Won Last Race

There are around 35,000 races carded each year and there are 35,000 winners. Won Last Race is a recognizable handicapping factor because of these 35,000 winners.

When a horse wins expert handicapper’s would say that he is at the top of the form cycle.

Then how do you evaluate a horse that just Won his Last Race?  Can he repeat or should I pass.

I have four 4-race form cycles in my statistics; the first is Layoffs then Claims, Debut’s and Won Last Race. The patterns that the 4-race form cycle displays is how the trainer produces wins in the form cycle and this can be the reason for a bet.

Some Won Last Race is easy to spot up and then to make a quick decision to pass or bet.

Saturday at Arlington in Race 3 # 2 Jean Elizabeth is 2/5 and she won her last race. She is trained by Larry Rivelli and his stats are 154-47-30% for Won Last Race. Of these 90 were favorites, 40 won for a 44% win rate. This is a 6 horse field and there is not much in the other runners to challenge Larry Rivelli’s Won last Race stat.  It is a small field with really low odds and it’s an easy pass.

Some stats are not easy to handicap because of the number of competitors in the same race with the same Won Last Race stat and pattern.

Woodbine Race 6

There are 8 runners and 6 of them Won Their Last Race; Mark Casse has 3 entries and 2 won their last race and Roger Attfield has 2 entries and both won their last race.

1 # Bold Script 5/1 A Stuart Simon Won Last Race stat of 10-3-25% is moving from Maiden Special Weights to Stakes. A good enough stat to add into the exacta. Eurico Da Silva is the jockey.

# 2 Eyeinthesky 9/2 the first of Mark Casse’s three runners and no stats. Gary Boulanger is in the irons. He is one of Mark Casse’s go-to jocks. The horse ran a good work where 84 runners worked 4 furlongs and he was second fastest.

# 3 Si Si Tequilla 5/2 and the morning line favorite. Mark Casse and his go-to jockey Patrick husbands is up in a 6 furlong stakes race. Si Si Tequila won his last race, a Maiden Special Weights race and today he is in a $100,000 stake race. Casse is 194-41-21% and for favorites he is 53-20-37%. Casse and Husbands have a 46% exacta hit rate in sprint races at Woodbine. At 5/2 he is not a clear cut favorite. He will make it into my exacta however, not the key horse.

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# 4 Limonia 10/1 and the third Mark Casse runner and his second Won Last Race stat. 194-41-21% 141 were non-favorites, 21 won for 14% hit rate. Florent Geroux is the jockey. He was on Casse’s #2 Eyeinthesky and scored with his Maiden Special Weight win and is now on Limonia. I will pass.

#5 Lady Azalea 6/1 is the first Roger Attfield runner. Attfield on Won Last Race is 20-6-30%. Emma-Jayne Wilson is up and with Attfield she is 69-8-11%. A jockey switch from Rafael Hernandez and a pass.

#6 Stifling 8/1 the trainer W. Bourke is retuning the horse from a layoff on Lay 1 Sprint. Bourke is 49-5-10% for his non favorites on Won last Race. Bourke races mostly at Presque Isle Downs in Pennsylvania and Thistledown in Ohio. I’ll pass.

#7 Charmaine’s Mia 20/1 and Trainer Michael McDonald owns and train’s the horse. On Won Last Race in sprints he is 6-0. Steve Bahen is the jockey. He is 37-5-13% with McDonald, a pass.

#8 My Gal Betty is 3/1 and the second Roger Attfield entry who Won Last race with a record of 20-6-30%. He is retuning from a layoff in sprint races and at Woodbine Attfield is 37-6-16%. 7 were stakes races and he won 2 for a 28% hit rate with his Lay 1 Sprint stats. There is nothing in his works to indicate a big race. Rafael Hernandez is the jockey with Attfield where he is 135-34-25% at Woodbine in sprint races. Rafael Hernadez had his choice from three runners and he chose My Gal Betty. He is 2 for 2 with her and she won a $100,000 stake race last out. My Gal Betty is my key horse in the exacta. This is Attfield’s 4-race form cycle percentages 30% 10% 25% 9%. I’ll go with 30%.

About 35,000 races are carded each year and produce 35,000 winners. I am constantly handicapping Won Last Race. It is the only stat that I track that starts the count on a win for the trainer’s results. The most difficult stat for me to bet is Won Last Race. The reason is that is the first filter I apply to eliminate horses and it has been a filter for around 25 years and why it is difficult for me to change and bet.

