three handicapping books.

And I can't, in good conscience, tell him that all the books I have read have been worthless to me...as a couple of people here have done.

DeltaLover
01-02-2013, 04:13 PM
daskale koita ta pm soy....soy esteila ena..

RaceBookJoe
01-02-2013, 04:15 PM
Interesting, I have learned something, or at least learned what not to do, from every book i have read. Even the old books i read that are dated, sometimes a lesson in there still rings true. I would say that the 3 books that have helped the most would be :
Modern Pace Handicapping
Beyer On Speed
Betting Thoroughbreds

Also like the All-ways newsletters and what i have read here at PA.

Here are a few old ones ( pre-1970) i liked a long time ago and learned from and still keep those lessons in mind :

Handicapping to Win : Flohr
Handicapping Made Easy : Bauman
Training Thoroubreds : Burch
Talking Tote : Holloway

thaskalos
01-02-2013, 04:16 PM
daskale koita ta pm soy....soy esteila ena..

Call me if you can...

Robert Goren
01-02-2013, 04:18 PM
You haven't found any useful poker books either?They all have cost me money. They cause Fancy Play Syndrome. I was playing poker long before the craze in poker books came out. I never read anything useful thatI hadn't thought of years ago. Some might be of some use to a beginner and there is a couple of good Omaha books. Beyond that they are pretty useless and some can be quite costly at the table. They maybe some ultra expensive stuff that might be of some useful at high stakes. There two tricks to winning at poker. First is to find a bluffer/fish. The second is studying the regulars. The second more work than most players want to put in. If there is a third, bet your hand to max. It makes a bluff work after about 5 hours of playing with the same people. I grew up playing dealer's choice pot limit. There are lot of crazy games out there and I have played most of them. every one of them has a hand that looks goods and it cost you money because when you win, you win a little, when you lose, you lose a lot. Figure out those hands in each game and you will do ok.

PhantomOnTour
01-02-2013, 04:23 PM
I cannot agree with this way of thinking...simply because the neophyte horseplayer needs to be intoduced to the game's fundamentals somehow. I can't possibly imagine that the beginning player would not be helped substantially by reading a book like Quirin's Thoroughbred Handicapping: State of the Art.
Agree 1000%, and this is THE book i recommend to everyone who is just starting out.
It's a bit dated by now, but the chapter(s) on reading into a horse's running lines (surprise early speed, carried speed farther, etc...) still hold today.

Great book

Robert Goren
01-02-2013, 04:28 PM
I don't know who JJMartin is...and I know nothing about his existing knowledge of this game. All I know is that he asked for our top three handicapping books.

And I can't, in good conscience, tell him that all the books I have read have been worthless to me...as a couple of people here have done.I don't know him either, but I can not tell him in good conscience tell him that any book I have read will help become a winning player in today's racing world. Most are guaranteed to cost him money if he trys to use their methods or systems with real money.

thaskalos
01-02-2013, 04:30 PM
They all have cost me money. They cause Fancy Play Syndrome. I was playing poker long before the craze in poker books came out. I never read anything useful that I hadn't thought of years ago. Some might be of some use to a beginner and there is a couple of good Omaha books. Beyond that they are pretty useless and some can be quite costly at the table. They maybe some ultra expensive stuff that might be of some useful at high stakes. There two tricks to winning at poker. First is to find a bluffer/fish. The second is studying the regulars. The second more work than most players want to put in. If there is a third, bet your hand to max. It makes a bluff work after about 5 hours of playing with the same people. I grew up playing dealer's choice pot limit. There are lot of crazy games out there and I have played most of them. every one of them has a hand that looks goods and it cost you money because when you win, you win a little, when you lose, you lose a lot. Figure out those hands in each game and you will do ok.

Robert, I think you are pulling my leg...and I would relish the opportunity to sit across from you at a poker table. :)

Robert Goren
01-02-2013, 04:39 PM
Shh!

(Those who dig deep enough in his Figure Handicapping might find out what you are talking about.)May be if you could get accurate times for the fractional calls and lengths back at those calls. But I never have found them. Heck, some tracks can't even get the final times right. For instance, any final time from GP is suspect

Robert Goren
01-02-2013, 04:46 PM
Robert, I think you are pulling my leg...and I would relish the opportunity to sit across from you at a poker table. :) if played online especially at Party Poker in their highly profitable $25 and $50 buy-in no limit holdem games you probably did at some point.

imofe
01-02-2013, 11:49 PM
I know most posters are T-Bred players, but I would like to mention a book for harness bettors. Ron Roblin's The Thinking Man's Guide To Success At The Trotters is the best harness handicapping book I've read. When applied to claiming races at most tracks, it still produces a profit today.

Johnny V
01-03-2013, 12:15 AM
The books mentioned are well worth reading. I would add Steve Davidowitz's Betting Thoroughbreds as a useful book as well.
I have read many handicapping books over the years and plenty of systems as well and I have learned at least something from many of them. Yes, some of them are useless IMO. I feel that I must absolutely fight sometimes to avoid that feeling that because I have been doing this for so long and been there, done that, and read so much that I think I know all there is to know sometimes. I want to keep an open mind to new possibilities and increase my knowledge and improve as much as possible.

Cholly
01-03-2013, 12:17 AM
“Bred To Run” by Mike Helm is a fascinating read about the effort and $$ that goes into breeding and raising a thoroughbred. There’s nothing about handicapping in the book, but it will enhance your appreciation of the horses, which will increase your enjoyment of watching a race, which will result in your watching more races…which will make you a better handicapper.

maddog42
01-03-2013, 01:05 AM
I have a sizeable library of handicapping books. I deeply regret wasting precious hours of my life reading them. I can honestly say that I've not incorporated even one idea from any of those books in my trading platform.

By reading handicapping books, you will only "gain" information that is already reflected in the public odds. To be a highly successful investor in the racetrack betting market, you need to learn how to "buy straw hats in the winter and overcoats in the summer" (Russell Sage). You won't learn that by reading what everyone else is reading.

I would be very surprised if you didn't get some good ideas from a "bad" book.I certainly have. This game has changed a lot over the years and you cannot expect the same static method to work continuously for 40 years. Original thinking (combined with patience) will always work in this game. I would be absolutely lost without the influence of books on my method.


The book that I keep coming back to time after time and month after month is Money Secrets at the Racetrack by Barry Meadow. I know other people have espoused his "value" approach, and many even earlier, but no one has clarified it and expressed it so well. Not Cramer, not Beyer, not Mitchell not anybody that I have read. Ironically it is not a handicapping book but a betting book. You absolutely cannot win at this game without a concept of value. I know, some people are "pickers" and will disagree with this, but not one person on this board has ever even remotely convinced me that value will not work. Actually by DEFINITION, the overlay concept has to work.

atlasaxis
01-03-2013, 02:04 AM
What are your top 3 must have handicapping books?

I'm looking to buy some online, would appreciate some suggestions and the main focus of each book, thanks. Especially anything most recent.

1. Winning Thoroughbred Strategies
2. Commonsense Handicapping
3. Commonsense Betting

or

Check out a product called the DVD Dozen for those who learn better through audio-visual instruction. http://www.cynthiapublishing.com/dvdclub.html
Again, I am not associated in any way with Cynthia Publishing except I am a very satisfied customer.

Capper Al
01-03-2013, 09:06 AM
For a newbie, I would recommend the following three and one is not a book:

1. Handicapping 101 by Brad Free
2. Quick Pick Winners, a handicapping system, by David Venturo. This is a decent handicaping method. After reading Handicapping 101, a capper needs to work on getting experience on putting a systdem together. This system won't make him rich, but it will keep the newbie in the game while giving him the needed expereince of system play.
3. Ten Steps to Winning by the late Danny Holmes. This book will open his eyes to adapting systems to race conditions and comes with a good wagering system.

These may not be the best handicapping books out there, but when read in this order with the idea of developing a newbie- it would be a tough combination to beat.

Overlay
01-03-2013, 09:27 AM
The book that I keep coming back to time after time and month after month is Money Secrets at the Racetrack by Barry Meadow. I know other people have espoused his "value" approach, and many even earlier, but no one has clarified it and expressed it so well. Not Cramer, not Beyer, not Mitchell not anybody that I have read. Ironically it is not a handicapping book but a betting book. You absolutely cannot win at this game without a concept of value. I know, some people are "pickers" and will disagree with this, but not one person on this board has ever even remotely convinced me that value will not work. Actually by DEFINITION, the overlay concept has to work.
I would similarly rank Barry Meadow's book highly, due to his emphasis on value. But what I have found disappointing is that even authors such as Meadow, Cramer, and Mitchell, who have recognized and advocated the use of value in handicapping, have relied on subjective judgment for determination of that value. To me, that calls the accuracy of the value assessment from one race to the next into question, which, in turn, affects the precision of wagering judgments. I'm not saying that there aren't intuitive players who can be accurate on an ongoing, consistent basis, but it doesn't seem to me that it is a skill that can be meaningfully taught or conveyed, since there are so many possible nuances involved.

Capper Al
01-03-2013, 01:44 PM
Barry's book in a nutshell:

If you guess that the horse is worth 10/1 wait for 15/1 before you make a wager.
That's it.

imofe
01-03-2013, 03:19 PM
I agree. Barry's book was one of the first harness books I read. I was very disappointed. Make a line. You will get better and faster at this the more you do it. The line is the key to everything. Well if this is the key and I can not do it, or have no idea how accurate it is, I am in trouble. This could cause a new bettor to quit.

Overlay
01-03-2013, 03:29 PM
I agree. Barry's book was one of the first harness books I read. I was very disappointed. Make a line. You will get better and faster at this the more you do it. The line is the key to everything. Well if this is the key and I can not do it, or have no idea how accurate it is, I am in trouble. This could cause a new bettor to quit.
Barry did write a harness handicapping book also (Success at Harness Racing, one of a series of thoroughbred and standardbred handicapping titles published by Wilshire Book Company in the 1970's). But, just to clarify, the title under discussion here (as stated above) is his Money Secrets at the Racetrack, which is a different book, and which I believe was put out by TR Publishing.

thaskalos
01-03-2013, 03:37 PM
Barry did write a harness handicapping book also (Success at Harness Racing, one of a series of thoroughbred and standardbred handicapping titles published by Wilshire Book Company in the 1970's). But, just to clarify, the title under discussion here (as stated above) is his Money Secrets at the Racetrack, which is a different book.

Actually, Barry also wrote another harness handicapping book, titled PROFESSIONAL HARNESS BETTING...which sold for $199 (or was it $99...I forget).

I know because I own a copy.

imofe
01-03-2013, 03:38 PM
My fault Overlay. You are correct. I was commenting on the fact that the line was very subjective. I have not read Money Secrets at the Racetrack and should not have assumed both books discussed similar strategies.

imofe
01-03-2013, 03:41 PM
Actually, Barry also wrote another harness handicapping book, titled PROFESSIONAL HARNESS BETTING BETTING...which sold for $199 (or was it $99...I forget).

I know because I own a copy.

This is the book I was referring to Thaskalos.

DeltaLover
01-03-2013, 03:43 PM
The line is the key to everything.

It does not require a genius to make this statement...

I am surprised that exist horse players finding it new or enlightening...

