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View Full Version : Does each public handicapper have a specialty?--are there ways to examine this?


TheOracle
06-06-2016, 03:56 PM
Is there a way to know what each public handicapper is good at in terms of picking winners or how well they do across the board?

In other sports you can know an athletes' specialty. For example, in basketball I have seen numerous occasions where they can tell you how well a player does inside the paint as opposed to the perimeter. Baseball is so scientific that they have now incorporated defensive shifts for many players, so much so, that it is being said that run production is down due to the increase in defensive shifting.

For this sport, as far as I know, there is no way to determine the accuracy of a particular public handicapper. How well do they do in dirt/turf races or sprint/route races etc.?

I have done some things on my own but there's nothing official as far as I can tell.

Dave Schwartz
06-06-2016, 04:51 PM
Almost 3 decades ago I entered all the from the consensus every day for California and New York for an entire year.

I found many patterns and actually built a handicapping system (in spreadsheets; Boeing Calc, actually).

At the time I had thought it had great promise. However, when I put it into play (having developed a weight-based model based upon type of race), I got absolutely destroyed over the course of a week.

About 3 weeks later I reached out to a friend who worked at the DRF in L.A. and received an answer to a significant question: "What happens when Sweep goes on vacation?" The answer was that someone else takes over for him.

"Did he go on vacation 3 weeks ago?" The answer was that he had, in fact, been gone for a week and someone "around the office" made the picks instead.


IMHO
One would be much better off creating 5 different systems based upon 5 different reports/strategies and treating each one as a selector. It would likely be much more consistent and could possibly lead you to something.

I am not suggesting this is a viable approach to a make-a-living system. I am suggesting that it is as viable way to model as many other approaches.


Best of luck.

TheOracle
06-06-2016, 05:07 PM
Thanks Dave I do seem to remember a stat for Sweeps like 30 wins in 180 attempts or something to that nature. It also had the win return in terms of $2 win bet per the number of attempts.

I guess what I want to know is, if there was ever a further breakdown of his 30 wins? Did the majority of his wins come in sprints versus routes dirt versus turf etc.?

I don't think there was anything definitive in terms of what was his specialty.

I also don't think they keep that stat to make it available for everyone.

Dave Schwartz
06-06-2016, 07:35 PM
Thanks Dave I do seem to remember a stat for Sweeps like 30 wins in 180 attempts or something to that nature. It also had the win return in terms of $2 win bet per the number of attempts.

I guess what I want to know is, if there was ever a further breakdown of his 30 wins? Did the majority of his wins come in sprints versus routes dirt versus turf etc.?

I don't think there was anything definitive in terms of what was his specialty.

I also don't think they keep that stat to make it available for everyone.

I have no knowledge of the stats you are referring to.

What I was referring to was a more complex approach that considered all of the handicappers, and assigned individual weights for each one, depending upon the number of consensus points.

pandy
06-06-2016, 08:15 PM
Is there a way to know what each public handicapper is good at in terms of picking winners or how well they do across the board?

In other sports you can know an athletes' specialty. For example, in basketball I have seen numerous occasions where they can tell you how well a player does inside the paint as opposed to the perimeter. Baseball is so scientific that they have now incorporated defensive shifts for many players, so much so, that it is being said that run production is down due to the increase in defensive shifting.

For this sport, as far as I know, there is no way to determine the accuracy of a particular public handicapper. How well do they do in dirt/turf races or sprint/route races etc.?

I have done some things on my own but there's nothing official as far as I can tell.


I do believe that the public handicappers have strengths. You would have to follow them and check them yourself to figure out who is good at what. Another thing, some handicappers may actually have better results with the horses they pick second or third. Years ago I met a guy who kept precise stats on my harness picks for a period of seven years, and he had my picks broken down into various categories, such as cold exactas, boxed exactas, top pick win % and ROI, best bet win % and ROI, and he compared me against every other public handicapper in NY, including all newspaper handicappers and some of the tip sheet handicappers. I had profits in several categories including huge profits on my Best Bets and I was the only handicapper who had profits. He did it all on paper. I think he was an accountant, but he was very precise and neat. I met him a couple of times, very nice guy.

