• RanchWest
    Most serious researchers probably know that chaos races are easy to spot after the fact, but not quite so easy beforehand. Well, I think chaos ensues when none of the horses in the race really want to exert early energy. But I define that a little differently from most folks. I am only talking about dirt racing because grass tends to be late more often than dirt.

    Sartin followers are probably familiar with %M (percent median). It shows in which part of a race a horse exerts energy, early or late. I believe this is the true running style of the horse. But, from which race? I think all of them. Huh? I take the median of all of the %M's available and refer to it as M%M.

    Through a little research, I split the M%M figures into somewhat equal categories and those are my E, E/P, P, P/S, S and L running styles.

    I then assign numbers to those 6 running styles, 1 for E down to 6 for L.

    Then I average the running style numbers for all of the horses in the race. So, a typical race will be somewhere around 2.0 to 3.0.

    So, when that race running style is high (at least 3.2), I find the race becomes more likely to be chaotic. Why? I think it is because some horse or horses are called on to atypically expend early energy and that is not what they are accustomed to doing and the other horses try to keep up and many tire. You end up with a horse that has relatively poor speed figures winning the race coming from off the pace... chaos.

    So, which horse wins? I find that it is often a horse with low Quirin speed points and has shown an ability to close in recent races, in position and/or lengths, preferably both. Yes, even if it only went from 9th to 4th or even 5th to 4th. Not backing up is the key.

    Admittedly this is somewhat theoretical at this point. I haven't fully proven it. And, I am still looking for more criteria as to when to utilize it.

    It should be noted that my running styles are often much different from published running styles. In my opinion, the published styles tend to be better correlated to position rather than fractional speed.

    Also, this often does not work when there is a clearly superior horse in the race.

    And, for anyone who doesn't know, chaos races and superior early speed account for a significant portion of high payout races. Sometimes 20/1 and more.

    Any thoughts?
  • JRand
    I then assign numbers to those 6 running styles, 1 for E down to 6 for L.RanchWest
    You are creating running styles from how they ran in terms of early vs late distribution instead of how they actually ran?
  • Rich Val

    When I first started, it was with Sartin's stuff. That was a great age and I seemed to do well from time to time, but just never seemed to make much real profit.

    When I added running style based on how the horse actually ran instead of how he projected to run, that changed everything.

    I think the 1st Dave S seminar I went to was about 92 or 93. I remember that he put up an example with a horse that was entered for $10k but had once been a $50k claimer. The horse had these huge numbers and they all said that the horse would just demolish the field right from the gate.

    Dave showed that the profile of the race was definitely EP. He also showed that this horse had never been near the lead in his life, and numbers or not, it was unlikely he'd start today.

    If that was true, if it really happened that way, this 2/5 favorite was a likely loser. My entire belief system was based upon the numbers. This horse had the numbers, and I bet the race, keying that 2/5 shot over my other contenders.

    When that 2/5 horse didn't get within 5 lengths of the gate-to-wire winner until deep stretch, I was instantly sure that I'd just learned a valuable lesson. Missing the obvious $52 winner hurt, but in the end, that lesson turned me into a professional player.

    In my handicapping, early/late energy will never replace running style.
  • RanchWest
    JRand and Rich Val,

    You are correct that most races have a significant component in positional running style. And, today, most serious pace handicappers do acknowledge the positional component.

    But, there are a few races where positional running completely breaks down into chaos. There is no doubt that chaos races do exist. I'm not suggesting this is an every race approach. I still look at published running style and a running style I learned from a prominent handicapper (CJ). I like to look at factors from many angles, searching for a "false positive". When fractional times tell us that the positions could easily blow up, for me that is a false positive on the positional approach.

    So, when is positional handicapping likely to break down? When pretty much none of the horses has the early ability to maintain a normal early pace. That's what I am saying.
  • RanchWest
    'Some men see things as they are and say why, I dream things that never were and say, why not' – George Bernard Shaw (1856–1950)

    Most people look at 20/1 winners and say that they only happen very rarely, so why bother? I look at those races as untapped potential.
  • RanchWest
    I welcome any suggestions on better ways to locate chaos races.
  • Dave Schwartz
    Most people look at 20/1 winners and say that they only happen very rarely, so why bother? I look at those races as untapped potential.RanchWest

    I completely agree.
    I know you know this but...
    It is imperative that we identify when such a race is LIKELY to happen because to swing for the fences in every race is to subject ourselves to a gigantic number of losers.

