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Aug 20, 2004

Quick Picks for the Casual Player

By: Ray Taulbot

It isn"t difficult to present a method that will produce good prices,but it is an exacting

 task to find

such a method that also produces a reasonable winning percentage. Most difficult of

 all is to

develop a price method that avoids extensive runs of consecutive losers. Price and

good winning

percentage are not kissing cousins.

It also involves a toil some effort to create a price method thatrequires only a little

time in which to make

 the selections. In short, it is a job thatrequires more research than we could

accomplish in the limited

 time at our disposal for such work. Therefore, we have assigned the research to one

individual who has

devoted alot of time to checking a basic idea we had in mind.•

Over the years, we have noted that many of the better-priced winnerswere horses

 that were very close

up at both the first and second calls in their last race. This was the starting point

 at which our researcher

began his work.

It soon developed that if price was to be the main objective, and iflong runs of

consecutive losses

were to be avoided, certain types of races had to be eliminated from consideration.

For example, added-money races, turf races and steeplechase eventsproved to

be unprofitable. Likewise,

 horses who won their last start did not show a marginof profit sufficient to warrant

their inclusion.

Surprisingly, maidens proved to be profitable when played inconjunction with the

 basic idea upon which

 the research was based.

As might have been expected, the date of the last race revealed itselfas more important

 than any

other single factor. In short, it was found that 15 days wasthe most profitable date

spread between a

horse"s last race and today.

The reader may wonder why 15? Why not seven, or eight, or ten? Fifteen proved

 to be the best because

it allows the trainer a three-day margin in which to find asuitable race beyond

23 days which is generally

accepted as the ideal rest periodfollowing the last race.

When all tracks are considered, regardless of their class, we find thatthe highest

 percentage of

winners are horses that started within 12 days.

This means that to take full advantage of this race a trainer must finda race within

 that period where his

 horse is eligible for entry. This is not always possible. Research revealed that

in a number of instances a

suitable race was found within15 days. So it became clear the highest percentage date

 of 12 days

should be extended bythree days.

After extensive study of this problem, we found that where separationis necessary

it was better to

 use a point credit separation than it was to attempt toapply one rigid rule.

We found that five factors (which we"ll outline below) produced betterresults than

could be obtained

 by laying down one hard and fast separation rule. When eachof these factors was

 given a value of

one point, they proved successful in separatingcontenders.

Price proved troublesome in that frequently a qualified horse went off at

 short odds. After experimenting

 with several ideas, we found that the only possible waythe player could be sure

 or receiving 4-1 or higher

on his winning selection was to make aprice rule part of the qualification for

play. Therefore, no horse

is played unless itsodds are 4-1 or more five minutes before post time.

In order to meet the request for a non-time-consuming method, we had to

eliminate pace ratings entirely

and depend upon the time in which the winner ran eachcontender"s last

 race in tie-breaking situations.

The method we developed is by no means the best way to make thoroughly

sound selections. However, it

 is the best "quick pick" method developed to date.

It is easy to use, isolates a reasonably good percentage of winners at odds of 4-1

or higher, and does

avoid unreasonable runs of consecutive losers.

We do not advocate its use by those who are sophisticated handicappers.

The method was researched

 and designed to fill the needs of recreational horseplayers. We

present this method with the hope

that it will fulfill their needs. Following are the selection rules:


1. Play no added money races, no turf races, no steeplechaseevents. All other

 types may be played.

2. First eliminate all horses whose last race was run more than15 days ago, and

all horses that won their last race.

3. Eliminate any non-maiden that has not won in the twoyears (as shown in its

two-year and career box score)

 or does not show a win in its pastperformance.

4. In order to qualify, a horse must have been leading, that isrunning first, at

 one or both of the first

two calls in its last race, and it musthave been within one-half length of the leader

 at the other

 of the first two calls. For example:

First Call Second Call

30Apr98 1 3h

17Apr98 2 1/2 1

20Mar98 1 1


5. The selection must go off at 4-1 or higher.

If two or more horses qualify under the rules at this point, separate them according to the

following point system:


a. Earned highest speed rating last start: one point.

b. Started on latest date: one point.

c. Faster winner"s time in last start: one point.

d. Entered in highest class most recent race: one point.

e. Finished closest up in top race: one point.


The contender with the highest number of points is the final selection.

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