Pace Advantages with Pace Boxes

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The PA PPs are designed to help players work through the data as efficiently as possible. These Pace Boxes, which uncover horses with a pace match-up advantage, will help you do just that. But they will also help you find overlays to stay or move boldly into the black ink. Don’t let the simplicity fool you. Einstein said that everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler. I agree.

It seems most handicappers talk about velocity when the topic of pace comes up – pace figures for example. That’s very important for sure. My pace velocity ratings approach addresses that part of the discussion. But there’s another factor involved, environment, and it’s just as important. A comfortable environment in which to work helps us all do a better job regardless of occupation, and that’s true with race horses as well. The Pace Box method addresses the environment part of the pace discussion. Let’s go through each one:

1. Lone Early Pace Box. The crowd is tuned into this one but there are still overlay opportunities. We won’t overlook them with a pace box drawn.

2. The 2D Early Pace Box. This is the most powerful one. Note that there are only three 2D early pace runners in this pace box. There must be at least one CSFR qualifier with 5 or more speed points and at least 2 2D runners.

3. The Lone 2D Early Pace Box. The second most powerful pace box. A PCZ of 2-4 improves this one’s chances.

4. The Lone Presser Pace Box. One dimensional horses need pace match-ups that are very comfortable for them. This pace picture is ideal for the one dimensional types.

5. The Late Pace Box. Like the lone front-runner this box represents an extreme pace situation. The late pace horses have the advantage when the PPG, Pace Pressure Gauge, is high in both categories, pressure and velocity. The reading here is 31 X 2!

The PaceAppraiser PPs have the Pace Picture embedded at the top of each race. When scratches ocurr the Pace Picture is redrawn and the Pace Pressure Gauge along with the Competitive Speed Figure Range are recalculated. All you have to do is draw the Pace Boxes and look for overlays, the best values, within the boxes. Simple, efficient, and powerful.

For extra power with this method look for horses with a Form Factor Rating of 3 or better and the pace box qualifiers that fit the eligibility conditions perfectly.

March 29, 2010 • Posted in: Articles • No Comments

Pace Travels Revisited

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I’ve spent the last few days rereading the highlighted sections in some old handicapping books and magazines. They go back a long way. Who inspired me the most, I wanted to know. Ray Taulbot was the first. He’s the guy who started the whole pace of the race thing that I’ve been committed to for most of my handicapping career. Pace of the horse is one thing but pace of the race is where the fascination is for me. Taulbot piqued my interest and I was off to the, well, races. As I’ve said many times, pace of the race is the least investigated and most misunderstood factor in all of the handicapping. I am indebted to Ray Taulbot. My PPs evolved from his work. There are a few more that inspired me. If you haven’t read them, I recommend you do so; you won’t be sorry. Perhaps they will inspire you as well.

Winning At The Races – Computer Discoveries in Thoroughbred Handicapping by William Quirin. This book was a major influence. I don’t know, probably not, if the percentages hold up today. It’s out of print but maybe you can find a copy somewhere, maybe Amazon used books. I can’t recommend this book enough. Once again it brought some order to the chaos of racing. It was also the first book to utilize Impact Values as a means of expressing statistical data, I believe.

Next came Huey Mahl. His little book The Race is Pace was a gem and still is. Especially the chapters Think Pace and Condition and Variant. The book was published back in 1983 when pace handicapping was considered an esoteric endeavor that was practiced by voodoo doctors. Not much as changed, actually. There are still droves of handicappers who are still of that opinion even now – think Speed Guys.

I must mention William L. Scott. His Investing At The Race Track gave me idea that horse racing could be treated like day trading futures. I would create profiles and models that would trigger a “trade” if the price was right for that particular model. He turned handicappers on to the realities of the game in terms of percentages of favorites winning as well as the top three choices in the betting, e.g. “The top three choices in the wagering win 66.9% of all races….” Then came Total Victory At The Track. The form factors he presented in this book are still part of my handicapping tool kit today.

James Quinn’s The Handicapper’s Condition Book is the best handicapping book ever written, I believe. I’ve read it and consulted it so many times my copy is falling apart. I’ve spent many happy hours just studying the eligibility conditions and the way trainers place their horses and then asking myself what I would do. My appreciation of all things racing improved because of this book. To this day my favorite plays are in the Class A conditions – those horses moving from Maiden Special Weight to the allowances and then on to stakes events. My pace of the race ratings have been invaluable in exposing the horses that will have the most trouble moving up the conditions ladder. James Quinn has my undying respect. As a matter of fact, I recommend any of Quinn’s books.

