Handicapping Tip of the Day #57 – Wide with Intent

“Now do you get it?” my friend asked me. “He wasn’t intending to win.”

By ART PARKER

Handicapping tips from agameofskill.com

One of the things I learned to do years ago with my trip handicapping was to watch for the wide running horse. A buddy of mine that followed a dozen or so trainers told me how some will prep for the winning race by telling the rider to go wide and give the horse a good public workout.

He showed me what he was talking about one day when the replays were on the track monitors about an hour before post time of the first race of the day. As the replay from yesterday’s third race began, he said, “Here it comes. Watch the number two horse.” The gelding broke well and was allowed to gradually fall back near the rear of the field. I saw the horse fall behind by about a dozen lengths. Once the horse was about a dozen lengths behind, it ran even with the field and was wide entering the stretch. He finished about ten lengths behind. “I looked at my buddy and quizzically said, “Okay?”  In other words, “so what?”

Access the Head-On Replay

That is when he told me to watch the head-on replay. There it was on the monitors. After allowing to fall gradually behind, the rider shifted his mount off the inside and was in the middle of the track and drifting wider. There was no need for that – no bias in the surface. Once he was in the clear the rider allowed the horse to keep up but away from traffic and then proceeded to maintain the same wide course in the turn, again for no reason. Once in mid-stretch, the rider asked him for a little more and the horse ran well but finished behind and well beaten.

“Now do you get it?” my friend asked me. “He wasn’t intending to win.” I responded. “But what do I do with this information?” I asked. That was when my buddy pulled out a small notebook and showed me how he recorded the effort with the horses’ names on his list of notes for that specific trainer. He explained to me this trainer would usually give his horses a race after a layoff. “If he (the trainer in question) runs one wide like this it is strictly a prep for the big effort next time out. Be looking for this horse in a couple of weeks in the same class or with a slight drop,” my friend explained.

Of course, I forgot about the lesson I should have learned that day. A couple of weeks later the horse was entered. I passed the race for one reason or another. When the race was official I noticed the winner paid nearly $20.00. About that time I heard a voice ask me, “Did you bet him?” It was my friend who reminded me that I just missed a lucrative opportunity.

From that moment on I have always remembered to make a note of any horse that looked to be running intentionally wide. It’s helped me catch some good winners over the years. Just remember, the head-on replay is what tells the tale.

Did you miss Handicapping Tip #56 – 2nd time starters

Handicapping Tip of the Day #27 – Watch KY Derby Preps Closely

Handicapping tips from agameofskill.com

by Art Parker

There are many ways to handicap any race and the Kentucky Derby is no exception. One of those ways is called “trip handicapping” and all too often it is very revealing. When it comes to finding a Derby horse you may wish to review all of the prep races for the last couple of months. Naturally one thing you should look for in a prep race is a good excuse why a certain horse did not win or get close to winner. Looking for horses that were forced to slow down or simply had to wait forever to find racing room may provide some insight into the Derby. Whatever you do when reviewing taped races is to notice the start. Knowing which horses that may have trouble at the gate can give you a good idea about who will have position early.

 

 

OptixNOTES: Trip Handicapping in the 21st Century

Part II of The Future of Handicapping (OptixEQ)

While OptixPLOT will give you an excellent overview of the race shape, race flow, and pace dynamics of the race, helping you choose which races offer the best opportunities, OptixNOTES will help take your handicapping into the 21st century.

OptixNOTES is a proprietary trip-handicapping past-performance platform that includes performance ratings, trip descriptors, and form projections (along with detailed extended comments) from the OptixEQ team of expert handicappers. Think of them as past-performance grades and trip descriptions that can help you better understand and predict a horse’s current and future form.

OptixNOTES are available for most of the major tracks on the major circuits, and they are an incredibly valuable tool when it comes to assessing a horse’s chances of winning a race. Since watching replays is incredibly time-consuming—and sometimes fruitless if you really don’t know what you are looking for or how to use that information—the OptixEQ team does all of the work for you, grading a horse’s previous trip/performance while also commenting on that trip and sometimes even projecting where that horse might be headed in the future.

The other cool thing about this platform is that it’s vibrant—everything is color-coded for easy readability. Positive attributes are green while negative ones are red.

Here are the OptixNOTES for Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, including one of the extended comments from his Monmouth race:

OptixEQ-Notes

This type of trip-handicapping data is available for several tracks on the major circuits, giving handicappers a massive edge when it comes to assessing a horse’s form.

For more information on how to use OptixNOTES, visit the product information page at: https://www.optixeq.com/?products=optixnotes#doc.

Tomorrow in the conclusion, Part III, we take a look at OptixGRID as well as the OptixFIGS for all of the Kentucky Derby preps.

Did you miss Part I?  Click here