betovernetcapper
06-06-2016, 10:38 PM
In the 1940s Esquire magazine had an article about tracking the handicappers by strengths & weaknesses. I'm guessing that no one made a fortune using this method.
Today there is software that would allow you to track these handicappers, by distance , surface, class whatever. This is not an avenue that I'd want to go down, but I'd be curious to see a large sample.
At one time the late Dave Feldman, handicapper for the Chicago Sun Times had a huge following & could influence the pools by his picks. Before going to the track I'd often view his odds line to get an ideas of what kind of odds I could expect. If I only liked one horse & it was Feldman's bet of the day, I wouldn't bother going to the track because for sure it would be bet down to 3-5. He did have a few holes in his game one of which was overvaluing a horse that broke it's maiden by a wide margin. A lot of these horses had perfect trips & faced inferior competition. When they moved up to NW2, they were often undeserving favorites.
There was one very fast Illinois bred, that couldn't win beyond 6 furlongs. Nonetheless Feldman would always put this horse on top & the crowd followed. Cashed a few tickets betting against.

pandy
06-06-2016, 11:31 PM
Russ Harris did picks for the NY Daily News for many years and his picks may have affected the odds. He picked a lot of favorites but he was very good at picking winners and it was not unusual to see him pick 6 or 7 winners on top. He also picked all 9 winners on top in 9 races one time.

castaway01
06-07-2016, 08:54 AM
This is the kind of stat you have to do your own legwork to find, and it's good that you do because if they flashed on the screen "Handicapper Smith is picking 37% winners in turf routes" or it was in the DRF, everyone and their cousin would be on it anyway. Everyone has strengths and it doesn't hurt to know those of anyone whose opinion you're using.

bcgreg
06-07-2016, 10:56 AM
Blast from the Past: The DOT System, by Howard Henkin

https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1917&dat=19810807&id=0GlGAAAAIBAJ&sjid=EukMAAAAIBAJ&pg=4291,2094790&hl=en

Just place a dot next to the name of horse mentioned by public handicappers in various publications, and horse with most dots; VOILA, we have a winner!

RaceBookJoe
06-07-2016, 11:30 AM
The only way I think its possible would be if you know the type of handicapper they are. Are the trip handicappers, have they previously stated an affinity or specialty..whether speed,sprints, turf etc. Otherwise its seems like a crapshoot. On the few occasions where I might read a public handicappers analysis ( ALWAYS done after my handicapping to avoid any subliminal pull ), if they mention a horse that I either was confused on or threw out, I will go back to see if I missed something.

pandy
06-07-2016, 11:45 AM
Blast from the Past: The DOT System, by Howard Henkin

https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1917&dat=19810807&id=0GlGAAAAIBAJ&sjid=EukMAAAAIBAJ&pg=4291,2094790&hl=en

Just place a dot next to the name of horse mentioned by public handicappers in various publications, and horse with most dots; VOILA, we have a winner!


If you had a consensus of the best public handicappers and used the dot system but only bet the horses that were ranked 1st or 2nd that were not the favorite I would imagine you'd get some nice overlays.

pandy
06-07-2016, 11:57 AM
The only way I think its possible would be if you know the type of handicapper they are. Are the trip handicappers, have they previously stated an affinity or specialty..whether speed,sprints, turf etc. Otherwise its seems like a crapshoot. On the few occasions where I might read a public handicappers analysis ( ALWAYS done after my handicapping to avoid any subliminal pull ), if they mention a horse that I either was confused on or threw out, I will go back to see if I missed something.

Just looking at New York, Serling, Beer, and Aragon are all good trip handicappers but I think they each have a different perspective on class and speed. Newsday's Steve Matthews picks a lot of longshot winners but he uses things like last quarter and workouts to a greater degree than most public handicappers. Kipness (Wizard) does his homework but I'm not sure how to classify him as a handicapper, in terms of style. I'm definitely a pace handicapper because I think you can get more longshot winners from pace than from trips.

The guys who use speed figures usually pick the highest percentage of winners. I believe Russ Harris did his own numbers, and so did Vinny Abate, who had a tip sheet in New York, and Connie, who also had a tip sheet. Connie and Vinnie were doing Ragozin style speed figures right around the same time Ragozin started.

Ocala Mike
06-07-2016, 12:50 PM
I specialize in maiden races, especially second-time starters coming off nondescript (bad paper, I call it) first tries. I have no data on this, but I believe tlg (Andy Serling) is strong on these kind of horses. If I see something at long morning-line odds, and Andy has it mentioned or on top, I know it's going to be live.

pandy
06-07-2016, 12:53 PM
I specialize in maiden races, especially second-time starters coming off nondescript (bad paper, I call it) first tries. I have no data on this, but I believe tlg (Andy Serling) is strong on these kind of horses. If I see something at long morning-line odds, and Andy has it mentioned or on top, I know it's going to be live.


