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View Full Version : Commonsense Handicapping by Mitchell - still valid today?


AceInTheHole
06-20-2013, 05:19 PM
I just picked this up and started reading his section on Maidens and I want to know if his theories he puts forth in the book still have a place in today's game?

cj
06-20-2013, 05:57 PM
I read it a long time ago. What theories are you wanting to discuss? I remember the part about ability times, much different than Scott's ability times.

thaskalos
06-20-2013, 07:37 PM
It was a good book for its time...and the same could be said about the other books that were written by the popular authors of that time period.

But these books provide only the foundation of the knowledge that the horseplayer needs in order to survive in the game. The rest of the work is left up to the player himself, and can only be accomplished through original research...IMO.

ldiatone
06-20-2013, 09:34 PM
I just picked this up and started reading his section on Maidens and I want to know if his theories he puts forth in the book still have a place in today's game?
yes

Dave Schwartz
06-20-2013, 11:19 PM
Mitchell's greatest strength IMHO was the expression of his math skills in terms the handicapper could understand. He was perhaps the best author ever at that.


Regards,
Dave Schwartz

thaskalos
06-21-2013, 02:14 PM
And his greatest weakness IMHO was his insistence that a 40%+ ROI was sustainable over the long term in exotics wagering. His voice of him claiming that he had bank accounts at race tracks throughout the country is still ringing in my ears...

Overlay
06-21-2013, 03:20 PM
I think that his Commonsense Betting has more staying power than Commonsense Handicapping. The math involved in wagering is not as subject to change as the ways of evaluating thoroughbred performance. In particular, I find any text that does not deal in assigning quantitative weights to handicapping factors to be of limited interest (but that's just me).

thaskalos
06-21-2013, 03:23 PM
I think that his Commonsense Betting has more staying power than Commonsense Handicapping. The math involved in wagering is not as subject to change as the ways of evaluating thoroughbred performance. In particular, I find any text that does not deal in assigning quantitative weights to handicapping factors to be of limited interest (but that's just me).

Yes...but "betting" is not the "sexy" subject that everyone wants to read about.

Handicapping is...

AceInTheHole
06-21-2013, 06:37 PM
I read it a long time ago. What theories are you wanting to discuss? I remember the part about ability times, much different than Scott's ability times.

He mentions Ron Ambrose in Vegas in his section on maidens who he says bets exclusively on maidens and pulls six figures a year betting them to place. He talks about bet down favorites but does not mention this place betting/maiden system that the Mr Ambrose uses.

I retread the section and it says" he bets $500-$2000 to place and show. His win bets vary from $200-$1000. His top pick wins close to 40%. Runs second 72% and in the money 89%! Never bets to win unless he gets 5-2."


Why aren't more people doing this? Is this a feasible approach to the types of races mr Ambrose bets for others to emulate ?

Overlay
06-21-2013, 07:37 PM
Yes...but "betting" is not the "sexy" subject that everyone wants to read about.

Handicapping is...
Handicapping is "sexy" to me, too, as long as it can be quantified. If it can't, it comes down to fallible subjective opinion, and also too often lapses exclusively into finding and betting the horse or combination that is judged most likely to win, regardless of whether the bet's odds/payoff justify the risk of a wager or not, and without a dependable, replicable basis for making that judgment from one race to the next.

Dave Schwartz
06-21-2013, 08:25 PM
He mentions Ron Ambrose in Vegas in his section on maidens who he says bets exclusively on maidens and pulls six figures a year betting them to place. He talks about bet down favorites but does not mention this place betting/maiden system that the Mr Ambrose uses.

Ron Ambrose died a few years back.

I knew him only well enough to say that he always talked about giant show bets (to me). Lived the end of his life playing golf in Arizona.

cj
06-22-2013, 03:31 PM
He mentions Ron Ambrose in Vegas in his section on maidens who he says bets exclusively on maidens and pulls six figures a year betting them to place. He talks about bet down favorites but does not mention this place betting/maiden system that the Mr Ambrose uses.

I retread the section and it says" he bets $500-$2000 to place and show. His win bets vary from $200-$1000. His top pick wins close to 40%. Runs second 72% and in the money 89%! Never bets to win unless he gets 5-2."


Why aren't more people doing this? Is this a feasible approach to the types of races mr Ambrose bets for others to emulate ?

I don't know how feasible it is, but I do believe maiden races are the easiest by far to handicap.

thaskalos
06-22-2013, 05:28 PM
I don't know how feasible it is, but I do believe maiden races are the easiest by far to handicap.
They are the easiest races to handicap...but you can't say that they are the most profitable races to play -- which is what some of these authors are saying.

No group of races could be called "most profitable"...because it all depends on the individual player, and his set of skills.

cj
06-23-2013, 03:52 PM
They are the easiest races to handicap...but you can't say that they are the most profitable races to play -- which is what some of these authors are saying.

No group of races could be called "most profitable"...because it all depends on the individual player, and his set of skills.

I agree to a point, but in my case I think they are also the easiest races on which to win money. People overbet speed figures, particularly for horses that have lost at short odds, and those horses create value.

