• Handiman
    12
    I've been involved in Handicapping for about 30 to 40 years. I have written numerous handicapping software for myself and others. There is just so much data available, (meaning a limited amount) to actually work with, that it begs the question.... Is there anything new to discover?

    Handicapping is a mature industry as they say, and has been turned inside and out by hundreds if not thousands of handicappers. All looking to gain that edge needed to beat the game. So, is there anything new that we are over looking or have not discovered as of yet? Or is it a fools errand to believe that there is something undiscovered?

    The optimist in me hopes not, but the pragmatic part of me thinks it might just be a fools errand. Given everything I have said, if my eyesight continues to respond to treatment and improves, I will be back at the keyboard chasing the Holy Grail again.
  • Dave Schwartz
    187

    Welcome, Milford!

    I look forward to you keeping handicapping alive for years to come.
    (And vice-versa.)
  • RanchWest
    277
    Is there anything new to discover?

    I think there’s still a lot as to what is prioritized and what is used together. There’s also a lot that is under-utilized.

    Also, I find that data such as pace can easily be misinterpreted if you don’t turn it every which way but loose.
  • William Zayonce
    22
    Is there anything new to discover?

    I think there’s still a lot as to what is prioritized and what is used together. There’s also a lot that is under-utilized.
    I think that the most under utilized thing is our own minds, our imagination. We can often become lost in the data and miss opportunities that arise in the roughly 30% of races that lie "outside the numbers. "
    Imagining alternative possible scenarios can be productive. Looking backward, I would guess that roughly 10% of all races would have been unhittable because the races were unplayable or the winners won only because of unpredictable events occurring during their running.That leaves 20% of winners at good odds that might have been playable given an alternative perspective to the data alone. We look at a 20% win percentage as very good for a horse,jockey or trainer so why would we want to omit this group from consideration?
    One simple ,practical demonstration of what I mean is to quickly handicap a race BEFORE considering the data . Ignore the speed and pace figures and focus on the running lines and the human connections and "imagine" a scenario in which each horse could win. THEN consult the data and compare results. Often they'll be similar but sometimes you'll find a nice overlay that just doesn't "seem to fit the numbers profile". Perhaps what I'm getting at, is the need to think about the race in addition to "calculating " it. Therein may lie that "something new to discover".
  • RanchWest
    277
    what I mean is to quickly handicap a race BEFORE considering the dataWilliam Zayonce

    My view is pretty much opposite. I think most races can be solved from the data. Sometimes the data is not saying what most people think.
  • Dave Schwartz
    187
    I think that the most under utilized thing is our own minds, our imagination. We can often become lost in the data and miss opportunities that arise in the roughly 30% of races that lie "outside the numbers. "
    Imagining alternative possible scenarios can be productive. Looking backward, I would guess that roughly 10% of all races would have been unhittable because the races were unplayable or the winners won only because of unpredictable events occurring during their running.That leaves 20% of winners at good odds that might have been playable given an alternative perspective to the data alone. We look at a 20% win percentage as very good for a horse,jockey or trainer so why would we want to omit this group from consideration?
    One simple ,practical demonstration of what I mean is to quickly handicap a race BEFORE considering the data . Ignore the speed and pace figures and focus on the running lines and the human connections and "imagine" a scenario in which each horse could win. THEN consult the data and compare results. Often they'll be similar but sometimes you'll find a nice overlay that just doesn't "seem to fit the numbers profile". Perhaps what I'm getting at, is the need to think about the race in addition to "calculating " it. Therein may lie that "something new to discover".
    William Zayonce

    What is your definition of good price?
    74% of races are won by the top 3 tote horses.


    You said:
    "One simple ,practical demonstration of what I mean is to quickly handicap a race BEFORE considering the data"
    What are you using to handicap if not data?
    I understand that you mean you are not looking at hard factors. but you are still using --- for lack of a better phrase --- SOFT DATA.

    That is, the things you know/believe to be true.
    Not questioning nor criticizing your beliefs, here. Just saying that if you consider internal questions/thoughts:
    Such as
    • Good race at the distance
    • Recently claimed
    • Top/Good Jockey
    • Top/Good Trainer
    • 2nd race after layoff
    • Ranks in the top 3 for ______
    • Running Style E
    • Fits the profile
    These are all DATA.