    In P&P 2022, I showed a stat that said (if memory serves) for every winner above 8/1 there are TWENTY FIVE starters at 8/1 and above. Picking the right one out of 25 is not something one does easily.
  • RanchWest
    It is imperative that we identify when such a race is LIKELY to happen because to swing for the fences in every race is to subject ourselves to a gigantic number of losers.Dave Schwartz

    Absolutely true.
  • RanchWest
    I went looking for an example race and so I am posting the first one that looks remotely like what I am talking about. By the way, I should also explain that I am not looking for a horse that has a late side %M. I am looking for a RACE with a late side %M.

    If you can, look at today's (3/31) AQU race 5.

    I have the M%M running styles as E, SP, S, P, SP, SP, SP (in this case, those are generally fairly close to the published positional running styles, but that is not always the case). That yields a 3.57 mean running style, a potential chaos race (over 3.2).

    Keep the horses that have recently been closers... 3, 4, 5, 6.

    Drop the 5 based on too many Quirin points, 4, leaving the 3, 4 and 6.

    Based on traditional handicapping, drop the 6, leaving the 3 and 4.

    The 3 bobbled at the start and was never a factor.

    The positions of the 4 were 6 - 4 - 2 - 1.

    4 wins at 7.2 /1 in a 7 horse field, paying $16.40.

    And, as per Dave's suggestion, the even money favorite finished 2nd, with the $1 exacta paying $25.25.
  • Dave Schwartz
    I think the issue becomes how many other races point to CHAOS and what percentage of them actually produced a chaotic winner?

    Also, have you seen this blog post?
    How to Score the Big Dollar Horse in a Chaos Race
  • Rich Val
    Also, have you seen this blog post?Dave Schwartz

    You beat me to it.
  • Dave Schwartz

    Good to see you back, old friend.
  • RanchWest
    I have not read that blog post, but I will.

    Conversely, one could just pass the potential chaos races so that more traditional approaches might prevail.
  • RanchWest
    Okay, I read the blog post. My apologies... I did not know you have a chaos product.
  • RanchWest
    I think the issue becomes how many other races point to CHAOS and what percentage of them actually produced a chaotic winner?Dave Schwartz

    True. As I indicated, I still regard my process as a work in progress. I was able to quickly find the example above, but that very well could be luck.
  • Dave Schwartz
    Okay, I read the blog post. My apologies... I did not know you have a chaos product.RanchWest

    Oh, I didn't mean it that way.
    "Chaos" is really just a word, right?

    It could be a matter of semantics, but to me the word means, "disorder." Or, possibly more correctly, is the concept of "chaos" in the mathematical sense - where it actually means "order out of seeming disorder."

    I think that fits both our meanings.

    IMHO, your work is really what it really takes to succeed at today's game - but with a small catch. We need a TREE.


    If it does, then we must, by all means, do the best handicapping we can do, assessing the horses' chances, and deciding which of the logical horses hold value and bet on those.

    But, if it doesn't... well, that's a completely different story.

    Consider that you have a race with a 1/5 favorite. He became the 1/5 favorite because, logically, he's by far the best horse in the race. I mean, he's got to be pretty obvious, right?

    So, if he wins, the handicapping was RIGHT.

    But if he loses, then the handicapping must have been wrong. CORRECT?

    So, if the handicapping was wrong, why would we want to use that same or similar handicapping to pick who we should be?

    Now, the logical question here is, "Yes, but how do I know that he's going to lose before the race is going to go off?"

    Well, of course, you don't. But if you're betting anybody but Mr. 1/5, in order for you to win he must lose. Therefore, we must look at the other horses with the attitude of "conventional handicapping will fail."

    So, what is the alternative to CONVENTIONAL HANDICAPPING?

    I contend that it is no handicapping at all!


