July 1997, Number 6
INSIDE THIS NEWSLETTER
Handicapping Profile Series (Part 2 of 5)
ALL-Ways software data files can now be used to drive Capsheet software. Some BRIS subscribers have expressed the desire to use both ALL-Ways software and Capsheet software. Now, it is possible to do so by downloading just the single ALL-Ways software data file. Just select A for Entries, 9 for programmers Data Files and enter ALW as the file format.
HANDICAPPING PROFILE SERIES
In part one of this series, we pointed out that the most important thing you should do right now to achieve even better performance from ALL-Ways software is to segment the races at which you aim your profiles. We illustrated this by showing you how a single profile that was aimed at both maiden and non-maiden races and that showed a small loss could easily be replaced with two very profitable profiles just by aiming one profile only at maidens races and the other profile only at non-maiden races. Finally, we introduced you to a race segmentation strategy based on the Race Pace Shapes that we discussed in our October, 1996 newsletter. In this second installment of our series on Handicapping Profiles, we are going to complete our discussion of race segmentation.
HANDICAPPING PROFILE SERIES
Automatic Race Segmentation (continued)
Some race segmentation takes place automatically. In the Analysis Module, ALL-Ways software automatically segments races into six groups, specifically dirt sprints, dirt routes, turf sprints, turf routes, off-track sprints and off-track routes. So, when you run a Top 3 Analysis , Impact Value Analysis or Database Run Analysis, ALL-Ways software keeps track of everything separately for these six race groups. For example, when ALL-Ways software runs the Impact Value Analysis, it calculates the IVs for each of the 71 handicapping factors separately for each race group and saves the IV's separately as calculated Impact Values. This lets you build profiles in the Profile Module using the saved calculated IV's that are aimed at each of these specific race groups. Also, the Multiple Regression Analysis Custom function in the Professional Edition automatically builds custom Handicapping Profiles aimed at each of these six race groups.
The Multiple Regression Analysis Default function segments races a little differently. It automatically segments the MRA profiles so they are aimed at non-maiden dirt sprints, non-maiden dirt routes, turf races, maiden dirt sprints and maiden dirt routes.
Additional Race Segmentation
There are nine different race screens in the ALL-Ways Analysis Module that can be used in any combination to screen-in/screen-out any set of races. You can use these race screens to segment races so your Handicapping Profiles can be aimed at an almost infinite array of race groups. Here are the nine race screens:
Race ESP Shapes
Race Age and Sex Restrictions
Race Class Ratings
Winners Mutuel Win Payoff
You need not worry about surface or condition because ALL-Ways software automatically segments these races. Lets look at the other possibilities.
ALL-Ways software automatically segments sprints and routes. This race screen allows you to go even further to isolate specific distances or groups of distances. For example, you may want to analyze and to set up specific Handicapping Profiles for short sprints at 5 1/2 furlongs and under, middle range sprints of 6 and 6 1/2 furlongs and long sprints of 7 and 7 1/2 furlongs. Short sprints are indeed run differently. They tend to be all out dashes to the wire. Middle sprints often require tactical speed and long sprints usually do.
As we said in our previous newsletter, you should always use this race screen to separate maiden and non-maiden races. You can also use these race screens to isolate graded stakes races, non-graded stakes races, allowance races and claiming races. A number of ALL-Ways software users have reported good results by isolating allowance races separately from claiming races.
Race Class Rating
This race screen lets you set a specific range of BRIS Race Ratings. This is a way, for example, that you can isolate very high class races (which generally have Race Ratings above 117) from middle class races (which generally have Race Ratings between 108 and 117) from lower class races (which generally have Race Ratings under 108). Many handicapping books tell you that all $10,000 claiming races are at the same class level at all tracks in the North America. This is simply not the case. Even $10,000 claiming races at the same track can have a 3 or 4 point difference in class level. Indeed, this explains the incredible power of the BRIS Race Rating figures. They show you the real class within a class. And All-Ways software lets you segment races based on these powerful ratings.
ESP Race Shapes
Please read our October, 1996 and our April, 1997 newsletters for a thorough explanation of how to segment races using these ESP Race Shapes. If you do not have these newsletters, contact Frandsen Publishing and we will be glad to send them to you at no charge.
