April 2004, Number 33
Inside This Newsletter
Position Versus Pace
• So, who gets the lead?
Kentucky Derby Day
• Handicapping Profiles
• Guest Article (e-mail)
Fourth ... Place ... itis
• How to avoid it
• How to take advantage of it
For ALL-Ways Handicappers
• Keeping two computers in-synch
ALL-Ways Version 11 Update
In our January Newsletter, we made a request of ALL-Ways software users to send their “Wish Lists” to us for new features they would like to see in ALL-Ways Version 11 or future upgrades. The response has been absolutely terrific, not just in terms of quantity, but also in terms of quality and innovation. We have decided to delay the planned release of Version 11 about one more month so we can accommodate as many of these requests as is reasonable. The release of Version 11 is now scheduled for late May or early June.
For sure, Version 11 is worth the wait. It is full of major new features, including features that make even greater use of your Race Databases for the tracks you play. If you are not currently an ALL-Ways software handicapper and want to give ALL-Ways software a try, we suggest you get started right away. This will give you some time to build your Race Database(s) so you are ready for Version 11 when it is released.
Position Versus Pace
So, who gets the lead?
We are frequently asked questions about how to handle pace situations that appear to be contradictory. For example, we are asked how to handle the situation of a horse with a Presser (“P”) running style having a Quirin Speed Point Rating of 7 or 8. After all, “P” horses like to run mid-pack, but a Quirin Speed Point Rating of 7 or 8 clearly indicates the horse likes to be on the lead or up close to the lead at the 1st Call. Another example is how to handle the situation where a “P” horse, or even a late running “S” horse, has a higher Early Pace Rating than a horse or horses with an Early (“E”) or Early Presser (“EP”) running style. Again, the “P” horse likes to run mid-pack whereas the “E” and “EP” horses want to be on or near the lead at the 1st and 2nd Calls. The Early Pace Rating measures how fast a horse runs from the gate to the 2nd Call. So, is the “P” horse with a higher Early Pace figure going to be on the lead at the 2nd Call in today’s race? This article will help shed some light on how to handle these situations.
Horseplayers who use pace handicapping as part of their handicapping process want to be able to visualize where the horses in the field are going to be at the 1st Call and the 2nd Call and how much pace pressure the horses on or near the lead at these calls will likely be under as they run this early part of the race. To do this with reasonable success, it is important to understand the differences between positional and speed related pace handicapping factors. Readers of ALL-Ways Newsletters know how strongly we feel that pace handicapping should be a part of every handicapper’s arsenal. There are some very strong articles on the subject in ALL-Ways Newsletter #3 where we introduced the concept of Race Pace Shapes, ALL-Ways Newsletter #13 covering Quirin Speed Points and ALL-Ways Newsletter #21 where we presented a comprehensive pace handicapping process.
The three primary speed based pace factors used in virtually all pace handicapping methods are the following:
- 1st Call Pace is a measure of how fast a horse runs from the gate to the 1st Call, which is the two furlong point in sprints and the four furlong point in routes.
- 2nd Call Pace, generally referred to as Early Pace, is a measure of how fast a horse runs from the gate to the 2nd Call, which is the four furlong point in sprints and the six furlong point in routes.
- Final Fraction Pace measures how fast a horse runs from the 2nd Call to the finish.
To be sure, there are other speed based pace ratings such as Turn-Time that measures how fast a horse runs from the 1st Call to the 2nd Call and many compound pace ratings such as Combined Pace that adds a horse’s Early Pace Rating plus its Final Fraction Rating. However, for the purpose of this newsletter subject, we will focus on the 1st Call and 2nd Call (Early Pace).
The Quirin Speed Points rating is determined by a horse’s propensity to be on the lead or up close at the 1st Call. The rating does not measure speed or velocity. It is a positional rating that reflects a horse’s desire ... will ... and ability to be on the lead or up close at this point in the race.
To calculate the Quirin Speed Points rating, up to three races are selected from the most recent five races in a horse’s past performance record. The specific races selected and the actual method of calculations are different depending on the distance of today’s race. The rating will be within a range of zero to eight (0 to 8). The higher the rating, the more likely the horse will be on the lead or up very close at the 1st Call. Here is how to interpret these numbers.
Demonstrated desire/ability to be on the lead or 2nd or 3rd but within a neck of
the lead at the 1st Call call.
7 points: Demonstrated desire/ability to be on the lead or 2nd or 3rd but within 2 lengths at the 1st Call.
4, 5 & 6 points: Demonstrated desire/ability to stay in touch with the leaders at the 1st Call. On occasion, will be among the first three horses at the 1st Call, particularly in the absence of higher QSP rated horses in the race.
1, 2 & 3 points: Will generally be in the last half of the field at the 1st Call.
