Go Back   Horse Racing Forum - PaceAdvantage.Com - Horse Racing Message Board > Thoroughbred Horse Racing Discussion > General Handicapping Discussion
User Name
Password

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 07-22-2010, 05:51 PM   #1
LottaKash
"YHVH" rules !
 
LottaKash's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 5,699
vCash: 400
Mark Cramer: Art vs. Science....(line making)

Currently, there is a thread about your most "influential" books & authors, and I was going to say that, for me, Mark Cramer would be my "#1-pick" as having the most positive and influential effect on my handicapping....Yet, there are/were so many excellent and successful author/players who delve into the "Bread & Butter" and "Meat and Potatos" side of horse racing, and who could deny any or all of them, as they expertly show us how to detect, determine, and assess, speed, pace, velocity, ESP, running lines, along with class ratings and all the other numerous and usual "classical" handicapping categories and such ?....

But, MC's book "THE ODDS ON YOUR SIDE" was the deal clincher for me....It had filled the most important void in my personal handicapping process..."THE BETTING LINE PHILOSOPHY"...
==============================================


Still, this is not the point of my starting this thread....

It is about Line-Making, and, is it considered, by you, to be more of an "ART" or more of a "SCIENCE" ?.....
-------------------------------------------------------------------------
================================================== ======

Before I quote what MC had to say about Man vs. Machine in the Betting-Line-Making process", I would like to quote what expert handicapper and writer "Dick Mitchell", in his foreward, had to say about MC's book.....

" To my knowledge (1987) this is the first book in the literature of thoroughbred handicapping to be dedicated entirely to the subject of making an "Odds Line""...."This skill is the ultimate weapon in the assault on the mutuels"...."This is fastest road to the win window"....

"This book is for all handicappers of all persuasions....The Computer-Jock will be amazed at how well Cramer turns Qualitative concepts into Numbers"...."The more traditional handicapper will be dragged kicking and screaming into a decision orientation style of wagering as opposed to the more common selection orientation"...."Nobody promised you that the road to the win window is an easy one"......

"This book is a treasure map"....."It contains the key to the mint"....It is up to you to find it".....
================================================== ====

Mark Cramer, in his Intro to this book states; "We, as horseplayers, can follow examples of the Beyers, Davidowitz' and Quinns, but ultimately, we have to discover our own way".....
================================================== ====

In MC's 1st-Chapter "THE BETTING LINE PHILOSPHY", in the beginning, goes like this: "This book is based on an inherent contradiction"....

(1) "Let us first agree in principle that a betting line will help us to identify overlays....A betting based on 100% total probablities in a race sounds like something very Numerical.....Therefore, most horseplayers assume that if the end product is numerical, the process must be numerical...How can you end up with numbers, if you don't start with numbers ?.....As a result of this assumption, the computer would seem to be the vehicle which best relates to the process....On the other hand, given the infinite subtleties of horse race analysis, it should be unlikely that a computer could produce a betting line unless it were taught to deal with each race as separate puzzle...Can a computer be programmed to do this ?...Unlikely, but possible"...

(2) "Many longshots and overlays at all price levels have been uncovered by "intuitive reasoning" ".....The act of scientific discovery is just as much and Art as it is a Science....Engineers don't discover the theory of relativity, artists do, If a betting line is to be constructed to uncover "value" best, it must incorporate artistic thought...In other words, there must be a way to translate logic and creativity into a Number".....

"How to translate words and logic into numbers....How to construct a bridge from intuitive reasoning to numerical line...The will be the first and formost achievement of this book".....
-----------------------------------------
Without going into too much detail, it must be said that, MC's approach to line making is a bit contrarian to the classic way of making a line, in that, he depicts that "each race" falls into a "Race Category" ie; claimer, stakes, alwc, starter, graded etc, ......But, each of those Race Categories, as MC contends, can be labeled, and must be put into 1 of 10 different "Handicapping Categories" as well....These HC's are listed;

1. Low Priced Overlay
2. The Contentious Race
3. Stakes in Action
4. Lesser of Evils
5. Legitimate Favorite
6. One Factor Race
7. Vulnerable Favorite
8. Apples and Oranges
9. Co-Choice Race
10. Basic Race
================================================== =======

So, my question to all is; how can you, or DO you, identify any one of the listed 10 types of unique "handicapping categories", that any one particular race may be labeled as, "via the computer" ?.....

Does anyone construct a betting line this way ?.....

