You Can Beat Saratoga

by Rich Nilsen

There are several facets of Saratoga that every handicapper should know, and there are some solid strategies that I recommend for beating the upcoming 2019 meet which begins earlier than ever this year, July 11, and runs through September 3.  If you apply these nine steps, you’ll be putting the percentages in your favor over 95 percent of the wagering public who have no game plan and approach each day at the Spa haphazardly.

 

Key # 1 – Understand How the Tracks Play

On most days the Saratoga main track plays very kindly to speed horses. It can be very difficult to make a wide move on the turn for home, sustain that run and get up for the win. The predominant speed bias, of course, is more prevalent the shorter the distance, but on many days, the tracks favors early speed or tactical speed in all of the dirt races.  For example, in 6 furlong races last year, 38% of the winners won gate-to-wire.  That’s a typical Saratoga meet where nearly 4 out of every 10 six furlong races are won on the front end.

On the Saratoga main track, making a three to four wide move around the far turn is very difficult for most runners to sustain.  Always be on the lookout for horses that suffer from that type of trip with the hopes of scoring with them at a price next time out. See Key #7 below.

In my opinion the two turf courses can be very inconsistent, especially from one year to the next. Just because the inner turf course favored speed and tactical speed in one mile races last year doesn’t mean that is going to happen this summer. In general, both turf courses give the edge to closers, but there are plenty of races and plenty of days when that is not the case.

ProfitWhether it is the weather or some other factor, the turf courses can suddenly begin to favor early speed and it is vital that the handicapper keeps their eyes open to this short-term bias that can last one week or more.  You can “make” your meet if you spot the turf bias early enough and capitalize.

Do beware of the inside posts in the 5 ½-furlong turf sprints. It is well known that the rail (one post) can perform very poorly in turf sprints. If the inside horses don’t break sharply and demonstrate good early speed, they can get shuffled back and subsequently boxed in during the cavalry charge to the turn.  As a result, middle posts are often the best draws in these swiftly-run, short races.

Tactical speed is also very important. One surprising trend three years ago was that closers fared remarkably well in these short turf sprints.  In fact, over half of the winners in 2016 were Pressers (mid-pack runners) or Sustained types (closers from the back.)  Watch closely in the first week or so to see how the turf sprints play.  It may not be what you expect.

Be alert because there is always a range of days at Saratoga when the speed bias not only disappears, but the track begins to strongly favor closers. This is one of the most important times of the meet for the serious player. Just like with the turf bias mentioned previously, if you catch on to this reverse bias early enough you could make your entire meet in a matter of a few days.  It will happen, because it seems to every year, so keep an eye out for it.

Understanding how these tracks play and staying alert for short-term changes to the predominant biases is critical for the Saratoga horseplayer.

The 9 Tips to Beating Saratoga by Rich Nilsen – click here to download

Other Handicapping Articles:

Horse for the Course

9 Keys to Beating Saratoga

Updated & Expanded for 2019

Download this free guide "Beat Saratoga: 9 Tips for Turning a Profit" by AGameofSkill.com founder Rich Nilsen and play the 2019 Saratoga meet successfully.

Beating this 40-day meet with so many contentious races is no easy task, even for experienced horseplayers, but the tips in this guide will get you on track to do just that.

16-time NHC Qualifier and 8-time major contest winner Rich Nilsen walks you through the steps required to beat this prestigious race meet. In "Beat Saratoga: 9 Tips for Turning a Profit" you'll learn:

* What steps it takes to beat this meet successfully.
* Which jockeys and trainers dominate the Saratoga meet.
* Which 'dark horse' jockeys and trainers you need to know about. These guys bring home the prices, and one trainer in particular has been the King of Saratoga Longshots!
* How each of the three tracks (dirt and turf) play and how this affects you as a handicapper.
* New! A new tip in 2019 to help eliminate runners with big figs.
* Plus .... be on the lookout for this one important trend - it occurs every year!

Fill out the short form below to claim your free report "Beat Saratoga!" You will automatically receive an email with a link to the PDF document that you can download to any device.  NOTE: The form does not work in Firefox.

9 Tips for Turning a Profit at Saratoga

Expert advice for beating the Saratoga meet will be sent to your Inbox.  If you would like to be entered to win a FREE handicapping book from the DRF Press, enter your mailing address below  (not required).

