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thaskalos
03-23-2012, 01:12 AM
But first a disclaimer:

There are as many handicapping opinions as there are horseplayers, and these opinions often contradict one another. I don't want to keep on writing "in my opinion" everytime I address a particular handicapping topic...because it is tiresome to type, and even more tiresome to read. So I would like to clarify this here, right at the start:

What follows is strictly MY OPINION, even if I sometimes phrase it as absolute truth...for the sake of making for smooth and pleasant reading. There are no absolute truths in this game, and as soon as someone proposes one as such...another player is quick to dispute it. If you disagree with what I write here, that's perfectly fine -- it's what the game is all about -- and we can discuss these disagreements right here in this forum.

There are no "masters" in this game...there are only students...even if some don't know this yet. :)

It is very difficult to start writing about handicapping and betting without knowing who, and how advanced, your audience is. I have been around this site long enough to know that some brilliant handicappers call Paceadvantage their second home.

But I have also noticed an influx of new posters on our forum...along with requests for an explanation of the fundamentals that even the most advanced handicapping knowledge rests upon. What follows is my take on these "fundamentals"...

To the battle-scarred veterans of the betting wars out there, I apologize for wasting your time...but I promise you that a short review won't hurt.

THE FUNDAMENTALS OF THE HANDICAPPING GAME

Form

Races are won by sharp horses who are well suited to the conditions and circumstances of these races...so, in that aspect, we are ALL "form" handicappers; it's just that we can't all agree on the best way of determining this form.

To some players, "good form" means close-up finishes in one of the horse's last two races. If the horse has run lackluster efforts in its most recent starts, and it remains in the same class today...then the horse is considered to be "off-form", and a poor candidate to visit the track photographer.

It's a narrow-minded view, IMO...and one that leads to even bigger mistakes later on in the handicapping process. The circumstances of the race often conspire against certain horses, and causes them to run unimpressive-looking races through no fault of their own. How close a horse finishes to the winner at the wire often is a poor indicator of the horse's "true" form.

I readily admit that the win bettor can substantially narrow down his list of contenders in a race rather quickly...but the exotics bettor isn't so lucky. Since I am mainly a vertical exotics bettor myself, I cannot afford the luxury of eliminating horses at first glance...so I only eliminate the complete throwouts at the very beginning of the handicapping process.

A horse may look off-form at first glance, and yet, upon closer consideration, prove to be a candidate for one of the minor placings...and always at a good price.

Class

The class of a thoroughbred is a quality that is hard to define, although it's unmistakeable when seen...and yet, some of the most astute handicappers in the game refuse to accept that it even exists as a handicapping factor.

"Class has nothing to do with it!", declares the inimitable Andy Beyer...and the late Dick Mitchell was in agreement with the sentiment.

On the other side of the fence...equally prominent handicappers like James Quinn and Mark Cramer flatly disagree.

In his book "FORM CYCLES", Mark Cramer suggests that there is a hierarchy that exists within animal groups of the same type...and that the "higher" members of this hierarchy often impose their will over the rest of the group, AT A GLANCE!

As proof, he tells the story of an event that he himself witnessed when he spent time at a pig farm.

He writes that one of the pigs, had so intimidated the others in the pen, that none of the other pigs would even begin to eat their food until this "top" pig had finished eating hers (it was a female).

Cramer goes on to say that people who don't believe animals are capable of "intimidating" one another by their physical presence, "obviously haven't spent any time at a farm."

In my own handicapping -- and with apologies to Beyer and Mitchell -- I have found that class is a very important factor indeed. Horses fail to repeat their sharp efforts when they are raised in class for their subsequent start...even when the class rise appears insignificant at first sight. And it works equally well in reverse.

So aware have I become of the class factor, that I am very reluctant to rate a horse -- speed or pace-wise -- off of a "cheaper" race than the one it is asked to compete in presently.

Why do these "fast" horses fail to win so often when they go up in class...eventhough their class and pace figures say that they should be able to? Is it horse intimidation...or is it trainer intent?

Are the "dynamics" of these "classier" races so much different than their slightly cheaper counterparts?

Or could it be that the trainers don't THINK their horses are capable of winning at the higher levels, so they decide to "save" them for the next, more winnable spot?

I don't know the answer to this question...but I do know this:

Class is a very important handicapping factor...even if it only exists in the trainer's mind.


I think it's time for me to stop for today...and I promise to resume our discussion tomorrow.

As I've said before, comments of all types are welcomed...even if they are critical in nature.

As my friend DeltaLover likes to say..."only through disagreeing can real progress be made."

Ciao for now...

turninforhome10
03-23-2012, 01:24 AM
This video regarding EthoGrade is very informative and addresses herd mentality.
Start with Mr Thomas' discussion video then listen to hs talks with John Sherrriefs and Baffert. Completely changed the way I grade horses before the races. Very informative for both horse people and bettors.
http://www.youtube.com/user/KerryMThomas/feed

shouldacoulda
03-23-2012, 02:04 AM
Great start Thaskalos. Couldn't agree more about the class issue. Too many times I have seen a horse run at a higher level and get poor pace/speed figures because he either wasn't pushed or couldn't compete at that level. They drop him/her back down and it's an upset long shot.

Thanks for the video turninforhome10.
Thought I would post one also. It's James Quinn talking about age factors but he relates it to class. Thought it might help anyone new to the horse game.

Handicapping and the age factor (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XOoFAyvi9mY)

Dave Schwartz also has a great series of videos on his website.

jdhanover
03-23-2012, 02:10 AM
Interesting video...thx!

turninforhome10
03-23-2012, 02:16 AM
This video regarding EthoGrade is very informative and addresses herd mentality.
Start with Mr Thomas' discussion video then listen to hs talks with John Sherrriefs and Baffert. Completely changed the way I grade horses before the races. Very informative for both horse people and bettors.
http://www.youtube.com/user/KerryMThomas/feed
Thaskalos,
One last note and I will sit down and be quiet. After watching the video regarding Mr Thomas' grading system and his discussion with Baffert, just wanted to add this neat little video of horses lining up to go to dinner. Must be thirty horses all coming through a small gate and I am amazed at they keep the order. Watch the horses as they stack up at the gate, as they file by and notice their personalities and how they space each other out.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NOHEbrHOtlM&feature=related
For those who are weak at judging horseflesh and behavior, it certainly could not hurt your game. And for those of you that have horses, mental fitness is just as important as physical fitness. Having a horse that can handle the mental aspect of the game is not just important for performance, it is also a matter of safety. I got kicked with both barrels from a shod horse right in the ribs shattering 5 and puncturing a lung all because the horse was so scared of the wind he wheeled on me and lost his mind. Ironically, the horse stood right next to me after words probably being scared to be alone in the wind.
Teaching the young horse is key. With 2yo season getting ready to get rolling, it would not hurt a player to know where the horse is coming from (training center, farm etc) and a little help with body language could be two factors that could prove very profitable.
The floor is all yours Thanks
Kirk

thaskalos
03-23-2012, 02:30 AM
Thaskalos,
One last note and I will sit down and be quiet. After watching the video regarding Mr Thomas' grading system and his discussion with Baffert, just wanted to add this neat little video of horses lining up to go to dinner. Must be thirty horses all coming through a small gate and I am amazed at they keep the order. Watch the horses as they stack up at the gate, as they file by and notice their personalities and how they space each other out.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NOHEbrHOtlM&feature=related
For those who are weak at judging horseflesh and behavior, it certainly could not hurt your game. And for those of you that have horses, mental fitness is just as important as physical fitness. Having a horse that can handle the mental aspect of the game is not important is also a matter of safety. I got kicked with both barrels from a shod horse right in the ribs shattering 5 and puncturing a lung all because the horse was so scared of the wind he wheeled on me and lost his mind. Ironically, the horse stood right next to me after words probably being scared to be alone in the wind.
Teaching the young horse is key. With 2yo season getting ready to get rolling, it would not hurt a player to know where the horse is coming from (training center, farm etc) and a little help with body language could be two factors that could prove very profitable.
The floor is all yours Thanks
Kirk

I don't want the floor to be "all mine", my friend...

The worst thing that can happen, as far as I am concerned, is for this discussion to turn into a monologue.

I started this for one reason...and one reason only.

The hope that I would be able to persuade the many intelligent minds here to join our discussion...so we could increase the handicapping and betting-related content of this site.

I encourage the exchange of ideas...even if they turn into the occasional argument.

Why should the off-topic guys have all the fun? :)

duncan04
03-23-2012, 02:31 AM
So far so good. Looking forward to more!

turninforhome10
03-23-2012, 02:45 AM
I don't want the floor to be "all mine", my friend...

The worst thing that can happen, as far as I am concerned, is for this discussion to turn into a monologue.

I started this for one reason...and one reason only.

The hope that I would be able to persuade the many intelligent minds here to join our discussion...so we could increase the handicapping and betting-related content of this site.

I encourage the exchange of ideas...even if they turn into the occasional argument.

Why should the off-topic guys have all the fun? :)

I guess my best input is with regards to pedigree, conditions, and equipment.
I am a good handicapper but a horrible bettor. Having worked on both farms foaling babies and later breaking them and working at the track as an assistant trainer, I know quality flesh and can pick it out of a herd but to find a way for to make it profitable is the hurdle. I have made 100x the amount winning purses than I feel I will ever win handicapping. Confidence is a probably the most fragile aspect of a players game. It is the hardest thing to keep in the objective. If you could help us with this, I know I would appreciate it.
Kirk

Greyfox
03-23-2012, 03:12 AM
Great start Thaskalos. Couldn't agree more about the class issue. Too many times I have seen a horse run at a higher level and get poor pace/speed figures because he either wasn't pushed or couldn't compete at that level. They drop him/her back down and it's an upset long shot.

.

That works both ways.

First of all I believe that there is a heirachy among herd animals.