ASR (Age and Sex Restrictions)
There are five ASR categories: 1) 3 years and up males and females; 2) 3 years and up females only; 3) two year olds; 4) 3 year olds only males and females; 5) 3 year olds only females only. Once your Race Database has enough races, you should create a profile aimed at 2 year olds in dirt sprints. These youngsters rarely do anything other than run as fast as they can for as far as they can. Another race segmentation you may want to try is for 3 year olds. These horses mature rapidly and constantly during their sophomore (3 year old) season. A segmentation strategy that has been reported to be effective is to have a set of profiles for three year olds running during the first eight months of the year and a separate set for the last four months of the year. You will have to wait to use this idea until your second year of using ALL-Ways software.
We just gave you a way to use date cutoffs for handicapping 3 year olds. Another use of the Race Date Screens is to limit any analysis to the most recent races. Still another use is to have separate profiles for each meet at tracks that run more than one meet in a year. The Oak Tree meet at Santa Anita is one example. This race screen may be particularly important for tracks that make use of inner tracks during a separate meet such as the inner dirt track at Aqueduct.
Winners Win Payoff
This is an incredibly powerful race screen in ALL-ways software. The most obvious use of this race screen is to build profiles aimed at finding high payoff horses.
In summary, there is an almost infinite number of ways you can segment the races when creating Handicapping Profiles. This may well be the single most powerful feature in ALL-Ways software. And, ALL-Ways software gives you the ability to not only create the profiles but to measure their effectiveness as well by running a Database Run Analysis.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
How does ALL-Ways go about selecting contenders?
Contender selection is a sequential process. First, ALL-Ways software selects the top three picks of the Handicapping Profile(s) used to handicap the race. Then, ALL-Ways software looks at the remaining horses to determine if there is a horse that ranks in the top three of certain class factors and certain speed factors. If it finds such a horse (or horses) it adds the horse(s) to the contender list. Finally, if any horse ranked in the top three of the Total Comprehensive rating is not already selected, it is added to the contender list.
So, the contenders in ALL-Ways software are the top three horses from the Handicapping Profile(s) plus any other horses that are ranked in the top three of certain class and speed factors plus any other horses that are ranked in the top three of the Total Comprehensive Rating.
The contenders are listed on the Contender Summary Report in the same sequence as they were selected. The first three horses will always be the first three picks of the Handicapping Profile in Profile Position #1 and will always be listed in the same order as their odds. Odds does not play a role in the remaining selections, so it is possible for a horse listed last as a contender to have lower odds than the horse selected right before it.
One last point: Version 6.1 selects, as contenders, the top three picks of the Handicapping Profile(s) as opposed to the top four picks in Version 6.0. You can still see the top four picks of the Handicapping Profile(s) on the Oddsline Report and on the Paceline Report.
EVALUATING DANGEROUS NON-CONTENDERS
After ALL-Ways software completes the contender selection process, it looks at each remaining horse to see if there is any reason why this non-contender horse should be considered dangerous. If it finds a reason (or reasons), the horse is designated as a Dangerous Non-Contender. We will refer to such a horse as a DNC. ALL-Ways software then prints out one page for all the races on a race card that lists the DNCs for each race, if any, along with the reasons each horse was so designated. It also shows the horses workout rating, how the horses running style and post position fit the track bias and favorable/unfavorable jockey and trainer statistics. ALL-Ways software also identifies DNCs on each handicapping report with an asterisk (*) before the horses name.
The Dangerous Non-Contender List is a powerful source of long odds horses. Frequently, horses that go off at long odds (say 15 to 1 or higher) and that finish in-the-money are horses that ALL-Ways software has designated as DNCs. As a cardinal rule, never ignore DNCs. Always look further at the powerful information in ALL-Ways software to see if the DNC horse deserves your support. We continue to see and we continue to get reports from ALL-Ways software users about exotic payoffs in the thousands of dollars that are keyed by high priced ALL-Ways software DNC horses.
Obviously, some DNCs win, others place or show and others finish off-the-board. Now we are going to explain our method for evaluating DNCs to determine if we want to include them in our wagers and, if so, if we should include them to win or just to place or show.
The first thing we do is determine if the horse qualifies for any kind of play. We look for a playable DNC to be in the top three rankings for any of the following handicapping factors:
Hall Speed (paceline)
BRIS Speed (paceline)
Hall Combined (paceline)
BRIS Combined (paceline)
Hall Combined (best 2 of 3)
BRIS Combined (best 2 of 3)
Brohamer Total Rank (paceline)
Again, if the DNC ranks in the top three of any of these figures, we will consider it to be a play. Conversely, if the DNC is not in the top three of at least one of these factors, we consider the horse unplayable with two specific exceptions. We will consider such a horse playable: 1) if it has a Workout Rating of 2. Such a rating is a solid sign that the horse is capable of running speed figures that are competitive at todays level, that the horse is in good form and that the trainers intentions are to win the race; 2) if the DNC has been in-the-money or otherwise run a good race a high percentage of the time (say 75% or higher) for multiple races at todays same distance and surface category. We are not impressed by 1 for 1 but we are impressed by 2 for 2, 3 for 4 and 4 for 5. This indicates that the horse has the competitive drive to do well even if it needs to over achieve to do so.
