July 1999, Number 14
ALL-WaysTM Newsletter


Track Payoff Analysis

Guest Article


Call for “Wish Lists”

The next major ALL-Ways software upgrade, Version 8.0, is well along in the development process. It includes some extremely powerful new capabilities that will not only lead you to more win, place and show horses, but will also assist you in your wagering. And remember, if you are using ALL-Ways software 7.0 or 7.1, your Race Databases are building up data that will be used by ALL-Ways software Version 8.0. With that said, there is still time to influence the final set of new features in Version 8.0. We request that ALL-Ways software handicappers contact us by phone, by E-mail, by letter or through our Web site to provide us with their “wish lists” of new features. See the end of this Newsletter for how to reach us.

Call for Handicapping Profiles

The Frandsen Publishing Web site at www.frandsen.com includes The User’s Corner where Handicapping Profiles are posted for downloading and use by ALL-Ways software handicappers. More than 65 profiles are posted covering 38 different tracks. Thanks to all of you who contributed these profiles. We now request ALL-Ways software handicappers to visit this part of our Web site to see what profiles they might have that would be useful updates to the profiles already listed. Sending us your profiles for downloading is very easy. Instructions are included on our Web site. Please remember, if you are a “Taker”, please be a “Maker”.


Every handicapper knows the keys to success at the track are good handicapping and good wagering and money management practices. In this ALL-Ways Newsletter we focus on the wagering part of this equation. Specifically , we look at the Track Payoff Analysis Report that ALL-Ways software can automatically prepare for you. And, we have included a guest article from a long time ALL-Ways software handicapper. It is loaded with examples of sound wagering practices.

Track Payoff Analysis

In ALL-Ways software version 7.0, we introduced the Track Payoff Analysis Report. It is very easy to use. Simply go to the ALL-Ways Analysis Module, enter the track code for the track to analyze and then click the Database Run-Track Payoff Analysis function. That is all there is to it. ALL-Ways software will analyze your Race Database for the track and automatically prepare a printed report showing the average win, Exacta and Trifecta payoffs for virtually every type and configuration of race run at the track. The purpose of this is, of course, to point you in the direction of the most profitable plays at the track. More about that later.

For those of you who have not seen the reports, there are three pages, one each for Win, Exacta and Trifecta payoffs. Each page has six columns, one each for dirt sprints, dirt routes, turf sprints, turf routes, off track  sprints and off track routes. The number of races and average payoffs are shown under each column for the 47 different categories of races shown in the example on page two of this newsletter.

Lets look at some sample data from the Track Payoff Analysis report we ran for this article. Note that we instructed ALL-Ways software to exclude races with abnormally large payoffs. This keeps the data from being overly impacted by a single extraordinary payoff. The chart below shows the average win payoffs for dirt sprints, dirt routes and turf routes at Churchill Downs.

CDX Average Win Payoffs ($)

Distance    Dirt
5 furlongs 13.58    
5 1/2 furlongs n/a    
6 furlongs 12.53    
6 1/2 furlongs 12.71    
7 furlongs 13.09    
7 1/2 furlongs n/a    
1 mile   13.07 18.63
1 1/16 mile   11.42 9.27
1 1/8 mile   n/a 11.26
1 3/16 mile   n/a  
1 1/4 mile   13.55 n/a
Race Types      
Graded Stakes/Hdcp 10.50 11.47 12.77
Stks/Hdcp n/a   11.30
Allowance 9.57 9.58 12.73
Claiming 11.92 14.23 15.04
Maiden 16.52 11.80  
Race ESP Shapes      
E E E 11.57 11.73 n/a
E E 10.78 11.97 9.92
E EP 13.12 14.79 14.94
E 17.40 n/a n/a
EP EP 9.99 11.09 15.05
EP P 14.72 10.65 10.51
EP n/a n/a n/a
P P 15.80 10.57 10.07
P S 15.35    
S 12.85    
Race Pace Shapes      
Fast (eee, ee) 10.92 11.91 9.73
Lone (e, ep, ep-p) 15.35 10.91 10.07
Honest (e-ep, ep-ep) 11.74 12.25 15.00
Slow (pp, ps, s) 14.32 13.80 10.07
Age and Sex Restrictions      
ASR 1 (3 up M & F) 13.08 12.96 11.72
ASR 2 (3 up Female) 11.09 12.17 13.34
ASR 3 (2 yr M & F) 14.05 10.95 n/a
ASR 4(3 yr M & F) 10.85 10.57 n/a
ASR 5(3 yr Female) 9.80 8.63 n/a
Race Ratings      
105 and 106 n/a    
107 and 108 21.00 15.44  
109 and 110 13.98 14.00  
111 and 112 13.66 13.71 n/a
113 and 114 9.80 9.40 15.88
115 and 116 10.58 11.83 13.41
117 and 118 7.40 11.54 10.32
119 and 120 13.08 9.90 10.42
120 and up n/a 10.96 10.87
All Races 12.55 11.99 12.88

