July 1996, Number 2
ALL-WaysTM Newsletter


Handicapping Tips

Wagering Tips


Welcome! This is the first of an ongoing series of ALL-Ways software newsletters that will be published from time to time. These newsletters will be full of helpful explanations of ALL-Ways software features and tips for getting the most out of ALL-Ways software at the cashier’s window.



Many players stay away from races that are tough to handicap. Generally, we agree. Winning players do not try to wager on every race. However, there are special situations that can lead to big scores with both win and exotic wagering. The reason we are covering this subject in our first newsletter is that these potentially lucrative situations, collectively, seem to occur at least two or three times on each race card.

This is also a different way to look at the races. Try classifying races as chaos races, contentious races or orderly races. The last category, orderly races, is relatively easy to play. They are characterized by one, two or three standout horses. You merely wager on one horse if it is an overlay or two horses if the payoffs permit a profitable two horse win bet. Chaos and contentious races, on the other hand, present a more complex set of wagering decisions.

The concept of chaos, contentious and orderly races is not new. What is new are the tools available in ALL-Ways software to classify the races and to spot opportunities for solid wagers.

Before exploring the puzzling issue of when to play contentious or chaos races, we need to review a few important handicapping factors in ALL-Ways software that will help to solve the puzzle. We will look at the Hall figures, the Workout Evaluation Index and the Comprehensive Rating. We will also look at how to spot a “live” first time starter since they often play a role in chaos races.

Hall Figures

As an ALL-Ways software handicapper, you know that every time you handicap a race card, ALL-Ways software automatically updates, in your computer, Track Pars, Daily Track Variants and Track-to-Track Adjustments for virtually every track in North America. Just one of the reasons for doing this is so ALL-Ways software can calculate the Hall Pace and Speed figures.

The Hall figures are velocity based, similar to the Brohamer Figures based on the Sartin Methodology that are also included in ALL-Ways software. Two important additional features of the Hall figures are:

1 based on a unique “conservation of energy” concept (at least it is unique to horse racing), the Hall figures for a horse are adjusted to the specific track, the specific surface and the specific distance of today’s race. In other words, the Hall figures relate directly to the race we are handicapping today.

2 ALL-Ways software maintains pace and speed pars for each age and sex classification, each surface, each distance and each BRIS Race Rating. The Hall figures use the same scale as and are directly comparable to the BRIS Race Ratings.

What all this means is that you can use the Hall figures to determine if a horse is capable of running to the pars of today’s race by simply comparing them to the BRIS Race Rating for today’s race. The BRIS Race Rating is actually calculated by ALL-Ways software and is shown at the upper right corner of every handicapping report. For example, if the BRIS Race Rating is 115, then any horse that has a Hall Speed Rating of 115 or greater is capable of running to par. Actually, we suggest you consider any horse with a Hall Speed rating within one point of the BRIS Race Rating (which would be 114 in our example) as being capable of running to par.

Workout Evaluation Index

This is a very complex, powerful and unique handicapping factor in ALL-Ways software. Horses are given one of four possible workout ratings, specifically a -1, 0, 1 or 2 with a -1 being the most unfavorable and a 2 being the most favorable. To arrive at the rating, ALL-Ways software not only looks at the workout time after adjusting the time for the type of workout (i.e., handily, breezing, from the gate, dogs up, etc.) but ALL-Ways software also looks at the surface, distance, frequency and spacing of the workouts and compares the workouts to other workouts the same day. Here is how it works:

(-1) The horse did not have a recorded workout since its last race and its last race was not recent enough to qualify as satisfactory preparation for today’s race.

(0) The horse had a workout but it was undistinguished or unacceptable in preparation for today’s race.

(1) The workout time was good and the workout was a good prep for today’s race.

(2) Workout times were excellent and

workouts were at the right distances and spaced well to prepare for today’s race. A workout rating of 2 is a powerful indication of the horse’s ability and good form and the trainer’s good intentions.

Comprehensive Rating

The Total Comprehensive Rating for a horse is derived from 22 different handicapping factors covering suitability to the distance and surface, the horses current form, class and speed and the jockey/trainer combination. The actual factors used in the calculation change based on the distance, surface and track condition of today’s race. The Total Comprehensive Rating is very powerful and has a high Impact Value for just about every type of race at just about every track.