Is it difficult to tell a computer program to identify what variable(s) are to be given the most "weight" to, in each race, in a case by race basis, as Mark Cramer does ?...

I know that Thoroughbred Programs are far more complex and accurate since 1987, especially at concocting an odds line, but I still see some very sophisticated people with hightly advanced software, on this forum, still trying to put a number on some variable, angle or concept or other....That is why I ask this question again, "Is your computer smart enough to know what kind of unique situation that may exists in each race by race, or does it just know about the basics such as class, speed and position etc, and base the odds on that, and not any of the subtleties etc..? How do you quantify the subtleties with a number ?..... For instance, my best overlays and scores are based on "Angles" and "Trainers intentions on race day", and I haven't found a way to express that in a whole number as of yet....I guess that is why I still remain a "pen & paper" handicapper....I mean, It's nice to have the basics all done for you at the touch of button, but what about the "G" factor (gut instinct) and the "Angles"....???....If you still have to rely on your own interpretation and perceptions anyway (other than the pace, speed, and velocity stuff), can you put a whole lot of stock in the "black box" concept and trust it at face value...???

================================================== =======
Note:
Mark also identifies the most powerful to the lesser of Major (handicapping factors) as well as the positives and negatives that may be evident in a horse's data set.....Worth the price of the book alone, imo..
================================================== =======

Mark likes and quoted many scientists at the conclusion of this book, and one of my favorites is; "The opposite of a correct statement is a false statement...But the opposite of a profound truth may well be another profound truth" - Niels Bohr

best,
__________________
...
"You can trace EVERY disease and condition in the human body to a MINERAL DEFICIENCY."... Dr. Linus Pauling
...
LottaKash is offline   Reply With Quote Reply
Old 07-22-2010, 06:24 PM   #2
Overlay
 
Overlay's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Harvest, Alabama
Posts: 7,148
vCash: 400
Send a message via ICQ to Overlay
I agree (not surprisingly) about the importance of odds lines. However, from what I recall of my exposure to Cramer's book, it was too qualitative or arbitrary for my tastes. My hat is off to those who can manage to meld quantitative data and qualitative or intuitive observations into consistently accurate, reliable probabilities, but I don't think that I'll ever be included in that group.

As long as multi-factored statistics and probabilities by themselves do a similarly effective job for me (as they do) in weighting handicapping elements, assigning odds, and differentiating race scenarios, and also (in the event of significant negative deviations from performance) indicate which part of the handicapping model is responsible (so as to allow for any needed adjustments), I'll continue to use them (without requiring a computer).

Last edited by Overlay : 07-22-2010 at 06:31 PM.
Overlay is offline   Reply With Quote Reply
Old 07-22-2010, 08:02 PM   #3
CincyHorseplayer
Veteran
 
CincyHorseplayer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Cincinnati,Ohio
Posts: 3,365
vCash: 400
I agree with Cramer's overall take.People think that looking at the racing form "You don't have an edge because everybody is seeing what you are seeing".

It's like a looking at a Picasso,a Delacroix,a Bosch.It's all about interpretation.It is art,not science or pure numerology.Interpreting form is not as easy as "what's in the form".That's an oversimplification.Form analysis combined with what is happening on track today is beyond most of the crowd.As someone on here quoted as their signature "seeing what everyone has seen and thinking what nobody has thought".That's where art and creative thinking trump science and numbers.Over the last 2 days my big winners have been because of breeding,rainstorms that affected the way turf races were run,and a dead rail/closer bias.Adjusting my thinking on contenders I could capitalize.But it wasn't there "In the form".

The linemaking,idiosyncratic way,is the faster path to profit.The crowd is wrong 2/3rds of the time.When the toteboard is totally out of whack with your line,and you are right,you'll feel the adrenalin kick in and bet more than normal.And capitalize.