Nilsen’s Full-Card Belmont Stakes Analysis

Rich Nilsen qualifies for the 16th time

with Wagering Strategies & Spot Plays for 2019 by Rich Nilsen

This is Rich Nilsen’s home track and the results have showed in recent years. Nilsen gave out $34.80 winner Creator as his top pick as well as the huge exacta with Destin that returned over $260.  He followed that up the next year with top selection $12.60 Tapwrit and the exacta and trifecta!  With Justify in 2018, Nilsen has picked the winner of the Belmont Stakes 3 years in a row.

Founder of AGameofSkill.com, Nilsen is the winner of 8 major handicapping tournaments and, after qualifying last weekend, is now a 16-time qualifier to the multi million-dollar National Horseplayers Championship (NHC). He is well known as one of the best handicappers in the country.

There are a lot of pretenders out there. Get affordable, expert advice for this year’s amazing Belmont Stakes card.

NEW! New features in 2019

  • Most likely winner for every race
  • Best Value play selection for every race
  • Race commentary on all 13 races.
  • A portion of the proceeds will go to a Race Horse Retirement Organization (we’re waiting to hear back from the one we’ve chosen)

 

This sheet contains:

  • Top selections for all 13 races
  • Sophisticated Pace Scenario for all 13 races
  • Spot Plays (Best Bets) on the undercard w/ wagering strategies
  • In-depth Analysis of the Belmont Stakes.  Includes Exacta and Superfecta strategies.

Get all 13 races on the Belmont card.  Download now for only $16.97 to any device.

 

2016 Write-Up on TOP SELECTION CREATOR

CREATOR lost his best chance when he broke from an inside post in the field of 20 and encountered a rough trip in the Kentucky Derby.  Prior to that he was ultra impressive, sweeping by the field in the G1 Arkansas Derby.  If you want to see an incredible maiden win, just go back and what this colt’s Feb. 27 score at Oaklawn, and you’ll again see the type of late kick this guy possesses.  Trainer Steve Asmussen has the son of Tapit working well for this rebound race, including a blowout 4f drill over the Belmont training track. Bred to run all day, Creator will drop back under new rider Irad Ortiz, Jr. and come rolling late at a big price. 

Testimonial from the 2017 Sheet:

“Hey Rich.. Thanks for putting me on Tapwrit !! I liked him and Gormley and Irish War Cry.

I think  #9 meantime had enough speed to compromise Irish War Cry. Have feeling that if he wasn’t in the race, Irish War Cry might have been loose on the lead ,and had enough to win.  I had Tapwrit straight & the exacta.  Tapwrit & Gormley both had “dream trips”, But Gormley didnt want to go that far… Hey !! let’s give some love to Disco Partner for his new North  American record for 6 panels. I had him straight  and also knocked down the exacta of 2-4 for $42.00… Hope you had a good day & made some cash !!
 
Thanks Again, 
Wayne M.

Stich Wins Again. 28yo Handicapper Takes Down Record Field at Monmouth Park

AGOS Founder Also Qualifies at Pick Your Prize Challenge Tournament

Patrick Stich of Chicago, IL turned his $1,000 starting bankroll into $6,150 to win Monmouth Park’s fourth annual $2,000 Pick Your Prize Handicapping Challenge on Saturday, June 1.

Stich bested a record field of 222 entries made up of players from 30 states and Canada.

Rich Nilsen qualifies for the 16th time

For finishing first, Stich received an automatic $14,000 and two picks from the Pick Your Prize board. In total, the board was composed of 22 NHC seats – the most of any online or on-track contest in history – as well as six full Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge seats and $86,000 in cash prizes. With his two picks, Stich selected the top cash prize of $12,000 and well as the prize of BCBC+$3,500. Including his bankroll, Stich walked away with $35,650 plus a seat in the $10,000 BCBC.

Early in the day, Stich started strong by hitting a $200 fourth race exacta at Gulfstream for $1,640. A $50 fifth race exacta at Gulfstream earned Stich another $2,475. A $600 win bet in the 11th race at Gulfstream had Stich with $5,050 going into the Monmouth Park finale – the final contest race. A winning $200 cold exacta returned $1,300 and landed Stich the title.

Saturday’s second-place finisher was Tim Yohler of Fishers, IN who finished with a bankroll of $5,843.60.

