Mark Casse Is A Go-To Play

Trainer Mark Casse grew up in Ocala Florida on Cardinal Hill Farm. His father states he was foaled not born. Casse says when other kids were coloring in coloring books he was reading the Racing Form. I believe him. At 8 years old he went to Woodbine for the first time. His father was one of the founders of the Ocala Breeder’s Sales Co. He learned the breeding business so well he was running his fathers horse farm at 15. At 17 Mark Casse was a licensed trainer in Massachusetts.

Casse understands racing from a horse breeder’s perspective. His very young years growing up on a breeding farm supplied Casse with a college education on confirmation, pedigree and horse racing and Casse knows what confirmation contributes to running and winning.

The only way you can identify good conformation is to be schooled by people who know what it is. Casse took this hand on education straight to the top of racing. Along the way he met Harry Mangurian who owned the Boston Celtics. Mangurian signed Larry Bird and Mark Casse.

Harry Mangurian owned Mockingbird Bird farm in Ocala and he hired Mark Casse to train his racing stable. He had 900 horses on his farm. I could just about hear the meeting in my mind between Mangurian and Casse. It went something like this: Mark I want you to pick 50 of the best horses on the farm and race them. I am sure Mark Casse said OK with a smile. He probably saw 10 runners who had good confirmation while talking to Mangurian. Mangurian and Casse raced and won constantly.

Later Mangurian sold his farm to Eugene Melnyk and he left horse racing. Melnyk was in the pharmaceutical industry. He also owned the Ottawa Senators, a professional ice hockey team. Wind blew some luck in Mark Casse’s direction that day when Melnyk offered Casse the same training position that he had with Mangurian.

Today Casse has many very wealthy owners like John Oxley who has won 39 million dollars on the track and Gary Barber who was the executive producer for the movie Seabiscuit. Because Casse has very high end owners that means he has to produce.

Woodbine is located in Toronto Canada. At one time I was a regional manager for a Photography company and they wanted me to move their office so I did. I moved them to an office that was about a 10 minute ride to Woodbine racetrack.  I know because after about 50 trips to the track it never took more than 10 minutes to get to Woodbine.

Woodbine is a beautiful well run track. Mark Casse fit in perfectly. He moved there in 1998 although he still calls Ocala home.

I am an exacta player so all stats are for the exacta. Woodbine opens next month. Here are some interesting facts about Mark Casse at Woodbine.

Over the past 4 years Mark Casse went to post 2,265 times and he was in the exacta 820 times for a 36% exacta cash rate that’s about 566 races a year.

Post position can have an effect on a race and most players only talk about the outside post position as a bad post. Mark Casse loaded 299 runners in post position 3. He hit the exacta with a 129 for a 43% strike rate. Post position 1 is his second best draw with 275-104-38%. Post position 7 he is 221-73-33%, his lowest exacta strike rate. So post position does have an effect on the out come of the race. 10 percentage points higher is significant from post 3 to post 7.

What race Casse enters his horse on a race card is interesting. Race 1 he has started 189 horses and he hit with 85 for a 45% exacta hit rate. Casse went 213-85-40% in the second race of the day and the third race carded he went 201-87-43%. His entries for race 5 are 202-62-31% in the exacta. These 3 early races are the only 40% stats from the race card.

Mark Casse in race 1 and post position 3 could be a really good exacta bet.

I have always thought of Casse as a miler.  His stats say he is not. At 1 mile he sent 167 horses to post, he hit the exacta 39 times for a 23% strike rate. I have to admit I have made a lot of uneducated bets at a mile on Mark Casse at Woodbine based on my belief Casse is a superior miler. Casse’s 1 mile is actually 7 furlongs which is 660 feet less than a mile; he went 443-180-41% at 7 furlongs.

Weight is an issue that is not really understood and how it affects the outcome of a race. Casse is at his best when his horse is carrying 121 pounds where he had 412 races, was in 163 exactas for a 39% exacta stat. At 117 ponds Casse had 159 runners and 48 exactas for a 30% strike rate. I have always thought the less weight the faster a horse will run. Class may be the weight equalizer.

Patrick Husbands is Mark Casse’s Go-To rider. Casse and Husbands went 964-418-43% in the exacta stats. Casse and Husbands are a little better in sprints; they have 520 races with 238 exactas for a 46% hit rate. There are 164 race days for Woodbine this year. Patrick Husbands and Mark Casse get about 241 runners a year, about 1 ½ runners per day so there is opportunity even with a lot of favorites to evaluate and bet or pass.

Jermaine Bridgmohan had 39 races for Casse, 9 exactas hits for a 23% exacta rate. He rode 1 favorite for Casse and that represents only 2% favorites. Patrick Husbands rode 380 favorites from his 964 races for Casse and hit 231 exactas for a 61% strike rate. This means 39% of his runners were favorites. This stat says Mark Casse knows when his horse is ready to run a big race and hit the exacta.

Mark Casse gets pedigree horses and class is where the pedigree shows up. Claiming events are his lowest strike rate with 214-70-33% however, in Maiden Claim races Casse is 211-84-40%. I would watch out for Maiden Special Weights runners dropping into a Maiden Claim races which is the biggest drop in racing.

When you have a trainer that all his horses have good pedigree there are 2 class levels that dominate Casse’s efforts; Maiden Special Weights which Casse is 680-246-39% and Stakes races which he produced 513-173-34% exacta strike rate. 22% of Mark Casse runners are in Stakes races. You can see through his stats that 1,193 of the 2265 starts were from Maiden Special Weights and Stakes races. 52% of all runners are from those 2 class levels that is really impressive.

