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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 )
Two of this book's three "power plays" feature the idea of "Can Do," which used to be (and probably still is) the motto of the good old U.S. Seabees.
We pay no attention to fractional times or speed ratings in these methods. "Can Do" means in our handicapping formula that a horse's record must show either (1) a win at a class the same as or higher than the class of today's race, or (2) that he finished second in a race where the class was higher than the class of today's race.
In the matter of weight, the rules are not quite so strict. Instead of requiring that a horse must have won a race carrying the same weight as or higher than the weight assigned to him today, we stipulate merely that he must have simply run in the money at today's weight or higher. With distance, the danger spots are in races of longer than 1 1/16 miles. In these races, we stipulate that a horse must have run second or better in a race that was at least 1 1/8 miles in length.
The writer and his co-workers first began to think that the methods outlined in this book are the real thing when they happened to notice that the handicap champion Tom Fool, going into the Whitney Stakes at Saratoga on August 8, 1953, qualified as a selection on all three of our methods. Carrying 126 pounds, he won easily.
It didn't matter to us that you couldn't bet on the horse because he was considered such a shoo-in that the Saratoga officials banned all wagering on the race. The significant thing to our little group was that if one of our horses had to have a record like a champ's to be a selection, he must be a good one. Here was Tom Fool's record going into the race:
Races Works Dist. Class Early Foot Str. Fin. Weight
Now in respect to our three methods, Tom Fool qualified in a romp on the first one, which stipulates only that the horse must have led all the way in his last race, must have a high consistency record and must have had at least 2 races in the last 30 days or less.
In demonstrating how horses are picked under our second method, fix your eye on that figure 4 in Tom Fool's race of June 27. Next, draw an imaginary line upward and to the right, diagonally, winding up with the finish of the horse's last race on August 4th.
This is what we call a diagonal. Each diagonal consists of exactly three numbers (calls). The numbers are supposed to get lower as the diagonal progresses. But the final figure 1, where the horse won by 8 lengths, naturally is considered better than the figure 1 at the stretch call of the horse's July 11 race where he was leading by only 3 lengths.
This diagonal is supposed to indicate that with each race, the horse is getting closer to the pace and staying with it longer. Or in the case you see here, it shows that in his last race, the horse won more easily than he had in his previous start.
Now start one column further to the left, with the figure 5 in Tom Fool's race of June 27. Here you have another diagonal (5-1-1). And if you start still another column further to the left, you have a third diagonal (5-2-1), indicating here that we have a real powerhouse. However, only two diagonals are needed to qualify under this second method.
The second requirement of this type is that the horse must have been second or better at the stretch call of its last race, gained during the stretch run and won the race. Tom Fool qualified easily on that. So you see that each one of these trends shows our horse probably is getting better and better.
And in the "Can Do" department, Tom Fool has demonstrated previously that he could handle today's class and weight quite easily.
In connection with these diagonals, however, the reader must remember that the second and third diagonals are no good unless you have the first one.
Going to the third system, dealing with "Late Action," we can see at a glance that Tom Fool qualified on the "Can Do" requirements of class, weight and distance, also that he finished in the money in his last race and was gaining at the finish. He also had plenty of late workouts, but we do not play high class horses with our "Late Action" method because almost all these steeds always are being given workouts by their trainers, who are no dopes, and thus we would wind up with too many eligibles.
When we get one in a lower class race, on the other hand, the chances are that our selection will be the only horse in the race that has been tuned up and is ready to go.
That completes the summary of our three methods and you can see readily how simple they are. And just to refresh your memory, from time to time we will repeat and illustrate the requirements.
Where there is no selection, the rules will be modified a bit to give an eager player action. How this is done will be explained in later chapters.
The three types of horses upon which we will concentrate are just similar enough so that with a little practice, the reader will be able to determine with one look whether a horse is a probable play under any of the three methods of selection.
One of the three methods is so simple that it contains only three rules which can be checked merely by a glance at the two top lines of a horse's record.
And by using class and weight, rather than speed, as a common denominator in the other two methods, the rules sidestep completely the difficulties of speed handicapping.
There will be no need to burn the midnight oil for hours in using a complicated, outmoded set of speed figures, track variants, comparative tables, etc., requiring reams of calculations, or no need to try to weigh the merits of various jockeys and trainers.
This enables the racing fan to get away from all manner of charts and innumerable calculations involving addition, subtraction, and multiplication. Instead, he can confine his list of rules to one small card which he can carry in his pocket.
Yet the rules produce startling results despite their simplicity. Tests ranging in length from 2 to 6 weeks, made at all major tracks at various times of the year and also in different years, returned winning percentages of between 50 percent and 75 percent winners. And frequently the winners paid 4 to 1, 8 to 1 or even as much as 20 to l.
One 30-day test, taken during the month of September, 1952, showed an amazing winning percentage of 100 percent-so help us Hannah-in producing 57 winners out of 57 plays. That was for major investment plays only.
Such an abnormally high percentage, of course, would not be returned again in many a blue moon. What probably was more important than the perfect percentage was the circumstance that the average mutuel price of these 57 straight winners was better than 5 to 1.
With odds like that, even a casual race-goer can do handsomely for himself if he gets only 25 percent winners, let alone 50 percent.
The reader is advised to go slow in changing the race and workout requirements of the "Late Action" method because we have been testing it ever since the year 1942 when we quit professional handicapping.
In that year, if the reader will pardon a personal reminiscence because the anecdote explains why and how this method was devised, the writer was completely disgusted one evening because his newspaper selections had taken a bad beating with longshots winning practically every race.
Accidentally, the writer happened to notice that each and every one of those longshot winners had run a race later than any other horse in his particular race.
That looked like the "Birth of a System" or maybe the key to the mint, so an uproarious celebration was started immediately, aided and abetted by the Duke of Dayton and Larry the cook, fellow veterans of World War I.
A band was playing and there was much talk of reenlisting. Anyway, several days later the writer discovered, on the end of his right hand, a permanent growth which, upon closer inspection, turned out to be a highball glass. Simultaneously he found himself holding the bag because neither the Duke of Dayton nor Larry the cook had gone through the reenlistment program as promised.
The bag itself, also on closer inspection, turned out to be a sea bag, now the joint property of the U.S. Seabees and yours truly.
But all was not lost, for even in the far reaches of the South Pacific, racing papers became available through the kindness of Stateside friends, and handicapping research was resumed between visits by fleets of Washing Machine Charlies.
The idea of playing a horse which had the latest race proved to be unsatisfactory in itself but ultimately it did provide the key to the solution. We experimented with many other combinations of late action through the years. For a while, the idea of 7 races or workouts in the last 29 days looked all right, but that eliminated too many horses which had run only 2 races in the last month or so.
Finally we made the requirements less strict in order to get more plays.
Starting with the next chapter, we will demonstrate how these requirements are applied.