All Pick Your Prize players were required to bet at least $100 on a total of 10 races from Monmouth Park, Belmont and Gulfstream. At least five of those races needed to be Monmouth Park races. Bets could only be win, place, show, exacta or any combination thereof.

All players kept their final bankrolls. The Top 5 finishers received a guaranteed cash prize. The Top 7 finishers all received two picks from the prize board in order of finish. Finishers 8 through 27 received one pick.

Following is the full list of results from Saturday’s $2,000 Pick Your Prize Handicapping Challenge:

Finish Name Bankroll Prize
1st Patrick Stich $6,150 $29,500+BCBC
2nd Tim Yohler $5,843.60 $14,000+BCBC+NHC
3rd Ross Szlasa $5,253 $13,000+BCBC
4th Frank Fosbre $5,201.60 $10,000+BCBC
5th Mark Streiff $4,848.50 $5,000+BCBC+NHC
6th Rich Pawlowski $4,545.40 $2,000+NHC+BCBC
7th Andrew Gredesky $4,208 $5,500+NHC
8th Gary Wright $4,031 NHC
9th Nick Noce $3,788 NHC
10th Scott Carson $3,678 $4,000
11th Frank Gryboski $3,620 $3,000
12th Stephen McNatton $3,412.50 NHC
13th Tim Hughes $3,410.50 NHC
14th David Wolff $3,377.95 NHC
15th John Vail $3,207.50 NHC
16th Joe Regan $3,053 NHC
17th Roger Cettina $3,000.80 NHC
18th Sally Goodall $2,993.20 NHC
19th David Wolff $2,940 $3,000 (in lieu of a 2nd NHC seat)
20th Scott Carson $2,876 NHC
21st John Fisher $2,735 NHC
22nd Mike Mulvihill $2,724 NHC
23rd Rich Nilsen $2,667.25 NHC
24th Don Chung $2,604 NHC
25th Jose Raphael $2,466 NHC
26th Jeff Bussan $2,429.55 NHC

Nick Fazzolari Wins New Sunday Contest

For the first time, Monmouth Park also hosted a $300 NHC Qualifier on Sunday, June 2. The winner of that contest was Nick Fazzolari of Colts Neck, NJ who used a late all-in in the finale at Belmont to catapult to the lead and best the field of 179 entries. Fazzolari will be headed to the NHC along with second-place finisher Rich Pesce and third-place finisher Mark Odorisio.

Monmouth Park’s next handicapping contest is a $300 Monmouth/Woodbine event ($150 entry fee, $150 bankroll) on Saturday, June 29, which will award three NHC seats . Woodbine’s historic Queen’s Plate will be carded on June 29.

Nilsen’s Full-card KY Derby Analysis with wagers

15x NHC Qualifier & AGOS founder Rich Nilsen has his KY Derby Analysis with top picks, spot plays & wagering strategies now available

  • Spot Plays w/wagers
  • Full card selections
  • Pace Analysis for every race
  • Expert Commentary on all 20 Derby Starters

Download it now.  22 pages, PDF, only $15.97

Includes bonus KY OAKS Analysis w/expert wagering strategies
 

 

Derby 145 Analysis with Wagering Strategies & Spot Plays by Rich Nilsen

Get the complete analysis of the 145th Kentucky Derby card with Nilsen’s professional selections for the big race.

“I couldn’t sleep last night after coming up with my top selection for the Derby.  The scratch of favorite Omaha Beach is huge.  Not just for the obvious reason, but because the scratch completely changes the pace scenario,” explained Nilsen.  “I have a horse that can light up the toteboard on Saturday!”

Nilsen covers all 14 races on Derby Day and includes his written analysis on all 20 starters in the Run for the Roses!  Along with exacta and trifecta strategies for the KY Derby, Nilsen has three spot plays with wagers on the day.

As always, this is a tremendous betting card, one of the best of year!

Rich Nilsen is the winner of 8 major handicapping tournaments and a 15-time qualifier to the $3 million National Horseplayers Championship (NHC).

There are a lot of pretenders out there.  Get affordable, expert advice for this year’s amazing KY Derby card.

This KY Derby Analysis contains:

  • Top selections for all 14 races
  • Sophisticated Pace Scenario for all 14 races
  • 3 Spot Plays (Best Bets) on the undercard w/ wagering strategies
  • In-depth Analysis of the Kentucky Derby with comments on all 20 starters.
  • A Key Longshot keyed in Exacta and Trifecta strategies.

