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Old 09-27-2020, 12:39 AM   #16
mountainman
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Originally Posted by Nitro View Post
Ya know I could expect uninformed comments like this from those who have little knowledge or experience in the horse racing game. But I find comments made like this by someone whoís been in the game for such a long time very disappointing. Although I find them rather novice, you my friend apparently no idea what your assumptions signify.

Iíve been playing the HK circuit now going into my 6th year. I personally find it invigorating and refreshing especially when compared to State-side racing. Everything about it is as far as Iím concerned a horse playerís dream, come true. Iím not going reiterate all of the positive aspects of their product. Itís really unnecessary considering the handle that their patrons produce. In fact, I would wager that a typical single dayís 10 race card at Sha Tin would generate a larger handle than Mountaineer could produce in an entire year (even they raced every day of the week). Why does anyone suppose a guy like Benter would even venture into that sort of gambling environment to begin with?

Iíll just add a few facts to perhaps enlighten those who might be interested:
1) They very few Maiden (Griffin) type races
2) They have no Claiming or Allowance type races Ė mostly Handicaps
3) They donít race for the purpose of breeding. They race for the sake of racing Ė period.
4) They do have very strict regulations and enforcement by offering transparency at every level.
5) They donít permit the use of drugs on race day entries.
6) The stock has to prove themselves time and again in race trials before theyíre permitted to compete.
7) Etc, Etc
Not familiar with their racing. At all. And I certainly wasn't maligning it. But the size of their horse population did raise questions and pique my curiosity. And having served as a racing sec and ast racing sec for 30 years, the attrition rate and productivity of centralized horse populations is a topic that gets my attention and traces back to many factors

And the apparent absence of feeder-tracks makes it quite unique.

Tx for the response.
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Old 09-27-2020, 01:24 AM   #17
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I can only speak for myself, but when I have all my bias and trips notes laid out in the Formulator PPs and am familiar with all the horses and classes, I can quickly look at a race and focus in on who might be better or worse than they look on paper and provide a potential bet.

When the race is loaded with horses I don't know, I may take a quick look at the charts that day, the horses in the races they are coming out of, and perhaps watch a replay, but my opinions are never strong. That not good for me "personally" because I'm cautious before pulling the trigger.

If you want to laugh, I'm never more confident about a bet than I am on mule races. There are around 40 mules on that fair circuit (even less in recent years). I know every single one them as well as possible because I have notes on every mule in every race for years, have seen every pan and head-on replay multiple times and have my own figures. I don't get many good prices, but I know them so well, sometimes I take 1-1 or 6/5 and know I'm stealing. I rarely take less than 5/2 or 3/1 on horses.
I'm a formulator user, as well. Trip notes, bias notes, race-notes..and other things that might be of interest to viewers. And I go that whole nine yards with both Mountaineer AND Mahoning. But no way do I desire a program with no shippers.

True, a sharp player's confidence factor might soar when he is super-informed about the stock, but that's just one side of the equation. My point was sophisticated handicappers can widen their advantage even more (if just a bit) when less known commodities (invading horses) are added to the mix. A little uncertainty (in the form of semi-informed) speculation is not a bad thing when baked into the bottom line.

Admittedly, this opinion is partially based on the (increasing out-dated??) assumption that extreme familiarity with certain thoroughbreds does not follow them from track-to-track and well- inform their closing-odds.

But I do think that covid has made the American racing world just a bit smaller, if for no other reason than by giving handicappers more time to spread their focus, and that it's dicey, anyway, to assume that intimate knowledge of a field results in much more than a nominal edge these days.

Last edited by mountainman; 09-27-2020 at 01:26 AM.
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Old 09-27-2020, 02:28 AM   #18
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I'm a formulator user, as well. Trip notes, bias notes, race-notes..and other things that might be of interest to viewers. And I go that whole nine yards with both Mountaineer AND Mahoning. But no way do I desire a program with no shippers.

True, a sharp player's confidence factor might soar when he is super-informed about the stock, but that's just one side of the equation. My point was sophisticated handicappers can widen their advantage even more (if just a bit) when less known commodities (invading horses) are added to the mix. A little uncertainty (in the form of semi-informed) speculation is not a bad thing when baked into the bottom line.