However, the inverse of what is said above about lower class horses in higher conditions also happens.
For example, a high class Graded Stakes horse is sometimes put in Allowance race where he/she is clearly the best from a class perspective.
However, the trainer may be using the Allowance race for a tune-up for a Graded race that is coming up. The jockey will win the race if the opportunity presents itself. But, often times he won't try to get maximum effort out of the horse just for the sake of winning this tune-up.
As a result, some Graded Stakes horses can be over-bet by the public in Allowance races as total commitment to the win may not be present.
Often the high class animal will be made the favorite. Yet in today's condition it may be a vulnerable or false favorite, not due to lack of ability, but due to other future considerations.
You can save a lot of money knowing when and when not to take the bait.

The handicapper always has to ask:
"What is this horse doing in this race and why is it here?"

turninforhome10
03-23-2012, 04:33 AM
"As a result, some Graded Stakes horses can be over-bet by the public in Allowance races as total commitment to the win may not be present.
Often the high class animal will be made the favorite. Yet in today's condition it may be a vulnerable or false favorite, not due to lack of ability, but due to other future considerations".

Followed QH futurity races and this is a nice angle. As Harness taught me pace handicapping, QH Futurity trials taught me trainers intent.
I was working in the test barn at Prairie Meadows (and really scared to death as I bluffed my horse experience because my lab skills were so good) when I was first exposed to the American running Quarter Horse. Man what a cool animal, I digress.
I met a stud colt by a son of Dash for Cash out of Three Bars mare. I heard from an old cutting horse guy that Three Bars mares were the deal and always threw a very smart baby and a horse that could be used for a bunch of different disciplines, fast and sound.
I was not supposed to be betting, but for the sake of the story I confess. I saw the horse name and pedigree on the racing form for the trials and had thought I had seen him on track and made a mental note. I instructed my buddy in the track kitchen to layoff $30 win bets in small increments every 3 mins from the open as long as the odds were better than 8\5 I was working in the test barn so I set it up that I would be able to take his sample after the race. All I could do was watch him on the TV in the test barn and watched with much anticipation.
He breaks like a shot and goes out and easy from the 6 hole in a 10 horse field
He ding dongs for the lead and gets beat a neck. I was sick. And now I get to spend the next 20 mins trying to put a stick with a bag by his manhood and talk him into peeing all while trying to figure out how I was going to absorb this hit.I was a starving college student and my first real big drop over 100 dollars.

The horse arrived at the test barn barely blowing, a little kidney sweat and just as cool a customer as I have enjoyed spending time with.. I was scratching my head. Where did that equation go so horribly wrong . The horse cooled out in 10 mins after taking 3 or 4 small sips of water all the while dragging me around the walking ring. After all the testing was done the trainer thanked me for doing such a good job of cooling out the horse. I had to ask.

"What happened today, that horse should have crushed that other horse" naively I asked

"5th fastest qualifier and imagine what he'll do when we let him run"

Smiling and walking confidently the shaggy bearded ZZ top wannabe trainer walks with his horse out of the test barn

When the horse (I can't for the life of me remember the horse but do remember the crazy Johnston guy that trained him) won the Futurity by 1 1/2 lengths and paid 5\2, I was more than happy as the trainer requested me to take care of the horse in the test barn. All I could do was smile walking him around the ring to cool him out, again barely blowing.
I had instructed my kitchen guy to lay off 40 win bets every 3 mins from open to 2 mins as long as the odds were 8\5 or better and I had cut up the exacta, the tri, the double and gave the numbers to my brother to bet. All in.

"How much you make on my horse today" Johnston asks me
I really did not know what to say, I had cleaned up scoring the biggest hit of my fledgling handicapping career $892.50.
"Anything helps a poor college student" "Thanks a lot"

I was in all actuality getting ready to finish college and the winnings that day went a long way.

Does the horse need to win TODAY?

Robert Goren
03-23-2012, 07:24 AM
Trainer intent is generally only a problem in higher class races. In bottom claimers (with possible exception a first start after a layoff) the trainer is always trying to win because they are sure the horse will even be able to run another race. They can't let any opportunity pass them by. At least that's the way I look at.

shouldacoulda
03-23-2012, 08:09 AM
That works both ways.

First of all I believe that there is a heirachy among herd animals.

However, the inverse of what is said above about lower class horses in higher conditions also happens.
For example, a high class Graded Stakes horse is sometimes put in Allowance race where he/she is clearly the best from a class perspective.
However, the trainer may be using the Allowance race for a tune-up for a Graded race that is coming up. The jockey will win the race if the opportunity presents itself. But, often times he won't try to get maximum effort out of the horse just for the sake of winning this tune-up.
As a result, some Graded Stakes horses can be over-bet by the public in Allowance races as total commitment to the win may not be present.
Often the high class animal will be made the favorite. Yet in today's condition it may be a vulnerable or false favorite, not due to lack of ability, but due to other future considerations.
You can save a lot of money knowing when and when not to take the bait.

The handicapper always has to ask:
"What is this horse doing in this race and why is it here?"

Great point. I tend to avoid those types of races. Last time I bet against a horse from graded stakes after a long layoff (around a year) he won by 15-20 lengths at 3-5. I don't think he felt the whip once. I find the problem with that type of play is as you said, they tend to be over bet but the unpredictability factor makes me shy away.

In regards to your question above, I want to relay a nice hit I made a couple of years ago. It was the spring of 2010. The track was Hollywood. The horse was the :2: A Day with Desi or Sunshine Desi (if I remember correctly). The horse had run a bunch of low level claimers at I believe Evangeline and Remington. He had one race at around 12K claimer at Turf Paradise where he did nothing like all his previous races. Two weeks later he is at Hollywood running in a 40K allowance. My first reaction was "what is this horse doing in this race"? Jockey win % zero. Trainer win % zero. The two co-favorites both 3rd off a layoff with back to back wins by a diminishing margin. Doubtful they would repeat again. I put 2$ to win on him and nothing more. He went off at 71-1 and wired the field. Paid $144.00 to win. The horse, trainer, and jockey showed NOTHING to imply they had a chance. It was a perfect set up. Better to be lucky than good, it was little more than a stab. I just wish my $2.00 was $20.00.

Hollywood 5 6 2010 R4
(I don't redboard)

lamboguy
03-23-2012, 09:12 AM
every level of racing is treated the exact same way. when you start training horses as babies they go out in sets. if they can't keep up with "the faster horses" they start going with the slower ones. it makes no sense in the world to have a horse train with horses that he is going to be further away than 3 lengths. if you keep doing that the horse will lose all confidence and never want to run fast. so when you eventually bring him down to his proper level, he will often be chicken.

when a horse finally runs in a race, he has to run at the level where he can be competitive, if you run him to many times at the wrong level you will shatter his confidence. owners and trainers are sometimes afraid that if they run their horse in the right spot the horse will get claimed. if you run in claiming races and don't think that someone might claim your horse, you are running in the wrong spot.

to bring this perspective to handicapping, if you are going to play a maiden race that has first time starters in it, you might want to try to figure out which horses trained with the horses in the morning. in today's world that is not to tough to figure out because of the large training operations. those trainers will for example have 5 horses go out at once. sometimes one or more of the horses will have already run in a race, you can now see how that horse ran in the race. if he ran good you might want to pay attention to the horse that's in today's race, if he ran bad, you might not want to consider him.

as far as horses with form goes, although its nice to look at the history of the horse for 5 race lines, the most important line is usually his last line. you should play close attention the horses in that last race line to figure out if they were above or below par for that particular race. horses that come out of above par races tend to run better than the ones that come out of below par races. from there you must always consider the price of the horse to evaluate the proper risk reward factor's. you might want to pay attention to the running styles of all the horses in the race to try to figure out how many are going to try for the lead. if there are 4 horses that look to be battling each other for the top spot, odds of 2-1 might not be worth the wager, if there are only 2, your horse might warrant the wager.

good luck

raybo
03-23-2012, 11:51 AM
Class

I, I, I ..... I have been criticized by my frequent use of "I" in some of my posts, but "I" just means my own experience, or, how I see something, or, what I do. So, I'm not meaning to reflect that my way is the only way.

That said, forgive the "I"s.

I have in the past stated that I believe there is a definite "herd mentality" that can determine which horse wins, or contests a winner. I still firmly believe this to be true.

On the other hand, I have also stated that pace, and the way horses "handle" that pace, determines the class of a horse, not "man made class levels". The 2 statements are really saying the same thing.

My take on class, is that a high "class" horse doesn't care what the pace is, because he/she is so confident in it's rank in the "herd" that they know, in the end, all others in the herd will succumb to their leaderhip. That's why a horse like Mine That Bird can run from behind, in a 20 horse field, without feeling that things are getting out of control up front, regarding his distance from the leaders, and think that he must close that gap prematurely. It doesn't matter that the jockey is forcing the horse to run so far back or not, the horse still retains it's confidence that it can overcome anything facing it.

When a horse like this decides, or it's jockey decides, it's time to assert it's dominance and joins the herd, all it takes is to "look a horse in the eye" and that particular "battle" is won, mentally.

I often relate this to a joke we truck drivers had (I drove a semi over the road for a few years after losing a high paying job to corporate downsizing):

Question: What's the difference between a "big truck" (a semi) and a "large car" (a semi with a large engine)?

Answer: A "big truck" does what it can, a "large car" does what it wants.

Blenheim
03-23-2012, 03:11 PM
A good and fine beginning.
~
I think we may have missed a step. Before I get to class and condition (form) I try to find a race I can beat, finding the beatable race. IMO, finding the beatable race is the crux of the handicapping process. Some races offer a better chance to win and once I find that race, I then proceed to the conditions of eligibility. In most races the conditions of eligibility point to the best horse. And "In a truly run race a decided class advantage tells the tale. A genuinely superior horse wins if in shape to do so, regardless of running style." (Ainslie)

Often a class horse is entered in a race against inferior types coming off a long layoff, only showing works. Here is an extreme example. On March 18, just a few days ago, Believe in A.P., a G2 type was entered in an OC 25k/N1X. She hadn't raced for eight months and was coming into that race off six works. The horse won in a hand ride not because she was at peak form, rather her condition was sufficient to beat the competition and she was the class of the race. No doubt the outcome would have been different were she entered in against dead fit G2 types. Once again, it was a beatable race and the conditions pointed to the best horse.

