On the Move

Just wanted to let you know that Susan and I are in the process of moving so I will not have an article this week.  Will return next Saturday.

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Field Size

There is no discussion on field size and its affects on betting. The tracks understand the issue of field size as the most important factor to their bottom line. They try to attract new owners to the sport and purchase young horses to race. Field size can make or break a track. Less money is bet on small fields and less money is then churned back to the track the next day.  The average handicapper will bet around $150 a day. The track says that amount of money will be turned over about 8 times. This is the churn from players who cash bets in small fields. Is field size a factor to the player or is it not? Betting handle increases significantly with 10 betting interests as does attendance. Tracks have to increase field size or they will eventually close.

The “take out” in small fields is an issue for players because small fields produce small pools and payouts. The track “take” out is around 25% for exactas.

5 and 6 horse fields are predictable and unplayable races to me for two reasons; small fields produce low odds and the “take out” becomes larger as the payouts become smaller. I pass many big stats to bet because of small field size and it is very disappointing to have to pass. I know my profitability is compromised. That is a problem not betting stats that have an advantage because they are unprofitable in the short or long run. The current field size for racing is 8 runners per race. An 8 horse field is playable because the field size and the “take out” is acceptable only because there is no choice to bet more 10 horse fields. Unpredictable races offer value in 8 horse fields that are not there with small predictable 5 and 6 horse fields. Field size is the barometer on the health of the sport.

Horse racing is the greatest gambling game in the world. What can break racing is field size the reason is they will break the player first. That is why field size is a problem. Tracks have to get field size up above 8 horses a race to keep players betting on their racing product. Until the tracks figure out how to increase field size which they have to do I will only bet into pools and field size big enough to offer value on each bet. This is what I am forced to do.

Low payouts in small fields are considered a problem to most players however, most players bet small fields anyway. One reason is because there is no other choice. 7 horse fields are common. I consider this a good field size for exacta betting. The exacta has the largest pool sizes in racing. I key a horse with two fillers is my exacta in 7 horse fields.

How do trainers or jockeys perform by field size? The trainer would think it is easy to cash in 5 and 6 horse fields and probably makes no adjustment to his horse or rider. There is less chaos in small fields.

The jockeys ride more tactical in 5 and 6 horse fields and this can be a very interesting race to watch.

As a handicapper part of the grind is in knowing how jockeys race and who may try to trap the favorite or the speed horse on the rail and keep him boxed in as long as possible even though they may not have a chance at winning. Corey Nakatani in Southern California is that type of jockey. He will try to beat the 5th place horse if he is the 6th placed horse in a 6 horse field. Also speed has an advantage in 5 and 6 horse fields. When there are two speed horses running together in a race and they clear the field then the race develops into a jockey’s tactical race.

On Saturday Santa Anita has two 6 horse fields and two good stats.

Race 9 # 1 Mother Mother 4/1 Mike Smith and trainer Bob Baffert at Santa Anita in 6 horse fields are 10-8-80%. Favorite is 9/5.

Race 11 # 5 West Coast 7/5 Mike Smith and Bob Baffert at Santa Anita in 6 horse fields 10-8-80%. The favorite Accelorate has a 3/5 morning line.

Ed Bain author of new exciting horse racing Novel
“Libraries, Yellow Cheese Sandwiches and 38,880 Running Lines”


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What makes horse racing is the track and the horse owners.

The track offers purses that attract owners to the races. This has led to breeding and sales of 2 year olds and makes the sport more convenient and attractive to new owners.

The owners income is much better than the players, about 10% of them make money. The number of successful players is really low.  So low it is difficult to find even a few professional horse players.

The number of owners and the sales averages of 2 year olds dictate how many horses are bred for sale, around 35,000 thoroughbreds each year and about half make it to racing and about half go on to win and become professional race horses.

Handicapping with traditional information can not produce consistency. It relies on the narrative of a big hit. The same is true for owners. When they hit the payouts are large and could be for millions even though only 10% are successful.  According to the talking heads of handicapping you have to select a horse that has a price.  They do not discuss the day to day grind of betting and finding plays that contain no contradiction.

