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Jul 31, 2009

Betting Odds Angle

By: Ray Taulbot

Circumstances alter cases. A needfor the price rule we are going to write about is the circumstance that altersmuch of what we have written about price rules in past articles.

Every racing fan of any realexperience knows that the prices his winners pay is of vital importance to hisfinancial success. However, various turf writers have caused some confusion onthis subject. A few writers have suggested that one should confine his wagers tohorses that go postward at no less than 8–1; others have argued that the smartplayer never backs a horse that is held at odds of more than 4–1. Therefore,some fans are confused as to just what they should do about price.

The perfect selection method, ofcourse, is one that produces a good percentage of winners at moderate prices,but which also points out a winner now and then at really high odds. It is nottoo easy to find this happy combination.

However, one must admit thatevery player does need a high-priced winner every now and then in order to helpoffset the losses incurred during a given period.

His need for a high price now andthen is obvious because no matter how good his selection method is, or howefficient he may be as a selector, he will always back more losers than winners.

As a matter of fact, about thebest winning average anyone can maintain over a year of operation is about 35percent. There might be periods when the winning percentages will climb as highas 60 percent, but sooner or later the percentage will encounter its low, whichmay be in the high 20’s.

So every player must face theinevitable fate that at best he is going to lose about 65 wagers out of every100 bets he makes. And the losing percentage could be still higher, depending onthe capability of the individual selector.

Thus, it is clear that one can’tearn a steady profit if all of his winners are low-priced horses. At least hecan’t do it on a flat bet, and progression can prove highly dangerous in thehands of an inexperienced operator.

The advice that one should stickto selections that go postward at 8–1 or more is mathematically sound, butsuch a demand limits the action severely. Further, such a requirement willusually result in a long string of consecutive losses, two facts that theaverage racing fan dislikes.

Is there a truly satisfactoryanswer to the price problem? We believe there is, but it involves the use of twomethods rather than the usual one mode for making the selection.

A brief example will serve tomake this point clear. Suppose that your present method has been found to beentirely sound, but the prices paid by the winners are a bit on the low side ascompared to the winning percentage.

Under such circumstances, themethod will show a small profit. However, in order to earn an adequate returnfor your effort it is necessary to increase the amount of each wager to a levelthat may demand more capital than you have available. For instance, if themethod shows a yearly net profit of $3,500 on a flat $10 wager, one would haveto back each selection with a $30 wager in order to bring the yearly net up to aworthwhile figure.

The man who does not havesufficient capital to make such an increase in his wagers must either stopbetting or be satisfied with a couple of thousand a year, which is hardlysufficient in these days of high costs.

The only alternative this playerhas is to employ a longshot method in conjunction with his regular method ofmaking selections. However, he should be very careful in his selection of aprice method. He can’t afford to choose a method that gives him too muchaction because excessive high-priced action could conflict too frequently withhis regular selections. In short, he might find it necessary to back two horsesin the same race too frequently for his own good.

Therefore, he must seek out alongshot method that will afford him only a few plays during the course of aweek. There are two ways in which this can be accomplished:

1. Make the odds demand for thelongshot method 14–1 or more, which will rule out many of the plays the methodwould normally point out; or,

2. Find a system, if possible,that will point out only a few plays each week at any one track.

The latter will prove difficultto accomplish. Hence the odds demand of 14–1 or more is the more logicalchoice.

It is our belief that asupplementary longshot method, combined with adequate odds, is the correctanswer to the price-needed factor in turf speculation.

However, in spite of your bestefforts, you will occasionally encounter conflict between the two methods used.Therefore you must be prepared to back two horses in the same race when thisoccurs. The trick is to see that it doesn’t occur too frequently, and that iswhere the odds demand will prove of great help.

There are several good longshotmethods available to racing fans. However, all of them present the problem oftoo much action to warrant using them in conjunction with a sound handicappingmethod.

We suggest that those of you whoare interested in solving the price problem through the use of an auxiliarylongshot method consider a little plan we have used over the years when seekinga high-priced selection.

Perhaps this is not the bestangle ever developed for picking high-priced winners, but it has served usnicely and should prove of help to you.

Several years ago we noted thatsome horses that won and paid $30 and more followed a distinct odds pattern. Wealso noticed that most horses had moved up in class or claiming price last timeout.

We recall that on the day when wefirst noticed these points, there were three high-priced winners at twodifferent tracks. In every instance, the three horses won and paid $30 or more.

This triggered our curiosity tothe point where we could not resist checking back to see whether the samesituation had prevailed in the past.

We soon discovered that the samething that been happening with reasonable frequency in the recent past. But wenoticed that when the odds today were less than 10–1, most of the qualifiedhorses finished up the track.

This called for an examination ofpapers for the previous year, and again we found the same pattern repeatingitself. This convinced us that some trainers make a practice of raising a horsein class or claiming price one race before they intend to crack down.

We are not prepared to say whytrainers sometimes do this; however, it appears to be done in the interest ofthe price next start. This assumption is based on the fact that too frequentlywhen such horses were held at moderate odds, they failed to turn in a successfulor impressive race.

During the check period, wewatched the class factor to the extent of noting whether or not the horse wasdropping in class or claiming price today. We found that in most instances, thehorse dropped in class or claiming price today. However, in some instances, thehorse went back for its trying effort at the same price for which it was enteredlast start, and in a few instances and under peculiar conditions, a few of thewinners went up in class again today.

This latter situation occurredusually in starter allowance and starter handicap races, where the events wereconditioned for horses that had previously been entered for a stated claimingprice. Technically, such animals were moving up from a claiming eventinto either an allowance or handicap race. But in actuality, the field was madeup of nothing but claiming platers of a given grade.

However, we decided to confineour selections to qualified horses that were not moving up in class again today,accepting only those horses that were re-entered for a price identical to theirlast entered price as well as those that were dropping down today.

This has caused us to miss somegood longshots. Therefore, it is a question you should decide for yourself aftermaking a check of no less than three months.

Following are the selection rulesto qualify a longshot selection:

1. The horse must have moved upin claiming price last start if entered in a claiming race, or one full grade ormore if it was entered in a non-claiming race in its next-to-last race.

2. The horse must have started ata major track within the past 30 days, and its last race must have been run overa major track it if is running today over a major course.

3. The horse must have finishedin the money in its next-to-last race, or it must have been running first,second or third at the stretch call in its next-to-last race, being no more thanthree lengths off the leader at that point.

4. The horse’s odds in its mostrecent race must have been 10–1 or more and they must be at least two timeshigher than the horse’s odds in its next-to-last race.

5. The horse must not be movingup in class or claiming price today. It must be entered for the same class or ata lower class than its entered class last time out. The odds today must be 14–1or higher.


December 14 3rd Aqueduct

1 mile 70 yards

Maiden claiming price $50,000

Can’t Stop Dancingc.2 $40,000

1Dec00-4Aqu fst 1 m Md clm 50000

7 8 6 6 23.30

9Nov00-9Med fst 1-70 Md clm 250008 5 4 2 9.90


Look at the past performances ofthe two-year-old maiden Can’t Stop Dancing who won and paid $48.80 inthe third race at Aqueduct on December 14, 2000. He was a perfect claimingqualifier.u

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