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Thoroughbred Handicapping From The Bettors Perspective.

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The Last 10 Months In Review, Part II: Handicapping

October 21st, 2009 · No Comments

Part II – Handicapping

Money Management

We all have our method of coming up with horses in races we are looking at. Some people value Class over Pace, where as some people value Early Speed over Class. Very few things remain the same in this great sport, but one thing remains constant. Money Management.

If you have terrible money management, its not a matter of if you will tap out, but rather a matter of when. I’m sure we have all gone through times where we were over betting our bankroll, and got in trouble from it. I know I had that problem in three of the last ten months. I wasn’t necessarily playing horses I like, but I was trying to chase a winner. The more I chased, the more I lost. I had been on a serious losing streak, and I couldn’t tell up from down.

I decide the best thing to do was take some time off. During that time I did some reading, listened to pod-casts, watched handicapping DVDs, and spoke with a handful of knowledgeable winning handicappers. I started getting into Value Based Investing. I re watched videos done by Dick Mitchell that I had purchased a couple years ago, and had the opportunity to talk with Dave Schwartz (HorseStreet) on several occasions, who is an astute handicapper in his own right.

When Dave speaks, I listened and took copious notes. I had the opportunity to go over his “Session Approach” and how it applies to money management.

Here is an excerpt from an article he wrote on his website, Horsestreet.com:

“For example, suppose that you currently have $500 to start playing with. Take (say) $250 as a playing session and play until that $250 doubles. When the $250 has become $500 you will have a total of $750 (remember your other $250?). Now, reassess your bankroll situation and start a new session with $375 (half of $750).

An excellent way to play is to take 40% of the total bankroll and play until it triples. I find that playing with less than half of my total bankroll makes me feel very confident because even if I “blow” the whole session I haven’t lost even half my stake. When the bankroll triples I will have won 80% of the original starting bankroll, and the total bankroll has now grown to 180% of the starting point. I make a 30% withdrawal (leaving 150% of the original) and the whole procedure is repeated.

Session#

BR

Play

Result

Withdraw

New BR

1

1,000

400

+800

300

1,500

2

1,500

600

+1,200

450

2,250

3

2,250

900

+1,800

675

3,375

Note that if I had lost the first session, I would have readjusted the bankroll to $600 and my next session would have been $240 ($600 x 40% = $240).”

You can read the whole article here.

After speaking with him for several hours, I decided to buy his Horse Market Investing Manuscript along with his HMI Excel Spreadsheet. Dave says, “that if you are a player that loses consistently because you are incapable of showing a flat-bet profit, you will continue to lose. Now the good news. If you are capable of showing even a marginal flat-bet profit HMI will make you very tough to beat.” After putting HMI to use, I completely agree with him.

Handicapping Books

I actually had time to read while handicapping full time. One of the best books I read was, Exotic Wagering Formulas: Tomcat’s Formulas and Strategies by Thomas C. Walters. I have been primarily a win and exacta investor, this book gave me simple methods for exotic structuring, from the exacta to the pick-6. This book is a must have if you can find it. I would check with the Gamblers Book Shop.

Another book I cannot recommend enough is Calibration Handicapping by Jim Lehane. I find myself constantly going back to his book and looking over his techniques to refresh my memory. It is my most earmarked book! You can find Jim’s website here.

I also picked up Michael Pizzolla’s Handicapping Magic 3rd Edition: A digital Course In Handicapping. I printed out the book and watched the videos, and everything he said made a lot of sense to me.He had concepts that I had a vague idea about, but couldn’t put into my own words. This helped my game out quite a bit, especially turf routes.

Look for full reviews on these books in the future.

Handicapping Software

I have been handicapping horse racing for four and a half years now. The first three years I had used only the Daily Racing Form Past Performances. I would print out races that I thought I had a beat on, and it was pen and paper from there. I wasn’t until a year and a half ago that I learned about handicapping software through various online horse racing forums. I read a lot of reviews, look at several programs, including Dave’s software The Horse Street Handicapper.

In the end I purchased Black Magic: The Ultimate Handicapper, by Mr. Pizzolla. It has been by far one of the best purchases I have made into Thoroughbred Racing. It is a complete data management tool. I could go on and on about this program.

Handicapping Philosophy

I’ve reached the point in my handicapping when I call it Stress Free Investing. If I can sit and look at a few races each day, great. If I don’t look at any races on a particular day, that is fine too. There will always be another bet… Very rarely do I press for a bet.

You have to believe what you are doing and how you are doing it is correct. If you ever won it the past, that is proof enough that you are capable of doing it again.

Know what your Bread & Butter races are. For me, it has always been a horse with an edge in early speed that looks like it will control the pace that day. For others, it is a horse dropping in Class into a level he or she has previously won at.

Keep track of your wagers!!! How do you know what you are really good at if you don’t keep track?! Keep a notebook for your wagers, or if you are computer savvy put together a spreadsheet or database to enter all your information. This is so important. You will quickly find out whether you are fooling yourself or not. Here are a couple links to some Wager Tracking Software:

The Betting Analyst Supreme Express
Bettor Keep Track

We all have our sayings when it comes to handicapping. Here are a couple that I have come across and apply to my handicapping.

“When you sit, sit; When you stand, stand; But above all, do not wobble.”

“Let the bet make you.”

Good Luck & Happy Investing

J.

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