Friday, July 5, 2013

Direction, Progress, and Parx Saturday Preview

"I can't change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination." - Jimmy Dean

You can't force data to do what you want it to do - it will do what it does and you need to adapt to your findings.  I have refined my sheet and alas I am willing to show a couple of Saturday's races from Parx with it.  I still have work to do - a laundry list of minor bugs, a way to denote if a front-runner has never had to face pressure, and a confidence assessment based upon various factors within the race.  I have also decided to clean up the factors I don't really use or feel don't impact my decisions - amazingly I realized half of what was on my sheet could be removed.  Less is more, especially when it is more useful and reliable than what was eliminated.  It has taken me well over a year to get it this far, and know that I still have much more work to do.  As Thomas Edison once said, "I have not failed.  I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work."  Any seasoned handicapper will agree that not every idea we have, track, refine, dissect, and over analyze will be a winner, yet we all learn something in the process - other factors to watch on other angles/ideas/systems, finding a niche where a factor works, or we blindly stumble across success in our failure.  The game is ever changing and angles/ideas that worked a few years ago many be rendered useless as the race conditions and horse conditioning changes.

A few weeks back I wrote about my thoughts on the Matrix Handicapping book by David Vaccaro.  I was actually floored that I had an email from David in my inbox this morning - he managed to stumble across my blog from May 24th and appreciated my feedback, honesty, and was glad I could take something positive away from his work.  I plan on giving him my honest feedback of the factor I was planning to track (post email, I did set up a tab in my results file and did notice that Rainbow Heir in the 10th at Monmouth on 7/4 was a winning play of what I had described) and I look forward to further interaction with someone else who shares my passion at the level I do.  I would also like to give a kudos to Derek Simon with the launch of his new site, - I have been following his work for quite a while and he was the latest motivator/inspiration to get my 'fecal matter coagulated' and finish my beta-pace analysis.

So without much further ado, I will get to business here... I tried to keep the tutorial on how to read my sheet short and sweet - wasn't going to happen.  It is a bit long winded before you get to the actual analysis and race reviews, but here it goes....

It is easily adjusted for scratches (by placing an ‘x’ in the column to the left of the Program Number) and if the race is switched from turf to dirt (by placing an ‘x’ in the Green box in the gray bar).

In the gray bar across the top of each race you will find the Race, conditions, and distance.
FLF – Favorite Likelihood Factor – average is 30; the higher it is the more likely the favorite is, the lower, the less likely.  This is based on a number of factors within the race and field. 
PPG – This is the ‘Pace Pressure Gauge’ from Randy Giles Extreme Pace Handicapping.  The other designations in the box are what type of runner would be favored based on the PPG.
AVG & MAX for the ES, LS, OS - these are part of the pace computations; and a designation that points to whether the early pace will be strong, weak, or unsure.

Figures After the Program # and Horse Name:
Two columns labeled “Smooth” Pts and Odds.  This is my system of assigning values to each entry based on the probability of results based upon individual factors (little inter-relation between the field here).  The ‘Odds’ is my fair odds based upon these factors.  Through years of testing, this raw factor when used alone wins at about 30% with a .976 ROI.  Needless to say, there are conditions where it does better and is profitable absent of any other handicapping.
ML – Morning Line Odds of the horse
Style / QP – Quirin based styles and speed points
Pace – my own twist on the Quirin designations – xf, f, mf, m, sm, s, xs – extra fast, fast, medium-fast, medium, slow-medium, slow, extra slow – based on the half mile call as to what pace range the horse likes (not necessarily the half mile time of the horse).
Speed – My homemade speed figure (wins 29.5% - 1.085 ROI on its own)
Raw Speed – My original speed figure (wins 26.5% - 0.978 ROI on its own)
Pace – Homemade pace figure – the lower, the better (win 28.6% - 1.078 ROI on its own)
Raw Power is a factor based on my other factors (wins 30.5% - 1.12 ROI on its own)
Late Pace is a route only factor I have been tracking – too early to speak to how valid it is.
PBR – not only my favorite form of liquid refreshment, but right out of Mike Pizzolla’s Handicapping Magic (based largely on his PBS – Pizzolla Balanced Speed Rating)
TT / AT – Target Rating / Ability Rating – straight out of Matrix Handicapping by Dave Vaccaro
ES is early pace, LS is late pace, OS is overall speed – the ESR, LSR, and OSR are the ES Rating, LS Rating, and OS Rating respectively.  How these values play out determine the comment regarding pace.  Also, if you see a “+” before the comment – it means the horse has more energy over the course of the race based on how the project pace sets up.
Angles – This section flags certain spot play angles I like to use in my daily handicapping.  It does not mean they are there in some more subjective cases, but alerts me to the likelihood of their presence.

