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From Football To Horses
Ready To Pick The Best Horses
Late Action Horses
Average Money Won Per Race
Five Aces - A Winning Hand
Making Adjustments When Handicapping Horses
The Daily Double
Straight Betting At The Racetrack
More Horse Racing Tips
( Originally Published mid 1950's )
The average race track fan who is trying to "beat the horses" is looking for a method of selection that (1) is simple, (2) shows a fairly high winning percentage, and (3) comes up with a "solid" longshot with reasonable frequency.
Of these objectives, the third one-picking a winner that goes to the post at a good price-is the most difficult to achieve. This book proposes to do it by taking on horses that do not happen to be consensus choices simply because the general public is not familiar with the new methods used in selecting them.
That these new methods of selection are sound is demonstrated by the fact that they have produced fairpriced winners consistently in tests made at different seasons of the year and also during more than one year.
Out of the several hundred races that were checked, the selections that were made for "maximum investments" showed a winning percentage of approximately 75 percent.
Many additional plays, recommended for slightly less solid or "moderate" investments, returned a lower but still handsome winning percentage. In races where there is no horse that qualifies on all counts, "moderate investment" plays are recommended wherever possible, and even "minimum investment" plays are furnished just to give the race-goer a horse for which to holler.
The new methods which produced most of these selections feature what the writer calls "power plays," a term taken from football.
To illustrate, here are what we consider the main factors in handicapping, set down just the way you would diagram the forward wall of a football team:
Late Workouts Class Early Str. Fin. Weight
7/18 7/29 $5,000 5 4 4 3 3 114
There you have the departments considered most important in this book's methods, which do not bother with the complicated speed figures on which most handicappers base their ratings.
Now against this background, just given of a horse's last race, let us say that in his next start, 12 days later, he was entered in a $6,000 claiming race and was assigned 116 pounds instead of 114.
A conservative handicapper would not like the idea of this horse moving up $1,000 in class over his last race and also picking up two pounds.
In other words, your conservative handicapper would favor a horse with a record resembling the forward wall of a good football team-strong at every point from left to right. He probably would throw out any horse showing only one weak point, such as lack of a race in the last 10 days or so.
But as a beginner soon learns, there are two drawbacks to that kind of handicapping-there aren't very many such "perfect" horses, and they don't pay much when you do find one of them.
This book's methods, on the other hand, are more varied. Instead of looking only for a horse whose record might be compared to a well-balanced line in football, we also use a method which could be described by another football term, the "power play."
That is, if a horse has one exceptionally strong point in his favor, it may more than compensate for lack of handicapping values elsewhere.
Making another comparison with football, we got the idea of "power play" handicapping from watching football teams coached by the famous Gil Dabie at Cornell around the year 1920.
Dobie's main offensive weapon was an off-tackle thrust, in which he sent all of his available power battering through the opposing line at one point. This play generally was successful because of the sheer weight of its concentrated attack.
We use the same idea in our "power play" handicapping-the idea that overwhelming strength in one department can overcome weaknesses in others.
For instance, we might not worry too much about a horse's lack of consistency as long as he finished in the money in his last race, was gaining at the finish, and also had been given several races and workouts in the past three weeks.
The idea in the latter case is that, in claiming races at least, a horse that has had plenty of recent races and workouts seems to show remarkable improvement. As a result, winners picked on this basis frequently pay a good price.
These new methods may seem like rank heresy to race-goers who have been using other formulas, or to the lazy type of fan who generally plays the favorite and lets it go at that.
However, it was demonstrated in the writer's first book, Payday at the Races, that a horse which qualifies as a good "power play" can move up in class as well as weight.
And illustrations of other types of power plays that will be shown in this book also will demonstrate methods of overcoming such apparent handicaps.
And speaking of lazy fans, this book's methods are constructed in a manner that should enable a race-goer to spot a "live" horse in most races within a few minutes, without bothering to do much checking.
Thus we believe that we have here the kind of a system that the average fan wants, as mentioned at the outset of this chapter-one that is simple, shows a fairly high winning percentage, and frequently comes up with good longshots.