Evaluating First Timers

Use the following factors from the indicated reports:

Handicapping Factor           Handicapping Report
Jockey Index (0 to 4):           All Factors
Trainer Index (0 to 4):           All Factors
First Pedigree Index (0 to 4):           All Factors
Workout Rating (-1 to 2):           All Factors
1st Effort Win %:           Suitability and Pedigree
Trainer Win % With First Timers:           Track Bias and Jockey/Trainer

Write the figures down as shown in the example below:

        Horse A       Horse B
Jockey Index       4       1
Trainer Index       4       2
First Pedigree Index       4       2
        __       __
    TOTAL   12       5
Workout Rating       2       0
1st Effort Win %       24%       8%
Trainer 1st Win %       23%       6%

If you can spot a “live” first time starter that the public misses or if you can eliminate a first timer that the public is heavily supporting, the reward can be large. Shown in the previous table is a shorthand method of evaluating first timers that you may find useful.

A quick glance at the table tells you immediately which horse is a real threat and which is not. Clearly, Horse “A” is a standout. These kinds of figures show up all the time.

Now lets look at how to spot contentious and chaos races.

Contentious Races

Contentious races will generally have a lot of contenders, such as 5 to 7 contenders in a twelve horse field. Also, and perhaps most important, the Total Comprehensive Ratings for the contenders will be bunched in a narrow range. Here are some sample Total Comprehensive Ratings that you might see on the Contender Summary Report.

A)   35   21   19   12        
B)   38   35   18   11        
C)   22   20   20   18   16   15

Example “A” has a single standout horse. Example “B” has two standout horses. Example “C” is a contentious race with no standout horse or horses. Notice how the Total Comprehensive ratings in example “C” are all bunched in a narrow range. This is always characteristic of contentious races.

Chaos Races

A chaos race is, very simply, a race where no horse in the race can run to the speed par for today’s race. By now you know that you can tell if a horse can run to par by comparing the Hall Speed figure to the BRIS Race Rating. If no horse has a Hall Speed Rating within one point of the BRIS Race Rating, then no horse has demonstrated the ability to run to today’s par and we have a chaos race.

Putting It All Together

Now lets start putting all of this together by examining five different scenarios, four of which often yield excellent spot plays and one that rarely does.

Scenario #1 (First timers in chaos races)

First, in chaos races that include first timers, do not be fooled by an experienced horse that appears to be a standout. Remember, in a chaos race, such a horse has not demonstrated the ability to run to today’s par. Such a horse is always vulnerable. When a first timer is a surprise winner, more often than not, the race was a chaos race. If you have spotted a “live” first timer as shown above, chances are the horse will do well in a chaos race. The key here is to require that the first timer have a Workout Rating of at least a 1. A Workout Rating of 2 is even better. This play is even more powerful if no experienced horse has a Workout Rating of 1 or 2. This spot play occurs frequently and is often missed by the public.

Scenario #2 (First timers in contentious races)

This scenario yields a good spot play from time to time. Remember, in a contentious race, at least one horse has a demonstrated capability to run to today’s par. Otherwise, it would be a chaos race. Furthermore, one of two additional dynamics are at work here. Either there are multiple horses that can run to par or there is a single horse that can run to par but that is somehow otherwise flawed (low class, bad form, etc.). One of these dynamics must be present or it would not be a contentious race. If there is a single, flawed horse that can run to par, a “live” first timer may have a very good shot at winning the race. However, we would require that the “live” first timer have a Workout Rating of “2”. If there are multiple horses that can run to par, then the chance of a first timer winning the race takes a dramatic drop. If a first timer is good enough to pull this off, chances are it won’t escape the public’s notice and the payoffs will dictate that the race be passed.

Scenario #3 (First timers in races that are neither chaos nor contentious races)

This is one scenario where we will almost automatically dismiss first time starters. Rarely will there be a good play. Such a race will have one, two or three standout horses. Again, if a first timer is good enough to win, the public will generally be all over the horse making it a no wager situation.

Scenario #4 (Chaos races without first timers)

You will generally find one or two chaos races without first timers on each day’s card. These are generally good races to pass. However, if you have a horse on the Contender Report or the Dangerous Non-Contender List with a Workout Rating of “2”, you may have a good play. If you have two such horses, you may have a good two horse win bet play. Perhaps even more important, if such a horse is going off at long odds, say 8-1 or higher, this may be an excellent horse to key over and under in Exactas and in the win, place and show spots in Trifectas.