How does it all come together?  Good question, if I knew, I would quit my day job!  Seriously though, when the ‘Pts’, Pace, Speed, Raw Speed, and Raw Power all agree – the win rate is 45.4% with a ROI of 1.12 independent of any other handicapping (with a frequency of occurrence of less than 10% of all races handicapped).  Like all of my other factors, it has its niches – the ‘All 5’ does its best in dirt sprints over applicable MSW,  maiden claiming, and claiming races (47.5% - 1.19 ROI).  I don't always go with the top choice based on figures, or even pace... my manual handicapping either validates or eliminates plays...

Naturally I picked Parx for Saturday which fields a number of low confidence races for me (5 of the 9 races are maiden claimers); which also limits my sheet's applicability (Races 1,2,7,8,9).  Overall the card does set up to favor lower priced horses, so we'll just have to pick and choose when the odds are reasonable...

Race 1 - 4 Ebbycalvin Laloosh (7-5) presses the likely pacesetter 6 Tyeste (6-1)

Race 2 - 7 Yodelin Moon (3-1) rolls late with 8 Silky Lace (2-1) as the early pace set by 2 Hannah's Gamble (10-1) and 5 Mahaica Gap (7-2) falls apart

Race 3 (Finally an applicable race!) - 4 Talk Of The Night (5-2) has back class and should be able to take this field wire to wire; 2 Emotional Lady (4-1) will be making a late and may be around should #4 falter late.

Race 4 - 4 Imperial Bluegrazz (8-5) looks to go wire to wire on the drop here (but not worth it at this price), 7 Cyclone Warrior (4-1) has shown some deceptive form last out and may respond here.  (In this case I take the pace scenario and some of the figures over the Pts).
Race 5 - The pace set up is questionable - I came up with two likely scenarios... First - 8 Elegant Heart (8-5) looks to go wire to wire.  Second (which seems most likely) - 2 Unorganized Crime (12-1) and 4 Fasterlizpfaster (15-1) may disrupt the early pace which would set up a late rally by 6 Power's Cupcake (5-2)  - again, I deviate from what my sheet tells me based on my own manual assessment.

Race 6 - 1 Delta Doyenne (8-5) can duel, but is more likely to take this one wire to wire; 7 My Wild Irish Rose (3-1) may be the spoiler and expect a late run from 6 Golden Rock (6-1).  Here my manual assessment agrees with my sheet:
Race 7 - (too many first time turfers to be applicable) - Wide open field - 5 Enjoy the Win (8-5) appears to be the best over the turf with 1 Christmas Angel (2-1) having some back class despite being short with 3 A Lady Called Max (5-1) making her return to the grass with some decent connections and a moderate pedigree. Low confidence race both manually and with the sheet.

Race 8 - (too many first time turfers to be applicable) - Early pace won't hold for the #1/1A Crook-Demasi Entry (3-1), with 6 Ceasing (8-1) looking to bounce back off of a poor effort last out while sporting a pedigree which points to him doing well over the turf, and #2/2X Preciado Entry (2-1) showing some recent form.  Low confidence race again - both manually and with the sheet.

Race 9 - (insufficient data for the sheet to be applicable) - 1 Buddys Moon (8-1) never got it going after being bumped at the start last out did run a deceptive good race two back after not liking two turns and the slop - he should take advantage of the post, the drop to the claiming ranks, and a weak early pace here.  4 Street Ballad (7-2) will also be part of the late run after a long rest and switching back to a one turn race on the dirt.  10 Bialystok (5-2) comes off of a long layoff and shortens up and tries dirt for the first time... a lot of karma changes here could point to an improving effort.

As always - good luck!  Let me know if you have any questions, comments, or criticisms of my sheets above!  I always welcome feedback!