October 1996, Number 3
INSIDE THIS NEWSLETTER
PRN AWARDS ALL-WAYS SOFTWARE A 9 1/2 RATING!
Phillips Racing Newsletter (PRN) awarded ALL-Ways a rating of 9 1/2 ... the highest rating given by PRN to any handicapping software ... ever. For a copy of the complete review, you can write to Frandsen Publishing, P.O. Box 1439, Minnetonka, MN 55345 or call us at 612-937-9180 or download the review from our new Web site.
NEW WEB SITE
Visit our new web site at http://www.frandsen.com/
BACK ISSUES OF NEWSLETTERS
Our first newsletter is dated July, 1996. If you did not receive that newsletter, please let us know and we will send you a copy.
We will be the first to tell you that you cannot handicap by pace alone. That is why ALL-Ways software is designed for comprehensive handicapping. However, we also believe pace handicapping to be the most powerful handicapping method yet developed. ALL-Ways software gives you all the pace information you need to exploit pace handicapping methods to the fullest extent.
In this newsletter we will cover the very basics of pace handicapping including some practical, very powerful methods for selecting win, place and show horses, for exposing false favorites and for spot plays that can lead to major payoffs. Once the basics are understood, you will find your handicapping decisions to be based on very logical, intuitive decisions. This is what we are trying to accomplish .... just to get you thinking about pace as you handicap the races.
This will not be an easy newsletter to read. While pace handicapping is relatively easy to learn, it can be difficult to explain. Please take the time to study this material. More tickets cashed and larger mutuel payoffs will be your reward.
Speed Versus Pace
If you bet the highest speed figure horse to win in every race, you will probably achieve 30 to 35 percent winners and a flat bet loss. The loss means that the public is very much in tune with speed handicapping which, of course, drives mutuel payoffs down. The percentage means that roughly two thirds of the races are won by horses that are not the top speed figure horses. Some of this can be explained by the top speed horses not being suited to the distance or surface, going off form or being out classed. By far the main reason for this phenomenon, however, is that the top speed figure horse is not suited to the pace match-up of the race. It has been said that it is not how fast the horse runs that is important, but how the horse runs fast.
Effective pace handicapping requires that you know four things: 1) the running styles of the horses; 2) the pace figures of the horses; 3) the probable pace shape of the race; 4) the prevailing track pace bias.
1. Horse Esp Running Styles
Every horse, without exception, has one of four distinct running styles. ALL-Ways software looks at all the past performances of a horse to determine the horses preferred running style. These are referred to as ESP Running Styles, a term borrowed, with permission, from Tom Brohamer and the Sartin Methodology. The four styles are:
EARLY (ESP E): The horse must have the lead.
EARLY PRESSER (ESP EP): The horse is comfortable on the lead or following the leader one to three lengths back.
PRESSER (ESP P): Prefers to run four to seven lengths behind the leader.
SUSTAINER (ESP S): Prefers staying in the back of the pack in favor of a strong late run.
Running styles are incredibly important. By using ALL-Ways ESP Running Styles, you will be able to project where each horse will run all the way up to the 2nd call ( 4 furlongs in sprints and 6 furlongs in routes).
2. Horse Pace Figures
ALL-Ways software includes Hall, BRIS, Brohamer (Sartin) and Hambleton pace figures. We will cover Brohamer and Hambleton figures in future newsletters. The Hall figures are velocity based and use our proprietary conservation of energy innovation to project the horses pace figures for the race surface and exact distance of todays race. The Hall Pace figures can be compared to the BRIS Race Rating to determine if the horse can run to todays pace pars (see our July, 1996 newsletter). The figures we will cover in this newsletter are:
How fast the horse runs from the gate to the second call.
Hall: How fast the horse runs from the 2nd call to the finish.
BRIS: How fast the horse runs from the stretch call to the finish.
The sum of the horses EARLY PACE and FINAL FRACTION pace figures.