I'm not talking about races dominated by first time starters in the wagering, but your run of the mill maiden claiming races which are prolific on many cards today.

so.cal.fan
06-23-2013, 04:20 PM
I know more than one daily racegoer who specializes in maiden races.
They know all the winning angles, but more interesting is that they are all experts at looking at horses in the paddock. The credit this with their ability to swing a profit.
When we used to go to Del Mar on a daily basis for many decades, we always did well with maiden two year olds. Selected them on appearance.
I'm sure it still is valid.
Every maiden race has horses who will NEVER break their maiden.
My favorite maiden angle is catch 3 year olds who are very well bred.
You can find top sire lists on Bloodhorse, check them on a daily basis, if needed.
My theory is that a very well bred horse for the distance and surface is not likely to be a maiden for long. Second and third time starters are usually the ones I look for, and they are almost always trained by top stables and ridden by top jockeys. Interestingly enough, they do not always go off at short prices! I have caught many 5/1- 12/1 shots who win with top trainers and jockeys! It's getting less and less with short fields, but you can still find them. Follow Saratoga and Del Mar this summer......you'll catch a few! ;)

Maximillion
06-23-2013, 08:35 PM
I agree to a point, but in my case I think they are also the easiest races on which to win money. People overbet speed figures, particularly for horses that have lost at short odds, and those horses create value.

I'm not talking about races dominated by first time starters in the wagering, but your run of the mill maiden claiming races which are prolific on many cards today.

In my case they have been a money drainer and I have dropped them and dont intend to look back.Could be because im a bad pace handicapper....whatever it is its not working for me.

Dave Schwartz
06-23-2013, 10:10 PM
I have to agree with CJ here. Maidens are the easiest simply because the level of competition is so spread. There are exceptions and those races can be easily passed.

raybo
06-24-2013, 05:35 PM
I don't care what class it is, as long as there is good data for the horses. I'll even bet a race with first time starters as long as that percentage is less than 20%. As a general rule, horses who have run races are advantaged over first time starters.

DeltaLover
06-24-2013, 06:04 PM
My favorite maiden angle is catch 3 year olds who are very well bred.
You can find top sire lists on Bloodhorse, check them on a daily basis, if needed.
My theory is that a very well bred horse for the distance and surface is not likely to be a maiden for long.

Although your statement is probably correct, I still believe it presents a case that is not necessary relative to successful horse betting. As a matter of fact chances are that quite the opposite logic has a better merit of shown profitability. A top bred horse tends to attract more bets than what he really deserves usually shifting value to more obscurely bred rival that can leave the gate as huge overlays.

What most handicappers do not seem to realize is that once a very low profile horse caring some humble ancestors reaches the point to run against top level competition he should be viewed as an exception to the rule and can very well be superior to his opponents. He is probably the best horse out of a very large sample of very low quality horses otherwise he will never have been able to compete against the top tier.

Dave Schwartz
06-24-2013, 06:35 PM
Although your statement is probably correct, I still believe it presents a case that is not necessary relative to successful horse betting. As a matter of fact chances are that quite the opposite logic has a better merit of shown profitability. A top bred horse tends to attract more bets than what he really deserves usually shifting value to more obscurely bred rival that can leave the gate as huge overlays.

I must disagree.

In fact, my stats have shown that Sire Earnings is significant even after the maiden races are over, especially at smaller tracks.

However, it MIGHT be correlational but not causational.

My theory is that this is because the better trainers at a small track are more likely to get the hand-me-downs of the good pedigrees that failed from the larger tracks.

Now, whether or not this results in value is another story, certainly dependant upon the individual race/horse tote.


Just my opinion. Yours may differ greatly.


Regards,
Dave Schwartz

DeltaLover
06-24-2013, 07:04 PM
I must disagree.

In fact, my stats have shown that Sire Earnings is significant even after the maiden races are over, especially at smaller tracks.

However, it MIGHT be correlational but not causational.

My theory is that this is because the better trainers at a small track are more likely to get the hand-me-downs of the good pedigrees that failed from the larger tracks.

Now, whether or not this results in value is another story, certainly dependant upon the individual race/horse tote.


Just my opinion. Yours may differ greatly.


Regards,
Dave Schwartz


Had anyone other but DaveS claimed so I would have been quick to disagree.

In this case though I have to admit that, at this point I do not have the data to support my case and I might wrong since my original assessment was based in my general knowledge and not any specific research..

I might be wrong, but this is something that I will post about later with specific data and analysis.

Just to clarify my statement, I claim that horses from top breeding although they might win more frequently than their lower profile opponents they do not present any betting value since this knowledge is already part of the betting. I see as more possible the opposite to be true.

Anyway Dave, you came up with a fun assignment for me...

Just let me know how you will measure a top breed horse, a list of top sires - damsires in electronic format would make my research faster...

Dave Schwartz
06-25-2013, 12:31 AM
You would need Average Earnings Index for everybody.

sam i am
06-25-2013, 07:09 PM
I prefer the SPI (Average Earnings per start) to the AEI (Total Earnings).
Brisnet ranks Sire SPI in multiple categories.


David

castaway01
06-26-2013, 10:04 AM
Although your statement is probably correct, I still believe it presents a case that is not necessary relative to successful horse betting. As a matter of fact chances are that quite the opposite logic has a better merit of shown profitability. A top bred horse tends to attract more bets than what he really deserves usually shifting value to more obscurely bred rival that can leave the gate as huge overlays.

What most handicappers do not seem to realize is that once a very low profile horse caring some humble ancestors reaches the point to run against top level competition he should be viewed as an exception to the rule and can very well be superior to his opponents. He is probably the best horse out of a very large sample of very low quality horses otherwise he will never have been able to compete against the top tier.

Since the example you are questioning applied strictly to maiden races, your "reaches the point to run against top level competition" doesn't apply and your whole response is rendered meaningless.