As far as horses with form goes, although its nice to look at the history of the horse for 5 race lines, the most important line is usually his last line. you should play close attention the horses in that last race line to figure out if they were above or below par for that particular race. horses that come out of above par races tend to run better than the ones that come out of below par races. from there you must always consider the price of the horse to evaluate the proper risk reward factor's.

I would respectfully disagree with what Mr. Lamboguy has written. The last race can be misleading. If horse A in his last race runs a speed figure of 101 and in his previous four races show figures of 87,83, 84, 84, I discount the last race and rely on the sequence of best performances. The last race can be misleading . . . maybe the horse got an easy lead on a speed bias, maybe ran against inferior stock, maybe lasix w/blinkers for the first time or any number of reasons. Gotta be careful judging a horse on any single performance. However, I do agree with Mr. Lamboguy when he writes, "horses that come out of above par races tend to run better than the ones that come out of below par races."

thaskalos
03-23-2012, 03:34 PM
A good and fine beginning.
~
I think we may have missed a step. Before I get to class and condition (form) I try to find a race I can beat, finding the beatable race. IMO, finding the beatable race is the crux of the handicapping process. Some races offer a better chance to win and once I find that race, I then proceed to the conditions of eligibility. In most races the conditions of eligibility point to the best horse. And "In a truly run race a decided class advantage tells the tale. A genuinely superior horse wins if in shape to do so, regardless of running style." (Ainslie)

Often a class horse is entered in a race against inferior types coming off a long layoff, only showing works. Here is an extreme example. On March 18, just a few days ago, Believe in A.P., a G2 type was entered in an OC 25k/N1X. She hadn't raced for eight months and was coming into that race off six works. The horse won in a hand ride not because she was at peak form, rather her condition was sufficient to beat the competition and she was the class of the race. No doubt the outcome would have been different were she entered in against dead fit G2 types. Once again, it was a beatable race and the conditions pointed to the best horse.



I would respectfully disagree with what Mr. Lamboguy has written. The last race can be misleading. If horse A in his last race runs a speed figure of 101 and in his previous four races show figures of 87,83, 84, 84, I discount the last race and rely on the sequence of best performances. The last race can be misleading . . . maybe the horse got an easy lead on a speed bias, maybe ran against inferior stock, maybe lasix w/blinkers for the first time or any number of reasons. Gotta be careful judging a horse on any single performance. However, I do agree with Mr. Lamboguy when he writes, "horses that come out of above par races tend to run better than the ones that come out of below par races."

Patience, my friend...patience.

The fundamentals come first...and then we seek to find the "beatable races".

Unless the player is firmly grounded on the fundamentals...NONE of the races are beatable.

Not for the long run at least...

lamboguy
03-23-2012, 04:01 PM
A good and fine beginning.
~
I think we may have missed a step. Before I get to class and condition (form) I try to find a race I can beat, finding the beatable race. IMO, finding the beatable race is the crux of the handicapping process. Some races offer a better chance to win and once I find that race, I then proceed to the conditions of eligibility. In most races the conditions of eligibility point to the best horse. And "In a truly run race a decided class advantage tells the tale. A genuinely superior horse wins if in shape to do so, regardless of running style." (Ainslie)

Often a class horse is entered in a race against inferior types coming off a long layoff, only showing works. Here is an extreme example. On March 18, just a few days ago, Believe in A.P., a G2 type was entered in an OC 25k/N1X. She hadn't raced for eight months and was coming into that race off six works. The horse won in a hand ride not because she was at peak form, rather her condition was sufficient to beat the competition and she was the class of the race. No doubt the outcome would have been different were she entered in against dead fit G2 types. Once again, it was a beatable race and the conditions pointed to the best horse.



I would respectfully disagree with what Mr. Lamboguy has written. The last race can be misleading. If horse A in his last race runs a speed figure of 101 and in his previous four races show figures of 87,83, 84, 84, I discount the last race and rely on the sequence of best performances. The last race can be misleading . . . maybe the horse got an easy lead on a speed bias, maybe ran against inferior stock, maybe lasix w/blinkers for the first time or any number of reasons. Gotta be careful judging a horse on any single performance. However, I do agree with Mr. Lamboguy when he writes, "horses that come out of above par races tend to run better than the ones that come out of below par races."
i made this post in a very subjective manor. naturally there are times when a horse runs a bad race and the trainer is able to figure out what went wrong, or the horse got a bad trip. i was only trying to come up with a rough idea, because most people are not in contact with the trainer that runs the horse, or the jockey that rides him. my guess would be that horses that run a bad last race will run more bad races next time than good ones.

as far as numbers and pace figures go, i know that lots of people use them to determine their wagers, i know that lots of people have good computer programs that direct them to the right horse. personally i don't use those methods these days. and its not that i have never used them, years ago i was with a great sheet reader and played strictly off those numbers and actually won for a few years, and then the winning stopped because the prices were smaller. i even made my own speed varient before they went into the daily racing form, and won a few winter meets in AQUEDUCT with them before they made the form back in the late 1970's.

those are a few of the good stories, i know the other side of the coin only to well for this century. the most important lesson that i have learned is that in the game of horse race gambling, all good things come to an abrupt end.

raybo
03-23-2012, 04:17 PM
Patience, my friend...patience.

The fundamentals come first...and then we seek to find the "beatable races".

Unless the player is firmly grounded on the fundamentals...NONE of the races are beatable.

Not for the long run at least...

Well said! Without a firm foundation, nothing after that works.

Shelby
03-23-2012, 07:35 PM
I'm trying to be a sponge and soak up every opinion and every word. Again, thanks to Thask and everyone else for your time.


This might be jumping ahead too much, but, along with form and class, I pay some attention to whether or not the horse likes the track he/she is running at. For example, I've noticed that a horse that looks to be off form can come back to a specific track and a specific race --particularly stakes races--and win.

Just a small thing to look at....or maybe it's something you guys never take into consideration. Thoughts?

Jay Trotter
03-23-2012, 07:41 PM
Patience, my friend...patience.

The fundamentals come first...and then we seek to find the "beatable races".

Unless the player is firmly grounded on the fundamentals...NONE of the races are beatable.

Not for the long run at least...
Good stuff!:ThmbUp:

"When the student is ready, the teacher will appear"

– Buddha

lamboguy
03-23-2012, 07:45 PM
I'm trying to be a sponge and soak up every opinion and every word. Again, thanks to Thask and everyone else for your time.


This might be jumping ahead too much, but, along with form and class, I pay some attention to whether or not the horse likes the track he/she is running at. For example, I've noticed that a horse that looks to be off form can come back to a specific track and a specific race --particularly stakes races--and win.

Just a small thing to look at....or maybe it's something you guys never take into consideration. Thoughts?
horses do love certain tracks. i have always noticed that horses that have won over the surface at TAMPA seem to do very well. also these days with synthetic tracks, sometimes horses run good on regular and run bad synthetic and come back and run good on dirt.

i think that GUS wants to start with basics and branch out from there once everyone gets an understanding as to what the basics are.

duncan04
03-23-2012, 08:34 PM
I'm trying to be a sponge and soak up every opinion and every word. Again, thanks to Thask and everyone else for your time.


This might be jumping ahead too much, but, along with form and class, I pay some attention to whether or not the horse likes the track he/she is running at. For example, I've noticed that a horse that looks to be off form can come back to a specific track and a specific race --particularly stakes races--and win.

Just a small thing to look at....or maybe it's something you guys never take into consideration. Thoughts?


Like the horse for course and distance specialist angles.

pauly
03-26-2012, 11:02 AM
The issue of class and the issue of what race to use to figure your speed or pace figures has always been troubling for me. I use a fulcrum pace method that i got from michael P's book handicapping magic. He raised the issue as well and concluded that using a performance line from a race at the same class level as the race being handicapped does not help. also i wonder if step 1 should be determining the horse with the most class, if possible, and then letting that horse determine the fulcrum pace (if the horse figures to be at or near the lead). as you can see i have nothing but questions and at some appropriate point would like to hear how others deal with this issue.

thaskalos
03-26-2012, 12:19 PM
The issue of class and the issue of what race to use to figure your speed or pace figures has always been troubling for me. I use a fulcrum pace method that i got from michael P's book handicapping magic. He raised the issue as well and concluded that using a performance line from a race at the same class level as the race being handicapped does not help. also i wonder if step 1 should be determining the horse with the most class, if possible, and then letting that horse determine the fulcrum pace (if the horse figures to be at or near the lead). as you can see i have nothing but questions and at some appropriate point would like to hear how others deal with this issue.

I have tried the "pick a paceline" approach, but I was not comfortable with it...so it is not my method of choice. I prefer to analyze several races in the horse's record, in order to better assess the horse's form cycle. It takes a lot more time, but it's worth it, IMO.

The troubling thing about class is that those horses who we usually determine as having the "most class' usually don't satisfy the requirements we set for the other handicapping factors.

For example:

We are handicapping a 6 furlong race for $7,500 claimers, and in it we find a horse who is dropping from the $15,000 level...which is also the level of all his other listed starts.

In his last race, this horse was one length off the lead at the half-mile call...and then retreated to finish 6th, beaten by 8 lengths. He has neither the speed figure which would make him a win contender for today's race...nor the early pace figure which would suggest that the horse is capable of taking the lead today.

All this horse has to recommend him is a close-up placing at the half-mile call, and a steep drop in class.

Is he a win contender in today's $7,500 race?

This is why experience plays such a big role when it comes to handicapping. We are often asked to compare apples and oranges, so to speak.

The "class" horse often appears to be too slow, figure-wise...and might even look as if he is going off form.

And the fast horse, with the impressive early pace figures, is often going up in class...into uncharted territory.

My point is that, no matter what your handicapping method of choice might be, you will often be left with big questions about some of the horses in the field...and nagging doubts about the bet that you should make.

How you handle these situations can mean the difference between success and failure in this game.

The biggest mistake poker players make is that they don't fold enough hands.