3. Projected ESP Race Shape
Every race sets up a little differently based on the running styles of the horses in the race. ALL-Ways software uses the following designations to project the ESP Race Shape.
|ESP RUNNING STYLES|
|EEE||3 or more E horses|
|EE||2 E horses|
|E||1 E horse; no EP horse|
|E-EP||1 E, 1 or more EP horses|
|EP-EP||2 or more EP horses|
|EP||1 EP, no P horses|
|EP-P||1 EP, 1 or more P horses|
|P-P||2 or more P horses|
|P||all P horses|
|P-S||1 P, 1 or more S horses|
|S||all S horses|
4. Track Pace Bias
We are going to touch on track pace bias only lightly in this newsletter. The ALL-Ways software Track Bias and Jockey/Trainer report includes long term pace bias statistics for the track as well as statistics for the current meet and current week. For now we will concentrate on two sets of numbers, namely the SPEED BIAS percentage and the ESP RUNNING STYLE Impact Values. Here is an example based on twenty 5 1/2 furlong dirt sprints run during the 1996 meet at Canterbury Park in Minnesota:
Speed bias: 80%
The speed bias tells you that a whopping 80% of the races are won by E or EP horses. This is an unusually strong track pace bias, although maybe it is not so surprising in 5 1/2 furlong sprints. The IVs tell you that the track is heavily favoring fast early speed with E horses winning 1.98 times their fair share of races, EP horses winning 1.11 times their fair of races and both P and S horses winning far fewer than their fair share of races. Again, this is a very strong bias. Most times the track bias will be more subtle.
Putting It All Together
The key now is to be able to quickly and easily evaluate all of the pace information provided by ALL-Ways software. Here is our recommended approach.
Only three ALL-Ways software handicapping reports are needed for what we are about to do: 1) Contender Summary report; 2) Paceline report; 3) Track Bias and Jockey/Trainer report. Serious students of pace handicapping may also want to print out the All Pace Report (Professional Edition only) and the Pace Past Performance Report.
Start your pace handicapping by dividing the process into two parts. The first part focuses on the probable pace scenario of the race which is made up of the Projected ESP Race Shape and each horses ESP Running Style and pace figures. The second part looks at the prevailing track pace bias to see if the bias supports our selections from part one or is strong enough to cause us to change our selections.
Before we start part one of our pace analysis, lets look at what appear to be some universal truths regarding certain ESP Running Styles. Note that from here on when we refer to a good horse, we mean the horse is in good form and has competitive class and speed figures.
Good EP horses are always dangerous. EP horses seem to win more than their fair share of races in just about every race pace scenario.
Unless there is a very strong late pace track bias, S horses are always at a disadvantage. Good S horses seem to come up short in their late stretch run far more often then they are successful running down the leader. This is particularly the case in sprints.
An E horse that does not get the lead by the second call or that is passed early in the stretch run almost always will finish out-of-the money. An E horse that is passed late in the stretch may hang on for place or show.
Now lets begin handicapping using the race pace scenario. The first step is to divide the projected ESP Race Shapes into four different categories as shown below.
|Category||ESP Race Shapes|
|2-LONE EARLY||E, EP, EP-P|
|4-SLOW||P, PP, PS, S|
1 FAST Pace Races
These races will be run very fast to the second call because there are multiple E horses all trying to get the lead. Very often these E horses burn each other out setting the race up for a winner from off the pace. The first thing to do is to determine if one of the E horses is a good horse and has a strong BRIS or Hall Early Pace figure advantage over the other E horse(s). If their is such a powerful E horse, then you can forget the other E horses as they will probably finish out-of-the-money. If the dominant E horse is one of the top horses of all the horses in the race, it may well go gate-to-wire. However, such a dominant E horse has been severely compromised by all the pressure from the other E horse(s) in the race and could easily be passed by a horse coming from off the pace. If the dominant E horse is passed early in the stretch, it will most likely finish out of the money.
If there is no dominant E horse in the race, the chances are high that all the E horses will finish off the board. These races are generally won by good EP and P horses and sometimes by a good S horse. The key is to look for a good horse with the best Final Fraction pace rating.