Get all 14 races on the Churchill Downs’ card.  Download now for only $15.97 to any device.

BONUS!

But that’s not all.  Download now and you receive Nilsen’s analysis for the Kentucky Oaks which includes wagering strategies for the big race on Friday.  

 

Testimonials About Past Analysis

“Hey Rich.. Thanks for putting me on Tapwrit [Belmont Stakes 2018]!! I liked him and Gormley and Irish War Cry… I had Tapwrit straight & the exacta.  Tapwrit & Gormley both had “dream trips”, But Gormley didnt want to go that far… Hey!! Let’s give some love to Disco Partner for his new North  American record for 6 panels. I had him straight  and also knocked down the exacta of 2-4 for $42.00… Hope you had a good day & made some cash!  Thanks Again, ” ~ Wayne M.

“Rich, thanks for your terrific analysis of the Gulfstream Park [Rainbow Six 3/31/18].  I was able to hit the Pick 6 [paid $9,018 for twenty cents!].   Anyone out there who bets horses would be well advised to download your sheet on every major race day… thanks again for a job well done.” ~ Evan C.

“Great job, Rich!” ~ Jeff S.

“Rich: nice job Travers Day! Thanks to Arrogate, you gave me a good day. How in the world did you land on him? I suspect you’re doing some kind of voodoo pace analysis. If you ever decide to give lessons or a seminar, let me know.” ~ Kelley S.

Rich Nilsen’s Analysis w/Wagers for Super Saturday – April 6, 2019

15-time NHC Qualifier Rich Nilsen has analyzed the three big KY Derby preps for Super Saturday April 6th.

  • Keeneland’s Blue Grass Stakes – a great betting race
  • Aqueduct’s Wood Memorial – Nilsen has a value play on top!
  • The Santa Anita Derby – He’s going against Breeders’ Cup champ Game Winner in this spot.

Each race includes Nilsen’s expert race and pace analysis, along with top selections, and a detailed wagering strategy to attack each race.  Don’t miss it on one racing’s biggest and best days of the year.

Only $12.97 for the instant PDF download

 

ABOUT THE HANDICAPPER

Rich Nilsen caught the horse racing bug at a young age when his father took him to the racetracks in New York. He eventually attended the University of Louisville Equine Business Program with the goal of making a career in the horse racing industry.

Nilsen has worked the past 25+ years in the equine industry, serving most of those years as the Marketing Director for Brisnet.com and TwinSpires.com, the Official Wagering Site of the Kentucky Derby.

During his long tenure at the Churchill Downs-owned properties, Nilsen managed the successful Players’ Pool syndicate, which pooled funds from the account wagering members to go after large Pick-6 carryovers. During Nilsen’s leadership, the Players’ Pool produced a significant profit for the members over the course of seven years. One of the best hits was when the Players’ Pool took down half of the Pick-6 pool on Kentucky Derby Day 2007, with a gross return of over $500,000.  The Pool had several other hits over $250,000.

The $3 Million National Horseplayers Championship (NHC) is the premier horse racing tournament in the nation. It is basically horse racing’s version of the World Series of Poker, with the main difference being that players cannot buy their way into the NHC. Players can only win their way in via tournaments held throughout the country. Nilsen is one of the top participants in the history of the event, having qualified 15 times. He was the first player to finish in the top 10 at the NHC twice and is ranked in the top 10 all-time at the NHC.

Nilsen is the founder and editor of AGameofSkill.com, a site devoted to horse racing education and promotion.

JUST ONE TESTIMONIAL

Equestricon Ticket Construction Panel

AGOS Founder Rich Nilsen participated in one of the handicapping panels at the recently concluded 2018 Equestricon conference in Louisville, KY.  Unfortunately, this panel was not videoed, but another one was – the panel on ticket construction.

The following links to the wagering ticket construction panel that was on day 2 of the 2018 Equestricon Conference.  Included on this panel was my friend Mike Maloney, one of the best horseplayers and bettors in the country.

