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Horse Racing Wagering System:
The Food Payers Of Horse Racing
Beginner's Luck At The Racetrack
Backward Is Forward In Racing Systems
The Good Old Summer Time At The Track
Came The Rains - And Disaster At The Racetrack
Cheap Horses Are Expensive
Females Are Unreliable In Horse Racing
The Long Trail Of Horse Racing
When Is The Trainer Trying With His Horses
Three Old Reliable Horses
More Horse Racing Tips
( Originally Published mid 1950's )
In case the reader may wonder at the unorthodox character of the rules of this system, the writer is going to relate how and why they were invented, during more than 25 years of heart-breaking toil, not just by one man but by several. It was a case of blood (meaning money), sweat and then tears at intervals when tentative rules would have to be discarded and the ultimate, winning system would have to be developed anew.
The story begins back in the early days of the depression when the writer and two other dyed-in-the-wool race fans, having nothing to do and plenty of time in which to do it, and nowhere to go and not being in any particular hurry as to when we got there, decided to form a combine and investigate the possibilities of improving the bankroll via handicapping. Separately, we already had done considerable research on this subject.
Our first objective was to try to find out what makes winning horses win. We took an enormous piece of cardboard and ruled it off into 20 columns. At the top of each column was listed an angle which we thought might be a strong factor in picking a winner.
Every horse that won was checked off in those columns where he had qualified. This went on day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year. As soon as it developed that very few winners had qualified on a certain angle, that angle was discarded. Gradually, after several years, the list of angles was whittled down to ten. Incidentally, those ten angles are the basis of the betting system in this book.
However, testing out these various angles ate up whatever profits we made. Any embryo handicapper knows that you can't play with beans in this procedure because every time you try out something new on paper and it turns out to be a stinker, you still are likely to forget about it and make the same mistake all over again a month later.
But if you actually invest two bucks in cash on a new angle that flops, the fact that the angle is a bad one remains impressed indelibly upon one's memory. And when you have to invest two bucks on each of 10 angles in order to find just one good one, that ain't hay, McGee, although learning the hard way eventually will pay off in the long run by getting rid of losers.
Our little group felt that we had the nucleus of a good system, but the trouble was that there were just too many losers. They came through the windows, through the doors, from everywhere. And we couldn't figure out why.
Our morale was dislocated further at this juncture when "Five By Five," our chart man, was forced to resign from our group.
"Five By Five" had the job not only of keeping all charts and racing papers on file, but also storing away the hundreds of big pieces of cardboard that kept piling up through the years. At first he stored them in the closets of his apartment, then on the tables, then in the bureau drawers, then on the window sills, then removed the pictures from the walls and strung up the pieces of cardboard, and finally stacked the papers and charts under all the beds. The apartment began to resemble the debrislittered residence of the fabulous Collyer Brothers which was uncovered in New York City years later.
Finally there was no other place to put them but in the bathtub, and at this point Mrs. Five By Five blew her top. She said she wanted to take a shower and that the racing papers would have to be removed from the tub. Five By Five, who at the moment was trying to figure out a three-horse parlay, absent-mindedly handed her some change and told her to go to the public baths.
Mrs. Five By Five retorted, somewhat unreasonably, we all thought, that she would not go to the public baths, but insisted on taking a shower in her own bathtub.
The upshot, of course, was that Five By Five had to quit our little group of willful men, or else find himself the defendant in a divorce suit.
Thus we lost one of the most energetic workers in our little vineyard. It was just another headache added to the hazards of blood, sweat and tears that are part of the business of inventing a handicapping system.
The noble experiment in handicapping then came to a dead stop until one day when Little Joe, the writer's lone remaining partner in the combine, was staring idly at the papers on a newsstand, particularly one called Forward. He remarked pensively:
"You know, that Forward, that's the only paper in New York you got to read backwards."
The remark caused something to click in the writer's so-called brain. He thought: Maybe we could apply that idea to handicapping. Maybe instead of trying to find out what makes winners win, we should find out what makes losers lose. Let's try it backwards.
No sooner said than done, and both of us were galvanized into action again. More huge pieces of cardboard were ruled off into columns, only this time the columns were headed by angles that we figured would make a horse lose.
The first pattern to develop, and it showed up very quickly, was that races over 1 1/8 miles were extremely hazardous in claiming races and that even a 1 1/8 mile race was no bargain. Then we discovered that when a horse that had been running in these races ran in a shorter race at 1-1/16 miles, the faster pace encountered proved too much for him. And the same thing generally cropped up when the 1-1/16 mile horse went into a sprint.
This fault of sluggishness soon began to show up even in sprints. It was found that if a horse broke badly in his last race, he would have great trouble in getting off quickly enough in a sprint in his next start. An outside post position in a sprint on a fast track also proved to be a handicap.
We finally got weight down to such a fine point that we would start to penalize a horse as soon as he was asked to carry 119 pounds or more. And we learned that with a big weight increase, a horse had to have more and more points in his favor to counteract this extra weight, pound by pound.
Meanwhile, all these new ways of getting rid of losers naturally improved our handicapping system tremendously. But the best angle of all came one day when the writer happened to be staring moodily at the past performance record of a horse who had lost his last 5 races, although he had figured to win all of them.
Suddenly it dawned upon the writer that this disappointing dog had been ridden by an apprentice jockey in all 5 of those losing races. He yelped to Little Joe that here goes 5 more losers off our list; let's find out if this apprentice jockey angle made those other plugs lose.
And that's just the way it turned out. We found out that unless a horse with an apprentice jockey is running in the cheapest company ever, or has some other very powerful angle, such as the jockey being the current "red-hot" leader of the apprentice riders, he frequently isn't worth a bet. It is appalling to discover how many losing horses are ridden by apprentice jockeys.
After discovering this vital fault, we felt that our system couldn't possibly be improved any further because our selections didn't seem to have any strikes on them. All we needed now was a bellwether, a foundation stone, a sparkplug, an anchor man for our bowling team. And we think we have found such positive factors to carry the ball in the systems outlined in this book.
In the next chapter, we will discuss additional angles developed in our research labors that lasted a quarter of a century.