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Jan 07, 2005

Half the Race is Out of Your Control (Part 13)

By: Joe Takach


While investigating the proposal that HALF THE RACE IS OUT OF YOUR CONTROL, I’ve offered much food for thought in many areas of racing.

 

To refresh your memory, we considered the following topics:

 

  1----THE STARTING GATE

  2----THE TRIP

  3----HANDICAPPERS DON’T TRAIN THEIR WAGERS

  4----IS THE BARN SENDING TODAY?

  5----STUCK HORSES

  6----MORNING LINES and ODDS

  7----LEGAL AND ILLEGAL DRUGS ADMINISTERED ON RACE DAY

  8----TRACK MAINTENANCE

  9----INJURED JOCKEYS

10----WEATHER

11----LAST MINUTE SCRATCHES

12----MISSED MORNING WORKOUTS

13----UNEXPECTED BETDOWNS

14----UNANNOUNCED EQUIPMENT CHANGES

15----RACE DAY PHYSICALITY

 

I’m not sure that we covered every possible scenario, but we covered the major areas.

 

So exactly where does that leave us? 

 

Or should I say exactly where does that leave you, because I’m still in the same place that I was before I started composing this series!

 

Are the 15 above topics enough to put half the race out of your control?

 

And if so, is there anything that you can personally do about it?

 

In my personal estimation, the above scenarios actually do put at least half of the race out of our control every day.

 

If fact, those 15 scenarios combined most likely raise our basic premise from 50% to 67%, or from half the race to two-thirds of the race.

 

So why do handicappers continue to wager in a game in which one half to two-thirds of the outcome is out of their control.

 

I can think of a few reasons.

 

1----Some handicappers mistakenly believe that they can better interpret the

       mounds of  information that is “common tender” to all players that purchase the   

       past performances.

 

That thinking is simply dead wrong.  These daydreamers aren’t any smarter than anybody else using the same exact information.  They are nothing more than losing egotists that refuse to tell themselves the truth.  If this game could be reduced to “crunching paper”, by now wouldn’t every computer company on the planet have cornered the handicapping market forcing minus pools in every race and every winner to pay $2.10----not to mention putting every racetrack out of business?  Think about it!

 

2----Some handicappers actually believe that they are “masters” of money management 

       and truly know “value” when they see it and know exactly when to bet a horse and

       when not to based strictly on the odds.

 

This foolish thinking follows along the lines of one of the greatest myths ever perpetrated in the history of handicapping.  I’ve written extensively on the fallacy of this asinine thinking.  To briefly refresh your memory, it goes something like this.  “If this race were run 100 times, how many times could I expect this or that horse to win”.  Once you determine a number of wins in 100 races, you compare that number to the current odds to see if a horse is overlayed.  If so you bet him.  Do this often enough and the only street you will ever travel in your handicapping career is the “Yellow Brick Road”.

 

There is only one thing wrong with this thinking.  The basic premise is wrong, so it follows that if you start with a bad premise, you have to end up with a bad answer. 

 

In the entire history of our game, no race has been run twice let alone 100 times! 

 

While many races can resemble each other at times, every race is subject to different factors and circumstances such as jockey changes, weather changes, physicality changes, post position changes, new horses added or deleted, inherent changes in surface speed etc.---the list is almost endless.

 

The alleged “masters” of money management will continue to get buried forever and a day because they positively can’t arrive at a correct answer by beginning with a bad premise-------period!

 

3---A very small and select few handicappers actually do have invaluable “proprietary

      information” that enables them to win no matter what the odds and no matter how     

     much information others possess.

 

This is the only reason that works for me.

 

The “proprietary information” would include things like an excellent memory enabling one to take exacting notes on “trips”.   This positively would not include the trouble notes (blocked, steadied, checked, etc.) found at the end of past performance lines that are available to anybody with 4 bucks!  These past performance “trouble notes” are so obvious that even the “hot dog lady” caught them.  I’m referring to the more subtle trouble when horses are forced to run inside or outside when they prefer one over the other, or losing a shoe during a race, or having dirt thrown in one’s face, or being brushed just hard enough leaving the starting gate to hesitate a bit and end up losing a race by a nose.  The list of subtle trip notes is almost endless, but at the same time these notes are literally priceless.

 

Players like this do win no matter if a race is 50% or more out of their control. 

 

I’ll confess that I don’t have the patience to watch a race 47 times so as to be sure that I didn’t miss anything.  I’ll never fit into this category!

 

Another example of “proprietary information” would be private “backside” information only privy to trainers, assistant trainers, owners, and very astute grooms.

 

This would include things like taking a horse to a private farm to work him out and get him race ready without anybody knowing his current condition.  It would also include things like knowing that last out the trainer told his jockey not to win or push the horse for any number of reasons. 

 

A final example of “proprietary information” is what I and my staff do every single day on the Southern California circuit when we takes notes on the “physicality” of  every horse in every race.  We publish our “proprietary physicality information” every single racing day in both our “standard” DAILY SCHTW and our REAL TIME DAILY SCHTW.   This enables our clients to receive this essential betting information virtually the same time that we record it!

 

Collecting and disseminating “physicality information” is a very common practice in every other sport on the planet except horseracing.  What football handicapper doesn’t want to know if a quarterback or running back is hurt or is feeling good and ready to play up to his physical potential?  

 

Yet for some reason beyond my comprehension, the overwhelming majority of horseplayers blatantly refuse to believe that “physicality” applies to horses as if horses weren’t athletes, but rather inanimate machines like their automobiles.

 

Understanding physicality and how to correctly apply this necessary information enables not only my staff and myself and our clients to overcome the 15 trouble areas listed above, it enables us to show healthy profits year in and year out.

 

So while half the race might indeed be out of one’s control, that doesn’t mean that the game can’t be beaten on a consistent basis if one has the proper “proprietary information” that others don’t possess. 

 

 

 



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