Saturday, December 24, 2016

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to All

Just wanted to wish all horseplayers everywhere a Merry Christmas and a Happy, Healthy, and Profitable New Year.

May your selections be live. And may you find the winner's circle often.

--Jeff Platt

Saturday, December 3, 2016

The Racing Industry Needs a Growing and Viable California

By Andy Asaro

If Organizations like the NTRA, the Jockey Club, Americas Best Racing, and the Breeders' Cup believe that California racing is vital to the industry, they can help promote California racing as a "Test Jurisdiction" for selling horse racing as a Gambling Game of Skill.

What does that support look like?   It looks like social media promotion along with weekly monitoring of handle/revenue under the new changes.

As most of you know the new changes are meant to grow the game by promoting high churn lower takeout wagers like WPS and two horse exotics.  We believe that WPS breakage should pay to the penny, and as a trade-off to the industry the minimum payoff on Show wagers should be reduced to $2.05 to help with minus pools.  Takeout on exacta wagers should be reduced to 16%.

As part of the promotion the alphabet organizations, TVG, and other racing media outlets would help by constantly telling people who are new to the game or who only bet a few times a year that the best way to learn the game and the best chance of winning is to concentrate on high churn wagers. A $1 three horse exacta box and $2 WPS on the longest shot of your selections is an example of a high-churn strategy and to get the new Customers coming back. As people bet and cash they will learn to adjust these wagers for a more optimal outcome, and just as important they will learn to read the PP's and learn to recheck their wins and losses, just as we all did at one time.

California Racing is in trouble.  Field size will likely drop in 2017, and handle has trended downwards.  The drop in field size makes it all the more important to pay to the penny on WPS breakage and lower exacta takeout to 16%.  People will bet on shorter fields at the right price.

Here's the deal.  Prominent Individuals and organizations like the CHRB, CTT, TOC, and the CTBA need to come together and ask the industry for their help to promote horse racing as a Gambling Game of skill AND use California Racing (Del Mar, Santa Anita) as a test jurisdiction.  It would be much easier for California racing to succeed with the backing of the industry.

The only motive I/we have is to see the game grow by making pragmatic decisions with long term growth of handle/revenue in mind.  We know individuals who actually earn a living playing on the Tournament circuit who would be more than willing to lend their names to the "Gambling Game of Skill" promotion but only if the changes listed above are implemented. Think about it.  For the first time the Industry would have individuals who were winning 100K to 500K or more per year telling real life stories about their profession.  If that isn't powerful I don't know what is.

California racing should also reinstate the parlays in this manner.  You don't need to print parlay cards; all you need is to put a parlay and a "round robin" parlay button on the self-serve machines and on ADW's.  With penny breakage on WPS we should see an increased interest in parlays, especially show parlays which are high churn.  Having the option to make or not make parlays should be up to the Customer and the most important point is that California racing would be projecting itself as an industry leader once again by offering options that other jurisdictions do not offer. 

One of the ways we can give back to the Industry is to have an option on self-serve machines and ADW's to donate either to a backstretch workers fund, an Aftercare fund, and a permanently disabled Jockeys fund. As I've said before I believe that quite a few people would give anywhere from the odd 60 cents all the way up to hundreds of dollars after a big score.  I believe giving back is an essential part of growing the game.

What Say You?

Monday, October 17, 2016

Handicapping the Meadowlands Pick 5 Carryover (October 17)

The Meadowlands has a double pick 5 carryover this afternoon, and Gregory Edwards has some selections and thoughts that might help you with your handicapping.

After Jackie Davis booted home two in-a-row, lighting up the Big M board at 70-1 and 9-1, there will be a double pick 5 carryover of $48,106.06 Monday 10/17.  Here’s some horses I’d consider on a ticket.

Quick note: I am disappointed that a hard-knocking $800k pro, Compliance Officer, has not been retired; instead he's entered at the Meadowlands 10/18  for bottom level 5k.  Reach out to Castle Village Farms if you can help

Race 2:

#3 Lucky G back on the scene after packing it in midway at Saratoga.  Drops into a very comfortable spot while entering top form cycle.  Horse showing improved works under new trainer Perri, capped by 10/12 3f 36.4.  Hernandez doing well here with limited mounts. 
#4 Game Night goes first-time turf, which gives us some ceiling.  Uske a rider who always gives her all and is due for a photo at the Big M.  Simon/Uske a connection to note.
#9 Let’s Go G Men - Keeps Bocachica for the stretch out.  Flat sprint form into a route always a solid angle. 