Breeders’ Cup Analysis by Rich Nilsen

Crush the 2018 Cup!  All 14 Races Analyzed

15x NHC Qualifier Offers up Pace Scenarios, 5 Spot Plays w/ Expert Wagers, Top Selections and Analysis

Rich Nilsen, who has absolutely crushed some past big days, is back for both days of this year’s Breeders’ Cup at Churchill Downs, a track he knows inside and out.   Included in Nilsen’s report are top selections for all 5 juvenile stakes on Friday and all 9 stakes on Saturday (all 14 Breeders’ Cup races).

You receive Nilsen’s expert pace analysis, which is often the key to selecting the winner.   Nilsen has 5 Spot Plays on the two days.  He offers these best bets with his wagering strategies to attack these races.

Get every Breeders’ Cup race for BOTH days (Friday & Saturday) in one sheet!  

Download instantly to any type of device. Only $19.97

 

Highlights from Previous Breeders’ Cup Spot Play Winners!

$40.40 Spot Play Winner Work All Week with $1,064.70 Trifecta!

$29.40 Sprint Spot Play Winner Trinniberg with Cold $203.40 Exacta!

$15.80 Turf Sprint Spot Play Winner Mizdirection, keying $1,757.65 Pick-4 wager!

$13.00 F&M Turf Spot Play winner Dayathespa

$16.40 Turf Sprint Winner Bobby’s Kitten

$64.80 Exacta with Main Sequence over Flintshire in the Breeders’ Cup Turf

The list goes on and on!

Download today to any device (click to download)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rich Nilsen caught the horse racing bug at a young age when his father took him to the racetracks in New York. He eventually attended the University of Louisville Equine Business Program with the goal of making a career in the horse racing industry.

Nilsen has worked the past 26 years in the equine industry, serving most of those years as the Marketing Director for Brisnet.com and TwinSpires.com, the Official Wagering Site of the Kentucky Derby.

During his long tenure at the Churchill Downs-owned properties, Nilsen managed the successful Players’ Pool syndicate, which pooled funds from the account wagering members to go after large Pick-6 carryovers. During Nilsen’s leadership, the Players’ Pool produced a significant profit for the members over the course of seven years. One of the best hits was when the Players’ Pool took down half of the Pick-6 pool on Kentucky Derby Day 2007, with a gross return of over $500,000.  The Pool had several other hits over $250,000.

The $2.8 Million National Handicapping Championship (NHC) is the premier horse racing tournament in the nation. It is basically horse racing’s version of the World Series of Poker, with the main difference being that players cannot buy their way into the NHC. Players can only win their way in via tournaments held throughout the country. Nilsen is one of the top participants in the history of the event, having qualified 15 times. He was the first player, and one of only a handful, to finish in the top 10 at the NHC twice.

Nilsen is the founder and editor of AGameofSkill.com, a site devoted to horse racing education and promotion.  He only provides selections like this on a few select days of the day.

 

About My Analysis

In this comprehensive yet concise report, I provide selections for all 14 Breeders’ Cup races for both days, as well as pace scenario analysis which is absolutely vital for predicting the outcomes of these events.

Spot Plays are my best bets and key wagering horses for the big weekend. Picking your spots is key to profiting on the races, especially when it comes to the Breeders’ Cup. The opportunities are plentiful but you improve your chances by selecting key spot plays and focusing most of your bets on those plays.

Set aside a budget for these two days and be sure to have plenty of ammunition for the bigger of the two days, Saturday. Best of luck!

Nilsen’s Breeders’ Cup Analysis

 

2018 Results:

3 Top winners from 5 BC races on Friday, a 60% Win Rate

Spot Play City Of Light scored big in the Dirt Mile, keying the winning daily double into the next race.

How to Win a Handicapping Tournament

By Rich Nilsen

For the last 10 years or more, the handicapping tournaments in the horse racing world have been all the rage.  The popularity has increased with each passing year, and the overall tournament landscape has changed significantly.  Whereas in the past nearly all contests featured a $2 win/place format using mythical money, the larger real-money tournaments have now taken over.  The good news is that there is still something for everyone.  There are small entry-level contests where the buy-in may be as a low as $9, and there are huge tournaments where you need $10,000 or more to get in the front door.

Handicapping tournaments are a lot of fun, but to win one you have to be more than just a good handicapper.  You have to be prepared and have a plan.  Today we’ll look at the steps I believe you need in order to succeed in horse racing contests.  Feel free to share your thoughts and experiences at the end on what you think it takes to win a handicapping tournament.