    Respectfully, the fact that you don't see them in columns doesn't change what they are.

    Do you disagree?
  • William Zayonce
    22
    Thank-you Dave. I do not disagree ! Of course data is data whether hard or soft.
    The point I was feebly attempting to convey was that we have access to soft data that can help with our final selections but often neglect its importance in identifying contenders that might be overlooked in the betting because of shortcomings in the "hard" data ranking . For me, this is the "fun" and "satisfying" part of handicapping. As to "good odds", my threshold of enthusiasm is about 9/2 but I'll gladly take as low as 2/1 in some circumstances . Generally, I'm just looking for contenders that aren't in the top 3 in the betting but ought to be but I'm not detered from betting if my pick is second or third in the betting at 3/1 or better .
  • Dave Schwartz
    187
    The point I was feebly attempting to convey was that we have access to soft data that can help with our final selections but often neglect its importance in identifying contenders that might be overlooked in the betting because of shortcomings in the "hard" data ranking . For me, this is the "fun" and "satisfying" part of handicapping. As to "good odds", my threshold of enthusiasm is about 9/2 but I'll gladly take as low as 2/1 in some circumstances . Generally, I'm just looking for contenders that aren't in the top 3 in the betting but ought to be but I'm not detered from betting if my pick is second or third in the betting at 3/1 or better .William Zayonce

    You speak truth in what you say.

    The point - which you actually made very subtly is one I agree with wholeheartedly with: There must be a non-data component or we are doomed to fail in today's era.

    If we use pure data, we are, in effect, challenging the whales head on. Data-driven handicapping, by its nature, pushes the winners to the top. Said another way, it pushes the obviously good horses to the top - which is precisely what the whales do.

    That will not likely work out well for us. We - and that includes me - WE simply do not have the horsepower to compete.
    ______________
    I believe that it takes an intersection of artfulness and datafulness to win in this age.
    (Yes, I invent words as needed. LOL)

    Of course, I will never be artful myself.
    Simply not in my nature.
    Instead, I contrive SYSTEMATIC non-data processes to substitute for artfulness.

    Like you, I will design them in such a manner that the whales would not ever consider using them in their own theater of operations. As such, we can be the guerilla warfare experts.

    But, there is a catch.
    Our non-data approach, must be verifiable.
    That is, we must make an effort to track our approach - whether it is true art or systematic.

    We must be willing to objectively test what we do - and, if something isn't working, we must be willing to admit that our idea, concept, angle, etc. is a failure and replace or modify it.

    YOUR THOUGHTS?
    (And anyone else, of course.)
  • William Zayonce
    22
    You've captured my meaning perfectly! And explained it in a much more erudite manner.
    And, yes, it must be tested, but to remain effective(if it is) it must not become common knowledge...and if its faulty then we must continue to modify the approach.
  • Dave Schwartz
    187
    You've captured my meaning perfectly! And explained it in a much more erudite manner.
    And, yes, it must be tested, but to remain effective(if it is) it must not become common knowledge...and if its faulty then we must continue to modify the approach.
    William Zayonce

    I've been doing this for so many years.
    In my experience, the only people who jealously guard what they do are those who consistently lose.

    Not saying that professionals will give away all their secrets, but, as a general rule, I have found that they are very willing to share their knowledge and much of what they do.

    Historically, when I've shared my current strategy completely in a seminar, not 1 person in 20 will handicap more than a couple of dozen races before changing something.

    My point is that short of publishing a book that sells (say) 10,000 copies - sharing what you do will simply not change your prices or ROI.

    BTW, someone asked me recently why my system changes from year to year. The answer is because the GAME is changing year-to-year, and often quite drastically.

    Whales, whales, whales.
    They deserve what they have because they've earned it.
    But they've ruined the game for the rest of us.