    Question for you, Ranch.
    If I told you that in today's 5th race the winner will not be gotten with handicapping. What would you do to pick the horses to bet?
  • Tony Kofalt

    Tough to resist a discussion regarding a race from Aqu. Ranch, you always present some very intriguing ideas, From my perspective, I handicapped this race as anything BUT chaotic. In 3yo races for runners with a limited number of starts I always look for horses that ready to explode or make sudden improvement. In his last race State Planning showed one of my favorite betting angles. The running line for his 2-11 race, he laid closer to the leader in both position and beaten lengths at all calls than his prior running line. To me this is a sign of better things to come. I made him a strong single and he did come through at only 2-1.
    When I handicapped him today I was afraid his last race was all he had right now and expected his progress to level out a bit. To me Pineapple Man looked like an improving horse who could control the pace. I made a strong play despite his low price. I singled him in the P5's. To be fair, I did not expect his odds to be as low as even money.
    What I saw as a lone speed race you saw as chaotic. I will definitely analyze your analysis here to see how I can improve. Great job
  • RanchWest
    Another route to State Planning is that he was coming off a Scott Big Win, being close at the 2nd call 26 days ago and drawing off in the win. I have his specific pattern to be a 23% win probability, quite high.
  • Tom
    Interesting topic. Ranch pushes the creative boundries!
    As to the topic of early style vs early figs, I have been testing a new (for me) early rating, simply the sum of the horse's QSP + the sum of the best two of last four BRIS E1 ratings. So far, it been very useful in seperating the early horses and identifying contentious early races. It's not a single line value so I thought it would out-perform.

    Ranch, you mention the big race, and I agree that is positive, I have come up with a hierarcy of last race performance, that is my best case scenario.

    1-The big win
    2- A good race
    3-Acceptable race (front half of the field, within 6 lrngths)
    4-Excuse race, not good, but not a failure
    5-A Failure race

  • Dave Schwartz

    Tom, I love ALL of this!

    Interesting topic. Ranch pushes the creative boundries!Tom
    Indeed he does!

    He's been the driving force on getting this forum moving. I was ready to give up, and he beat me into continuing.

    Suddenly, we're getting a little traction.
  • RanchWest
    Ranch, you mention the big race, and I agree that is positive, I have come up with a hierarcy of last race performance, that is my best case scenario.Tom

    Scott's up close is very strong.

    But speaking of failure races... this has been a real problem for me. Every time I think it is important, I see some horse with 4 failures win at a huge price. Any thoughts on that? I've never been able to piece anything together on how that happens. Is it just form darkening?
  • RanchWest
    I'll try locating another chaos race. The 8th at AQU today, 4/1. The chaos rating is 3.36, above the 3.2 threshold.

    The closers are 3, 7, 8, 11. All have low Quirin speed points.

    The 3 has good speed ratings and would be a logical choice.

    But I am going to swing for the fences on this one and reduce it to 7,8,11 with morning lines of 30, 15 and 30.

    I'm going to go with 7 and 8 as having the staying power. We'll see. Post time is 5:01 Eastern.
  • Dave Schwartz

    So, you're saying that your bets are 7 & 8 only.
  • RanchWest
    So, you're saying that your bets are 7 & 8 only.Dave Schwartz

    Yes, my selections are 7 and 8 only.
  • Dave Schwartz
    Good fortune with that!
  • RanchWest
    8 is scratched. I'll take 3 and 7.
  • RanchWest
    I see that Tony picked 1,5,10 and those are my traditional selections that my software picks.
  • Jack Price
    Art verse Science
    I’ve also done a lot of research in preparing statistical models for pre-handicapping… Particularly, to pre-classify a race based on expected volatility… I use an A,B,C,D, and F grading system with Grd A being highly predictable and Grd F being the most volatile. The example race (Aqu8) has a Grd C which denotes “normal” predictability which is subject to change during the actual (manual) handicapping of the race… I have no interest in handicapping this race; however, at a glance, it doesn’t appear to be total chaos… I would not endorse the #3 as the top choice as suggested by my modeling (due to Philly Park form not normally transferring to AQU)… But, I have a hard time making a case for the #7 based on what appears to be very little early pace pressure… Anyway, I would never talk anyone off a longshot so the very best of luck!
    AQU8_04.01.22 (236K)
  • Dave Schwartz
    @Jack Price

    This is an awesome analysis.

    What I find interesting about this thread is that everyone has gone about this in their own way.

    This kind of INFORMAL COLLABORATION is what I've been hoping for with this site.
  • Jack Price
    Ranch... I think he held on... Great Call!!!
  • RanchWest
    Ranch... I think he held on... Great Call!!!Jack Price
    Thanks, Jack. And again it is the fav in second, as per Dave's pattern.
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