Friday, August 31, 2012

Tracking Return on Investment (ROI) Saratoga and Del Mar 2012

I don't always have time to complete full analysis of results but I regularly analyse a period of races at different tracks to understand effectiveness of Horsewin Race Selections and the various factors that are ranked in the reports. Saratoga and Del Mar are very popular race meets that take place from mid-July to early September and both are noted for the high quality of racing.

In 2011, Horsewin Selections and results were tracked at Saratoga. At the end of the meet a 30 %win  had been achieved with a positive R.O.I. based on a win bet on all regular races (non-Steeplechase).

Below are the results to date (August 30, 2012) for both the top and 2nd ranked selections. Proudly, another positive R.O.I has been achieved at Saratoga for 2012 based on top selections with a 30% win at average odds of 2.2 - 1.

Del Mar is a different story where the win % for the top selection has hovered around 25% and produced a negative R.O.I. However, the second pick has achieved a  normal 20% win but unexpectedly produced a positive R.O.I based on generous average odds of 4-1.

More in depth analysis has been completed and shared with subscribers. While some changes and improvement will be made for Saratoga 2013, more significant adjustments will be adopted for Del Mar 2013. The key finding is that speed was a much more significant factor in 2012 as one might guess for a track (both dirt and turf) that produced numerous new track record times.

The Win Ranking is a strong indicator for both Saratoga and Del Mar as approximately 70% of races at both tracks are won by horses ranked in top 4 with average winning odds of 3.6. This factor ranks higher than any other factor that is tracked. Of note also are a few races at Saratoga where profit for the meet was almost guaranteed. For example, on Wednesday, August 29 in Race 7 the top ranked horse and second ranked horse ran in order for a $44 win price and $454 cold exacta. On another outstanding day, a string of 6 consecutive top ranked winners started with a $40 payoff and then the first five winners in the Pick 6 sequence for at least a consolation Pick 6 payoff.

Horsewin Report TOP Selections Returned a Positive ROI at SARATOGA 2011 - Trying for a Repeat in 2012
Horsewin Report Often Picks Against Favorites to Focus on Value Plays
Track Total Races Total Wins Win % Total Return Net Return $2 Win
SAR TOP Picks 365 109 30% $741 +11.00
SAR 2nd Picks 365 57 16% $421.80 -$308.20
DMR TOP Picks 278 67 24% $402.00 -$154.00
DMR 2nd Picks 278 56 20% $560.00 +$4.00


Thursday, May 3, 2012

Who's on First ? or (Who has beaten Who going into Kentucky Oaks 2012?)

In the Kentucky Derby, 9 of the 20 entrants faced off in the Breeder's Cup Juvenile last fall. In the Kentucky Oaks on Friday, only one filly , Grace Hall ran in this race. She finished 2nd to the 2 yo Champion Filly, My Miss Aurelia. Hard Not To Like ran in the Breeder's Cup Juvenile Filly Turf and was beaten 3 lengths. Grace Hall is one of the Morning Line choices while Hard Not To Like is 20-1, even though she is coming off a 2nd in the G1 Ashland Stakes at Keeneland in her only 3 yo start. If her odds are higher at post, she is definitely worth a play, even with the knocks of trying dirt for the 1st time and only 2nd start of the year against her.

The rest of the field presents an interesting puzzle as there are a number of very talented fillies coming off very good races. Who has beaten who creates a mixed picture for the Oaks.

Grace Hall - has beaten Yara but lost by a neck to Yara in her first start of 2012. Her last victory was in the GP Oaks where won well at the Oaks distance of 9 furlongs.. She also beat And Why Not as a 2 yo in the Spinaway at 7 furlongs at Saratoga.

Broadway Alibi - lost her first career race but is undefeated since. She won the Forward Gal at 7 Furlongs by 17 lengths with Sacristy 3rd. In her last race she won the Gamely at a mile as a prep for this. She has the pedigree to stretch out.

Eden's Moon - has not beaten any major contenders but acquitted herself well in her limited experience. She is trained by Baffert and is a big strong filly who is still developing

Hard Not To Like - is very accomplished on the turf and is trying a dirt surface for the 1st time. She ran 2nd on the poly at KEE to Karlovy Vary in the G1 Ashland in her only 3 yo start. She ran well in the BC Juvenile Filly Turf beaten only 3 lengths.

