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Horse Racing Wagering System:
Business And Pleasure At The Racetrack
Past Performances Of Horses
Getting Rid Of Goats At The Racetrack
Speed Vs. Class In Horse Racing
Fundamentals Of Handicapping Horse Racing
Claiming Race System For Horses
$61,00 For $2 In 30 Days At The Races
Pulliing Out Of A Slump At The Racetrack
How To Bet Horses
More Horse Racing Tips
( Originally Published mid 1950's )
The rapidly increasing popularity of horse racing in the United States and some other countries has created an unprecedented situation in the field of turf investment.
This is due to the circumstance that most of this new crop of race track fans-many of whom seem to have been lured away from the major league baseball parks-know little or nothing about the fine art of handicapping horses.
They were able to forecast the outcome of baseball games with reasonable accuracy because they had picked up their knowledge of the sport gradually, over a period of years. But in trying to pick winners at the race track they are confronted with entirely new problems, and generally have to turn to others for advice.
They have no trouble getting the advice but the unfortunate part of it is that they get far too many kinds of it, and mostly bad advice at that.
Bootblacks, fruit peddlers and other neophytes realized handsome profits for quite a while during the stock market boom of the late Twenties because the market could go only one way-up. But it is an old saying at the track that there are a hundred ways to lose on the horses, and the beginner or casual race-goer soon finds that there also are a hundred kinds of bad advice.
Early in the year 1952, one of these newcomers to the track, whom we shall call Shorty, came to the writer with the usual tale of harrowing experiences common to most beginners. His tale of woe was on seven counts, as follows:
1 Shorty related that he had followed the usual routine of beginners in wagering on favorites, first to win, then to run second, then to run third-and had failed to realize a profit on any of those three methods. He next was advised to play only the "best bets" of the racing selectors, and the net result was the same. Finally he was advised to switch to the opposite extreme and stick to longshots-horses picked to win by only one of several handicappers. He also lost on these.
2 Shorty next decided to lay his hands on all the books he could find that told how to play the races. He was cheered when the first book recounted the winnings of the fabulous Pittsburgh Phil and Chicago O'Brien. But he was depressed all over again when the second book stated flatly that you can't beat the races: that all horse players die broke.
3 The third author theorized that because of seasonal conditions, it was necessary to have a different racing system for each month of the year. The fourth author claimed that this was unnecessary; that all the year 'round, only one rule was needed-to stick to horses with very high winning consistency. But the fifth author listed no less than 300 methods which he claimed would win.
4 Shorty recoiled in stark horror at the idea of mastering 12 different racing systems, let alone 300, but the worst was yet to come. The sixth author recommended betting on high-weight horses; the seventh advised the beginner to stick to steeds carrying low weights.
5 The eighth sage suggested following the mounts of the leading jockey at the meeting. The ninth opined that it was the horse that counted, not the jockey.
6 The tenth author said he had records to prove that a race fan could win only by sticking to horses with an inside post position, near the rail. But another declared it was far more important to select a steed which generally got away from the starting gate fast, regardless of his post position.
7 The final crusher came when Shorty read that it was necessary to confine operations to handicap races because most horses in cheap races are unreliable and some of these races may be "fixed." But still another author declared that it was extremely difficult to win in handicap races, because weights in these events are assigned by a track official whose aim is to have every such race wind up in as close to a blanket finish as possible.
At this point Shorty, 100 percent befuddled by now, asked help from the writer, who he knew formerly had been a racing selector for many of the country's leading newspapers. Shorty said that, of course, he didn't hope to win every time he went to the track, but that he was tired of losing his spending money every week. He asked if there were not some reasonably simple racing system which at least would stop him from losing.
The writer thereupon formulated the racing rules which are given in this book. Shorty said later that he followed these rules for several months and realized a good profit every month, despite the fact that he virtually was starting from scratch in the science of handicapping. These months were in the summer and fall of 1952, before this book was written.
An experienced race-goer need not peruse the fundamentals given in the first part of this book, but can turn immediately to Part II. But meanwhile we shall try to guide the beginner or casual race fan step by step, explaining every detail and giving what are regarded as good and sound reasons why these rules are listed.