Maiden races are great to specialize in...sound horses, workouts actually mean something, you can spot hidden talent, trip handicapping helps, pace handicapping is great for maiden races, speed figures don't mean much and there are so many other things you can use that can be helpful, like breeding, trainer angles, equipment changes, stride length....

mickey_arnold
06-07-2016, 06:44 PM
Check this out from 2004:

http://www.paceadvantage.com/forum/archive/index.php/t-14101.html

mickey_arnold
06-07-2016, 07:29 PM
Steve Matthews for Newsday was already cited...The NY Post had a selector who specialized in longshots...Can't recall who.. Maybe Matthews worked for the Post at one time..

Was always puzzled with the number of points assigned to each of the choices, i.e 6 for 1st, 3 for 2nd, 1 for 3rd or 6,2,1 for each of the ranks.

If they were trying to mimic the % of winners in over the long run by finish position or ant other factor(s), there is a world of difference between a 6,3,1 scale versus a 6,2,1 scale.

I think Sports Eye used to go 4 positions deep for each selector.

I think I used a 10 handicapper consensus to widen the possible "contenders". This is where the scalar differences could be problematic so I would stick to newspapers or publications with the same point scale. get consensus total for each horse , adjust for scratches, get a simple average for each horse, go 1 or two decimals deep in the scores, square the scores, derive each horses share of the grand total of points to use as a probability of winning, cutoff point for final contenders and look for overlays among them.

If found that over about the long run, between using 6 or 10 handicappers there was little difference in the final probabilities of winning for each horse or the profitability.

Could using a little more sophisticated analysis of race type, scoring system and final selection of contenders have helped, who knows?

Over the long run, my method was better than picking random, produced a better net return compared to the average of all handicappers or any individual handicappers. But of course still less than profitable and too much manual work for too little return... With computerization and today's rebates, still anybody's guess.

mickey_arnold
06-07-2016, 07:42 PM
I think I did a 500 race look at Russ Harris broken out by Sprint versus Route and Claiming versus Allowance, separately... Since it was all manual work couldn't do a wide matrix with meaning and more race characteristics, like field size ..Too small a sample size anyway...

I remember when Harris was 9 for 9 on one particular day. The Daily News did just about everything but get him the Medal of Honor and a tickertape parade. Greatest achievement of all time stuff. They forget to mention that the average price was about $3.60 :>)

TheOracle
06-07-2016, 11:29 PM
I do believe that the public handicappers have strengths. You would have to follow them and check them yourself to figure out who is good at what. Another thing, some handicappers may actually have better results with the horses they pick second or third. Years ago I met a guy who kept precise stats on my harness picks for a period of seven years, and he had my picks broken down into various categories, such as cold exactas, boxed exactas, top pick win % and ROI, best bet win % and ROI, and he compared me against every other public handicapper in NY, including all newspaper handicappers and some of the tip sheet handicappers. I had profits in several categories including huge profits on my Best Bets and I was the only handicapper who had profits. He did it all on paper. I think he was an accountant, but he was very precise and neat. I met him a couple of times, very nice guy.

Thanks pandy

The reason for my question was due to what I have been seeing on the Turf at Belmont, so far this year.

It seems the oddsmaker has had the hot hand with Morning Lines ending with 5 on the Turf.


http://www.insidethenumbers.net/images/comments/fiversbelaprmay.jpg


As of May 22nd, Morning Lines ending with 5 on the Turf won 12 out of 19 races my data shows 20 races due to the coupled entry on May 20th.

The cost is really $38 and not $40 with a $7.10 return but I haven't quite figured out how to handle a coupled entry with the data.

In any event, it seemed as though his strength had been on the Turf, Morning Lines ending with 5 were actually giving a profit.

However, after May 22nd, the 5ers won only 3 of the last 8 races on the Turf. Even with this decline in profits he still managed to pick 3 winners in a row.

http://www.insidethenumbers.net/images/comments/fiversbelaftmem.jpg

When I look at Turf races less than 1 Mile the 5ers won 6 out of 9 races so half of the 12 wins came in races less than 1 Mile.

http://www.insidethenumbers.net/images/comments/fiversbeltrfspr.jpg


Unfortunately they don't run too many races less than 1 Mile on the Turf.