Mark Casse may hit everything at a very high percentage but as a player and a guy that has a, Go-To play I want to know how he produces on all his runners that went off at 3/1. Casse sent 127 starters to the gate and hit with 50 for a 39% strike rate for 3/1. I wish Woodbine was open now because Mark Casse is a Go-To exacta play.
I have a play at Santa Anita today, Race 10, the #5 horse Ice Kat, 8/1 odds.  A Richard Baltas Lay 4 in a Route.  Overall his stat are 37-15-40%. This is a pattern play for Layoffs.  Every race has a higher percentage of exactas than the race before in the 4-race Layoff form cycle.  He starts out at 29%, goes to 30%, to 36%, then his best stat 40%.  Inside these numbers Baltas had 37 races and 29 of these were non favorites which he scored with 10 hits in the exacta.  It is sort of unusual; you get a stat that is much better than the favorite.
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Passing Races

The track I perform best at year after year is Aqueduct.  It is the premier claiming track in the U.S. for me. When all the big stables go to Gulfstream for the winter meet and take their high class pedigree horses with them, all the hard knockers remain for the cold and blustery days of racing at the big A and the claiming begins.

Claiming a horse out of a race can put you into the game almost instantly. You can have your first race within 14 days with your newly claimed horse. Once a horse is claimed I get a count on every trainer’s results for the 1st, 2nd 3rd 4th race after a claim separated by sprint and route.

Why a trainer claims a horse is not an issue. I have a hit rate on him as the horse goes through his first 4 race form cycle with this trainer. I am handicapping a specific statistic and a visual pattern at the same time.

At Aqueduct on Saturday there are 7 claim 1 sprint or route claims. This will be the first race for this trainer and the first race in the 4 race form cycle.

A total of 16 horses and their trainers are in the 4 race claim form cycle.

When I handicap I use two filters to cut that 16 down to a smaller amount of claiming trainers and their horses.

  1. If the horse won its last race.  I pass that horse as a key horse bet. If the horse won its last race it has already had it’s best race though there is one exception; if a horse was laid off on a win and is now returning from a layoff he can qualify as a bet.
  2. If the horse is the morning line favorite, then the horse is out as a bet except when the morning line is 3/1 or higher. I pass all horses at 5/2 and lower as a key horse bet.

Seven horses won their last race which leaves 9.  By the way because I passed these stats does not mean they will not hit the exacta.  I just find other races that are more appealing. Here are the stats in the exacta for all the runners at Aqueduct as well as the patterns and handicapping.

All stats are for the exacta.

Race 2
# 3 horse, The Great Samurai has a Morning Line (M/L) of 5/2. John Toscano has a Claim 2 in a Route race with stats of 30-10-33% at Aqueduct.

The 5/2 M/L is the reason for the Pass.

# 4 horse, Lost Iron has a 3/1 M/L.  Linda Rice is on a Claim 3 in a Route race with stats of 37-14-44%. A great stat however Linda had to lay the horse off. At Aqueduct on Claim 2 in a Route race at 1 mile she is 20-1-4-25%.  For a horse to be a key horse for me to bet, I handicap to win not to place so with a 20-1 record I will pass.

# 5 horse Peculiar Sensation trained by John Toscano is on a Claim 2 in a Route race which has stats of 30-10-30%.  Kendrick Carmouche and John Toscano at 1 mile at Aqueduct.  Here are their stats; 23 were sprints with 13 hits in the exacta for a 56% hit rate in routes.  They are 11-1-9% in Routes.  Toscano is a Sprint Claiming Trainer and not a Route Claiming Trainer. In pattern playing it’s important to understand that to be a pattern A has to connect to B.  The 11-1-9% says the connection is not there for the pattern to complete so I’ll pass!

# 6 horse Star Empire is 12/1.  Abigail Adsit is on a Claim 4 in a Route race and her stats are 14-2-14%. The final race in the form cycle Adsit tops out at 15% on Claim 3 route. I hit Abigail Adsit a few weeks ago on this blog on a Spike Play and she paid $14 to win.  For this stat, she is a pass.

Race 4

# 3 horse Hay Jabber Jaw is 15/1. Roberto Diodoro is on a Claim 3 in a Sprint race and his stats are 60-23-38%.  His exacta stats on Claim 4 Sprint are 38-19-58%.  The race before Claim 2 sprint, Diodoro is 47%. The Claim 3 Sprint is a good stat but is a bounce compared to the form cycle so I will pass.  

Race 5
# 3 horse, Alaapatique
is 4/1. Denis Lalman on Claim 2 in a Sprint race is 2-1-50%, a pass.

# 5 horse, Professor Snap is 4/1. Antonio Arriga is 5-2-40%, a pass.

# 6 horse, Buddy Anthony is on a Richard Schosberg Claim 1 in a Sprint race with stats of 15-5-33%.  Schosberg claimed this horse from Brad Cox, another claiming trainer. Because the horse won it’s last race it’s a pass.

Race 6

# 8 horse, H Man is 3/1. Jeremiah Englehart has a Claim 4 in a Sprint race with stats of 40-21-52%.  Jockey Trevor McCarthy and Jeremiah Englehart are 8-1-12% so this is a pass.

Race 7
# 2 horse, Will Did It is 5/1. John Toscano is on a Claim 1 in a Sprint race with stats of  61-17-27% in the exacta, a pass.

# 3 horse, Major League is 5/1. Rudy Rodriguez is on a Claim 1 sprint with stats of  101-54-53%.  The horse Won the last Race, pass.

