What If?

What If?

One of racing’s great refrains – and usually used as a way of justification or lamenting of a betting loss. But re-evaluating our moves, choices, and decisions in this game can be very constructive to our future success. In that light – I offer the following . . .

Did any of you happen to watch (or see the results of) the Risen Star Stakes yesterday at Fairgrounds? Every bell and whistle in the state went off when that $272.40 winner crossed the line!

I was watching the race for Ky Derby purposes and didn’t have a bet going. I’d just before the race gotten off the phone with a subscriber where I had been answering some questions on “Speed 2013” – I had the thought to check the race in hindsight, and see if that winner could have been caught with the method.

Without giving away the method to those who haven’t purchased . . . but for those of you that do have the method – what follows is my thinking and the results of the application of the method to that race:

First – because its a stakes race, the firmer “rules” used by the method for claiming and allowance type races need to be loosened a bit – especially as concerns the Speed Rating part of the rules. I generally completely toss out the highest rating/s and look more at the high range of ratings to get the qualifiers on that factor. If not doing that in this race for example (and in many stakes races generally) we’d been stuck with the favorite, Normandy Invasion, and only a couple of other horses for consideration.

1. Proud Strike – I eliminated because only a recent maiden grad. I do not like these types in Graded Stakes races. Sure – some of them will go on to be super horses and may jump up and bite us, but in general they are very poor wagers.
2. Code West – initial qualifier
3. Agent – elim on speed rating
4. Golden Soul – initial qualifier
5. Mylute – initial qualifier
6. Palice Malice – initial qualifier
7. Hardrock Eleven – has shown distaste for dirt routes – elim
8. I’ve Struck A Nerve – – initial qualifier
9. Normandy Invasion – initial qualifier
10. Oxbow – initial qualifier
11. Bethel – elim on speed rating
13. Circle Unbroken – sprinter unproven at the route – elim

Now – again – for those of you with the method – you’ll know the factor used to get down to our choices/s from the above initial list of qualifiers.

The top three were;  #6, #2, and #8 . . .

Holy smokes!!  the order of finish was #8 – #2 – #6        The winner paid $272.40  The exacta paid $2,295   The Trifecta paid $17,787.60

Yeah – kinda wish I could go back and play that race – don’t you?!


On that subject (the subject of high payers) . . .

One of the ‘lessons learned’ for race betting that comes the slowest – is the ability to go ahead and wager on second, third and even fourth choices when the odds warrant.

The usual thinking goes something like this, “I’ve done my handicapping, and my top and second choices look pretty darn solid – longshots so rarely come in – better to bet on my top choice/s and take the lower but more likely profits.”

It’s not that the thinking there is bad – it is conservative and protective of the bankroll (which is good) – it is not wrong thinking per se, but . . .

If your top choice is a low payer, it’s only going to win at a 30-40% clip anyway – how much difference really is there in your handicapping between it and your ‘next best’ choices? In all honesty, handicappers really shouldn’t draw such a definitive line on how they rank their contenders.

Truly – we are not as good of handicappers as we like to think we are. Only very rarely will we smoke out an outstanding contender that stands head and shoulders above the others – and yet still provides decent enough odds to justify a wager. Most often we can make a good case – according to how the race shakes out (the break, the pace, etc.) – for two or three others, so the deciding factor then needs to be “value.”


As always – your comments and responses are welcomed.               – Gary


  1. Paul in PA

    This is Paul in PA. The guy who always tells you what he see,s good or bad. When I do things I generally do things by what my gut feeling are telling me. I ran across your site a few years ago and I followed it because we agreed on so many factors that are the bottom line. I purchased a couple of your program and I liked what I saw and I was impressed. I was an Operating Engineer by profession and have always admired how something is built or how it works.

    I was not intending to buy the whole program package but you talked me into it. My reason was if you have some of his material and you liked it why not try the whole package. At the time I was having some good success playing your P3 method, and I was playing with their money.

    I got the program Speed 2013, read the material and put it on the back burner for future reference.

    By July the P3 pools kept getting smaller and smaller I stopped playing when I hit the break even point. I always keep records and I always recheck my data. I noticed I had a high percentage of what should of been winning wagers but the return per investment was declining. I shut down my wagering and went back to the drawing board. I am intending to reenter the game with a Clean Head and a Disciplined Approach. I went back and went through your program and recommendations.

    When the student is ready the teacher will appear. I compared your way to my way and long term yours produces more profit with less headaches. I reread the material Slowly and SHAZAM found what I was looking for, something that works long term.

    From an Engineering stand point its a Classic Five Star Program. The only problem I had was, it is so well written that you almost can’t believe its true and it works. Now in case some one questions my authority as a qualified expert, I have like everybody else purchased every kind of Handicapping Program know to modern man. Some were well in the thousands. I now have them all for sale at Bargain Basement prices.

    If OBAMA can get an NOBEL prize for Community Organizer from Chicago, Then you Sir Deserve TWO NOBEL PRIZES. ONE for Engineering Design and Development. The other for Practicable Business Affordable Education.

    Thank You Gary for a job well done. Genius is some time a lonely endeavor, but success makes it all worth while when recognized by others.

    Paul the Old Guy in PA. aka [email protected]

    • Paul – I thank you for the your thoughts and comments. You obviously have the right mindset for success in this game. I am reminded of one of my favorite quotes – from the genius botanist, Luther Burbank when asked how it was he performed all his ‘miracles’ with plants . . . “It’s a matter of concentration – and rapid elimination of non-essentials.”

