Dec 11, 2003
Betting Odds Angle
By: Ray Taulbot
Circumstances alter cases. A need
for the price rule we are going to write about is the circumstance that alters
much of what we have written about price rules in past articles.
Every racing fan of any real
experience knows that the prices his winners pay is of vital importance to his
financial success. However, various turf writers have caused some confusion on
this subject. A few writers have suggested that one should confine his wagers to
horses that go postward at no less than 8–1; others have argued that the smart
player 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, of
course, 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 not
too easy to find this happy combination.
However, one must admit that
every player does need a high-priced winner every now and then in order to help
offset the losses incurred during a given period.
His need for a high price now and
then is obvious because no matter how good his selection method is, or how
efficient he may be as a selector, he will always back more losers than winners.
As a matter of fact, about the
best winning average anyone can maintain over a year of operation is about 35
percent. There might be periods when the winning percentages will climb as high
as 60 percent, but sooner or later the percentage will encounter its low, which
may be in the high 20’s.
So every player must face the
inevitable fate that at best he is going to lose about 65 wagers out of every
100 bets he makes. And the losing percentage could be still higher, depending on
the capability of the individual selector.
Thus, it is clear that one can’t
earn a steady profit if all of his winners are low-priced horses. At least he
can’t do it on a flat bet, and progression can prove highly dangerous in the
hands of an inexperienced operator.
The advice that one should stick
to selections that go postward at 8–1 or more is mathematically sound, but
such a demand limits the action severely. Further, such a requirement will
usually result in a long string of consecutive losses, two facts that the
average racing fan dislikes.
Is there a truly satisfactory
answer to the price problem? We believe there is, but it involves the use of two
methods rather than the usual one mode for making the selection.
A brief example will serve to
make this point clear. Suppose that your present method has been found to be
entirely sound, but the prices paid by the winners are a bit on the low side as
compared to the winning percentage.
Under such circumstances, the
method will show a small profit. However, in order to earn an adequate return
for your effort it is necessary to increase the amount of each wager to a level
that may demand more capital than you have available. For instance, if the
method shows a yearly net profit of $3,500 on a flat $10 wager, one would have
to back each selection with a $30 wager in order to bring the yearly net up to a
The man who does not have
sufficient capital to make such an increase in his wagers must either stop
betting or be satisfied with a couple of thousand a year, which is hardly
sufficient in these days of high costs.
The only alternative this player
has is to employ a longshot method in conjunction with his regular method of
making selections. However, he should be very careful in his selection of a
price method. He can’t afford to choose a method that gives him too much
action because excessive high-priced action could conflict too frequently with
his regular selections. In short, he might find it necessary to back two horses
in the same race too frequently for his own good.
Therefore, he must seek out a
longshot method that will afford him only a few plays during the course of a
week. There are two ways in which this can be accomplished:
1. Make the odds demand for the
longshot method 14–1 or more, which will rule out many of the plays the method
would 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 difficult
to accomplish. Hence the odds demand of 14–1 or more is the more logical
It is our belief that a
supplementary longshot method, combined with adequate odds, is the correct
answer to the price-needed factor in turf speculation.
However, in spite of your best
efforts, you will occasionally encounter conflict between the two methods used.
Therefore you must be prepared to back two horses in the same race when this
occurs. The trick is to see that it doesn’t occur too frequently, and that is
where the odds demand will prove of great help.
There are several good longshot
methods available to racing fans. However, all of them present the problem of
too much action to warrant using them in conjunction with a sound handicapping
We suggest that those of you who
are interested in solving the price problem through the use of an auxiliary
longshot method consider a little plan we have used over the years when seeking
a high-priced selection.
Perhaps this is not the best
angle ever developed for picking high-priced winners, but it has served us
nicely and should prove of help to you.
Several years ago we noted that
some horses that won and paid $30 and more followed a distinct odds pattern. We
also noticed that most horses had moved up in class or claiming price last time
We recall that on the day when we
first noticed these points, there were three high-priced winners at two
different tracks. In every instance, the three horses won and paid $30 or more.
This triggered our curiosity to
the point where we could not resist checking back to see whether the same
situation had prevailed in the past.
We soon discovered that the same
thing that been happening with reasonable frequency in the recent past. But we
noticed that when the odds today were less than 10–1, most of the qualified
horses finished up the track.
This called for an examination of
papers for the previous year, and again we found the same pattern repeating
itself. This convinced us that some trainers make a practice of raising a horse
in class or claiming price one race before they intend to crack down.
We are not prepared to say why
trainers sometimes do this; however, it appears to be done in the interest of
the price next start. This assumption is based on the fact that too frequently
when such horses were held at moderate odds, they failed to turn in a successful
or impressive race.
During the check period, we
watched the class factor to the extent of noting whether or not the horse was
dropping in class or claiming price today. We found that in most instances, the
horse dropped in class or claiming price today. However, in some instances, the
horse went back for its trying effort at the same price for which it was entered
last start, and in a few instances and under peculiar conditions, a few of the
winners went up in class again today.
This latter situation occurred
usually in starter allowance and starter handicap races, where the events were
conditioned for horses that had previously been entered for a stated claiming
price. Technically, such animals were moving up from a claiming event
into either an allowance or handicap race. But in actuality, the field was made
up of nothing but claiming platers of a given grade.
However, we decided to confine
our 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 their
last entered price as well as those that were dropping down today.
This has caused us to miss some
good longshots. Therefore, it is a question you should decide for yourself after
making a check of no less than three months.
Following are the selection rules
to qualify a longshot selection:
1. The horse must have moved up
in claiming price last start if entered in a claiming race, or one full grade or
more if it was entered in a non-claiming race in its next-to-last race.
2. The horse must have started at
a major track within the past 30 days, and its last race must have been run over
a major track it if is running today over a major course.
3. The horse must have finished
in 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 than
three lengths off the leader at that point.
4. The horse’s odds in its most
recent race must have been 10–1 or more and they must be at least two times
higher than the horse’s odds in its next-to-last race.
5. The horse must not be moving
up in class or claiming price today. It must be entered for the same class or at
a lower class than its entered class last time out. The odds today must be 14–1
December 14 3rd Aqueduct
1 mile 70 yards
Maiden claiming price $50,000
Can’t Stop Dancing
1Dec00-4Aqu fst 1 m Md clm 50000
7 8 6 6 23.30
9Nov00-9Med fst 1-70 Md clm 25000
8 5 4 2 9.90
Look at the past performances of
the two-year-old maiden Can’t Stop Dancing who won and paid $48.80 in
the third race at Aqueduct on December 14, 2000. He was a perfect claiming
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