October 1997, Number 7
INSIDE THIS NEWSLETTER
Handicapping Profile Series (Part 3 of 5)
Did You Know?
VERSION 7.0 IN DEVELOPMENT
Many of the important new features introduced in the ALL-Ways software upgrade from version 5.0 to version 6.0 were a direct result of input we received from ALL-Ways 5.0 handicappers. Well, it is that time again! Version 7.0 is well along in development and includes major new features that we will keep under wraps for now. However, there is time and room for even more. Please consider this as our call to all ALL-Ways softwares handicappers to give us your ideas and wishes for new features that you would like to see in ALL-Ways software version 7.0. As always, we promise we will listen. That is how we keep ALL-Ways software fresh, up-to-date and in tune with our customers. Please see the end of this newsletter for how to contact us by phone, by mail, by e-mail or via our Web site.
SPOTTING HIGH PRICED HORSES
The vast majority of races are won by horses paying less than $10 to win. This is where your primary handicapping focus should be if you are going to achieve long term financial success at the track. However, wouldnt it be great to have a solid opportunity to spot those $30 and $40 horses that are ready to put forth a good effort?
One of the powerful features of ALL-Ways software is that it gives you a host of tools, not in the hands of the general public, to help you spot these high priced horses.
When these horses finish in the money, they cause Exacta, Trifecta, Daily Double and Pick Three payoffs to sky rocket. The purpose of this article is to provide sort of a checklist of factors to check that can help spot these horses. We are not going to cover the traditional long shot concepts such as first time lasix, improving speed figures or a big drop in class. This information is in the hands of the general public. We are after factors that give ALL-Ways softwares handicappers an edge. Here is our checklist.
Big Final Fraction Advantage
Any horse with a Hall or BRIS Final Fraction Rating that is ten points or so higher than any other horse in the race is a threat to do well. We prefer the paceline Final Fraction figure as opposed to the best 2 of 3 figure.
E or EP Running Style in Lone Early Pace Races
Lone Early Pace races have either an E or EP or EP-P Pace Shape (See our October, 1996 newsletter.). The only horse that wants the lead is the lone E or the lone EP runner. Many high priced winners can be traced back to these early runners that are loose on the lead, are never pressed and go on to steal the race.
P and S Running Style in Fast Early Pace Races
These are the closers that pick up the pieces after the early running types (E running style horses) burn each other out in Fast Early Pace races (EEE and EE races). Look for the P or S running style horses with strong Hall or BRIS Final Fraction figures. This works particularly well in EEE dirt and turf races that are seven furlongs or longer.
Reasonable Race Last Out in FF Quirin Race Shape
The Quirin designation of FF means a fast early pace to the second call (4 furlongs in sprints and six furlongs in routes) and a fast final time (See our January, 1997 newsletter.). Any horse that ran a reasonable race in such a FF race is a strong threat to do well today. We define a reasonable race as within 3 to 6 lengths in sprints or within 5 to 8 lengths in routes. The higher priced horses will be those that did not win but otherwise ran a reasonable race.
All-Ways software provides two trainer pattern statistics for each trainer in each race that are pertinent to todays race. Some examples are a move from dirt to turf, first race after a claim or a sprint-sprint-route pattern. Look for a trainer win percentage above 35%, preferably above 40%. This will not happen very often, but do not ignore it when you see it. Require at least ten races in the pattern. Also, look for something that is clearly changing for the horse such as the examples above or first start with the trainer or blinkers on/off, etc.
Jockey and Trainer in Combination
ALL-Ways software provides the percentage wins that the jockey and trainer have achieved as a team. Look for a win percentage over 45% if the jockey is one of the leading jockeys at the track. Accept 35% for lesser jockeys. Again, require at least ten races for the statistic.
Workout Rating of 2 in Lower Level Races
In order for a horse to get a Workout Rating of 2 in ALL-Ways software, the workout times, workout distances and the spacing of the workouts all need to be suitable as good preparation for todays race. A 2 rating signals that the horse is ready and the trainer has serious intentions. In higher class races, many horses will have a Workout Rating of 2. They are good horses trained by top trainers. In lower class races, however, a Workout Rating of 2 is a clear signal that this is a horse ready to fire off a good performance.
