Upside vs. Downside
Risk - Part 13 (Answers Concluded)
46---UPSIDE---As if you
didn't have enough work to do every day, here's some more. But
before you complain, understand that your time invested couldn't
possibly be spent any better.
Why is that you ask?
Because if you keep exacting records of each and every one of your
wagers, personal strengths and weaknesses will manifest themselves
in no time flat! You'll quickly see if you are better on the dirt or
over the turf, as well as in sprints or in routes. And even within
the sprint and route categories, perhaps 7 furlongs and mile events
are your forte.
The whole point of this essential daily assignment is to allow you
to maximize profit while minimizing loss.
As an example within the dirt/sprint category, suppose you win 42%
of your 7 furlong wagers, but only 14% of your 5 furlong bets. You'd
have to be literally brain-dead to continue wagering on 5 furlong
dirt sprints. The only way that would work would be if the average
mutual return on every one of your 5 furlong dirt winners was in the
neighborhood of $16.00----which is highly unlikely.
Walk up to any handicapper and ask them which type of race and over
which surface do they cash the most tickets. If they're like 98% of
all handicappers, a puzzled look will quickly overrun their face. If
they offer an answer at all, it will come very slowly and sound
something like this: 'Well let's see. I love 6 furlong sprints and
play more of those than any other race, so I guess I'd have to say 6
And when you get a stammering answer similar to that, be rest
assured that the questioned party hasn't a remote clue of his best
distance or surface.
Mile races on the turf, especially in races where the horses entered
are coming from varied turf events in which 'rails out' positions
are varied. Helping me to be proficient at this mile turf distance
are the many losing handicappers who treat rails-out positions as if
zero feet out was the same as 20 or 30 feet out.
I don't know of any racetracks that adequately compensate for 'rails
out' by moving the starting gate forward in an exact relationship to
how far they have moved the rails out.
For example, Santa Anita has 5 different 'rails-out' positions of 0,
8, 15, 24 and 30 feet.
Yet the starting gate is in the same exact location for 0 and 8 feet
out as well as for 24 and 30 feet out, with 15 feet out splitting
the 2 extremes.
Santa Anita should have 5 different starting positions. One for
zero, one for 8 feet, one for 15 feet, one for 24 feet and one for
30 feet out, but in reality, they only have 3 different positions,
namely one for 0 and 8 feet, one for 15 feet out, and finally one
24 and 30 feet out.
And no, they don't compensate the run-up time (the time elapsed with
the horses running before they start the timing clock). I know this
to be true as I've hand timed these mile events countless times and
at every meet to be sure.
At Santa Anita, if you have 2 different horses in 2 different mile
turf events both breaking from the 1 hole and wiring their
respective fields from the 1 path with the rails at zero for Horse A
and the other at 8 feet out for Horse B and they each run a 1:35
flat, which horse ran the superior race?
Horse B is 4 lengths superior, as each running path is about 4 feet
across and with the rails out 8 feet, he lost 2 paths and 2 lengths
on each turn. (It has been mathematically proven that horses lose
about 1 length for every path they are removed from the rail when
running around a turn).
While our 2 horses look equally fast to 'Joe Six-Pack', those aware
of the real significance of 'rails out' at Santa Anita, possess an
enormous edge at any turf distance.
Didn't mean to go off on a tangent like that, but I felt it
necessary to offer you a living empirical example of just how
important and profitable self-inspection can be.
If you don't precisely know every one of your strengths and
weaknesses when it comes to 'type' of race, race distance and race
surface, you had better start keeping precise records today!
47---UPSIDE---If you are correct in your prejudicial evaluation of a
specific jockey, trainer or combination of both, it will save you
innumerable 'bad bets'. And as I've stated countless times in the
past, 'saving a bad bet' is the same as cashing on an even money
Suppose a specific horse looks like the 'lock of the century' in
today's 8th race, but the horse is to be piloted by a 5% jockey and
is going off @ 3-1! Do you really think that you are smart enough to
pick the one winning horse out of any series of this very marginal
jockey's 20 mounts?
If you said yes to that question, then you are either the greatest
handicapper that ever walked the face of this earth or your ego
knows no bounds!
When it comes to betting hard cash, listen very carefully to your
prejudices and follow them. There's absolutely no doubt in my mind
that you'll be much better off in the long run and much more
financially and mentally solvent.
48---UPSIDE---To me personally, this is a 'no-brainer' if there ever
was one. Better races nearly always contain better horses. Better
runners are far more consistent than their cheaper counterparts.
More consistent horses win more consistently.
Bottom-feeding claiming races, regardless of your home track's
bottom claiming tag, have nothing but runners with multiple problems
competing against others with like ailments.
Most often, these cheapest races are nothing but guessing game!
I don't know about you, but whenever I 'guess', I usually guess
wrong. I wouldn't have any argument were I labeled the absolute
worst 'guesser' in all of horse racing. I most likely hold that
title co-jointly with others.
And should you belong to that same group of bad guessers, simply
stop wagering in races where you don't have a strong opinion that
warrants a strong bet.
Guessing is for fools---------period!
49---DOWNSIDE---This question is closely akin to the one above. I
know of no professional player in Southern California that makes the
bulk of his booty by playing the bottom claiming rungs (10K at Del
Mar and Santa Anita---8K at Hollywood).
While they will occasionally go 'slumming' and lightly dabble in
these usually unplayable affairs, they know that the odds are
stacked against them to a much greater degree when playing a
mindless 10K event vs. a classified allowance affair.
If somehow you've foolishly convinced yourself that you can show a
year in and year out profit by getting involved in these 'guessing
games', I strongly urge you to keep strict betting records for only
You'll be an zealous convert to betting more consistent horses in a
50---There are actually 2 correct answers to this last question and
read below to see into which category you fall.
DOWNSIDE---If you failed to learn one thing from this test, it was
all downside risk on your part. Furthermore, I'd like to know where
I can attend your school of 'UPSIDE vs. DOWNSIDE RISK', as you have
to be 'light years' ahead of me. When it comes to new racing
knowledge, I'm like a Nebraskan corn field----I'm all ears!
UPSIDE---If you have successfully incorporated as little as 1 new
idea into your overall methodology, your time was very well spent.
This concludes our series on UPSIDE vs. DOWNSIDE RISK and I hope you
had both fun and profited from the quiz.
Copyright '2004 by
Joe Takach. All rights reserved.
Joe can be contacted through his website at
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