Admittedly, this opinion is partially based on the (increasing out-dated??) assumption that extreme familiarity with certain thoroughbreds does not follow them from track-to-track and well- inform their closing-odds.

But I do think that covid has made the American racing world just a bit smaller, if for no other reason than by giving handicappers more time to spread their focus, and that it's dicey, anyway, to assume that intimate knowledge of a field results in much more than a nominal edge these days.
*increasingly
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Old 09-27-2020, 09:55 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by mountainman View Post
True, a sharp player's confidence factor might soar when he is super-informed about the stock, but that's just one side of the equation. My point was sophisticated handicappers can widen their advantage even more (if just a bit) when less known commodities (invading horses) are added to the mix. A little uncertainty (in the form of semi-informed) speculation is not a bad thing when baked into the bottom line.
I agree, but within limits.

One of the reasons I've been looking at biases at multiple track for quite awhile now is that I'm hoping one the horses that ran against the grain will ship somewhere where the locals won't know about it. In fact, I used one yesterday that finished 2nd at 15-1. But that kind of stuff is wildly time consuming. There only so many race cards and replays you can look at. So I'm still stuck with loads of shippers I'm less sure how to evaluate than the horses I follow closely.
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Old 09-27-2020, 10:02 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by mountainman View Post
I'm a formulator user, as well. Trip notes, bias notes, race-notes..and other things that might be of interest to viewers. And I go that whole nine yards with both Mountaineer AND Mahoning. But no way do I desire a program with no shippers.

True, a sharp player's confidence factor might soar when he is super-informed about the stock, but that's just one side of the equation. My point was sophisticated handicappers can widen their advantage even more (if just a bit) when less known commodities (invading horses) are added to the mix. A little uncertainty (in the form of semi-informed) speculation is not a bad thing when baked into the bottom line.

Admittedly, this opinion is partially based on the (increasing out-dated??) assumption that extreme familiarity with certain thoroughbreds does not follow them from track-to-track and well- inform their closing-odds.

But I do think that covid has made the American racing world just a bit smaller, if for no other reason than by giving handicappers more time to spread their focus, and that it's dicey, anyway, to assume that intimate knowledge of a field results in much more than a nominal edge these days.
They do have shippers, the difference is they come from all over the world, mostly Australia, New Zealand, England and Ireland. The majority of the horses have started their career elsewhere.
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Old 09-27-2020, 11:15 AM   #21
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They do have shippers, the difference is they come from all over the world, mostly Australia, New Zealand, England and Ireland. The majority of the horses have started their career elsewhere.
Is it usually a one-way trip when a horse ships in?? And they must have connections pre-established there?? Have lots of these invaders been sold since starting elsewhere??
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Old 09-27-2020, 05:22 PM   #22
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Yes, unless it is a stakes race situation. Usually the HKJC purchases the horses overseas and then sells them privately or at auction in Hong Kong. It's done differently over there, some people like it some people don't, I personally do. The ONLY bad thing is the hours if you are here in North America, Wednesdays are not too bad, it's the weekend cards that last all night long which makes it tough. It is a trip handicappers paradise with the large fields and with the close scrutiny of the club there are no shenanigans going on.
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Old 09-27-2020, 10:22 PM   #23
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Been listening to The Perfect Bet on Audibel. It was interesting that the author said Bill Benter the Hong Kong horse racing expert found that betting overlays lost him money until he adjusted to a number between his model and the tote board.

Also that only a population of about a thousand horses raced between the two Hong Kong tracks and shippers are rare. Seems like a database could easily be maintained. Maybe that's why he could use a model vs handicapping with tried and true elements of handicapping.

All thru the book the author refers to top contestants in racing and sports as predictions. I don't see handicapping as making predictions but evaluations where price is the determining factor.

