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Jun 03, 2005

How do you eliminate horses when handicapping? (Part 9)

By: Joe Takach



One might wonder if there could be anyone still standing after my stringent elimination procedure.


The answer is obviously yes, or I wouldn’t continue to bet horses after nearly 50 years in the game.


Granted, there aren’t that many horses still standing in any given race, but the ones that

remain must face my ultimate elimination factor!


Positive race day physicality and a solid pre-race warm-up are musts! 


I do not compromise here in the least.


If any horse fails to pass muster in the paddock on race day or fails to canter about a half

mile before loading, he is thrown out without hesitation---------period!  If that throwout

somehow beats me that day for any reason beyond my control, I’m not the least bit





Simply because after nearly 50 years of living in the paddock, I’m come to the inescapable conclusion (as would anyone with the same tenure) that good looking horses not only win far more races than do bad looking ones, they win far more than their share.


And for those of you who believe that you have to be some kind of an “insider” in order to be good at “physicality handicapping”, let me assure you that I’ve never asked a single trainer a single question about the physicality of a racehorse.  Chances are they wouldn’t have told me the truth anyway.  Why should they when they have nothing to gain----because they’re “honest” businessmen?


Yeah sure--------and pigs are going to start flying like birds tomorrow!


Like any other endeavor in life, perseverance thru trial and error leads to remarkable success.


You don’t need a trainer to tell you if a horse is walking short with an obvious extension problem once you understand the concept of walking short!  You can see on track or over your satellite monitor in the post parade if you pay attention.


You don’t need a trainer to tell you if a horse is “hitting” himself!  It is clearly visible in the paddock or over your satellite monitors if he’s adorned with either “stops” or “blowout” patches.


You don’t need a trainer to tell you that a horse has a very serious conformation defect causing his saddle to slip!  It is painfully evident in the paddock or over your satellite monitor in the post parade if any racehorse is wearing a martingale!


You don’t need a trainer to tell you if a horse has good color assuring a proper blood count and thus the potential to maximize today’s performance!  This too is evident in the paddock or over your satellite monitor in the post parade because the horse’s color will either reflect sunlight indicating good color or absorb sunlight with no reflection indicating questionable health.


You don’t need a trainer to tell you if a horse has good energy!  He either walks with his head upright indicating good energy, or walks with his head low and bobbing indicating low energy.  And yes, you can even see this in those sometimes abominable pre-race shows over your satellite monitors.


You don’t need a trainer to see horses with improper ear positions!  Again, this information is available to anyone willing to look for it!


I could go on and on with much more “free” physicality information that is yours if you are willing to go the “extra mile” before you put your hard earned money on any horse. 


This is the only way that you will ever “beat” this game in the long run.


And if you doubt this for a second, let me ask you a question.


If this game could be beaten by only crunching “backpaper” (i.e. speed and pace figs, trainer stats, jockey stats, post positions, track bias, track running profiles, trip, pedigree, etc.), how is it that IBM or some other large computer company has yet to do it?


Stuck for an answer?


You should be, because there simply isn’t one.


Get in the paddock whenever you can before betting. 


Watch pre-race warm-ups whenever you can before betting.


And at the very worst if unable to get on track, find a good satellite monitor wherever you wager and actually look at your potential wager for signs of both health and distress!


I guarantee you that if you do, you’ll cut your losses by at least 50%!


And face facts, saving a bad bet is the same as cashing on an even money winner!


See you in the paddock!


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