Field size is an indicator of how healthy the sport is and the current field size average is eight horses per race. A field size below this is a problem for tracks to attract players to bet on their races.

Owners invest a couple billion into 2 year olds and the players invest around $12 to $15 billion a year betting on the races. According to Forbes Magazine an investment of $30,000 on a thoroughbred horse is average if you have three more investors in that horse.

For 3 year old horses who win the Triple Crown like Justify the payoffs are spectacular when he hit the jackpot for his owners is now worth $75 million at stud.

Tapit has a stud fee of $300,000 the most in the U. S. Galilio stands at stud in Ireland for $700,000 and he makes $12.5 million per year.  There are many owners who get a big horse for a small investment. California Chrome cost $10,000 and he won almost $15 million on the track and stands at stud for $40,000. This is the reason that owners stay in the game, the prospect of hitting it big and it happens all the time. Owners at the major tracks will spend an additional $34,000 a year to keep a horse in training; the day rate is $45 to $120 per day per horse.

The trainers and jockeys make more than the owners. Most owners lose money on their investment.  Jockeys take great risk to make a living and trainers on average earn about $25 dollars an hour however there are many trainers who are worth millions.

As a handicapping evaluation, owners are invisible to the players there has never been any information on owners to apply to a bet. As a statistical handicapper I track owners and they are a very profitable handicapping approach. I make bets on them regularly, particularly in maiden races and when they claim a horse. A trainer can have many owners and one owner may be the dominate owner and be responsible for a trainers win rate. I also pass many bets because the owner has poor betting stats with this trainer.

Owners are the reason for horse racing’s success they are at the top of horse racing pyramid. In New York they are carding Maiden Special Weights races with purses of up to $100,000. That’s stakes purses.

Here are a couple of plays to look at:

Finger Lakes Race 6 # 3 Bedside Blues 8/1 a Charlton Baker Lay 1 Sprint 120-26-21% Charlton Baker is the owner and the trainer. From his 120 lay 1 sprint 17 were with him 5 won for a 25% win rate. Baker is switching jockeys to Andre Worrie where they are 58-21-36%. Here is Charlton Baker’s 4 race Layoff Form Cycle 21%-22%-33%-18%, a play.

Results: Charlton Baker owner-trainer stats came in second.  He went off at 9/2.  The exacta paid $13.20 when the 1/5 first favorite came in.


Woodbine Race 7 # 4 Can’thelpbelieving 7/5 a Graham Motion Lay 1 Route 366-57-15%. With owner Albert Frasseto on Lay 1 Route they are 23-1-4% with jockey Alan Garcia they are 11-1-9%. 7/5 is a very low morning line that has poor betting stats. Here is Graham Motion’s 4 race form cycle 15%-16%-10%-20%. I will pass for the two low hit rates. I will pass and let him win if he can.

Results: Graham Motion’s owner stats were a pass for me at 7/5.  He went up three odds levels at 9/5 and placed.  The seventh favorite won at 10/1.  The exacta paid $46.80


Ed Bain author of new exciting horse racing Novel
“Libraries, Yellow Cheese Sandwiches and 38,880 Running Lines”


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True Odds or Just a 4/5 Shot

Last Saturday, September 8th I had a play at Gulfstream in their 7th race. The # 3 Lady Magica trained by Gilberto Zerpa had a Debut 2 Sprint stat of 14-5-35% in Maiden Special Weights. Lady Magica’s Morning Line was 7/2 which made her the second favorite in the field.  The favorite was 3/1.

A 7/2 Morning Line is generally safe from getting over bet by the crowd.  I normally expect morning line odds of 7/2 to go off at 5/2 or 3/1 with no clear cut favorite or could possibly move up to 4/1.  The crowd bet Zerpa’s horse down to the 4/5 favorite. I was surprised that the crowd piled on and bet his horse down eleven odds levels to 4/5.

