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Jul 25, 2003

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 toil some 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 for such work. Therefore, we have assigned the research to one individual

 who has devoted alot of time to checking a basic idea we had in mind.•

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

were horses that were very close up at both the first and second calls in their

last 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 in conjunction with

 the basic idea upon which the research was based.

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

as 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 a suitable race beyond 23 days which is generally accepted as the ideal

 rest periodfollowing the last race.

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

the highest percentage of winners are horses that started with in 12 days.

This means that to take full advantage of this race a trainer must finda race with

in 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 within15 days. So it became clear the highest percentage

date of 12 days should be extended by three 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 to apply 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 troublesome in that frequently a qualified horse went off

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

 only possible way the player could be sure or receiving 4-1 or higher on his

 winning selection was to make aprice 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 each contender"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 at odds

 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 steeplechaseevents. 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 pastperformance.

4. In order to qualify, a horse must have been leading, that isrunning 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. For example:

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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