# 6 horse, War Eagle’s Return has a morning line of 7/2. Carlos Martin is on a Claim 1 in a Sprint race.  His stats are 15-2-13% and a pass.

Race 9
# 3 horse, Slam Chowder
. A Bruce Levine trained horse on Claim 1 in a Sprint race is 54-16-29%. Bruce Levine has no races with jockey Joe Rocco Jr. so this is a pass.

# 6 horse, Exchange Secrets is 5/1. Trainer Gary Gullo is on a Claim 1 in a Sprint with stats of 77-32-41%. This horses last win was in 2016 so this is a pass.

# 7 horse, Perin’s Pride is 6/1.  Trainer Diodoro Robertino is on a Claim 2 in a Sprint race is 91-43-47%. Robertino started out West, I believe Turf Paradise then he went to Southern California and started claiming horses.  Then Robertino traveled to tracks in the Midwest and on to the East. His stats for Claim 1 in a Sprint race is 42%. He is a little better at Claim 2 in a Sprint race, 47%.  Kendrick Carmouche and Robertino are 3-0. Kendrick is a very good jockey at 6/1. I will take him as a bet because of the improvement expected on Claim 2 Sprint. He will be a key in an exacta bet for me.

# 8 horse, Lady Constance has a M/L of 5/2. M. Kantarmaci is on a Claim 1 sprint and is 0 wins so this is a Pass.

There is visual handicapping with the 4 race form cycle. As much as analyzing a statistic there is also handicapping other factors in every race. Knowing how to pass races is an art compared to the stat. I guarantee some of the races I pass will hit the exacta. The real improvement in handicapping is when you do not bet every race you handicap.
______________________ News:

Ed completed Jockey Trainer Reports for Tampa Jockey-Trainer TAM , for Laurel Park Jockey- Trainer LRL ,  for Gulfstream Park  Jockey-Trainer GP , and for Parx Jockey-Trainer PARX .

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Sober Up Aqueduct Sober Up

Today, Saturday February 3 at Aqueduct has carded small fields. I have seen jockey’s make mistakes and the rail birds start yelling to the jockey, sober up jockey sober up.

The Aqueduct race card has four races with 6 horse fields, one race with 7 horse fields, two races with 8 horse fields and one with a 10 horse field.

Small fields produce low odds on the race favorite. As the field size gets smaller the favorite has more of a chance to hit the exacta and the exacta becomes unattractive to bet because of low payouts. Here are some stats on the favorite in each race. All stats are for the exacta.

Race 1
The # 2 horse odds are 1/1 David Donk Claim 1 Route 6-1-16% Donk/Caramouche-9-0. A 6 Horse Field.

Race 2
The # 2 horse odds are 7/5 Todd Pletcher Lay 1 Sprint with favorites at Aqueduct 11-5-45% Pletcher T Franco 26-8-31%. A 6 horse field.

Race 3
The # 5 horse odds are 9/5 David Cannnizo Won Last Race Favorite 9-6-44% Cannizo D/Rocco Joe Jr. Zero races at Aqueduct. A 6 horse field.

Race 4
The # 5 horse odds are 3/1 Wesley Ward Lay 1sprint Aqueduct 10-4-40% Ward/Davis D. Zero Races at Aqueduct. An 8 horse field.

Race 5
The # 1 horse odds are 8/5 Philip Serpe Lay 1 sprint 14-4-28% Serpe/Franco M 7-0. A 7 horse field.

The # 1A horse odds are 8/5 Philip Serpe Debut 1 Sprint 14-1-7%Serpe/Lezcano A., 3-0. A 7 horse field.

Race 6
The # 2 horse odds are 9/5 Jason Service Lay 2 Route Aqu. 17-5-29% Service/McCarthy zero Races at Aqu. An 8 horse field.

Race 7
The # 6 horse odds are 5/2 Rudy Rodriguez Claim 1 Sprint Favorite at Aqu. 26-17-65% Rodriguez/Caramouche K. Zero Races at Aqu. An 8 horse field.

Race 8
The # 4 horse odds are 8/5 Kiaran McLaughlin Lay 1 Route Favorite Aqu. 9-4-44% McLaughlin/Bravo Joe zero races at Aqu. A 6 horse field

Race 9
The # 3 horse odds are 3/1 Linda Rice Lay 1 Sprint favorites at Aqu. 23-12-53% Rice/Alvarado J. 9-4-44%, a 10 horse field.

Aqueduct sends 57 runners to the races on a Saturday. That is a mistake. I have to react like a rail bird and yell out. Sober up Aqueduct Sober up.

I do have a bet at Santa Anita in Race 9, the # 11 horse Bowie.

This is a Down the Hill 6 ½ Furlongs Turf event. Richard Mandella has a Lay 1 Sprint down the hill of 34-15-44%.

Richard Mandella’s Detail Page (courtesy of’s on line racing stats) for 1st after a Layoff in a Sprint Race on Santa Anita’s Down Hill Turf.

Mandella has his go to jockey up, Flavien Prat.  Together they have sent 49 runners down the hill, hit 16 exactas for a 32% strike rate.

The horse has 2 starts the first on the dirt he came in 9th out of ten runners. His second start was on the turf and he came in second out of 13 runners in the race.

Mandella layed Bowie off and entered him into today’s race, an allowance optional claim. I also think Mandella will not risk putting him up to be claimed. I think Mandella is going for the win in an easier spot. The horse has excellent pedigree; Malibu Moon and Unbridled’s song. I hit Mandella and Prat a couple of Saturdays ago down the hill.

