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Jun 10, 2005

Quick Picks for the Casual Player

By: Ray Taulbot


It isn't difficult to present a method that will produce good prices, but it is an

 exacting task to find such a method that also produces a reasonable winning

percentage. Most difficult of all is to develop a price method that avoids

extensive runsof consecutive losers. Price and good winning percentage are not kissing

cousins.

It also involves a toilsome effort to create a price method that requires only a little

 time in which to make the selections. In short, it is a job that requires more research

 than we could accomplish in the limited time at our disposal forsuch work.

Therefore, we have assigned the research to one individual who has devoted a

lot of time to checking a basic idea we had in mind.•

Over the years, we have noted that many of the better-priced winnerswere horses

 that were very close up at both the first and second calls in theirlast race. This

 was the starting point at which our researcher began his work.

It soon developed that if price was to be the main objective, and if long runs of

consecutive losses were to be avoided, certain types of races had to be

eliminated from consideration.

For example, added-money races, turf races and steeplechase events proved to

 be unprofitable. Likewise, horses who won their last start did not show a margin

of profit sufficient to warrant their inclusion.

Surprisingly, maidens proved to be profitable when played inconjunction with the

 basic idea upon which the research was based.

As might have been expected, the date of the last race revealed itselfas more

 important than any other single factor. In short, it was found that 15 days was

the most profitable date spread between a horse's last race and today.

The reader may wonder why 15? Why not seven, or eight, or ten? Fifteen

proved to be the best because it allows the trainer a three-day margin in which to

 find asuitable race beyond 23 days which is generally accepted as the ideal rest period

following the last race.

When all tracks are considered, regardless of their class, we find that the highest

percentage of winners are horses that started within 12 days.

This means that to take full advantage of this race a trainer must find a race within

 that period where his horse is eligible for entry. This is not always possible.

Research revealed that in a number of instances a suitable race was found within

15 days. So it became clear the highest percentage date of 12 days should be

 extended bythree days.

After extensive study of this problem, we found that where separation is necessary

 it was better to use a point credit separation than it was to attempt toapply one

 rigid rule.

We found that five factors (which we"ll outline below) produced better results than

could be obtained by laying down one hard and fast separation rule. When each

of these factors was given a value of one point, they proved successful in separating

contenders.

Price proved trouble some in that frequently a qualified horse went off

at short odds. After experimenting with several ideas, we found that the only possible

 waythe player could be sure or receiving 4-1 or higher on his winning selection

was to make a price rule part of the qualification for play. Therefore, no horse

is played unless its odds are 4-1 or more five minutes before post time.

In order to meet the request for a non-time-consuming method, we had to

eliminate pace ratings entirely and depend upon the time in which the winner ran

 eachcontender"s last race in tie-breaking situations.

The method we developed is by no means the best way to make thoroughly

sound selections. However, it is the best "quick pick" method developed to date.

It is easy to use, isolates a reasonably good percentage of winners atodds of

4-1 or higher, and does avoid unreasonable runs of consecutive losers.

We do not advocate its use by those who are sophisticated handicappers.

The method was researched and designed to fill the needs of recreational

 horseplayers. We present this method with the hope that it will fulfill their

needs. Following are the selection rules:

 

1. Play no added money races, no turf races, no steeplechase events. All other types

may be played.

2. First eliminate all horses whose last race was run more than 15 days ago, and

 all horses that won their last race.

3. Eliminate any non-maiden that has not won in the two years (as shown in its

 two-year and career box score) or does not show a win in its past performance.

4. In order to qualify, a horse must have been leading, that is running first, at

one or both of the first two calls in its last race, and it must have been within

one-half length of the leader at the other of the first two calls. Forexample:

First Call Second Call

30Apr98 1 3h

17Apr98 2 1/2 1

20Mar98 1 1

 

5. The selection must go off at 4-1 or higher.

If two or more horses qualify under the rules at this point, separate them according

 to the following point system:

 

a. Earned highest speed rating last start: one point.

b. Started on latest date: one point.

c. Faster winner's time in last start: one point.

d. Entered in highest class most recent race: one point.

e. Finished closest up in top race: one point.

 

The contender with the highest number of points is the final selection.



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