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Michael Pizzolla’s ValueCapping™ Video Rant: The 2016 Louisiana Derby

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From The Desk Of Michael Pizzolla
March 24, 2016
Las Vegas, Nevada
8:47 PM

Dear ValueCapper and Friend:

This ValueCapping™ Rant is about the 2016 Louisiana Derby, which will be run on Saturday, March 26, 2016 at Fair Grounds.

I’ve had several requests for a video, and one or two asking me to get right into the feature race.


I’ve done a video for you looking at the 2016 Louisiana Derby through the ValueCapping™ lens and using Black Magic: The Ultimate Handicapper Software™.

As always, the races are our best teachers, and this race presents several lessons:

What percentage of overlay should you require?

How do I use Early Energy Expenditure?

What’s the relationship between the fundamentals of a race-in this race, the potential pace scenario-and the value issues?

I hope you enjoy it

Thank you so much again for all the positive feedback, and for sharing your successes with me. It makes it all worth while!

Good luck at the races, and let the bet make you,

All the best,


Michael Pizzolla

P.S. For those of you who have the Black Magic software, and are on the Wizards’ Forum, I want to remind you that this month’s Inner Secrets Video, Series 9 Number 2, is now on the Forum, and there are several really valuable tips and lessons

Michael Pizzolla’s ValueCapping™ Rant: The 2016 Tampa Bay Derby

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From The Desk Of Michael Pizzolla
March 11, 2016
Las Vegas, Nevada
7:57 AM

Dear ValueCapper and Friend,

The main Derby Prep this week is the Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby, to be run tomorrow, Saturday, March 12, 2016 at Tampa Bay Park.

There’s another good ValueCapping lesson to be gleaned from this race. It’s how to answer the question, ‘why did my horse not win?’

If you remember, two weeks ago, I wrote to you about the Fountain of Youth, and how the Black Magic software had Awesome Banner well placed on the line.

Well, in tomorrow’s Tampa Bay Derby, Awesome Banner is well placed on the line, along with the 1, Morning Fire, and the 3, Outwork.

This begs the question-what the heck happened in the FOY? Awesome Banner finished next to last, beaten by 26 lengths.

Was it that the field was too ‘classy’ for the colt?

Did the bumping at the break cause the colt to rush too hard for the lead in the early call and then fade?

Were the numbers from the GP sprints inflated, and this was reflected in the loss, or did the last race indicate the horse is out of form and condition?

Is the colt not a ‘router’, given that its 3 for 3 lifetime record going into the race were all in sprints?

Now the ‘answer’ to those questions is we can’t know for sure.

As a good exercise, just answer these to yourself, and then make the opposite case. See? You can easily argue both sides.

Here’s how ValueCapping answers that question.

It’s much like hiring a lawyer. Truth to many-not all, of course-lawyers is a fluid concept.

Basically, a lawyer will argue the side of the client that’s paying him or her.

It’s much the same with ValueCapping.

See, the 10, Awesome Banner is 6-1 on the BLAM Odds Line. If it goes off at 12-1 or so, I’ll answer those questions in favor of the colt and invest.

If the colt goes off at 5 or 6-1, I’ll answer that the last race was terrible, the colt’s out of form and condition, outclassed, etc., etc.

And naturally, I’ll be looking for another ‘client’.

The other two colts above the line are the 1, Morning Fire, 4-1 on the BLAM Odds Line and the 3, Outwork, 5-1 on the line. At double digit odds, 10-1 and better, I’ll be looking to invest in one of these.

This is a very different approach from traditional handicapping, which focuses on the question of ‘who do you like?’ or ‘who will win this race?’

Since one of the main tenets of ValueCapping is that we cannot know the answer to that with complete certainty, the intelligent strategy is to find horses you like, that have extras like Advanced Form Patterns, and wait for the public to under bet these horses, giving you a decent overlay and investment potential.

So that’s the ValueCapping lesson from the Tampa Bay Derby.

On these big days, I advise you to look at the undercard at Tampa Bay as well as the other 150 races or so running on Saturday.

Many of you told me of how you did nicely with the undercard horse I mentioned in the last Rant on the Gotham Stakes, the 5 horse in the 5th race at Aqueduct last week, Hector’s Pride, paying $14.40.

The scratches aren’t out, nor the changes, and I don’t know what the weather will be like, so I didn’t do in depth work on those 150 races, but I’ll be looking at races such as the 1st at Gulfstream, where the 2 horse, Ebreeq, is at the top of the BLAM Odds line at 5-1, a horse that projects to have an easy lead in a turf race, and I’d be looking for 10-1 on that. The Morning Line maker puts this one at 10-1.