First Effort Win Percentage
ALL-Ways softwares pedigree information includes the percentage of wins the sires offspring have achieved in their very first races. Look for a figure over 25% and preferably over 30%. This is useful for identifying long shot first time starters.
In our July, 1997 newsletter, we covered how to evaluate horses that ALL-Ways software designates as Dangerous Non- Contenders. These horses are a rich source of high priced in-the-money finishers. The factors that seem to yield the highest priced horses are the Hall and BRIS Combined Pace Ratings (Early Pace Rating + Final Fraction Rating) and the Brohamer Total Ranking. A top three rating in any of these factors is an indication of a good performance to come. A top rating in any of these factors for a long odds horse is a prime betting opportunity. The Brohamer Total Ranking seems to be particularly powerful for routes, both dirt and turf.
Some Final Comments
The angles described above can lead to some very nice long odds plays. They become even more powerful when you find multiple qualifiers. These can include multiple angles that are unique to ALL-Ways software or ALL-Ways softwares angles coupled with more traditional factors. A first timer that has a strong First Effort Win Percentage along with a Workout Rating of 2 and a strong Trainer Pattern for how the trainer does with first time starters can lead to major scores. In maiden races, any horse with a Workout Rating of 2 that is also a first time lasix user will be a strong candidate to run well today. Add to that a reasonable race last out with a Quirin Race Shape of FF and the horse is a strong candidate to win todays race. A high Brohamer Total Ranking coupled with a high BRIS Combined Pace Rating is a powerful combination. You get the idea.
All the angles described above for finding high priced horses can be checked for an entire race literally in a matter of seconds.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What are the best ALL-Ways Handicapping Reports to print out?
There is no single correct answer to this one. The ALL-Ways softwares handicapping reports you use should be those that best match your style of play. One thing for sure, however, is that you should not print them all. This would be a big case of information overload. Perhaps the best way to answer this question is to suggest a set of reports to use when you are first starting to use ALL-Ways software. Then, as you gain experience, you can add or change reports as you go forward.
Here are the specific reports that we suggest you start with:
Contender Summary Report
Past Performance Report
Track BiasJockey/Trainer Report
Print these out for every race. Additionally, print out the Suitability and Pedigree Report if the race is on the Turf, if the race will be run in the mud or if there are first time starters in the race. Of course, you should always print the Dangerous Non-Contender List. It prints only one page for a full race card. You may want to buy paper for your printer that is already three hole punched and take the reports to the track in a convenient 3 ring binder.
Here is a very quick explanation as to how to use the reports.
Contender Summary Report
This is the main handicapping report in ALL-Ways software. It has just about everything you need to do a side-by-side comparison of the contenders for suitability to distance and surface, current form, class level, speed and the pace match-up in the race. If you spend a little time mastering this report, you will find that all the other ALL-Ways software handicapping reports will become easy to use almost instantly.
There are a number of good uses for this report. Here are two of them. First, use this report to evaluate Dangerous Non-Contenders (See our July 1997 newsletter.). Second, use it to look for higher priced horses with a significant pace attribute such as a big Hall or BRIS Final Fraction figure in Fast Early pace shape races. Note that this report also shows key information about all the runners in the race, not just the contenders.
Past Performance Report
This report is used for what you would expect, which is to evaluate a horses past several performances. It is particularly useful to see how the horse performed at various BRIS Race Rating levels and for different past performance Quirin Race Shapes (See our January, 1997 newsletter.).
Track BiasJockey/Trainer Report
Use this report to check the running style, call position and post position bias at the track for the current week and the current meet. If there is a strong bias, it should figure in your selections. Also, the jockey and the trainer statistics, which are keyed to this specific race situation, can lead to some very nice high priced horses.
Suitability and Pedigree Report
To repeat, we suggest you use this report for turf races, off-track races and races with first timers. The pedigree information is extremely valuable for these kinds of races as is the detailed information about suitability to the distance and surface.