By default this is the (only) solution of any game offered as a mutual bet.

The objective is how can we arrive to this line.

I would have had much more respect to a writer making a case about how this line can never be defined in a per race basis.

My claim, is that it is simply impossible to discover a methodology that will simplify race track winnings to a casual comparison of a 'correct' line against public's odds. I will change my scope of view only when someone will present me sufficient evidence, based in real data and metrics that I will be able to backtest.. Theoretical approaches simply are not enough. Period...

My opinion is that the game is (still) beatable but not by such a simplistic approach.

Note:

Please, do not be quick to disagree referring to to Benter or something similar . Do so, only if you completely understand the math behind it and if you have implemented several systems towards this direction and we can take it from there...

BIG49010
01-03-2013, 09:35 PM
Read any book on the subject that you can pick up at a used bookstore, or the library, just to educate yourself on the subject, as this is how your competition most likely learned how to handicap. Don't limit yourself to American authors, guys like Nick Mordin do a nice job too.

At this point you will realize what is lacking for most handicappers, and you can figure out how to fill those voids in information, education, and discipline.

I can remember reading The Complete Horse Player by Ainslie years ago, I still think it was ahead of it's time and would put it on a list today, just because it was the bible for a generation of horse players.

maddog42
01-04-2013, 11:45 AM
Barry's book in a nutshell:

If you guess that the horse is worth 10/1 wait for 15/1 before you make a wager.
That's it.

Well the implications of that statement (and there are a lot) may not be apparent to everyone. I believe there are a lot of potential winning players
on this board that are big losers because they fail to understand those implications:
1 -They don't keep records and they negate there edge they have (in certain races) by betting too much or not enough when the time is right.

2-The exacta overlay chart in Money Secrets at the Racetrack was a revelation to me. You can have a very solid overlay in the win pool and completely negate that edge by stupidly betting that horse(various wheels and boxes) in the exacta pool.
3-Barry goes into the reasons the Pick 3 should be played differently than the daily double.
4- The errors in the Ziemba Hausch book and the errors in the Harville formulas.
5 He gave a practical explanation for not betting the pure Kelly formula, and a very good explanation of maximum growth versus safety.
6- His chapter on the Pick 6 is mandatory reading for anyone engaged in this bet.He is an acknowledged expert in that area.

I realize that a book on betting is not very sexy or exciting, (nearly everyone thinks they know how to bet) but facing the cold hard facts of their losing ways is the first step toward winning.

I could go on and on about Money Secrets at the Racetrack. I barely scratched the surface of this wonderful book.Maybe it is because I am such a poor bettor that I am passionate about this book. It has improved my bottom line tremendously.

DeltaLover
01-04-2013, 12:08 PM
Well the implications of that statement (and there are a lot) may not be apparent to everyone. I believe there are a lot of potential winning players
on this board that are big losers because they fail to understand those implications:
1 -They don't keep records and they negate there edge they have (in certain races) by betting too much or not enough when the time is right.

2-The exacta overlay chart in Money Secrets at the Racetrack was a revelation to me. You can have a very solid overlay in the win pool and completely negate that edge by stupidly betting that horse(various wheels and boxes) in the exacta pool.
3-Barry goes into the reasons the Pick 3 should be played differently than the daily double.
4- The errors in the Ziemba Hausch book and the errors in the Harville formulas.
5 He gave a practical explanation for not betting the pure Kelly formula, and a very good explanation of maximum growth versus safety.
6- His chapter on the Pick 6 is mandatory reading for anyone engaged in this bet.He is an acknowledged expert in that area.

I realize that a book on betting is not very sexy or exciting, (nearly everyone thinks they know how to bet) but facing the cold hard facts of their losing ways is the first step toward winning.

I could go on and on about Money Secrets at the Racetrack. I barely scratched the surface of this wonderful book.Maybe it is because I am such a poor bettor that I am passionate about this book. It has improved my bottom line tremendously.

Statement 1

When it rains you should carry an umbrella.

Correct and obvious. Easy to understand difficult to argue.

Statement 2

Is is going to rain tomorrow?

Impossible to answer with certainty. Many different ways to form an opinion. The real question...

Statement 1

You win money by betting a 2-1 shot that in your line should have been 1-1

Correct and obvious. Easy to understand difficult to argue.

Statement 2

Is this horse a 1-1 shot?

Impossible to answer with certainty. Many different ways to form an opinion. The real question... Unfortunately it does not have a precise answer.


It is easy to write a book about Statement 1 .

Of course it wll present nothing new to the reader, dispite this a good marketing promotion might generate profit.

It is difficult to write a book about Statement 2.

Actually if you had a valid apporach in regards to Statement 2 you would keep it for yourself instead of sharing it with the public.

so.cal.fan
01-09-2013, 01:58 PM
I was interested in horseracing in the early 1960's. Didn't know anyone at the time in the game, either professionally or just a fan.

I bought this book for $7 in 1963, still have it, was very interesting and entertaining.
There is a chapter in the book entitled The Name of the Game, by Tony Betts. This is my favorite book or article ever written about the sport.
It was taken from Betts book, Across the Board. I came across a copy of this old book at the California Breeders Library in Arcadia, sat and read it.
Very entertaining and full of a most interesting cast of characters.

I got interested enough to want to learn more about race betting.
Not many books around in 1963. I bought a little book called Scientific Handicapping, written by a couple of college professors from Long Beach, Ca, who were horseplayers.
I learned about handicapping, being fresh out of high school, I was trained to be a student.
This book actually helped me win a few dollars, best yet, it got me interested enough to take up going to the racetrack full time, where I was lucky enough to meet my husband, John, who was in the industry.

So, books are very useful and even lucky for some of us, and they help generate interest in the sport.

Good luck to all who write books and to all those who read them!
Even if you eventually find they have little to offer...you have discovered something important for YOU.
;)

BlueShoe
01-09-2013, 02:27 PM
Must admit that it has been many years since reading a book that really was a lot of help. That being so, the most influence on myself were the long ago works by authors such as Ainslie, Beyer, Scott, Holloway, Quirin, Quinn, Davidpwitz, Jones, et all. These are writers, that for lack of a better term, I think of as the "Foundation Authors."

Overlay
01-09-2013, 02:36 PM
Statement 2

Is this horse a 1-1 shot?

Actually if you had a valid apporach in regards to Statement 2 you would keep it for yourself instead of sharing it with the public.
That would be true, as long as your handicapping approach was geared to narrowing a field down to one horse, and then considering only that horse for a bet, to the exclusion of all others.

DeltaLover
01-09-2013, 03:00 PM
That would be true, as long as your handicapping approach was geared to narrowing a field down to one horse, and then considering only that horse for a bet, to the exclusion of all others.

overlay,

the main point I am trying to make is that it is impossible to have valid real odds for any horse.

We can have a rough estimate about the win probability of a starter but in a per race basis it will not be accurate enough to show profit when betting overlays.

My claim is that in in real world our good estimates will be so close to the public's making impossible to try to capitalize on it. Our bad estimates will tend to deviate a lot from the public who will have it correct more times than we do.

traynor
01-09-2013, 06:11 PM
http://www.alibris.com/booksearch?qwork=4363120

Mike Fiore. That book and a local TV show in Miami (way before Beyer's Winning Horseplayer) that included a trip handicapper's analysis of the upcoming races at Calder were responsible for a running start in the wagering-for-profit endeavor. It is surprising that no one else has mentioned it.

CincyHorseplayer
01-09-2013, 06:39 PM
overlay,

the main point I am trying to make is that it is impossible to have valid real odds for any horse.

We can have a rough estimate about the win probability of a starter but in a per race basis it will not be accurate enough to show profit when betting overlays.

My claim is that in in real world our good estimates will be so close to the public's making impossible to try to capitalize on it. Our bad estimates will tend to deviate a lot from the public who will have it correct more times than we do.

I think the view is not right this way.Just as the win % of the crowd's #1-2-3-4 choices.The intrinsic value of a horse isn't an in the world metric IMO.The only thing decisions should revolve around are strictly the individual's self imposed value and judgement.I think I have turned value handicapping on it's head strictly on the basis that 1)the only #1-2-3-4- choices I consider as relevant are my own,and 2)knowing that my #1-2's win at any point in the year,depending on circuit etc between 50-64% of the races,whereas I get to #3 and it drops to 12% win and #4 drops to 8%.The value would have to be otherworld to validate actual value.

I've tried to follow what you and CJ and others,people who I respect,are saying in this matter but I'm missing it.The individual harbors all value judgements and playing reality can only be decided by what truths are gleaned from his records and proficiency.At least IMO.

Capper Al
01-09-2013, 07:09 PM
For a newbie, I would recommend the following three and one is not a book:

1. Handicapping 101 by Brad Free
2. Quick Pick Winners, a handicapping system, by David Venturo. This is a decent handicaping method. After reading Handicapping 101, a capper needs to work on getting experience on putting a systdem together. This system won't make him rich, but it will keep the newbie in the game while giving him the needed expereince of system play.
3. Ten Steps to Winning by the late Danny Holmes. This book will open his eyes to adapting systems to race conditions and comes with a good wagering system.

These may not be the best handicapping books out there, but when read in this order with the idea of developing a newbie- it would be a tough combination to beat.

I'm not saying these are the best handicapping books out there. What I'm addressing is what a beginner needs. After these, I'd say read everything.

DeltaLover
01-09-2013, 07:10 PM
The only thing decisions should revolve around are strictly the individual's self imposed value and judgement.

I think that this statement needs to be more specific. Somehow the individual needs to take into account what the public is doing, how his opinion differs from it, or to what extend a specific horse is presenting some factors that might be misinterpreted.


knowing that my #1-2's win at any point in the year,depending on circuit etc between 50-64% of the races, ...

This is a great starting point. I believe that this approach is one of the best. Note that you are expressing an estimate about a large universe of races. Now compare this statement with a similar one which is only pointing to a single race. The probability of the former to be correct is much larger than the latter. (I think this is easy to prove using the law of large number and the regression to the mean).

What complicates even more the latter case is the fact that even if we knew with absolute accuracy the win probability of every starter, still since the odds are not fixed we have no way to decide if the horse is an overlay.

I believe that the former case might have chances of success exactly if we rely in our long term results and bet all matches with no respect to public's odds...

This is a deep topic that we probably need to continue talking about and I am not sure that I can present a complete analytical prove although intuitively I feel sure about it...

cj
01-09-2013, 07:55 PM
I have to include 4

1) Picking Winners, Andy Beyer (Speed figures)
2) Thoroughbred Handicapping: State of the Art, William Quirin (Pace figures and race shapes)
3) Figure Handicapping, James Quinn (Turf figures)
4) Commonsense Betting, Dick Mitchell (Betting for value)

The Hawk
01-09-2013, 09:11 PM
I think Quinn has a new book out.

cj
01-09-2013, 11:57 PM
I think Quinn has a new book out.

Yeah, there is a thread about just below.

lansdale
01-11-2013, 03:00 PM
overlay,

the main point I am trying to make is that it is impossible to have valid real odds for any horse.

We can have a rough estimate about the win probability of a starter but in a per race basis it will not be accurate enough to show profit when betting overlays.