Scenario #5 (Contentious races without first timers)

These are not necessarily races with bad horses. Remember, since it is not a chaos race, one or more horses have demonstrated that they can run to the par for today’s race. Indeed, the highest caliber races at the track can often be contentious. After all, the Kentucky Derby is often too contentious to call. Most serious turf investors will, more often than not, pass these races. However, ALL-Ways software handicappers have had good success by playing contenders and/or dangerous non contenders that have a workout rating of 2. Dangerous non-contenders, in particular, can lead to big win betting and exotic betting scores in contentious races. The significant difference in betting these kinds of horses in contentious races, as opposed to chaos races, is that you want such horses in contentious races to be in the top three of either speed or class in the race.

Now, there are other ways to play contentious races. For example, a lone early running style horse that figures to get the lead in a contentious race, or any race for that matter, is often a solid play. We will cover running styles and other ways to play contentious races in future newsletters.


We believe you can expect two or three profitable plays on the typical race card in chaos and contentious races using the techniques described above. Other good plays will come from more orderly races (i.e., one, two or three solid win contenders in the race) where you have a solid overlay or a good two horse win bet opportunity.



Every successful horse player can tell you exactly how well they are doing in terms of win percentage, average mutuel payoff and return on investment (ROI). If a successful player is realizing a 40% ROI, he or she knows that, over the long haul, every $1000 wagered will return a $400 profit. These players know that win percentage, average mutuel and ROI are absolutely linked together by a simple but powerful mathematical formula.


Here is the magic formula.

ROI for $2 bets equals:

(WIN% x WIN$) - (LOSE% x 2.00)

WIN%: percent as a decimal
WIN$: avg. net profit on a $2 bet
LOSE%: lose percent as a decimal

Lets look at a couple of examples. If your average mutuel payoff is $8.00 and your win percentage is 30%, then your ROI is 20%. This means, on average, you will earn 20 cents for every dollar you bet. Here is the calculation:

(.3 x $6.00) - (.7 x $2.00) = .20

If your average mutuel payoff is $7.00 and your win percentage is 40%, then your ROI is 40%. You will earn, on average, 40 cents for every dollar you bet.

(.4 x $5.00) - (.6 x $2.00) = .40


Notice how little you need to increase your win percentage or your average mutuel payoff in order to substantially increase your ROI.































A not insignificant number of ALL-Ways software users are professional players. They know that a few percentage point improvement in their win percent and/or a modest improvement in their average mutuel payoffs can virtually double their ROI. Many ALL-Ways software handicappers are striving to become professionals. Well, we just gave you the mathematical “key to the mother load”.


Experience has shown that when you run a good, predictive custom Handicapping Profile through the ALL-Ways Database Run Analysis, you will generally see ROIs ranging from 10% to 30% or even higher. This is obviously a good situation. Even better, however, is the fact that this is virtually worst case. The Database Run Analysis assumes that you bet every race and that you always bet the computers first pick. By doing two simple things, you can substantially out perform the Database Run Analysis results.
1 Do not try to bet every race, at least not with serious money. Entertainment bets are certainly OK. After all, this is supposed to be fun too. However, some races are simply too contentious to risk your bankroll. Other races have such a clear cut, legitimate favorite that the crowd is all over the horse making it an unplayable underlay. You should always demand value. Bet only on overlays. Look for premium payoffs on your exotic bets. The ALL-Ways Exacta Matrix shows you the premium payoffs you should demand. Combinations that yield premium Exacta payoffs will also yield premium Trifecta payoffs as well.

2 Never blindly accept the computer’s first pick. Look for reasons why the first pick might not win. Perhaps it is falling out of form. Perhaps it is a bounce candidate. Perhaps the pace is setting up all wrong for the horse’s running style, etc. Ask yourself: “If the first pick doesn’t win, which horse is the most likely to beat it?” This examination may well lead to compelling reasons to bet the alternate horse. Watch the tote board for unexpected support of another horse. Look at the handicapping information in ALL-Ways software to see if you can figure out why the horse is getting this support. Maybe the support is justified. If not, you may have a prime bet, “crush the race” opportunity.


Based on a recent survey of ALL-Ways software users, 89% report profitable play including 52% with ROIs over 20% and 22% with ROIs over 40%. Not coincidentally, these same ALL-Ways software users play an average of 5.2 races per card. The message is clear. Be selective in your wagering. Be disciplined to not play races that you should pass. Be bold and crush races where ALL-Ways software has provided you with a significant edge.

ALL-Ways Newsletters

Copyright 1996
Frandsen Publishing Corporation
PO Box 1439
Minnetonka, MN 55345
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Frandsen Publishing

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