Sacristy - was 3rd by 19 lengths to Broadway Alibi but is stretching out with a nice distance pedigree.

On Fire Baby - beat Amie's Dini and Colonial Empress in the Honeybee at Oaklawn last out.Last year she beat And Why Not in the Pocahantis at a mile at Churchill. 

Believe You Can - defeated Summer Applause twice at Fairgrounds but also lost by 7 to Summer Applause 2nd back.Last year, she was beaten by On Fire Baby, And Why Not at Churchill at a mile.

Summer Applause - has been 2nd twice to Believe You Can but turned the table and beat that one in her 2nd last race.

Karlovy Vary - is a much improved filly that won her last race at KEE, the G1 Ashland Stakes defeating Hard Not To Like by 3/4 length.At Churchill last fall, she was beaten 12 lengths by OnFireBaby.

Yara - Upset Grace Hall when Grace was making her first start this year. She then lost to Grace Hall at 9 furlongs in the GP Oaks. She also lost to Broadway Alibi and Sacristy on a sloppy track.

Amie's Dini - beat Jemima's Pearl 1/2 length in the Fantasy. She was 2nd by 2 lengths to OnFireBaby in the Honeybee and beat Colonial Empress by many in that same race.

Jemima's Pearl - won her first North American start on dirt at Santa Anita and then ran 1/2 length behing Amie's Dini in a G2 Stakes at Oaklawn. She was transferred to trainer Baffert before that race.

Colonial Empress - no comments to offer but I would be very surprised to see this maiden in the top 5 finishers in the Oaks.

This race sets up very nicely for Grace Hall. She has a strong late pace profile that means that she can conserve herself early and come on in the stretch. She has already won at the 9 furlong Oaks distance on dirt. Many of the other contenders are speed oriented and may fade in the stretch. I suspect that Broadway Alibi will be on the lead in the stretch with Grace Hall running her down. Hard Not To Like should be running on end and is a strong long shot play at 20-1 morning line odds.

Full Card Race Selections are available at:

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Who's on First ? or (Who has beaten Who going into Kentucky Derby 2012?)

It may helpful in a competitive field with many contenders to do a bit of analysis of who has raced against each other in the past and who has won. I think some clear pretenders emerge from this review and if any of them win on Saturday, I will call them miracle horses. A key race is the B.C Juvenile in which 9 entrants ran including the top 2 finishers Hansen and Union Rags.

1. Hansen - many contenders have ducked running against the 2 year old champ who beat Union Rags by a head in the B.C. Juvenile. Behind Union Rags were Creative Cause, Dullahan, Take Charge Indy, Alpha, Daddy Long Legs, Prospective and Optimizer.

However, more recently, Hansen beat no other major contenders in the Gotham and lost his final prep to a closing Dullahan.

2. Union Rags - lost to Hansen by a neck in the B.C. Juvenile but has beaten Alpha and El Padrino. He ran 2nd to Take Charge Indy in the Florida Derby after a troubled trip - a horse he had beaten in the B.C. Juvenile.

3. Creative Cause - has beaten Bodemeister by 3/4 of a length and lost by a nose to I'll Have Another, one he had beaten as a 2 year old at 7 furlongs. He ran 3rd by 1 to Hansen and Union Rags in the B.C. Juvenile.

4. I'll Have Another - beat Creative Cause by a nose and ran 2nd to him as a 2 year old at 7 furlongs. He also lost to Trinniberg at 7 furlongs in the slop in his first ship east as a juvenile.

5. Bodemeister - ran huge in his final prep in the Arkansas Derby beating Sabercat and Optimizer by many lengths. As noted above, he lost to Creative Cause in his previous start.

6. Gemologist - is undefeated and won the Wood by a neck over Alpha who was 2nd to Union Rags earlier.

7. Take Charge Indy - won the Florida Derby and beat Union Rags and El Padrino in this race. He  previously lost by 2 lengths to El Padrino and was beaten 6 lengths by Hansen and Union Rags in the B.C. Juvenile.

8. Dullahan - won the Blue Grass Stakes with a strong close to beat Hansen. In the B.C. Juvenile, he was 4th beaten by Hansen, Union Rags and Creative Cause. Earlier he had beaten Optimizer but also lost to this horse and Sabrecat in maiden races.