We should congradulate the Aqueduct Morning Line Maker.  He had 4 wins, 2 places, one scratch, and 2 ran out.  It looked like a formful day for the favorite and that is the reason I passed all races at Aqueduct.

Santa Anita, Race 9, the 11 Bowie won and paid $8 to win.  The Exacta paid $106.60.  The fifth favorite came in at 12/1.

______________________ News:

Ed completed Jockey Trainer Reports for Tampa Jockey-Trainer TAM , for Laurel Park Jockey- Trainer LRL ,  for Gulfstream Park  Jockey-Trainer GP , and for Parx Jockey-Trainer PARX .

Interested in more than one Jockey Trainer Exacta Report circuit.  Now you can purchase any 2 completed circuits of your choice and save $10 at the following link:  Any 2 Jockey-Trainer Reports
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Santa Anita Race 7

#9 is a Philip D’ Amato Debut 1 Sprint going down the hill. D’ Amato has started 133 debut 1 sprinter’s and he hit the exacta with 42 for a 31% exacta rate.

Copy of online racing stats

These are really good numbers. This Race is a down the hill sprint turf race in a Maiden Special Weights. D’ Amato has started 13 runners on debut 1 sprint down the hill and hit the exacta with 6 for a 45% hit rate. 11 were Maiden Special weight races and he hit 5 for a 45% exacta rate down the hill.

Copy of Trainer D’Amato’s Detail Page for his Debut 1 Sprint Races Downhill Turf

Joe Talamo is in the irons. He has started 186 races with D’ Amato and hit the exacta with 65 for a 34% cash rate.  24 have been down the hill 8 hit a 33% exacta hit rate.

Copy of Jockey Joe Talamo’s Detail Page from online racing stats

Joe Talamo is a very good jockey. He has hit the exacta with 101 different trainers. Talamo is one of those jockeys’ that makes me wonder why he is not known as a top jockey. Overall he has 1,432 races and hit the exacta 442 times for a 31% exacta rate. Talamo hits with 12 trainers that he rides for with a plus 30% exacta rate. He is one of the Southern California jockey’s that I look for when I have a bet to add him into an exacta or single him as key horse bet. At Santa Anita Talamo has 3 trainers that produce a total of 127 exactas; Ron Ellis 98-35-36%, John Sadler 75-28-37% and today’s trainer Phillip D’ Amato.

Talamo has not had that big horse that elevates his name and highlights his abilities and moves him into the top 5 jockey’s in the country however, Talamo numbers are not eye opening, just a constant 30% exacta rate. I believe he is a top jockey and that is good enough for me.

Does any one have The Racing Form? Can supply me with the Tomlinson numbers for Distance and Turf for More Than Ready and Empire Maker.

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A couple of Bets on Saturday

Every bet I make involves a 4 race form cycle. At Aqueduct Race 7 the # 1a Speke has a Morning Line of 7/2. Todd Pletcher has a Debut 1 Sprint stat of 314-84-26% to win. Pletcher moves up to 34% on Debut 2 Sprint, 34% for Debut 3 Sprint and then the form cycle dives on Debut 4 Sprint 9%.

Pletcher’s stats at Aqueduct for Debut 1 Sprint are 34-12-35% to win. 29 of these races were Maiden Special Weights. At Aqueduct, he won with 12 for a 41% win rate.

Manuel Franco and Todd Pletcher went to post 169 races and won on 32 for a 18% win rate. At Aqueduct these two are 110-22-20%.

In Maiden Special Weights these two are 9-1-11% at the Big A. That MSW stat is the reason I will bet cautiously. If his odds drop to 5/2 or lower I will pass the bet.

Santa Anita Race 8 the # 6 Rye has a morning line of 3/1. William Morey has a Lay 1 Route stat with This Owner of 13-5-38% win rate. The owner is Joseph P. Morey Revocable Trust. Over all on Lay 1 Route Morey is 42-10-23%.

Kent Desormeaux is switching from Frank Alvarado. The horse is a shipper and on the turf. Rye loves to win 15-7-46% win rate. Desormeaux and Morey are 20-8 40% win rate. On the turf Desormeaux and Morey are 6-4-66% If Morey gets bet to 8/5 I will pass the bet.  

Results: The Aqueduct Race missed. Santa Anita, the 8 Rye hit and paid $6.00, $3.60, $2.80. The $2 Exacta paid $23.60. His morning line was 3/1. He went off at 2/1.
______________________ News:

Ed just completed Jockey Trainer Reports for Tampa Jockey-Trainer TAM , for Laurel Park Jockey- Trainer LRL ,  for Gulfstream Park  Jockey-Trainer GP , and for Parx Jockey-Trainer PARX .

Interested in more than one Jockey Trainer Exacta Report circuit.  Now you can purchase any 2 completed circuits of your choice and save $10 at the following link:  Any 2 Jockey-Trainer Reports
Save additional 10% on All publications in our  Book Store by entering
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What they are saying about Ed Bain’s new Horse Racing Novel
Libraries, Yellow Cheese Sandwiches and 38,880 Running Lines

Jack Gresser reviewed Libraries, Yellow Cheese Sandwiches and 38,880 Running Lines — 5 star December 4 at 7:54pm ·

Libraries, Yellow Cheese Sandwiches and 38,880 Running Lines is a fascinating and moving story of a true horse player and innovator in the world of Thoroughbred handicapping. The story flows effortlessly with a simple and concise style that makes the reader want to keep reading. For both the horse racing enthusiast and the non-horse player, this book is a must read that dives deep into core human emotions… everything from loneliness to self-doubt to finding your passion. As a youth, Ed found a “friend”, in the form of a library and found his passion as an adult in the form of horse racing.