Although I must say.While I never bet underlays on my line,I will bet horses who are about even at times.They win often enough to warrant it.The overlays in exactas make up the difference for me.
CincyHorseplayer is offline   Reply With Quote Reply
Old 07-22-2010, 10:29 PM   #4
Tom
Registered User
 
Tom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Canandaigua, New york
Posts: 64,461
vCash: 1310
Lotta, you might like this one by Mark as well, if you havent' read it yet.
Leans towards the artsy side of line making.

http://www.amazon.com/Value-Handica...79852101&sr=1-1
__________________
Toga, Toga......
Tom is offline   Reply With Quote Reply
Old 07-22-2010, 10:55 PM   #5
CincyHorseplayer
Veteran
 
CincyHorseplayer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Cincinnati,Ohio
Posts: 3,365
vCash: 400
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom
Lotta, you might like this one by Mark as well, if you havent' read it yet.
Leans towards the artsy side of line making.

http://www.amazon.com/Value-Handica...79852101&sr=1-1


Yeah I've read that one Tom.And it was a big influence.Especially the categorization of races by either view or condition.It' things we've all thought about while playing.
CincyHorseplayer is offline   Reply With Quote Reply
Old 07-23-2010, 02:00 AM   #6
Kevroc
Chubby Chaser
 
Kevroc's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: New York
Posts: 481
vCash: 400
For those that have difficulty converting their thoughts into a m/l, there is a free program offered on the Del Mar website that converts percentage into m/l. I find it is alot easier to assign each runner a % chance of winning.

http://www.dmtc.com/handicapping/tools/
Kevroc is offline   Reply With Quote Reply
Old 07-23-2010, 02:10 AM   #7
CincyHorseplayer
Veteran
 
CincyHorseplayer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Cincinnati,Ohio
Posts: 3,365
vCash: 400
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevroc
For those that have difficulty converting their thoughts into a m/l, there is a free program offered on the Del Mar website that converts percentage into m/l. I find it is alot easier to assign each runner a % chance of winning.

http://www.dmtc.com/handicapping/tools/


Why would you not convert your own opinion on horses into a betting line as opposed to having it done for you??
CincyHorseplayer is offline   Reply With Quote Reply
Old 07-23-2010, 03:51 AM   #8
Kevroc
Chubby Chaser
 
Kevroc's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: New York
Posts: 481
vCash: 400
Oh absolutely would rather convert it myself but, some folks might find it easier to assign a percentage and may have some difficulty nailing down a proper m/l. The tool helps you make the conversion from % to m/l and vice versa, that's all.
Kevroc is offline   Reply With Quote Reply
Old 07-23-2010, 12:14 PM   #9
markgoldie
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: philadelphia
Posts: 928
vCash: 400
Well Kash...

Nice post and a particular area in which I have mounted the soapbox in the past.

My answer is yes- all these feelings, shadings, nuances, leanings, suspicions, trepidations, confidences, if-this-then-that dependencies, etc. can be quantified. They can also be programmed into a computer which will then faithfully and quickly reproduce them without the minute-to-minute normal oversights and forgetfulness of the human brain.

Since I'm not a computer guy, you may wonder how in the world I can be so confident this is true. The reason is that the deterministic measurements of the mind are just that- measurements. And all measurements are capturable by numbers.

As I wrote on a simlar thread, the mind craves these numbers when it comes to any sort of quantitative measurement. So, for example, when two people are discussing even a non-standard, highly judgemental, feeling-based measurement, the need for numbers becomes evident. To wit:

Person 1: How angry was she?
Person 2: She was pretty angry. Sort of angry anyway. Not furious. But kinda angry nonetheless.
Person1: Help me out here. On a scale of 1 to 10, how angry was she?

The overwhelming dependency on numbers by handicappers is a simple result of the mind's need for accurate quantification. In fact, when you read these numbers day in and day out for so many years, you begin to understand in a strange way the verbal stories behind them. Like: "Once upon a time there was a three year old filly. She showed some promise as a two year old, but the stress of racing got to her and she needed to be put to bed. When she came back for her sophmore campaign, she initially didn't know how she felt about the racing game in general. She was tentative. Hesitent. And then one day her trainer thought: why not try her with blinkers? Maybe she just gets a little distracted by all the stuff going on around her. And so they did. And the trainer was right. Our little girl put her mind on business and she raced much better. She won two of three races and then her trainer and owner decided to try her against some better-class fillies in a graded stake. This would be the test of her life. She had the ability, but could she dig down and find her competitive spirit against proven rivals?

Stories. And yet, numbers are the only way we have to begin to predict how these intersecting stories will play out in today's race.

