Upside vs. Downside Risk
- Part 6:
only one question that I would ask of those handicappers employing
�universal turf ratings� (includes every service that doesn�t
include �track-specific� information when formulating their turf
Suppose a horse that you intend on betting this afternoon is making
his turf debut over your home oval. Additionally suppose that the 3
major turf rating services (what ever companies these might be) give
your intended wager very high marks in the pedigree department. In
fact, all 3 services rate the horse�s sire, grandsire and damsire
excellent marks when it comes to running over the grass.
Finally suppose that it is not only possible, but very probable that
1, 2 or even all 3 of the horses (sire, grandsire and damsire)
making up this high rating given by these services, have never so
much as placed a hoof over your turf course.
Why would anybody in their right mind want pedigree information (for
the turf or the dirt) on any horse if part or even all of that
specific horse�s parental lineage had never raced over the specific
surface you are about to wager on?
If you believe that these �universal turf ratings� are the way, the
light and the truth---good for me and all others who know that there
is only one way to go when it comes to making pedigree decisions
before you wager-------and that is �track-specific� breeding.
�Track-specific� breeding offers the serious handicapper a �common
sense approach� to the breeding question. Horses only get rated if
1, 2 or all 3 of his pedigree parents actually won over the specific
As of this moment, my DAILY SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA HORSES TO WATCH is
the only publication in existence offering nothing but
�track-specific� ratings. However if you don�t wager on Santa Anita,
Del Mar, or Hollywood Park, they won�t help your game.
If anyone in this day and age still believes that �universal
ratings� are more correct than �track-specific� ratings, get in
touch with me at once. I have 5000 acres of swampland in Beverly
Hills that I can let you have for 5 bucks an acre!
12---DOWNSIDE---We�ll assume a ten race card for the day to keep the
math easy---no need to wake up your hamster and get him on his wheel
It matters little what the size of one�s bet might be. If you are
wagering on half or more of the events of any day�s card, it is only
a matter of time before your bankroll disappears.
Why is that?
Simply because there is rarely, if ever, 5 solid or �upside� wagers
on any race card no matter what track you are playing. I�m quite
happy if I can find 1 or 2 solid and �upside� wagers a day. and when
I do, I bet them with both hands.
After keeping strict records for over 35 years, one thing rings true
with me personally. The more wagers I made in any given year, the
less my �bottom line� was come New Year�s Eve----period!
13---DOWNSIDE---Many things change from race to race. In the past
you�ve heard me repeatedly and unrelentingly blast those non-winning
professional handicapping authors whenever the use the line �if this
race were run 100 times, yadda, yadda, yadda whatever�.
Talk about hamsters being off their respective wheels, their
hamsters aren�t even awake.
No 2 races are run the same way, let alone 100. I can think of at
least 30 things that would be different, even if you had the same
horses ridden by their same jockeys.
Just because a horse caught serious trouble last out and was
unquestionably �the best�, there is no guarantee that even if handed
a �perfect trip� this afternoon, that he�ll get the job done. While
he might be a real �nice horse� with plenty of moxie and heart, you
have to handicap today�s race as if that trouble had never happened
14---DOWNSIDE---His �number� could have been produced by his being
the beneficiary of that �dream trip�. After all, he was drafting
behind the top pair and letting those 2 run themselves into the
ground. I�ve always found it better to actually throw that winning
race out as if it never happened. Why? Because it is next to
impossible to get back-to-back �dream trips�. This is not to say
that it never happens, but I can�t remember 5 times in my
horseplaying career where it did!
15---DOWNSIDE---I�ve studied trainers and their individual
methodology as long as anyone playing this game. And as you most
likely already know, it all begins with the trainer---not the horse.
Had you given Secretariat to an incompetent trainer from day one,
the horse would have never showed up for the Kentucky Derby, let
alone the Triple Crown after winning the Belmont by 31
lengths---------31 lengths! The vision conjured up in my head as I
just typed that last sentence still gives me goose bumps-----31
Getting back to our subject, if somebody asked me to name 1 specific
trait that runs thru every single trainer�s methodology, it is that
they are creatures of habit. Once they formulate their specific way
of doing things, it is extremely rare to see them deviate and still
Here�s an example. Hall of Famer Richard Mandella knows what he�s
doing. Yes, he gets good stock, but the man knows exactly what to do
with it. I love to bet his horses when everything looks right. There
is no subterfuge. He sends them right at you with confidence and why
shouldn�t he? After all he is Richard Mandella!
The workout pattern in my question 15 was actually about a Mandella
morning worktab that I�ve seen in the past. It doesn�t happen all
that often, but I�ve seen it. If a Mandella horse is working every 6
or 7 days and suddenly disappears for 15 days before working again,
something happened that made Mandella cancel that missing workout.
The horse might have taken a bad step, or caught a cold or whatever.
I haven�t a clue exactly what it was, but it was something. These
horses with the �missing workout� run well, but they don�t end up in
the winner�s circle.
The name of the trainer is meaningless. But once you have a
trainer�s methodology down to an exact science, whenever you see him
or her change something, you had best beware! NC
Next: UPSIDE VS. DOWNSIDE RISK---PART 7
Copyright �2004 by
Joe Takach. All rights reserved.
Joe can be contacted through his website at
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