Friday, March 8, 2013

Some Funny Things Happen (and the Razorback H. G3 Preview)

“When human judgment and big data intersect there are some funny things that happen.” – Nate Silver

I often liken myself to BASF who made the trademarked claim along the lines that they don’t make the things that you buy, but that they make them better.  Every handicapping book I read spurs interest and gives me something to take away – an angle, an idea for an angle, a way to modify/improve/dissect a particular computation or concept.  I love to take angles from American Turf Monthly and any book I can find and see how to better make them work by tracking them with common filters (days since last race, class moves, etc.) and any other filters that may seem unique to the parameters.  Honestly, I have never found any angle to be a winner by itself, it has taken additional factors and analysis to make them profitable.  I have started to revive my ‘old system’ which imports BRIS data files into Excel with a renewed interest (screen shots to follow as I get the format cleaned up a bit).  I have taken my fundamental ideas of decades ago and added on (and taken away) many variables and other factors over the years.  William Scott’s PCR and ability times (Total Victory at the Track) are working their way in now and as I track the impact of those values, they may become a fixture in the future.  When you finally see all the pieces and parts aligning of an angle/factor with pace, form, and the right spot – it is truly like the perfect storm…. This was the case for me last Saturday in the weekly Publichandicapper contest.

Last weekend, I went  4-for-4 in the Publichandicapper weekly contest, which typically are races I don’t normally play, as mentioned previously, I gravitate to lower class horses and try to stick to my main circuits.  The first race, the Tom Fool G3 at Aqueduct had the horse I had unsuccessfully touted two times in a row shipping across the country on short rest – I liked the pace advantage he held and was rewarded with a $6.30 winner in Comma to the Top.  In the next race, I liked Vyjack off of the long layoff and felt the early pace would weaken late and he’d make a solid stretch run and met one of my key form angle – was rewarded here with a $6.70 winner.  The Swale at Gulfstream proved to be my best play of the day as I liked Clearly Now coming back second off of the layoff having ‘popped and dropped’ in two consecutive route efforts.  The fact that he was showed better early speed in his last dirt effort was the clincher since I figured he liked the surface.  Clearly Now was bet down from that 15-1 morning line, but still returned a handsome $16.00.  Lastly, in the Santa Anita handicap Game On Dude did exactly what everyone thought he would do – cruise home for $4.60.

However, you are only as good as your last race and time to move on to this week’s action.   Once again I will tackle a stakes race at a track I would normally pass over in my quest to continue to ‘face my handicapping fears’ – Oaklawn – Race 9 – Razorback Handicap G3 - 1 -1/16mi for 4 year olds and up

1 Golden Ron (20-1) – outclassed but will likely be a factor (negative) on the early pace.

2 Atigun (4-1) – impressive figures and forwardly placed, however has only mustered to clear the N2X hurdle; might prefer him at a longer distance.

3 Cyber Secret (5-1) – sharp off in first and second off of the layoff, but think this race is a huge stretch in class.  Expect him to be a factor on the pace here as well.

4 Donoharm (5-1) – has rattled off 5 straight wins over 4 different tracks; including two minor stakes here.  He overcame a wide trip early last out to take the Essex at a price.  Form is solid as is his work pattern, expect a late rally from him as the early pace disintegrates late.

5 Ride the Lightning (30-1) – seemingly outclassed and facing a tougher pace; may run late but likely not a factor.

6 Raison d’Etat (30-1) – Forwardly placed but outclassed – PASS.

7 Najjaar (20-1) – seems to prefer the turf, late run but likely not much of a factor here.

8 Brethren (10-1) – Grade 3 winner two years back but not much else since.  His best races are behind him and he is outclassed here – minor share at best.

9 San Pablo (9-2) – Solid record and minor stakes wins.  Overcame a bad start last out to almost hang on versus Donoharm last out.  He will be on the lead early but will likely feel the pressure from Golden Ron and Alternation before being short late.

10 Alternation (2-1) – solid favorite who can fire first off of the layoff and defending champion of this race last year. Expect a solid effort here but being near the lead may be more of a hindrance with a quick projected pace.

Donoharm looks to have solid current form and an edge in pace with a stalking/closing style as the early speed here looks to be weakened by a quick early pace. 

Probable Plays:  WP 4; EX 4,10 / 2,3,4,8,10

Good luck all!


  1. Ray, da-damn on 4-for-4 on Public Handicapper; that's nearly impossible, and something to brag about. Nice job last week!

    I didn't get to read the last 2 days and am finally catching up. I just missed out on the win portion of a $10WP on Golden Ron, and similar fate with the Tampa Derby runner up at 34-1. A nice day that could have been a huge day.

    Anyway, I enjoy reading your blog, and see you on March 30 at SSC#3.

    1. Golden Ron got the trip I had hoped for; I went Ron-San Pablo-Alternation on, figuring the two outside might get strung out into the first turn, which absolutely happened; just couldn't hold on late.