Who bet Lady Magica so low that a safe bet in the morning line turned into a pass at post? Because by my statistics Zerpa’s horse was over bet, the players who bet on him did not believe his horse was not over bet because when you bet the horse that wins it is an overlay no matter what the payout is.

Big players affect the payouts by the volume of tickets purchased on this horse. They will take low odds produced by betting big on a horse that they have a large advantage on.

So was it the crowd, a big player or a betting syndicate that bet Lady Magica to 4/5? I do not know. The horse could have been in one of the races that the grandstand players noticed and then bets and piles on. When this happens the entire grandstand is very happy to bet with the smart money.

Maybe it was a big player who bet the odds so low. Possibly the owner of this horse GV 21 Entertainment. I do not know if they bet however if you own a stable of race horses and you win 50% of your entries with trainer Gilberto Zerpa with a stat of 24-12-50% you should bet. Maybe the eleven level odds swing was made by them and the trainer Zerpa. I think that is a more reasonable assumption than the crowd.

Because I am a trainer player I lean towards the connections. Say they were the ones who bet Lady Magica to 4/5. As a bettor I would bet that a syndicate may have been in that race and they could have banged the odds. I see the pools could give me an idea who bet the horse down to 4/5, particularly the double and exacta pools. I rounded all the pools and payouts up and down.

4/5 pays $3.80 and has a 55% strike rate. You have to win 55 from every 100 bets at 4/5 to break even.  7/2 pays $9 and has a strike rate of 22%. This equates to 22 wins from every 100 bets. What does this mean to the pools in race 7 at Gulfstream when I thought the odds would drop only two levels and instead dropped eleven?

I do not think this was a bad assigned morning line. Lady Magica was the second favorite at 7/2. Perhaps the morning line odds line was a little high at 7/2 though this was a Maiden Special Weight race. The morning line favorite placed and the second favorite won. The odds maker tries to hit the winner with one of his top three selections and Lady Magica won so the line was not bad.

The win, place and show pools in that race totaled $185,000. At 4/5 $3.80 is paid out to the winners.  If a syndicate was in the pools at 25% $46,000 went to them. If the stable and trainer bet they could have been in the pools and bet big into them.

As a former win bettor the place and show pools are unattractive. These paid $2.40 and $2.20. I would bet $20,000 to win on a 4/5 shot and this would pay $38,000. That is the same as hitting a $2 win ticket 10,000 times. It would cost $20,000 to hit for $38,000. Bet big win big.

The exacta pool was $159,000. The $1.00 exacta paid $3.50 and the same odds 4/5 in the pool went to the players who had bet that horse. If the syndicate were 25% of that pool that is just below $40,000. It would take 11,500 $1.00 win tickets to cash for around $40,000.

The double pool for race 6 and 7 was $19,000. The double for a $1.00 bet paid $3.40. 25% of the pool was about $5,000. The cost is $1,500 to cash for $5,000. If they used two horses for the double it would cost $3,000 to make $5,000.

The double for race 7 and race 8 for a $1.00 double paid $7.80. $20,000 was in the pool, 25% is $5,000. The cost for 650 tickets to win is $5,000. If two horses were used for the double the cost is $1,300 to cash for $5,000.

55% won 100% of the pools. It could be just the crowd or the connections or a syndicate or a combination.  At 4/5 there is not much room to spread the bet to hit in the exacta or double. I would think a win bettor could have that effect on the odds however, the odds in the double were also low paying so they went after the double. An even money favorite won the front half of this 4/5 shot in race 7 and the second favorite was 3/1 in the second double. A small spread of two fillers; the favorite and the second favorite in these two double bets would have hit each of them. To me this is the crowd betting favorites though that is a good betting strategy.

