Blue Moon Longshots

Blue Moon Longshots

It sure is nice to hit a very high paying horse isn’t it?! Nothing quite like it and, of course, that keeps players searching for more – hoping for more – sometimes even praying for more!

But how often do those boxcar win payoffs actually come in? Not very often – everyone knows that. A player can go broke very quickly if playing nothing but longshots.

Naturally – lady luck can be a factor. A player could hit something very good once or twice early in the life of his bankroll – and fund his ‘chasing’ wagers for several weeks and months before the odds probabilities catch back up to him.

Then there is the factor of handicapping for longshots. They happen – yes – but there are usually several long odds horses in every race. How in the world does a player deduce a set of viable variables that will point out the one high odds horse among several that might have a slight possibility of winning the race?

It’s a tough nut to crack. To find out how tough, and to learn a super simple step that will point out the winner of a race 87.5 percent of the time  . . .

I handicapped 5 tracks this past weekend; Artlington, Saratoga, Monmouth, Woodbine and Del Mar.  There were 152 races run at those tracks over the span of three days – Friday,Saturday, and Sunday.  There were some price bombs in those races to be sure.

Payoffs like the monster $142.50 in a Maiden Claimer at Saratoga, and the $80.20 payer on Friday at Arlington. There was a $59 winner at Saratoga on Saturday (that, by-the-way was in the HO Index issued to our subscribers), another $53.60 on Sunday at Monmouth, another $77 ‘blue mooner’ at Saratoga on Saturday, etc.

Gosh – those payoffs look delicious, I mean just a couple of those a month would really help the old bottom-line wouldn’t it?!

But now let me give you what I’ll call the 80% Plus Factor (that I mentioned earlier), and relate it to those longshot winners, and to the essentially two kinds of basic handicapping approaches to the game . . .

Out of the 152 races run at those 5 tracks over the three day weekend, you could have handicapped only approximately half the horses in each field, and had the winner in your remaining ‘mix’ in 133 of the races by using one elimination factor alone. Simply wait to 3 minutes to post and only consider the 5 lowest odds (and ties) horses on the tote board. That would have got the winner in your remaining mix 87.5% of the time!

Let that sink in for a moment.

Longshot hunters – you are going to lose 87.5 % of the races automatically – up front – before you ever even start trying to then handicap and decide from among the high odds horses in each race. Separating those and ending up on the two or three for betting will be – well – as grand a challenge as you’ll ever face in this game.

I am not saying it cannot be done. I am only pointing out the initial 87.5% losing race hurdle you will need to jump before even having a slight chance of success.

Now – back to the 80% Factor.  For you players that are interested in hitting a high percentage of winners – is there a way to use that statistic/factor to your benefit? Yes – certainly, but there are obvious ‘problems’ with it as well.

The first point is that you will need to be able to quickly handicap 5 horses in a couple of minutes in order to then have time to get your wagers down before post time. Second point is that old bugaboo that will inevitably be part of any odds-based approach – late changes in the odds.

I’ll leave the working out of those points for another time, but there is enough to run with here in this post.

One last thought though:  The second set of challenges, finding a speed handicapping method and a way to compensate (think ‘exactas’) for the late odds changes – is a lot easier than trying to find longshot, once-in-a-blue-moon winners that will give you a positive ROI bottom line . . . when you are already starting off with a guaranteed 87.5% losing races.

Your comment are welcomed and encouraged.


  1. Long shots are either horses that are prepared or placed in the proper spot for good ride.
    The only numbers you should look at are the ODDS. PAST and Present.
    Financial interests and connections tell you what the intentions are today by the ODDS dropping substantially.
    This can happen in the last race where the horse got a bad trip, but was positioned for a big run.
    Go back and find some longshots.
    Study the longshots past odds prior to winning.
    Also note the past classes.
    Do not follow pace or work outs they are met to deceive the public. All good Horsemen know one thing WE NEED LONGSHOTS TO PAY THE BILLS. Paul in PA.

  2. why can’t we get a decent look at the horses in post parade.Seems like sometime the camera man has fallen for one horse,if it’s # 6 we see that damn horse most of the p.parade.The other complaint is we never see the horses just mostly the outrider with the true horse hidden behind him.Love to see the whole horse,not just the rear end,can’t even see the horse number,The above pertains to televised racing only.yours, Brian

    • Brian – You are right, and I’ve had the same gripe for years now. It’s one of the prices paid for being able to watch and wager the races from home.

      In the ‘good old days’ not so long ago, I had to drive 45 min. each way to the track – pay a small fortune to get in, get a program and racing form, get a seat in the clubhouse, and have a beer and a sandwich during the day – be completely distracted and disturbed by numerous cigar-chomping “who do you like here” types – then have to stand in long lines every time I wanted to wager while sometimes getting shut out altogether – then not be able to see much of the race at all while they were running on the far side of the track . . .

      I prefer the way we have it now. – Gary

  3. Dr. AJ Benson Ph.D

    My database of 7000 races of the past 3 yrs.shows 5,888 winners among the four post time favorites for a win percentage of 84.1%. Food for thought…now have to check the.roi for profitability. Dr.AJ Benson Ph.D

    • A.J. –

      Sounds about right. I only have the records for races I’ve issued over the years in the HRG and SPG Indices.
      I never h-cap 2 yr old racing (Breeders Cup an exception), and rarely h-cap straight Maidens – both of which
      produce a slightly higher % of low odds winners. My own stats show about the same as your’s BUT – in the
      lowest 5 final odds horses.

    • I am Seventy four this year and before they had data bases they had pencils and paper. When I coach young people I make them write down what ever statistic they are following in a Cambridge steno pad. In a descending manner. My first lesson make the ODDS prove your point. Morning line odds and Closing line odds know how both work in your favor. Eliminate races that are for the GOD only knows people. Developed Horses produce results. These are always the 80/20 Trainers and Jockeys Horses. Try running a test on the 2-3-4 closing line horses. Notice I left out the favorite. Paul in PA.

  4. the problem with that is you get a guy like me i have a small ego i take a long run maybe if you treated it like a second system and not your main course of funds i been going to crc in fla. i live there now i caught some blue moons by watching the trainer and jockey teams even if the horse does not figure you have to look very close and your see it dist change or w.o. from gate i caught a 50 dollar horse this weekend it a though game like you say do not bet every race on the card may you nail them good vince the prince

  5. I am cautious about talking about Win% without talking about ROI. One could claim a high win percentage and still lose money over the long run. One could also claim a low win percentage and have a positive ROI.

    • John –

      Of course you are right about that. But then – usually all that’s needed to be successful once a high hit rate has been achieved is to then start being more restrictive in accepted odds. One can set a minimum odds level at which a wager will be made. The player you mention that has a low hit % but a high ROI – will by definition (if we are talking about win betting) be one who is going after higher paying horses. As I stated, that is totally do-able – for the player with patience, and that can also withstand long losing streaks both psychologically and financially.

      – Gary

      • I agree that a low win % and possitive ROI is possible and does require a large bankroll and industrial size Pepto for the roller coaster ride. Not for me.

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