Or the 6th race at Mahoning Valley where the Fulcrum horse, the 1, Tilt the Balance, is at the top of the BLAM Odds Line at 5-1, big Contention Line (what I expect the public to do) and again 10-1 Morning Line. At 10-1 and up, I’d be looking to invest.

Or the 6th race at Oaklawn Park, where the top horse on the line, the 5, Tekton, is on a layoff and in a virtual tie on the BLAM Odds Line, the 1, Obsidian Splendor, is 5-1 on the BLAM Odds line, a good Contention Line, and 6-1 on the Morning Line. Again, I’d look for 10-1 and up.

Now, these are races I’m looking at a day an a half before they run, and scratches and changes can really change the Pace/Position projections of the races, but I wanted to give you an idea of the kind of horses I apply the ValueCapping principles to, and the simple value investment approach I take.

Well, that’s it for this Rant, I hope the lesson on how to answer ‘unanswerable’ questions is helpful.

I’m getting close on completing the ValueCapper Software project-stay tuned, as I’ll keep you posted on when it’s ready.

As always, I can’t say thank you enough for your encouragement, support, and the kind emails you’ve sent about the Rants and your progress.

Good luck at the races, and remember to let the bet make you.

All the best,


Michael Pizzolla’s ValueCapping™ Rant: The 2016 Gotham Stakes

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From The Desk Of Michael Pizzolla
March 3, 2016
Las Vegas, NV
8:47 PM

Dear ValueCapper and Friend: 

The Gotham Stakes, a Derby Prep, is being run this Saturday, March 5, 2016. This one is a very interesting race, and I think it’s a good example of a question that vexes handicappers.

But first, I’d like to say a word about the Fountain of Youth. I’ve been asked how I handled the race in my own betting. To be perfectly honest, I wound up not betting the race. Because of very pressing issues with family, I could not stay at the book for the race, and therefore, couldn’t know what the odds would be. As I said in the Rant, if I got a price on Awesome Banner (which I predicted could happen if the crowd made Mohaymen odds on-which they did) I would bet it. 

Problem is, I couldn’t be sure since I would have to bet in advance, and therefore passed. But-and I’m not sure how many experts would admit to this-if I stayed and saw 6-1 on Awesome Banner, I would have bet. And lost that bet.

When you bet price horses, there will be more ‘non-cashing’ bets than bets you cash. That’s just the reality of the game we’re playing. The good news is that the ones you cash will more than make up for the non cashers and then some.

So on to this week’s Derby Prep, The Gotham at Aqueduct this Saturday, March 5, 2016.

This is an interesting race, and presents an issue that advanced pace handicappers face often.

From a Pace/Position perspective, Black Magic Handicapping Software makes the race an Unpressured race. So far so good. 

The issue is that the race is at a mile and a sixteenth on the Aqueduct Inner Track. From a velocity point of view, the recent races at Aqueduct at this distance have gone late. Not positionally, but from an energy expenditure point of view. 

So that will inform my value decisions about the race.

In the BLAM software, from the early scenario perspective, there are 5 horses above random, with a gap after the top 3. The top rated horse is the 7, Sunny Ridge, the winner last out of the Grade 3 Withers, and this colt was second in the Grade 1 Champagne in October.

Second and third on the line are the 8, Rally Cry, and the 2, Shagaf, two colts that ran against each other last out in an Allowance race at Gulfstream. Shagaf won that race, its second lifetime start and second win. Rally Cry is another lightly raced colt, but the fact that it lost to Shagaf should mean that it will be a better price than either Sunny Ridge or Shagaf, the two colts that should be favored by the public.

On the plus side, Rally Cry is the Fulcrum in the race, and has strong early numbers.

And there’s the rub. 

If the race goes as it projects-early-Rally Cry might be a decent bet. On the BLAM line, it’s 7/2. I would need at least 7-1 to take this colt against those other two. And against Adventist, the colt that ran third in the Withers against Sunny Ridge.

By the way, this is a classic caution to me, because the software does not put Adventist as a strong contender. While that’s how you get price, it doesn’t mean that we can’t use some common sense and approach the race cautiously.

So, I would take Rally Cry at 7-1, and have an exacta play that looks to leverage the Reversal-an exacta with Shagaf and a straight exacta with Rally Cry on top.

The intriguing possibility is what if the race goes more like the recent 8.5 furlong inner track races have gone, favoring late energy horses.

