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  • Horse Racing

    A friend on another forum told the poignent story how, after mowing the lawn Saturday, he spent the afternoon with his ailing father building a Pick-5 ticket at Belmont. They had the winners in the first 4 legs, but lost the last race when a 20-1 longshot won. He remarked that the only way he would have used the horse was if he hit the 'all' button, meaning using every horse in the race. I like the horse, and put him on my trifecta and superfecta tickets
    which I hit for a very nice return. I did not tell him though.
    "The secret of life is honesty and fair dealing. If you can fake that, you've got it made."
    ~~Groucho Marx
    I have the hots for Khaleesi...

  • #2
    Maidens

    Maidens are horses which have not won a race. The highest glass for maidens is Maiden Special Weight. There is no restriction on who you can run as long has the horse has not won yet. Obviously, horses whose auction price is at the higher end---$500k to $1mil get the most attention as do those trained by top trainers such as Bob Baffert or Chad Brown. So you can be the owner of a modest $20k horse and run into one of these monsters. And owners do not know who is entered in their races.

    The track where maidens are running defines class as well. At Saratoga they may be running for a $90k purse. At Golden Gate the purse may be $31k. Owners and trainers try to fit their horses where thay can be successful. Most maidens begin by racing 5-6 furlongs. A furlong is 1/8 of a mile. A few Maidens may make their first start at 1 mile on the turf if their pedigree---that is, how daddy and mommy fared---suggests they will do well. And if the pedigree is not following family lines, trainers are free to switch from turf to dirt and vice versa.
    Last edited by comfortably numb; 07-15-2021, 10:44 PM.
    "The secret of life is honesty and fair dealing. If you can fake that, you've got it made."
    ~~Groucho Marx
    I have the hots for Khaleesi...

    Comment


    • #3
      Betting Maidens

      Maidens are no more difficult to handicap than other horses. You have to rely on their past performances (PPs) to gauge their abilities. You have to be aware that colts often improve greatly in their first races. But what do you do with First Time Starters (FTS)? The PPs will tell you how much the horse cost, what the trainer's stats are with FSTs, and the a list of the colt's official workouts is published which tells you the track, distance, time and how fast was it compare to others at the same distance (5/17 for example). And the PPs also tell you the trainer's stats with respect to FTSs. So what do you weigh more?

      I will always play the most expensive colts because their auction price was set by the previous success of the Sire (daddy). If a sire is not delivering winners his kids are not going to sell for as much as others. But I do not ignore horses with good workouts. Well, most of the time I don't. I missed the biggest score of my life when I was whittling down my Pick-6 ticket once. It was a choice between the $400k colt or the one with fast works. I took the money horse and it was the wrong choice.

      But what do owners and trainers do if they have a colt that just cannot win that first race or his sire is Frank's Fleabag and he was sold at auction for $5k?
      We will cover that in the next chapter.
      "The secret of life is honesty and fair dealing. If you can fake that, you've got it made."
      ~~Groucho Marx
      I have the hots for Khaleesi...

      Comment


      • #4
        Maidens and Beyond

        If your maiden cannot get that first win regardless of what track you try what do you do?
        You enter the claiming game, and race against other losers or cheaper horses looking for their spot. In Claiming races anyone can select a runner for purchase. So dropping your horse into those ranks means you have a better shot at winning, but you may also lose your horse. However, you own your horse until it crosses the finish line, so you get whatever earnings there are for that race. Maiden claiming races usually start at the $50k level and can descend to the $32k all the way down to $5k.

        However, if your colt wins, then it graduates into allowance conditions. These are races which are restricted to hoprses who have met the condions. The first is 1NX, for horses who have only won one race. Win that race and you move up to 2NX, then 3NX. You are also eligible to enter stakes races.

        If you have dropped your colt into a maiden claiming event and won, then what do you do? Two choices. Some tracks write Starter Allowance races. These are races for horrses who have been entered in claiming races, but in the Starters they cannot be claimed. Or you can enter claiming races, trying to find a level at which your horse can be competetive, but at the same time you risk losing your horse. Claiming races can start as low as $2.5k and go up to $62k to $100k, but few horses get claimed at those upper levels. New on the scene is something called the Voided Claim. If you claim a horse, but the post race medical inspection reveals a new medical issue, the claim can be voided, and the horse stays with the owner.