REALLY KNOW THE RULES

Yes, that seems pretty obvious.  But understanding the basic rules and really knowing the rules are two different things.  There are many contests out there that have ‘fine details’ and those fine details can be the difference between winning and losing.

I highly recommend reading through the rules of an upcoming contest multiple times.  In doing so, you may just catch something you missed the first time around.  For example, in 2016 I was fortunate to win into the Kentucky Derby Betting Championship, a brand new, real-money contest that featured a $20,000 buy-in.  You had to bet a certain amount of money on a minimum number of Churchill Downs races on both Friday and Saturday of Kentucky Derby weekend.  What could easily be missed in the rules is that you could wager LESS than the required amount on any given race.

This omission was actually significant.  Why?  The reason being that you could take a swing at a race that maybe you didn’t want to go all-in on per the minimum race requirements.  So, instead of wagering the required $400 minimum, for example, you could take a shot with $50-100 in bets.  If you lost, no big deal.  If you hit an exacta or trifecta that paid well, this could help you make a move on the leaderboard.  If you sat out the race entirely, because you failed to understand the rule, and then a horse you were strongly considering won, this could also wreck havoc on your mental game.

There are other contests where if you fail to make a bet or meet the minimum requirements, you’re disqualified.  I’ve seen this happen even to veteran tournament players.  By reading the rules and really understanding the ins and outs of the contest, you’re much less likely to make a critical mistake.

FOLLOW THE CONTEST TRACK(S)

In the week leading up to a contest that features specific tracks, you should definitely follow the action at those tracks in the days prior.   There are several benefits to doing that.  For one you may catch on to a prevailing track bias.  You may notice certain trainers or jockeys that are ice cold, or red-hot for that matter.

You may also notice a horse that was victorious who ran against a horse entered on the upcoming contest date. That happened to me many years ago when I was involved in a handicapping tournament in Kentucky.  The day before the contest, I had wagered on a horse that won impressively at Keeneland and had done so at nice odds.  The following day a runner that had been very competitive with that winning horse was entered to run.  The horse made sense to me, for a variety of reasons, and I knew he was coming out of a sneaky good race.  He crushed the field and scored at 50-1 odds!  I had him in the contest and, although I didn’t win the grand prize, I was among the top finishers at the conclusion of the contest.

BE AGGRESSIVE

It’s very hard to win a contest with a conservative approach.  Playing the favorites, for example, throughout the majority of the card isn’t going to get you into the winner’s circle very often.  You may feel good cashing several races, but it simply won’t ‘cut it.’

I’m not suggesting that you just take stabs at big longshots.  However, it is advisable to find some value plays that make sense and can propel you up the leaderboard if you’re right.  Just a couple of victorious 6-1 shots can oftentimes put you in the hunt to win a tournament.

If you’re playing a tournament with mandatory races, then everyone is required to play the same race(s).  If a big price comes in, unless it’s a very small field of players, someone is going to have the longshot, and you’re toast.

The chances of just picking the logical favorites and being successful in most tournaments is low, as this player found out a few years ago.

How not to play a contest

In this live, online tournament featuring 10 mandatory races, there were 105 players and the top 12 won prizes.  This player had an awesome day, selecting six winners in a row!  The problem was that only one of those winners paid more than 2-1 and that was the 4-1 winning selection at Hawthorne.  Unfortunately for this sharp handicapper, a big price came in late in the tournament and blew him and his great day out of the water.  He plummeted to 15th place, out of the prize spots.  SIX winners in a row in a 10-race contest against only 104 other entries, and he finished completely out of the money.  Incredible.

MAP OUT YOUR CONTEST PLAYS

When you enter a contest, whether it’s on-track or online, you should handicap and make your selections (or structure your wagers) as far in advance of the first race as possible.  Then, check the scratches when they get posted and make appropriate revisions.

If you enter a contest and just plan to ‘wing it’ at the event, or during the online contest, I wish you the best of luck. To me, one of the worst aspects of ‘winging’ a contest and playing it as it goes, is that you are not prepared for the later races.  And, more times than not, the later races will play the biggest part in determining the final results.