I have a play to bet horses that Won Last Race. The trainer has a good young well bred horse that he laid off on a win to take advantage of a stakes race and have his horse fresh and he is entered today. That trainer play is one of my best bets and I look for it constantly; Won Last Race and the horse is on their first race after a Layoff (Lay 1). It’s handicapping.

Many players coach their handicapping by saying there are many nuances to handicapping. Nuances definition is a subtle difference in or a shade of meaning. I shake my head at nuances. Statistics are as big as you can get to understand what to bet and why to place the bet. Predictions are usually made from hunches or information not readily available to the public. Why bet on a nuance or a prediction when statistics are available to bet with. Maybe in the near future horse racing will change from this archaic approach of speed only, nuances and hunches.


Results:

Arlington Race 3, #2 Jean Elizabeth won and paid $2.20 to win. I did not play this.  I felt the odds were to low so I passed.

Woodbine Race 6, #8 My Gal Betty Morning Line of 3/1 won at 5/2 and paid $7.  The longest shot on the board came in second and the exacta paid $161.50.

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Looking for Maiden Plays

Every year the 2 year olds make us aware of the Triple Crown and the Graded Stakes races. 2 year olds start the hype for a big horse to win the Kentucky Derby. They have to win a Maiden race to qualify as a professional race horse.

There are four trainers that I look for in Maiden Special Weight races and these trainers are at the top of racing; Bob Baffert, Todd Pletcher, Chad Brown and Mark Casse. They excel with high class pedigree Maidens.

Maiden Special Weights and Maiden Claim classes account for around half my bets. It makes me smile that the pro handicappers are always very cautious with Maiden’s. They do not consult Debut statistics and very few will bet Debut 1, the horse’s first race of his career. Most players say the horse needs a race or the trainer is training his horse for a future race. Or they say the horse only has a few races and has not won yet and that we haven’t yet seen his best race. These are excuses for speed. I offer no excuses for statistics. I know why I bet and why I lost.

Mark Casse has stables in Canada and the U. S. It’s his Woodbine stable in Canada where I look for his Maiden Special Weights runners. Woodbine is where he is based. Casse employs Patrick Husbands as his go-to jockey and at Woodbine these two are 46% in the exacta in sprint races over the past four years. Saturday Husband’s is named on two of Mark Casse’s Maiden Special Weight sprinters.

First is Woodbine Race 2, # 8 Tap the Mojo who is on a 2nd race after a (Debut 2) in a sprint. Casse has 192 sprinters who went to post. 40 won for a 20% win rate. At Woodbine Casse on Debut 2 is 98-23-23%. Tap the Mojo worked 4 furlong and was 5/90 which means he had the fifth best time from 90 runners working at that distance. The work before a 5 furlongs distance he placed 1/46. His works says he is ready. He is a play at a 4/1 Morning Line.

The other race Husband’s is riding for Casse is in Woodbine Race 3, # 6 Dynamic Force who is racing the first race of his career (Debut 1) in a sprint.  Casse Debuted 338 first time starters and won with 57 for a 16% win rate. At Woodbine on Debut 1 in a sprint race in Maiden Special Weights he went 130-31-23%. There is nothing in this horse’s works that tell me anything. Patrick Husbands is Mark Casse’s go-to jockey. He handles most of Casse’s Maiden Special Weights sprint runners. The race looks like chaos.  A 6 horse field and he is the fourth betting favorite at 9/2.  The favorite is 2/1. I’ll go with Mark Casse and Patrick Husbands in race 2 and 3.

Saratoga in Race 4 the # 2 Principled trained by Todd Pletcher is 343-94-27% on Debut 1 Sprint. Pletcher has go-to jockey John Velazquez up. There is nothing in his works however; I like his 4-race form cycle for Debut 1-2-3-4 sprint of 27% 34% 34% 10%. It is a more attractive bet on 34% than 27%.  The favorite is this race is 5/2 and Principled is 3/1, the second favorite in a 9 horse field. This is a wide open race. Chad Brown has # 7 Ahead of Plan who is on a Debut 1 in a sprint race with a stat of 151-31-20%. There are other good trainer stats in this race so I will Pass and look for easy plays to make.

Click Photo to Enlarge

Del Mar Race 9 # 10 Bob Baffert has Game Winner on a Debut 1 in a sprint with a stat of 179-52-29% and at Del Mar 51-16-31%. Baffert is using a lot of different jockey’s which makes it a little difficult to guess what jockey to go with. Joel Rosario is in the irons, a very good jockey. In this horse’s last work he placed 5/20 and the work before this one was from the gate and he was 2/73. Baffert is a play at 3/1 in a 12 horse field.

