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To The Cappers
A Message to Users of The Capper - March 26, 2004

Tips On Using The Capper

Handicapping With the Race Reports:
Using the Betting Line and Predictors Output

I�ve been spending a lot of time lately talking about the spot plays, the PQ Spot Plays report, and the spot play charts, because I think they have a lot of potential and that�s what I�m personally focusing on right now. But I�d like to talk a little more about some of The Capper�s meat-and-potatoes features � the race reports you use if you�re playing a particular race card.

There are a lot of optional parts to the race reports: the Betting Line, Exacta Grid, Quinella Grid, Predictors, Pace Summary, Connections, Breeding, Entries, Etc. and Spot Plays. It�s a matter of personal preference which ones you use. I�m primarily interested in the betting line and the predictors.

Here�s why. In my view, when you�re at the track or whenever you open up a racing form, or, inevitably, even when you look at The Capper�s output, you�re surrounded by noise � statistical noise, that is. About 98% of the information you see in the racing form is meaningless in a given race, in my opinion. Of course they have to print all of each horse�s record. It�s your job as a handicapper to find those few, if any, bits of information that mean something in today�s race.

By data that �mean something,� I have in mind situations where horses are winning more than they should given their odds. This is, in fact, practically a definition of what my True Impact metric does. It tells you when something is winning more than it should given its odds. High True Impact situations are the only thing I�m looking for when handicapping. That�s my edge. When I buy the racing form nowadays, it�s more to look at the articles and the ads than the past performances. That�s because I know that almost all the data in there is meaningless. The only things that matter are factors that point out horses that win more than their odds suggest they should, and (unless you have a private method or talent that has statistically shown a profit over time) you need to keep records of what�s going on (as The Capper does) to know what those factors are.

Good spot play/subcategories are based on a high True Impact. Likewise, when handicapping with the race reports, I�m also looking for factors that contain an edge. It�s like panning for gold � you have to sift through a lot of dirt to find the nuggets. The nuggets for me are the high True Impacts which suggest that a certain factor or situation is predicting winners more than it should. And sometimes there just aren�t any nuggets there to find.

Let�s look at a few examples. Whether the horses I pick won or lost doesn�t matter � I could arbitrarily pick and choose examples of big winners to prove my points (as almost all handicapping books do). I just want to show you how I look at The Capper�s race reports in the hope that it�ll help you when you handicap.

Fairgrounds Race #9, 3/19/04

As I said, I�m interested in the betting line and the predictors. The first thing I look at is the �Top Five Win% and ROI This Track� section of the betting line. I�m looking for a high ROI (which generally means a high True Impact, you just can�t see it here), either in the Overlays column or the Tote-Action column. If the high ROI is in the Overlays column, I�ll be looking for horses going off at or above their bet odds. If the high ROI is in the Tote-Action column, I�ll be looking for horses going off below their bet odds. By �high ROI,� I mean, depending on the size of the sample, maybe a 1.20 or higher for overlays (because they win less often) and a 1.10 or higher for tote-action horses. Also, I note the asterisk in this section when it appears. It tells me how far down I could have gone in the betting line for my bets at this track to maximize my profit. For instance, this betting line has an asterisk for the top two overlays. So, I�d only be looking at the top two horses in this betting line (Wawota and Lady Gwen) to see if they were going off at overlay odds (4/1 for each of them).

The second thing I look at is the Favorite Stats. In this race, the favorite statistics just jump out at you: favorites have won this type of race 46% of the time for a 1.53 True Impact and a 1.23 ROI.. You normally don�t have to long any further than this: I would look to bet the favorite in this race, and I�d also bet either of the top two horses if they were overlaid.

Turf Paradise Race #9, 3/19/04

In the TUP race 9 on 3/19/04, there�s not a high enough ROI in either the Overlays or the Tote-Action columns to interest me. The favorite stats are blah. Now, the third place I might look for a high True Impact comes into play: the True Impacts in the predictors output. I look for the predictor with the highest True Impact that also has a healthy ROI, maybe 1.20 or higher. In this race, the FC predictor fits the bill. It has a 1.63 True Impact � in other words, the #1 ranked FC horses have won 63% more than they should have given their odds. Combine that with a healthy 1.34 ROI and I�m willing to bet the top FC horse (Wild Roar) regardless of his odds.

Turfway Park Race #9, 3/19/04

You�re probably getting the idea by now. One more example: take a look at the ninth race at Turfway Park on 3/19/04. Looking at the Top Five Win% and ROI section, you can see that this hasn�t been a good track for The Capper. It hasn�t managed to make a profit � whatever�s happening at TP, The Capper hasn�t been able to make it work. This happens � some tracks, The Capper will dominate and others like this, it just won�t be able to get a handle on. If you have a choice of tracks to play, this might be a sign to move elsewhere. If you want to play this track, you can look deeper. Looking at the favorite stats, there�s not much there. The favorites do win 11% more than they should, but not enough to get near profitability. However, the third place I look, the True Impacts in the Predictors output, has some nice high True Impacts. The highest True Impact comes from the BC (Best Cramer) predictor, which has generated a 1.80 True Impact and a 1.48 ROI for this type of race. So, I would play the top BC horse � Parkers Chapel.

These three examples were all winners (by luck, not design). You definitely won�t win all or even most of your bets with this type of handicapping. But you will tend to bet in areas where you have an edge.

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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