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Track Tracts

Upside vs. Downside Risk -- Part 4 --
The Answers

by Joe Takach

Before offering my answers to my 50 question test, I�m going to again advance a caveat that was offered in Part 1 of this series.

The 50 answers are nothing more than my opinion. I�m not looking to do battle and waste time with anyone over an opinion---mine or theirs. Opinions are confirmed for each and every one of us every single day shortly after we buy a ticket from the mutuel system.

These 50 opinions work for me and have for a long time and that is all that really concerns me.

If you can incorporate one or all of these 50 opinions into your overall personal methodology, it is my belief that you will enhance into your bottom line. And if you increase your bottom line, my purpose in offering them to you has reached fruition.

(Editor's Note: Click here to review Joe's article with the questions these answers are based on.)

Here goes:

1---UPSIDE---If there ever was a time when a jockey is �trying� to win, it is when he makes a move to a new circuit and is attempting to establish credibility. He knows that if he doesn�t start winning early on, his chances of making it on this new circuit are virtually nil. I�ve watched many very capable jockeys announce that they had moved to Southern California for good and were joining our very talented jockey colony. Most returned home 3 months later unable to secure �live� mounts because the �homeboys� have most of them locked up. But before returning home, they were literally riding the skin off of every mount that they sat atop in an attempt to gain a foothold in the jockey colony.

2---UPSIDE---Over the years there have been two factors that have not only kept me solvent when it comes to betting last out winners to repeat, but have consistently proven profitable. They must be present for me to make a �prime wager� on a last out winner to repeat in his next outing.

The first is that the last out winner gained ground at every running call. This demonstrates that the horse had complete control of the race and was clearly best. He didn�t win a �close one� by a head-bob or win because the race favorite had a bad trip. He won because he dominated his field.

To confirm the legitimacy of the ground gain at every call, the �number� earned in that �big win� must be good enough to beat horses 2 levels over the level at which he just won. If both conditions are met and the connections only step him up 1 level instead of 2, I know they are quite serious and are going for the throat. They�re not being greedy pigs and stepping the horse up 2,3,4 or more levels like they have the 2nd coming of Secretariat! They are sending their ready-to-repeat runner straight at you---no mind games, just very positive intent!

3---DOWNSIDE---This should be a �no-brainer�. While your win percentage is surely enviable at a whopping 34%, to make money betting 2-5 shots requires your win percentage to be nearly twice that. There isn�t a handicapper alive winning at a 60% clip year in and year out.

4---DOWNSIDE---If you like 2 horses equally the same in any race, you only have 2 options. You either bet them both if the odds will allow it, or you stay out of the race. The money management guru that advised his readers to bet the longer of the 2 horses (the 7-1 shot in our example over the 7-5 runner) based his opinion on the premise that if the race was run 100 times, each horse would win 50 of them and the 7-1 would obviously be more profitable.

While that might be true in his �make-believe world� of the same race being run 100 times, we know that no one race is run exactly the same way twice let alone 100 times! His basic premise of 100 races is wrong, so it follows that his conclusion has to be wrong!

When faced with 2 horses that I can�t separate �on paper�, I don�t have to bet them both and neither do you. If you are on track that day, merely peruse the paddock and watch the pre-race warm-ups. You won�t have to separate the 2 horses, they�ll most likely separate themselves. If you are at a satellite facility, all is not lost. Granted, you can�t watch the pre-race warm-ups, but you can view the runners. Merely find a good monitor and watch your 2 horses in the post parade and any other paddock shots afforded you. Good �physicality handicappers� have no problem separating contenders even if offered nothing more than a 5 second glimpse in the post parade.

5---DOWNSIDE---My daily SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA HORSES TO WATCH (DAILY SCHTW) is entering its 12th year of publication. During those years, the staff of the DAILY SCHTW has documented every single pre-mature pull-up (horses coming to a dead stop within 150 yards past the finish line). Each day in every non-maiden race, we have listed horses that were pre-mature pull-ups in their last outings.

An unbelievable 91% of them fail to visit the winner�s circle in their very next outings. This startling throwout angle is fully documentable regardless of class, distance, surface, sex, trainer, jockey, odds, age or any other handicapping filter you choose to include.

Did I hear someone ask why this throwout angle was so strong? It is very simple. Win or lose on any specific day, the cooling out process begins the moment a horse crosses the finish line. Every horse should be allowed to canter out to the beginning of the backstretch, do a �180�, and slowly canter or gallop back to the unsaddling area. That comes to about 4 furlongs and equals the minimum required in the pre-race warm-up. Because just as a horse needs 4 furlongs of a light canter before a race to release oxygen delivering red blood cells from the spleen and slowly stretch muscles to their maximum elasticities, the post-race warm-down begins the reverse process of �cooling out� where the muscles begin to return to their normal relaxed state. Horses that are abruptly stopped crossing the finish line are infirm or the jockey is too lazy to properly gallop the horse out. Regardless of reasoning, premature pull-ups invite muscle soreness that often carries forward into a horse�s next race. I don�t know about you, but I don�t know anybody that shows an annual profit by betting muscle sore horses! Enough said?  


Copyright �2003 by Joe Takach.  All rights reserved.
Joe can be contacted through his website at

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