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To The Cappers
A Message to Users of The Capper - January 23, 2004

Tips On Using The Capper

The PQ Report: What It Does and Recommended Settings

What does the PQ Report do?  It searches The Capper's database and finds the subcategories that are performing up to the level you configure.  It can find the best subcategory for each spot play, the worst subcategory for each spot play, all the profitable subcategories and much more.  What's the best profit-producing race-specific subcategory for the MCL Breeding spot play?  MCL Breeding/Winter: it's been doing well since the beginning of December in a longshot sort of way, generating a 1.27 ROI.  What subcategory of Early Horse/Early Race has been tearing up the track lately?  Early Horse/Early Race/Open (by Open I mean non-statebred races): This one has generated a 28% hit rate over 476 races with an ROI of 1.29, a True Impact of 1.57 and a confidence level of 99%.

The PQ Report can find all the spot play/subcategories that are performing at the level you configure, and then it can list all of today's horses that apply to those spot play/subcategories.

There are about a zillion different possible settings for the PQ Spot Plays report.  Let me share my current settings with you and explain the reasoning behind them.  Here are my current settings for the PQ Spot Play report:

With these settings, I'm trying to:

�Get a decent-sized sample (at least 100 long-term bets are required).
�Look at only the best profit-producing subcategory for each spot play.  (The B in Minimum Long Term Profit means that only the subcategory with the highest profit for each spot play shows up.)
�Insist on at least a break-even ROI (a 1.00 ROI is break-even).
�Only look at the race-specific subcategories like dirt, turf, low claimers, A Tracks, etc.  (Only the Display Race-Specific Standard SubCategories checkbox is checked.)  This falls under the category of KISS: Keep It Simple Stupid.  The Horse-Specific and Individual Track subcategories may be important in some situations, but I've only had success so far looking at the broad race-specific subcategories when breaking down a spot play to its profitable components.

Use Long-Term Samples for Your Spot Plays

I think the best way to play spot plays is to look at as long-term a sample as you can get.  I imagine we've all experienced times when our style of handicapping seems inspired because everything we do works.  Things tend to work in streaks at the track.  Let me show you an example:

See how all the money on this chart was made from mid-September to mid-November?  The rest of the time, for months at a time, it's a break-even strategy.  This is what I call a causal phase.  For some reason, the blinkers off strategy worked in the fall at good tracks but has cooled off to break-even over the winter.  Many of the patterns you see on charts can be pictures of statistical noise, but this doesn't look like noise to me.

To lessen the impact of noise, ideally, your data would encompass a whole calendar year or more.  That's important because things change seasonally at the tracks due to different meets, changing weather and horses moving through their conditions.  I know from bitter experience that a method that seems invincible in the spring may be worthless in the summer.  That's why I suggest you set your Long-Term Spot Play cutoff date to "10 Years Ago" to include all the data in your database.  In the real world, you just want your sample to be as big as possible, and  spread over as large a time period as possible.

Updating Your Spot Play Statistics

You need to process your Spot Play Breakdown reports occasionally.  This is how the stats that the PQ Report uses are generated.  There are two ways to do this: 1) You can go into the Spot Play Breakdown tab of the General Reports dialog and click the "Process and Print All Spot Play Breakdown Reports" button.  2) You can do it automatically recalculating the models by answering Yes to the message box that asks you if you want to process your breakdown reports when you tell The Capper to recalculate your models.

This process takes a long time, especially if you have a lot of your spot plays active.  (You can mark a spot play as inactive by putting an N for it under the Active column in the Spot Plays tab of the Setup dialog.  For instance, I've turned off most of the DSP: Running Style spot plays because they take so long to process.)

If you're using long-term data for your spot plays, it's probably only necessary to compute your spot play statistics every few days or maybe once a week or so.  As you get more and more data, you'll see that the same spot play/subcategories keep showing up � they don't change as often.

You Should Know About These Already, But Here They Are

Some nice spot play/subcategories:

A user who knows charts tells me that a chart like this next one with a very thin range between the top and bottom Bollinger Bands portends a huge breakout, either negative or positive.  As you can see, the previous chart had this same skinny horizontal pattern, and it had a huge positive breakout.

Here are a couple more nice charts:


Spot plays are just one feature of The Capper.  I'll try to talk about some of the other features later.  There are definitely a lot of was to handicap with The Capper.  It's just that I think spot plays are very promising, and that's where a lot of my work on the program is centered at the moment.

Capper Talk Forums

There's now a public Capper Talk forum in the Grandstand message board as well as the private Capper Talk Forum.  If you're a user of The Capper and you don't have access to the private Capper Talk forum, go to The Grandstand and click on the Register Your Free Account link to register an account with ezBoard. When you're done with that process, email me your username. I'll add you to the list of people who can access the Capper Talk forum. Then, when you want to access it, just go to The Grandstand and login using that username.

Talk to you later,
Gordon Pine

Copyright �2004 NetCapper Inc. All rights reserved.

Tech Tips: Using The Capper

�You can enlarge a certain area of the Spot Play Charts by dragging your mouse pointer over the area you want enlarged in an "L" pattern.  Be sure to hold down your left mouse button while dragging the L pattern.  To bring the chart back to full size, drag a backwards L pattern.

�You can set the performance qualifiers in the Qualified Spot Plays tab of the Setup dialog to B for Best.  For instance, if you set the Minimum LT Flat ROI to B, a qualifying spot play will only display if it is from the subcategory with the best long-term Return On Investment.  If, for the Fundamental Contenders spot play, MSW is the subcategory with the highest LT ROI, then a Fundamental Contender spot play will only show up in the Performance Qualified Spot Play report for MSW races.

�To keep The Capper running as fast as possible, keep your database lean and mean.  The best way to do this is to delete your race data as soon as possible.  After you've downloaded, imported and recalculated the binary charts for a particular day, you can delete the old race data from that day.  Here's what I do: every day, before I download yesterday's binaries and today's race files, I go into the Delete Race Data tab of the Utilities dialog and use the calendar to delete all race data from the day before yesterday and before.  Then I quit The Capper, start the Database Utility and hit the Compact/Repair button.  That compacts the database and helps speed it up significantly.  Then, when I download and Import, Recalculate and Print New Races, everything goes really fast.  With a relatively new computer, each race file will generally import in about half a second.  Also, note that I pretty much never delete model data (using the Delete Model Data tab) -- only race data.

�If you have a reasonably fast computer, it's a good idea to download all 1 Month Surface Model files whenever you're downloading race files.  That way, when you import and recalculate, the TSDs (Track/Surface/Distance adjustments) will be as current as possible.  A good alternative is just to download the 1 Month Surface Model files for the tracks you're handicapping each day, and then, once a week or so, download all the tracks.  This will ensure that shippers from tracks you don't normally handicapped will be judged properly by The Capper.

Copyright �2004 NetCapper Inc. All rights reserved.
Information in this document is subject to change without notice.  Other products and companies referred to herein are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies or mark holders.

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