And horse players don't pass enough races...

raybo
03-26-2012, 01:09 PM
Excellent post!! In the past I followed your "form" analysis process almost exactly, assessing several pacelines for each horse to determine "current form". This is a laborious, time consuming process, and I still had to settle on "a" paceline to use for comparing all the entries in the race. Many times there is not "a" paceline that accurately expresses what the horses' current "form" and ability is, today. Now what?

Well, I have since moved away from "a" paceline, to an aggregate of pacelines, resulting in an aggregate "figure" for comparison purposes.

This method, at least the way I do it, results in several horses rising to the top but not necessarily to "one" superior betting prospect. So, I apply a minimum odds requirement and bet up to 3 horses per race.

"Form" has moved downward in my list of factors, and "class" is not specifically analyzed, however, I suspect "class" rises to the top, indirectly. And thus the need for multiple picks and value wagering.

Passing races is an absolute requirement, in my method. Without that, there will, absolutely, be no long term profit.

Blenheim
03-26-2012, 02:07 PM
I believe the topics cover thus far have been class, form and speed.

Any relationships between the three topics? What is the relationship, if any, between class and speed? What is the relationship, if any, between class and condition? Are the three topics interrelated in any way, if so, in what way?

Some consider form (condition) the most important element of the handicapping process. Surely workouts are part of the form cycle. In what way are workouts related to form? What time represents a good 4fl workout; 5f workout; 6f workout; 7f workout and a workout at 8f? Is a 4f b workout more significant than a 4f h? If so, why or why not? What about the surface upon which the workout occurred? Is a 5f h on a tr.t more productive than a 5f h on a fast track? If so, why or why not. What about a workout with the dogs up? No doubt, horses are taking more time off between races when compared to their counterparts five decades ago. What is the relationship, if any, between quantity and quality of workouts and time between races? Is the form cycle different for 2yos, 3yos and 4yos and up? If so, in what way?

The speed gurus consider speed the most important element in the handicapping process. What is the relationship, if any, between speed and class? What is the relationship, if any, between speed and distance? What is the relationship, if any, between speed and the racetrack surface? What is the relationship if any, between class, form, time and the racetrack surface? Why do relatively cheap horses often win in faster times than better horses?

To the class handicapper, nothing else matters, the best horse wins if in condition to do so. What qualities do class horses possess that lesser horses do not? How do you know the difference? What role does breeding play in class? What role does the trainer play in class? Can I be excused from class? I know, I know, I don’t have any class . . . :ThmbUp:

I believe it would be helpful to all of us, helpful in understanding the nature of the game, if you touch upon the interrelationships between the three topics.

thaskalos
03-26-2012, 02:27 PM
I believe the topics cover thus far have been class, form and speed.

Any relationships between the three topics? What is the relationship, if any, between class and speed? What is the relationship, if any, between class and condition? Are the three topics interrelated in any way, if so, in what way?

Some consider form (condition) the most important element of the handicapping process. Surely workouts are part of the form cycle. In what way are workouts related to form? What time represents a good 4fl workout; 5f workout; 6f workout; 7f workout and a workout at 8f? Is a 4f b workout more significant than a 4f h? If so, why or why not? What about the surface upon which the workout occurred? Is a 5f h on a tr.t more productive than a 5f h on a fast track? If so, why or why not. What about a workout with the dogs up? No doubt, horses are taking more time off between races when compared to their counterparts five decades ago. What is the relationship, if any, between quantity and quality of workouts and time between races? Is the form cycle different for 2yos, 3yos and 4yos and up? If so, in what way?

The speed gurus consider speed the most important element in the handicapping process. What is the relationship, if any, between speed and class? What is the relationship, if any, between speed and distance? What is the relationship, if any, between speed and the racetrack surface? What is the relationship if any, between class, form, time and the racetrack surface? Why do relatively cheap horses often win in faster times than better horses?

To the class handicapper, nothing else matters, the best horse wins if in condition to do so. What qualities do class horses possess that lesser horses do not? How do you know the difference? What role does breeding play in class? What role does the trainer play in class? Can I be excused from class? I know, I know, I don’t have any class . . . :ThmbUp:

I believe that it would be helpful to all of us, helpful in understanding the nature of the game, if you touch upon the interrelationships between the three topics.

It takes more than these three topics if we are to understand "the nature of the game"...

Allow me a little time to address all the topics involved...and then I promise to "touch upon the interrelationships between them".

You seem to be in a bit of a rush; are you going somewhere?

maddog42
03-26-2012, 03:16 PM
Damn Thask.If it took you 30 years to get good, that means you can teach us in a week. I want to be damn good by the first Saturday in May. I want my money
back. What? This is free? Crap. That means I have no right to bitch. This is no fun. I want a handicapping course that charges Hundreds of dollars and guarantees huge profits and has people like me interrupting every other word and argues at the drop of a hat.


PS
I want to be able to handicap the card in 30 minutes.

raybo
03-26-2012, 04:39 PM
Damn Thask.If it took you 30 years to get good, that means you can teach us in a week. I want to be damn good by the first Saturday in May. I want my money
back. What? This is free? Crap. That means I have no right to bitch. This is no fun. I want a handicapping course that charges Hundreds of dollars and guarantees huge profits and has people like me interrupting every other word and argues at the drop of a hat.


PS
I want to be able to handicap the card in 30 minutes.

Yeah, it would take a bit of a miracle to cram 30+ years of study, work, stress, knawed fingernails, etc., etc, into a week or 2! :lol:

Blenheim
03-27-2012, 01:29 AM
Point well taken gentlemen.

Before we get into the relationships between topics, let’s first take a look at the topics one by one . . . brick by brick, good citizens brick by brick.

Form

Races are won by sharp horses who are well suited to the conditions and circumstances of these races...so, in that aspect, we are ALL "form" handicappers; it's just that we can't all agree on the best way of determining this form.

To some players, "good form" means close-up finishes in one of the horse's last two races. If the horse has run lackluster efforts in its most recent starts, and it remains in the same class today...then the horse is considered to be "off-form", and a poor candidate to visit the track photographer.

It's a narrow-minded view, IMO...and one that leads to even bigger mistakes later on in the handicapping process. The circumstances of the race often conspire against certain horses, and causes them to run unimpressive-looking races through no fault of their own. How close a horse finishes to the winner at the wire often is a poor indicator of the horse's "true" form.

I readily admit that the win bettor can substantially narrow down his list of contenders in a race rather quickly...but the exotics bettor isn't so lucky. Since I am mainly a vertical exotics bettor myself, I cannot afford the luxury of eliminating horses at first glance...so I only eliminate the complete throwouts at the very beginning of the handicapping process.

A horse may look off-form at first glance, and yet, upon closer consideration, prove to be a candidate for one of the minor placings...and always at a good price.

I’m not clear on your definition of form. Is form defined as, “sharp horses who are well suited to the conditions and circumstances of these races”, or form “means close-up finishes in one of the horse's last two races”, or, “how close a horse finishes to the winner at the wire often is a poor indicator of the horse's "true" form”. Please provide a concise definition of form, or “true” form.

Here are some additional questions regarding form. What is the form cycle? When can one expect a horse to reach peak in the form cycle and when can one expect a horse to be on the decline in the form cycle? Is the form cycle different for 2yos, 3yos 4yos and up? Is the form cycle different for horses of different value? If so why and how? Workouts are part of the form cycle and most horses have a few workouts before and between races to “sharpen” their form, but you did not address workouts in your Form section. In what way are workouts related to form? What time represents a good 4f, 5f, 6f, 7f, 8f workout? Is a 4f b workout more significant than a 4f h? If so, why or why not? What about the surface upon which the workout occurred? Is a 5f h on a tr.t more productive than a 5f h on a fast track? If so, why or why not. What about a workout with the dogs up? No doubt, horses are taking more time off between races when compared to their counterparts five decades ago. What is the relationship between quantity and quality of workouts and time between races and how do those workouts and time relate to form going into the next race? Are workouts and their relationship to form different for 2yos, 3yos and 4yos and up? If so, in what way?

thaskalos
03-27-2012, 08:18 AM
I’m not clear on your definition of form. Is form defined as, “sharp horses who are well suited to the conditions and circumstances of these races”, or form “means close-up finishes in one of the horse's last two races”, or, “how close a horse finishes to the winner at the wire often is a poor indicator of the horse's "true" form”. Please provide a concise definition of form, or “true” form.

Here are some additional questions regarding form. What is the form cycle? When can one expect a horse to reach peak in the form cycle and when can one expect a horse to be on the decline in the form cycle? Is the form cycle different for 2yos, 3yos 4yos and up? Is the form cycle different for horses of different value? If so why and how? Workouts are part of the form cycle and most horses have a few workouts before and between races to “sharpen” their form, but you did not address workouts in your Form section. In what way are workouts related to form? What time represents a good 4f, 5f, 6f, 7f, 8f workout? Is a 4f b workout more significant than a 4f h? If so, why or why not? What about the surface upon which the workout occurred? Is a 5f h on a tr.t more productive than a 5f h on a fast track? If so, why or why not. What about a workout with the dogs up? No doubt, horses are taking more time off between races when compared to their counterparts five decades ago. What is the relationship between quantity and quality of workouts and time between races and how do those workouts and time relate to form going into the next race? Are workouts and their relationship to form different for 2yos, 3yos and 4yos and up? If so, in what way?

My friend...I don't want you to think that I am downplaying the importance of your questions, and, now that I think about it...you are right; I was not thorough enough when I talked about form. It is an important topic...and it deserves a more detailed explanation.

Let me say at the outset that my intention with these "lessons" is not to summarize what other handicappers have said before about the various handicapping topics...nor do I care much if what I write here conflicts with what other handicapping authors have written in their own works.

I wanted to give you MY OWN opinion on these handicapping fundamentals....and how they fit in MY OWN method of doing things.

Some handicappers consider "form" to be a complicated process of analyzing...form cycles...up-close placings at different points of call...in-the-money finishes in the most recent starts...layoffs...sharp and consistent workouts...the spotting of improving and declining form...etc.

To me...there is nothing complicated about "form" at all.

