12/26/2011 12:41AM

Take nothing for granted

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As handicappers in the racing world we have plenty of variables to decipher: weather, trips, intent, and much more. Along the way we are left with no choice but to place our faith in certain constants, though. One of those is charted past performance lines. We take for granted that the information contained in each past performance line is accurate. What happens when it is imprecise?

Anyone wagering on a horse that raced on Thursday, December 22 at Harrah’s Chester should take a few moments to watch the replay of the previous race before treating that horse’s past performance line as fact. A good handful of horses, perhaps more, were charted incorrectly on that day.

The Thursday card at Chester was carried over from Tuesday due to an incident where a horse dropped onto the track and passed away. I’m guessing the normal charter (who does a fine job) had prior plans and a substitute needed to be found at the last minute.

Let’s take a look at a few of the more glaring errors

Race 1 - #1 Diamondonthebeach was charted sitting the cones in fourth through the first three calls when it fact he pulled at the three-eighths and raced uncovered for the rest of the mile. #8 Lover Boy was charted eighth at the half and three-quarters when he was actually fifth at the half and fourth at the three-quarters.

Race 7 – At the three-quarter call, the chart shows #5 Master Of Wars up by a neck over #3 Silver Sunset, who is listed up by 1 ¼ over #4 King Me. In actuality, #4 King Me was three-wide and up by a length over #5, who was a nose ahead of #3.

Official Chart Order at Three Quarters: 5, 3, 4
Correct Chart order at Three Quarters: 4, 5, 3

At the head of the stretch, #2 Beach Fighter A was up by 1 ½ over #4 King Me while on the outside; #7 Swinging Grin was a bit more than a length back in third while wide. The official chart reads: #4 first by 1 length; #2 second by 1 length; #5 third by a nose over #3; #7 fifth, a neck behind #3.

Official Chart Order at Stretch: 4, 2, 5, 3, 7
Correct Chart order at Stretch: 2, 4, 7

Race 10 - #6 Trust My Heart is missing an “out” call at the half-mile marker. #3 Nite Games was clearly racing wide approaching and past the three-quarter call. He was given just one ”out.”

Mistakes happen. When I charted, from time to time I would confuse a horse. For whatever reason, the #1 and #6 often caused me trouble. But as I typed the calls into the computer, I always double checked to ensure that the positions seemed “kosher.”

The bottom line is that if an inexperienced person is going to chart the races at a major track (or any track, really), someone needs to check their work. You simply can’t publish obviously erroneous information.

My year in numbers

As a public handicapper my goal is to give out as many winners as possible and show a profit. It is never an easy task to pick every race and come out ahead. That said, I am proud to announce my final statistics for tracks that I handicapped regularly in 2011.

Yonkers Raceway - 86 - 270 / $574.90 (32%); R.O.I = $2.06
Tioga Downs - 82 - 224 / $472.50 (36%); R.O.I = $2.05
Meadowlands Championship Meet - 167 - 483 / $940.40 (34%); R.O.I = $1.98
Harrah’s Chester - 71 - 228 /$384.80 (31%); R.O.I = $1.85
Meadowlands Winter Meet - 106 - 362 / $530.40 (29%); R.O.I = $1.74
Total All Tracks – 512-1567 / $2,903 (32%); R.O.I = $1.93

The statistics reflect the results of a $2 win wager on my top selection in each race. Although I did not show a profit overall, there is something to be said for showing a profit at all when picking every race. I’m proud of my overall 32% win rate in over 1,500 races while showing only a small loss. Keep in mind this was done while handicapping four diverse tracks, over three different sized ovals (half-mile, five-eighths, one-mile).

My one regret is the $1.74 Return on Investment during the Meadowlands’ winter meet. My New Year’s resolution will be to endeavor to improve upon that number in 2012.

Happy Everything!