Power numbers, as those produced by "black-box" programs are popular because they integrate a conglomeration of numbers into a single digit. Personally, I am fascinated by them, because they attempt to accurately quantify the numerlogical 'soup." I have looked at the most famous of these- the Brisnet Prime Power number- for many years. I know this number like I would a handicapping buddy that I had spent years with going to the races and comparing handicapping notes. I have a deep respect for my buddy and I generally know how he thinks. So we agree most of the time. But the fascinating times are when we are in total disagreement. I sit there and stare at his out-of-character opinion. I go over the target horse with a fine-toothed comb. What am I missing? What does he see that I don't? What does he know that I don't? Can I bet against him here? Should I? Sure I will. But still, I'm always a bit scared because I know that unlike a human handicapping buddy, this one doesn't have brain cramps... doesn't have bad days when the wife is nagging him and his judgement is impaired. No. This handicapping buddy is like the Rock of Gibralter. And if I'm going to beat him, I know it will test the depths of my experience and knowledge of the game. How do I fare in these situations? I usually win. But not always. And when he wins, I tell myself he just got lucky this time.

At any rate, I would love to be able to discuss his handicapping methodologies with him. But I can't. There's one thing I'm totally sure of though. If he can be this good, there is a possibility that a different black-box buddy could easily beat both of us day in and day out. And so, the numbers can and do tell the stories better than humans can. Clearly there is an art into getting the numbers right- of translating all the shadings into the right number. But that's a one-time struggle with possibly periodic updates. On the other hand, once this struggle is complete, it will handicap all North American races on a given day in a matter of seconds. Show me the human artist who can do that.
markgoldie is offline   Reply With Quote Reply
Old 07-23-2010, 02:52 PM   #10
toetoe
Veteran
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 11,435
vCash: 468
Mark,

Wisht Ida wrote that. and .



[Keep this between you 'n' I.]
toetoe is offline   Reply With Quote Reply
Old 07-23-2010, 05:19 PM   #11
thaskalos
The truth is out there...
 
thaskalos's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Chicagoland
Posts: 9,598
vCash: 400
Markgoldie...the scariest thought going through my mind, is that I have to compete with people as bright as you...in my quest for profits in this game.
thaskalos is online now   Reply With Quote Reply
Old 07-24-2010, 03:47 AM   #12
CincyHorseplayer
Veteran
 
CincyHorseplayer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Cincinnati,Ohio
Posts: 3,365
vCash: 400
Quote:
Originally Posted by markgoldie
Well Kash...

Nice post and a particular area in which I have mounted the soapbox in the past.

My answer is yes- all these feelings, shadings, nuances, leanings, suspicions, trepidations, confidences, if-this-then-that dependencies, etc. can be quantified. They can also be programmed into a computer which will then faithfully and quickly reproduce them without the minute-to-minute normal oversights and forgetfulness of the human brain.

Since I'm not a computer guy, you may wonder how in the world I can be so confident this is true. The reason is that the deterministic measurements of the mind are just that- measurements. And all measurements are capturable by numbers.

As I wrote on a simlar thread, the mind craves these numbers when it comes to any sort of quantitative measurement. So, for example, when two people are discussing even a non-standard, highly judgemental, feeling-based measurement, the need for numbers becomes evident. To wit:

Person 1: How angry was she?
Person 2: She was pretty angry. Sort of angry anyway. Not furious. But kinda angry nonetheless.
Person1: Help me out here. On a scale of 1 to 10, how angry was she?

The overwhelming dependency on numbers by handicappers is a simple result of the mind's need for accurate quantification. In fact, when you read these numbers day in and day out for so many years, you begin to understand in a strange way the verbal stories behind them. Like: "Once upon a time there was a three year old filly. She showed some promise as a two year old, but the stress of racing got to her and she needed to be put to bed. When she came back for her sophmore campaign, she initially didn't know how she felt about the racing game in general. She was tentative. Hesitent. And then one day her trainer thought: why not try her with blinkers? Maybe she just gets a little distracted by all the stuff going on around her. And so they did. And the trainer was right. Our little girl put her mind on business and she raced much better. She won two of three races and then her trainer and owner decided to try her against some better-class fillies in a graded stake. This would be the test of her life. She had the ability, but could she dig down and find her competitive spirit against proven rivals?

Stories. And yet, numbers are the only way we have to begin to predict how these intersecting stories will play out in today's race.