My claim is that in in real world our good estimates will be so close to the public's making impossible to try to capitalize on it. Our bad estimates will tend to deviate a lot from the public who will have it correct more times than we do.

Hi DL,

You've made the point a few times in various threads that it's impossible for anyone to come up with a line accurate enough to beat the betting public. But you do realize that this is what successful handicappers - those with an edge are able to do. It's very difficult, but not an impossible task, as at least a few people here would acknowledge. You seem resistant to hearing about Benter, but have you taken a look at his articles? You would seem to have the math skills to be able to make use of his work. One of his main points, which some math-oriented players seem to ignore, is that the process of uncovering and weighting profitable factors was an enormously counterintuitive, time-consuming, trial-and-error process. It took him and his team of researchers something like three years of constant work to get in the black. But in the end, he succeeded.

Cheers,

lansdale

Johnny V
01-11-2013, 03:28 PM
I was interested in horseracing in the early 1960's. Didn't know anyone at the time in the game, either professionally or just a fan.

I bought this book for $7 in 1963, still have it, was very interesting and entertaining.
There is a chapter in the book entitled The Name of the Game, by Tony Betts. This is my favorite book or article ever written about the sport.
It was taken from Betts book, Across the Board. I came across a copy of this old book at the California Breeders Library in Arcadia, sat and read it.
Very entertaining and full of a most interesting cast of characters.
;)

Betts was an old time handicapper from one of the now defunct NY daily papers. Real name Anthony Zito. An uncle of trainer Nick Zito.

JJMartin
01-11-2013, 04:40 PM
Hi DL,

the process of uncovering and weighting profitable factors was an enormously counterintuitive, time-consuming, trial-and-error process. It took him and his team of researchers something like three years of constant work to get in the black. But in the end, he succeeded.

Cheers,

lansdale

"counterintuitive, time-consuming, trial-and-error process..."

Very true, I can relate to that.

DeltaLover
01-11-2013, 05:29 PM
but have you taken a look at his articles?


I have read his paper several times and implemented his approach following his approach.

I can assure you that it does not work. Two of the main reasons why this is happening are the following:

- He is assuming a normal distribution on the performance of each horse. This is a wrong assuption

- His model treats each starter individually completely the complexity introduced by he other starters.

If he ever beat the game to a level close to what is believed he certainly used a drastically different model than the one he presented in his paper.

riskman
01-11-2013, 06:10 PM
The books mentioned are well worth reading. I would add Steve Davidowitz's Betting Thoroughbreds as a useful book as well.
I have read many handicapping books over the years and plenty of systems as well and I have learned at least something from many of them. Yes, some of them are useless IMO. I feel that I must absolutely fight sometimes to avoid that feeling that because I have been doing this for so long and been there, done that, and read so much that I think I know all there is to know sometimes. I want to keep an open mind to new possibilities and increase my knowledge and improve as much as possible.

The bold letters are mine. This experienced capper has the correct attitude.
That is the reason why I read this forum. One nugget of info or the various approaches used by other cappers can lead one to experiment or try different approaches leading to something new. After you been here awhile you will know who to listen to for valid info.We all have our horsey egos but there are times when you have to put that on the shelf if you want to learn something new about racing or yourself. Keep up all the good work here, it always is a pleasure for me to read certain parts of this forum.

JJMartin
01-11-2013, 07:44 PM
Just got 2 books in the mail, based on the input I read here and my own research I went with: BEYER ON SPEED and MODERN PACE HANDICAPPING

lansdale
01-12-2013, 03:18 PM
Hi DL,

If you are in doubt, I can assure that Benter's staggering success is well-established. He and his partner Alan Woods made roughly 750 million on the Hong Kong circuit, and were banned from at least one track due to their overwhelming advantage, before Benter retired from gambling. He went on to start a thriving medical technology company with part of his fortune, while dedicating the rest to philanthropic purposes.

There is no question that logit (later probit) modelling was Benter's chosen tool (although, as others have pointed out, he could have used others) and that it's use as a handicapping technique has been validated by others. In the nearly two decades since the publication of the original article, Benter has continued to lecture on his methods, including improvements, at institutions such Harvard and Stanford. In the course of an e-mail exchange I had, while he was coaching newly formed U.S. teams in the use of his methods, he confirmed to me that although he opted for the power of probit over logit modelling, the difference was one of degree not magnitude, and that the former was as valid as ever.

Since I've seen others here complain, like yourself, that they were unable to get logit modelling to work (although, arkansasman, a very bright former poster here, who had a relationship with Alan Woods, has said that he had developed a profitable model), I've come to the conclusion that understanding the math is not enough. As I suggested in another post, the long, arduous search for the counterintuitive, anomalous, alogical factors that are most likely to be undervalued by the crowd, is one that many handicappers are either unwilling or unable to sustain. One problem that I believe applies to math types, is that they are very likely to be deductive rather than inductive thinkers, and building a model ideally requires both abilities. I sense that as a math guy, you're looking for a logical, rule-based method, when you might be better served by searching for anomalous nuggets. I think this was what Magister Ludi, who I believe to be the closest person we have to Benter on this site, was saying when he told you that you were 'getting warm'.

Re the limits of the normal, Gaussian distribution, I think Taleb and others have made everyone aware of them. At the same time it worked well enough for Benter, as it continues to do for others on this site, like sjk and Jeff Platt, as well as on Wall St., where it still the dominant form of modelling. Re the effects of horses on each other in a given race, or race dynamics, I believe any successful datatbase player has demonstrated that they're vastly overrated, despite the obviously large number of handicappers who are still fervent believers.

I always enjoy your thoughtful posts and believe that you're close to breaking through to another level. Best of luck.

Cheers,

lansdale




I have read his paper several times and implemented his approach following his approach.

I can assure you that it does not work. Two of the main reasons why this is happening are the following:

- He is assuming a normal distribution on the performance of each horse. This is a wrong assuption

- His model treats each starter individually completely the complexity introduced by he other starters.

If he ever beat the game to a level close to what is believed he certainly used a drastically different model than the one he presented in his paper.

DeltaLover
01-12-2013, 04:38 PM
Hi DL,

If you are in doubt, I can assure that Benter's staggering success is well-established. He and his partner Alan Woods made roughly 750 million on the Hong Kong circuit, and were banned from at least one track due to their overwhelming advantage, before Benter retired from gambling. He went on to start a thriving medical technology company with part of his fortune, while dedicating the rest to philanthropic purposes.

There is no question that logit (later probit) modelling was Benter's chosen tool (although, as others have pointed out, he could have used others) and that it's use as a handicapping technique has been validated by others. In the nearly two decades since the publication of the original article, Benter has continued to lecture on his methods, including improvements, at institutions such Harvard and Stanford. In the course of an e-mail exchange I had, while he was coaching newly formed U.S. teams in the use of his methods, he confirmed to me that although he opted for the power of probit over logit modelling, the difference was one of degree not magnitude, and that the former was as valid as ever.

Since I've seen others here complain, like yourself, that they were unable to get logit modelling to work (although, arkansasman, a very bright former poster here, who had a relationship with Alan Woods, has said that he had developed a profitable model), I've come to the conclusion that understanding the math is not enough. As I suggested in another post, the long, arduous search for the counterintuitive, anomalous, alogical factors that are most likely to be undervalued by the crowd, is one that many handicappers are either unwilling or unable to sustain. One problem that I believe applies to math types, is that they are very likely to be deductive rather than inductive thinkers, and building a model ideally requires both abilities. I sense that as a math guy, you're looking for a logical, rule-based method, when you might be better served by searching for anomalous nuggets. I think this was what Magister Ludi, who I believe to be the closest person we have to Benter on this site, was saying when he told you that you were 'getting warm'.

Re the limits of the normal, Gaussian distribution, I think Taleb and others have made everyone aware of them. At the same time it worked well enough for Benter, as it continues to do for others on this site, like sjk and Jeff Platt, as well as on Wall St., where it still the dominant form of modelling. Re the effects of horses on each other in a given race, or race dynamics, I believe any successful datatbase player has demonstrated that they're vastly overrated, despite the obviously large number of handicappers who are still fervent believers.

I always enjoy your thoughtful posts and believe that you're close to breaking through to another level. Best of luck.

Cheers,

lansdale

Thanks for the kind words and the great response...

Let me clarify my scope of view:

I am not in the position to deny Benter' success, in contrary I want to believe it and his work is inspiring and provocative and without a doubt his findings were if not revolutional at least evolutional for the field of horse handicapping.

However, if he indeed was so successful as it is believed, his famous paper is a very small detail to his approach with almost no value by itself as it merely consists a shift of focus from the real problem to a much simpler one.

What I mean is that the big challenge is not how to take the handicapping data and build a probability distribution based in them (which is what his logit model is doing) but it is exactly what are the data to present to the model. It is a typical example of what Kahneman calls (question) "subsititution".

Having the correct data set will make it trivial to transform them to valid probabilities using an array of methodologies one of them happens to be Benter's model.

The real challenge is to create an expert system to discover this data set and this is not addressed by Benter.

traynor
01-12-2013, 04:41 PM
Hi DL,

If you are in doubt, I can assure that Benter's staggering success is well-established. He and his partner Alan Woods made roughly 750 million on the Hong Kong circuit, and were banned from at least one track due to their overwhelming advantage, before Benter retired from gambling. He went on to start a thriving medical technology company with part of his fortune, while dedicating the rest to philanthropic purposes.

There is no question that logit (later probit) modelling was Benter's chosen tool (although, as others have pointed out, he could have used others) and that it's use as a handicapping technique has been validated by others. In the nearly two decades since the publication of the original article, Benter has continued to lecture on his methods, including improvements, at institutions such Harvard and Stanford. In the course of an e-mail exchange I had, while he was coaching newly formed U.S. teams in the use of his methods, he confirmed to me that although he opted for the power of probit over logit modelling, the difference was one of degree not magnitude, and that the former was as valid as ever.

Since I've seen others here complain, like yourself, that they were unable to get logit modelling to work (although, arkansasman, a very bright former poster here, who had a relationship with Alan Woods, has said that he had developed a profitable model), I've come to the conclusion that understanding the math is not enough. As I suggested in another post, the long, arduous search for the counterintuitive, anomalous, alogical factors that are most likely to be undervalued by the crowd, is one that many handicappers are either unwilling or unable to sustain. One problem that I believe applies to math types, is that they are very likely to be deductive rather than inductive thinkers, and building a model ideally requires both abilities. I sense that as a math guy, you're looking for a logical, rule-based method, when you might be better served by searching for anomalous nuggets. I think this was what Magister Ludi, who I believe to be the closest person we have to Benter on this site, was saying when he told you that you were 'getting warm'.

Re the limits of the normal, Gaussian distribution, I think Taleb and others have made everyone aware of them. At the same time it worked well enough for Benter, as it continues to do for others on this site, like sjk and Jeff Platt, as well as on Wall St., where it still the dominant form of modelling. Re the effects of horses on each other in a given race, or race dynamics, I believe any successful datatbase player has demonstrated that they're vastly overrated, despite the obviously large number of handicappers who are still fervent believers.

I always enjoy your thoughtful posts and believe that you're close to breaking through to another level. Best of luck.