Lets stop and summarize. We will consider a DNC horse to be playable if it ranks in the top three of the listed handicapping factors or if it has a Workout Rating of 2 or if it consistently runs a good race at the same distance and surface category as todays race.
Now, we must determine if we want to play the horse to win or just to place or show. For this we turn to the powerful Class Ratings supplied by BRIS. We specifically look at the BRIS Class, True Class and Good Class ratings. The BRIS Class rating measures a horses class in general. True Class measures a horses class at the same distance and surface category. Good Class tells us the highest BRIS Race rating in which the horses has run a good race (in-the-money or within two lengths in sprints or three lengths in routes). If the playable DNC horse ranks within one or two class points of the best horses in the race, we will consider playing the DNC to win.
If the DNC is more than a couple of class points below the better horses, then we would confine our support to place and show. But, here we go again with a couple of exceptions. We will still play such a horse to win if it has a significant Hall Final Fraction advantage over the other horses (say 10 points or so) or if it ranks in the top 1 or 2 of several of the qualifying handicapping factors listed above.
One nice thing about this method is that all the information you need is on the Dangerous Non-Contender List and either the Paceline Report or the All Factors Report. This is so convenient that you can evaluate all DNCs in a race literally in seconds.
The last step in the process is to determine if the tote board odds are high enough to reward us for the risk in supporting a DNC. Sometimes the DNC will appear to be a pretty solid play. In these cases we would not hesitate to play the horse at modest odds of say 6 to 1 or higher. However, often the DNC horse will be a riskier play. In these cases we like to have tote board odds of 15 to 1 or higher. Such plays occur on just about every race card.
TRIFECTA WAGERING (Part 2 OF 2)
When approached properly, the Trifecta is not only a fun wager, but it can be wonderfully profitable as well. We are going to wrap up our two part series on Trifecta wagering by suggesting a solid strategy and a strong disciplined approach to the wager. It is simple, but very powerful ... powerful enough, we believe, to turn most good handicappers into profitable Trifecta players.
First, lets recap what we presented in the first article. While the Trifecta can be played profitably, most players lose money. They do so because of two things. First, they bet too many underlay situations instead of waiting for overlays. Second, they play too many combinations.
Regarding the underlay problem, we suggested that you bet the Trifecta only if the betting favorite figures to finish off-the-board or if a long shot horse (say 15 to 1 or higher) figures to finish on-the-board. If both conditions exist, we suggest you treat it as a Prime Bet. Here is a simple chart that summarizes this strategy.
|Play or Pass|
With respect to betting too many combinations, we made the point that the most common Trifecta wager is the four horse box (ABCD/ABCD/ABCD), a $48 wager for a $2 Trifecta. This wager contains only one possible winning combination and 23 combinations that are 100% guaranteed to lose. Instead of the four horse box, we recommended a combination wager of the type AB/ABC/ABCDE. This is a $24 wager for a $2 Trifecta. We made the point that if you have $48 to play a Trifecta, you are better off playing a $4 Trifecta of the recommended type because there are only 11 losing combinations and, if you win, the payoff will be double the 4 horse box payoff. We also showed you how you could key a horse in the win, place and show positions and end up with a ticket that costs less than the 4 horses box.
Now, lets look at how we might select the horses for our wager and then put it all together into a powerful, cohesive Trifecta wagering strategy.
From this point on, we are going to focus on two very specific types of Trifecta wagers as shown below. We call these Exacta Plus Trifecta wagers.
Exact-Plus-Show Trifecta Wager
Exacta-Plus-Key Trifecta Wager
Both of these wagers cost $24 for a $2 Trifecta. This satisfies our criteria for holding down the number of combinations.
Question: Just exactly what is a Trifecta?
It is an Exacta plus the show horse. As Jay Leno would say: Well, Da! The answer is, of course, very obvious once you see it. But the concept is a very powerful part of our emerging Trifecta strategy. Here is why:
If you have not yet achieved profitable Exacta play, you probably should not be playing the Trifecta until you do so.
