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Jul 01, 2004

Half the Race is Out of Your Control (Part 5)

By: Joe Takach


If a racing neophyte were to look at the past performances wondering what medication a specific horse was running on today, he would be offered no more than Lasix and/or Bute. 


To those of us that have “been around the block” more than once, that’s already funny!


In most cases, Bute and Lasix account for only a portion of the medication, both legally and illegally, that any horse races with on any given afternoon.


I’m not going to waste anyone’s time defending that position because I positively know it to be fact. 


If you choose to believe those “fairy tale” stories printed by the Daily Racing Form and by every state racing association as to how “clean” our game is, by all means dream on----it is much later than you think!  You will soon be parted from your money whether a bettor or an owner.


It is no secret in the annals of horseracing that I’ve been bitching about illegal “drugging” long before the first time I was captured in print in the July 1985 issue of Gambling Times Magazine with an article entitled “Lasix: The Great Equilizer”.


Keystone, which is now known as Philadelphia Park, provided the background for my story about Lasix.  Keep in mind that at this time, the Daily Racing Form wasn’t listing any Lasix horses in their past performances as they now do, nor was any other publication taking the initiative.  If you wanted proprietary lasix information, you had to dig for it.


I might also mention that although Keystone’s track program listed horses running on Lasix, track management made sure to keep the public in the dark as to when it was 1st Lasix!  But funny thing, just like “stuck” horses, that same track management had absolutely no problem noting

1st Lasix horses on the overnights that were plastered all over the backside!


Getting back to my Lasix article, the gist of my writing was that if you bet $100 to win on every horse that went 1st or 2nd Lasix at “Keystone” during the months of November and December 1984, you realized a healthy profit of $4,530. 


This came about from betting 105 horses that went 1st or 2nd lasix.  Of those 105 first or second lasix starters, a total of 23 runners won for a win percentage of 21.9%.  If one were only betting $2, this would have translated into a healthy R.O.I. of $2.86.


I might also mention that this unbelievable profit came about without incorporating any other known handicapping principle such as speed, pace, trip, breeding, etc.  The only thing one had to know was if a specific horse was 1st or 2nd Lasix!  If he was, you put 100 bucks on his nose and got plenty “fat”.


Since I had been keeping track of 1st and 2nd Lasix from the day the drug first became legal, I was almost tempted to entirely end my daily 18 hour routines, that included keeping track of everything under the sun to assist my future wagering.


I was tired of those never-ending draining days, but they were needed in order to eek out an existence. 


I wanted to live the “Life of Riley”.  You know, sleep until 11, roll out of bed, shower, leave for the track, return home with handfuls of money, have dinner and watch TV all night instead of burning my eyes pouring over tomorrow’s past performances.  How wonderful life would have been if the only thing that I had to do everyday was to keep track of 1st and 2nd Lasix!


It’s a good thing I hesitated, because reality was right around the corner.


I don’t know if it was a coincidence but soon after my article was published, much pressure came to bear upon the entire racing industry by race fans everywhere.  And under that pressure, nearly all racetracks fell into line like prearranged dominos and began listing not only Lasix horses, but 1st Lasix horses.


And just as soon as they did, the 21.9% win percentage I enjoyed at Keystone suddenly plummeted to a little over 10% with an R.O.I. well under $2.00.


1st and 2nd Lasix suddenly became nothing more than another losing angle because the trainers “laid down” and ran most of their horses “straight”.


So much for my short-lived “Life of Riley”.


The purpose of this quick diversion was to show you how much a legal “panacean” can affect the outcome of any race. 


Try to imagine the effect of today’s unknown designer drugs for which there are no tests!


Without any doubt, when designer drugs are administered, the outcome of the race is surely out of our control!





Many racetracks now inform their patrons of any track maintenance that has taken place since the end of the last race the day before. 


But what does that mean to Joe Six-Pack?


Most likely nothing even though the changing of the racing surface can, and usually does, have a profound effect “bias wise” on the next grouping of races the following day.  This could be evidenced by yesterday’s strong front-running bias morphing into a closer’s paradise the very next day or vice versa without any warning.  


This is why it is often good advice to merely “watch” the first race or two on any given race day to see if yesterday’s running bias has changed.  If you don’t and merely bet as if the running bias hasn’t changed from the day before, part of the race is surely out of your control.



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