2 LONE EARLY Pace Races
There may be no more dangerous horse than a good E or EP horse that figures to be loose on the lead. These horses are left alone to optimize the pace of the race for themselves. A good E or EP horse loose on the lead will, more often than not, win the race. Even apparently poor E and EP horses can wake up in this situation and unexpectedly wire the field at big mutuel payoffs. These apparently poor horses are a particularly good play if they have an ALL-Ways software workout rating of 1 or 2. As a golden rule, never ignore an E or EP horse in Lone Early Pace races. Look for the best good P and S horses to finish in-the-money. Pay particular attention to those with the best Final Fraction Pace figures.
3 HONEST Pace Races
Most races fall into this category. While a P or S horse can certainly win such a race, they generally need a faster pace to set the race up for their late stretch run. These races tend to favor E and EP horses. In an E-EP shaped race, if a good EP horse has a Speed or Combined Pace rating better than the E horse, it will generally pass the E horse in the stretch run. If the EP horse also has an Early Pace rating that is superior to the E horse, it will generally pass the E horse early in the stretch run causing the E horse to finish off-the-board. EP-EP shape races lend themselves nicely to traditional form, class and speed handicapping. Note that a prevailing track pace bias tends to have the most influence on EP-EP races.
4 SLOW Pace Races
These races, as expected, tend to be run very slow to the second call because no horse in the field wants to be anywhere close to the lead. These races are generally won by good P or S horses with superior Combined Pace and/or Speed ratings. However, there is a solid spot play to look for that can yield large mutuel payoffs. While none of the horses wants the lead, one of them is going to get it and, more often than not, it is the P horse with the fastest Early Pace figure. Frequently, such a P horse is able to move into the lead by three to five lengths or more and hold on for a gate-to-wire win. An astute trainer will spot this opportunity and instruct the jockey to go right for the lead. You have probably heard the term stole the race. This often is what happens with a P horse in a Slow Pace race or a lone EP or E horse in a Lone Early Pace race as described earlier.
Applying the Track Pace Bias
Our experience has shown that it takes a very strong track pace bias to cause us to change our selections from part one of our pace handicapping process. Here are some guidelines for applying the track bias.
Strong early pace track bias
In Fast Pace races, an E horse with a superior Early Pace figure compared to the other E horse(s) is more likely to hold on for the win or, at least, to be passed later in the stretch so it gets a piece of the race. If there is no such superior E horse, then all the E horses will still most likely burn each other out and the race will be won by a closer.
In Lone Early Pace races, a good lone E or EP horse is a virtual lock to win the race. If the horse is an overlay, you should play this as a prime betting opportunity.
In Honest Pace races, the E and EP horses become even more dominant.
In Slow Pace races, the P horse with the best EARLY PACE figure becomes even more dangerous.
Strong late pace track bias
In Fast Pace races, all E horses probably finish out-of-the money.
In Lone Early Pace races, a strong E horse can probably hang on against the bias to win the race. Marginal E horses probably finish off-the-board. Good EP horses win fewer races but they will still finish in the money a high percentage of the time.
In Honest Pace races, if there is no track pace bias, E and EP horses have the edge. A strong late bias levels the playing field for P and S horses. Good P horses benefit the most. Good S horses benefit as well, but, they are still at a disadvantage, particularly in sprints. You can count on the best good P and S horses to finish in the money.
A late pace track bias has virtually no impact in Slow Pace races other than to make it a little more difficult for the best Early Pace figure P horse to wire the field. Such a P horse is often still a good bet.
Passing In the Stretch
Projecting whether or not a late running horse (P and S) can pass an early running horse (E and EP) in the stretch run and, if so, where in the stretch the pass will occur is a difficult but very important task. Fortunately, ALL-Ways software provides you with the Hall Combined Pace Rating that helps solve this puzzle. Remember that the Combined Pace Rating is the sum of the horses Early and Final Fraction Pace figures. Lets look at Honest Pace races. If the P or S horse has a combined rating close to or lower than the E or EP horse, it probably will not be able to pass the front runner. If it is better by 2 to 4 points, it can probably make the pass late in the stretch. If it is 5 or more points higher, it can probably make the pass early in the stretch. You can apply similar logic in Fast Pace races, keeping in mind that the closers task is a bit easier. Likewise, you can apply similar logic in Lone Early races, keeping in mind that the closers task is far more difficult. Also keep in mind that an early track pace bias makes the closers job tougher and a late track pace bias makes it easier.