Conversely, when you have mastered the Exacta, you are a long way towards profitable Trifecta play. Selecting the show horse may actually be the easiest part of playing the Trifecta. After all, in the Exacta Plus Show wager, the show horse can be any one of five horses. In the Exacta Plus Key wager, the show horse can be any of four different horses.
You can use the Exacta portion of the wager to determine, pretty well, if you are in an overlay situation, which is, of course what we are after. Just check the probable Exacta payoffs shown at the track and compare them to the minimum fair Exacta payoffs shown on the ALL-Ways Contender Summary and Exacta Matrix handicapping report. If the probables are higher than the ALL-Ways software fair payoff figures, you have an exacta overlay. The Trifecta will most likely be an overlay as well.
Exacta-Plus-Show Trifecta Wager
The first logical step in selecting our Trifecta horses is to select the Exacta portion of the wager. There are no hard and fast rules here. However, we strongly suggest you use pace handicapping when selecting these horses. Honest Pace Shape races make up most of the races we see (See our October, 1996 newsletter.). In Honest Pace Shape races, we suggest the A horse be the best front running style horse (Early or Early Presser), the B horse be the best late running style horse (Presser or Sustainer) and that the C horse be either the obvious next best horse or a horse with a big Hall or BRIS Final Fraction pace figure advantage.
Other Pace Shape races require some slight change in emphasis regarding the horses running styles. In Fast Early Pace Shape races you will need to adjust your selections more in favor of late runners. In Lone Early Pace Shape races you need to consider that the lone early horse may steal the race. In Slow Pace Shape races, there are no early runners so you need to consider Pressers and Sustainers that have the best Early Pace figures.
Now we have the Exacta portion of our Trifecta wager. In the Exacta-Plus-Show Trifecta wager, we now need to select the D and E horses which are only in the show position. One mechanical way to approach this selection is to make the D horse the next best horse with the same running style as the A horse and the E horse the next best horse with the same running style as the B horse. Another, perhaps more thoughtful, way to look at it is that the show horse is often a front running style horse that gets passed in the stretch and just hangs on for third place or it is a late runner that just passes this fading front runner for the show spot. Still another effective situation, when you have two or three horses that have superior Hall or BRIS Final Fraction ratings, is to use two of them as your D and E horses.
Exacta-Plus-Key Trifecta Wager
We will use this format for Trifecta wagers when we are able to narrow our selections to just four horses and we have identified a horse, other than the betting favorite, that we are supremely confident will finish in-the-money. This, obviously, is our Key Horse. Another nice characteristic of this format is that you have three possible win horses and four possible place horses as opposed to two and three respectively using the Exacta-Plus-Show format.
We want to emphasize this point again: The Key Horse should never be the betting favorite!
There are two distinct sets of circumstances we will face when using this Trifecta format. First, if the betting favorite is a legitimate contender (probably our A or B horse in the Exacta portion of the wager), then we must be supremely confident that a long odds horse will finish in-the-money and we will designate it as our Key Horse (the D horse). Remember, if the betting favorite figures to be in-the-money, then we will not bet the Trifecta unless we have a legitimate long shot.
The second set of circumstances is if the betting favorite is a false favorite that figures to finish out-of-the-money. In this case, we do not require that we have a long shot horse in order to make the Trifecta wager although we would certainly like to have one. If we do have a long odds horse, we do not want it to be the Key Horse. The reason for this is that we are betting that the betting favorite is going to finish off-the-board and when it does we want to be able to win the wager even if our long odds horse also finishes off-the-board. Note that you can still place the long odds horse in all three positions (win, place and show) by designating it as the A or B horse in the Exacta portion of the wager. You can place the long odds horse in only the place and show positions by designating it as the C horse.
We hope you will read this Trifecta methodology again to really understand how powerful it is in terms of giving you a good shot at playing the Trifecta profitably. This certainly isnt the only way to play the Trifecta successfully. Some people will say that it still bets too many combinations. Others will say that it is better to wait for situations where you have two long odds horses and then to swing for the fences with a 5 or 6 horse box. Indeed, there are situations when a different Trifecta wager is in order. However, we believe our Exacta-Plus-Show and Exacta-Plus-Key methods strikes the proper balance between these two extremes. The strategy is sound and the discipline is essential. More importantly, the discipline is easy to follow because it is built into the methodology.
IN THE NEXT ISSUE
Part 3 of the Handicapping Profiles Series, Creating Predictive Handicapping Profiles
The many ways ALL-Ways software helps you to find long odds horses
© Copyright 1996
Frandsen Publishing Corporation
PO Box 1439
Minnetonka, MN 55345
All Rights Reserved
How to reach
Web Site: www.frandsen.com