May 25, 2012
AMERICAN TURF CLUB LEAD-FALSE FAVORITES
The following is an interesting lead about false favorites. With all the tracks available at simulcast outlets this may help catch a few winners.
A horse usually becomes the favorite in a race because it has either hot form or is dropped in class and neither of these advantages is necessarily a sound reason to make a horse a hot favorite but it often happens. There is quite obviously a profit potential in spotting the favorites that are not sound ones, provided of course, you also can spot the horse that figures to win if the favorite doesn’t .
Begin by eliminating from consideration all races for maidens not because there is no such thing as a false favorite in a maiden race but because it is so often impossible to find a logical choice in a field of non-winners. Also, don’t touch two-year-old races until late summer. This is not because these races do not have false favorites, but because in these races it is often difficult to find a logical horse to play even after you have decided that the favorite doesn’t deserve all that betting support.
The next thing to remember is: Play only if the favorite in the race is listed less then 2-1 on the tote board as the horses near the post. The idea is to avoid races in which there is no clear standout favorite, the type of race in which the favorite is say, 5-2 or 3-1 and the second choice to it in price, and there are half a dozen horses in the race at 8-1 or less. You want to knock down a well-played favorite if possible, because you’ll get that much better price on your winner if you land on the right horse.
The first step is to find the favorite, and examine its past performances to see if it is a false favorite. For purposes of this system, we call the horse a false favorite if :
(a) Its last race was run more than a month ago;
(b) It is stepped up in class more than 20% over the class value of its last race if a claiming race, or one grade if a non-claiming race;
(c) It has won less than 10% of its races, either this year or last year, or this year and last combined. In other words, if it has won 10% or more of its races this year, it qualifies; if last year, it also qualifies even if it did not win that often this year; and if it cannot qualify on either year, then it will not qualify on the two years combined and will have to be scored as a false favorite.
(d) If it was out of the money last time out (unless the race was run in higher class than today’s race, in which case this rule is ignored);
(e) If it has never run a good race at the distance of today’s race (1/16 of a mile either way). In short, if today’s race is at one mile and a sixteenth, the horse could qualify with a good race at either one mile, or one mile and an eighth.
If you cannot eliminate the favorite for any one of the five reason above, then you have to say it is a logical favorite, and you won’t want to bet against it. However, if the horse fails to comply with ALL FIVE of the above requirements if it violates even ONE of them then it is considered a false favorite, and we will play the race and bet against the favorite.
Now for the system to pick the horse to bet against the false favorite. Consider only those horses in the race (ignoring the favorite) that finished in the money last time out (first, second or third) in the same class as today’s race (or higher) not more than a month ago. If only one horse in the race qualifies, it is the system play automatically.
If two or more horses qualify, take the one that race in the highest class last time out. If two or more horses are tied by virtue of having raced in the same company last out, add up the running positions at the four “calls” of each horse’s last race, and the one with the lowest total is the play.
In the event of a tie on this count, play the horse with the best percentage of in-the-money races, this year and last combined. If there is still a tie, which will be rare, pass the race.
Now run through those rules again and you will see that when you have a play, you will be backing a horse that has shown it is in good form, has the necessary class to win today’s race, and has been to post recently. This horse will have to beat other horses in the race, of course, but theoretically its strongest contender will be a favorite that has failed to qualify on at least one of five important factors date of recent race, class, winning average, recent form, and distance.
Now, any one of these factors is of sufficient importance to nullify the chances of a favorite that is opposed by a strong contender that has at least three important points to recommend it, as will be the case with the horse you are backing to “knock down” the false favorite.
Needless to say, there will be times when the alleged “ false favorite” makes you look quite foolish by winning the race handily, but these embarrassing moments will be more than offset by the number of times when you back the winner and see the favorite finish “up the track”. And remember this important point : when you cash a bet, you’ll get a decent price, rarely less than 3-1 and often as high as 10-1.
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