PACE HANDICAPPING SPOT PLAYS
We have already highlighted a couple of powerful spot plays using pace handicapping, namely, E and EP horses in lone Early Pace races and P horses with the best Early Pace Rating in Slow Pace races. Here are two more.
1. Double Advantage Horses
Double Advantage horses are horses that have the best Early Pace rating and the best Final Fraction Pace rating of all the horses in the race. These horses can run fast both early and late and seem to be able to overcome any pace match-up and any track pace bias. If the horse is an overlay, you can bet it with confidence as a prime bet. There is no higher probability win/bet in all of racing.
2. Super Closers
Always check the Final Fraction Pace figures of all horses in the race. If a horse has a monster Final Fraction figure that is five to ten points or more higher than any other horse, always include the horse underneath in Exactas and Trifectas. If there is a strong late pace bias at the track and/or if the race is a Fast Early Pace race, always include such a horse in the win spot as well. When we say always, we mean always ... even if the horse is outclassed or has only a modest Speed figure. Very often, these horses go off at tremendous odds. We will give you an example a little later.
PACE HANDICAPPING FOR EXACTAS
Pace handicapping is not only a good handicapping method to seek the probable winner, but it is, in our opinion, the very best method of identifying the place and show horses as well. Approximately 25% of place horses are actually the second best horse in the race. The other 75% of place horses have a running style that is the opposite of the winning horse (E and EP) vs. (P and S). You see this every day you go to the track. If you are rooting for your win selection in the stretch drive, generally your selection is either leading and you hope it is not passed by a fast closing late runner or your horse is the fast closing late runner that you hope catches the leader before they hit the wire.
The show horse is a little more problematical. Some studies have shown that the show horse, more often than not, has a front or late running style similar to the winning horse.
Remember the point made earlier that an E horse that figures to not get the lead or that figures to be passed early in the stretch will almost always finish off-the-board. You can eliminate them from Exacta and Trifecta consideration.
In the absence of a clear cut winner, often a simple two horse Exacta Box of the best front running style horse and the best late running style horse is the winning ticket. If it is necessary to go deeper than this, our favorite Exacta combination wager is of the type AB/ABC, an $8 ticket. The A horse is the best early runner and the B horse is the best late runner. The C horse is either the obvious next best horse in the race or a closer with the best Final Fraction rating.
Our favorite Trifecta combination is AB/ABC/ABCDF, a $24 bet (at $2). The AB/ABC part of the ticket is the same as the exacta shown above. The D horse is the next best horse with a running style similar to the A horse. The F horse is the next best horse with a running style similar to the B horse.
If you have a long shot P or S horse with a blockbuster Final Fraction Rating as described earlier, then you might play the following trifecta tickets where the D horse is our long shot: AB/ABC/D, AB/D/ABC, D/AB/ABC. This is a $24 wager.
PACE HANDICAPPING IN ACTION
On August 11th, during the time this newsletter was being written, we had the opportunity to play races simulcast from Del Mar. The second race had an ESP EEE Race Shape. There was no dominant E horse. As expected, all the E horses, including the publics favorite, finished off-the-board. There were four P and S horses in the race with Final Fraction Pace figures far superior to the other horses. One of these horses won the race at odds of 7 to 1. Two of these horses had low BRIS Class Ratings and relatively poor speed figures. Both of them went off at odds greater than 30 to 1. One of them finished second and the other finished third. The $2 Exacta paid $775. The $2 Trifecta paid $8,696. Such is the power of pace handicapping.
© Copyright 1996
Frandsen Publishing Corporation
PO Box 1439
Minnetonka, MN 55345
All Rights Reserved
How to reach
Web Site: www.frandsen.com