Great book though.
Getting back on topic: You might also want to consider what Bill Benter has personally stated on this topic. If you donít recognize the name hereís a link:
http://www.worlds-greatest-gamblers....illiam-benter/
I certainly respect his credibility, because of his obvious accomplishments and capabilities.
His comments (below) are without a doubt significant to anyone interested attacking this game:

Quote:
Excerpts from:
ďComputer Based Horse Race Handicapping and Wagering Systems:Ē
A Report by William Benter

INTRODUCTION
The question of whether a fully mechanical system can ever "beat the races" has been widely discussed in both the academic and popular literature. Certain authors have convincingly demonstrated that profitable wagering systems do exist for the races. The most well documented of these have generally been of the technical variety, that is, they are concerned mainly with the public odds, and do not attempt to predict horse performance from fundamental factors. Technical systems for place and show betting, (Ziemba and Hausch, 1987) and exotic pool betting, (Ziemba and Hausch,1986) as well as the 'odds movement' system developed by Asch and Quandt (1986), fall into this category. A benefit of these systems is that they require relatively little preparatory effort, and can be effectively employed by the occasional race goer.

The complexity of predicting horse performance makes the specification of an elegant handicapping model quite difficult. Ideally, each independent variable would capture a unique aspect of the influences effecting horse performance. In the author's experience, the trial and error method of adding independent variables to increase the model's goodness-of-fit, results in the model tending to become a hodgepodge of highly correlated variables whose individual significance's are difficult to determine and often counter-intuitive.

Additionally, there will always be a significant amount of 'inside information' in horse racing that cannot be readily included in a statistical model. Trainer's and jockey's intentions, secret workouts, whether the horse ate its breakfast, and the like, will be available to certain parties who will no doubt take advantage of it. Their betting will be reflected in the odds. This presents an obstacle to the model developer with access to published information only. For a statistical model to compete in this environment, it must make full use of the advantages of computer modeling, namely, the ability to make complex calculations on large data sets.

The odds set by the public betting yield a sophisticated estimate of the horses' win probabilities.

It can be presumed that valid fundamental information exists which can not be systematically or practically incorporated into a statistical model. Therefore, any statistical model, however well developed, will always be incomplete. An extremely important step in model development, and one that the author believes has been generally overlooked in the literature, is the estimation of the relation of the model's probability estimates to the public's estimates, and the adjustment of the model's estimates to incorporate whatever information can be gleaned from the public's estimates. The public's implied probability estimates generally correspond well with the actual frequencies of winning.
BTW the last 2 sentences express exactly how Mr. Benter was able to achieve his success.
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Old 09-28-2020, 11:44 AM   #24
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Additionally, there will always be a significant amount of 'inside information' in horse racing that cannot be readily included in a statistical model. Trainer's and jockey's intentions, secret workouts, whether the horse ate its breakfast, and the like, will be available to certain parties who will no doubt take advantage of it. Their betting will be reflected in the odds.
This is something I've known for a long time but not thought very clearly about.

Everyone sees it when it comes to first time starters and even some layoffs because the inside money will sometimes scream at you (or its absence indicates the horse is not ready). But the same thing is going on in other types of races. It's just harder to notice. You'll see some horse bet down or not take much money and wonder what everyone else sees that you don't. Sometimes you may be missing a trip, bias, trainer pattern, the figures you are looking at are different than the more influential TG/RAG sheets, but sometimes insiders know the horse is set for his "A" race or missed some time and is less than 100% and you don't.
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Old 09-28-2020, 07:29 PM   #25
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Mr. Benter deserves much credit as he's obviously a brilliant man. When you examine the circumstances however I do believe even he would admit those were ideal conditions. He clearly worked very hard to accomplish what he did in an environment that was ideal to operate in. I think back to the article I read where in the early days before he was given direct access to the tote he had time to walk across the street and place his bets at the off track betting shop across from his office.

You have to understand these were days when hardly anyone even had a computer, the crowd wasn't stupid but there was all kinds of money to be made and he found a way to make it bigtime. I can tell you for certain odds volatility was nothing like it is with for example US racing today. To make use of the tote odds in a model, process the bet sizes etc and then have time to walk across the street with a few minutes to post, and punch out tickets, it would be awfully hard to see that working out the same way today.

