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Track Tracts

Predatory Handicapping: Part 2
by Joe Takach

So what�s a predatory situation?

A predatory situation is a specific race that you win at a higher percentage rate than your combined overall annual win percentage.

In Part 1 of this mini-series, I suggested that you closely examine your betting for a full year or for a series of at least 500 wagers. If you feel my suggested sample is too small, by all means feel free to use more if you have accurate records. Make sure the year or 500 bet series is for a successive 12-month period so that the wagers are spread over all 4 seasons of the year. This keeps the your sample unbiased as to time of the year. And whatever you do, if you made 786 wagers in a 12 month period, don�t stop when you reach number 500 of your 786 bet series. Finish out the full year. The 12 successive month period doesn�t have to begin in January and end in December. It could start with any month, such as from May until the following April---------just as long as it is 12 successive months.

If you�ve never done this before, here is your first handicapping �reality check� and perhaps your first step towards profitability. I know it was mine! Once completed, you�ll discover cold hard facts about yourself----the �good, bad and the ugly�.

In the early 70�s, after getting my �clock cleaned� on a chilly New Year�s Eve afternoon and incoherently mumbling �I shoulda� over 14,000 times while driving home from the track, my �game� changed forever!

I spent that New Year�s Eve examining every single bet that I had made for that prior year. I knew I had lost, but I didn�t know exactly how much nor exactly why. It didn�t matter that it was New Year�s Eve. When I �gotta know� something concerning racing, I �gotta know� right then and right there! I wasn�t about to start another year off on the wrong foot.

My self-research wasn�t hard for me to do, because whenever I made a wager, I marked it on my track program. And since I kept my track programs for many different reasons such as paddock and pre-race warm-up notes, nuances, trip notes etc., I had my needed data base right in front of me. I merely had to spit it out day-by-day to see what cost me the 8 grand that I was about to discover was my donation to the game for that year�s �education�.

I was shocked!

Before I even got to what types of races cost me moola, I quickly saw that I had lost over 11 grand wagering on exotics! (At this time in my career I only made 2 types of wagers---to win or an exotic of some kind)..

But it was what I saw next that absolutely floored me!

I actually made a �flat bet profit� of about 3 grand on straight �win� wagers. Had I merely refrained from every one of my �exotic wagers� for that 12 month period and not lost 11 grand looking for a huge �score�, my year would have been 3K in the black, rather than 8K in the red!

Needless to mention, by the time I reached the track for the first card of the new year, the words �exotic wagering� were long gone from my wagering, leaving only one wagering option that remains with me to this very day. I bet to win only, because I�m personally not good enough at to overcome the �exotic mutuel take� for exactas, trifectas, pick 3s, 4s, 6s, 8s, or 9�s. In some cases these takeouts approach 30% or more!

Can I beat a 15% �mutuel take� on straight win wagers? Without a doubt!

Can I beat a 20, 25 or 30% �mutuel take� on exotic wagers? Absolutely not!

Perhaps you can, but before you boast of your Herculean ability, you had better put it all down on paper as I did.

Why? Because before producing �hard copy� of my year�s wagers, I had foolishly guessed that I was slightly ahead in my exotic wagering for that year. I don�t know about you, but whenever I guess, I usually guess wrong? And just in case you have yet to take notice, guessing in our game simply doesn�t cut it. Facts do!

Percentage wise, I also discovered that I won twice as many turf races than I did dirt affairs. Additionally, I noticed that on the turf, I won 3 times as many routes than I did sprints. Further subdividing the turf route wins, a mile turf route was far and away my absolute best betting opportunity in my entire arsenal!

I could have never given you that fact without first putting everything down �on paper�.

If and when you decide to investigate yourself, you too will unearth things that will shock you.

You might be 10 times better on the dirt than turf and find that your best betting opportunity to be 7 furlong dirt sprints for 3 year olds! Or maybe it will be classified allowance races for fillies and mares 4 and up. It could even be bottom-of-the-barrel 10K claiming races! Who knows?

Every handicapper is different with varying abilities. Everybody has their �specialty�, whether their overall annual win percentage is 40% or 15%. Even handicappers who only win at an overall 15% annual clip can still show a profit for a year----if they knows how to bet! Because somewhere in that lowly 15% win percentage, that handicapper is probably winning over 50% or more of a certain type of race or situation. What�s more, his 2nd best winning situation is likely in the 40% range.

What�s costing him money every year and stopping him from actual profitability, are his losing situations. Eliminate the losing situations and he become a winner! How�s that for a no-brainer! In my case, I just stopped betting all exotic situations.

Which brings us full circle and back to becoming �predatory� and exploiting your personal �predatory situations�.

Once you stop guessing and actually know where your strengths lie, the rest is nothing more than �details�.



Copyright �2003 by Joe Takach.  All rights reserved.  Joe Takach Productions

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