I don't start off my handicapping process by putting the horses through strict, rigorous form analysis, in order to find the "sharpest" horses in the race. The sharpest horses will reveal themselves later on...when the handicapping gets serious.

My initial requirements for acceptable form are very loose, and my guidelines very broad...because I don't want to commit the cardinal sin of eliminating the eventual winners, early on in the handicapping process.

I have to assume that we are all handicappers of some experience here...and that we have all been exposed to this game for some period of time. If this is true...then we know for ourselves that horses win while coming off all sorts of differing scenarios...and that these winners don't follow a well-defined "script".

Some win coming off sharp efforts, while others triumph off of dull outings. Some horses give their best right off a layoff, while others need a few races to get back in the groove of things. Some like to work out regularly, while others prefer infrequent works. Some work out fast, some slow.

I am mainly a vertical exotics bettor, so it is not beneficial to me to be too strict in my initial form assessment. I eliminate very few horses right at the start of my handicapping...and these horses have to be in such dull form that they virtually eliminate themselves.

There is a time for assessing improving and declining form, but that's for later on in the handicapping process, when we are separating and ranking our contenders...and it's best handled by the use of speed and pace figures.

I know what you, and others, probably expect me to provide...

You want me to list a set of strict form guidelines which will quickly eliminate half the field...and if I were a "win" bettor...I WOULD.

But I am a "superfecta" bettor...so how many horses can I afford to eliminate right at the start?

I can give you some broad guidelines to help you eliminate the worst-looking horses in the race...but you can probably do that without my help.

I would like to end with the following statement:

Whether you bet win, exotics, or super-exotics...you are looking for VALUE. And this "value" often comes DISGUISED! It's not always out in the open...where everyone can see it! In most cases, you have to work hard to find it...and if you are a superfecta bettor like me...that means staying up all hours of the night, painstakingly analyzing entire fields with carefully applied speed and pace figures.

There might be an easier way...and I will report it to you when I find it. :)

pauly
03-27-2012, 12:40 PM
raybo - thanks for your response. I too use several pacelines and i suppose from that form an opinion based on an aggregate but do you actually calculate an aggregate figure and if so how?

raybo
03-27-2012, 01:09 PM
After eliminations based on running styles and early speed points in FR1 and FR2, the remaining contenders are ranked by my own total velocity formula, actually I have 2 total velocity formulas. My top ranked horse in the post-eliminations section must match the top ranked horse in 1 of 2 other sections, 1 of which uses a different total velocity formula.

About the only "form" factor I consider is days since last race. More than 75 days pretty much eliminates a horse from win consideration, but not from vertical exotics consideration.

By the way I use Brisnet's Prime Power figure to help me ascertain why support by the public might be going on a horse that doesn't figure, according to my method. If a horse is getting heavy support and he is not in my final contenders, and he has a very good Prime Power fig, I feel even more confident in my wagers on my contenders, because I know I'm getting value on my wagers.

I could use speed figures the same way, I suppose, but I have become so disenchanted with speed figures, over the past several years, that I hate to even look at them, at all. I don't want them to have any influence on my wagering. Prime Power is a little different because it's hit rate is so high that unsubstantiated support, can be substantiated by Prime Power many times.

Blenheim
03-27-2012, 01:35 PM
My opinion matters very little Mr. Thaskalos.

You, on the other hand, in this single thread, have thousands of people awaiting your posts - they are seeking your advice, expertise and hope to learn from what you share with them. They want to know or better understand what it is they don't know and what it is you do know - what you can demonstrate to them that will make their understanding of this great game that much better. I have no doubt they appreciate that you have taken the time to further explain the form process.

thaskalos
03-27-2012, 02:39 PM
My opinion matters very little Mr. Thaskalos.

You, on the other hand, in this single thread, have thousands of people awaiting your posts - they are seeking your advice, expertise and hope to learn from what you share with them. They want to know or better understand what it is they don't know and what it is you do know - what you can demonstrate to them that will make their understanding of this great game that much better. I have no doubt they appreciate that you have taken the time to further explain the form process.
If I said something to offend you, I apologise. I welcome ALL opinions, and especially the ones that differ from my own...because that's how dialogues get started...and then we all learn.

Disagreement is the mother of learning...

turninforhome10
03-27-2012, 04:13 PM
After eliminations based on running styles and early speed points in FR1 and FR2, the remaining contenders are ranked by my own total velocity formula, actually I have 2 total velocity formulas. My top ranked horse in the post-eliminations section must match the top ranked horse in 1 of 2 other sections, 1 of which uses a different total velocity formula.

About the only "form" factor I consider is days since last race. More than 75 days pretty much eliminates a horse from win consideration, but not from vertical exotics consideration.

By the way I use Brisnet's Prime Power figure to help me ascertain why support by the public might be going on a horse that doesn't figure, according to my method. If a horse is getting heavy support and he is not in my final contenders, and he has a very good Prime Power fig, I feel even more confident in my wagers on my contenders, because I know I'm getting value on my wagers.

I could use speed figures the same way, I suppose, but I have become so disenchanted with speed figures, over the past several years, that I hate to even look at them, at all. I don't want them to have any influence on my wagering. Prime Power is a little different because it's hit rate is so high that unsubstantiated support, can be substantiated by Prime Power many times.

I also have found value using velocity. I have found using a normalized data set also allows to compare apples to apples. My form analysis comes from evaluating a horses best performance at distance in comparison to track pars then looking at the average running time for horse at similar distance. I then consult a table of fixed values including weight, DLR, Distance last race, etc.
That data is incorporated into a projected pace model or speed map using normalized velocity based pace projections. By incorporating the fixed values into the normalized data as a pure number based on a ranking system I have noticed a synergy between the methods.
Played with Prime Power for a couple of years and have found that it can really helpful find value in betting against horses that are over the top on form with really high PP numbers.

raybo
03-27-2012, 04:58 PM
I also have found value using velocity. I have found using a normalized data set also allows to compare apples to apples. My form analysis comes from evaluating a horses best performance at distance in comparison to track pars then looking at the average running time for horse at similar distance. I then consult a table of fixed values including weight, DLR, Distance last race, etc.
That data is incorporated into a projected pace model or speed map using normalized velocity based pace projections. By incorporating the fixed values into the normalized data as a pure number based on a ranking system I have noticed a synergy between the methods.
Played with Prime Power for a couple of years and have found that it can really helpful find value in betting against horses that are over the top on form with really high PP numbers.

Sounds like a viable system. I've used most of that stuff in the past, and was successful, but I have moved on since that time, to a more simplistic approach; running styles, early speed points, fully adjusted fractional velocities, and pace pressure, all in an enclosed database/list, and automated, for instant pass/play notification.

turninforhome10
03-27-2012, 05:17 PM
A paceline with fixed would look something like this for Parx 9th today
Sorry for poor quality The Sats are normalized pace calls PctE is energy, Fixed is all those factors that are not variables Art is average running time based on pars and PWR is similar to Bris
Weighting Factors 6 17 15 3 3 3 3 3
PP Name SAt1 Sat2 SAt3 Sat4 PctE *Fixed *ART PWR SCORE
1 LIGHTSHAFT 1.26 57.73 57.38 49.60 42.86 *63.88 57.87 130.8 4.97
2 OH SO BELLA 25.39 76.01 37.33 11.25 34.29 50.68 38.31 126.1 5.25
3 WINNING IMAGE *100.0 0.00 *100.0 *100.0 *100.0 46.50 59.58 137.7 4.34
4 ISLAND BOUND ???? ???? ???? ???? ???? 61.55 48.95 139.7 3.94
5 PILOT POINT LADY 0.00 10.33 69.68 53.49 91.43 48.41 *62.01 130.5 5.46
6 GRAND KISSES 38.65 *100.0 0.00 0.00 97.14 31.86 36.82 131.5 5.26
7 HIGH QUALITY 30.34 45.29 76.18 60.12 0.00 55.18 47.38 *140.5 4.73
8 SLEEPLESS DIXIE ???? ???? ???? ???? ???? 41.94 46.23 126.0 6.10
And the resultant predictions

PGM HORSE ODDS JOCKEY TRAINER
4 ISLAND BOUND 8.0 ALLEN JR. R. D. WILKES I. R.
3 WINNING IMAGE 3.0 CARABALLO J. C. ARO M. C.
7 HIGH QUALITY 2.5 ELLIOTT S. DUTROW A. W.
1 LIGHTSHAFT 4.5 BISONO J. SERVIS J. C.
2 OH SO BELLA 10.0 FREY K. REID JR. R. E.
6 GRAND KISSES 20.0 CARMOUCHE K. ALBRIGHT G. R.
5 PILOT POINT LADY 4.0 PENNINGTON F. REID JR. R. E.
8 SLEEPLESS DIXIE 8.0 CURATOLO R. BREEN K. J.
ROI 679.05 PCT WGR-1/2 $10 - 21 RACES 03-27-2012

Greyfox
03-27-2012, 05:24 PM
Weighting Factors 6 17 15 3 3 3 3 3
PP Name SAt1 Sat2 SAt3 Sat4 PctE *Fixed *ART PWR SCORE
1 LIGHTSHAFT 1.26 57.73 57.38 49.60 42.86 *63.88 57.87 130.8 4.97
2 OH SO BELLA 25.39 76.01 37.33 11.25 34.29 50.68 38.31 126.1 5.25
3 WINNING IMAGE *100.0 0.00 *100.0 *100.0 *100.0 46.50 59.58 137.7 4.34
4 ISLAND BOUND ???? ???? ???? ???? ???? 61.55 48.95 139.7 3.94
5 PILOT POINT LADY 0.00 10.33 69.68 53.49 91.43 48.41 *62.01 130.5 5.46
6 GRAND KISSES 38.65 *100.0 0.00 0.00 97.14 31.86 36.82 131.5 5.26
7 HIGH QUALITY 30.34 45.29 76.18 60.12 0.00 55.18 47.38 *140.5 4.73
8 SLEEPLESS DIXIE ???? ???? ???? ???? ???? 41.94 46.23 126.0 6.10

I haven't a clue as to what all of your numbers above mean. :confused:

turninforhome10
03-27-2012, 05:58 PM
Thaskalos,
In your opinion is there a relationship between form cycle and advancement through conditions? Is the bounce theory of form more related to peak performance deterioration or movement into higher conditions?

thaskalos
03-27-2012, 06:30 PM
Thaskalos,
In your opinion is there a relationship between form cycle and advancement through conditions? Is the bounce theory of form more related to peak performance deterioration or movement into higher conditions?
Not all reversals of form can be attributed to the "bounce" theory...but a horse can "bounce" even when running back at the same class level, so I can't say that it has more to do with the advancement through conditions than it does with excessive exhaustion.