Would he find a way to win today? I wouldn't bet against him but IMO it wouldn't be anything close to what it was like back then.
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Old 10-01-2020, 08:37 PM   #26
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Getting back on topic: You might also want to consider what Bill Benter has personally stated on this topic. If you donít recognize the name hereís a link:
http://www.worlds-greatest-gamblers....illiam-benter/
I certainly respect his credibility, because of his obvious accomplishments and capabilities.
His comments (below) are without a doubt significant to anyone interested attacking this game:


BTW the last 2 sentences express exactly how Mr. Benter was able to achieve his success.
Thanks Nitro. I appreciate all the info you shared.
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Old 10-01-2020, 08:52 PM   #27
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Getting back on topic: You might also want to consider what Bill Benter has personally stated on this topic. If you donít recognize the name hereís a link:

Therefore, any statistical model, however well developed, will always be incomplete.
A model doesn't have to be complete. It only correlates data points.
If A happens so many times then R seems to happen this many times.
Im gonna read as much as I can about it and see what he does. Models
are fascinating.
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Old 10-02-2020, 09:07 AM   #28
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Here's another phenomenon in models and factors I've noticed on occasion.

If you test a factor on "all" cases you will typically find that you'll lose the track take or thereabouts and tend to discard it.

I've seen cases where a factor seems to have no value at very short prices (everyone else sees it too) and very long prices (the horse may have a positive going for it but it's simply not good enough to win in today's race) but have some value among contenders that are not big favorites.

So maybe a guy like Benter incorporated the live odds into his model, but it may make sense to incorporate odds ranges also.
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Old 10-02-2020, 11:27 PM   #29
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Here's another phenomenon in models and factors I've noticed on occasion.

If you test a factor on "all" cases you will typically find that you'll lose the track take or thereabouts and tend to discard it.

I've seen cases where a factor seems to have no value at very short prices (everyone else sees it too) and very long prices (the horse may have a positive going for it but it's simply not good enough to win in today's race) but have some value among contenders that are not big favorites.

So maybe a guy like Benter incorporated the live odds into his model, but it may make sense to incorporate odds ranges also.
Good post. Just in the last year, or two, I've begun to realize that ROI as compared to win%, perhaps the most utilized means of attempting to estimate the odds range that a specific trainer's winners tend to fall into, leaves lots of blind-spots and variables. Nearly identical stats, incorporating both strike-rate and flat-bet return, can reflect very different tendencies.

But while many times the obvious conclusions are actually misleading, even a trap, I'm not so sure this gives computer programs an insurmountable edge.
Real time experience and expertise lead to strong and accurate opinions on the comparative skills of trainers, and intuitive understanding of their tendencies. An opinion and understanding that can transcend cold data and lead to good value when the stats don't jive with what you know.
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Old 10-03-2020, 08:43 AM   #30
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Ya know I could expect uninformed comments like this from those who have little knowledge or experience in the horse racing game. But I find comments made like this by someone whoís been in the game for such a long time very disappointing. Although I find them rather novice, you my friend apparently no idea what your assumptions signify.

Iíve been playing the HK circuit now going into my 6th year. I personally find it invigorating and refreshing especially when compared to State-side racing. Everything about it is as far as Iím concerned a horse playerís dream, come true. Iím not going reiterate all of the positive aspects of their product. Itís really unnecessary considering the handle that their patrons produce. In fact, I would wager that a typical single dayís 10 race card at Sha Tin would generate a larger handle than Mountaineer could produce in an entire year (even they raced every day of the week). Why does anyone suppose a guy like Benter would even venture into that sort of gambling environment to begin with?

Iíll just add a few facts to perhaps enlighten those who might be interested:
1) They very few Maiden (Griffin) type races
2) They have no Claiming or Allowance type races Ė mostly Handicaps
3) They donít race for the purpose of breeding. They race for the sake of racing Ė period.
4) They do have very strict regulations and enforcement by offering transparency at every level.
5) They donít permit the use of drugs on race day entries.
6) The stock has to prove themselves time and again in race trials before theyíre permitted to compete.
7) Etc, Etc


Does Hong Kong pps have running lines? Give us an idea of how the past performances look.
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