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Track Tracts

Upside vs. Downside Risk - Part 12 (Answers Continued)
by Joe Takach

41---DOWNSIDE---This was a �gimme question� much like one of my old high school teachers would throw on each of his tests to make sure that nobody in his class got a �zero� in a 50 question test. (I once had a Statistics 101 professor in college who gave such hard tests that he gave everybody 20 points for merely spelling their own names correctly atop the test).

Much like question 40, it is far too risky to wager in a race where you don�t know enough about every participant. You might know a lot about one of your local runners entered in the Kentucky Derby to include his likes, dislikes and idiosyncrasies, but unless you know an equal amount about the balance of his respective field, you�re begging to get the worst of it in the long run!

42---UPSIDE---The reason he was stiffed @ 8-5 was most likely because the odds were too low.

What�s more, only those who closely watched the race and clearly saw the �non-ride� or outright �stiff� would know that the horse was not allowed to run freely or was perhaps kept so wide that his ground loss assured defeat.

If the horse came from a known betting stable, today�s generous overlay of 8-1 from a morning line of 5-2, reflects the lack of confidence of the betting public and not necessarily the betting barn.

Should this 8-1 shot look solid in the paddock and in the pre-race warm-up, you might soon be cashing a very healthy $18.00 mutuel!

43---UPSIDE---Nuance handicapping is nothing more than recognizing subtle signs emanating from a specific horse�s connections. These �connections� include the trainer, owner, groom, jockey and jockey agent. If you study these 5 groups of people long enough, you�ll begin to notice certain things that they do and do not do when winning or losing.

It matters not if you are on track or wagering from a satellite outlet. While nuance handicapping is most easily and most effectively accomplished on track, even the beamed in satellite shows offer many chances to view various nuances that can translate into winning wagers or saved bad bets.

I�ve extensively covered nuance handicapping in recent past writings and strongly urge you to brush up on this visual art. And if you haven�t yet incorporated nuances into your overall handicapping methodology, you are missing the boat.

You can easily raise your win percentage by up to 5 percentage points by merely paying attention to exactly what the connections are doing in the paddock. In other words, if your current win percentage is 28%, merely master the finer points of �Nuance Handicapping� and you can raise your win percentage to 33%.

Sound impossible?

It isn�t, but it encompasses more work on your part as does any other facet of our great game.

If you make your own speed and pace figures, that�s work! If you take trip notes, that�s work. If you are a pedigree enthusiast, that�s work! If you incorporate nuances into your game, that too is work! I could go on and on, but I�m sure you get the drift.

But here is the kicker. You�ll find that the harder you work, the �luckier� you�ll get!

44---UPSIDE---Any time that you incorporate �proprietary information� into your handicapping methodology that is generated by yourself or by a trusted resource, your game has to improve.

Sure, we all have to depend to some degree on others to generate a portion of our betting information. That information is available to all players and that�s never going to change. For example, all of us somehow have to use the past performances.

But when it comes to the �optional� generation of proprietary information that is not used by the entire betting public, there�s no observation like personal observation----period!

45---UPSIDE---One of the very first things to remember as does every professional handicapper, is that you are going to have many more losing days than winning ones!

Anyone attempting to tell you otherwise is full of crap and you�d be well advised to put as much distance between yourself and that �snake oil salesman� as possible!

Handicapping tenure tells us that �days from hell� do occur thru no fault of our own.

Some days we can�t pick our nose, let alone a winning horse.

But like professional handicappers, seasoned weekend warriors accept the fact that some days they just ain�t in their �zone� regardless of how much time they put into a specific card or a specific race.

And when they are out of their �zone�, they know that they couldn�t cash a ticket betting a �walkover!

Winning or losing on any given afternoon should have absolutely no bearing whatsoever on your play the following day.

So if you got crucified yesterday thru no fault of your own, forget it, change nothing, and continue your normal play the very next time that you wager.

Those that begin zig-zagging after a losing day only guarantee themselves of one thing-------another losing day!


Copyright �2004 by Joe Takach.  All rights reserved.
Joe can be contacted through his website at

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