Again, we need to stress that this isnt the right way. It is simply a good way to get started. You may find, as may ALL-Ways software handicappers have, that these are the reports you will continue to use. We know of a number of very successful ALL-Ways software users that only print out the All Factors Report which gives you a side-by-side comparison of all horses in the race for all 71 key handicapping factors, all on a single page. We also know that each ALL-Ways software handicapping report is used by many ALL-Ways softwares handicappers. However, we know of no one who prints them all. The other reports available in ALL-Ways software that were not discussed above, but which are used by many ALL-Ways software handicappers, are the Oddsline Report, the Form Numbers Report, the Form Graphs Reports, the Pace Past Performance Report and the All Pace Report.
HANDICAPPING PROFILE SERIES
In the first two parts of this five part series, we covered the subject of race segmentation. We learned that the minimum segmentation you should accept is to separate dirt and turf races, sprint and route races and maiden and non- maiden races. We then learned that you can use the nine different race screens in ALL-Ways software in any combination thus allowing you to further segment races in just about every way imaginable. We also recommended that you try creating Handicapping Profiles that are aimed at the four different fundamental Race Pace Shapes of Fast Early, Lone Early, Honest and Slow and that you have a set for non-maiden races and another set for maiden races. We continue to get great reports from people using this race segmentation scheme.
HANDICAPPING PROFILE SERIES
Creating Predictive Handicapping Profiles
In this part of our series, we are going to explore some of the key things you can do to make your custom Handicapping Profiles as predictive as possible.
First, lets answer an obvious question. You can simply click the MRA DEFAULT button in the Analysis Module and ALL-Ways software will use multiple regression techniques to automatically create MRA Handicapping Profiles that are keyed to the specific track and that are segmented based on distance, surface and maiden/non-maiden. In other words, ALL-Ways software can automatically be tuned to the specific tracks you handicap and the specific kinds of races run at each track. With all this capability that is available at the touch of a button, why would you want to create your own custom Handicapping Profiles? Well, you dont need to. You will do very nicely just using these MRA Default profiles. However, you can take your game to a whole new level by creating custom Handicapping Profiles that bore down even deeper in terms of race segmentation.
How Handicapping Profiles Work
ALL-Ways software has 71 comprehensive handicapping factors. A Handicapping Profile is made up of generally 4 to 6 of these factors. The factors are weighted by the Impact Values automatically calculated by ALL-Ways software for each factor for the specific races run at the specific track at which the profile is aimed. When you handicap a race, you tell ALL-Ways software which profile to use for the specific type of race you are handicapping. ALL-Ways software then evaluates every horse in the race based on the factors in the profile and uses the Impact Values to calculate the win probability of each horse along with the corresponding oddsline.
How Handicapping Profiles Are Created
Creating custom Handicapping Profiles in ALL-Ways software is a simple four step process.
1. Set the Race Screens for target race types.
2. Click a button, and ALL-Ways software will calculate and save the Impact Values for each of the 71 factors and also print a report showing all of the Impact Values.
3. S elect the handicapping factors you want to use in the profile by clicking them on.
4. Click a button to automatically apply the calculated Impact Values.
Thats all there is to it. Just name and save the profile and then use it for the targeted race types when you handicap the races.
Evaluating Handicapping Profiles
You can evaluate how good the profile is by clicking a button to run the Database Run Analysis in ALL-Ways software. This will calculate the win percentage, average mutuel payoff and return on investment for win, place, show, Exacta, Trifecta, Double and Pick 3 wagers. It is important that you use the same race screens when you run the Database Run Analysis that you used when you created the Handicapping Profile. In other words, you want to test a profile against the same types of races at which the profile is aimed.
Five Keys To Good Handicapping Profiles
1. Use fewer rather than more factors. Generally, 4 to 6 factors is best.
2. Lower and smooth Impact Values if necessary. Here is an example of how Impact Values evolve as you get more races in your Race Database for a track.
Horse Ranking Position
If the calculated Impact Values look like those for Few Races, you should lower the highest figure to less than 3.0 and smooth them so they descend in value left to right. Once you get 20 to 30 races of any particular type, you will not need to do this.
