Upside vs. Downside
Risk - Part 10 (Answers Continued)
running profiles for both surfaces of any track that you play isn�t
an option, it is a necessity.
You have to know what running style is more favorable than another
at specific distances when travelling over either surface. Every
distance on either surface plays a bit differently.
As an example, consider how �closers� (any horse over 6 lengths
behind at the 2nd running call) are faring at Santa Anita thru the
first 53 days of the 84 day Winter/Spring 2004 meet.
A total of 346 dirt races were run thru 03/06/04. Of that 346 race
total, only 26 �closers� visited the winner�s circle or 5.78%.
Here are the breakdowns:
5.5 furlongs----4 winners from 37 starts = 10.81%
6 furlongs----3 winners from 85 starts = 3.53%
6.5 furlongs----8 winners from 64 starts = 12.50%
7 furlongs----5 winners from 31 starts = 16.13%
8 furlongs----2 winners from 67 starts = 2.98%
8.5 furlongs----4 winners from 55 starts = 7.27%
9 furlongs----0 winners from 6 starts = 00.00%
10 furlongs----0 winners from 1 starts = 00.00%
You can view and interpret these �numbers� any way that you�d like,
but one thing is very obvious -- all dirt distances have played
quite differently for �closers�. Of particular note is the fact that
4 �closers� have been able to win at 5.5 furlongs from only 37
starts while only 3 were able to do so at 6 furlongs from 85 starts.
And what�s even more remarkable, only 2 of 67 closers were
victorious going a mile!
You�d naturally think that it would be harder to close from 5.5
furlongs than from 6 furlongs or a mile, but so far thru 53 days of
racing at Santa Anita, that simply ain�t the case!
It�s rather obvious that those keeping running profiles for their
home tracks have an enormous edge over those who don�t. Sure, it
takes a little work every day, but the return is more than worth the
If you�d like to set up running profiles for your home track or any
track for that matter, visit my website @
www.joe-takach.com . Every
Monday I post the up-to-the-minute meet-to-date running profiles for
whatever Southern California track is running at the moment (Santa
Anita thru 04/18/04).
You can also read a full-blown explanation of running profiles and
apply them to any track.
The time and effort you spend setting up and maintaining your
running profiles are nothing but �upside� risk!
32---UPSIDE---I don�t know a single professional that makes his
living at the track by betting the slowest horse.
There are exceptions to every rule in horseracing with the sole
immutable law of �speed unchallenged wins 100% of the time� being
the lone �untouchable�.
At times but very infrequently, a slower horse wins a race due to
any number of reasons or combinations of excuses that range from bad
racing luck encountered by faster animals, to outside post positions
on the turf with the rails out 30 feet, to quicker animals that are
out of shape and not ready to run their best.
You�d have to be brain-dead to bet a slower horse in any race no
matter how badly the faster animal(s) might appear to be
compromised-------period! If in doubt, simply pass the race!
33---DOWNSIDE---I�m not sure who once said that your first
impression is usually the most correct, but that sage �had it
I see nothing wrong with rechecking your work -- once! I do it all
the time no matter how big my wager. But if you have to go over it a
3rd or 4th time or even more, you simply ain�t as sure about this
upcoming wager as you might think you are.
Whenever I catch myself going over the past performances for a 3rd
time or looking too closely at a specific horse�s race day
physicality in the paddock, I�m subconsciously sending myself a very
loud message. The race ain�t all that playable and my actual best
bet is passing the event!
34---DOWNSIDE--- About 1/3 of a horse�s red blood cells lie dormant
in his spleen. It takes about 4 furlongs or a half mile of light
cantering for his spleen to release those red blood cells.
Once released into the circulatory system, they add to the existing
red blood cells already at work carrying essential oxygen to
wherever it is needed for optimum output in the upcoming race.
This is the exact reason why I�ve been harping for 40 years to all
that will listen that the pre-race warm-up is simply one of the two
most important parts of the �physicality� side of the betting
equation. The other physicality part is his overall paddock
appearance and deportment. When both physicality factors are
acceptable and he has the best �backpaper� in his field, there
simply isn�t a better bet in the game!
And while many satellite players might be moaning that they can�t
actually see the pre-race warm-ups as could an on track observer,
many pre-race activities are shown on the beamed in races from the
post parades straight thru loading. You get to see each runner 2, 3
or 4 times or more after the post parade. If every time you see a
particular horse he�s walking or slow trotting rather than in a
light canter, he most likely didn�t get the essential 4 furlong
canter needed to release the essential oxygen-delivering red blood
cells needed for maximum output.
Seems like a no-brainer that horses running with full tanks of
oxygen after a proper pre-race warm-up consistently outperform
horses with little or no pre-race warm-ups and only 2/3 of a tank of
oxygen-----no? But you�d be amazed at how many handicappers have
never considered this as being an essential handicapping factor!
35---DOWNSIDE---I�ve stated countless times in my turf writings that
it is impossible to compute daily turf variants as you do for the
dirt for many reasons.
First off, most tracks only card 2 or 3 turf races a day due to the
grass course itself getting chewed up. You can�t re-grade the
�living� turf course like you can the �lifeless� dirt course. You
can replace the thrown divots as you see maintenance crews doing
after every grass race, but you can�t replace the overall �wear and
tear� as is done with the dirt when re-graded.
Since the turf course is so fragile, tracks can only card a few
grass races a day. If you have only one turf sprint and only one
turf route, you have nothing to compare these races to. Whereas with
7 or 8 dirt races a day, you always have 3 or more sprints or routes
to compare to each other so you can make a �legit� daily dirt track
With valid variants, one knows if the winning �number earned� was
actually fast or slow for a particular class and distance.
Obviously, you don�t have this same knowledge with 1, 2 or 3 turf
races a day.
Secondly, with the turf rails constantly moving out and tracks not
always compensating for this movement by moving the starting gate
forward in exact like proportions, horses are actually running
further that the actual stated race distance itself. The past
performances should be stating �about� a mile or whatever to show
the handicapper that the final times should be altered because the
race tracks themselves can�t or won�t compensate when moving the
If for 1 minute you doubt this is going on, I cordially invite you
to visit Southern California. As only 1 example at this current
Santa Anita 2004 Winter/Spring meet, consider the following.
There are 5 possible rail-out positions, namely 0, 8, 15, 24, and 30
feet out, yet the starting gate can be found at only 3 positions
when there should be 5 different rail-out starting gate positions!
If the rail is listed at zero (0) or 8 feet out in the program and
past performances, the starting gate is in the same position when it
should be move forward when out 8 feet. The gate position for 15
feet out stands alone as one of the 3 different positions and is
moved forward as it should be. But when the �rails out� are listed
at both 24 feet out and 30 feet out, the starting gate is in the
same exact position, even though it should be moved further forward
when going from 24 feet out to 30 feet out.
When I questioned the starter at Santa Anita many years ago, his
exact reply was �the best horse will still win�. How�s that for
racetrack management �suit-speak�?
That said, it becomes painfully obvious that Santa Anita is not
moving the starting gate where it should be. And if the starting
gate is not in its proper position, the final times of the race are
surely incorrect! If the final times are incorrect, any variant
derived from same has to be incorrect! How�s that for Rocket
NEXT: UPSIDE vs. DOWNSIDE RISK--PART 11 (ANSWERS CONTINUED)
Copyright �2004 by
Joe Takach. All rights reserved.
Joe can be contacted through his website at
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