Race 3:

#2  Hannibal Lecter seems to struggle with staying on the track, but now shows a nice series of works Sept-Oct capped by bullet 35.4 10/12.  Drop in class to lowest level and move from NY a nice mix
#8 Supersecret keeps talented apprentice Castrenze.  Delaware turf sprints very competitive   Connections frequently hook up for the score
#3 Red Creme drops significantly today and will be difficult to ignore.  Jacobson horses almost unpredictable as to form, but clearly the one to beat.

Race 4:

If I was going to the the “ALL” button it would be here.  Deep and intriguing field.

#1 Maya Elizabeth draws Jeremy Rose out to Jersey for the repeat.  Drops in class and stretches out to preferred distance.  Speedy horse can take max advantage of the #1 post
#6 Our Sweet Legacy gets quality Penn rider Rodriguez to travel in.  Goes turf for only the 2nd time but has sneaky good pedigree backed by good poly form.  Last race on dirt and against much tougher the kind of line that guarantees outrunning a big price when back to preferred surface today.
#7 Rhythm Queen Drops to lowest level for sharp turf claiming trainer Cibelli.  Absence of Paco Lopez today makes Bocachica the top rider of Meadowlands meet and gets the call today.

Race 5:

#8 Ocala Jim enters this race as the horse in best form, and that's a typical winner's profile for the starter allowance class. 
#3 Celebrity Warrior also comes in on top form and continued solid workouts back that up

Race 6:

#9 Shining America Stretches out off flat sprint form so look for this one to pop going long. 
#3 Juliets Key ships in for Delaware and gets a positive trainer change to Simoff.  A repeat of last effort, combined with drop, could be enough. 
#7 Vale Ridge gets my new favorite apprentice Castrenze, see above, drops in class for live connections

Thursday, October 6, 2016

OptixEQ Handicapper Helper for the Meadowlands (October 6)

Racing continues at the Monmouth at the Meadowlands meet tonight with six turf races and 15% across the board takeout.  72 horses are entered and weather conditions are perfect.

To show our support for the across the board takeout reduction, we will be posting handicapper helpers, courtesy of Emily Gullikson and OptixEQ, for each card. 

Relatively chalky results on the win end last night, but the “vulnerable favorite” race came back with a very healthy straight trifecta. IAN SMITH (race 5 #7), the horse in yesterday’s Handicapper Helper, was a play against based on a “PREP?” scenario. The replay is worth a watch; the horse had legit trouble and ran on very well through traffic late.  It was a very useful prep, and he is a horse to follow out of that race.

Race four tonight will have a very heavy favorite in the #1 FLY SWIFT (3-2). This is a tough horse to make a vulnerable favorite because she has things going in her favor:  speed figure-wise she is the fastest, she was facing much tougher company, and she has run decently in both starts. 

There are a couple things in her OptixNotes from both starts that merit a pause, though. On debut, the note is PREP? STRETCH? - If unfamiliar with keywords, she needed the start and will move forward with more ground. She made her second start at Saratoga going 5.5f, did not stretch out (made her a play against that day), and she did have a very rough trip. The keywords were TROUBLE_START, TRAFFIC, TROUBLE, and SCARED. SCARED is a keyword used for horses that are timid.  Her extended comment reads, “had legit trouble, steadied in the stretch, prior to that had the chance to split horses and did not want to.” Using the OptixNotes and her rail draw, there is a potential she could get intimidated again inside. As we have seen in sprint races this meet, horses on the lead continue to dominate.  She has yet to show that dimension, and that's another reason that might make her vulnerable. 

There are scenarios where Dylan Davis sends her from the rail, she makes the lead, and the fastest horse wins the race. He could also potentially work a trip, though.  Watching him ride on the NYRA Circuit, he is not known for his TACTICS+. Here are a couple other positive trip scenarios: there is a lot of speed to her outside, the jock is able to get her outside and never risk being intimidated, break well, sit patiently behind the duel and get first run, or save ground and have the rail open on turn and get a clear inside run, securing perfect trips. 

