(Editor's Note: This is the first article in a series by Joe Takach,
well-known physical handicapping expert. Joe can be contacted
through his website at
should be every player�s starting point or beginning strategy
whenever they look at a new race. And by that I mean they should be
looking to �exploit� other handicappers for their own gain.
After all, isn�t winning and winning all that you can what this game
is all about?
If you�re going to exploit any situation to your advantage, in
addition to knowing all the cold hard facts about that situation,
you must know your own strengths and weaknesses in relation to that
Drift back for a moment to the early stages of your handicapping
career. All of us, at one time or another, approached every race
with the intent of finding a winner to bet. We bet every single
There�s no disgrace there, we were merely going to school for
handicapping 101 and 102. And much like life in the real world,
losing and making repeated mistakes is precisely how we began to
Since there was a winner in every race, little regard or conscious
thought was ever given to whether or not the race itself was
There was going to be a winner and we just had to find him.
After getting �burned� countless times in various situations, we
learned to shy from certain types of races and developed our own
sense of what was a playable race vs. an unplayable one.
About 2 years ago, I wrote an article entitled �Passing Unplayable
Races� where I listed 8 kinds of races that could be thought of as
unplayable. I also offered a caveat stating that I had only scraped
the surface of unplayable races. I wanted only to get the reader
thinking along these lines as there were many more specific
situations that rendered a race unplayable.
If you are curious, below are the 8 unplayable situations that I
1---TOO MANY 1ST TIME STARTERS
4---TOO MANY GOOD HORSES IN THE SAME RACE
5---TOO MANY BAD HORSES IN ANY RACE
6---RACES TAKEN OFF THE TURF
8---MUTUEL PRICE TOO LOW
*** If you�d like to read my more in-depth explanation of each of
these 8 unplayable situations, the website on which you are now
reading this, most likely has my article archive. Again, it is
called �Passing Unplayable Races�.
Just as there are many races that are unplayable, there are races
that are very playable though not as numerous. And much like we
learned how to shy away from indecipherable affairs, we should
always be gravitating to �predatory� situations with �upside� rather
than �downside� risk.
Most handicappers win more of one specific type of race vs. all the
others that they bet. It�s not that they don�t win other bets, they
just win more of one specific type or types.
An example in its most basic form would be that a handicapper wins
more sprints than routes.
You might even subdivide the winning �more sprints than routes� into
surfaces and allowance vs. claiming races. I could go on and on, but
I�m sure you get the drift. There are many types of races or
situations in our game.
If you�ve ever kept strict records of your wagers for a year
assuming you wager 100 days a year or for a series of 500 bets, you
quickly find out exactly where you are winning and losing.
Merely �mouthing� that you win more sprints than routes might
actually be the case if you�ve won 50 sprints to 45 routes, but
since there are about 2 sprints run for every route, your edge would
clearly be with routes. If these were your exact stats, they�d
reveal that you actually win almost 2 routes to every sprint!
Therefore, your strength is with routes rather than with sprints.
There could be many reasons why you win more routes than sprints,
but that isn�t within the scope of this writing. The fact is you win
50 sprints to 45 routes.
What�s more, in addition to finding out that you are better in
routes vs. sprints, keeping strict records for a year will expose
every single one of your strengths and your weaknesses.
If you accept your own research, it puts you into a �pre-predatory�
stand by mode. You know where you do your best and you learn how to
�wait� until those situations present themselves. Then you unload!
In our above situation of 50 sprint wins to 45 route wins, you
wouldn�t �unload� in a sprint if you were twice as good with routes
unless you were �brain dead�. Yeah, I know, there might be times
when a sprint bet looks as good as any route bet you�ve ever made in
your life. But a fact is a fact-----period! You�re twice as good in
routes and if you begin unloading too often in sprints or engaging
too often in �downside� risk situations, the only place you�re going
is to the poor house!
You must learn how to be predatory and exploit your strengths.
Without doubt, it�s the shortest path to winning!
PART 2---PREDATORY HANDICAPPING / EXAMPLES
Copyright �2003 by
Joe Takach. All rights reserved.
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