Some Explanations

The Race ESP Shapes are based on the running styles of the horses in the race which are designated as “E” for Early, “EP” for Early Presser, “P” for Presser and “S” for Sustainer. The Race Pace Shapes group races into four categories, namely Fast Early, Lone Early, Honest and Slow. Please refer to ALL-Ways Newsletter #3, dated October 1996, for a thorough description of Race ESP and Race Pace Shapes. (We will be glad to send you complimentary copies of back issues of ALL-Ways Newsletters. Simply contact us by phone, E-mail or letter and request them.)

The Race Ratings are ratings assigned by ALL-Ways software to each race that designate the overall BRIS Class level of the race. They are based on the class levels of the horses running in the race at post time. This is a much more powerful way to gauge the class level of a race than the traditional methods of Claiming price and Allowance conditions.

The designation “n/a” means there were not enough races to yield reliable figures.

Some Observations

There are many observations that can be made based on the average win payoff data for Churchill Downs that is shown to the left. Here are some of the more important opportunities that we see.

• One mile turf routes have standout payoffs. This is not really too surprising since a mile is a long distance for sprint specialists and a short distance for route specialists which could very well lead to upset winners.

• Maiden dirt sprint races pay well. This is not so surprising either because maiden races tend to be less predictable. But, this switches to non-maiden Claiming races for dirt and turf routes. This is very useful information to have.

• Lone Early and Slow Pace Shape races pay well for dirt sprints. This changes to the specific Race ESP of E-EP in dirt routes and Honest Pace Shape races for turf routes. This is probably the most important information presented to us by the chart because ALL-Ways software gives you such strong tools to handicap using Race ESP and Race Pace Shapes.

• There is a very prominent pocket of high payoffs for Race Ratings in the range of 107 to 112 for both dirt sprints and dirt routes. The same is true for turf routes, but the range is from 113 to 116 This is very powerful information as well because this gives you the potential of a lot of races to play. These Race Rating ranges account for over 40% of races run at Churchill Downs.

More Detailed Analysis

You can also set “Race Screens” in ALL-Ways software to instruct ALL-Ways software to analyze just certain categories of races. For example, you can instruct ALL-Ways software to  analyze just Allowance races. Then, when you look at a category such as the race distances data, it will be data just for, in this example, Allowance races. You can set multiple race screens as well. For example, you could tell ALL-Ways software to just look at Allowance races carded for 3 year old female horses. Then when you look at the data, such as the race distances data, it will be for just those types of races.

How To Use the Information

There are three fundamental ways to use this Track Payoff Analysis data.


1. First, and most obvious, you can aim your wagers at the categories of races that have been paying the best. ALL-Ways software handicapping reports tell you the exact category of every race. Just compare this with the information in a recent Track Payoff Analysis Report. Then, with the help of this information, decide to wager or not wager and to wager more or less.

2. The second way to use this information is to create Handicapping Profiles that are aimed directly at the categories of races that have the best payoffs. For example, let’s say that the Track Payoff Analysis Report for Lone Star Park shows that 5 1/2 furlong dirt sprints pay particularly well which, by the way, is the actual case. In this case, simply set the race screens in ALL-Ways software for 5 1/2 furlong races and then either create your own custom Handicapping Profile using the ALL-Ways Profile Module or let ALL-Ways software automatically create the profile using the Custom Multiple Regression Analysis function in the Analysis Module. ALL-Ways software can then use this special Handicapping Profile at handicapping time when there is a 5 1/2 furlong race at Lone Star Park.

Remember, too, that the Track Payoff Analysis Report shows you separate data for Exacta payoffs and for Trifecta payoffs. You may want to use the powerful capability in ALL-Ways software to create separate Handicapping Profiles that look specifically for place horses and for show horses. Again, you would point these special place and show Handicapping Profiles directly at the higher Exacta and Trifecta payoff categories of races.