        When I handicap I sometimes mark the letters FS on my form. That stands for fire sale. The situation arises when a barn is seemingly getting rid of a horse for a bargain price, which makes you wonder how fit the horse is. For examble, at Gulfstream today Please Sit Downhad been runing at the $16k level, finishing 2nd, 4th and 4th. His last race was Apr. 21. He had one work since on July 4. Now he is entered for a claiming tag of $6.2k. Why??? He went off as the 2-1 favorite and finished 4th. I did not use him.
        "The secret of life is honesty and fair dealing. If you can fake that, you've got it made."
        ~~Groucho Marx
        I have the hots for Khaleesi...

        Comment


        • #5
          I Am Still Not Over It

          I joined a racing partnership in which I was able to buy a small percentage of a horse whose sire was Kitten's Joy and the dam was Primetime Valentine. Owners of Kitten's Joy off spring always seem to name them Kitten's This or Kitten's That. I suggested Valentine's Claws and our CEO refined it to Cupid's Claws. It was cool to have had a part in horse naming. CC broke is maiden and won his first allowance race, but then he stalled---as did the CEO. As a partner, one really has no say because all the partners are lemmings and agree to everything the CEO decides. I thought CC needed to go longer, and at least try the dirt.

          Instead of changing surfaces and distances, he kept entering him in 1 mile turf races. Finally he dropped him into $40k claimers. We cleared the first claimer, but lost CC in the second claimer. The 2nd owners entered him in a claimer, and promptly lost him to the 3rd owners. The 3rd owners put CC on the dirt in a 1 1/2 mile $100k Stakes race. He blew away the field and took home the $60k first place money.. After two more races he returned to the 1 1/2 mile distance at Del Mar Sunday and finished second in another $100k Stakes.

          That coulda been us...😥😥😥
          "The secret of life is honesty and fair dealing. If you can fake that, you've got it made."
          ~~Groucho Marx
          I have the hots for Khaleesi...

          Comment


          • #6
            How do People Handicap?

            It seems to me that there are two ways people choose on whom they wish to wager.

            Those at the track with just a program and no Past Performances may be betting on a favorite color or jockey or name of a horse or with the info they get from one of the track tout sheets. Shoot, some people wager on the first horse they see poop on the track.

            Another group relies on third party generated computer analysis which can be subscribed to and downloaded. These programs rank the horses in categories like running styles and class based on the horses past performances and assign them numbers. The earliest type of analysis was pioneered by Andrew Beyer as a way of comapring the abilities of horses who have not run on the same track. By comparison, if two guys who had the same atheletic ability decided to have a footrace, but one ran on the boardwalk and the other on the adjacent sandy beach, we know who would win. While racetracks generally do not have such a sharp degree of difference in their surface makeups, they do vary. Under the Beyer system a horse is assigned a number for each race it has completed. Overall, the number reflects not only the winning time, but the time of the race and the inherent speed of the track over which it was run. However, races at the same track can vary on different days based on factors like moisture content. So even though Mr. Beyer has come up with A NUMBER for that horse, there is still the onknown of wiggle room. But, the Beyer Speed Figure for each horse is now a part of the information in the Daily Racing Form Past Performances

            DRF PPs contain all the essential information about a horse's past races. They include among other things the date, race #, class of race, distance, track condition, times of the leader at various stages, position of the horse and how far behind, weight, equipment changes, trouble notes and the Beyer for that race. In addition there are jockey and trainer wins and win%s, and recent workout distances and times

            I don't buy computer programs. I print out the Daily Racing Form Past Performances, and make notes using a red pen and a highlighter de jour. With the red pen I circle the 2nd best Beyer in the last 5 races, note if the horse is dropping or rising in class, check for recent works, check for jockey changes, check for the horse's record at the distance and at the track.

