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Old 09-04-2009, 12:11 PM   #16
gm10
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I went to get a copy at the High Stakes bookshop today. Sadly, they were out of copies :-(.

If you ever have the chance, make sure that you visit this gambler's bookshop, it's in a very London part of London. I picked up a tiny little (American) handicapping book from the 70's there today!
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Old 09-04-2009, 12:46 PM   #17
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To Davidowitz dissenter

I agree with Saevana in general but i read Davidowitz first two books and there are several nuggets in there that make it worthwhile reading.

You have to read the book anyway because he is an extremely influential handicapper -- he got the whole "key race" thing started (not that he was the first to do it, but he definitely popularized it.). So if you want to know where some handicapping concepts are headed -- as far as the crowd is concerned -- it pays to read him.

But yes I disagree with Davidowtiz vehemently on his pace philosophy. He only thinks -- at least in his second book -- that pace matters with extreme fractions. Little difference if a horse ran against a 45.2 or 46.1 in 6f, for example, only if he encountered a 44.2 or something like that.

And I agree with Saevana that in this day of simulcasting, who has time to do what James Quinn calls "full-dress handicapping.?" Sure when you were following a single track Davidowitz and Quinn's advice made perfect sense but those ideas are obsolete in today's bet-a-minute world.

Still it doesn't mean a handicapper can't adapt a few of Davidowitz's ideas for his own use. Despite his rocky opinion on pace he is still a sharp player.




Quote:
Originally Posted by saevena
Another infomercial for the Racing Form: You must get Formulator, Simulcast weekly, etc., and do a thousand other things (according to him and other authors) to do the job right. If one followed his and their recommendations, you would not have time to sleep, let alone go to the track. Errors of fact: He claims that in the past perfomances for a 1 and one-quarter mile race, the past performances do not include the call for the first quarter mile; you must have the charts to get this info. (wrong). The top Beyer wins approximately 30% of the races (wrong, unless 25% is approximately 30%; top Daily Racing Form speed rating plus track variant wins about 21 or 22% of the time). Another opinionated hodgepodge of information with perhaps a few nuggets of value for those who accept his ideas.
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Old 09-04-2009, 01:41 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by jonnielu
The highest value would be if you were slam out of toilet paper.

jdl
There you have it, folks: straight from a horse(player)'s ass. What 'class'!

Pay no attention to pseudo-intellectual nitwits like this self-professed 'expert.' This is a great update to one of the all-time best books ever written on the subject.

Thanks Steve D.

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Old 09-04-2009, 01:50 PM   #19
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Andicap said:

And I agree with Saevana that in this day of simulcasting, who has time to do what James Quinn calls "full-dress handicapping.?" Sure when you were following a single track Davidowitz and Quinn's advice made perfect sense but those ideas are obsolete in today's bet-a-minute world.

Playing too many races spread out of over numerous tracks (each with their individual nuances, etc.) is the surest way to the poor house.*

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*Exceptions to the rule, of course, always excluded.
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Old 09-08-2009, 04:12 PM   #20
Aerocraft67
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Review of updated Davidowitz book

Maiden post here, offering a new guyís take on the updated Davidowitz book. I havenít finished it, but Iíve been poring over it considerably and Iíve skimmed what I havenít read thoroughly, formulating an opinion on the book in the meantime. At the risk of a premature review, I want to post while the thread is active, as well as for posterity as new horseplayers like me search for guidance on handicapping books. I bought it on Amazon with Cristís Exotic Betting for about $17 each, which cleared the $25 hurdle for free shipping. I had to wait about a week for the Davidowitz book to arrive in stock.

I bought the book because it seemed like one of the most comprehensive and authoritative tomes on handicapping with the most recent update. I got what I paid for and recommend the book accordingly. That said, it reads more like one dedicated and benevolent man passing along his lifetime experience and expertise with racing and handicapping, rather than an authoritative reference for the modern horseplayer that the title suggests. My critique holds the book to the latter standard, which might not be fair.

That the original was published 30 years ago shows a bit too much. The pedagogical value of many of the old examples stands the test of time, such as studying the career of Secretariat, but this edition remains a bit too reliant on old examples. It just gets tedious to pore over 30 year old PPs to follow a concept, and subsequently difficult to maintain faith that the examples remain relevant, particularly for the purpose of applying the principles to todayís races. Where there are more recent examples (and there are many), the material is much more encouraging.

