May 29, 2015
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 than 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 reasons
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
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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