            Next chapter I will note how I apply what I learn from some of these...
            "The secret of life is honesty and fair dealing. If you can fake that, you've got it made."
            ~~Groucho Marx
            I have the hots for Khaleesi...

            Comment


            • #7
              Rules

              When I handicap the first thing I do is make noptes with my red pen. I look at the last 5 Beyer figures and circle the second best figure. Why? Because I believe the odds are long that any horse will run better than it has in the past. Sometimes horses have a fluke race. I was at an off track site once and this guy was pacing furiously. He was singled to a horse in the last race to hit the Pick 6. The race was a $10k claimer---horses you can not rely on. His horse, after a string of low 70s Beyers, ran a 93 in its last race. He was doomed. That race was a fluke---which would have earned it a big red F on my form---because it was not a typical race. In addition, the horse was likely to 'bounce', which is a poor race run shortly after a really good race. The horse never came close.
              Next I note any works since the last race, and/or any significant time off. You want to see horses get back to training after a race. In general, , healty horses work every 7-10 days. When they don't, something is up.

              Class changes. Horses move up in class and drop down in class, and it is hard to read the owner/trainer's minds about their intentions. A subtle drop in class means they are looking for a spot in which to win. A BIG drop in class may mean the horse has problems and we want to get rid of him.

              A horse moving up in class may mean the trainer is clueless and the horse will be over his head or, in the case of moving from a level at which the horse can be claimed to a level it cannot, is an indication that it is feeling its oats, has demonstrated as such to the trainer, and now the owners do not want to lose it.

              Third race of a layoff (3OL)

              Sometimes horses need races before they show their true form. In their first race they may be 'short'---not ready to make their best effort. In their second they may be better or could be not at their peak. But by the 3rd race it should be all systems go unless there is a serious class drop. So on my form I will write 3OL and pay close attention.

              Blinkers

              Blinkers On is another notation I circle. Blinkers are a piece fo equipment which make horses focus. If they have been breaking slowly, trainers will add them. If they have been using them from the start, but show a tendancy to run too fast early, trainers will remove them in order to get the horse to relax. But I will use a horse adding blinkers in almost every circumstance because the horse will run differently.

              Older+

              Horse mature. Thie is true particularly between the ages of 2 and 3. Less so from 3 to 4. But a horse who ran as a 2 year-old in September will be different as a 3 year-old the following March. When this occasion arises I will note with an O+ and include this important fact in my analysis.

              Jockey Changes

              Jockeys want to make money. If they get off a horse they have been riding, sometimes they quit looking for improvement which may not be there, so they leave. That could be a red flag. Conversely, when a successful jock elects to ride for a small bar---look out!
              "The secret of life is honesty and fair dealing. If you can fake that, you've got it made."
              ~~Groucho Marx
              I have the hots for Khaleesi...

              Comment


              • #8
                Sloppy - Off Turf

                Getting ready for Saratoga today, but Equibase informs me that the main track is sloppy and ALL races have been taken off turf.
                What does this mean?

                First, it adds another dimension to handicapping. Some players just say screw it and move to another track. I don't, but it causes me to look at other things. Among the PPs we have not discussed are a set of 5 facts in the upper right hand corner. They state: 3 of races; 1st, 2nd, 3rd placings, $ earned and best Beyer. So when you are looking at a turf race that is now going to be run on the wet dirt track you can find a horse's history. This is useful when analyzing dirt races that are now WET dirt races. In the east, some trainers enter horses as 'Main Track Only' (MTO) in turf races. If the race stays on the turf, they scratch their horse. If it is wet and the race comes off the truf to the main track, the trainers of turf horses may (or may not) scratch their horses, and the MTOs stay in and get to run on their preferred surface.

                If a horse has no history of running on wet tracks their is a rating system which has tracked other off springs' record on off surfaces, but most take that with a grain of salt, and just flip a coin. My personal unscientific approach is that I will favor front running horses on an off track. No one likes getting mud splattered in their faces...
                "The secret of life is honesty and fair dealing. If you can fake that, you've got it made."
                ~~Groucho Marx
                I have the hots for Khaleesi...

                Comment

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