Aside from the listed rules, the most important thing to remember, from a financial standpoint, is not to make careless bets. The mere circumstance that a horse is the favorite does not necessarily make him a sound investment.
Many losses can be avoided by using a few fundamental rules, instead of blindly following "tips" or someone else's selections. Just ask yourself this question:
How many millions of dollars are thrown away every day during the racing season by hundreds of thousands of otherwise normal Americans who seem to go com pletely haywire when they visit the race track once a week for an afternoon of relaxation?
In his office, a businessman would not dream of buying a piece of property unless the title was searched. He would not invest in any project unless it was found to be an absolutely bona-fide proposition. And he certainly would not be taken in by any "con man" who professed to be on the inside of a big deal.
Yet let this same sensible businessman start out for the race track, and he immediately goes out of character. Where he should be thinking of combining business with pleasure, he surrounds himself instead with the festive atmosphere of a celebrant going on the annual outing of the First Avenue Marching And Chowder Club. Such things as caution and restraint are forgotten completely. At home, he may be so frugal that he will make the Missus wear last winter's coat and he may even cut down on junior's spending money in a pinch. He will walk to work through the stormiest kind of weather to save cab fare. But when it comes to a day at the races, the rubber comes off the bank roll, prudence is thrown to the winds, and the wolf sashays in the door. The average race-goer makes no real attempt to check the records of horses in which he is investing, and he will listen to a tip from any stranger who professes to have obtained "inside information" from an owner, trainer or jockey.
As a result, many a man or woman who started out so blithely in the bright sunshine for what he or she thought was going to be a pleasant and profitable afternoon at the track, arrives home battered and broke, but ready to do the same thing all over again next week.
Total race track attendance in this country in 1951 was 125,000,000 and we dare say that one-third of the hundreds of millions of dollars wagered was practically thrown away on careless investments. In 1952, the total amount of money bet on horse races in this country mounted to the staggering total of nearly two billion dollars.
There are two particularly amazing characteristics about the casual race-goer. For one thing, when he starts out for the track, he actually seems to resign himself in advance to the idea that he is going to lose. Apparently his routine is to set aside a certain sum of money, anywhere from $10 up, which he thinks he can afford to "blow" at the track once a week.
Another trait of the losing investor is that he even likes to boast about his turf setbacks. When he airily displays a stack of losing mutuel tickets to his friends that evening or later at the office, he seems to do it almost proudly.
Now what this book is going to attempt to do is to prove that this business of losing constantly is entirely unnecessary, and also that it is possible to build up a neat nest egg which will come in mighty handy in an emergency in a race-goer's private life.
In other words, this book is going to attempt to show that instead of losing consistently at the race track, it may be possible for a turf enthusiast to have two paydays each week. The first would be payday at the office. The second would be "PAYDAY AT THE RACES."
All profits from turf investments should be kept in a separate savings account. Thus if you should run into a slump, the losses can be deducted from this separate account and your budget at home will not be disrupted. Sane, conservative turf investment at the track is a legitimate business in itself, not too much different from the stock market, and it should be conducted accordingly.
Therefore, we would like the reader to approach the problem of turf investment in exactly the same manner in which he would consider buying bonds, stocks or in vesting in any business enterprise which involves taking a chance.
At the race track, you will be able to start your operations with an initial investment of as little as $10, and in all probability not more than $20. All you have to figure is what interest you are apt to realize on that initial investment. Once you invest in a business enterprise, your money is tied up indefinitely. But in turf investments, unless you should happen to get off to a bad start, your identical small initial outlay can be used over and over again, with the daily or weekly profits being set aside for emergency use in case of a slump.
Now it has been proven for a great many years that it is almost impossible to make any profitable investments on favorites, because the odds generally are 2 to 1 or less. Therefore, the first rule we will make in approximately 75 percent of investments called for under the two systems outlined in this book is that no investment is likely unless the odds are anywhere from 3 to 1 to 20 to 1, depending upon how solid our horse looks.
Incidentally, when the writer uses the phrase "two systems," he does NOT mean that a race fan will have to examine a race from two different standpoints. What is meant is that there is one simple set of rules for highclass races such as handicaps or allowances, and a slightly different system for claiming races. So naturally, neither system interferes with the other.