Ed’s horse racing passion is handicapping. I first heard of Ed from the Daily Racing form Expo in 2004 and was immediately drawn into trainer statistics as a method of creating a system of focus and discipline in approaching the races as an investment, not a gamble. Libraries, Yellow Cheese Sandwiches and 38,880 Running Lines delves into the passion of discovery of the system, or innovation if you will. Most innovators and entrepreneurs will tell you that they need a rival to drive them. Ed talks about his rival is the “average good handicapper”. To defeat his rival, Ed found his edge in the countless hours of analyzing past performance data, which can be a lonely and difficult endeavor.

Ironically Ed’s ability to independently focus as an adult likely was the result of some of the pain he had has a youth and the hours alone in his sanctuary, the library. In reading this story, I reflected back on my own life and I not only learned about Ed, but I also learned something about myself. Thank you Ed, for a wonderful story and a true, thought provoking experience.

Libraries, Yellow Cheese Sandwiches and 38,880 Running Lines 

I have just finished Libraries, Yellow Cheese Sandwiches and 38,880 Running Lines by Ed Bain, and this was my second time through the book since I recently acquired it. The first time proved an enjoyable journey through a “stream-of-consciousness” narrative that I couldn’t put down—good story and addictive personal story-telling. The author states in the front matter that this is a work of “fiction.” Well, maybe. But all good fiction draws from life, and my wager is that this fiction is close to Ed’s real deal, and so much the better. Great stuff!

I knew as I read that a lot of interesting handicapping information was flowing by like a river—thus the immediate “second reading.” I took a yellow highlighter and had a grand time. Anyone who loves racing, handicapping, or an angle on how to “do well” NEEDS to read this book. Ed is kind enough to give us a great story, AND the insider information on his system…one that uses his specific talents and genius to grand effect. This book belongs in any library of racing and wagering, and be sure to read it at least TWICE! Looking forward to ordering/subscribing to and reading his other offerings, especially those that pertain to Southern California. Thanks for sharing your story and your talents, Ed!

Bill Mentes Best book I’ve read since “Kinky Handicapping!” September 13 at 1:20pm

Donald Altemose an orderly and eclectic look at life and horse racing. Recommend highly October 21 at 3:31am

Saari Sedillo reviewed Libraries, Yellow Cheese Sandwiches and 38,880 Running Lines — 5 star October 20 at 9:44am ·
Very compelling book I couldn’t put it down I read the entire book in 2 days

Mark Cramer I hope this book circulates beyond the usual hard-core horseplayers because it contains many hard-learned lessons from an incredibly fractured childhood and adolescence, a troubled but regenerating tour in the marines, and the ghosts of the past that haunt him as he tries to reconstruct his adult life, relying on numbers and facts to ward off the irrational life that envelopes him. October 21 at 5:44am

Charles Bedard · Very readable book. Finished it quickly and enjoyed it immensely. · October 23 at 6:06pm

Libraries, Yellow Cheese Sandwiches and 38,880 Running Lines is a revealing and engaging story about the human condition and the enormous discipline and psychological stamina required to even consider the possibility of winning at the races. Mark Cramer Author

Many successful gamblers come from diverse backgrounds with unique upbringings.  Ed’s triumphant career as a professional player is no exception.

Book Store


The hardships and growing pains that every player faces as a fledgling racing aficionado affect us all. However, it’s the school of hard knocks, bad beats and harsh realities of the game learned early on that often lay the foundation for successful play later. Some adjust but most don’t. Ed is one of those rare exceptions. His methodical and statistical approach to betting goes against the grain of every racing text book and supposed expert’s philosophy in the field. His meticulous approach to betting and life in general makes this work a must-read for any diehard handicapper still on the racing journey or any new punter looking to place his first $2 bet.”  –Dean Keppler Former Director of DRF Press for Daily Racing Form and author of Betting the Kentucky Derby and Trainer Angles.

Read Ed Bain’s new Novel Libraries, Yellow Cheese Sandwiches and 38,880 Running Lines? Post a review on Facebook: Review Ed Bain’s New Novel Here


As a horseplayer I never really address losing bets. I only talk about how I select key horses to bet and score. However, through record keeping by recording my winning and losing bets as well as the stat that was the reason why I made the bet is the way I became a successful horseplayer.

I have a 25% cash rate. I average 4 bets a day, hit 1 and make a living.

The problem is accepting averages which is a middle number from a list of numbers added together to strike an average. Averages give me the tendency of my selection. The reality of betting into a percentage is much more difficult to understand than you would think. 1 win from 4 bets I would say is an approach I could bet every day and go home happy. The problem with averages is that it is not the way I score. If in fact I hit 1 from every 4 bets instead of averaging 1 hit from every 4 bets I made there would be no emotional response to my losing selection. This is the difference between the average of betting and winning and betting and losing.

When I first used record keeping as a tool I recorded each bet. I did not really know what I was supposed to figure out from my betting records. I did like most players would do, concentrate on the bets I cashed on and I ignored the losing ones. Handling the emotions of a losing streak is part of betting for a living. Hitting 1 from every 4 bets includes a series of never ending losing streaks and a constant awareness of my emotions.

I recorded each bet by month which limited my expectations for a 25% hit rate because I always felt next month could be an improvement from last month. I could also see all the bets I cashed on in one spread sheet. At first I did not realize that record keeping is about the losing bets and not the winning bets. The losing bets are where the improvement of my playing came from.