The payouts are so low it makes me think that a syndicate could have made the bets. A syndicate determines what they can except as odds. 55% makes me think that maybe they had a bigger percentage of odds on this horse. The next odds level would represent 63% of the pool. On the tote board it would be 3/5 and an overlay at 4/5. 63% versus 55%. The odds represent a percentage of the betting pools

Syndicates bet computer to computer. They bet so big they effect pools and wreck odds but this is not this way to them they are betting overlays. They have a very serious advantage. They know when to bet through algorithms and also how much money to risk with their betting models is built in. Syndicates can have ten’s of thousands into one bet.

I can not tell the difference if it’s the crowd betting these odds or a syndicate. I think the crowd is vulnerable and the syndicate is not. I passed the bet because of the odds and I had a 50% stat.  The actual odds were 55% and the syndicate may have had 63% for theirs.  I believe syndicates hammer the favorites because they have true odds. Their odds are more accurate and this is the reason I passed.

Here are 3 favorites.

Belmont Race 2 # 10 Pakhet 5/2 Todd Pletcher Debut 2 Route stat of 192-59-29% From these Pletcher sent 65 Debut 2 Route favorites to post, 31 won for a 47% win rate. John Velazquez is Pletcher’s go to jockey and has 1,031 races and 263 wins a 25% win rate. Pass at even money.

Results: Pakhet won, dropped one odds level as a 2/1 favorite, paid $6.  The fifth favorite came in the exacta at 17/1. $2 Exacta paid $91.50

Gulfstream Race 4 # 7 Trunk of Money Todd Pletcher 9/5 Debut 1 Sprint 336-94-27% Of these at Gulfstream 58 were favorites and 29 won for a 50% win rate. He is the second favorite. He has to be the favorite to bet. Pletcher has Paco Lopez as the jockey they are 38-15-39%. I will pass at 6/5.

Results: Trunk of Money went off at 2/1 and ran out.

Woodbine Race 9 # 3 Inflexability 2/1 a Chad Brown Lay 3 Route 148-39-26% his Lay 3 Route favorites are 55-24-43%  Jose Ortiz is his go to jockey they are 265-78-29% in Stakes races these two are 81-24-29%. Pass at 7/5

Results: Inflexability went off at even money.  He was a pass at 7/5 so I passed.

Results: Went 1 for 2


Ed Bain author of new exciting horse racing Novel
“Libraries, Yellow Cheese Sandwiches and 38,880 Running Lines”


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If you think you can win a million dollars a year betting on the horses as a professional handicapper I want to be betting into the same races as you. Not because I do not think it is possible to win this but because human nature is to gamble, to take a shot or just get lucky with one big life changing hit. If I am in these pools I can take advantage of what I know, of what I am doing, to what they know and what they are doing.

By being in these same pools I can cash exactas or trifectas multiple times and get much better odds because these players are living the dream of a life changing million dollar score.

The attraction to betting is you can get lucky and win big money however, what is a lot of money when you cash? I can bet and hit a trifecta 10 times. Bet a million this way to win a million is a much easier approach than one big hit.

To bet a million you do not have to have a million in the bank. You need to play $4,000 a day, $20,000 a week and $80,000 a month, about 100 bets. It does not matter how much you spend per day per race.  $100 a race, five times a day, $2,500 per week, you would need $10,000 for a months worth of 100 plays. Many players do not realize the life changing hit comes with handicapping, not luck and it is not one hit, it is a bunch of them year after year. Winning a million and betting a million is a 100% return on investment and is a very high bar to set.

Betting exactas and trifectas is the way I played for years. When I was a $2 player a weeks wages was the goal I tried to hit.

My statistics on Layoff and Claims made me into an entirely different player. These statistics were instantly important and unlike any thing I ever tracked. When I began using them I never went back to betting the $2 approach.  The 4-race form cycle had a visual effect. I was able to see patterns where I could see when to bet or when to pass.

Statistics are crucial. In horse racing a percentage of 20% for a trainer’s year to date win rate puts him in the top ten trainers at the track. A 30% win rate for a Layoff or Claim statistic is significant.

The take over of statistics and the 4-race form cycle as an approach to place a bet happened for me all at once. There was no learning curve. I knew how to handicap and play.