She is a risk leaving off all tickets, but maybe a horse that is not completely the “single” she looks on paper. 

R1: 7-6-4-3
R2: 7-9-1-4
R3: 6-7-(5-8-9)
R4: 7-10-5
R5: 4-6-9-1
R6: 9-8-(3-5-7)

Twitter: @Mayhemily1 and @OptixEQ

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

OptixEQ Handicapper Helper for the Meadowlands (October 5)

After cancellations on both Friday night and Saturday night last week, racing resumes for the Monmouth at the Meadowlands meet tonight at 7 p.m.  Six races are on tap, with a total of 68 horses entered.  In case you haven't been following the meet up until now, they have 15% across-the-board takeout.

To show our support for the across the board takeout reduction, we will be posting handicapper helpers, courtesy of Emily Gullikson and OptixEQ, for each card. 

It’s good to be back at the Meadowlands after last week’s cancellations. As alluded to close out the last racing week, OptixPlot was very helpful, especially in route races signaling on horses that were positioned favorable to that track profile. Sprint results played out similar to last year, favoring horses on the lead. The track took some water and may play differently, of course we won’t know until once the races have started. 

RACE 5 #7 IAN SMITH (3-1) looks like a play against in this spot as the morning line favorite. I do question whether or not he will be the post time favorite, but he still should be an underlay in the multi-race sequences. There are a lot of factors at play that scream “PREP?”.  After a failed attempt to start his 3-year-old year, he was laid up another eight months - this is not something I find favorable and signal a horse that has issues and is not completely reliable. During that time away he received a barn change (same owner); this barn change is acceptable and would not consider a downgrade, even moving away from Pletcher. The Abbott stable operates on a smaller scale, the trainer is more personally hands-on, and does especially good work on the turf. 

Compared to the rest of the field, IAN SMITH only has one career win, whereas the rest of the runners sport multiple wins. As for running style, both of his starts in sprints were on the lead, which is favorable on this course, but he will have to deal with the pressure of others in here that are confirmed frontrunners and will be fit enough to fight the battle and win the war. 

Another question with him is whether or not he is a true turf sprinter. After breaking his maiden, the former connections continued to stretch him out around two turns. His posted speed figures are on the slower side but do remember those are 2-year old numbers and reasonable age improvement puts him on par for level. Again, this looks like a prep race, perhaps using this race for conditioning for a future start or stretch out.  He looks like a runner worth taking a wait-and-see approach, especially at a short price. 

R1: 9-2-7-5
R2: 9-7-6-1
R3: 5-4-7-8
R4: 7-8-9
R5: 2-4-10-6
R6: 3-1-5-8-10

Twitter: @Mayhemily1 and @OptixEQ

Thursday, September 29, 2016

OptixEQ Handicapper Helper for the Meadowlands (September 29)

The 15% across-the-board takeout and all turf Monmouth at the Meadowlands meet continues tonight with another six-race program starting at 7 p.m.  There are 68 horses entered tonight, so the fields will be large again as well.

To show our support for the across the board takeout reduction, we will be posting handicapper helpers, courtesy of Emily Gullikson and OptixEQ, for each card. 

I started noticing a pattern of favorable positions on OptixPlot during the races last night. It is too early to put a lot of stock into that theory with only six races run, and the small sample size, but it is something I will continue to monitor as the meet progresses. I upgraded some of my selections tonight to reflect that pattern. After comparing last night's Plot to results, horses that are positioned with factor/velocity less than 1.5 in Q2, and greater than -1.5 in Q3 are running well over the course. Of course the current weather forecast may change all of that and factors out of our control. 

Race 3 interests me from an OptixPlot standpoint. There is, and will be a heavy favorite in #2 J C’s NOT BROWN (3-2). This runner is positioned in Q3 and looks to be at a disadvantage. This “red flag” was enough for me to dig deeper on this runner and found a few other reasons and stats to support this is a horse to take a stand against.

Tonight is the first night of sprints and looking at past charts, speed/frontrunners have a huge advantage, as many races are won wire-to-wire. 


R1: 7-8 – (3,6,9)
R2: 7-6-4-2
R3: 5-1-4
R4: 6-9-4-10
R5: 2-7-5-4
R6: 4-6-5-9

Twitter: @Mayhemily1 and @OptixEQ