Ed first started tracking his Layoff and Claim statistics, separated by sprints (7 furlongs and under) and routes (7 ½ furlongs and more) around 1994, which was at a time when I hadn’t yet made a wager, at least a bet based from my own decisions though I loved to go to live racing whenever we had the chance. Prior to his recording these statistics we had the opportunity to view many races which left each of us with an impression of how certain trainers performed and perceived some excelled in route races while others seemed to win more races in sprints.
We lived just outside Washington, DC and considered our home tracks Laurel and Pimlico. At the time there was a noted trainer, a former Green Beret who was known to all of us locals partly because of the somewhat quirky black out of shape hat he often wore accompanied by a bow tie, usually red or black in color, when entering his runners in a Stakes race named Richard Small. “Dickie” as he was often referred to conditioned some great runners; Broad Brush, Concern, Valley Crossing, and a hometown favorite filly named Star Minister.
Those of us who have been around racing a long while might recall Star Minister stopped running when she was whipped. She actually turned her head while in flight and snarled at her rider Andrea Seefeldt after she was whipped for the first and last time. So Small instructed Seefeldt to get the lead and then to sit stock still no matter what in order for Star Minister to win her first race. The day after this win, the media negatively went after Seefeldt and the ride she gave Star Minister even though they won and it was then that Dickie Small forever gained Ed’s and my respect because he adamantly stood up for Andrea; stating she was doing exactly what she was told. After, and every time Star Minister ran it was an event. The attendance at the track nearly filled and the crowd would cheer Star Minister home and clapped praise for Seefeldt’s ride.
By the time I started to wager Small trained exclusively for the Meyerhoff brothers (former owners of these two Maryland race tracks) and because of the horses he trained our perception of Small was he performed best in routes. So when Ed published his Layoff and Claim statistics we were surprised to learn that Smalls Maryland circuit numbers exploded in sprint races, especially on the 3rd and 4th race after a layoff where his numbers were 40 and 44%. This was all I needed to give me the reason to finally begin making my own wagers.
Around the same time a similar surprise came about with Southern California trainer Neil Drysdale who most of us perceive as a flat out route trainer especially on the turf when we discovered his numbers from 1995 to 1997 in sprint races looked like this: 1st after a Layoff 20% (10 wins from 50 tries), 2nd 17% (2 wins from 12 tries), 3rd 20% (2 wins from 10 tries) to 88% on 4th after a layoff in a sprint (7 wins from 8 tries). Maybe this 88% stat was the cause of Ed adding the .88 after everything we sold 🙂
It was from these two trainer’s stats that I gained an innate understanding of statistics and how to apply these to bets. This was also when Ed discovered the Spike play and then forever focused on this within each trainer’s 4-race form cycle. The stats were an indicator of how powerful a form cycle really is and understanding this and knowing when to place a bet as well as when to pass is the secret to our success and guess what?
All of our stats in our betting program are Based off of this 4-race form cycle on Layoffs, Claims, Debuts and Won Last Race! All separated by track, class, distance, surface and soon by surface conditions
When asked what is included in the ratings that our program calculates, the 4-race form cycle is the main component followed by what we most recently added which is every algorithm Bill Benter discusses in this article. Benter Article
After having a chance to view the Potential Bet reports and the results of these since we went live October 3rd, perhaps now is a good time to re-read Benter’s article for a refresher and to fully grasp and answer everyone’s question of what’s included in the ratings.
Though the progression doesn’t stop here. At present we’re producing 63 to 65% in the money finishers from the 147 racetracks we have included in our database and that is, to say the very least, pretty dam good, though not time to rest as this is not the final goal.
Benter’s module, though less intricate (lacking the 4-race form cycle) and his information was deciphered on two thoroughbred tracks in Hong Kong verses our 147, his produced on average 70% winners, many on lower odds than the average handicapper, including Ed would accept but 70% winners none the less and knowing which ones to bet and which ones to pass is the reason why Benter made a billion dollars.
So what’s next?
The best way to view our program, what we’ve built and where we’re at is to simulate this towards building a vehicle from scratch. You put together the chasse, add wheels, an engine, an enclosure, seats and windows and though you can take this now mobile vehicle out for a drive it would be best to not go too far until you’ve installed the brakes, a gas pedal, a steering wheel and conveniences such as air conditioning; needed during the summer or when you drive to southern states like Florida and heat for when you decide to drive to Nebraska, which is exactly what we’re about to do and which will also assist in our reaching on average 70% wins, though none of this could be accomplished without first building the base.
We’ll start by adding Pedigree; how each sire, broodmare sire and even broodmare performs on all surfaces, dirt, turf, all weather, then on all surface conditions; wet, wet fast, muddy, sloppy, good, firm, soft, yielding. Then what age the sire, broodmare sire and broodmare produce wins; 2 years old, 3, and so on. Then at each specific distance (no longer grouping together all sprints and routes) but rather for each distance. Then at what class level and then combine class levels with age and so on. In other words every possible scenario and when a horse’s pedigree shows an advantage over the other runners in this race either due to age and or surface and or surface condition this positive would be added to and included in a horse’s ratings. If today’s runner does not perform well after calculating the pedigree then there is nothing added to this runner’s rating.
Pedigree will be calculated overall and then by each track, class, distance and surface.
Next is workouts. How a trainer performs when their horse has a workout and then entered within 3 days of a race, then 4 days, then 5 days, then how they perform with a workout and then entered at each specific distance, at each specific class, each specific surface and surface conditions.
Then how this pedigree with this workout performs with today’s trainer with today’s jockey and on and on….. So from this you can see how the module’s perfected with each sizing up every runner to one another in today’s race conditions and this is how we’ll reach our ultimate goal of on average 70% winners.
The difference of where we are now (mobile and able to drive) and where we were before our October 3rd launch date (without the chasse thereby rendering us immobile) is that because I have a thorough understanding of how to apply statistics along with a great deal of innate knowledge of pedigree and how it applies to different surfaces and surface conditions, ectara that from the stats the Potential Bet list provides I am able to determine what to bet, win, place and or show and also what to pass; HOWEVER, 147 tracks is a lot of tracks to cull through. And even though they’re not all open at the same time, this still leaves a minimum of 10 on any given day and can be up to 15 or 20 on weekend to cull through which is a lot to do.
Not to mention that for a long while we’ll be tweaking and adjusting as we add data points and as I make us our bets and the best way to know what adjustments to make is by keeping records and that is what we’re in the process of currently setting up.
So this gives you an update on our current status.
Though we bet more than we won Breeder’s Cup weekend, even though we cashed on a lot of races, there were favorites that came in, fortunately I continued to bet on Sunday and recovered just about the total loss from the last race at Belmont when the program hit a $47 winner.
Now for some fun stuff. Russell Staggs, one of our shareholders who designed his silks to include a tribute to Ed by embroidering Let em roll at the quarter pole broke his Maiden as a first time thoroughbred owner when his horse Doc Amster confidently rode to victory as the longest shot in the race and Our Program Pick this Sunday. Congratulations Russell. Thank you from my heart for your tribute to Ed. Here’s a photo of Doc Amster’s win, and the program pick.