06/06/2017 3:22PM

Goldfeder: When you need to make a new plan, Stan


Sometimes it takes a while for a good day to develop. You can put a plan in place but if the horses you like are getting bet more aggressively than anticipated, you need to either figure out a logical exotic wager or pass the race. If you do wager at the borderline of fair odds and the win odds drop, all you can do is slap your forehead in frustration, knowing that you wouldn’t have played the horse at the lower price. If you are lucky, the horse wins and at least you cash. If it doesn’t win, you walk away muttering under your breath. This seems to happen to me every week.

The reality is that no matter how much you try, you can’t control the flow of the game so you need to control the rhythm of your play.

This past week my list performed very well. It didn’t start out auspiciously because every potential wager seemed too chalky, but it picked up steam as the day progressed. In fact I could argue that the list performed better than me because when you make good handicapping choices you still need to translate them into good wagers.

The raw numbers, without the filter of making a wager, based on the Barry Meadow model I used:

Win bets

45 percent at an average mutuel of $7.17 yields a 61 percent profit.

Place bets

75 percent at an average mutuel of $3.49 yields a profit of 31 percent

Show bets

85 percent at an average mutuel of $2.99 yields a profit of 27 percent

These were the results without tossing the unplayable horses based on poor value in the pools. This shows that even without a big longshot it’s possible to grind out a profit. Obviously I don’t get numbers like this every week but keeping the record of potential plays each week helps to validate my preparation and lets me know that for now I am doing something right.

A quick review of a core approach:

I try to bet around 5 percent of bankroll on any individual race. If I have a strong opinion I will raise that to 10 percent. The initial approach is to try to attack with simple methods, such as betting basic win-place and then jabbing with exactas and doubles. If I have strong keys I will go further and play doubles, pick threes, pick fours, etc.

I prepare a list of horses that I think have the chance to be potential keys and put them in chronological order based on post time.

I played 16 horses from a list that included 20 options. These were the plays:


Review of some key plays:

Belmont 5: I saw 6-River Date as the speed and hoped he’d go off between 8-5 and 5-2. He hovered in that range but after the gate scratch of 5-Taoiseach my approach had to change. River Date got hammered down to 6-5 eliminating win bet option. I saw this as a two-horse race between River Date and 7-John’s Island so I looked at the board. At beginning of the day I jotted down additional exacta options of 6/1-3-5 but with the 5 now out the 6/1-3 exactas offered no value. The 6-7 box looked like the best choice. The sharp John’s Island nipped a game River Date at the wire. Had River Date held on I might have questioned my decision to not just go with straight exacta but my notes on John’s Island were too good to not consider him as a viable win candidate when playing exactas. Bet 8 percent of bankroll but was confident that wager would net a profit.

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Woodbine 7: Scouted out, 3-Princess Royal while doing a search for horses with pace advantages using TFUS early pace numbers. Once I established that the stretch-out from sprint to route was viable, I saw her as a strong contender to control the race up front.  She did just that. I couldn’t make solid exacta choices so I used 6 percent of bankroll to bet win-place and this race brought bankroll above $600.

Belmont 9: 6-Oscar Performance seemed to be the lone speed and although he was facing a solid field his back class suggested he would be tough if he got loose. He was 5-1 when they got in the gate but 7-2 when they broke. He wired the field and paid $9.80 to win. I didn’t play this race very well. I putzed around with exactas that for the most part offered little value. In retrospect the win and double bets were the best options. Although I didn’t hit the double to 11-Harlan’s Hunch in last race, that was still a good play. I could have done a better job allocating the 7 percent of bankroll spent.

Penn National 6: I liked the 2-Dynatail, coming off solid effort in the Hilltop at Pimlico on May 17, run at today’s mile distance, which seemed to suit her perfectly. I bet her to win and boxed in an exacta with 4-Party Boat, who was also my other A in the pick four I played. She wired the field and held off Party Boat for the win. Exacta paid $41.60 and the bankroll was approaching $1,000. In my original pick four ticket I liked 2-Virtual Machine a lot in the third leg, but when he scratched I had to make 4-Matt King Coal, the likely lone speed horse in that leg my A. This was the TicketMaker play:

In retrospect I may have gone too deep in leg 1 but the $39 investment did net a profit of $459.55 with two odds-on winners in the middle legs, so I was happy with that. Invested nine percent of bankroll in this race as the opportunities seemed fair.

The raw numbers on the horses I wagered on were:

Win bets:

43 percent at an average mutuel of $8.13 yields a profit of 74 percent

Place bets

50 percent at an average mutuel of $5.10 yields a profit of 28 percent

Based on bankroll I wagered different amounts staying within the 5-10 percent parameters and ended up with these investment sums:

Win: wagered $275 for a profit of $157.50 (ROI of .57/$1.00)

Place: wagered $120 for a loss of $8.50 (ROI of -$.07/$1.00)

The core of win-place bets kept me competitive enough to be able to take some exotic shots later and remain within the wagering guidelines I mapped out for the day.

Overall, I was pleased with the results because I more than doubled my bankroll but I am never completely happy with my wagers because I know I can do better. However, I try to keep the day in perspective. A lot of front-runners ran to form, the few mid-priced horses I liked came in and I was able to create added value with some exotic opportunities. That is not likely to happen next week. When preparation begins for the next race day what I intend to review are improved wagering strategies as they will apply to each race. I will prepare as best I can, find the right spots and hope to establish a good rhythm.

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