After my second year of betting for a living I transferred each month onto one spread sheet to view all my selections for the year and how I won and lost. It was an eye opener. I had made 1,000 bets, averaging 83 a month, 4.15 bets per day. I had 240 bets that I cashed on that second year and I wanted to congratulate myself on being a successful horse player from those 240 wins.

I turned off the lights, got a bottle of coke and hit the page down button on my computer key pad 14 times. On each page I could see the big bets I cashed. I noted the smaller 7 horse field exactas that I cashed on prevented the losing side of betting from overwhelming me and these hits kept my emotions in check.

I sat there smiling. I had done it. I can make a living betting on the horses. I would never have to go to another job interview and go to work for some company ever again. What a feeling.

I paged up to find big hits and hits that I needed timing wise that would end a losing streak. It was fun. These 240 hits were personally rewarding. At times I sat in my office chair and my legs would go straight out and I would get an emotional response to what I have accomplished. 14 pages of big wins, great memories and a feeling of triumph.

I hit page down to see all the bets I had lost. I kept hitting the down arrow over and over. 22 pages produced 760 losing bets, an accepted compromise of losing to get 14 pages with 240 wins. I knew these 22 pages are where I had to study. Learning how I lose is as important as finding out how I win. The reason is emotions; how to handle my anger or disappointment when I lost and particularly the close calls that I bet and lost on. I sorted again to find out how.

My longest winning streak was 6 in a row. This took 2 days 5 exactas and 1 trifecta. My longest losing streak was 32 in a row. This took 8 days, almost 2 straight weeks of losing. I had kept betting at the same size, always aware of any change I made which I did not.

I averaged 1 to 2 hits a day 12 days a month. I have 8 days a month where I have no hits and I still maintain a 25% cash rate. Every week I produce either a 10 or a 12 race losing streak from 21 bets a week. That is every week. My worst month I lost 75 from 83 bets, 8 winners and I had a hit rate of 9%. I was down over half of my betting bank. My best month was 29 wins from 85 bets for a 34% hit rate. I tripled my racing bank.

I knew that this is probably the best I could do betting for a living and that the payouts would vary. The question is could I get these numbers month after month year after year. The size of my hits I would cash on would vary. If I could control my emotions and not let that loss rate scare me into betting favorites to produce a hit to end a bad run of losing bets I knew I could bet like this for years.

If you know where you lose, then you can figure out how to win.

Ed Bain News:
New Book Reviews for Ed’s book Libraries, Yellow Cheese Sandwiches and 38,880 Running Lines:

At the request of players Ed just completed the Jockey-Trainer Report of PARX Jockey-Trainer PARX and Gulfstream  Jockey-Trainer GP

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Jockey-Trainer GP + PARX
save an additional $10 when buying both New York and Southern California Circuits J-T Report NY + S Cal

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Jockey Switch

The jockey switch is one of the most ignored trainer moves in all of sports. I can’t imagine Baseball, Football, Hockey or Basketball not going over personal switches and comparing each players statistics and questioning Why did management change players. The only sport that does not discuss personal moves is Horse Racing. The fun of handicapping is the people in racing, the Jockeys and Trainers. I have been calculating statistics for over 25 years. I have detailed stats on all of them and I feel as if I know all of the jockeys and trainers personally even though I view them only thru a betting statistic.

The jockey switch was first really explained well by Mark Cramer when he explained the Class drop Jockey shift. Mark tried to tell us that a switch to a higher percentage jockey and dropping in class is a significant factor as a bet and Mark was correct. Here are the jockey switches today at Santa Anita.

Race 1
# 1 Trainer P. D’Amato switched to Joe Talamo who is 65-31-48% in the exacta from Tyler Baze who is 38-12-36% in the exacta. A switch from a go-to jockey from a go-to jockey.

# 6 Trainer Richard Mandella has a go-to jock on this first time starter with Mike Smith 30-12-40% in the exacta. The problem is Mandella on Debut 1 in a Route race at Santa Anita is 16-0, no hits in the exacta.

Race 2
# 2 Trainer Jeff Mullins switched from Cory Nakatani who is 3-2-66% to Tyler Base who is 138-40-29%,  At 7/5 odds, this is a no play for me.

# 4 Trainer Mathew Chew switched from E. Roman who has 0 races to Tiago Pereira who is 12-6-50% in the exacta. At 5/2 he could be a play however, I like big stats, with a lot of tries and wins so I’ll pass the race.

Race 3
# 5 Trainer Bob Baffert has three runners in the race. Baffert at one time supplied jockey Martin Garcia with a ten year supply of hits in one year. Martin Garcia had 270-110-41% in the exacta at Santa Anita. Baffert has Victor Espinoza on his runner today and they are 29-12-41% in the exacta.

Race 4
# 2 Trainer Peter Miller switched from Victor Espinoza 58-26-45% to Flavien Pratt 13-4-31%. What will prevent me from betting is only 13 starts.

# 7 William Spawr switched from Tyler Baze who is 23-11-48% in the exacta to Mike Smith who is 14-4-29% which will prevent me from betting for the same reason as Peter Miller.

Race 5
# 3 Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer switched from Drayden Van Dyke who is 29-3-10% to E. Roman who is 14-7-50% in the Exacta. He cashed 7 with Roman and 3 with Van Dyke.  I need more stats before I make a bet.

# 6 Trainer Kristin Mulhall switched from Tyler Baze who is 22-3-14% to Martin Pedroza who is 52-20-38% in the exacta, a go-to jockey switch however the horse has nocks against it as a play.

Race 6
# 1 Trainer Peter Miller switches from Tyler Baze who is 88-42-48% in the exacta to Flavien Pratt who is 33-15-45%. A go-to to go-to.