0 points: Will be in the back of the field at the 1st Call or has no qualifying races in its past performance lines.
For a thorough discussion on Quirin Speed Points, see ALL-Ways Newsletter #13. ALL-Ways Newsletters are posted on the Frandsen Publishing Web site.
Horse Running Styles
Every horse, without exception, has one of four distinct running styles. ALL-Ways software looks at all the past performances of a horse to determine the horse’s preferred running style. These are referred to as ESP Running Styles, a term borrowed, with permission, from Tom Brohamer and the Sartin Methodology. These running styles are determined only based on a horse’s position and leading/beaten lengths at both the 1st Call and 2nd Call. They do not consider how fast a horse runs in any part of a race.
The four styles are:
Early (ESP “E”): The horse must have the lead.
Early Presser (ESP “EP”): The horse is comfortable on the lead or following the leader one to three lengths back.
|Horse||ESP||QSP||Call 1||E P|
Here is how we would interpret this chart: The “E” horses, with Quirin Speed Points of Q7 and Q8, will fight for the lead at the 1st Call and because of their “E” running styles will keep fighting to the 2nd Call. The “EP” horse will be very close at both the 1st Call and 2nd Call, but will be content to be a step behind the leaders. The “P” and “S” horses will be mid-pack or back-of-the-pack respectively at both the 1st Call and 2nd Call. Again, this is very straight forward.
ESP Running Styles, Quirin Speed Points, 1st Call Pace and Early Pace ratings will almost always show you where the horses will be at the 1st Call and 2nd Call, probably 90% of the time. There will be exceptions, of course, when a trainer decides to have a horse run a race using a running style that is different than the horse is accustom to, such as having a “P” horse try to take the lead and wire the field. More often than not, such a move will not lead to success. Horses asked to run in a manner that is against their preferred running style often do not do well.
With all of this said, you will occasionally see race situations where the positional pace factors seem to be at odds with the speed based pace factors. Let’s make some changes to the straight forward chart we showed earlier.
|Horse||ESP||QSP||Call 1||E P|
Horse D has been given Quirin Speed Points of 8. Horse C has been given the top Early Pace Rating of 98. Now, here is a rule you can “take to the bank”: When there is a conflict between positional pace ratings and speed based pace ratings, the positional ratings will almost always be the most predictive. Position ratings rule!
Let’s look at the specific examples in our chart:
If a “P” horse has 7 or 8 Quirin Speed Points, it will be on or near the lead at the 1st Call but it will fade back to mid-pack by the time it reaches the 2nd Call. This situation happens frequently. The Presser gets a good fast start out of the gate, so it is on the lead or up close at the 1st Call. However, its “P” running style dictates that the horse will not have, or even try, for the lead at the 2nd Call.
The second apparent discrepancy is when a “P” horse, or even an “S” horse, has a high Early Pace Rating, perhaps the highest in the race. There are a couple things that explain this kind of anomaly. The most common cause is that the horse’s last race had a real early speed duel between “E” and/or “EP” horses causing this horse to run faster than it likes getting to the 1st and 2nd Calls. It does not mean the horse had the lead or was near to the lead position. The horse, as well as all the other horses in the race, simply had to run faster to stay somewhat in touch with the field. The other cause can be that the trainer decided to have the horse run in a different manner than it has in the past, as we pointed out earlier. You can, of course, look at the past performance races of the horse to determine what the actual situation was. In this situation, where the “P” or “S” horse has a high 1st Call and/or high Early Pace Rating, the position based pace factor (“P” or “S” in our example) will almost always rule. These horses will run based on their position based pace factors and will not actually be near the lead at the 2nd Call. In this case, a “P” horse with a 98 Early Pace Rating will not beat an “E” horse with a 95 Early Pace Rating to the 2nd Call. Either the “E” horse will run faster to get the lead or the “P” horse will run slower to avoid the lead.
|When there is a conflict between the positional based pace ratings and speed based pace ratings of a horse, the positional ratings will almost always be the most predictive. Position ratings rule!|
The Kentucky Derby
The 2004 Kentucky Derby will be run at Churchill Downs on Saturday, May 1st. Special ALL-Ways Handicapping Profiles have been posted in the User’s Corner on the Frandsen Publishing Web site (www.frandsen.com) that are targeted specifically for the races run on Kentucky Derby Day. If you are an ALL-Ways software user without a database for Churchill Downs or if you want to give ALL-Ways software a try for the first time, we recommend you download and use these profiles for Derby Day. In 2003, the Kentucky Derby Handicapping Profile selected Empire Maker 1st with an ALL-Ways odds-line of 3 to 1, Peace Rules 2nd with an ALL-Ways odds-line of 7 to 2 and Funny Cide 3rd with an ALL-Ways odds-line of 10 to 1. Buddy Gil was also 10 to 1. The actual order of finish was Funny Cide 1st, Empire Maker 2nd and Peace Rules 3rd. The Trifecta paid a nice $664.80. Not bad for playing the top 3 or 4 ALL-Ways software selections.