It would truly be interesting to see if this is his strength but it doesn't look like there will be too many opportunities in this situation for the rest of the Belmont Season!!

burnsy
06-08-2016, 08:00 AM
My question is.........WHY?

Can someone that handicaps themselves explain this?

If one is a experienced handicapper. Who cares?

I've figured out my OWN strengths and weaknesses.

This is called "Handicappers Corner"......now what the touts say is part of handicapping? Ummm, OK, I guess. :lol:

TheOracle
06-09-2016, 01:02 PM
My question is.........WHY?

Can someone that handicaps themselves explain this?

If one is a experienced handicapper. Who cares?

I've figured out my OWN strengths and weaknesses.

This is called "Handicappers Corner"......now what the touts say is part of handicapping? Ummm, OK, I guess. :lol:

Hey Burns,

I don't handicap anymore it just doesn't seem to work for me. Speed ratings, early pace, late pace, etc.

I would put in many late nights pouring through scenarios only to come up short or scratching my head as to what happened.

So now I just try dig through the data and search for anomalies within the data that I find and sometimes I actually make money.

I caught this streak of J T Ryerson last year when his Maidens hit the board in 15 straight races. I saw it when he had 8 in a row. I didn't do the parlay but I was able to cash some tickets.

http://www.paceadvantage.com/forum/showthread.php?t=127237&highlight=Ryerson

It doesn't work all the time and when it doesn't I don't scratch my head about it because it's just a streak.

http://www.paceadvantage.com/forum/showthread.php?t=125448&highlight=%40SAR

Then I started tracking the Morning Line Odds from the Oddsmaker and again I cash some tickets but still was way better than what I did handicapping especially when I drilled down as to my return per all the hours that I spent handicapping.

So for me, it just gives me some insight into things that others would probably not care to examine.

ultracapper
06-09-2016, 03:05 PM
Another thing that would have to be considered when referencing public handicappers work is the amount of time and effort put into each race. The public guys that are on the board could put some perspective into this, but, for example, it seems to me more effort is put into the stake races than the N2L claimers. The SoCal edition of the racing form doesn't even bother to do a "closer look" on the N2L claiming races. Make a quick line for race #3, a C$25K N2L, then move on to race #4 and put 45 minutes into that AlwN3X, for example.

castaway01
06-09-2016, 11:42 PM
But setting the morning line is only "handicapping" in the sense of trying to predict what the crowd will make the final odds, not predicting a winner. Just because the ML maker decides to put a "5" at the end of the odds for the favorite is not "handicapping". I thought you were trying to make some point about public handicappers that might be useful. This is just a coincidence, and it's a coincidence involving low-odds horses. Betting on coincidences with low-odds horses is not a way to make money.

RaceBookJoe
06-10-2016, 11:55 AM
I specialize in maiden races, especially second-time starters coming off nondescript (bad paper, I call it) first tries. I have no data on this, but I believe tlg (Andy Serling) is strong on these kind of horses. If I see something at long morning-line odds, and Andy has it mentioned or on top, I know it's going to be live.

There used to be an old-school spot play I would use from time to time based around this. Basically what you would do is look to see if any of the entrants were either favorite last out or at least bet down, and then in today's race they are going much higher odds. The thinking was that the public wouldn't bet heavily on a FTS, so it had to be "smart money"..and maybe had a slow start/rough trip etc. It's not exactly the spot-play but close enough from memory. I would tighten it up using my own handicapping/maneuvers etc.

pandy
06-10-2016, 12:05 PM
My first big longshot winner at the track, when I was still a teenager, was at Aqueduct. I wish I could remember the name of the horse, but it was a second time starter by Bold Ruler, who was a top sire back then. The horse had gone off as the favorite in its first start but showed little. I was with a friend of mine and I saw the horse on the board at 27-1 odds. I said to my friend, "they thought this horse was a runner just a few weeks ago, maybe he just needed the race." Even though I knew very little about handicapping, I knew that Bold Ruler was the top sire and the horse was a big overlay. We both bet him and he romped home an easy winner and paid $56 to win. I've liked betting second time starters and maidens ever since.

TheOracle
06-10-2016, 12:49 PM
But setting the morning line is only "handicapping" in the sense of trying to predict what the crowd will make the final odds, not predicting a winner. Just because the ML maker decides to put a "5" at the end of the odds for the favorite is not "handicapping". I thought you were trying to make some point about public handicappers that might be useful. This is just a coincidence, and it's a coincidence involving low-odds horses. Betting on coincidences with low-odds horses is not a way to make money.

