Saturday, November 26, 2011

Post Race Analysis for Race Day 25 November 2011: The Clark Handicap Grade 1

The reason I perform post race analysis is to learn what I did right and wrong. A successful bet is a three part process: I handicap the race and create a base handicap. My Base Handicap orders the horses, similar to a morning line, except I assign letter grades, and any horse B- or above is considered for Superfecta. I watch the live tote board right up to the moment I must place the bet. My base handicap is built devoid of considerations of value, underlays or overlays, and I will "reorder" slightly depending on relative values when it makes sense. My Bet Construction consists of several patterns I generally follow, i.e. "box the top five", "single the top horse and box the bottom 4", " Box the top four and include more horses in the 4th spot". I like to build consistent bets and I like to bet consistent amounts. Adding consistency takes away unnecessary thoughts in the minutes leading to post. Those three items are all key to my methods and drive my success and my failures.

I left $5,900 on the table yesterday when I screwed up my bet construction after nailing the base handicap cold. Cold. I had three horses, all listed as "A". Frequently my base handicaps are misunderstood as being an exact order of finish. I'm more jaded and cynical than that! I had three runners (Mission Impazzible, Flat Out and Wise Dan) in Blue and all Three were listed as A. In my base handicap, any one of them could finish in first. That doesn't happen often but as I said, I was torn yesterday and whomever was my chalk, it was a tepid 7-2 at best. But consider this: If there was a Super High Five, I had the top five out of 13 identified and ready to be boxed. All I needed to do yesterday was box my top five and I had the Superfecta. Why didn't I?

I could make excuses and rationalize but the bottom line is I didn't trust in my base handicap enough. I said it in my writeup. I broke one of my key rules, build the handicap and trust the handicap, and bet the handicap. The top 5 boxed for $2 is $240 bet. If you play ten of these and lose all ten you'd be out $2,400, but it only takes one like yesterday to post a 50% ROI. By keeping post race analysis I know I'm clipping away at nearly 4 out of ten Superfectas in the past 6 months. I broke my consistent betting rule and I left a nice score on the table (it also helps to know I am much better from August to November than I am January through July. Why? Better information on the PP's).

Let's analyze and take some positives out of this self imposed self mutilation moment.

The key yesterday was I expected the Breeders' Cup runners to regress. You sharpen the point of the spear to be ready on the day of the $6.0 million dollar race, not the $500,000 race. Those horses were primed for maximum effort on November 5th. They are ready for the farm. On class alone they ran better than most of the field but this is a common angle you can use every November from now until forever, these Breeders' Cup bounce horses will attract money and these horses will fail to fire.

I liked that I backed Mission Impazzible. I questioned pre race where the pace would come from except Will's Wildcat and not surprisingly Will's Wildcat struck the front and Mission Impazzible set up in stalk. I liked Mister Marti Gras, not something I can say has ever happened before. I liked the Ack Ack, I liked where he was at in 2011 and I liked Trainer Block and the cards he's playing that seem to be aces.

That's the handicap in a nutshell: I discounted Prayers for Relief and Headache, I had Ruler on Ice lower than the tote board ranking and I wasn't sold that Flat Out would be any better than he was three weeks ago and he wasn't, while at the same time expecting Mission Impazzible and Mister Marti Gras to hit the winning tickets.

What I got wrong was not betting my time honored method when I'm unsure; I trust my handicap and box five to get four or I box four to get three. I left money on the table. The realist me knows that will happen. The practical me knows that I have to minimize that by following my methods. The competitive me is pissed off because I love nothing more than to beat the game. The blogger in me doesn't mind so much because it gives me an opportunity to write about failure and how analysis and failure grouped together can really drive your forward in the bad times. The sensitive and emotionally fragile me? Doesn't exist, sorry.

Another time honored method I won't fall into is placing Wise Dan on too high a pedestal. Sure on paper he beat a realy nice 13 horse field convincingly, and he's had a nice campaign on lots of surfaces, but I'll look to beat him next time out. That's what the bettor in me does, ignores the hype. The fan in me was pretty thrilled with the race but not thrilled enough to get to into the Horse of the Year discussions: Too many have a minor share in that prize and I get the feeling it will be a popularity vote that deciedes this Eclipse Award, not that they let this idiot internet hack vote.

I am not a computer, I make mistakes. Consistency over a long period of time is the only real way to measure success and failure. The cathartic nature of blogging is that I can admit my failure and move on. I'll let this one go and regroup to make a stack of bills on the next one.

Have fun friends, Happy Thanksgiving, Turk(ey) Out!

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