Here is the message we received in an e-mail from a long term ALL-Ways software handicapper regarding the 2003 Kentucky Derby.
“I just wanted to share my Derby Day with you.
I decided to go with Trifecta bets only because of the following: to concentrate on one race at a time; the potential payoffs; and to get more horses involved in my selections.
The only ALL-Ways reports I printed were the Past Performance Report, the Paceline report and the Search Report. The Search Report was instrumental in making my final selections.
In the Derby, I used a 123/123456/123456 Trifecta bet with Empire Maker, Funny Cide and Ten Most Wanted on top along with Peace Rules, Buddy Gil and Indian Express. The ALL-Ways Key Horse Candidates shown on the Search Report showed Empire Maker and Funny Cide as the only dual Best Early-Best Late contenders. This is what convinced me to use Funny Cide on top.
I also hit the Trifecta in the 9th race. This time I used a 123/12345/12345 Trifecta bet with Patrol, Rouvres and Honor in War on top with Anticipation and Requete. The ALL-Ways Key Horse Candidates shown on the Search Report showed Patrol and Honor in War as the only dual Best Early-Best Late contenders. Again, this is what convinced me to give Honor in War a shot on top (at 24 to 1). Needless to say, I really like the Search Report.
The only other bet I made all day was the 7th race, but I missed it. Still, two out of three isn’t bad.
Thanks for a great product.”
D. N. from Minnesota
This ALL-Ways handicapper clearly demonstrated the discipline to wager very selectively. This is an absolute key to making money playing the races. Of course it also helps that the Kentucky Derby $2 Trifecta paid $664.80 and the ninth race $2 Trifecta paid $3,313.00. Another message here is to never ignore a horse that ALL-Ways designates a “dual qualifier”, meaning the horse ranks in the top three of both the Best Early and the Best Late ratings.
The Search Report in ALL-Ways software also identifies horses having a significant Gap advantage. Gap measures the size of the horse’s advantage for a handicapping factor over the 2nd ranked horse for the factor. In the 9th race discussed above, Honor in War, who won the race at odds of 24 to 1, had an 8 point Gap advantage for BRIS Final Fraction Pace and showed us that such horses have provided a whopping 47% win bet return-on-investment. Both Requete, who finished 2nd, and Patrol, who finished 3rd, also had significant Gap advantages for different handicapping factors. The ALL-Ways Search Report has become a favorite handicapping report for most ALL-Ways handicappers. Now you know why.
Fourth ... Place ... Itis
One of the most frustrating things in playing the races is when the Key Horse you have selected finishes 4th or when your Show Partial Parlay horse finishes 4th. After all, our wagers require that these horses finish in-the-money. An interesting twist here is when we say a horse has Second…itis, we can see that the horse finishes 2nd a lot and does not seem to know how to win. However, when we refer to Fourth …place …itis in this article, we are not talking about the horse. Instead, we are talking about our handicapping. Think about that. It is our handicapping that has Fourth …place …itis, not the horse.
The objective of this article is to help us improve our selections of Key Horses and Show Partial Parlay horses by recognizing when an off-the-board finish is the most likely outcome. There are two major benefits here. One is to do a better job of identifying Key Horses and Show Partial Parlay horses so we are not disappointed by a lot of 4th place finishes. The other benefit is, by recognizing these “Fourth…place…itis” situations, we can lower the cost of our Exotic wagers by leaving these suspect horses out of our combinations. Thus reducing the cost of the wagers.
Here is what we noticed about our disappointing Key Horse and Show Partial Parlay selections that finished in 4th place. By far, the majority of such disappointments fell into one of two categories:
1. “P” and “S” horses that were not close enough at the 2nd Call and, consequently, came up short at the finish line despite launching nice stretch runs as expected.
2. “E” horses that were headed during the stretch run and then finished off-the-board.
Readers of ALL-Ways Newsletters will say “Well duh!” In the many articles covering pace handicapping in ALL-Ways Newsletters, we have long warned against playing horses with an early running style (“E” horses) that are likely to be passed by at least one other horse coming down the stretch. These horses want the lead throughout the race and if they get passed in the stretch, far more often than not, they give up. And, the earlier in the stretch they get passed the more likely they will be to finish off-the-board.
Likewise, Sustainer horses (“S” horses) are, more often than not, risky horses to play in any wager simply because they are always coming from way off the pace and often come up short at the end. This is a bit of a dilemma because “S” horses can be a rich source of surprise in-the-money horses.