Hey Cast,

I get what you're saying the ML maker is just predicting the final odds that the public will make and is not necessarily trying to predict a winner. So odds ending, in say, 5 is not his prediction of who should win the race but how the public will bet.

However, I am still intrigued by the coincidence and how often at times in the short run it lands on the winner or hits the board.

When I saw this:
http://www.paceadvantage.com/forum/...ighlight=%40SAR (http://www.paceadvantage.com/forum/showthread.php?t=125448&highlight=%40SAR)

I thought there was some type of shenanigans happening where only people in the know were able to capitalize on the occurrences but even if they were it would still be very hard to prove since there is not enough data to show a trend.

Even with all that it's still way better than what I was doing previously.

So it begs the question, are there certain instances where it's better to play the favorite and not try to beat him?

mickey_arnold
06-12-2016, 11:39 PM
So it begs the question, are there certain instances where it's better to play the favorite and not try to beat him?

There are many, many scenarios. Many factors to consider. Here's a general approach to look at based on the Contrarian/Kinky handicapping idea;

Look at some of the factors traditionally used to identify False Favorites. If you're looking for some, try this link:

http://www.netcapper.com/TrackTractsArchive/TT020308.htm (http://http://www.netcapper.com/TrackTractsArchive/TT020308.htm)

-Use favorites that meet these factors (more than one is preferable).
-Look for positive that might outweigh the negatives.
(keep in mind that what you see may already be accounted for by the handicapping public and be reflected in the price of your "overlay"- meaning they're right about value and you're wrong.)

Here's a link that shows an example of a possible "jockey-trainer combo" angle (system) that might outweigh the false favorite warning signs.

http://www.horse-racing-book.com/free-horse-racing-system.htm (http://www.horse-racing-book.com/free-horse-racing-system.html)l

Add a couple of speed, class etc. qualifiers and check it out. Remember that absolute rigidity in the "rules" is absolutely the best path to long-term losses. Too much flexibility is just as bad, if not worse,
(Also, try experimenting with it but leave out the "false favorite" signs).

I use a low-volume/high win percentage/low-priced horse approach that is Contrarian in nature and no inviolable rules. A very small margin for error and profit. Needs lots of patience and discipline. You never chase plays, the plays have to come to you.

Has a sensible use of traditional handicapping fundamentals and some nifty applications of statistical functions....Inspired by Vince Lombardi's football philosophy of "Attack strength with strength. Don't attack weakness with strength"....Contrarian like "the best offense is a good defense" or basketball's "pressing teams don't like to be pressed."

It works for me, but it is definitely,definitely not for everyone.

mickey_arnold
06-12-2016, 11:51 PM
I forgot to add that too much flexibility in system rules is not too good either, if not worse

TheOracle
06-13-2016, 03:26 PM
Here's a link that shows an example of a possible "jockey-trainer combo" angle (system) that might outweigh the false favorite warning signs.

http://www.horse-racing-book.com/free-horse-racing-system.htm (http://www.horse-racing-book.com/free-horse-racing-system.html)l

Add a couple of speed, class etc. qualifiers and check it out. Remember that absolute rigidity in the "rules" is absolutely the best path to long-term losses. Too much flexibility is just as bad, if not worse,
(Also, try experimenting with it but leave out the "false favorite" signs).

I use a low-volume/high win percentage/low-priced horse approach that is Contrarian in nature and no inviolable rules. A very small margin for error and profit. Needs lots of patience and discipline. You never chase plays, the plays have to come to you.

Has a sensible use of traditional handicapping fundamentals and some nifty applications of statistical functions....Inspired by Vince Lombardi's football philosophy of "Attack strength with strength. Don't attack weakness with strength"....Contrarian like "the best offense is a good defense" or basketball's "pressing teams don't like to be pressed."

It works for me, but it is definitely,definitely not for everyone.




Hey Mickey

As you mentioned trainer/jockey combinations I did a search on trainer /jockey combos that were hot so far at Belmont and I came across D A Cannizzo and Joel Rosario.

These two have done an outstanding job together over the past month and a half.

http://www.insidethenumbers.net/images/comments/cannizrosariobel.jpg

They have hit the board in 12 out of 15 attempts giving a return of 149% across the board per $2 wager to win, place or show.

Show wagering on these two is giving you 67% return per $2 show wager so far at Belmont.

I was so focused on chasing the favorites I completely missed so good trainer/jockey profits

I will not be missing these two ever again for the remainder of the Belmont season!!!