Filters are a mechanical way to remove unwanted statistics and I applied filters on stats that prevented me from making bets that were poor betting opportunities. As an example when a horse won their last race I filter them out.

The big issue became how much to bet per race. This was something I had to work into; bet large enough without questioning the odds or worrying about losing. If I bet $4,000 a day, the fear was how much this totaled to in one month and this meant I could lose $80,000. The fear began when I had only lost one bet. The thought that I could lose $80,000 in one month preoccupied my thoughts almost to a distraction.

Bet sizing was a real bear for me to figure out. I was not used to betting large amounts of money per race. I always boxed exactas and I never bet the exacta straight. I learned to make the same size bet on every play so each time I hit I would cash for thousands. Once I selected a key horse, the amount invested for the bottom half of the exacta was very difficult for me to solve. I went with a two to one amount. If I bet a $40 exacta on top I would bet a $20 exacta on the bottom.

Good trainers with Layoffs and Claims stats have around a 15% place rate and this is the problem because the trainer places about 1 out 7 races. I knew that I would be over betting the bottom half of the exacta however, I averaged four bets a day, twenty a week, eighty bets a month and about a thousand bets a year. From these bets there were 150 place hits and these places stopped losing streaks and kept me in the right handicapping mindset. I did not cash on 150 place bets. I hit about 1 out of every 4. I had to bet enough to make money every time I cashed to catch up for my losing bets and make money for the day.

The correct bet to make is an art. I learned to go with a key horse and the key horse is always handicapped to win. I key this horse in an exacta or trifecta. Betting the trifecta multiple times is my pick 6 and my big score bet. It is actually a very simple way to bet.

Plays For Saturday 9/8

Parx Race 3 # 1 Party Pants 12/1 Juan Guerrero a Lay 1 Route 53-18-33%. When I look at his form cycle on race 2 after a layoff he is 13%, a bounce caused by this race. I have no stats on the jockey J N Hernandez. Juan Guerrero had a $21 Layoff Route winner on the 2nd of June and he is 0 for his last 8. Two were favorites on Lay 1 Route at Parx, a play at 12/1.

Parx Race 10 # 3 In the Script 8/1. Michael Pino Claim 1 Sprint with stats of 126-26-20%.  Of these 126 he is 74-19-25% in Claiming races. He claimed him from Juan Serey another very good claiming trainer.  Pino claimed him when he went from a purse of 41K to 20.5K. The players made him the 7/5 favorite on the drop and he came in fifth in a six horse field. Today he is in a purse of 28K. The horse is 2-12-16% at 6 furlongs.

Jockey Michael Sanchez at Parx with Michael Pino is 61-17- 21%. Pino’s 4-race form cycle is 20% 14% 19% 0%, a Key horse bet.

Gulfstream Park Race 7 # 3 Lady Magica 7/2 a Gilberto Zerpa Debut 2 Sprint 14-5-35%. With owner GV21 Entertainment LLC they are 21-11-52% and jockey E. Jaramillo with Gilberto Zerpa is 65-40-62% in the exacta sprint. Nothing in his works say he is ready for a big race, just some really nice stats to bet. His 4-race form cycle is 29% 35% 0% 50%. Zerpa is a Key horse exacta bet.

Belmont Race 10 # 6 Teachable Moment 7/2 A Chad Brown Debut 3 Sprint with stats of 91-35-38%. From these stats 25 were at Belmont. He won 12 for a 48% win rate. Javier Castellano is in the irons in Maiden Special Weight Sprint and this Trainer-Jockey combination are 70-21-30% at Belmont. There is nothing in his works that stand out. Chad Brown’s 4-race form cycle is 29% 27% 38% 20%. A key horse bet.


Parx Race 3 # 1 Party Pants 12/1 Juan Guerrero a Lay 1 Route 53-18-33%
Morning line of 12/1 and went off at 9/2 and placed.  Then was DQ from the exacta.  Second favorite came in at 3/1 in a six horse field.