“E” Horses That Get Passed
So, what can we learn from all of this. First of all, avoid “E” horses as Key Horses and Show Partial Parlay selections if it looks like they will be passed in the stretch. Some things that can be helpful here are the length of the race, the degree of early pace pressure in the race and how close “EP”, “P” and “S” horses will be to the leader at the 2nd Call. “E” horses will have a harder time holding on to the lead if the race is a long sprint or a long route. For example, an “E” horse will have an easier time holding the lead in a 6 furlong sprint than it will in a 6 ½ or 7 furlong sprint. Likewise, an “E” horse will have an easier time in a one mile route than in a 1 1/16 or 1 1/8 mile or longer route. And, the more early pace pressure there is in the race, the harder it will be for an “E” horse to hold the lead. If the ALL-Ways Race Pace Shape (see ALL-Ways Newsletter #3) is either an EE or EEE race, an “E” horse that is not vastly superior to the other “E” horse(s) in the race is probably not a good Key Horse or Show Partial Parlay horse. Finally, with respect to wagering on “E” horses, if an “EP”, “P” and/or “S” horse figures to be within 2 to 4 lengths of the “E” horse at the 2nd Call and has a Final Fraction pace rating superior to the “E” horse, it will likely pass the “E” horse in the stretch. The closer the “EP”, “P” or “S” horse is at the 2nd Call, the longer the race and the more early pace pressure in the race, the more likely the “E” horse is to be passed early in the stretch and finish off-the-board.
“S” Horses That Are Too Far Back
Betting on “S” horses for your Key Horse or for Show Partial Parlay wagers is exactly the opposite of “E” horse considerations. The longer the race, the more it benefits late runners. They simply have a longer stretch run to catch the front runners. Likewise, the more early pace pressure in the race, the more likely it is that the front runners will fold and set the race up for the closers. However, if there is no extra distance in the race and there is no early pace pressure, deep closing “S” horses are at a severe disadvantage. And, if the “S” horse figures to be more than 5 or 6 lengths behind the leader at the 2nd Call, the more likely it is to finish off-the-board. You can be sure that “S” horses will disappoint you more often than they will make you happy. By the way, one Early Pace rating point is equal to approximately ½ length at the 2nd Call. So, an “S” horse with an Early Pace Rating that is more than 10 to 12 points lower than the likely leader at the 2nd Call is not a good candidate for a Key Horse or Show Partial Parlay horse unless, of course, there is a lot of early pace pressure and/or the race is a long sprint or long route.
The net of all this is, you should really think twice about using “E” or “S” horses as your Key Horse or as your Show Partial Parlay wagers. You must consider the length of the race, the degree of early pace pressure and how close the horses will be at the 2nd Call. “EP” and “P” horses are, more often than not, the better horses on which to key your Exotic wagers and your Show Partial Parlay wagers.
Reducing Wager Combinations
If, by using the handicapping techniques described in this article, you identify good “E” and “S” horses that you believe will likely finish off-the-board, you may also want to consider leaving them out of your Exotic wager combinations. This will reduce the cost of such wagers and/or allow you to add other horses into the wager combinations. So, even if you are not looking for a Key Horse or Show Partial Parlay horse, the methods described in this article provide a very good way to eliminate some horses from your wagers. And, if you can eliminate the crowd favorite, you really have the opportunity to make a nice score.
One final thought: ALL-Ways software identifies and ranks four different Key Horse candidates on the Search Handicapping Report. Since you never want your Key Horse to be the crowd favorite, you can quickly narrow down the Key Horse Candidates to only three horses. Now, by applying the handicapping techniques in this article to reduce your instances of Fourth…place…itis, you will have an important tool to select the best Key Horse and/or Show Partial Parlay horse.
For ALL-Ways Software Handicappers
Many ALL-Ways software handicappers frequently use two different computers to do their handicapping. Some have a desktop computer at home and a laptop computer they like to take to the track or on trips to other track locations. And, hard as it is to believe, some like to use both their home computer and a computer at their place of work. It is important to keep each of the computers you use in synch with each other.
There are two good ways to keep computers in synch with respect to ALL-Ways software. The key is to make sure that the Franfile folders in the two computers have exactly the same files and that the files are up-to-date to the same date.
One easy way to do this is simply to copy the contents of the Franfile folder from the most up-to-date computer into the Franfile folder on the computer you are bringing up to current. You can do this using a CD writer or having an external Hard Drive that attaches to both computers or by using a wireless connection between the two computers. Note that you do not need to copy the files in Frandata.
The other simple way to keep the computers in synch is to get them in synch one time and then simply process the ALL-Ways data file and Exotic Results data file in both computers every time you handicap a race card. And, you do not actually have to handicap the races in either computer, just process the data file and results file.
NEXT: July 2004, Number 34
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