IMO...the bounce is primarily the result of a horse overextending itself in a race.

Back-to-back oustanding efforts by a horse constitute a big warning signal to me that a subpar effort is forthcoming...unless we are talking about "high class" horses, who race more infrequently.

turninforhome10
03-27-2012, 06:34 PM
Not all reversals of form can be attributed to the "bounce" theory...but a horse can "bounce" even when running back at the same class level, so I can't say that it has more to do with the advancement through conditions than it does with excessive exhaustion.

IMO...the bounce is primarily the result of a horse overextending itself in a race.

Back-to-back oustanding efforts by a horse is a big warning signal to me that a subpar effort is forthcoming...unless we are talking about "high class" horses, who race more infrequently.
Thanks for the prompt reply. As a condition book handicapper, I have found that when a horse runs a better race when moving up in condition, it can be good sign that you have an honest horse especially for high percent connections. Are good questions a help or hindrance in your writing this?

thaskalos
03-27-2012, 06:41 PM
Thanks for the prompt reply. As a condition book handicapper, I have found that when a horse runs a better race when moving up in condition, it can be good sign that you have an honest horse especially for high percent connections. Are good questions a help or hindrance in your writing this?
Nothing pleases me more than good questions. :ThmbUp:

Blenheim
03-27-2012, 08:30 PM
If I said something to offend you, I apologise. I welcome ALL opinions, and especially the ones that differ from my own...because that's how dialogues get started...and then we all learn.

Disagreement is the mother of learning...

You said nothing to offend me, so no apology is necessary.

~

I was a bit concerned with what I thought to be a superficial explanation of one of the most important and complex topics in handicappin', . . . so it was good to see and read you took the necessary time to further explain form and condition.

pondman
03-29-2012, 12:49 PM
Races are won by sharp horses who are well suited to the conditions and circumstances of these races...so, in that aspect, we are ALL "form" handicappers; it's just that we can't all agree on the best way of determining this form.

I tried to read this and skip over it quickly, because I don't really want to throw a wrench into your efforts, until I read your entire work. But... I don't believe races are won by the sharpest horses, either physically or on paper. I'm probably more confident in the "what was that factor" than most players, and believe the sharpest horses have the highest risk and lowest reward.

I do have a few times I look at form, especially when a high dollar horse is young, and you can get them at a price before the crowd sees the obvious. But this requires observing first time starters for years, and isn't as simple as playing a high rating, either pace or speed.

pondman
03-29-2012, 01:35 PM
In bottom claimers (with possible exception a first start after a layoff) the trainer is always trying to win because they are sure the horse will even be able to run another race.

I was living on the hill above mountaineer, when a trainer got his lights turned off. He was down to his pony and he entered it as a 9 year old for $2,000. He told me his friends were going to help him out. They were going to pass the hat around. So I covered bets for him. We both bought cars.

There are plenty of trainers in bottom claimers who know their horse don't have a chance, and play games at the expense of handicappers.

cj
03-29-2012, 01:48 PM
There are plenty of trainers in bottom claimers who know their horse don't have a chance, and play games at the expense of handicappers.

If his horse doesn't have a chance, how does he play games?

plainolebill
03-30-2012, 01:05 AM
I tried to read this and skip over it quickly, because I don't really want to throw a wrench into your efforts, until I read your entire work. But... I don't believe races are won by the sharpest horses, either physically or on paper. I'm probably more confident in the "what was that factor" than most players, and believe the sharpest horses have the highest risk and lowest reward.

I do have a few times I look at form, especially when a high dollar horse is young, and you can get them at a price before the crowd sees the obvious. But this requires observing first time starters for years, and isn't as simple as playing a high rating, either pace or speed.

:ThmbUp: Great point

thaskalos
03-30-2012, 03:19 AM
I tried to read this and skip over it quickly, because I don't really want to throw a wrench into your efforts, until I read your entire work. But... I don't believe races are won by the sharpest horses, either physically or on paper. I'm probably more confident in the "what was that factor" than most players, and believe the sharpest horses have the highest risk and lowest reward.

I do have a few times I look at form, especially when a high dollar horse is young, and you can get them at a price before the crowd sees the obvious. But this requires observing first time starters for years, and isn't as simple as playing a high rating, either pace or speed.

When I said that "races are won by sharp horses"...I didn't mean to imply that the "sharpness" of these horses is so obvious, that everyone can see it at a glance.

My friend, you have commented on my work here...so that should allow me to make a few comments of my own about YOUR posts as well...

I have read most of your posts on this site, but I am sure that I have also missed a few...so, please correct me if I am wrong in what I say.

You claim to make about 200 bets a year, concentrating mostly on owners and shipping horses...and that you wager between $100-$300 to win on each.

Let's give you the benefit of the doubt, and assume that you bet $300, each and every time. It comes out to an annual handle of about $60,000.

Now...what kind of a ROI can an expert bettor reasonably expect to realize, in a highly taxed, highly chaotic gambling game such as this?

Well...you are definitely better informed and more "well-connected" than most (being married into a family of horsemen, and all)...so, I again am willing to give you the benefit of the doubt.

Some of the game's most brilliant players have concluded that a ROI of 20% is virtually unsustainable in the long-run, and, being a mere mortal myself...I tend to agree. But let's assume that you are able to do TWICE as well, as what these "handicapping geniuses" claim is IMPOSSIBLE.

Even at the outrageous ROI of 40%...you are making a total profit of $24,000 at the races, for a year's play.

Now...I fully realize that this is a game where only 1-2% of the betting public have any consistent profits at all...so, obviously, a $24,000 annual profit is nothing to sneeze at; in fact, it's very commendable.

But it is NOT the "bags-full of money" that you keep alluding to...nor does it make you the type of gambling expert who should have licence to criticize everything everybody else says about this game...including trashing the methods that others claim to also be using with success.

I have no reason to disbelieve that you are a winning player...and I applaud you on your owner-shipper insights. But you are commiting a grave injustice when you pass judgement on the style of play of others...when you obviously don't know a thing about them...and what they do.

I have seen you make many references to figure handicapping...and almost all of them are DEAD WRONG!

Speed and pace handicappers DON'T have to be overly selective. I bet on 20-25 races a day...and I play 5 days a week, and 48 weeks a year.

We DON'T have to confine ourselves to the short prices on the board, because of the "obviousness" of our methods. I regularly include big longshots into my vertical exotic tickets, even placing them on top on occasion...and they sometimes accommodate me with a satisfactory performance. Some of my superfectas have paid over $1,000...FOR A DIME!

And figure handicapping is NOT laughable. It is the preferred handicapping choice of some of the game's most brilliant players.

You have been bragging about your success at this game for some time now...and NOBODY here has openly doubted your veracity. We have all treated you with the respect that a winning horseplayer deserves.

Don't you think it's about time you started returning us the favor?

cj
03-30-2012, 03:31 AM
He has selected 11 horses here during his time. First one hit at 17, also the last one to win. It appears he stopped posting in selections after that.

Sinner369
03-30-2012, 02:42 PM
Everybody has a different handicapping style that they are comfortable with when they bet their money..........remember it's their money and how they choose to spend it..........it's up to them!!!

But can we just have Thaskalos make his opinions and statements and save the comments and reviews afterwards...........I trying to learn something and this thread is getting longer than it should.........Please guys let Thaskalos have his comments and save the reviews until afterwards!

rosenowsr
03-30-2012, 08:27 PM
Why is it so hard for horse players to understand that there are no absolutes in this game? Everything in this game is theoretical and assumptive.(is that a word) lol

Personally I have lost more money in this game than I will every win. I don't mind. I enjoy the time spent and the mental challenge it forces on me. Kinda like the feeling you get working a sweat up at the gym.

I never have, but i would assume if you bet the worst horse in every race you would probably have something around a 8% win rate, and who knows maybe even show a profit.

I am drifting here!!!

Thaskalos I enjoy your insight and intellect of the game. You have a lot to offer here. Please keep trudging through the mud here. Your knowledge of the in's and out's of the game range from the profound to the simplistic. Thank you for sharing with us.
See you at AP this year. I'll be the short, fat, bald guy

Greyfox
03-30-2012, 09:48 PM
I never have, but i would assume if you bet the worst horse in every race you would probably have something around a 8% win rate, and who knows maybe even show a profit.


You'd go broke pretty fast with that angle.
(The worst horse in any race won't win unless there is a pile up.
Thinking that 8 % of them win is pie in the sky.)

Dave Schwartz
03-30-2012, 10:10 PM
I'd bet that is good for -45%.

Greyfox
03-30-2012, 10:56 PM
That quote is more profound than anything Thaskalos has said so far (or might say in his entire seminar). I know what It means to me.What does it mean to you?

:rolleyes: Sorta like "The sky is blue on a clear day" eh. Very profound.
Thaskalos - You have license to remove crap like Light wrote. Thumbs up if you use it.

Light
03-30-2012, 11:05 PM
When Thask is said and done with his presentation, I'll tell you the "secret" to horse racing. It's one word and will trump anything Thask says.

thaskalos
03-30-2012, 11:16 PM
When Thask is said and done with his presentation, I'll tell you the "secret" to horse racing. It's one word and will trump anything Thask says.
If you are inclined to share knowledge of this magnitude with us, I would be committing an injustice by making you wait until I am done with what I have to say.