Checks made thus far at all major tracks for periods of from 4 to 6 consecutive weeks of racing on these two systems showed the fantastic result of 75 percent win ners-and sometimes more-and frequently at big odds. Nobody expects that sort of thing to continue indefinitely, but the point is that even if the winning percentage should drop all the way down to the normal average oŁ 33 percent winners, our systems must show a profit, and a healthy one, because of the long odds required.
For instance, the average mutuel return on the winners selected by our two systems during a 60-day period was $16.20, or better than 7 to 1. Now let us assume that the winning percentage drops to 33 percent, even though these are selected investments, made only in races where conditions are deemed to be 100 percent perfect.
Using small sums to make figuring easy, let us say that we invest $2 on each of three horses, which generally average 7 to l, and that only one of the three wins. For a total outlay of $6, we will get back our average mutuel return of $16, which is a profit of $10, or almost 200 percent, on our investment.
Now let us be purposely pessimistic and say that the winning percentage of our selections drops to the unprecedented low of only one winner out of seven. Here we would invest a total of $14 on the seven horses and get back the average mutuel return of $16.20 on the one winner. This still is a profit of $2.20, or approximately 15 percent on our $14 investment.
It will be shown later, in a chapter on progressive investment, how scientific wagering can transform a slump into a mighty profitable period. In one example, it is shown how a $2 bill could be run up to $7,000 in only 4 days despite a hypothetical slump which returned only 20 percent winners.
Right here it is important to keep in mind that any kind of a profit made on turf investments is hundreds of times more lucrative than any other form of investment in various branches of banking or business. Let us suppose that you began your turf investments with a fund of $100, and that you did not get off to a bad start. If you continued even to show only one percent profit, that same $100 bill, or part of it, would be used over and over again, every time you went to the track.
Even if your percentage of winners should drop to only 1 out of 7, as outlined above, you would have to realize a profit under the odds rules outlined in this book. Therefore, you would be realizing at least 15 percent profit, and probably considerably more, on that same $100 bill every time you went to the track.
A turf enthusiast who goes to the track all the year round, daily, would be investing on at least 300 days a year. Multiply $15 a day profit by 300 days and you have a yearly income of $4,500, and that is assuming that your system hit a new low winning percentage.
Now this writer would be the last person in the world to advise anybody to withdraw money from a savings account and put it into turf investments, but the temp tation is irresistible to point out that an annual income of $4,500 from a single $100 bill is quite different from the $2.50 that you would get from a bank in a year's time for that same $100 bill.
These hypothetical cases are dragged in to show the reader that he simply must have a racing system that will keep him afloat even if he runs into a slump. In devising such a system, we have taken a leaf from "the book's book," so to speak. To explain:
In the old days before mutuel machines came into popularity in this country, the licensed bookmakers at the tracks operated in a manner under which they could not lose. These old-time licensed bookmakers rigged their odds so that they would retain only a fair percentage for themselves, say a good day's pay of anywhere from $3,000 up for an afternoon's work in the hot sun. As far as possible, they made sure in advance that they would get their usual percentage no matter what horse won any race.
All these bookmakers tried to fashion their odds, before they even started the afternoon's business, so that they automatically would assure themselves of a profit of at least 8 percent of their daily gross business. In addition, the big clubhouse bookmaker and his cronies took care of the mink coat department right off the reel by putting a good slug on the smaller-fry bookmakers on the lawn.
In a generous moment, the clubhouse book might offer a customer odds of 6 to 5 on a favorite, and of course the investment generally would be a good-sized one. Or let us say specifically that the book took several such wagers involving a total of $20,000, all at the odds of 6to5.
Now let us say that at this point the bookmakers on the lawn, not yet aware of the fact that the big book in the clubhouse was offering only 6 to 5 on the favorite, were giving their customers as much as 8 to 5 on the same horse.
At this point employes of the clubhouse bookmaker, making their wagers simultaneously, would lay off $17,500 of the boss's $20,000 in wagers with the smaller-fry bookmakers on the lawn at odds of 8 to 5.