Most tracks card three Maiden races a day. With the 2 year olds hitting the track four races a day. It is the Maiden Special Weights Debut runners where the stars of racing come from.   For me I can never recall a horse’s name, I only remember the trainer; Bob Baffert, Todd Pletcher, Chad Brown and Mark Casse. I know they have really good pedigree in Maiden class races to place bets on. Once the horse wins a Maiden Race and is a star the odds always make me pass the bet however, I never pass at handicapping Baffert, Pletcher, Brown or Casse. These guys are consistently good to bet.

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Results:
Woodbine Race 2, the #8 Mo Jo won at 5/2, paid $7.10 to win and the $2 exacta paid $27.20.  The other horse in the exacta was the third favorite at 3/1 in a nine horse field.

Woodbine Race 3, the #6 Dynamic Force ran out of the exacta at 2/1.  The fifth favorite came in at 12/1 in a six horse field.

Saratoga Race 4, the #2 Principled ran out of the exacta at 3/1.  The fourth favorite came in at 8/1 in a nine horse field.

Del Mar Race 9, #10 Game Winner had a 3/1 Morning Line and went off at 9/5 and won and paid $5.80.  The first favorite came in the at 4/5 and the exacta paid $10.80.

Betting Debut horses with statistics and workouts supplied me with 2 wins from 3 bets and the fourth one I passed.  I thought the race was too contentious which was Todd Pletcher’s horse at Saratoga.

Looking for Plays

I look for plays rather than trying to find a horse to bet. This is a betting approach that works for me. I have a variety of plays; many are trainers like Jorge Navarro on Claim 1 (first after a claim) in a Sprint or Route. Today at Monmouth in Race 9 the # 1 Whyruawesome is at 4/1 and has a Claim 1 Route stat of 59-10-16%.  Of these 59 Claim 1 Routes 23 were at Monmouth and 6 won for a 26% win rate. Navarro has jockey Paco Lopez in the irons and at Monmouth Lopez has a 53-19-35% win rate with Navarro.

Jorge Navarro also has a Claim 1 Sprint in Race 3 at Laurel Park, the # 5 Zulu. Navarro is 79-21-26% in Claim 1 Sprint races. His horse is the morning line 8/5 favorite and Navarro stats on Claim 1 Sprint with the favorite is 32-15-46%.

These are two good stats. I should get around 4/1 odds at Monmouth and at Laurel they will probably bet Zulu down to around 4/5. This is a 6 horse field and a pass.

I make a lot of algorithm plays from the 4-race form cycle. They are very easy to see. The algorithm play I like to bet the most is a spike play where 3 of the 4 races in the cycle are low and one is higher.

At Del Mar today in Race 1 Doug O’Neil’s horse the # 1 Don’t Stalk Me has a Morning Line of 7/2 and a 4-race form cycle stat of 25% 21% 32% 18%. The 32% is the Spike in this 4-race cycle. It is easy to see how O’Neil wins through this 4-race form cycle.  This spike stat is a key horse for me in an exacta bet.

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Also at Del Mar in Race 5 the # 2 Meal Ticket is another spike play. Her trainer Matthew Chew’s algorithm is 8% 33% 15% 16% on Lay 2 Route, 33% is the spike. Chew’s horse has a 3/1 Morning Line. He may drop an odds level or two and will still be a key horse in an exacta bet.  Matthew Chew’s stat on Lay 2 Route is 21-7-33%. Of these 21, 18 were non-favorites and 7 won for a 38% win rate. Matthew Chew is a bet.

Race 8 at Del Mar the # 1 Twirling Tiger at 12/1 is trained by Charles Treece and he has a stat on Claim 2 Sprint of 22-9-31%.  In the 4-race form cycle Treece is 16% 31% 6% 16%. At 12/1 he is a play.

There are three spike plays at Del Mar today. I set a high win bar for this play and the spike has to be at 30% win or more. From here, after finding the spike it then is about odds. When do I bet and when do I pass.

At Monmouth and Laurel the play is trainer Jorge Navarro and his Claim 1 in a Route or a Sprint. All plays end the same way. Can I get odds good enough to place a bet.

Results for Saturdays Plays:

Saturday’s results at Monmouth  Race 9, the 1 horse trained Jorge Navarro was on a Claim 1 Route and had a Morning Line of 4/1 and dropped 10 odds levels to 6/5 and paid $4.40 to win.  Jorge Navarro is a bettor and so are his owners. The fifth favorite was the other horse in the exacta that paid $33.80.

Laurel Race 3, the 5 also trained by Navarro was on a Claim 1 Sprint with a Morning Line of 8/5.  I passed because I thought his odds would be around 4/5 at post and it was a small six horse field.  I was off by 2 odds levels, he was bet down to 6/5.  He came in sixth. A good pass.