3. If a handicapping factor allows the use of Proportional Impact Values, click the Proportional button on.
4. Always include one factor from the Form Group, one from the Class Group, one from the Speed Group and one of the compound pace rating factors. Let these four factors become the foundation of your Handicapping Profile and add other factors as you see fit. By the way, the compound pace factors are Hall and BRIS Combined Pace Ratings and the Brohamer Average Pace and Brohamer Total Ranking factors.
5. Do not use two different factors that measure the same thing. For example, do not use BRIS Speed Last Race and Hall Speed 2 of 3. These both measure a horses speed. Just use one speed factor.
Thats it. If you follow these guidelines, you will see slightly less performance from the Handicapping Profile when you run the Database Run Analysis, but, still very good. However, you will probably have a more predictive Handicapping Profile.
DID YOU KNOW?
LOCKING AND UNLOCKING HANDICAPPING PROFILES
Did you know that you can lock selected Handicapping Profiles so they are not replaced when you run the Multiple Regression Analysis Default function (MRA DEF) to update your Default Handicapping Profiles? ALL-Ways software provides you with five sets of default profiles. There is a set each for non-maiden dirt sprints, non-maiden dirt routes, turf races, maiden dirt sprints and maiden dirt routes. When you run the MRA DEF function, all five sets are replace with the most recent MRA profiles. But, what if you have a set of profiles that are working extremely well, say, for example, for maiden dirt sprints? The answer is to lock the maiden dirt sprint profiles so they are not automatically replaced. To do this, you simply go to the Track Default Profiles section of the Profile Module, enter the track code and then click on the lock for maiden dirt sprints. It is that simple. Now, you can run the MRA DEF function and the maiden dirt sprint profiles will not be replaced. You can also go back and unlock profiles at any time.
When your profiles are displayed in a profile list at handicapping time or analysis time, you can tell if a profile is locked. For example, the maiden dirt sprint profile will have one of the following four names:
|def:||ds maid (original default profile)|
|mr1:||ds maid (current MRA profile)|
|mr2:||ds maid (prior MRA profile)|
|lok:||ds maid (locked profile)|
TRIFECTA WAGERING (A Post Script)
In our April, 1997 and our July, 1997 newsletters, we ran a two part series on our suggestions for Trifecta wagering. We received many phone calls and letters from ALL-Ways software handicappers complementing us on the series and reporting very good results. The single most important thing that virtually all of these people talked about was the discipline built into the system. This was "music to our ears". To successfully play the Trifecta, you must have a disciplined approach.
So, why a Post Script article? Well, we also heard from a number of ALL-Ways software handicappers who felt there are two special sets of circumstances that warrant a different approach. They do not suggest these to replace our method, but to augment our method when the opportunities arise. We thought you would like to hear about them. The two additional methods really are at absolute opposite end of the spectrum. Here they are.
One or Two Combinations
This Trifecta wager is used when it is clear which horse is going to win the race and it is clear that only two horses will compete for the place and show positions. Your wager would be A/BC/BC. This is only two combinations. Sticking with our $48 Trifecta wager example, you would buy a $24 ticket for a total cost of $48. Most often, the payoff in these special situations would be on the low side. The key here, however, is that you would win the $2 Trifecta twelve times. For example, if the $2 Trifecta only paid $30, you would get back a total of $360. There indeed may be times when you can make a straight A/B/C wager. Now you have one combination for your $48 ticket. If this pays $30 for a $2 Trifecta, you would win it 24 times for a total payoff of $720.
Here we are at the other end of the spectrum. This goes against all our advice to avoid betting too many combinations. The only time this kind of wager might make sense is when you are convinced the top two or three betting favorites will finish off the board and at least two long shots (15 to 1 or, preferably, even higher) will finish in the money. What you are after here is a "boxcar" Trifecta payoff, often in the thousands of dollars. In these rare opportunity cases, you would most likely make a $1 Trifecta wager with many combinations. This might be a five horses box for $60 or something like ABCD/ABCD/ALL which, in a 10 horse field, would cost $96 for a $1 Trifecta. This is truly a "swing for the fences" wager and is not for the timid or for shallow pockets.
We are not recommending for or against these approaches. However, a number of ALL-Ways softwares handicappers feel that these two extremes should also be available in your Trifecta wagering strategy arsenal so you can take maximum advantage when these special situations arise.
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