Cheers,

lansdale

That sounds sensible, but many may regard it heresy. In essence, that would mean all the various "pace handicapping scenarios" and "pace matchups"--as well as the methodologies that employ such comparisons--are irrelevant (or, at best, way less significant than their users and creators seem to believe). Or am I misinterpreting what you wrote?

lansdale
01-13-2013, 02:33 PM
Hi DL,

I admit I find it humorous that you still don't believe in Benter's success. You might ask yourself, if his reputation is an elaborate hoax, how has he benefitted from it? A look at 'Gambling Wizards', by Richard Munchkin, might put your doubts to rest.

That aside, although this...

'What I mean is that the big challenge is not how to take the handicapping data and build a probability distribution based in them (which is what his logit model is doing) but it is exactly what are the data to present to the model.'

is almost a restatement of what I was trying to say, and also in agreement with what ML was trying to tell you, but this...

'The real challenge is to create an expert system to discover this data set and this is not addressed by Benter.'

...is exactly the opposite of what I was saying, but I think does accurately characterize your approach to the game.

Benter had no 'expert system'. The discovery and weighting of profitable factors involved in the construction of his model was a long and difficult process of trial and error, as he himself says. And I believe if you check out the people on this site who have built successful models, you'll find the same was true for them. It may be that part of your objection to the Gaussian model is your awareness that it involves this kind of long and painstaking timeframe.

If this is true, and you prefer a method which involves more thought and math background than brute trial-and-error effort, why not try the Bayesian techniques that Trifecta Mike has discussed at length here?

Cheers,

lansdale

Thanks for the kind words and the great response...

Let me clarify my scope of view:

I am not in the position to deny Benter' success, in contrary I want to believe it and his work is inspiring and provocative and without a doubt his findings were if not revolutional at least evolutional for the field of horse handicapping.

However, if he indeed was so successful as it is believed, his famous paper is a very small detail to his approach with almost no value by itself as it merely What I mean is that the big challenge is not how to take the handicapping data and build a probability distribution based in them (which is what his logit model is doing) but it is exactly what are the data to present to the model.consists a shift of focus from the real problem to a much simpler one.

It is a typical example of what Kahneman calls (question) "subsititution".

Having the correct data set will make it trivial to transform them to valid probabilities using an array of methodologies one of them happens to be Benter's model.

The real challenge is to create an expert system to discover this data set and this is not addressed by Benter.

acorn54
01-13-2013, 02:48 PM
from what little i read on the entreprenuers that entered the hong kong circuit to make a business of it, some invested millions only to have failed.
mr benter was one of the highly publicized success stories.
all i can say is that many brilliant minds have lost huge amounts of money in speculation, the most famous perhaps being the two nobel prize winners who founded long term capital. the story is documented in the book "when genius failed, the story of long term capital".

lansdale
01-13-2013, 03:05 PM
Hi Traynor,

I assume this is a rhetorical question, since you've already made clear your distaste for pace handicapping, at least as a stand-alone technique. However, I think it's worth separating the Match-Up, which is subjective enough for eight different people to come up with different Match-Up horses, from, say Quirin's Speed Points, or Randy Giles Pace Pressure, which have been objectively measured to demonstrable effect. Since you are a database guy, I assume you might have tested the latter two, and have some of idea of their current value. Purely as conjecture, I would guess that Speed Points, after decades in existence, and the spread of computer handicapping has little or no wager value. And I'm willing to take Giles' comments about Pressure Point overlays occurring in about 1 race out of 7 to be relatively accurate, but I would be interested in seeing it tested.

Thus, I wouldn't discount the existence of the influence of race dynamics in a limited number of races, but I believe that influence to be exaggerated because it fits into the conventional notion of the race as a contest rather than primarily a demonstration of skill and ability, which I believe database players have demonstrated it is. As DL pointed out Benter ignored it, and another successful database player who posts here, sjk, has described the effect of race dynamics as real, but minimal, in the overall context of racing. I would be very interested, though, in hearing from any database players, with compelling evidence either way.

Cheers,

lansdale



That sounds sensible, but many may regard it heresy. In essence, that would mean all the various "pace handicapping scenarios" and "pace matchups"--as well as the methodologies that employ such comparisons--are irrelevant (or, at best, way less significant than their users and creators seem to believe). Or am I misinterpreting what you wrote?

DeltaLover
01-13-2013, 03:32 PM
Hi DL,

I admit I find it humorous that you still don't believe in Benter's success. You might ask yourself, if his reputation is an elaborate hoax, how has he benefitted from it? A look at 'Gambling Wizards', by Richard Munchkin, might put your doubts to rest.

That aside, although this...

'What I mean is that the big challenge is not how to take the handicapping data and build a probability distribution based in them (which is what his logit model is doing) but it is exactly what are the data to present to the model.'

is almost a restatement of what I was trying to say, and also in agreement with what ML was trying to tell you, but this...

'The real challenge is to create an expert system to discover this data set and this is not addressed by Benter.'

...is exactly the opposite of what I was saying, but I think does accurately characterize your approach to the game.

Benter had no 'expert system'. The discovery and weighting of profitable factors involved in the construction of his model was a long and difficult process of trial and error, as he himself says. And I believe if you check out the people on this site who have built successful models, you'll find the same was true for them. It may be that part of your objection to the Gaussian model is your awareness that it involves this kind of long and painstaking timeframe.

If this is true, and you prefer a method which involves more thought and math background than brute trial-and-error effort, why not try the Bayesian techniques that Trifecta Mike has discussed at length here?

Cheers,

lansdale


Using an expert system as the method to discover the valid factors is
conceptually similar to a long sequence of trial and error manual experiments.

The point I am trying to make is that exactly this discovery is what constitutes
the bulk of the effort and most of my related work is pointing towards the
automation of this process. In other words I am just adding another layer of
automation to the whole process; what I am saying is that this layer
(regardless if it is manual of algorithmic) is the most important component of
this system.

Applying Bayesian probabilities is one of the best (maybe the only) way to
go when it comes to horse racing handicapping and this is exactly how I am
approaching the game in my latest programs.

The possible inefficiency of the Gaussion assumption can be addressed by the
addition of specialized metrics so it is becoming part of th input as can be
done with the intra-horse complexity.

Overall I do not think we disagree in anything.

JJMartin
01-13-2013, 06:48 PM
Using an expert system as the method to discover the valid factors is
conceptually similar to a long sequence of trial and error manual experiments.

The point I am trying to make is that exactly this discovery is what constitutes
the bulk of the effort and most of my related work is pointing towards the
automation of this process. In other words I am just adding another layer of
automation to the whole process; what I am saying is that this layer
(regardless if it is manual of algorithmic) is the most important component of
this system.

Applying Bayesian probabilities is one of the best (maybe the only) way to
go when it comes to horse racing handicapping and this is exactly how I am
approaching the game in my latest programs.

The possible inefficiency of the Gaussion assumption can be addressed by the
addition of specialized metrics so it is becoming part of th input as can be
done with the intra-horse complexity.

Overall I do not think we disagree in anything.

Let me throw something out there since we're talking about methods of handicapping system construction. I think its been pretty well established that a horse's running style tends to stay consistent once in it has been determined. If we consider each horse as an individual with varying strengths and weaknesses it would follow that the pace of the race would play a significant role in understanding the optimum conditions that would favor its maximum speed balanced with its total energy distribution. If for example we have a race where a horse is an EP trailing an E, the E horse will play a role in determining the EP's final speed rating based on the leader's pace. The final rating the EP gets may not be representative of its true best potential. The lead may be slow causing it to get a lower rating or perhaps the leader is so fast that the EP burns out early getting the same low rating. So the point is, I think its imperative to develop methods that rates the field as one entity. Now how to go about it is another story and can get complex with all sorts of factors that favor or do not favor each horse because of surface conditions, post position, jockey style, ideal recovery time, unseen/unknown injury, training style etc. Now we have to weight each factor's significance. I am not that familiar with Bayesian probabilities, perhaps you could elaborate.

DeltaLover
01-14-2013, 12:26 PM
Bayesian probabilities express a probability based in a condition.

Let me use an analogy from poker to better explain it.

You are playing heads up with and you are in the beginning of a hand.

You look down you see a pair of Kings.

What is the probability that your opponent is holding a pair of aces?

Easy question. Since there are 50 unseen cards (excluding your Cowboys) there are 1,275 combinations of two and only 6 of them consist of two aces.

So the probability that your opponent is holding AA is going to be: 6 / 1,275 or 0.47%. In other words less than the half of 1%

Of course you go ahead and you raise, your opponent 3bets and you cap. The flop is all rugs and the same betting scenario repeats.

At this point is time to start using your Bayesian calculations...

If you happened to know that your player is very tight plus he knows you are tight as well what do you think is the probability of him holding AA?

Do you think that after the furious second betting round the probabilities stay the same as they were before the action was initiated?

I am sure you understand that no, the probability of our opponent holding AA is now much larger than it was in the beginning.

The thought process that leads to this conclusion is a Bayesian approach.

For example if we thing this player will play like this only when he holds KK or AA then the odds are clearly against us as he can have AA using 6 combos and KK with only 1 (since we already have the other two Kings). So the odds are 1 - 6 that he has AA. The condition we used for this calculation (in our example that he can only have KK or AA) is what we need to be aware of.

You can read more here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bayes'_theorem

And of course searching PA you will find a lot of excellent posts (most of them by Trifecta Mike) for this topic.

JJMartin
01-14-2013, 12:41 PM
Interesting, do you have an example of how you would relate this concept to horses?

DeltaLover
01-14-2013, 01:53 PM
Good question, I will give a pretty simple example from horse racing that with small changes can be applied to more sophisticated cases.

I will not use exact numbers though, since at this moment I do not have access to my database, but the purpose of this example is just to demonstrate so we can go with approximations.

Let's specify a handicapping factor that is widely used by the public: A horse whose last three performances all look very bad. We 'very bad' as a race where the horse finished worse than 5th by at least 10 lengths and at no fractional call he was better than fourth.

This is the main profile of the horse we will do our research about.

We go to our data base and find out that we have 367 such horses out of a total 1,826 starters that exist in our sample of 260 races. Out of these 367 horses only 11 managed to win while the rest 356 lost.

We can now assume that the probability of such a horse to win is 11 / 367 ~ 0.03 = 3%

Note that this is not necessary the best approximation since the number of starters in the race and the matching this profile horses are not distributed equally, but to simplify our example lets assume that this is not the case.


At this point we need another condition that we will use for our probability estimate. It can be any imaginable handicapping factor. For simplicity I am picking as an additional factor one that looks like this:

The race's favorite is coming from a long layoff, drops in claiming price, is of E/P type and the race has two other E type horses.

Let' assume that out of our original sample of 260 races we have 60 of them matching this profile and out of these 60 races we had 6 winners matching our original 'bad' profile while we had 81 total matches of it.

Based in this description is easy to see that the win probability of a match to the bad profile in this type of race is now:

6 / 81 ~ 0.074 = 7.4 %

which compared to the original 3% is more than double so it serves as a good indicator to farther investigate this race scenario.

Of course this is a simplified explanation that I put together just to demonstrate the concept rather to serve as a methodology.