Del Mar Race 1, the 1 trained by Doug O’Neill on a Claim 3 Sprint with a Morning Line of 7/2.  He went off at 5/2 and paid $7 to win.  The other horse that came in the exacta was the first favorite at odds of 3/2 and the exacta paid $19.

Del Mar Race 5, the 2 horse trained by Matthew Chew had a Morning Line of 3/1.  He went off at 6/5 and won and paid $4.60.  The second favorite came in as the other horse in the exacta that paid $14.60.

Del Mar Race 8, the 1 horse trained by Charles Treece had a Morning Line of 12/1.  He went off at 11/1 and ran out of the exacta.

The interesting thing about betting the horses is how the odds move.  Being a Line Maker is a very difficult job.  They get blamed for bad odds or they missed putting the correct odds on a horse. The Line Maker is trying to get the winner from his top three selections and he is trying to guess who the crowd will bet as the favorite from his top three.  I really only pay attention to the top three odds levels and I accept what we as players bet them down to.  Once you have an understanding of odds, that they are a percentage you can pass.  As an example Navarro’s Claim 1 Sprint at Laurel.  His Morning Line was 8/5 which is a 38% win rate.  At 6/5 what he went off at and that has a 45% hit rate.  What this means is if this horse were to race these six horse 100 times he would have to win 45 and these are big numbers to hit and is the reason for passing.  The percentages can tell you if you’re bet is in trouble because his odds are too low so it is a good pass.

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Mario and Michael Pino

I started betting on Mario Pino around 1979 when he was an apprentice at Bowie Race Track in Maryland. I see now that Mario has moved back home to Delaware Park. He races in the summer at Presque Isle Downs in Pennsylvania and takes the winter off.

In 1994 simulcasting came to horse racing. I am not sure that this was a good thing for the bettors.  Before simulcasting you had to go to the track to make a bet, pay for parking, pay for the grandstand, the program, the Racing Form and a hot dog and a coke. It was an event winding single file through the back roads to go to the track and handicap nine races.

In 1979 I was betting speed and I wanted to know who could get the lead at 4 furlongs and who ran the fastest last quarter. There were long lines when placing a bet accompanied by a little anxiety that I may not get a bet in. This was common as there were always crowds to maneuver through. Just a few years before 1979 you had to go to a $2 window or a $5 window and even a $100 window to place a bet. I went to the $2 window.

The betting menus only offered the daily double in the first two and the last two races, the exacta in every race along with win place and show.  Then the track changed and we could bet any amount at any window. This was the second change I saw happen in racing.  The first was around some time in the mid or early 70’s when they introduced the trifecta. This bet was only offered at Laurel in race 5 and then in race 9. The trifecta bet was a hit with all the players, including me. Initially the trifecta had a minimum bet of $3 straight or a 3 horse trifecta box for $18. The tracks eventually lowered the cost of this bet to $1 straight or $6 for a 3 horse trifecta box.

With a good day at Bowie or Laurel, in the evening I would go to the trotter tracks, either Rosecroft or Laurel, or over to Charlestown Races in West Virginia for live racing. Live Racing was how I learned how to handicap. When I cashed the winnings they were in my pocket.

In my book Libraries, Yellow Cheese Sandwiches and 38,880 Running Lines the first race I talk about is in Chapter 6 “A Little Less Down and Out.” This race has Mario Pino and Edgar Prado in a stretch dual where I hit the trifecta betting these two with all.

Mario Pino has always been one of my favorite jockeys. I hit a lifetime of exactas and trifecta’s with him in the irons. Over the years I always checked where Mario was racing. One time he went to Aqueduct to try and catch on with the trainers there. I was disappointed for him when he came back to Maryland because I thought he could have made it in New York and become a big time jockey. However, Mario is now the tenth leading jockey of all time and this qualifies him as a big time jockey.  His approach is to rate the horse and try and relax them and then make a big run at the end of the race.

Mario made his career in Maryland. In my book I also talk about another jockey named Billy Passmore, the best name you could ever have for a jockey, who was also a favorite of mine. It was these two jockeys who turned my interest from speed to eventually statistics. I spent a lot of years trying to figure out speed. It would take over 13 years for me to drop speed. The way this happened was when you’re a speed player, the jockey or trainer is almost invisible and only the fastest horse is important. I had noticed Billy Passmore because he was the jockey who replaced Mario Pino on a famous filly named Jameela who later foaled Gulch, a graded stakes speed ball just like his mother. Jameela was the first horse that I watched who earned a million bucks on the track. She always made a run from off the pace, a perfect running style for Passmore or Pino. Jameela’s name means beautiful in Arabic. She went to post 58 times won 27 races and placed in 15 more for a 47% win rate and a 72% exacta rate. She raced at Laurel, Pimlico, Saratoga and Santa Anita with jockeys Angel Cordero and cowboy Jack Kaenel. Mario Pino and Billy Passmore were the primary jockey’s who rode Jameela.