9. Daddy Long Legs - ran poorly in the B.C. Juvenile as a Euro shipper. In his only 3 year old prep for the Derby at 1 3/16 miles (the longest prep), he was dominant and beat Wrote who had won the B.C. Juvenile Turf and Lucky Chappy.

10. El Padrino - came up 4th in the Florida Derby with a wide trip with Take Charge Indy and Union Rags ahead of him. Previously, he had beaten Take Charge Indy by a length.

11. Optimizer - was beaten badly in his last prep in the Arkansas Derby by Bodemeister. In his previous start, he appeared to close strongly for 2nd against horses that were collapsing up front. He also lost by many lengths this year to El Padrino. As a 2 year old, though, he was beaten 2 lengths by Gemologist and about the same by Dullahan. Early in his career, he had beaten Dullahan on the turf.

12. Went the Day Well - has not beaten any major contenders but has followed a similar pattern of preparation as last year's winner Animal Kingdom. The Kentucky Derby is such an elusive prize that I can't see the same connections being able to strike twice in a row. It would say this game is easy and history proves that it is not. 

I will be looking for value from these top 11 and hope that post position draw, pre-race appearance and odds will help sort out the best plays.

12. All Others - the remaining horses are non-contenders according to their past non-competitiveness against the top horses or others who have been trounced by top horses. For example, Daddy Nose Best beat Lucky Chappy who lost by many to Daddy Long Legs. He subsequently lost to Isn't He Clever who was well-beaten by Bodemeister. Rousing Sermon has never been competitive for a win against the top ones that he has faced in California. Sabrecat is in the same category.

Look for an updated performance analysis that will be posted after the Entry and Post Position Draw on Wednesday. Saturday's Kentucky Derby should most exciting and entertaining as a great crop of 3 year olds try to sort out who is the best on the track.

Full Card Race Selections available at:

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Horsewin Results for Hastings Park to April 22, 2012

Below are the results to date for Horsewin Selections at Hastings Park. The results are based on a small sample and over time the win % for top selections will increase over 2nd picks. Overall, a 56% win rate from the top 2 selections is good but the odds are too low to turn a flat bet profit.

Based on these results, the top 2 Selections are "A" horses for Keys in multi- race plays such as Pick 3's and 4's.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Horsewin Results Sample to January 29 2012

Below is the most recent update and analysis of results for published selections from Horsewin Reports. While the win % are moving closer to the expected norm of 30%, the payoffs are lagging. A flat bet profit is not possible with these results. There are some good returns available on selected races. I estimate the true value on the selections as 3-1 for a top pick (2-1 in a small field), 5-1 for a 2nd pick, 8-1 for 3rd pick and 10-1 for 4th pick. In small fields which are fairly frequent at AQU and SA, rarely are these odds available; however, when there is a larger field, the opportunities to play at value odds are much more frequent.

It is interesting to note that the total win % for the top 4 selections is quite high. Multiple race bets may present the best chance for profits, notwithstanding the higher risk.


Wins Win %
Wins Win % Wins Win % Wins Win % Win %
AQU 226 78 34.5% 1.6 46 20.4% 3.2 29 12.8% 3.2 25 11.1% 7.3 78.8%
GP 275 68 24.7% 2.2 47 17.1% 3.8 41 14.9% 5.8 25 9.1% 7.1 65.8%
SA 198 55 27.8% 1.9 31 15.7% 2.7 28 14.1% 4.7 17 8.6% 5.9 66.2%
TAM 123 39 31.7% 1.9 27 22.0% 3 13 10.6% 5 8 6.5% 9 70.7%



AQU 226 44 19.5% 2.3 38 16.8% 4.2
GP 275 48 17.5% 2.8 38 13.8% 5.3
SA 198 38 19.2% 2.9 38 19.2% 4.3
TAM 123 18 14.6% 2.6 22 17.9% 3.3

Friday, January 27, 2012

Looking Back at the National Handicapping Challenge 2012

Looking for Longshots

Generally, my attempts at handicapping tournament play have been failures. My goal for 2012 is to become a competent tournament player and then perhaps start to pursue the NHC Tour.

My approach to handicapping is to try to find the most probable horses at a price. In some cases, the favourites are confirmed as most probable horses and perform as expected. There are upsets when less probable horses win and the post mortem is usually either expected performances didn't materialize or the winner improved to a new level that wasn't necessarily predictable based on past performances.