JJMartin
01-14-2013, 02:45 PM
OK, so it seems the premise of the formulation is based on arbitrarily inputting factors to compute (the conditions for estimate), observing the computational result and using that percentage (in your example 7.4%) as an opinion of the chances of success. Now the obvious question that comes to mind is: How do you know what combination of factors will give you the highest % probability of a horse winning without computing an enormous amount of conditions (scenarios) based on countless combinations of variables? What if I chose for example, the M/L fav or the track best jockey etc. as a condition? You would have to subjectively ascribe varying degrees of value to factors based on your own way of thinking and then through trial and error, arrive at the most promising predictive conclusion, I would imagine?

DeltaLover
01-14-2013, 03:12 PM
How do you know what combination of factors will give you the highest % probability of a horse winning without computing an enormous amount of conditions (scenarios) based on countless combinations of variables?


This is exactly what we are looking for. This process although complex is not so complicated as it sounds.
In essence what we need is to understand what are the handicapping factor mostly used by the crowd and then to cluster them based in not so obvious factors or those that tend to be overlooked.

Discovering these factors does not have to be so laborious as a trial and error process implies, there exist several algorithmic paths we can follow to automated it. By this I do not want to say that following a more manual approach will be completely fruitless, this depends on our betting competitors; in other words our betting results are dependent to the sophistication of our co-bettors.

Another way to visualize this approach is to view the universe of handicapping factors as a fractal having infinite components. Following this abstraction we can view all possible handicapping strategies as a set of fractals and our job as handicappers is to find the one that presents the best value. Of course we can take this approach to an even higher level where the unknown will not be the fractal anymore (meaning the concrete strategy as a composite of simpler decisions) but the mechanism that actually creates this strategy; in other words a meta - handicapping level where we are handicapping the handicapping process itself.

Please note how relative is the topic of the conversation with the recent thread 'Handicapping with Similarities and dissimilarities'.

traynor
01-14-2013, 04:33 PM
No distaste for pace or speed analysis at all. I use both, but not in the simplistic ways advocated by some. That is, I use both pace analysis and speed analysis, but not in the same forms used by anyone else (to the best of my knowledge).

Match-Up is a little more complex. I could say I use it, but that would imply I follow Jim Bradshaw's interpretation, which would be incorrect. I use a set of pace comparison algorithms that do much the same thing.

Hi Traynor,

I assume this is a rhetorical question, since you've already made clear your distaste for pace handicapping, at least as a stand-alone technique. However, I think it's worth separating the Match-Up, which is subjective enough for eight different people to come up with different Match-Up horses, from, say Quirin's Speed Points, or Randy Giles Pace Pressure, which have been objectively measured to demonstrable effect. Since you are a database guy, I assume you might have tested the latter two, and have some of idea of their current value. Purely as conjecture, I would guess that Speed Points, after decades in existence, and the spread of computer handicapping has little or no wager value. And I'm willing to take Giles' comments about Pressure Point overlays occurring in about 1 race out of 7 to be relatively accurate, but I would be interested in seeing it tested.

Thus, I wouldn't discount the existence of the influence of race dynamics in a limited number of races, but I believe that influence to be exaggerated because it fits into the conventional notion of the race as a contest rather than primarily a demonstration of skill and ability, which I believe database players have demonstrated it is. As DL pointed out Benter ignored it, and another successful database player who posts here, sjk, has described the effect of race dynamics as real, but minimal, in the overall context of racing. I would be very interested, though, in hearing from any database players, with compelling evidence either way.

Cheers,

lansdale

traynor
01-14-2013, 04:50 PM
... If you happened to know that your player is very tight plus he knows you are tight as well what do you think is the probability of him holding AA?
...

For example if we thing this player will play like this only when he holds KK or AA then the odds are clearly against us as he can have AA using 6 combos and KK with only 1 (since we already have the other two Kings). So the odds are 1 - 6 that he has AA. The condition we used for this calculation (in our example that he can only have KK or AA) is what we need to be aware of.


Assuming, of course, that you have not been led to believe things about what the player will or will not do under specific circumstances that have set you up for a thorough drubbing.

"Mind reading" is as deceptive in poker as it is in combat (or business, or diplomacy, or negotiation). In activities in which lies, deception, and trickery are the tools of the trade, the belief in one's ability to "read minds" can be costly. Several poker-playing friends did well with Mike Caro's "tells" by mimicking what others expected/wanted to see. In NLP, its called "pacing and leading."

The same thing is true in horse racing, especially in the study of "trainer strategies."

traynor
01-14-2013, 04:56 PM
OK, so it seems the premise of the formulation is based on arbitrarily inputting factors to compute (the conditions for estimate), observing the computational result and using that percentage (in your example 7.4%) as an opinion of the chances of success. Now the obvious question that comes to mind is: How do you know what combination of factors will give you the highest % probability of a horse winning without computing an enormous amount of conditions (scenarios) based on countless combinations of variables? What if I chose for example, the M/L fav or the track best jockey etc. as a condition? You would have to subjectively ascribe varying degrees of value to factors based on your own way of thinking and then through trial and error, arrive at the most promising predictive conclusion, I would imagine?

And don't forget that each combination of factors creates a new, discrete factor that must be considered as such. In your example, M/L favorite and best jockey are separate factors. So is M/L favorite WITH best jockey, and M/L favorite NOT WITH best jockey. It is something that many overlook.

DeltaLover
01-14-2013, 05:00 PM
Assuming, of course, that you have not been led to believe things about what the player will or will not do under specific circumstances that have set you up for a thorough drubbing.

"Mind reading" is as deceptive in poker as it is in combat (or business, or diplomacy, or negotiation). In activities in which lies, deception, and trickery are the tools of the trade, the belief in one's ability to "read minds" can be costly. Several poker-playing friends did well with Mike Caro's "tells" by mimicking what others expected/wanted to see. In NLP, its called "pacing and leading."

The same thing is true in horse racing, especially in the study of "trainer strategies."


That's why the higher levels of poker are about game theory and beysian probabilities. What I find interesting is that short handed games especially hands on seem to be close to be fully analyzed and solved. I remember some time when I found a heads up holdem robot called Sonia which was a very hard opponent.

DeltaLover
01-14-2013, 05:02 PM
And don't forget that each combination of factors creates a new, discrete factor that must be considered as such. In your example, M/L favorite and best jockey are separate factors. So is M/L favorite WITH best jockey, and M/L favorite NOT WITH best jockey. It is something that many overlook.

Absolutely..

Capper Al
01-14-2013, 06:48 PM
Did anyone mention 'How to Pick up Girls?'.

DeltaLover
01-14-2013, 07:40 PM
Did anyone mention 'How to Pick up Girls?'.
Al,
this task is the goodlooking guys , not for race addicts

thaskalos
01-14-2013, 08:14 PM
Bayesian probabilities express a probability based in a condition.

Let me use an analogy from poker to better explain it.

You are playing heads up with and you are in the beginning of a hand.

You look down you see a pair of Kings.

What is the probability that your opponent is holding a pair of aces?

Easy question. Since there are 50 unseen cards (excluding your Cowboys) there are 1,275 combinations of two and only 6 of them consist of two aces.

So the probability that your opponent is holding AA is going to be: 6 / 1,275 or 0.47%. In other words less than the half of 1%

Of course you go ahead and you raise, your opponent 3bets and you cap. The flop is all rugs and the same betting scenario repeats.

At this point is time to start using your Bayesian calculations...

If you happened to know that your player is very tight plus he knows that you are tight as well what do you think is the probability of him holding AA?

Do you think that after the furious second betting round the probabilities stay the same as they were before the action was initiated?

I am sure you understand that no, the probability of our opponent holding AA is now much larger than it was in the beginning.

The thought process that leads to this conclusion is a Bayesian approach.

For example if we thing this player will play like this only when he holds KK or AA then the odds are clearly against us as he can have AA using 6 combos and KK with only 1 (since we already have the other two Kings). So the odds are 1 - 6 that he has AA. The condition we used for this calculation (in our example that he can only have KK or AA) is what we need to be aware of.

You can read more here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bayes'_theorem

And of course searching PA you will find a lot of excellent posts (most of them by Trifecta Mike) for this topic.

There is no such thing as tight play when you are playing heads-up. The tight players belong in the full games...:)

traynor
01-14-2013, 08:32 PM
That's why the higher levels of poker are about game theory and beysian probabilities. What I find interesting is that short handed games especially hands on seem to be close to be fully analyzed and solved. I remember some time when I found a heads up holdem robot called Sonia which was a very hard opponent.

I think I may have played her once. Short blonde from the Ukraine?

Mike A
01-14-2013, 08:40 PM
There is no such thing as tight play when you are playing heads-up. The tight players belong in the full games...:)

Thask, I really respect you as a poster here, and as a fellow strong player in both racing and poker. Maybe I'm missing some context/ ribbing among friends etc, but as you know tightness/looseness in poker occurs along a continuum, and that includes hu play, even huhu, and both limit and NLHE. And the relativity of tightness, and just where along that continuum to the best of your knowledge you can put villain, do coherently fit into what Delta is explaining, even though he's using the extreme as an example.

Don't get me wrong, I'd guess you're aware of this, but I just wanted to point it out just in case, and since I'm really curious about what Delta is getting into, since it's an area I have a lot to learn in.

thaskalos
01-14-2013, 09:08 PM
Thask, I really respect you as a poster here, and as a fellow strong player in both racing and poker. Maybe I'm missing some context/ ribbing among friends etc, but as you know tightness/looseness in poker occurs along a continuum, and that includes hu play, even huhu, and both limit and NLHE. And the relativity of tightness, and just where along that continuum to the best of your knowledge you can put villain, do coherently fit into what Delta is explaining, even though he's using the extreme as an example.

Don't get me wrong, I'd guess you're aware of this, but I just wanted to point it out just in case, and since I'm really curious about what Delta is getting into, since it's an area I have a lot to learn in.

I appreciate the kind words...and in no way am I trying to dissuade you from further pursuing what DeltaLover is getting into here.

DeltaLover is a friend of mine...and my comment was made strictly in jest.

Mike A
01-14-2013, 09:34 PM
I appreciate the kind words...and in no way am I trying to dissuade you from further pursuing what DeltaLover is getting into here.

DeltaLover is a friend of mine...and my comment was made strictly in jest.

I had a feeling. And I couldn't help but notice in some posts that you guys do seem to be friends. :)

BTW, thaskalos (and I have to head out to town in a few minutes, so I'll be quick here), I want to thank you for being someone who has really been an inspiration to me here, despite the fact I haven't posted much so far, or told you that before.

(And sorry guys, to take this off-topic!) I remember reading about how you lost your wife, and you are raising a young son on your own, and it really touched me...all the more, since I don't have a family of my own yet, but it's all I really want, and I guess I see you as someone with a lot of the same qualities I seem to have..i.e., I guess I seem to be "built" to "gamble" for a living. And my point there is that, we both know what happened in the online poker world on "Black Friday" (and I actually lost my "career", playing professionally at Pokerstars), and now, we both seem to agree about the present precarious state of horse racing in this country.