Let me yield the floor to you NOW...so we can save ourselves some time...

bob60566
03-30-2012, 11:31 PM
When Thask is said and done with his presentation, I'll tell you the "secret" to horse racing. It's one word and will trump anything Thask says.
Go ahead light put your money where your mouth is and share you thoughts with us all

Mac:ThmbUp: :ThmbUp: :ThmbUp:

raybo
03-30-2012, 11:34 PM
Haven't you guys learned anything from the past? Light has never, to my knowledge, offered anything on the forum, of any value.

He is here for one reason and that is to bring the spotlight on himself. He, in short, falls in the category of "troll".

Light
03-30-2012, 11:34 PM
Not yet. People do need to learn the finer points of playing this game. I'll leave that to "the professor".

bob60566
03-30-2012, 11:42 PM
Not yet. People do need to learn the finer points of playing this game. I'll leave that to "the professor".

Ok your going to be redboarding

Mac:) :) :) :)

Tom
03-31-2012, 12:04 AM
Thask, my friend.......start deleting. ;)

cj
03-31-2012, 12:50 AM
Wow, light's petty jealousies know no bounds. PA, why is he here?

PaceAdvantage
03-31-2012, 12:54 AM
Wow, light's petty jealousies know no bounds. PA, why is he here?Great question...asked more than once of me in the past couple of days...

speed
03-31-2012, 12:56 AM
Wow, light's petty jealousies know no bounds. PA, why is he here?
He should be on the payroll. His entertainment value is priceless.

cj
03-31-2012, 01:03 AM
He should be on the payroll. His entertainment value is priceless.

As long as he makes less than me.

PaceAdvantage
03-31-2012, 01:04 AM
Not yet. People do need to learn the finer points of playing this game. I'll leave that to "the professor".Why the hell are you mocking thaskalos with your professor in quotes deal? What exactly has he done to incur your silly, petty, jealous little wrath?

If this is your way of trying to make it seem that TLG isn't the sole target of your ball busting, it's failing miserably...I see right through your little scheme...

This section of the forum is not your personal shit box...once that becomes clear to you, subsequent actions on my part should come as no surprise.

duncan04
03-31-2012, 01:50 AM
When Thask is said and done with his presentation, I'll tell you the "secret" to horse racing. It's one word and will trump anything Thask says.

Is the one word "redboarding"? That way you never lose? :rolleyes:

Dave Schwartz
03-31-2012, 01:52 AM
Let me yield the floor to you NOW...so we can save ourselves some time...

Priceless.

:ThmbUp: :ThmbUp:

HUSKER55
03-31-2012, 04:43 AM
I'M WAITING................................PATIENTLY................

raybo
03-31-2012, 10:25 PM
Not yet. People do need to learn the finer points of playing this game. I'll leave that to "the professor".

More BS.

maddog42
03-31-2012, 11:16 PM
As long as he makes less than me.

I imagine that is pretty meager.lol

JohnGalt1
04-01-2012, 10:07 AM
I just discovererd this thread. Thanks for starting it.

As to the original intent of this thread--form

IMO If a horse has had a race in the last 21 days, I can use the last race for a pace rating. (Unless it shouldn't be used because of wrong distance, higher class, trouble, or other legitimate reason.)

If the last race was 28 days ago must have had a workout of 4f or longer 10-15 days before todays race.

If more than 28 days (A horse, especially a claimer should run at least once a month to pay the bills) I rate as a lay off horse and require a series of workouts, and a good 5f means he should run to his ability.

If a horse is off for more than 5 months, I look up it's sire's rating for first time starters. This is not a primary factor, but I consider a horse bred by West Acre an A+ rating in Sire Stats over a horse bred by Full Mandate with a D rating. 90+ days lay off percentages of trainers is also imoportant.

And any horse off a 28+ day layoff I will use a paceline right after after a layoff, unless it shouldn't be used for the reasons listed in at the beginning of this post.

thaskalos
04-06-2012, 02:02 PM
I just discovererd this thread. Thanks for starting it.

As to the original intent of this thread--form

IMO If a horse has had a race in the last 21 days, I can use the last race for a pace rating. (Unless it shouldn't be used because of wrong distance, higher class, trouble, or other legitimate reason.)

If the last race was 28 days ago must have had a workout of 4f or longer 10-15 days before todays race.

If more than 28 days (A horse, especially a claimer should run at least once a month to pay the bills) I rate as a lay off horse and require a series of workouts, and a good 5f means he should run to his ability.

If a horse is off for more than 5 months, I look up it's sire's rating for first time starters. This is not a primary factor, but I consider a horse bred by West Acre an A+ rating in Sire Stats over a horse bred by Full Mandate with a D rating. 90+ days lay off percentages of trainers is also imoportant.

And any horse off a 28+ day layoff I will use a paceline right after after a layoff, unless it shouldn't be used for the reasons listed in at the beginning of this post.

IMO...it is a mistake to base one's pace rating (or 'form' determination) on a single paceline. Horses don't really "repeat" races that they have run in the past...nor are the circumstances of those past races ever the same as the circumstances the horse is likely to encounter in the future.

By analyzing SEVERAL races instead of just one, the player gets a better idea of the horse's pace capabilities...and of the direction of its form cycle.

I am also leary of the popular idea of always using the last race as a "paceline"...unless there is a compelling reason to ignore it and go beyond.

I have found that horses routinely run "even" (or worse) races in-between their strong efforts -- without any excuse at all...and then they resume running their typical strong races again.

Let's assume that the horse has run three consecutive good races in a row...but follows those up with a lackluster effort last time out --without any excuse. All these races are at the same class level...as is the horse's race today.

Some handicapping authors have advised that the horse's LAST race is the best indicator of its current form...so, since the lackluster last race was the horse's most recent, and it was run without any visible excuse...then THAT should be the race to use for a paceline.

That's faulty logic...IMO.

Let's say that I asked you to predict what Beyer figure the horse is likely to run today. Doesn't that pretty much summarize the entirety of our handicapping process? We are, after all, trying to estimate what Beyer figure the horse is likely to run today...and, we have the Beyer figures of the last 10 races, along with other pertinent stats, to help us make up our minds.

What do we do?

Do we look at the column of the horse's past Beyer figures...and decide that the most recent one is the best indicator of what the horse will run next?

Of course not. We would look at the TOTALITY of its record...and only then would we hazard a guess on what figure the horse would run next.

My point is, even the very consistent horses sometimes run lackluster races...and some horses even run "in-and-out" for their entire racing careers.

These lackluster races are sometimes "workouts-in-public", ordered by the trainer for reasons of his own. At other times, the trainer may decide to take it easy with the horse, and give him a "breather" for a race...because the horse has had a tough few races in a row.

These lackluster races are not indicative of the current "form" that this horse happens to be in...and should not be used as pacelines...IMO.

Rate SEVERAL races...and then you get a more thorough idea of what the horse's form (or ability) is.

Greyfox
04-06-2012, 02:11 PM
If the last race was 28 days ago must have had a workout of 4f or longer 10-15 days before todays race.

If more than 28 days (A horse, especially a claimer should run at least once a month to pay the bills) I rate as a lay off horse and require a series of workouts, and a good 5f means he should run to his ability.

.

Those are good ideas.....but.....some tracks are very poor at publishing workouts. Alternatively, the horse may be training at a facility that doesn't report workouts. Finally, workouts are missed by clockers.

You'll miss some payouts too if you stick with those criteria too rigidly.

raybo
04-06-2012, 05:04 PM
I agree with Thaskalos, that one should look at "all" of the horse's pacelines.

I start with the most distant paceline, asking myself "what does the trainer need to do with this horse to put him in better contention for a win?". Once I have answered that question myself, I look at workouts between that race and the next paceline. I also look at the number of days off the hprse had and see if I think that layoff time was enough or not enough.

Then I ask myself, "Did the trainer do what he should have done with the horse in order to perform better in this race?". "Did the horse need to change distance, class, surface, etc., to give him a better chance in this race?". Then I look at this race's performance and see if the horse improved or declined as I thought he would, given the moves the trainer made between races.

Now, what does the horse need? Did he improve in this race? If so, was it because of a trainer move? Did he decline because of a trainer move, or did he have trouble in this race, etc..

Then I repeat what I did before, "thinking like a trainer", and progressing up to today's race. By that time I usually have a pretty good idea of how the horse will perform against the competition today, the distance, the surface, etc., etc..

This, of course, is a lot of work and time, but I feel 99% of players do not do this, and that gives me an edge over them.

Greyfox
04-06-2012, 05:48 PM
Then I repeat what I did before, "thinking like a trainer", .

That bears repeating.
"Thinking like a good trainer" also needs to be said. Some horsemen ruin young horses. In contrast others develop their steeds like a gardener with prize roses and they bloom.

bob60566
04-06-2012, 06:17 PM
I agree with Thaskalos, that one should look at "all" of the horse's pacelines.

I start with the most distant paceline, asking myself "what does the trainer need to do with this horse to put him in better contention for a win?". Once I have answered that question myself, I look at workouts between that race and the next paceline. I also look at the number of days off the hprse had and see if I think that layoff time was enough or not enough.

Then I ask myself, "Did the trainer do what he should have done with the horse in order to perform better in this race?". "Did the horse need to change distance, class, surface, etc., to give him a better chance in this race?". Then I look at this race's performance and see if the horse improved or declined as I thought he would, given the moves the trainer made between races.

Now, what does the horse need? Did he improve in this race? If so, was it because of a trainer move? Did he decline because of a trainer move, or did he have trouble in this race, etc..

Then I repeat what I did before, "thinking like a trainer", and progressing up to today's race. By that time I usually have a pretty good idea of how the horse will perform against the competition today, the distance, the surface, etc., etc..

This, of course, is a lot of work and time, but I feel 99% of players do not do this, and that gives me an edge over them.
Raybo
This must be for major tracks but the same thing at the minor tracks with no workouts between races, it is way easier to see a horse raced into a contender than you would looking at workouts it is all in front of you too see in the last four running lines and yes with hidden races in those.

raybo
04-06-2012, 06:33 PM
Raybo
This must be for major tracks but the same thing at the minor tracks with no workouts between races, it is way easier to see a horse raced into a contender than you would looking at workouts it is all in front of you too see in the last four running lines and yes with hidden races in those.