# 7 Trainer Bob Baffert switched from Rafael Bejarano who is 91-34-37% in the exacta stats in sprints to Drayden Van Dyke who is 5-1-20%,

# 10 Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer switched from Joe Talamo who is 11-6-55% to Rafael Bejarano who is 138-68-49%. In this race Rafael ended up on trainer Hollendorfer horse instead of Baffert’s.

Race 7
Has no significant jockey switches.

Race 8
# 7 Trainer John Sadler switched from Victor Espinoza whose exacta route stats are 107-41-38% to Flavien Plat who is 6-2-33% in the exacta.

# 8 Trainer Doug O’Neill switched from Mario Gutierrez who is 225-67-30% to Rafael Bejarano who is 101-35-35%. A go-to to a go-to jock.

Race 9
# 1 Trainer Richard Mandella switched from Joe Talamo who is 19-6-30% to Flavien Prat who is 95-36-38% in sprint exacta stats, his go-to jockey.

# 8 Trainer John Sadler switched from Flavien Prat who is 6-4-67% to Tyler Baze who is 57-22-39%, and one of his go-to jockeys.

#9 Trainer Mark Glatt switched from Tyler Baze who is 52-18-35% to Kent Desormeaux who is 9-2-22% in the exacta.

I will take Race 9 # 8 John Sadler switching from Flavien Prat to Tyler Baze 57-22-39% in the exacta.
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Down the Hill

Santa Anita has the best sprint race in America, 6 ½ furlongs down the hill on the turf. Most days the track cards one or two races down the hill. There is no group think with the jockey’s where they all wait for the turn and run to the lead. It is all out from gate to wire fractions that make me laugh because they are so fast. Visually the race is easy to see how they string out and then seem to gather at the part of the track that crosses over from turf to dirt and back to turf and the chaos it seems to create. Then the closers add more drama into basically the most exciting race to be involved in with a bet.

To me Santa Anita’s 6 ½ furlong down the hill on the turf is a jockey’s race. I have Jockey exacta stats on the 6 ½ furlong Down the Hill Turf Sprint Races. My play is Santa Anita’s Race 9 is the #9, Flavian Pratt and Richard Mandella Down the Hill.

Santa Anita Race 9 Jockey Exacta stats down the hill

#1 Frey M.           23-4-17%
#2 Quinonez A.   50-16-%
#3 Elliott S.          86-12-13%
#4 Gutierez M.    130-33-25%
#5 Roman E.       No Stats
#6 Talamo J.       230-40-17%
#7 Nakatani C.    95-20-18%
#8 Bejarano R.    221-92-42%
#9 Prat F.            238-75-31%
#10 Espinoza V. 104-22-21%
#11 Pena B.        34-0-0%
#12 Baze T.         291-83-28%
#13 Roman E.     No Stats
#14 Smith M.       78-30-38%

My key horse with Flavian Prat and Richard Mandella placed and the favorite came in first.  Prat and Mandella keyed an exacta that paid $43.80.

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Reply to Alyosha’s Post

I replied to Alyosha’s post on the previous blog post here Ed Bain’s Work Sheet  (where you can also see Alyosha’s questions) however to be able to add links and/or illustrations for some of these explanations I had to make this a blog post.  This post also includes my play at Santa Anita today. Let em roll at the 1/4 poll……. Ed

I think you made a good choice Alyosha in ordering the stats.  All that experience that you’ve had betting will come in to play particularly in the 4-race form cycle.  Both of those guys you mentioned Ken Massa and Ron Cox offer good products.  Discipline is hard to understand in racing because of the emotions that all players run through during a race.  You know you’ve found discipline when you don’t have a bet and everyone else is excited but you. You can bet or pass and it’s the passing that creates discipline.

1). Do the stats include all wet days?

2) Do you treat a wet day like a dry one and play regardless?

I don’t buy the form so I don’t get the current Tomlinson’s however, I have an old Tomlinson book that still has many of the sires still dropping foals so I do use Tomlinson to help me some what.  In my stats, all the stats are combined, off track, wet track, turf track, fast track and when you click on the Layoff, Claim, Debut and Won Last race you can view statistics on how many races he had on the turf and what his numbers are.

I do have a good understanding of off track pedigree, but by nature I am very cautious about betting into pedigree that I don’t know is good on an off track.  So I do end up passing many bets that are on wet or muddy tracks and when I do, many still hit the exacta. Just because I pass does not mean they won’t win. When I do have the Tomlinsons I look for a 400 number.  So I demand a very high hit rate from the Tomlinson and I demand the same thing from my statistics.  400 Tomlinsons, 40% in the exacta.

3) Is it possible to recover prior days of PP in order to research. I believe I can copy and paste the link into an email to myself, but only track by track, so a long process. Any other way?

My database makes over a million calculations daily so yesterday’s races are in today’s stats.  Also there’s nothing wrong with tedious work in racing.  This is how I ended up designing and playing the 4 race form cycle through trial and error.  That is the scientific way.

The only other way is through my database which I do offer on a monthly subscription. Data Export Tool

4). Bigger question: I will try to lay out the method as I understand it thusfar and ask for feedback.
JT stats in the book I’ve ordered are for NY and SCal circuits, so it would seem that the focus would be there. The PP stats have jockey with trainer stats, which will sometimes be 4+30, but they don’t show you who is the trainer’s go to rider. So in order to find a key horse, I would begin? 1) by looking at the Non Fav trainer possibilities for the day–and focus on the NY and Scal circuits first. Then 2) look at the JT stats to narrow down by eliminating combos that are not using one of the preferred riders. 3) Now look at the more detailed stats–eg at that track. 4)Pay close attention to where in the cycle the trainer is and see if this is his preferred moment–eg a spike.