Now just consider the mathematically impregnable position of the clubhouse bookmaker in this delightfully simple transaction.
If the horse loses, the clubhouse bookmaker keeps $2,500 of the customers' wagers which he did not have to bet with the lawn bookmakers because of the higher odds they were giving. And if the horse wins, the clubhouse bookmaker will be even better off. For the $17,500 which he invested, or rather reinvested, he will get back a total of $45,500 from the lawn bookmakers. Of this $45,500, the customers of the clubhouse bookmaker will get back only $44,000 for the $20,000 they invested, leaving the clubhouse bookmaker an extra profit of $1,500 to be added to the profit of $2,500 of which he had assured himself in advance.
That's a total profit of $4,000 realized without possibility of loss.
Now when the clubhouse bookmaker worked this "scalping" racket with wagers he had collected on several different horses in the same race, and probably at least once or more with every race on the card, he had a scheme that not only was foolproof but also extremely lucrative. And when you had a guy like Subway Sam Rosoff making wagers of $50,000, which frequently were passed along to the lawn bookmakers at higher odds, it can be seen that the latter gentlemen could take quite a beating from the clubhouse bookmaker during the course of an afternoon.
To make up for this beating, the lawn bookmakers now had to resort to shaving their odds in order to assure themselves, as far as possible, a tidy profit for their day's work. Originally they rigged their odds so that they would realize a profit of 8 percent on all the investments they handled from customers.
Occasionally, the lawn bookmakers would be able to maneuver their book into what was known as a "rounder," meaning that no matter what horse won the race, they stood to make a profit automatically. Sometimes when practically all the customers would bet on one horse, a bookmaker would have to lay off some of these investments with other bookmakers at smaller odds than he had himself given to his customers. But over a considerable period of time, few bookmakers went broke because of customers making heavy investments on favorites.
As time went on, the bookmakers became greedy and shaved their odds considerably more so that they would realize a profit of 15 percent instead of 8 percent. This eventually led to the abolition of licensed bookmakers and the installation of pari-mutuel machines.
But while it lasted, the lawn bookmaker generally could assure himself in advance of a daily net profit of anywhere from $3,000 up. And at times, such as at the start of a Spring meeting at Jamaica, there would be as many as 150 of these licensed bookmakers operating on the lawn.
Today, with the normal return on a winning mutuel ticket reduced by as much as 15 percent due to various "bites" taken by State and City agencies, a turf investor is forced to take steps to protect himself just as the licensed bookmakers used to do.
Keeping that prime objective in view, most of the horses picked in this book will have to be at good odds so that as far as possible, the investor will be able to assure himself of a profit in advance.
The systems also were constructed on the premise that selections which had been made with great care hardly could lose more than one race out of seven, and probably would average four winners out of seven.
In any event, the claiming race rules were constructed so that the average winner, counting on a few longshots and a few short-priced horses as well, would pay at least approximately 6 to 1. Thus, barring an unprecedented slump, the turf investor-and this is the main point of this whole book-can make sure in advance that he has an excellent mathematical chance of winning.
There can be, of course, no guarantee that an investor must win because anything can, and does, happen in horse racing. But with all the rules in his favor, his chances of winning are increased considerably.
The next step taken in constructing these systems was not to put all of our eggs in one basket. Instead of selecting all of our horses under one system, we took only the cream of the crop from each of the two systems.
This step was designed not only to increase our winning percentage by making highly specialized selections, but also to keep our ship on an even keel. One system might go into a tailspin at any time, as will happen with any handicapping formula, but it was deemed extremely unlikely that both of them would go into a slump at one and the same time.
The third step in constructing our systems was to take only such races as seemed least hazardous. The fourth step was to take on the "winningest" type of horse that we could find. And the fifth and final step, and of course by far the most important one, was to eliminate immediately any horse whose record seemed to be spotty in any respect whatsoever. In addition, of course, he would have to have at least one powerful positive factor in his favor.
This type of handicapping is a new one in many ways, particularly in the rules of elimination, but in all tests made to date it has been far superior to the usual methods.
Now that we have outlined the general aims of this book, we will get down to brass tacks, starting with "Past Performances" in the next chapter.