One thing I'm getting at is, for people like us..who knows how many options we'll have here, and for how long?? SO-- what I'm going to throw at you is (and I have to say I'm actually pretty excited in a way)..well, do you know what our "beloved" (hehheh) Dick Schmidt has been making a living at for the last few years? --Forex trading. I had a PM exchange with Dick a few weeks ago re this. OK...more later, but let me tell you, I'm basically a newb when it comes to forex, but I've been doing a ton of research, and (among other stuff like *yes, there are absolutely plenty of scams out there, especially with guys looking to sell beginners anything ---all the info you need IS free out there*) The bottom line is, forex does NOT look at all like anything even approaching the difficulty of going from newb to pro in racing, nor anything like going from newb to 20 tabling midstakes pro at Stars!!!

I would really love to hear your thoughts, thaskalos!

thaskalos
01-15-2013, 01:26 AM
I had a feeling. And I couldn't help but notice in some posts that you guys do seem to be friends. :)

BTW, thaskalos (and I have to head out to town in a few minutes, so I'll be quick here), I want to thank you for being someone who has really been an inspiration to me here, despite the fact I haven't posted much so far, or told you that before.

(And sorry guys, to take this off-topic!) I remember reading about how you lost your wife, and you are raising a young son on your own, and it really touched me...all the more, since I don't have a family of my own yet, but it's all I really want, and I guess I see you as someone with a lot of the same qualities I seem to have..i.e., I guess I seem to be "built" to "gamble" for a living. And my point there is that, we both know what happened in the online poker world on "Black Friday" (and I actually lost my "career", playing professionally at Pokerstars), and now, we both seem to agree about the present precarious state of horse racing in this country.

One thing I'm getting at is, for people like us..who knows how many options we'll have here, and for how long?? SO-- what I'm going to throw at you is (and I have to say I'm actually pretty excited in a way)..well, do you know what our "beloved" (hehheh) Dick Schmidt has been making a living at for the last few years? --Forex trading. I had a PM exchange with Dick a few weeks ago re this. OK...more later, but let me tell you, I'm basically a newb when it comes to forex, but I've been doing a ton of research, and (among other stuff like *yes, there are absolutely plenty of scams out there, especially with guys looking to sell beginners anything ---all the info you need IS free out there*) The bottom line is, forex does NOT look at all like anything even approaching the difficulty of going from newb to pro in racing, nor anything like going from newb to 20 tabling midstakes pro at Stars!!!

I would really love to hear your thoughts, thaskalos!

I have already discussed this with a like-minded friend of mine...and the financial markets seem to be our next stop. It's worse for those of us who are rather advanced in age -- I turned 51 last November -- because, not only is the nebulous future of this game a great concern...but the young guns are threatening to run us out of poker too.

I just hope that an old dog can still be able to learn a few new tricks...

traynor
01-15-2013, 10:55 AM
I have already discussed this with a like-minded friend of mine...and the financial markets seem to be our next stop. It's worse for those of us who are rather advanced in age -- I turned 51 last November -- because, not only is the nebulous future of this game a great concern...but the young guns are threatening to run us out of poker too.

I just hope that an old dog can still be able to learn a few new tricks...

Perspective is a strange and wondrous thing. I look back at the foolish assumptions I regarded as "true" when I was 51 and it is almost embarassing to remember them. I consider the majority of things I have learned that are of true value to have been learned since then--not before.

My understanding of the intricacies and realities of both race analysis and blackjack required an in-depth understanding of data analysis that did not begin until a later stage of life (when I attended graduate school) than you are in currently.

The reality is that the most interesting part of life is that it is continually changing, evolving, and increasing in complexity--and requires that one continually change, evolve, and learn to deal with that complexity in a profitable, meaningful, useful way. That requirement is both the challenge and the reward of life--not the penalty.

It is actually as simple as martial arts, and the rule of three. If you are not familiar with the concept, it is common among krav maga practitioners over 50. That is, "Will this technique work against an attacker who is three times as fast, three times as strong, and a third my age?" It is illuminating the number of techniques that eliminates as unsuitable for other than an extrememly fit 22-year-old Israeli commando. It is a useful frame of reference to use in analyzing the true value of what one learns, hopes to learn, and believes one should learn.

DeltaLover
01-15-2013, 11:44 AM
Financial Markets are extremely tough. Remember for each 'expert' who is selling there is another one who buys. Especially after the turn of the century the financial landscape has been converted to huge casino where anything is possible.

For anyone considering a career as a Wall Street 'investor' I would suggest he first reads the following text:

http://www.amazon.com/Quants-Whizzes-Conquered-Street-Destroyed/dp/0307453383

A good case study for those who easily conclude that they can beat the market is the following:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amaranth_Advisors

Epigrammatically speaking, stock market, forex and financial markets in general in not a field where true expertize exists. The behavior of any 'expert' portfolio manager, analyst or theoretical economist who tries to outsmart the 'crowd' (to use horse racing jargon) is more a matter of luck than ability, skill or talent.

traynor
01-15-2013, 12:27 PM
Financial Markets are extremely tough. Remember for each 'expert' who is selling there is another one who buys. Especially after the turn of the century the financial landscape has been converted to huge casino where anything is possible.

For anyone considering a career as a Wall Street 'investor' I would suggest he first reads the following text:

http://www.amazon.com/Quants-Whizzes-Conquered-Street-Destroyed/dp/0307453383

A good case study for those who easily conclude that they can beat the market is the following:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amaranth_Advisors

Epigrammatically speaking, stock market, forex and financial markets in general in not a field where true expertize exists. The behavior of any 'expert' portfolio manager, analyst or theoretical economist who tries to outsmart the 'crowd' (to use horse racing jargon) is more a matter of luck than ability, skill or talent.

Or--as with other fields in which the efficient market hypothesis applies--information outside the closed system unavailable to others. Consider the reason why "insider trading" is so frowned upon.

Delta Cone
01-16-2013, 01:04 AM
A good case study for those who easily conclude that they can beat the market is the following:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amaranth_Advisors


I don't think the example you cited is a good case study at all. It is equivalent to saying "the races can't be beat because one time a bridgejumper lost a $100,000 show bet."

The Amaranth Advisors situation was simply an example of the fact that extremely large bets on "sure things" sometimes lose.

There are many different ways to invest in the markets. Just as in racing, a well disciplined and well informed approach can beat the game.

I can't accept the assertion that the sustained success of Bill Gross or Warren Buffett is simply "luck."

DeltaLover
01-16-2013, 01:12 AM
I don't think the example you cited is a good case study at all. It is equivalent to saying "the races can't be beat because one time a bridgejumper lost a $100,000 show bet."

The Amaranth Advisors situation was simply an example of the fact that extremely large bets on "sure things" sometimes lose.

There are many different ways to invest in the markets. Just as in racing, a well disciplined and well informed approach can beat the game.

I can't accept the assertion that the sustained success of Bill Gross or Warren Buffett is simply "luck."


This is some posterior causation that in my opinion does not have much to add to the fact that one of the most advertised fund managers with proven track record for over a decade managed to burn close to $10B.

This is not an exceptional situation by no means, George Soros Tiger has a similar story to tell us as the recent bankruptcy of the Banking system.

If you want a deeper understanding of this, I strongly suggest Nikolas Taleb books where he presents and explains this phenomenon to great extend..

Delta Cone
01-16-2013, 01:33 AM
I have read some of Taleb but admittedly not much. But he participates in the markets, so that proves he believes they can be beat. Why play a fixed game?

I will grant that for the vast majority of investors, index funds in a well-diversified portfolio are probably the way to go. There are a lot of bad actively-managed funds out there with high fees. With index funds you won't beat the markets but at least you won't underperform.

Robert Goren
01-16-2013, 03:47 AM
The Amaranth Advisors disaster happened during a time I spent a month in the hospital. There was little to do except to follow it on CNBC. I remember being amazed by the whole thing. They were badly over leveraged, no doubt. But as one CNBC reporter said. "They were one good cold snap in the Northeast from being right" But the way they operated, it was only matter of time. You can't be right all the time. Even Buffet has had some losers. He was smart enough not to risk his whole company on them.

Robert Goren
01-16-2013, 04:17 AM
This is some posterior causation that in my opinion does not have much to add to the fact that one of the most advertised fund managers with proven track record for over a decade managed to burn close to $10B.

This is not an exceptional situation by no means, George Soros Tiger has a similar story to tell us as the recent bankruptcy of the Banking system.

If you want a deeper understanding of this, I strongly suggest Nikolas Taleb books where he presents and explains this phenomenon to great extend.. I have read The Black Swan. He has an interesting strategy. It works well in volatile markets. But even he says it sucks when the market is flat or moves only way for years at a time. The mid to late 90s were bad time for him because the markets moved only one way. For his strategy to work, there has to be big swings in the markets like in late 2008 and most of 2009. Anyway that is what I gathered although I am sure exactly how it works in the pits as they say. I am sure it worked well last year as well with the way the markets reacted to Europe on what seemed like a daily basis.

DeltaLover
01-16-2013, 11:32 AM
I have read The Black Swan. He has an interesting strategy. It works well in volatile markets. But even he says it sucks when the market is flat or moves only way for years at a time. The mid to late 90s were bad time for him because the markets moved only one way. For his strategy to work, there has to be big swings in the markets like in late 2008 and most of 2009. Anyway that is what I gathered although I am sure exactly how it works in the pits as they say. I am sure it worked well last year as well with the way the markets reacted to Europe on what seemed like a daily basis.


The distinction between extremistan and mediocristan is at the core of his thinking and based in this he builds an attractive logical structure proving inductively that the concept of expertize is greatly abused in domains where a black swan is due to appear. This concept is also discussed in Kahneman's think fast slow where is introducing the notion of illusions of skill and validity.

You are correct (of course) that under 'normal' circumstances things seem to develop great for the majority of the domain experts; however, the appearance of single black swan is enough to turn them to mere mortals or even worse completely destroying all their gains.

What is interesting though, is that horse betting is not a extremistan (at least based in Taleb's definition), at max it can just produce what he calls a grey swan ....

lansdale
01-16-2013, 11:59 AM
No distaste for pace or speed analysis at all. I use both, but not in the simplistic ways advocated by some. That is, I use both pace analysis and speed analysis, but not in the same forms used by anyone else (to the best of my knowledge).

Match-Up is a little more complex. I could say I use it, but that would imply I follow Jim Bradshaw's interpretation, which would be incorrect. I use a set of pace comparison algorithms that do much the same thing.

Hi Traynor,

Sorry if I misunderstood your criticism of the limitations of the Sartin methodology as a wholesale rejection of pace handicapping. Obviously, you prefer to 'roll you own' when it comes to metrics. However, if you could put some numbers on the strength of your 'dynamics' algorithm without giving too much away, I would be very interested, since, as I say, I don't see it as a strong factor. I'm especially curious about how you determine independence (or relative independence, given the reality of horseracing data) for this factor - especially separating ordinality from cardinality.

Cheers,

lansdale

lansdale
01-16-2013, 12:24 PM
That's why the higher levels of poker are about game theory and beysian probabilities. What I find interesting is that short handed games especially hands on seem to be close to be fully analyzed and solved. I remember some time when I found a heads up holdem robot called Sonia which was a very hard opponent.

Hi DL,

You may well have checked out out this site, but if not, the University of Alberta has a great deal material on the poker application of Bayesian techniques that can easily be adapted for handicapping. I'm not sure whether Sonia is theirs, but their pokerbots have fared very well in international competitions. And I believe it was their researchers who solved HU NLHE, to which you referred in another post.