The Jockey-Trainer Exacta Report is absolutely crucial to betting.  I’m amazed that there are no Jockey-Trainer reports offered.  It’s almost like they’re invisible.  Any player who uses this report will become a better player that day.  I would encourage everyone to use this and use it first in order.  The next series of questions you’re asking is actually how I handicap and the best answer I can give you is in this blog article

The reason is, it’s how I start.  And I start with pen and paper.  I make out a 3 deep grid of what the favorites number is in every race and his odds and that sets up the day to start handicapping. This gives me a visual.  What I’m looking for is 3/1 Morning Line favorite.  It’s the only favorite I place as a key bet.

The second bet in that article is actually 3/1, non-favorite and these two plays are my favorite plays to make.  I usually get one or two bets per day at 3/1.  I would follow that article and I would use these plays.  I would adopt the 3/1 favorite and the non-favorite as the first thing you look for in statistics.  This will give you plays to look for.  This is the advantage of statistics.  You can find the same plays to bet over and over.  However you have to start at the beginning which is with pen and paper and laying out that grid.

It’s very important for you to have a starting point.  All players I know open to Race 1, horse 1 and handicap horse by horse, race by race and hope they see something along the way.  That is what makes horse racing tedious.  When you’re handicapping for a play, something you know has a hit rate, in this case 3/1 for me is 25%, I cash 1 out of every 4.  When you’re handicapping a go-to play like 3/1, the only thing tedious is waiting for the race to come up and being patient.  This 3/1 is triggered by a Jockey-Trainer combination.  Does he have a go-to jockey on him.  The Jockey-Trainer stats could be played as an approach by themselves.

I have one 3/1 Morning Line play today.  It’s at Santa Anita in Race 3, the 4 horse Pundy.  It’s a Irad Ortiz Jr and Peter Miller.  Irad Ortiz has zero races in sprints at Santa Anita with Peter Miller.  Irad is replacing Flavien Prat.  Flavien is one of Peter Miller’s go-to jockeys 33-15-45% in sprints at Santa Anita in the Exacta.  Miller on 2nd after a Layoff in a sprint at Santa Anita on his favorites is 11-9-81%.  Irad Ortiz zero percent.  I would have made this play if Flavien Prat was up.  He is a very good jockey, under rated jockey. I’m sure he hated giving up that 3/1 morning line favorite to Irad Ortiz.  Moving to one of the top 5 jockey’s in the Country, Irad Ortiz is not a bad jockey switch either.

5). How you find horses that are not 4+30 to include in the exacta is one of my questions.

That is a good question.  Just as I mention above, you have to have a starting point.  The race can’t run until all the horses are loaded in the gate and it’s the same with handicapping.  I start with pen and paper, I have a work sheet and I make a copy of the entries program.  Even though I have an elaborate website that tells me everything that I want to know, what I like to do is layer it in by hand.  First the grid, then I enter all the jockey-trainer combinations on top of the Jockey’s name.  There is no bet that I make that does not have a go-to jockey on him other than a shipper like Irad Ortiz.  Once I have who the real players are for me then I go to my stats.  I click on the appropriate stat, the detail page comes up and on the left side of this page has all the details on how this trainer performed by track, class, distance, surface and field size.  What I am looking for in the stats is I immediately click on today’s track, Santa Anita and see how all this trainers races separate.  As an example like Peter Miller on Lay 2 Sprint favorites and I write down these stats like this L2S SA Fav 11-9-81% on top of the trainers name.  It would be easier if I just would roll through my website, pick a horse here and there to play and hope for the best but what it really takes is hard work.  It may be mental and it may be slow and tedious.  I must like mental, slow tedious work.  It’s what makes us a grinder.

6). Finally, other than NY and SCal tracks, we have a wealth of data but not the JT stats. Should we play very selectively demanding more from the stats—eg, start with non Fav list, then focus on the jockey trainer stat in the PP and spikes?

What sets up my handicapping for statistics is a 40% exacta rate.  That is extremely high.  So it gets you to stats that are playable and that you’re betting into a trainer who has his go-to rider on him.  It’s the absolute key to being selective.  You will only want to bet races that have a 40% exacta rate.  So yes, you need to be highly selective.  You have the experience and you also understand how to handle selectivity.

Pattern playing the 4-race form cycle is an untapped statistical resource.  Spike plays, either or plays, I play patterns of all types in this 4-race form cycle.  As a player you’ll see some immediately.  Some will look easy to play and some races there will be nothing there in the patterns.  Pattern playing is a visual approach.  I use it all the time for fillers in the Exacta.  Once I have a key horse, I separate my playing by patterns.  First Layoffs, Claims, Debuts, Won Last Race.  Pattern playing reminds me of Star Trek opening statement “Where no man has gone before”.  The 4-race form cycle forces you to look at cycles and you will see good jockey-trainer stats on bad cycles or just the opposite.

I can produce any jockey-trainer report for every track.  It’s the same price.  It will take me a couple of weeks to get it done but if you need one just tell me.

Jockey-Trainer Exacta Report

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Ed Bain’s Handicapping Work Sheet

After I posted Ed’s Work Sheet I decided to take this picture of Ed’s Brain.  Wasn’t surprised to see this.  Makes a lot of sense.

From Susan:
Just wanted to share this.
When Ed’s talking about handicapping he thinks everyone knows what he’s talking about when this is actually what he is talking about

Ed Bains Worksheet when he Handicaps the Races