Power numbers, as those produced by "black-box" programs are popular because they integrate a conglomeration of numbers into a single digit. Personally, I am fascinated by them, because they attempt to accurately quantify the numerlogical 'soup." I have looked at the most famous of these- the Brisnet Prime Power number- for many years. I know this number like I would a handicapping buddy that I had spent years with going to the races and comparing handicapping notes. I have a deep respect for my buddy and I generally know how he thinks. So we agree most of the time. But the fascinating times are when we are in total disagreement. I sit there and stare at his out-of-character opinion. I go over the target horse with a fine-toothed comb. What am I missing? What does he see that I don't? What does he know that I don't? Can I bet against him here? Should I? Sure I will. But still, I'm always a bit scared because I know that unlike a human handicapping buddy, this one doesn't have brain cramps... doesn't have bad days when the wife is nagging him and his judgement is impaired. No. This handicapping buddy is like the Rock of Gibralter. And if I'm going to beat him, I know it will test the depths of my experience and knowledge of the game. How do I fare in these situations? I usually win. But not always. And when he wins, I tell myself he just got lucky this time.

At any rate, I would love to be able to discuss his handicapping methodologies with him. But I can't. There's one thing I'm totally sure of though. If he can be this good, there is a possibility that a different black-box buddy could easily beat both of us day in and day out. And so, the numbers can and do tell the stories better than humans can. Clearly there is an art into getting the numbers right- of translating all the shadings into the right number. But that's a one-time struggle with possibly periodic updates. On the other hand, once this struggle is complete, it will handicap all North American races on a given day in a matter of seconds. Show me the human artist who can do that.


In yet another long winded post that attempts to load itself with "outs".You completely missed the point of this thread.In one paragraph you transformed and reinterpreted this thread from subjective line making into objective,automaton thinking.I'll just agree to disagree here without getting longwinded myself.
CincyHorseplayer is offline   Reply With Quote Reply
Old 07-24-2010, 08:10 AM   #13
fmolf
Registered User
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: massapequa park ny
Posts: 2,098
vCash: 400
Quote:
Originally Posted by CincyHorseplayer
In yet another long winded post that attempts to load itself with "outs".You completely missed the point of this thread.In one paragraph you transformed and reinterpreted this thread from subjective line making into objective,automaton thinking.I'll just agree to disagree here without getting longwinded myself.

Mitchell is on the opposite end of the spectrum from Cramer in handicapping methodology.I read a book of Cramers on form cycles(cannot recall the exact title) and was impressed with his out of the box ideas and writing style. I have always been more about how a horses numbers relate to the class of race and the trainers intention anyway.One can always make a chart with the odds to % conversions on it, I have it on the same page as my exacta overlay chart.Picking horses solely on numbers would seemingly lead you to the favorite in most races.In my opinion most handicappers use a subjective type of analysis without even realizing they are doing it,yet consider themselves "speed" or "pace" handicappers.....
fmolf is offline   Reply With Quote Reply
Old 07-24-2010, 08:44 AM   #14
Overlay
 
Overlay's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Harvest, Alabama
Posts: 7,148
vCash: 400
Send a message via ICQ to Overlay
Quote:
Originally Posted by fmolf
Picking horses solely on numbers would seemingly lead you to the favorite in most races.


It would depend on your orientation. If your sole concern is narrowing a field down to the one horse that's most likely to win (irrespective of any other factors), that would probably be true. But it wouldn't necessarily be the case if you're looking at the entire field from a pari-mutuel standpoint (which, to me, is the whole point and main value of line-making).

Last edited by Overlay : 07-24-2010 at 08:48 AM.
Overlay is offline   Reply With Quote Reply
Old 07-24-2010, 10:37 AM   #15
markgoldie
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: philadelphia
Posts: 928
vCash: 400
In MC's 1st-Chapter "THE BETTING LINE PHILOSPHY", in the beginning, goes like this: "This book is based on an inherent contradiction"....

(1) "Let us first agree in principle that a betting line will help us to identify overlays....A betting based on 100% total probablities in a race sounds like something very Numerical.....Therefore, most horseplayers assume that if the end product is numerical, the process must be numerical...How can you end up with numbers, if you don't start with numbers ?.....As a result of this assumption, the computer would seem to be the vehicle which best relates to the process....On the other hand, given the infinite subtleties of horse race analysis, it should be unlikely that a computer could produce a betting line unless it were taught to deal with each race as separate puzzle...Can a computer be programmed to do this ?...Unlikely, but possible"...

Cincy:

This was the quote from Kash's initial post to which I chose to respond.
markgoldie is offline   Reply With Quote Reply
Reply

« Previous Thread | Next Thread »



Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump



All times are GMT -4. The time now is 03:06 AM.



Powered by: vBulletin Version 3.0.5
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright 1999 - 2013 -- PaceAdvantage.Com -- All Rights Reserved -- Best Viewed @ 1024x768 Resolution Or Higher