If workouts aren't there then, of course, you can't evaluate them, but major track or minor track, I do the same routine. The only time I will consider only the last few races is when the horse is 3yo or less, as they improve over their best often. Once they reach 4yo I look at all pacelines.

bob60566
04-06-2012, 07:10 PM
If workouts aren't there then, of course, you can't evaluate them, but major track or minor track, I do the same routine. The only time I will consider only the last few races is when the horse is 3yo or less, as they improve over their best often. Once they reach 4yo I look at all pacelines.

Why are handicappers so caught up in workouts i will look at the spacing between and note any missing other than that it has nothing of value in my opinion.

Dave Schwartz
04-06-2012, 07:27 PM
Bob,

Actually, there are a couple of situations where "workout ranks" can be powerful.

For example, if one has a workout rating strategy (I do) - kind of like a parallel time chart for works - a FTS who has the best workout of all horses in the last 45 days is a profitable play at a price. Last time I looked, I believe the price point was around 12/1.

Regards,
Dave Schwartz

lamboguy
04-06-2012, 07:47 PM
for years one of my biggest handicapping tools has been that at the begging of the winter meets the speed horses have a big edge, after the 5th start of the meet i favor the horses that are coming from behind. the speed horses in the lesser meets are pretty knocked out by then, in the top meets the trainer gives them a breather

bob60566
04-06-2012, 08:32 PM
Bob,

Actually, there are a couple of situations where "workout ranks" can be powerful.

For example, if one has a workout rating strategy (I do) - kind of like a parallel time chart for works - a FTS who has the best workout of all horses in the last 45 days is a profitable play at a price. Last time I looked, I believe the price point was around 12/1.

Regards,
Dave Schwartz

Dave
I never play FTS
Not even ones at Mountineer the dogs of war do not need workouts except to to show the racing secretary that the horse is fit to enter after layoff.
Playing 5k claimers coming off Mdn wins is fun and profitable as the try to get on the ladder.

turninforhome10
04-06-2012, 09:53 PM
Bob,

Actually, there are a couple of situations where "workout ranks" can be powerful.

For example, if one has a workout rating strategy (I do) - kind of like a parallel time chart for works - a FTS who has the best workout of all horses in the last 45 days is a profitable play at a price. Last time I looked, I believe the price point was around 12/1.

Regards,
Dave Schwartz


Dave,
Try running the data and using the filter of using only horses that have had tw0 workouts within 30 days with the last one being 1 fur less than the previous.
I call the blowout and usually if there are soundness issues this strategy will not happen meaning it usually only a positive sign. If a horse is "legged up" good and has miles under, it does not hurt to put some wind into them, and also take the edge off those becoming tough. Especially like the angle when there is an owner trainer involvement.

Dave Schwartz
04-07-2012, 01:40 AM
I did something similar years ago and found it "interesting" but not anywhere near as powerful.


Dave

JohnGalt1
04-07-2012, 09:15 AM
IMO...it is a mistake to base one's pace rating (or 'form' determination) on a single paceline. Horses don't really "repeat" races that they have run in the past...nor are the circumstances of those past races ever the same as the circumstances the horse is likely to encounter in the future.

By analyzing SEVERAL races instead of just one, the player gets a better idea of the horse's pace capabilities...and of the direction of its form cycle.

I am also leary of the popular idea of always using the last race as a "paceline"...unless there is a compelling reason to ignore it and go beyond.

I have found that horses routinely run "even" (or worse) races in-between their strong efforts -- without any excuse at all...and then they resume running their typical strong races again.

Let's assume that the horse has run three consecutive good races in a row...but follows those up with a lackluster effort last time out --without any excuse. All these races are at the same class level...as is the horse's race today.

Some handicapping authors have advised that the horse's LAST race is the best indicator of its current form...so, since the lackluster last race was the horse's most recent, and it was run without any visible excuse...then THAT should be the race to use for a paceline.

That's faulty logic...IMO.

Let's say that I asked you to predict what Beyer figure the horse is likely to run today. Doesn't that pretty much summarize the entirety of our handicapping process? We are, after all, trying to estimate what Beyer figure the horse is likely to run today...and, we have the Beyer figures of the last 10 races, along with other pertinent stats, to help us make up our minds.

What do we do?

Do we look at the column of the horse's past Beyer figures...and decide that the most recent one is the best indicator of what the horse will run next?

Of course not. We would look at the TOTALITY of its record...and only then would we hazard a guess on what figure the horse would run next.

My point is, even the very consistent horses sometimes run lackluster races...and some horses even run "in-and-out" for their entire racing careers.

These lackluster races are sometimes "workouts-in-public", ordered by the trainer for reasons of his own. At other times, the trainer may decide to take it easy with the horse, and give him a "breather" for a race...because the horse has had a tough few races in a row.

These lackluster races are not indicative of the current "form" that this horse happens to be in...and should not be used as pacelines...IMO.

Rate SEVERAL races...and then you get a more thorough idea of what the horse's form (or ability) is.


I agree with you and I do use every paceline in my handicapping.

When I create a Performance Class Rating from William L. Scott's "Total Victory at the Track" I have to use all races in the pp's to create it.

About using a single paceline to get a pace/speed rating-- I have read in a book or article--I don't remember which ( maybe a Bris newsletter), that advised combining the two fastest of the last three pacelines into one.

Ex. 46 1:10
47 1:12
46.4 1:11.1

You would get 46.2 and 1:10.3 for the horse. It sounded good, maybe even logical, but each of the three races was totally different. Different competitors, different class, track condtions, etc.

I did get winners doing this, but not as many as I get now.

JohnGalt1
04-07-2012, 09:21 AM
Those are good ideas.....but.....some tracks are very poor at publishing workouts. Alternatively, the horse may be training at a facility that doesn't report workouts. Finally, workouts are missed by clockers.

You'll miss some payouts too if you stick with those criteria too rigidly.


At Canterbury Park before the Claiming Crown I asked Steve Davidowitz how did he handle tracks like Mountaineer where workouts, especially for layoff horses were not published.

He said he looked at the trainer, and at some tracks like Kentucky, assume that horses were working on the farm.

If I still have too many doubts about condition or anything else, I don't wager.

raybo
04-07-2012, 09:41 AM
I agree with you and I do use every paceline in my handicapping.

When I create a Performance Class Rating from William L. Scott's "Total Victory at the Track" I have to use all races in the pp's to create it.

About using a single paceline to get a pace/speed rating-- I have read in a book or article--I don't remember which ( maybe a Bris newsletter), that advised combining the two fastest of the last three pacelines into one.

Ex. 46 1:10
47 1:12
46.4 1:11.1

You would get 46.2 and 1:10.3 for the horse. It sounded good, maybe even logical, but each of the three races was totally different. Different competitors, different class, track condtions, etc.

I did get winners doing this, but not as many as I get now.

Maybe you're not doing a good job of fully adjusting your fractional times(?)

I'm guessing this "best 2 of the last 3" method would work better if you were using "good" pace/speed figures, instead of poorly adjusted fractional times. Current form must also be considered before that method could "hold water".

jasperson
04-25-2012, 10:52 AM
But first a disclaimer:


Class

The class of a thoroughbred is a quality that is hard to define, although it's unmistakeable when seen...and yet, some of the most astute handicappers in the game refuse to accept that it even exists as a handicapping factor.

"Class has nothing to do with it!", declares the inimitable Andy Beyer...and the late Dick Mitchell was in agreement with the sentiment.

On the other side of the fence...equally prominent handicappers like James Quinn and Mark Cramer flatly disagree.

In his book "FORM CYCLES", Mark Cramer suggests that there is a hierarchy that exists within animal groups of the same type...and that the "higher" members of this hierarchy often impose their will over the rest of the group, AT A GLANCE!

As proof, he tells the story of an event that he himself witnessed when he spent time at a pig farm.

He writes that one of the pigs, had so intimidated the others in the pen, that none of the other pigs would even begin to eat their food until this "top" pig had finished eating hers (it was a female).

Cramer goes on to say that people who don't believe animals are capable of "intimidating" one another by their physical presence, "obviously haven't spent any time at a farm."

In my own handicapping -- and with apologies to Beyer and Mitchell -- I have found that class is a very important factor indeed. Horses fail to repeat their sharp efforts when they are raised in class for their subsequent start...even when the class rise appears insignificant at first sight. And it works equally well in reverse.

So aware have I become of the class factor, that I am very reluctant to rate a horse -- speed or pace-wise -- off of a "cheaper" race than the one it is asked to compete in presently.

Why do these "fast" horses fail to win so often when they go up in class...eventhough their class and pace figures say that they should be able to? Is it horse intimidation...or is it trainer intent?

Are the "dynamics" of these "classier" races so much different than their slightly cheaper counterparts?

Or could it be that the trainers don't THINK their horses are capable of winning at the higher levels, so they decide to "save" them for the next, more winnable spot?

I don't know the answer to this question...but I do know this:

Class is a very important handicapping factor...even if it only exists in the trainer's mind.


I think it's time for me to stop for today...and I promise to resume our discussion tomorrow.

As I've said before, comments of all types are welcomed...even if they are critical in nature.

As my friend DeltaLover likes to say..."only through disagreeing can real progress be made."

Ciao for now...

I agree class is vary important in my handicapping, but I don't think that the intimidation factors into it. Yes I have saw it the pasture and we had horses that ruled the roost in the pasture that couldn't beat a fat pig on the race track. Example of no intimidation is back in the 1940's two pacers Adios and Kings Counsel raced against each other about 35 times as 2 yr
olds, 3yr olds & 4 yr old and were just about even in the number of races won. Tb's in the 70's Gretion and Prescionist, mares Typecast and Convenence raced many time against each other and neither could intimite the other. Also distance is a factor just because one horse can always beat another horse at 6f it doesn't mean he can do it at 8f. I loved the early races when we had handicap stars that we could see them compete regularly during the year
Jack