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Jun 26, 2003

Another Addition to Your OTB Arsenal

By: Ray Taulbot

Many readers who wish to take advantage of off-track betting and simulcasting have written to ATM asking for a method which will enable them to make decentselections with the least expenditure of time and effort. Accordingly, this month we areoffering a method we gave our readers not too many years ago because it is fast and givesa great number of winners at nice prices.

The majority of those who have written to us complain that theylack the time necessary for careful pace handicapping. Others explain that they areweekend players unable to attend the races except on Saturday and holidays. Finally, a fewstate that they need good prices, largely because they lack sufficient capital to makesubstantial wagers. All of these readers imply that they want a method that is easy touse, will produce good prices and a reasonable winning percentage.
That"s quite an order to fill. However, it"s the policy of this magazine to give itsreaders what they want insofar as that is possible. It is not difficult to present amethod that will produce good prices, but it is an exacting task to find such a methodthat also produces a reasonable wining percentage.

Most difficult of all is to develop a price method that avoidsextensive runs of consecutive losers. Price and good winning percentage are not kissingcousins. However, over the years we have noted that many of the better-priced winners werehorses that were very close up at both the first and second calls in their last race.

If price was to be the main objective, and if long runs ofconsecutive losses were to be avoided, certain types of races must be eliminated fromconsideration. For example, added-money races and turf races proved to be unprofitable.Likewise, winners in their last start do not show a margin of profit sufficiently large towarrant their inclusion.

Surprisingly, maidens—which we do not look upon with greatfavor—proved profitable when played in conjunction with the basic idea upon whichthis method is based.

As might be expected, the date of the last race reveals itselfas more important than any other single factor. In short, 12 days is the most profitabledate spread between a horse"s last race and today.

The reader may wonder: Why 12 days? Why not seven, eight, 10 or15 days? Twelve days proves to be the optimum time frame because it allows the trainer afour-day margin in which to find a suitable race beyond eight days, which is generallyaccepted as the ideal rest period following the last race.
When all tracks are considered, regardless of their class, we find that the highestpercentage of winners consists of horses that started within eight days. This means thatto take full advantage of this feature, a trainer must find a race within that periodwhere his horse is eligible for entry. This is not always possible. Research reveals thatin a number of instances a trainer often needs additional days in order to find a suitablerace. A careful examination of this situation shows that in almost all cases, a suitablerace is found within 12 days. So it is clear that the highest percentage date of eightdays should be extended for four days.
However, research also reveals that if the date rule is extended beyond 12 days, the runsof consecutive losers increase. Hence, it was decided that while the date limit of 12 dayssince running the last race deprived us of a few winners that might otherwise have beenbacked, the increased number of consecutive losses actually reduced the margin of netprofit over an extended period. So 12 days becomes our rule.

After extensive study, we found that where separation isnecessary, it was better to use a point credit separation than it was to attempt to applyone rigid rule. We found that five factors, each of equal value—namely, onepoint—produced better results than could be obtained by using one hard and fastseparation rule. These five factors are:

1) Latest date last start;
2) Fastest time in which the winner ran the qualifying race;
3) Highest speed rating earned by the contenders;
4) Highest class last start;
5) Finished closest up in the qualifying race.

When each of these factors was given a value of one point, theyproved successful in separating contenders.
Price proved troublesome in that a qualified horse often went off at short odds. Afterexperimenting with several ideas, it was finally found the only possible way the playercould be sure of obtaining 4-1 or more on his winning selections was to make a pricedemand part of the qualification for play.
To meet the request for a non-time consuming method, we had to eliminate pace ratingsentirely and depend upon the time in which the winner ran each contender"s last race.

The final method, which follows, is by no means that best way tomake thoroughly sound selections. But it is the best so-called "lunch hour"method developed to date. It is easy to use, it points out a reasonably good percentage ofwinners at odds of 4-1 or more, and does avoid unreasonable runs of consecutive losers.Following are the selection rules:

1. Play no added money races and no turf races. All other typesmay be played.
2. First eliminate all horses whose last race was run more than 12 days ago, and allhorses that won their last race.
3. Eliminate any non-maiden that has not won in the two years shown in its consistencyrecord.
4. In order to qualify, a horse must have been leading at one of the first two calls inits last race, and it must have been within one length of the leader at the other of thefirst two calls.

first call second call
A) 1 3 hd
B) 2 1 1
C) 1 1

5. The selection must go off at 4-1 or more.
If two or more horses qualify separate them according to the following points:
a. Earned highest speed rating last start: one point;
b. Started at most recent date: one point;
c. Faster winner"s time in last start: one point;
d. Entered in highest class last start: one point;
e. Finished closest up in last start: one point.
The contender with highest number of points is the final selection.

You should get your share of nice-price winners with this off-track betting angle, evenwhen you have minimal time and effort to spend on your selections.


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