Cheers,

lansdale

DeltaLover
01-16-2013, 12:35 PM
Hi DL,

You may well have checked out out this site, but if not, the University of Alberta has a great deal material on the poker application of Bayesian techniques that can easily be adapted for handicapping. I'm not sure whether Sonia is theirs, but their pokerbots have fared very well in international competitions. And I believe it was their researchers who solved HU NLHE, to which you referred in another post.

Cheers,

lansdale

Sure, I have been there.

traynor
01-16-2013, 05:04 PM
Hi Traynor,

Sorry if I misunderstood your criticism of the limitations of the Sartin methodology as a wholesale rejection of pace handicapping. Obviously, you prefer to 'roll you own' when it comes to metrics. However, if you could put some numbers on the strength of your 'dynamics' algorithm without giving too much away, I would be very interested, since, as I say, I don't see it as a strong factor. I'm especially curious about how you determine independence (or relative independence, given the reality of horseracing data) for this factor - especially separating ordinality from cardinality.

Cheers,

lansdale

There are a finite number of pace matchups. The various combinations can be studied as compound factors, with allowances for degree. One of the interesting conclusions after studying a large number of races is that you are quite right--it is not a very strong factor, and is outweighed by a number of other factors being present or lacking.

"Pace handicapping"--as a stand-alone methodology for race analysis--is shot full of holes and barely able to stay afloat. However, it can usefully be combined with other factors unrelated to pace scenarios or matchups to present a more complete perspective on a given race.

Maximillion
01-16-2013, 08:59 PM
There are a finite number of pace matchups. The various combinations can be studied as compound factors, with allowances for degree. One of the interesting conclusions after studying a large number of races is that you are quite right--it is not a very strong factor, and is outweighed by a number of other factors being present or lacking.

"Pace handicapping"--as a stand-alone methodology for race analysis--is shot full of holes and barely able to stay afloat. However, it can usefully be combined with other factors unrelated to pace scenarios or matchups to present a more complete perspective on a given race.


I play a lot of "cheap" races and for the most part I would have to agree.Many of the (often) older claiming types have "faced" fast/slow etc. type race situations and it may be more of a case of whether the horse is in a condition to run a "winning race" rather than the pace matchup.(for me....Im no J Bradshaw)

Of course, "extreme pace" type of races are a different story.Could make for a good discussion.

traynor
01-16-2013, 10:40 PM
I play a lot of "cheap" races and for the most part I would have to agree.Many of the (often) older claiming types have "faced" fast/slow etc. type race situations and it may be more of a case of whether the horse is in a condition to run a "winning race" rather than the pace matchup.(for me....Im no J Bradshaw)

Of course, "extreme pace" type of races are a different story.Could make for a good discussion.

I think there may be a jockey factor that determines what a horse does in a race more often than some innate "pace tendency" of the horse. An interesting study is the categorization of preferred riding style of the individual jockeys, overlapped with the preferred running style of the individual horses. In general, horses are more likely to perform in a race according to the preferences of the jockeys than they are to perform according to their own preferences. Another case of, "does this stuff really mean what we think it means?" Regarding pace matchups, "no" is often the correct answer.

One specific. Bettors tend to remember "speed duels" in which two or three "early speed types burned each other out and set up the race for a closer to win." They tend to forget situations in which their "pace analysis" was a complete flop, one ES grabbed the lead and never looked back, and none of the others fired. Create algorithms to monitor both situations and the results can be quite interesting.

Greyfox
01-17-2013, 12:55 AM
In general, horses are more likely to perform in a race according to the preferences of the jockeys than they are to perform according to their own preferences..

Not according to Chris McCarron.

He has stated clearly : "The first two furlongs belong to the horse."

traynor
01-17-2013, 11:35 AM
Not according to Chris McCarron.

He has stated clearly : "The first two furlongs belong to the horse."

First, with all due respect to Chris McCarron, the premise is absurd. There are innumerable examples that could be provided, but there is little reason to do so. If you believe such, by all means, bet on it. Bet lots of money on it.

For an illuminating display of the effect of jockeys on the first two furlongs, watch replays of any of the races in which Vicky Aragon tried to crack the Santa Anita jockey colony.

Greyfox
01-17-2013, 12:31 PM
First, with all due respect to Chris McCarron, the premise is absurd. There are innumerable examples that could be provided, but there is little reason to do so. If you believe such, by all means, bet on it. Bet lots of money on it.
.

If you think that a jockey's "preference" is a stronger factor than several million years of development of a horse's genetic disposition, good luck.

cj
01-17-2013, 02:05 PM
I would say a jockey can certainly exert his or her will over a horse to a point, but the results are usually not very good if it is excessive.

thaskalos
01-17-2013, 02:18 PM
I have seen "need-the-lead" types taken off the lead, and win from a few lengths back...all as a result of a jockey's more patient ride.

And if the jockeys at Portland Meadows can do it...I think it's safe to assume it can be done by all.

traynor
01-17-2013, 02:53 PM
I have seen "need-the-lead" types taken off the lead, and win from a few lengths back...all as a result of a jockey's more patient ride.

And if the jockeys at Portland Meadows can do it...I think it's safe to assume it can be done by all.

Similarly, a confirmed "closer"--one Onde Bateau running at Finger Lakes some years ago that had never made a move before the stretch run--suddenly discovered, by way of a skilled, competent jockey, that it was more important to get to a pronounced bias next to the rail early to win. And so Onde Bateau "overcame" that "several million years of development" to win by wiring a field that held several other "ES" types.

With all due respect to Sartin/Brohamer and crowd and the "the horses at Belmont are more predictable than the patients at Bellevue" theory of clearly defined, rubber-stamp, easily predicted "horse running styles" it might be useful to realize that one is not watching a horse race. One is watching a horse/jockey race in which the guy on top with the whip instructs the animal beneath what to do and how to do it.

It is not necessary to "accept" or "believe" my opinion. A few hours of research will provide abundant proof that convenient theories about horse performance--like many other things in life--are often less useful than they seem to be on the surface.

cj
01-17-2013, 03:12 PM
Similarly, a confirmed "closer"--one Onde Bateau running at Finger Lakes some years ago that had never made a move before the stretch run--suddenly discovered, by way of a skilled, competent jockey, that it was more important to get to a pronounced bias next to the rail early to win. And so Onde Bateau "overcame" that "several million years of development" to win by wiring a field that held several other "ES" types.

With all due respect to Sartin/Brohamer and crowd and the "the horses at Belmont are more predictable than the patients at Bellevue" theory of clearly defined, rubber-stamp, easily predicted "horse running styles" it might be useful to realize that one is not watching a horse race. One is watching a horse/jockey race in which the guy on top with the whip instructs the animal beneath what to do and how to do it.

It is not necessary to "accept" or "believe" my opinion. A few hours of research will provide abundant proof that convenient theories about horse performance--like many other things in life--are often less useful than they seem to be on the surface.

Sure, there are always exceptions. But, most speed horses that are taken back because there is "too much speed" run like crap. Similarly, most "confirmed closers" that are gunned to the front aren't going to fare very well either.

You can find tons of "closers" that find themselves on the lead in paceless races, and they under perform too.

traynor
01-17-2013, 03:33 PM
Sure, there are always exceptions. But, most speed horses that are taken back because there is "too much speed" run like crap. Similarly, most "confirmed closers" that are gunned to the front aren't going to fare very well either.

You can find tons of "closers" that find themselves on the lead in paceless races, and they under perform too.

I do not assume for a moment that all horses run exactly the same way. All I am saying is that there is a tendency for jockeys who prefer to be on or near the lead early (or to close, or whatever else) to encourage their mounts to comply with the jockey's preferred running style, rather than with the horse's preferred running style.

It can be as useful to study the pace preferences of jockeys as it is to study the pace preferences of the horses. It can be even more useful when those preferences coincide. It is less useful to study the pace preferences of either in isolation, because during a race--for all practical purposes--they function as a unit.

cj
01-17-2013, 03:36 PM
I do not assume for a moment that all horses run exactly the same way. All I am saying is that there is a tendency for jockeys who prefer to be on or near the lead early (or to close, or whatever else) to encourage their mounts to comply with the jockey's preferred running style, rather than with the horse's preferred running style.

It can be as useful to study the pace preferences of jockeys as it is to study the pace preferences of the horses. It can be even more useful when those preferences coincide. It is less useful to study the pace preferences of either in isolation, because during a race--for all practical purposes--they function as a unit.

Certainly true. For the best performance you want a jockey that adapts to the horse, not the other way around.

senortout
01-17-2013, 05:24 PM
Joey, Lefty, and Kneecaps

lansdale
01-17-2013, 05:38 PM
While not nearly as knowledgeable as the posters in this thread, I've always felt the influence of jocks was overrated by many (and underrated by Sartin), except on the turf, and it seems that Ken Massa's work somewhat confirms this. I believe he found jockeys to be generally negative ROI except in certain limited contexts - I believe one was, not surprisingly when a top jock was on his highest rated horse. If anyone with a database could post them, I would be interested in seeing some stats on how the influence of jockeys should be weighted

Cheers,

lansdale

Overlay
01-17-2013, 06:38 PM
While not nearly as knowledgeable as the posters in this thread, I've always felt the influence of jocks was overrated by many (and underrated by Sartin), except on the turf, and it seems that Ken Massa's work somewhat confirms this. I believe he found jockeys to be generally negative ROI except in certain limited contexts - I believe one was, not surprisingly when a top jock was on his highest rated horse. If anyone with a database could post them, I would be interested in seeing some stats on how the influence of jockeys should be weighted.
To me, a factor (jockey or otherwise) doesn't have to show a stand-alone positive ROI to be valuable or useful. (In my opinion, very few individual factors by themselves are that powerful, or, if they are, they will be overbet into unprofitability in fairly short order.) I place more importance on a factor's effectiveness in ranking the horses in a field from top to bottom, and on the factor's usefulness (when combined with other similar characteristics) in developing a projection of a horse's overall chance of winning that is not excessively based or dependent on any one of the factors in the mix.

Greyfox
01-17-2013, 07:09 PM
While not nearly as knowledgeable as the posters in this thread, I've always felt the influence of jocks was overrated by many (and underrated by Sartin), except on the turf, and it seems that Ken Massa's work somewhat confirms this. I believe he found jockeys to be generally negative ROI except in certain limited contexts - I believe one was, not surprisingly when a top jock was on his highest rated horse. If anyone with a database could post them, I would be interested in seeing some stats on how the influence of jockeys should be weighted

Cheers,

lansdale

I don't underestimate the jockey factor.

Top % riders certainly get more optimal performances from their mounts and it is not because of any "preferences" that they have for where they want the horse to run.
It is more due to balance, good hands, a sense of timing, and feel for the horse's energy.
They of course also end up getting more "live" mounts.

