Example Races – ML Matrix

Below is race #6 at Gulfstream on new Year’s Day – a $35K Optional claimer for a $55k purse at 9 furlongs on the turf.  All relevant (enough to make your qualifying decision) past races shown – with horses in post position order.  I’ve re-capped each of these races with a timer on.  This race took 41 seconds from pulling up the past performances to choosing my final two betting qualifiers.  One of those qualifiers won and paid $27.80 . . .









The briefest of glances (first to recent finishes on the far right – then to dates of those races on far left – then to class level – under “conditions” of those races) shows that he has the requisite win or place in last 3 (Primary rule #1) / he has the requisite 2 wins or places in last 7 (Primary rule #2)  / he has raced twice in the last 144 days (Primary rule #3)  – none of those were maiden claiming races, and today is not a stakes race – so he is done – a qualifier.









Does not qualify under Primary rule #1 – so NQ (non- qualified) – done










Qualifies under all 3 Primary rules – he’s in.









This could have been the only one that took more than a few seconds thought – because of the high APV number and the seemingly high Graded race levels . . . but those were in Venezuela! In his first try with real race horses here at Gp, he failed badly. Automatic pass for me.









Automatic qualifier all 3 Primary rules. Graduating from a straight Maiden with a purse level higher than today’s is okay – he’s in.









Obvious NQ horse (was already eliminated because of high ML) –









Another quick and obvious NQ









All 3 Primary rules fulfilled – he’s in.


Four were left as qualifiers:
#1 Charlie Mops Ml of 7-2
#3 Mohican ML of 4-1
# 5 Markitoff  ML of 5-1
#8 Shahroze  ML of 9-5

Two high ML of the qualifiers – win wagers are on #3 and #5 . . .












Below is race #9 at Gulfstream on new Year’s Day – a $75K open stakes on the turf at 5 furlongs.  This race took 43 seconds from pulling up the past performances to choosing my final two betting qualifiers – won and paid $12.80 . . .









Because this is a stakes race – we are also requiring the horse show some sort of potential for competing in a stakes (see Secondary guideline #1)  This one is an immediate qualifier that takes about 3 seconds – on to the next.










Doesn’t qualify under Primary rule #2 (two wins or places in last 7 races) NQ










Doesn’t qualify Prim rule #1 – move on









Qualifies all Primary and has the 2nd in a stakes 4 back.  He’s in – moving on








Automatic qualifier – all Primary requisites met – highest APV horse as well – has won a Graded race.










Does not qualify under Prime rule #2 – NQ








Does not qualify under Prime rule #3 (hasn’t raced in a very long time)


Only 3 qualifiers remained:

#1 Extravagant Kid ML of 8-1
#4 Successful Native  ML of 8-1
#5 Hogy ML of 8-5

The two wagers were on #1 and #4











Below is race #3 at Gulfstream on new Year’s Day – a $75K open stakes on the turf at 5 furlongs.  This race took 58 seconds from pulling up the past performances to choosing my final two betting qualifiers – won and paid $18.60 . . .











I saved this race to last because of this particular horse. This one requires a smidgen of a fudge, and this is an example of where and why I give the high APV horse quite a bit of leeway . . .

She is the high APV horse, so needs not qualify for the win or pla in last 3 races – the fudge is that her last race was 65 days ago whereas the guidelines state 60 days. But she is an obvious contender having run a close 3rd in a Grade 3 in last and having won a G3 four races back. She likes to run and is facing easier. For me – it took about 10 seconds to to decide in her favor. Compare to the others in the field and I think you would have made the same decision.









Doesn’t satisfy the recency rule (Primary #3) NQ









Easy qualifier










This one is questionable on class – you have to go 444 days back to see a stakes-caliber race and she ran poorly in that one. I didn’t qualify her – if you might have – it wouldn’t have affected the outcome.









Qualifies all Prime rules – been racing in stakes – in.








Doesn’t qualify on Primary rule #1 – NQ









Doesn’t qualify on Primary rule #1 – doesn’t have the back class – has a 15-1 ML – NQ


That left 4 qualifiers 
#1 Code Warrior at ML 15-1
#3 Brandy Girl  ML 1-1
#4 Girls Know Best  ML 12-1
#5 Sylphide  ML 7-2


Two choices were #1 and #4 (or #5 if you tossed #4 originally)









Larger fields will take a bit longer (usually – not always), but I hope you can see that once you have a few dozen races under you belt with the Method – the handicapping times are very quick.  

Remember – you run through the Primary 3 rules first. In many races, nothing else is needed – none of the other guidelines or eliminations are even used – thus the quick average handicapping time.



Below is a short discussion on Class and the APV ranking:


APV – another of the questions I’m getting from several buyers of the ML Matrix Method. The following will be “old-hat” knowledge for most of you – but may help some.

Average Purse Value is, as it says, the value of purse that the horse has been racing at while also garnishing checks.  That is – it would not figure into the judgement of a horse’s class if it had been running at higher levels – yet not finishing better than 5th in those races.

Almost all tracks pay part of the total purse value through to the 4th place finisher in a distribution ratio of approximately:  60% to the winner,  20% to the place horse, 10% to the show horse and 5% to the 4th horse.

If you don’t have access to ready-made APV rankings, you can go through and figure the APV for a horse by using the purse value of each race and multiplying by those percentages according to its finishing position, but that is way too time-consuming (in my early days I did exactly that – for years).

The easiest remedy is to simply change to a pp provider that has that readout – or similar – as discussed in the method.

Really though – it is often an obvious thing to judge who is the “classiest” horse in the race – i.e. the
one who has had the most past success at the highest levels relative to today’s field . . .

As you are scanning for the initial Primary Rules qualifiers, mark (or remember) the highest purse a horse has been successful at (1st through 4th) in its last year (or thereabouts) of racing.

Two or three horses will stand out – now look at the second highest purse in a successful race for those 2 or 3 – at that point it will usually be fairly obvious who the high APV horse is.


One point to remember when doing the above:  Races where the horse is offered for sale are almost always inferior to races of equal purse value where they are protected.  So an $80k purse in a claiming race, or even an optional claiming race, is usually not equivalent to a $75k purse in an open stakes race.  By the same token: a $50K purse in an open claiming race is not equivalent to a $50k purse in an Optional Claiming race.

One more point: state-bred and Maiden races carry inflated purses.


The generalized point here – simply use what you have, or make a fairly quick judgment for yourself – who is the “classiest” horse in the race?  Include that horse into your final mix before making betting decision based on the Morning Line.

 You will be right often enough.  Actual APV rankings are not crucial to the success of the method


Best of fortune     – Gary