3. The third way you can use the Track Payoff Analysis Report information is to help you determine which tracks you want to play and the specific types of wagers on which you want to focus at these tracks. For example, here is some average payoff data for several different tracks. This is actual data taken from Track Payoff Analysis Reports we ran as we were preparing this newsletter article.

Average Turf Route Payoffs ($)

Track Win Exacta Trifecta
CBY 11.58 100 595
CDX 12.88 86 534
DMR 11.46 77 575
GPX 11.41 85 584
HAW 9.55 108 550
HOL 10.95 77 735
LSX 11.76 85 972
SAX 10.59 109 551

The ALL-Ways Race Databases for these tracks included a considerable number of races. From this data it appears the best plays will be win wagers at Churchill Downs, Exacta wagers at Canterbury Park, Hawthorn and Santa Anita and Trifecta wagers at Hollywood Park and Lone Star Park.

Return on Investment

Even a small dollar increase in the average payoff you receive can have a profound effect on your return-on-investment at the track. In our very first newsletter dated July 1996, we included an article on ROI sensitivity. We presented the “Magic ROI Formula”. This formula calculates ROI based on win percentage, average wager amount and average payoff. (Again, contact us and we will send you complimentary back issues of our newsletters.). We used this formula to generate the figures in the table below. Notice the significant change in ROI that is generated by just a small increase in average payoff.

Wager Type Avg Bet Win % Avg Payoff ROI
Win $2 35% $6.00 5%
Win $2 35% $6.50 14%
Win $2 35% $7.00 23%
Exacta $8 30% $28 5%
Exacta $8 30% $32 20%
Exacta $8 30% $36 35%
Trifecta $24 20% $130 8%
Trifecta $24 20% $140 17%
Trifecta $24 20% $150 25%


To be profitable at the track, you must outperform the other horseplayers playing the same races. You must handicap better than the other players and/or you must wager smarter than the other players. The Track Payoff Analysis Report is just one more edge ALL-Ways software gives you on the wagering side of the equation. It shows you exactly where the public is the least successful. This lets you “zero in” on the higher payoff categories of races to exploit the public’s weaknesses. This lets you increase your average payoffs and, consequently, increase your return on investment at the track.

Guest Article

The Guest Article that follows was written by Greg Lawson of Claremont, California. Greg actually wrote this article as a letter to us (Frandsen Publishing) to tell us about his success and to thank us for ALL-Ways software, our “White Paper” on creating effective Handicapping Profiles and our ALL-Ways Newsletters. With Greg’s permission, we are sharing this letter with you. We are doing so because we believe the letter is loaded with examples of solid wagering practices and a very disciplined approach to being a winning horseplayer. The letter also shows how Greg utilizes the powerful capability of ALL-Ways software to analyze categories of races and to create Handicapping Profiles that are aimed at very specific sets of races.

Here is Greg’s article. See how many “Keys to Success” you can spot.

Greg Lawson’s Article

“I spent the short fall meets at Hollywood Park and Oak Tree (Santa Anita) fine-tuning some in-depth profiles, including place and show profiles for all my major race segments.

[The work paid off], because I got not one, not two, but three strong hits in less than two hours at Santa Anita on Sunday, 1/3/99.

I had a weak opening day at Santa Anita. Didn’t follow my profiles well, and got nosed out of a couple of good payoffs. Well, it all turned around on Sunday. I had just received the January ALL-Ways Newsletter, and while I’ve read that information before, I truly tried to recognize those races where the odds were in my favor.

I was betting recreationally for the first three races and made a small Exacta score ($23.40 for $1) on the fourth race. That was made by placing my top horse from my place profile (a strong S in a race with a lot of E and EP horses involved) over my top win profile horse (the best of the EP lot).

The next race was a good one. ALL-Ways did not think highly of the 2-1 favorite and my win profile, an “Honest Turf Route Handicap” profile, favored a 14-1 horse who had run once previously in the U.S.,  had run evenly in a strong race and had a strong European class background. The 2-1 choice was eased early and the 14-1 shot came flying in the stretch, as they often do at Santa Anita, to win by half a length and paid $30.40 to win.  My $20 win bet had gotten me off the ground for the day. I had bet a $1 Exacta set, A/BCD,BCD/A, but missed out.  With a 14-1 shot on top I wanted to stay focused on my win bet.