Parx Race 10 # 3 In the Script 8/1 Michael Pino Claim 1 Sprint with stats of 126-26-20%.  Bet down to 3/1 and he ran out of the exacta.  The sixth favorite came in at 13/1 in a nine horse field.

Gulfstream Park Race 7 # 3 Lady Magica 7/2 a Gilberto Zerpa Debut 2 Sprint 14-5-35%.  Won at 4/5 and paid $3.80.  The second favorite came in the exacta at 9/5.  The exacta paid $7 in a nine horse field.  His Morning Line odds were 7/2.  The players bet Lady Magica down eleven odds levels.  I passed.

Belmont Race 10 # 6 Teachable Moment 7/2 A Chad Brown Debut 3 Sprint with stats of 91-35-38%. Ran out of the exacta at 2/1 and the second favorite came in at 2/1 in a nine horse field.

Ed Bain author of new exciting horse racing Novel
“Libraries, Yellow Cheese Sandwiches and 38,880 Running Lines”


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The Black Hole of Handicapping

How difficult is it to learn enough about handicapping so you can bet and cash with some sort of regularity? The truth is it took me years. Years and years of handicapping with traditional information that guaranteed me many more years of learning to handicap.

I had an interest. I wanted to know how to handicap so I studied every thing from the layout and symbols in the two Past Performance blocks (PPs). This is what set my learning curve in motion by handicapping and placing bets.

It took a very long time to memorize the symbols in the horses running line and to improve skills. Learning by handicapping and betting is a tedious and time consuming process. Sometimes I would get lucky and win. The learning curve was just off the horizon.  If I did not cash, the drive to learn would have disappeared.

Can you learn enough from the PP’s to bet over and over?

There are four factors that we are forced into learning because of the layout of the PPs. We are influence by the expert handicappers telling us how to handicap with Speed, Pace, Class and Form.  When you have the drive to learn to handicap and bet, the PPs hijack the handicapping process.

It takes years to wade through Speed, Pace, Class and Form. These four handicapping black holes ensure the handicapper will never learn enough to win and cash with any regularity. The truth is speed and pace are the only factors; the other two are secondary factors to boost the reason to place a bet.

We are unconsciously guided into handicapping Speed, Pace, Class and Form. With these black holes of handicapping as the starting point, the odds are stacked against the player. These black holes do not produce enough return for the handicapper to bet for a living. This is because you are betting like everyone else and you will get the same results as everyone else.

The perception is that the expert players know more than you or I about handicapping the PP’s and they do not. The experts made me think that these four factors are like four bald men fighting over a comb. Is that where learning how to handicap begins and ends? Is that it? These four things are the natural progression to learn how to handicap?

Incredibly we listen and we start repeating the speed of the speed, and the pace makes the race along with he is dropping in class and he is in top form as though these four things will make you an expert player.

I have four handicapping factors like the PPs only these four are very different. These are Layoffs, Claims, Debut and Won Last Race and the patterns they produce from a 4 Race Form Cycle. However; my starting point is a statistic and not an interpretation of sensory information.

In order to understand the PPs presented information is to guess who the fastest horse is. It is tough to say that this is really good stuff to handicap with. So much baloney over the years that it makes me think we like baloney.

I walked away from Speed, Pace, Class and Form around 1992. I believe that mathematics supply us with three things; calculation, application and inspiration to place the bet.

Mathematics’ is the study of patterns and why they are true. It is sort of like music. As we listen to music we recognize musical patterns through repetition.

Here is how I handicapped Saturday, September 1st with Layoff, Claims, Debut and Won Last Race and the 4 Race Form Cycle.

Finger Lakes Race 1 # 4 Miss Emily’s Smile 5/1 a Paul Barrow Lay 3 sprint. His numbers are 36-11-30% for his lay 3 sprint with non-favorites. His jockey Jeremias Flores with Barrow is 62-18-29% at Finger Lakes in Allowance races. The horse is 7-2-28% at the distance. A small field of 5. The favorite is 8/5 and the second favorite is 9/5. I’m at 5/1. About half of Paul Barrows non favorite wins were over 4/1. Paul Barrow’s Layoff Sprint 4-race form cycle is 13% 14% 30% 17%, a good spike play and a bet.