The authorís firsthand experience with great horses and races of yore helps cultivate the readerís appreciation for the game, but the heavy reliance on the material gets a little, well, boring, and subjugates the quest for how to handicap todayís races with todayís tools. When I compare this material to the ďbeautiful mindĒ antics referenced on this discussion board, the book seems downright quaint in comparison. No doubt some would argue that the back-to-basics, old-school approach is not only charming, but also provides individuals an achievable edge in competition with large-scale data mining and whale-sized betting.

A new or old handicapping approach requires dedication, and you get out of the endeavor what you put in. But many of the methods and prescriptions in the book are impractically time-consuming for me, and presumably many others. I guess itís fair to set out the path for ultimate dedication to accommodate the high-achieving readers, but it would be helpful also to identify less ambitious techniques based on those principles for the casual horseplayer more explicitly. That said, the title does specify a professional's guide.

For example, it sounds like one of Davidowitzís primary contributions to handicapping is the key race methodology. But this critical chapter of the book began to distract me with dated tactics. Poring over printed results with a pencil seems like an antiquated methodology given electronic data sets available today. Itís a virtue to learn things from basic methods, but itís not like we continue to train mathematicians with slide rules. On the other hand, the takeaway of why race results are important does come through.

I have not yet mastered the data sources available to horseplayers (i.e., whatís available, whatís it mean, and what do I need), and this book didnít help much. The book is biased toward DRF as a primary information source, and doesnít offer much insight into other sources of data, which Iíd have found helpful. Even within the scope of DRF, it remains anchored on print data, and only alludes to Formulator occasionally. Perhaps a contribution from an editor with more experience using modern data sources would have helped here.

Each chapter aptly covers a fundamental component of handicapping, using old and new examples, and usually includes prescribed methods to practically apply the knowledge. Editorially, however, the material does not hold together too well. Chapters begin with colorful anecdotes, but often end abruptly, without summary or context or transition to other chapters. Not a fatal flaw, but I think the editors could have done a better job with the flow of the material after three editions. Again, the book can read like a long series of journal entries rather than a formal reference.

I should acknowledge that itís conspicuous for a brand new horseplayer to critique the seminal tome of a lifelong master of the endeavor. But that juxtaposition is kind of the pointóitís a unique angle compared with the prevailing expert opinions on the board. I donít even know what I need to know that the book isnít telling me, but I suspect itís substantial. Maybe Iím asking too much of one book, or maybe I'm intimidated by how challenging handicapping is. But I do think Iím too old to be biased by youth, and that Iím being realistic about the time and effort people can spend on pastimes, and that I have sufficient editorial acumen and fondness for how-to books to offer a useful view.

The book is comprehensive, but seems short on modern tools and techniques and long on historical anecdotes and methods. Perhaps the formula still yields an edge today. The approach implies specialization in a specific track, which I find compelling and look forward to pursuing, but applying the formula in it's entirety seems impractical for all but dedicated professionals, and it seems that those horseplayers have built on this material and moved on. I do value the book and will continue to study it, especially given the dearth of foundational yet modern handicapping reading out there, and try to apply the wisdom to weekend horseplay.

Since this is my first post, a quick thanks for a great board. I look forward to participating as my pursuit of horseplay evolves.

Last edited by Aerocraft67; 09-08-2009 at 04:14 PM.
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Old 09-08-2009, 07:59 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aerocraft67
For example, it sounds like one of Davidowitzís primary contributions to handicapping is the key race methodology. But this critical chapter of the book began to distract me with dated tactics. Poring over printed results with a pencil seems like an antiquated methodology given electronic data sets available today.
Good observation. The skeptic in me says that it's because if one were to subject the key race principal to a database of race results, the results would be disappointing.
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Old 09-08-2009, 08:32 PM   #22
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Good review Aero, welcome to the board
I bought it but haven't had the time to read it yet. I bought the original but I sure as hell know that I forgot 99.9% of it. The 1% being the authors name
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Old 09-09-2009, 07:46 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by ryesteve
Good observation. The skeptic in me says that it's because if one were to subject the key race principal to a database of race results, the results would be disappointing.
I bought a bunch of charts way back when to test the key race concept manually. I found it to be great finding the key races after, but using the concept to make a profit going forward was another story. Would be great if a database guy could confirm or deny what I found manually.

Davidowitz is a great guy for the game though and has many worthwhile insights. From my experience he'll go out of his way to help you if you ask.
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Old 09-09-2009, 11:00 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by Niko
Would be great if a database guy could confirm or deny what I found manually.
I'd probably do it if/when I've got some downtime, but I strongly suspect it'll be just like the various angles and P&T stuff some people are very fond of; when it fails to stand up to db scrutiny, proponents will argue that it does work, but there's an art to applying it than can't be automated.
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