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Mar 11, 2005

How do you eliminate horses when handicapping? (Part 4)

By: Joe Takach



There is little doubt in my mind that the overdependence on speed and pace figures has driven many a good handicapper to the poor house. 


These confused “number” handicappers continue to compound their felony day-in and day-out even though continually ending up in the red.


Why you ask?


Simply because the handicapping industry as a hole, either intentionally or non-intentionally, has led the betting public to believe that “figs” were “the way, the light, and the truth”.  Ever since Andy Beyer came out with his “Picking Winners” in 1975, handicappers seem to have become literally mesmerized by numbers. 


Numbers alone never were, nor will be ever be, the “panacea” needed to show a profit year-in and year-out.  Because if they were, wouldn’t IBM or some other computer giant have “cornered” the horse racing market by now?  They’d be able to win every race if the numbers alone were the solution to the multi-faceted handicapping challenge.


So where do “figs” fall short?


They don’t if calculated correctly and properly applied!


Their only weakness is the user’s belief that warm-blooded horses are machines much like their car. 


We all know, or at least should know, that horses are conditioned athletes that perform very differently from race to race for any number of reasons that are beyond our control and often beyond our comprehension.  Since none of us speak “horse”, we can’t ask a runner why he never picked up a hoof or why he didn’t run to his last big “number”


Automobiles on the other hand, are usually 100% the same from day to day until they break down.


Seems simple enough a concept to understand, yet far too many handicappers refuse to believe it and thus continue to lose while placing blame on everything from a bad ride to outright race fixing.


Am I saying that speed and pace “figs” are worthless?


Far from it! 


I couldn’t place a serious bet without them!


I’m been making my own numbers for over 40 years and greatly depend on them every single racing day.  But unlike most players, I use my numbers solely in the process of elimination, not to actually pick a specific winner.


Did I hear someone asking “Whudda he say”?


I said that I use my numbers to toss horses out. 


I always put up speed and pace figs on every horse in any race where I intend on getting serious at the windows.  But the numbers themselves are only an early indication in my long handicapping process of what might be today. 


Numbers tell me exactly how fast any horse can run on the very best day in his recent past performances.  Once in place, it is obvious that some horses’ best race “figs” aren’t good enough to beat other’s worst race numbers. 


Very confident eliminations suddenly become “no-brainers”!


Once I know who “can”, if running back to his best day in his recent past, what’s left over are legitimate contenders. 


Most often, I can eliminate half of any field with nothing more than “figs”.  Cumbersome 12 horse fields can usually be pared down to 6 if your numbers are valid and so on and so forth.


Point is, “numbers” are a great time saver that frees me up to continue my methodology.


I do offer a single “caveat”!


I employ speed and pace numbers on the dirt only!


I’ve never made numbers on the turf for one reason----you can’t!


I see heads rolling out there! 


But before you dismiss my belief that you can’t make numbers for the turf and declare me certifiably insane, I suggest you visit the following urls at my website.  (see # 35).



(Continued in PART 5)












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