    WE MUST FIND A WAY TO BE COMPETITIVE.
    Working on it.
  • William Zayonce
    22
    You've made 2 good points. First, sharing info to a small group just makes it "local" knowledge. It wouldn't become "Common" knowledge until the entire community of players became aware of it. Second, many folks are reluctant to try something different for more than a few events to give it a real test. I think that an "Artful" methodology might fall into that category .
  • Tony Kofalt
    277
    There are some outstanding thoughts being exchanged here! Now this is what a handicapping forum is all about.
    I agree 100% that we have to be 'different' from the whales to uncover opportunities that they may miss. They play a highly sophisticated game that overcomes the take. And they are assisted by tools like batch wagering that most of us can't afford access to. So how do we compete?
    • Here are some ideas:
    • Make your game more artsy. Avoid commonly used paceline selection methods like 2 best of last 3. Instead, don't be afraid to select multiple pacelines, weigh them differently and perhaps factor in subtle changes to them.
    • Always project improvement or decline in a horses form. I'm not recommending wild swings but something different than the last performance.
    • Build and maintain something exclusive to yourself. Perhaps notes about prior races that are not widely available. Not just about the slow start that everyone else saw but maybe the pack position a runner found themselves in that is different than normal.
    • Focus on a few venues and become expects there. You will find nuggets of data that are not available to the general public.
    Any feedback is appreciated
  • Biniak
    48
    Great points Tony.

    I wanted to ask you if your bets (Win% and ROI) in the vulnerable favorites races is higher than when a there is not a bad favorite? I know you are not a win bettor but maybe you have records. Thanks!
  • RanchWest
    277
    Here are some ideas:Tony Kofalt

    Good comments!
  • Dustin Korth
    43
    I think the majority of missing pieces out there for handicapping data involve the actual betting. There's tons and tons of data on PICKING contenders but not all that much on BETTING contenders.

    If I could magically tell you the winner of a single race with 100% sureness and give you $100, how do you bet it?

    There's win, you can top an exacta or tri to all, you can double to all on either side, etc. I wonder how many handicappers actually possess the skill (or will) to actually analyze what the right decision is given this scenario.

    I couldn't even count the number of times I've heard people comment (especially myself included) that they had the horse...but they just didn't bet it right.
  • Dave Schwartz
    187
    If I could magically tell you the winner of a single race with 100% sureness and give you $100, how do you bet it?Dustin Korth

    Great point. :100:

    I ask this question a little differently: "What is the best way to EXPLOIT what I believe to be true about this race?"

    This is what I refer to as "Leverage Points."

    #LeveragePoints #LevPts
  • RanchWest
    277
    I once helped a guy structure a P3 ticket:
    All-5-All twice
    All-5-3 twice
    All-5-4 twice
    He hit it 4 times. The horse in the middle leg was Easy Goer, who won with win odds of 2/5 against 3yo's after beating older two weeks earlier (as sure as it gets). The P3 paid $1,600 (x4). So, this guy got better than 13/1 on a 2/5 horse.
  • Biniak
    48
    I once helped a guy structure a P3 ticket:
    All-5-All twice
    All-5-3 twice
    All-5-4 twice
    He hit it 4 times. The horse in the middle leg was Easy Goer, who won with win odds of 2/5 against 3yo's after beating older two weeks earlier (as sure as it gets). The P3 paid $1,600 (x4). So, this guy got better than 13/1 on a 2/5 horse.
    RanchWest

    WOW nice story! Thanks for sharing it.
  • RanchWest
    277
    By the way, apparently you don't have to be a genius to make the right bet. The reason I got involved in structuring that wager was that the guy didn't know how much a $1 10x1x10 wager would cost. Well, I did give him the winner in leg 3, too. So, for anyone arithmetic challenged, he spent $440. So, I guess the key was to have $440 and to know the potential was BIG. Legs 1 and 3 were on the turf. Leg 1 was won by a 25/1. Leg 3 I think paid about 9/2, the 4. This was a LONG time ago, so I hope my memory is ok. I do remember I got a free beer out of it.
  • Tony Kofalt
    277

    I can't say that I have any data to support that. When I come across a vulnerable favorite I have to make a decision, Do I ignore him on all my horizontal tickets or do I include him as a B level horse if I have strong opinions in other legs? Seldom do I believe a vulnerable fav can't win but it's that I think he will be overbet based on the way I see a race playing out. Sorry as I dont believe I had the answer you were looking for.
  • RanchWest
    277
    Sorry as I dont believe I had the answer you were looking for.Tony Kofalt

    I like that your answers are based on your experiences and not what we are looking for.
  • Biniak
    48
    Tony,

    If you provide me a list of your VF (maybe a spreadsheet) I will do some research and report back to the team if I discover something. OK?
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