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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2 Replies to “The Black Hole of Handicapping”

  1. reading, paying attention and studying Ed’s blogs is an education. I feel as though I am taking a handicapping 105 course and it’s paying dividends in consistency. Inconsistency has always been problematic in stepping up my game. If the Saratoga meet is any indication –I can say that I have left the starting gate and am heading into the clubhouse turn.

    many thanks for “putting it on the line”, Ed. wishing you well.

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