Monmouth Race 1 # 9 Accusing is 6/1. A Kelly Breen Claim 1 Route 17-6-35%. Accusing is a Kelly Breen claim back. Breen had claimed Accusing from Ben Colebrook, Dimitios Synnefias claimed from Kelly Breen and Breen is claiming Accusing back. Jockey Albin Jimenez at Monmouth is 73-14-18% with Kelly Breen. A 9 horse field. Kelly Breen’s Claiming Sprint 4-Race Form Cycle is 30% 6% 18% 14%. I’ll take the claim back. Breen is 16-1-6% on claim 2 route. He is trying to hit this one at a good morning line odds. He is a bet.

Monmouth Race 9 # 9 Total Joint the 2/1 morning line favorite. Jason Servis Lay 1 Sprint favorites stats of 99-50-50%. Paco Lopez with Jason Service in sprint races is 70-35-50%.  I expect him to drop at least three odds levels to 7/5, under even money. He is a pass. 50% on his favorites and 50% with Paco Lopez in the irons is big. Nothing in the horses works indicate a big race. Just big stats. Mr. Amore Stable with Jason Servis on Lay 1 Sprint is 42-14-33%. Jason Servis layoff 4 race form cycle is 30% 33% 20% 20%. Pass at 4/5 and 7/5 would be good. The layoff should be a concern for the speed guys a bet.

Woodbine Race 3 # 7 Gwendoline H is 6/1. A Norman McNight Claim 1 Sprint 43-17-39%. With this owner Bruno Schickedanz with Norman McNight have claimed  23 of these 43 and won with 11-47% for their sprinters. The jockey K Kimura I have no stats with McNight.  This is a red flag if he misses and next race McNight switches jockeys. He would be a play however, Bruno Schickendanz who has in the last 18 years won at least one million in 15 of these years. He has claimed over half of McNight’s Claim 1 Sprints. Norman McNight’s claiming sprint 4-race form cycle is 39% 33% 34% 28%. He is a bet.

Saratoga Race 10 # 7 Chasing Yesterday is the 5/2 morning line favorite in a $350,000 Stakes race. Bob Baffert has a Won Last Race favorite stat of 51-23-45% and with jockey Mike Smith 123-52-42%.  The horse has two recent 6 furlong works. He ran 1:13. When I see a work like this I know that this horse will run 2 to 3 seconds faster in a race. Baffert is 4-2-50% at Saratoga in 7 furlong stakes races with his shippers. Baffert shipped Chasing Yesterday to Saratoga from Del Mar. Based on that Debut 1 Sprint he won while in hand halfway through the stretch by Mike Smith and today he is making a big jump in class and distance 5 ½ furlongs to 7 furlongs and Maiden Special Weight to Stakes is a Bob Baffert specialty. His pedigree of Tapit and Yankee Gentleman says the 7 furlongs is a much better distance for him. Bob Baffert’s Won Last Race 4-race form cycle is 29% 14% 19% 18%. He is the morning line favorite. If he wins he may be a star. Baffert shipped him to find out. Chasing Yesterday is a bet.

Results Saturday’s Plays

Finger Lakes Race 1, #4 Miss Emily’s Smile paid $6.20 to place.  The first favorite came in and the exacta paid $27.40

Monmouth Race 1, #9 Accusing was scratched.

Monmouth Race 9, #9 Total Joint was bet down to 6/5.  Ran out of the exacta.

Woodbine Race 3,  # 7 Gwendoline H won at 6/1 and paid $14.50.  The first favorite was the other half of the exacta at 9/5.  The exacta paid $47.30.

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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.


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.

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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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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.

Today only and exclusive offer for readers of this post: Order 1, 3 or 12 months to my online past performance racing stats and receive 1, 3, or 12 months free at the following link:  edbain.com 2 For 1 PPs

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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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