      And so it is in this endeavor – success is sure for those that make that their mantra. – Gary

  2. Gary…wow…that FG pick would have been a “throw away” for me…odds just too high…but, it does fit with quite a few of the races I’ve been looking at using the Speed 2013 method…still perfecting some of my “analysis” techniques when faced with not so crystal clear choices, but trying to mirror your advice certainly helps. I couldn’t agree more with these guys heaping on the accolades….can attest to your knowledge, your willingness to help, and to your ability to raise present day handicapping up to a point of viability rather than just “come on” guessing…congrats on your continued success!…(and mine!)

    • Carl – I sure do appreciate the kudos – especially from an “old timer” who has been with us pretty much from the start – thank you.

      Re looking for higher paying horses:

      When one finds a race where the obvious horse (low ml horses and consensus ‘picks’) appears to have a chink in its armor (the proverbial ‘weak favorite’), I think handicapping should then proceed by completely throwing that/those horse/s out of the mix (for win, and top spot in the exotics) . . . and handicapping the remaining runners without regard to likely odds or to class considerations, etc. I’ve trained myself to make my ‘first look’ be at just the running lines section of a horse’s pp’s – purposely ‘fuzzing out’ the stuff to either side. The very most basic of all handicapping considerations for me, and what I get from this quick ‘tunnel view’ – is – “Does the animal love to run? Does it have the competitive instinct?”

      After I’ve done that, and made a decision on the answer to those questions – when I look at all that other “stuff,” I’m not as easily swayed and put off my initial take on the horse. If a horse loves to run competitively (and so many really don’t) and I have a reason to doubt the likely favorite – the race can open way up. – Gary

  3. Reply to Doug’s last (I’ll put here – because the way the blog format is set up – it screws it up to follow on the initial thread) . . .

    Doug – Yes – handicapping is kind of a “two-edged sword.” Historical results are no guarantee of future results, and looking back can never be done without a measure of assumed positive bias creeping in (which is why paper results inevitably outstrip subsequent actual results). And yet – looking back is all we have available to us. Almost all handicapping factors (other than body language) are based on what happened in the past. Without the small edge we can gain by more astutely handicapping those past occurrences than the next guy – race betting would be a crapshoot at best.

    For me, “after the fact” handicapping has been a major part of my game. I almost always go back and re-handicap my losing races. I often spend much longer on this process than I did in the initial pre-race handicapping. We are ‘pattern identification’ creatures – it’s our greatest skill. Historical re-analysis makes optimal use of this skill. As long as it doesn’t lead to pie-in-the-sky projections of great riches to be accrued from this or that method . . . it can only be a good thing for our handicapping. – Gary

  4. Although I’ve been in the game, on and off, for over 30 years, it was just this past New Year when I stumbled upon Gary’s awsome site….it truly is GOLD!!! Wow! i was blown away with the free info. on the site. I was so impressed that I printed out everything and have it all arranged in file folders. I’ve signed up for membership and in the process of buyiny all of Gary’s methods, etc. I have sent emails to Gary with concerns/questions/comments and he always takes the time to respond. Wow, i’ve never seen heard or experienced anything or any one like Gary ..I pray this man lives healthly to at least 100 years old..he deserves it for all the help he has given the average player..many of which have turned pro…as I will this year..and only because of Gary and his truly remarkable information…As in another blog going back to 11-12, Gary is a TRUE GENIUS..I feel blessed that I stumbled onto his site on New Year’s DaY…What a way to start the New Year!! I have had more high paying winners with just one of his methods then I have had in all the years that I’ve been at this awsome sport!! God Bless You Gary and I am truly in your debt.. Best regards, Andy P. from R.I.

    • Andy – Wow – I’m going to have to see if I can meet this fellow you speak of so highly!! 😉 Thanks brother. – Gary

  5. hindsight is the best you had no way of putting number 8 on top

    • Ed – Certainly – as they say “hindsight is always 20-20” . . . and I stated up front that I did not have a bet on the horse. Do you have the Speed 2013 Method? If so, did you check the race using the method? For anyone to suggest it would have been an easy call – well, of course that would be ridiculous – easy calls don’t pay 135 to 1. I think though, equally as ridiculous is to say that there is “no way” anyone could get the horse on top. – Gary

  6. dave henry

    Glad someone was playing the method along with me. I was only looking for a show horse to bet in the Brisnet Road to the Derby Contest. Finally decided that Code West might improve down the lane in only his 2nd start this year. So, I went with him. To be honest, I didn’t really trust I’ve Struck a Nerve in a graded stakes. Oops.

    • Dave – Good on ya for getting Code West in the back slots. One thing about hitting high priced winners – they will absolutely never look good in all respects. That’s why a relatively “simple” method like Speed 2013 will often catch them – precisely because it is not looking at too many factors (like proven Graded class ability in this race). – Gary

  7. The last five paragraphs of this blog are excellent.

    As far as hitting that bomb at FG, we all have a way of looking back at races where the outcome is known and seeing a way where, “I woulda had that.”

    • Doug – Thanks for the comment. Right you are – and I started the post out saying that. I was just offering some “dream material,” and a suggestion to the guys and gals who purchased the Speed 2013 Method that they check this race using the rules of that method. – Gary

      • By the way Gary, that wasn’t a jab at you. It was probably more of a lament.

        That’s why the last part of the blog is so excellent. It reminds one that the bomb isn’t going to jump off the page. But we can usually find a reason why they won AFTER the fact.

        You rightly point out that value often exists for high odds horses and they will win more often than their odds suggest. Identifying those value horses, I believe, is key to long-term profitability.

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