Even though I made my own speed figures, I was trilled when Andy Beyer’s figs came out in the Daily Racing Form (They first hit the handicapping world in the Racing Times – was that the name?). By that time I was mainly working with pace so the laborious process of making speed figures was a thing of the past. I only used speed figures, and still do, as a gauge of the competitive range of the race. Although I had read his two other books I wasn’t much interested in speed handicapping. I did and do enjoy Beyer’s nerve and bravado, though. Bold statements about racing appeals to me. How Was the Figure Earned? and The Mathematics of Pace were something of a “pace confession”, I think. Pace matters, finally. If I may use the same Beyer bravado, I have solved the problem for Mr. Beyer. My pace of the race ratings will answer the questions he asked in those two chapters. “They had simply run exceptional figures when they encountered exceptional pace situations. Most thoroughbreds will do the same.” I agree, Andy.

So what is the moral of this little handicapping bio? I believe it is this: Find the area of handicapping that really jazzes you. Create your own approach. Believe nothing until you have tested it. Be open minded to new information. Trust yourself. Make money.

March 25, 2010 • Posted in: Articles • No Comments

The Realities of Horse Racing Revisited

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On average the favorite wins 33% of all races. The second choice wins approximately 20% of the time. Third choice in the betting win at around 14% of the time. The top three betting choices win approximately 67% of all races. Favorites (33%) will finish 1st or 2nd approximately 50% of the time. One of the top three betting choices will finish 2nd or better 90% of the time! Scott said, “Now that you know that one of the three top betting choices finishes 2nd or better 90% of the time, and if you are able to select the one that will defect his two rivals in two of three contests, you will attain a success percentage of 60% or more. And here you have a further advantage. If the one among the three that you select does not defeat another of his rivals, your selection might very well, and often does, wind up running 2nd and you will still cash a winning ticket.”

Let’s add some more to the mix and ask some questions. In his great book Winning Thoroughbred Strategies, Dick Mitchell popped the bubble of a lot of handicappers, I think. Here’s why: If you have a 50% edge on the game and your win percentage is, say, 25% then you must be prepared for 18 losses in a row! The equation is the logarithm of .005 divided by the logarithm of the probability of failure – log(.005)/log(.75) = 18.41, round it to 18. Once again reality hits us square in the face.

So what does all of this mean? Well, the meaning for me comes from psychology and money management.

First question I must ask myself – and be as honest as I can: How many losses can I endure and still make good decisions? At what point do I come unhinged? When does FEAR take over? What dollar amount is my per wager comfort zone? Am I willing to let go of the NEED to be right?

Second question: How much capital do I have to work with? How much drawdown am I willing to take? If my win percentage is 25 then how much money should I wager on each event? Do I wager the same among on each event regardless of outcome? Am I willing to be disciplined enough to keep copious records?

Now we know what to expect as longshot players -long losing runs. That’s reality. And we know, too, there’s money to be made in the place pool. But most importantly, I think, we must know ourselves. I believe that successful handicapping – making a long term profit and having fun in the process – depends on how we answer those questions, and then accepting and working with the realities of the game.

March 22, 2010 • Posted in: Articles • No Comments

Today’s Best Pace Advantage

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March 20
Sam Houston – Race 7 – Alw5Ks – #3 Sabra – ML 4/1 (Late pace advantage. Disregard with one or more scratches) – Early pace scratch. No advantage

March 20, 2010 • Posted in: Updates • No Comments

Today’s Free PA PPs_Santa Anita

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March 19, 2010 • Posted in: Updates • No Comments

Today’s Best MSW Play

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March 18
Oaklawn – Race 10 – MSW38K – #8 Leopard Rock – ML 5/1 – Finished out of the money

March 18, 2010 • Posted in: Updates • No Comments

Today’s Best Maiden Play

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March 17
Aqueduct – Race 9 – Md35K – #3 Conga Bella – ML 7/2 – Win $5.20

March 17, 2010 • Posted in: Updates • No Comments