Low % riders often serve as an anchor on a horse and will not get optimal performances from them.

traynor
01-17-2013, 08:50 PM
While not nearly as knowledgeable as the posters in this thread, I've always felt the influence of jocks was overrated by many (and underrated by Sartin), except on the turf, and it seems that Ken Massa's work somewhat confirms this. I believe he found jockeys to be generally negative ROI except in certain limited contexts - I believe one was, not surprisingly when a top jock was on his highest rated horse. If anyone with a database could post them, I would be interested in seeing some stats on how the influence of jockeys should be weighted

Cheers,

lansdale

Simplistic research generates simplistic results. Consider the jockey as a confounding variable.

" A confounding variable is an extraneous variable (i.e., a variable that is not a focus of the study) that is statistically related to (or correlated with) the independent variable. This means that as the independent variable changes, the confounding variable changes along with it. The result is that subjects in one condition are different in some unintended way from subjects in the other condition. This is bad because the point of an experiment is to create a situation in which the only difference between conditions is a difference in the independent variable. This is what allows us to conclude that the manipulation is the cause of differences in the dependent variable. But if there is some other variable that is changes along with the independent variable, then this confounding variable could be the cause of any difference."
http://psych.csufresno.edu/price/psych144/confounding.html

No one said anything about ROI. Obviously, an early speed type entry has a distinct advantage when ridden by a competent jockey who "rates poorly"--in short, who is quite competent when securing an early lead or contentious positioning, but not so competent at making the huge number of calculations needed to weave through traffic in the stretch and pass others to win. For a great example of the latter skill, watch the replay of Shoemaker's Derby ride on Ferdinand.

For less-skilled jockeys--who tend to run SoCal style, as fast as they can as far as they can--"early speed horses" match their preferences better than pressers or closers. With all due respect to the jockeys of the world, it is foolish to expect them to learn, remember, and effectively utilize the idiosyncratic behaviors of each and every one of their mounts.

Number-crunching, database queries, and ROI figures are all very interesting, but if one asks the wrong questions, it should come as no great surprise that the answers are not especially useful.

It amazes me that so much "effort" (likely because it is simpler to create the appropriate queries) is put into detecting "trainer patterns" while the effect of the jockey on the outcome of a race is defined primarily in simplistic ROI figures. Such simplicity comes from regarding data elements as discrete. In a horse race, that is rarely the case. Perhaps a bit more rigorous programming and data analysis would reveal more useful information.

Ken Massa's work is interesting. However, for wagering purposes, I prefer doing my own research, conducting my own queries, and relying ONLY on my own information and resources.

traynor
01-17-2013, 09:24 PM
I don't underestimate the jockey factor.

Top % riders certainly get more optimal performances from their mounts and it is not because of any "preferences" that they have for where they want the horse to run.
It is more due to balance, good hands, a sense of timing, and feel for the horse's energy.
They of course also end up getting more "live" mounts.

Low % riders often serve as an anchor on a horse and will not get optimal performances from them.

It is an innate human tendency to devalue, ignore, or declare irrelevent things that are complex, difficult, or less than readily available. I am not sure I want to bet my money on the hope that a rider has "balance, good hands, a sense of timing, and feel for the horse's energy." I much prefer hard data that matches the rider I bet on to win with the horse I bet on. Not too difficult to obtain, for anyone willing to do a bit of extra work, and exert a bit of extra effort, to earn extra rewards.

I don't look at horse racing as a hobby, or as entertainment. I don't mind the extra work and the extra effort. And I really, really like the extra rewards.

traynor
01-17-2013, 09:29 PM
Standard (and increasingly mandatory) caveat. I have no interest in changing anyone's ideas about anything. I have nothing to sell. I don't crave attention or pats on the head. I put down ideas that I have found useful (and profitable). If you find them useful, great. Nothing more.

Maximillion
01-17-2013, 09:37 PM
Simplistic research generates simplistic results. Consider the jockey as a confounding variable.

" A confounding variable is an extraneous variable (i.e., a variable that is not a focus of the study) that is statistically related to (or correlated with) the independent variable. This means that as the independent variable changes, the confounding variable changes along with it. The result is that subjects in one condition are different in some unintended way from subjects in the other condition. This is bad because the point of an experiment is to create a situation in which the only difference between conditions is a difference in the independent variable. This is what allows us to conclude that the manipulation is the cause of differences in the dependent variable. But if there is some other variable that is changes along with the independent variable, then this confounding variable could be the cause of any difference."
http://psych.csufresno.edu/price/psych144/confounding.html

No one said anything about ROI. Obviously, an early speed type entry has a distinct advantage when ridden by a competent jockey who "rates poorly"--in short, who is quite competent when securing an early lead or contentious positioning, but not so competent at making the huge number of calculations needed to weave through traffic in the stretch and pass others to win. For a great example of the latter skill, watch the replay of Shoemaker's Derby ride on Ferdinand.

For less-skilled jockeys--who tend to run SoCal style, as fast as they can as far as they can--"early speed horses" match their preferences better than pressers or closers. With all due respect to the jockeys of the world, it is foolish to expect them to learn, remember, and effectively utilize the idiosyncratic behaviors of each and every one of their mounts.

Number-crunching, database queries, and ROI figures are all very interesting, but if one asks the wrong questions, it should come as no great surprise that the answers are not especially useful.

It amazes me that so much "effort" (likely because it is simpler to create the appropriate queries) is put into detecting "trainer patterns" while the effect of the jockey on the outcome of a race is defined primarily in simplistic ROI figures. Such simplicity comes from regarding data elements as discrete. In a horse race, that is rarely the case. Perhaps a bit more rigorous programming and data analysis would reveal more useful information.

Ken Massa's work is interesting. However, for wagering purposes, I prefer doing my own research, conducting my own queries, and relying ONLY on my own information and resources.


If I had to guess, I would suspect a lot of the younger jockeys are probably just "following instructions" but I could be wrong.
I respect your advice...maybe learning the tendencies of the veteran jockeys
on the circuit(s) you play would be time well spent.

lansdale
01-18-2013, 01:05 PM
Hi Traynor,

Surprised by this waffly, 'on-the-one-hand-on-the-other-hand' response to a fairly straightforward question. You imply that you have better answer than anyone to the question while offering nothing. If you're selling a service and this is intended as a teaser, why not say so more briefly?

Re Massa's work, he seems to have taken the bulk of his newsletters off his site, but a summary of the jockey articles confirms the jockey influence as very minor, again, useful only when a top jock is riding a very strong contender. As for anything less than top jocks, their influence is rated as nil. Since the betting public overrates jockeys, he recommends looking for various 'bet-against' scenarios, particularly a top jock coupled with a weak trainer.

Cheers,

lansdale











Simplistic research generates simplistic results. Consider the jockey as a confounding variable.

" A confounding variable is an extraneous variable (i.e., a variable that is not a focus of the study) that is statistically related to (or correlated with) the independent variable. This means that as the independent variable changes, the confounding variable changes along with it. The result is that subjects in one condition are different in some unintended way from subjects in the other condition. This is bad because the point of an experiment is to create a situation in which the only difference between conditions is a difference in the independent variable. This is what allows us to conclude that the manipulation is the cause of differences in the dependent variable. But if there is some other variable that is changes along with the independent variable, then this confounding variable could be the cause of any difference."
http://psych.csufresno.edu/price/psych144/confounding.html

No one said anything about ROI. Obviously, an early speed type entry has a distinct advantage when ridden by a competent jockey who "rates poorly"--in short, who is quite competent when securing an early lead or contentious positioning, but not so competent at making the huge number of calculations needed to weave through traffic in the stretch and pass others to win. For a great example of the latter skill, watch the replay of Shoemaker's Derby ride on Ferdinand.

For less-skilled jockeys--who tend to run SoCal style, as fast as they can as far as they can--"early speed horses" match their preferences better than pressers or closers. With all due respect to the jockeys of the world, it is foolish to expect them to learn, remember, and effectively utilize the idiosyncratic behaviors of each and every one of their mounts.

Number-crunching, database queries, and ROI figures are all very interesting, but if one asks the wrong questions, it should come as no great surprise that the answers are not especially useful.

It amazes me that so much "effort" (likely because it is simpler to create the appropriate queries) is put into detecting "trainer patterns" while the effect of the jockey on the outcome of a race is defined primarily in simplistic ROI figures. Such simplicity comes from regarding data elements as discrete. In a horse race, that is rarely the case. Perhaps a bit more rigorous programming and data analysis would reveal more useful information.

Ken Massa's work is interesting. However, for wagering purposes, I prefer doing my own research, conducting my own queries, and relying ONLY on my own information and resources.

traynor
01-18-2013, 06:29 PM
Hi Traynor,

Surprised by this waffly, 'on-the-one-hand-on-the-other-hand' response to a fairly straightforward question. You imply that you have better answer than anyone to the question while offering nothing. If you're selling a service and this is intended as a teaser, why not say so more briefly?

Re Massa's work, he seems to have taken the bulk of his newsletters off his site, but a summary of the jockey articles confirms the jockey influence as very minor, again, useful only when a top jock is riding a very strong contender. As for anything less than top jocks, their influence is rated as nil. Since the betting public overrates jockeys, he recommends looking for various 'bet-against' scenarios, particularly a top jock coupled with a weak trainer.

Cheers,

lansdale

No waffles at all. I have nothing to sell. I gave it away free already--consider the influence of jockeys as a confounding variable when analyzing speed, pace, or other factors. Anyone unwilling to explore the issue for himself or herself probably would not benefit from a more explicitly detailed explanation, or endless rows and columns of numbers that supposedly "prove" something or other in some little clump of races.

I don't have The Answer, nor do I claim to have such. I do a LOT of research, for clients and for my own use. Sometimes that research turns up things that I think are interesting, and that might be useful to other serious handicappers (or even to wannabe serious handicappers). I post it. That is pretty much it. It is no more arcane, convoluted, or suspicious than that. No ulterior motives, no front-loading, no set up for a con. And definitely not a cry in the night for attention.

Consider it. You might find it useful in your own race analysis. It sure is useful in mine, and I see little reason why it would not be in yours.

traynor
01-18-2013, 06:38 PM
I do not in any way intend to imply anything negative about Ken Massa's (or anyone else's) research findings. Specifically, I much prefer relying on my own research, rather than someone else's, for the same reason I rely on my own software (for my own use) rather than someone else's.

VastinMT
01-20-2013, 02:37 PM
It is an innate human tendency to devalue, ignore, or declare irrelevent things that are complex, difficult, or less than readily available.

Shhhh!

Tom
01-20-2013, 04:26 PM
I think Massa's Marauders records in tourney play speaks for itself.
As does the individual research each of is ale to do on our own with this Robot and export files.

shouldacoulda
01-23-2013, 01:24 AM
I have very few books but have learned much from my father more in the way of angles.
My books are;

Beyer on Speed

The Handicappers Condition Book By James Quinn (which I'm surprised nobody has mentioned)

Calibration Handicapping by Jim Lehane

Modern Pace Handicapping By Tom Brohammer.

1 DVD on Body Language of a Race Horse.

I got something out of each of these books but found Beyer's book to be of the least value. At least to me anyway. Race shape and pace IMO have more influence on the outcome of a race than speed figures alone. The physicality end of it either reinforces your decision or sends up a red flag to pass.

Charlie
01-23-2013, 08:06 PM
1. Calibration Handicapping Lehane
2. Beyer On Speed Beyer
3a. Handicapping 101 Free
3b. Off the Charts Borg