My friend Paul Shurman, who is currently leading the NHC Tour (again), explained his thoughts on this in an interview with Eric Wing: “I think you need to have handicapped all the races before you enter the room. You have to know what you like later on in the day to know whether what you’re looking at right now represents good contest value. I also handicap backwards. I’ll start at the end of the card and work my way to the beginning. This way, if I don’t finish, and I wind up having to handicap on the fly, at least I’ll be handicapping on the fly early, knowing what I like later.”

The other benefit of mapping our picks or wagers ahead of time is that you are more likely to stick to your guns.  How many times have you heard a player say, “every time I change a pick, it loses,” or “I should have stuck with my original pick.”  I can attest that when I change my original pick it is usually a mistake.  It’s rare that I have a good reason to go against my original handicapping.

Now, of course, if there is a sudden downpour and the track has become a muddy mess, that is one example where changing your picks is not only a good idea but probably advisable (assuming you didn’t handicap for a wet track).  There are other scenarios and most are common sense.

Where it is not advisable is when you hear the paddock commentator say something negative about your selection, and so now, you’re looking at going a different direction.  Stick to your guns.  If you put a lot of work into your original selections, don’t be easily swayed from them.

SUMMARY

Winning any handicapping tournament is not easy.  Chances are you need to follow the advice presented herein and then proceed to have a really good day on top of that.  In many big contests, you also may need to catch a few breaks, e.g. winning a photo, surviving an inquiry, etc.  Winning is not easy, but if you lay the proper foundation, you enhance your chances greatly.  Best of luck!

 

Rich Nilsen handicapperRich Nilsen is the founder of A Game of Skill.  He is a 15-time qualifier to the National Horseplayers Championship (NHC) and a winner of 8 major handicapping tournaments.  He is currently ranked 6th on the new NHC Lifetime Player Rankings system.

Rich will be on the panel discussing handicapping tournaments at the Equestricon Conference in Louisville, KY.

 

2018 Travers Stakes – Full-card Analysis by Rich Nilsen

with Wagering Strategies & Spot Plays by Rich Nilsen

Rich Nilsen handicapperRich Nilsen is currently ranked # 9 on the all-time player rankings for the National Handicapping Championship.  He is the founder of AGameofSkill.com and one of the top tournament players in the country.

Nilsen only does a few sheets a year and this is one of them.  He offers up his full-card analysis for Saratoga on Saturday, August 25th.  In 2016 Nilsen crushed the Travers Day card, selecting Haveyougoneaway who upset the G1 Ballerina at odds of 10-1!   But Nilsen wasn’t done.  He followed up that score up by giving out top selection ARROGATE, track-record winner of the G1 Travers Stakes who paid an amazing $25.40 to win for followers of the sheet.  Another top pick ran 2nd at odds of 17-1 in race 3 on that day, returning a huge place payoff.

The analysis provides selections for every race plus three best bet spot plays along with wagering strategies.  Each race includes Nilsen’s detailed pace scenario which explains how the race will set up.  Nilsen provides his top selection for the Travers’ Stakes and he offers up his recommended straight, exacta and trifecta wagers for the big race.

Put an expert on your side as you attack Saratoga on their biggest day of the year. Get all 13-races for around $1 per race.

2018 Travers’s Day

Full card analysis:

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Download instantly to any device. 10-page PDF document.

The Travers Day card features over $1.6 Million in Guaranteed wagers. The $1 Million Guaranteed Pick 4 begins on Race 8.

Previous Travers’ Testimonials:

“Great job, Rich!” ~ Jeff S.

“Rich: nice job Travers Day! Thanks to Arrogate, you gave me a good day. How in the world did you land on him? I suspect you’re doing some kind of voodoo pace analysis. If you ever decide to give lessons or a seminar, let me know.” ~ Kelley S.


About Rich Nilsen

Founder of AGameofSkill.com, Nilsen is the winner of 7 major handicapping tournament and a 15-time qualifier to the multi million-dollar National Horseplayers Championship (NHC).  There are a lot of pretenders out there.  Get affordable, expert advice for this year’s amazing 13-race Travers card.

This sheet contains:

  • Top selections for all 13 races
  • Sophisticated Pace Scenario for all 13 races
  • Spot Plays (Best Bets) on the undercard w/ wagering strategies
  • In-depth Analysis of the Travers Stakes with Exacta & Trifecta strategies.

Get all 13 races on the Saratoga Saturday card.  Download now for only $14.97 to any device.