This is an area of handicapping that is very challenging to master. I have read or heard numerous predictions of bounces, or better performances  based on previous trips or form cycle. While sometimes valid, these "angles" are hard to predict and measure effectively to determine probability. For example, it has been suggested that 3 declining speed figures is a clear negative and these horses should not be played. My experience says that these horses win their share and other factors are more important screening tools. I will be looking for a more consistent way to identify horses that can be played for tournament wins


In the past year, an extensive analysis was completed of factors that could help profile horses that win races. I divided these profiles into 2 categories: Horses with strong profiles that could be called key horses and another set of factors that identified horses with a chance of winning at higher odds. These 2 profiles are highlighted in Red and Yellow respectively on the Horsewin Reports.

Key Horses (Red)

In the results below for the NHC Mandatory Races, only 4 Key horses won or about 27% with a total return of $57.50, or average win/place price of $14.36. In addition 2 placed for an average place only payoff of $4.50.  In total 20 horses were identified as key or about 1.33 per race and some of these would have been value plays at odds greater than 3-1.

Over the Friday and Saturday Contest Period, Horsewin Handicapped approximately 82 (non-mandatory) races run at 5 tracks.  This created 164 Win/Place and Place Results that could count in contest scores. Key Horses highlighted in Red produced 69 wins (1st or 2nd finish) or 84% in the money. The rate of success suggests that Key Horses are good place to start in the search for winners. The key issue remains of how to get winners at adequate prices to be tournament competitive. At an average 1.3 per race, the right Key Horse has to be played which adds additional challenge.

The top 10 Win/Place payoffs in this 95 Winner Sample totaled $198.70 or an average of $19.87. This type of return is reasonable for competitive tournament play unless a handicapper can win a high % of plays.  In the NHC Championship, a total of $238 was achieved by the winner from 29 races or an average return of $8.20 per race. I suspect that the lower total is the result of capped (maximum payoff winners) that pushed most of the leaders to the top. It is suspected that others had to play higher odds horses which resulted in fewer winners. But again, it is difficult to nail the best horse at the best price, even when choosing from 2 or 3 contenders. A number of years ago I played an online tournament where where a top pick and back-up horse had to be selected. My back-up horses won enough return to win the tournament while my top picks performed below average.

Key Longshots (Yellow)

In total, 15 Longshots ( in 11 of 15 mandatory races) were identified in the same sample or an average of about 1.5 per race. Of these, there were 3 winners and 4 places. On average a highlighted longshot placed (1st or 2nd) in 6 of the 15 races. The average win place payoff (uncapped) was $37.14. The average place only payoff was $5.20. This appears to be another source of possible plays for tournaments.

In another group of 82 non-mandatory races from 5 different tracks handicapped by Horsewin, Key Longshots placed (1st or 2nd) 24 times or 29%.  The Key Longshots were not as effective in the larger sample in comparison to mandatory race sample.

Mandatory Races and Results Analysis

Track Race Horsewin Rank Win Result(W/P payoff) Place Result(P payoff)
Friday, January 27, 2012
GP 3 2,3,9,5,4,7 7 ($84) 9 ($5)
TAM 6 1,11,7,3,4 7 ($17.40) 3 ($5.60)
GP 9 3,7,11,4,8 3 ($10.60) 10 ($21.20)
SA 3 3,5,7,1,8 5 ($9) 3 ($5)
FG 9 1,2,7,9, 2 ($19.60) 7 ($4)
OP 9 2,7,3,9,4 9 ($14.60) 1 ($11.80)
SA 7 10,5,6,8,2 2 ($12.80) 9 ($8.40)
Saturday January 28 2012
AQU 4 6,8,1,7 1 ($14.90) 7 ($6.80)
AQU 6 4,2,8,5,3 4 ($9.90 ) 8 ($5.00)
TAM 8 10,6,8,2,7,9 8 ($10.80 6 ($4.80)
GP 9 1,10,5,3 5 ($8.40) 1 ($4.20)
SA 6 3,,8,9,1 5 ($18.80) 8 ($8.00)
GP 11 11,10,9,6 2 ($20.60) 11($5.00)
SA 8 2,4,9,7,3 3 ($13.20 ) 4($5.80 )
Horsewin Key Picks(Red)Horsewin Key Longshots(Yellow)