I have to admit that 13 years is a long time to change from speed to statistics.

I adjust when my attitude on any subject changes and speed handicapping made me skeptical of being the truth the light and the way. This transformation came from experience and the big change is its about the people in racing.

Mario Pino idolized Billy Passmore and tried to ride like Passmore did on a horse. Pino and Passmore shared the same valet and rode the same horse. Billy Passmore started riding in 1948 and retired winning 3,531 races with about $23 million in earnings on the track. Mario Pino to date has earned about $125 million on the track with 6,777 races won.  They each earned about 10% of their purse earnings. Mario started riding when the purses were big enough to win thousands and because of the era Passmore would win hundreds. Mario started riding at the beginning of the best time to make big money as a jockey. Passmore went on to become a very good steward when he retired at Laurel. Stewards enforce the rules of racing. Mario Pino will be able to retire comfortably. Mario won the George Woolf Award in 2013. That is the only award that means something to me because only jockeys can vote. A jockey can only win the George Woolf award once in their life. It is not a beauty contest like some of the other awards in racing. This award is based on the jockeys career, personal character and esteem for horse racing.

The reason why I like Mario is he won a lot of races when I bet him. He knows where to be and when to move and he never wanted to move when he was not ready. This is how Mario explained his approach to race riding; he puts his horses mainly on the outside. Players started to name the outside of the track “The Pino Parkway.”  Some say he rides this way to avoid the trouble that happens inside. I think of him as a very intelligent tactical rider trying to ride safe in a sport that demands risk. All jockeys are at risk in every race and all jockeys will take the risk when they tell the horse to run.

Mario has suffered his share of injuries; a broken collar bone, fractured scull and a broken back but he was never sidelined for long. His recovery was always quick.

In my book there is a character named Brandon. When he would bet and he did not have Mario in his bet and he lost when Pino won he would say with respect while staring at the Racing Form “Go home to your beautiful wife Mario. Go home to your beautiful wife.”

Mario has a younger brother named Michael Pino, a claiming trainer.  Their father was a trainer. Michael is also in my novel. When he claimed a horse and had Mario in the irons they went right to the lead when I thought they should be 8 lengths back. Michael is really good at claiming horses and winning. A trainer can build a stable if they know when to claim and from who. Most good trainers start out this way and this is integral to the sport because most of the runners today are up for sale.  You can not slip one by a claiming trainer who will put in a claim.

The claiming trainer has to find owners and this is the most difficult part of training; finding owners with cash to claim horses. The only advertisement for a trainer is, I can claim a horse and win both the purse and your bet and this can lead to more owners. Michael is a 21% winner year in and year out and that helps him to attract owners. He is good with the Layoff and is one of the best claiming trainers in horse racing. Michael is a high percentage trainer.

The families in horse racing are good bets. During Michael Pino’s early career there was a player at Laurel named Charles Linhoss who was a carpenter from Alexandria Va. He had a big night at Rosecroft, a trotter track off the beltway in Maryland and he cashed for $40,000. From these winnings he and Michael Pino claimed a horse named Ten Keys who was in a Maiden Claiming race for $14,500 at Laurel Park.  The horse was 0 for 4. Michael Pino won with another horse who was in an $11,500 maiden claim race with Ten Keys.  When Pino’s horse beat Ten Keys Michael said Ten Keys had a bad trip and he should have beaten my horse which is why he suggested to Linhoss this claim. Ten Keys went on to race 54 times. He won 21 races, placed 8 for a 39% win rate and a 54% exacta hit rate. I cashed on a bunch of these races, all on the turf. Ten Keys raced 15 times at Laurel and Pimlico and 39 on the road. He won a million two hundred thousand on the track and then went to stud.  Every horse player would feel the dream of “wish that had happened to me” when they retired Ten Keys. Pino Linhoss and Ten Keys run took about three years and it was fun to bet and watch live at laurel and Pimlico. Linhoss retired to the race track.

Mario Pino rode the first million dollar winner from Maryland Jameela. Michael claimed a million dollar horse, Ten Keys for $14,500. I go way back with Mario and Michael I will continue to bet Mario and Michael Pino where ever they race.
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