The next race was an “Honest Dirt Sprint Claiming 3 up (as opposed to 3 yo only)”. These are tough races, but ALL-Ways saw that my #1 choice was an overlay at 7-2.  I keyed another win bet with Exactas to the three top horses in my place profile, and the additional horse listed in the show profile. A very simple A/BCD/BCDE (the A horse was listed also in the place profile but not the show profile) for a $9 spread. The A horse came in, by a nose, I might add, beating the C horse (at 15-1) and the E horse (at 16-1, the 4th choice in my show profile). I signed an IRS statement for the $715 ticket! Also, I had the $52.30 Exacta three times, and a $20 win bet on the $9.40 payoff.

I wasn’t done yet, either. Downhill turf sprints at Santa Anita have always been good to me.  I cashed my first huge ALL-Ways Trifecta (over $1,300) on one two years ago. My top choice was again overlayed at  6-1, and the 8-5 favorite was an underlay. I left the underlay out of the win spot, and again, played a small ticket A/BC/BCDEF ($8), along with a win bet.  It wasn’t a perfect result. The overlay narrowly got up to DEAD HEAT for first, lowering the win payoff to $6.40 instead of $14.00, but the Trifecta, A to B (3-1) to D (9-1), managed $109.70, even while being compromised by the dead heat. One step past the wire, the overlay was a head in front.  Just lucky, I guess. By the way, my profile was a “Fast Turf Sprint,  Non-Maiden”.

I passed the underlays in the feature race, and moved on to the ninth. I was presented with two overlays in my win profile (4-1 and 5-1), and the presence of what appeared to be another strong P horse (had closed much ground to win a sprint and now was stretching out) on top of my place profile at 5-2. The profile was “Honest Dirt Route Claiming 3up”, and contention ran deep for the show spot. So, with strong feelings about the win and place positions, I decided I could take a flyer on the show spot in the 10-horse field.  I played two tickets; AB/C/All, and C/AB/All, figuring that if the “C” horse were to win, it would be at the expense of one of my overlays (A & B).  Well, the result was C/B and a 23-1 horse to complete the $534.10 Trifecta for $32 wagered. I had split my win wagers, placing $10 each on my two overlays, so they lost, but I did hit the  $22.40 Exacta five times for $112. Since there were only four combinations I felt were probable, I dropped a little extra on them.

You can do the math. You can also see that I am not a big bettor. When I am going well, I much prefer to look for overlay opportunities that provide good returns on small investments.

All I can say is this; I have made the largest scores in my 18 years as a horseplayer since beginning to use ALL-Ways three years ago. There are actually days when the Racing Form information get in the way!  I keep good records of my win bets each meet. At each full Hollywood Park and Santa Anita meeting for the past two years I have shown a better than 40% ROI on my win bets, and I often make two a race.

Thanks for everything; for the software, the “White Paper”, and the newsletters (which are dog-eared from my repeated referrals to them). I have invested in a lot of ALW race cards to put together my databases, even though I am strictly a weekend player at Santa Anita, and a twice-a-week summer player at Hollywood Park. But it has been worth it.  I win more than I lose, and have more than once been treated to exciting days like the one above.

I know that with full-card simulcasting it is a temptation to play all the tracks, to look for more opportunities. But, I have found that, for myself, it is better to concentrate on the tracks I know best, hone my profiles, dabble with $2 here and there when I feel like having a reason to watch a race, and then invest when it makes sense. I’m not a moneybags, but ALL-Ways has helped to pay for two very nice summer vacations, and just paid for another one this last weekend.

Good luck, and good handicapping”

Greg Lawson

Our Thoughts about Greg’s Article

No doubt there are even more, but here are the things that “jumped out” at us as important elements of Greg’s success as a horseplayer.

Above all, Greg demonstrates a very disciplined approach to “playing the game”. We have always maintained  that the single word that best describes successful horseplayers is “discipline”.

Greg, thanks for your letter. We hope ALL-Ways software continues to pay for your nice summer vacations year after year.

Coming in Our
October Newsletter

Profile of the 1999 Breeder’s Cup at Gulfstream Park. Plus, the best way we know to play the Pick 3 for consistent profitability.

NEXT: ALL-Ways Newsletters

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Frandsen Publishing Corporation
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