That scenario brings the longest price on the board, the 4, Vincento, into play. Although this colt has won 2 of its 4 starts, those wins were in NY State Bred races, its maiden win and an allowance.

Nonetheless, it is a closer, and the recent races have favored that scenario.

Very often, the quality of the questions we ask determine our results. Ask any good trial attorney!

The question many handicappers would ask is ‘How do I figure out whether the race will go according to how the race projects or how the track is running?’

This is not a terribly useful question, because before the fact there’s no way to know with certainty. Depending on the instructions the jockeys receive, and a hundred other random factors, the race can shape up in many different ways.

A more useful question-the ValueCapper’s question is ‘Where is the value in the race?’

My personal answer would be to take Rally Cry at a good overlay and, if I don’t get that price, consider taking a secondary bet on the longshot Vincento at very long odds.

This is the ValueCapper’s answer: He or she knows what they know, respects what they don’t know, and lets the price be the deciding factor.

Another very good-more conservative-strategy, is to acknowledge that there is doubt about the race, respect that and pass. This all depends on how risk adverse the player is. The swashbuckler player will jump in, the more cautious will pass.

As always, on these big race days, I urge you to pay attention to the hundred and fifty or so other races going on in North America. The crowd often overlooks these races, looking forward to the ‘big race’.

For example, the 5th race at Aqueduct on Saturday is a modest $35,000 claiming race. There isn’t really a standout. Tied for second on the BLAM line is the  5, Hectors Pride, 5-1 on the BLAM line, 3rd start after a layoff, Reverser to the 6 horse, blinkers off, going back to the apprentice that rode it to a second place finish second race back, solid numbers from Gulfstream. I would consider this at 8-1.

I hope this analysis is helpful, not so much in the ‘who do you like’ or ‘who’s going to win’ point of view, but how to integrate the handicapping aspects of the game with the overriding question of value.

My sincere thanks again to those of you who have written and your kind words about these Rants. Also, hearing about your progress and successes makes it all worthwhile.

Hope this finds you well, and best of luck at the races. Don’t forget to let the bet make you.

All the best,


Michael Pizzolla

Michael Pizzolla’s ValueCapping Rant: The 2016 Fountain Of Youth

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From The Desk Of Michael Pizzolla
Las Vegas, Nevada
February 25, 2016 7:17 PM

Dear ValueCapper and Friend:

The Fountain of Youth, an important Derby Prep, is running this Saturday, February 27, 2016, the 12th race at Gulfstream Park.

Before getting into a ValueCapping™ analysis of that race, I want to say thanks to the many of you who wrote back after the last Rant.

I’m thrilled with the progress many of you are making; hearing of your breakthroughs makes my work all worth while!

And really excited about your feedback about how convenient it is to have the monthly Wizards’ Forum Inner Secrets videos available online.

OK, onto the Fountain of Youth.

It’s Thursday, two full days before the race, so I don’t have scratches or changes.

But this has got to be one of the easiest ValueCapping decisions ever.

Black Magic Handicapper Software 1.0 has the top 4 colts as the 5, 6, 4, and 2. Collectively, they’ve had 13 races and have won 12 of them!

The morning line favorite is second on the BLAM line, the 6, Mohaymen, a Tapit colt that won the Holy Bull on January 30th at Gulfstream, its 4th lifetime start, and 4th lifetime win. The colt has won 3 straight Grade 2s, the Nashua and Remsen in New York, and the Holy Bull. Potential champion.

Top of the BLAM line is the 5, Awesome Banner, winner of the Grade 2 Swale last out, before that it won the Grade 3 Hutcheson. 3 for 3 lifetime. Another potential champ.

The 4, Awesome Speed, and the 2, Zulu, are 3rd and 4th on the line, lightly raced-the 4 has won 3 of 4 races, The 2 horse, Zulu, is perfect at 2 for 2. Quality colts.

Here’s why it’s such an easy ValueCapping call:

The BLAM Odds line on the 5 is 5/2. Morning Line 7/2
The 6 on the BLAM Odds line is 3-1. Morning Line 6/5
The 4 on the BLAM Odds line is 4-1. Morning Line 4-1
The 2 on the BLAM Odds line is 9/2. Morning Line 3-1

The Contention Line (what the public should do based on conventional handicapping) pretty much tracks the Morning Line, perhaps the 3 and 4 are a bit higher.

Here’s the thing: According to BLAM, the ‘best’ horses in the race are the probable favorite and co-second favorite. The other two contenders above random are the other Morning Line favorites.

While it might be fun to make a case for why one of these colts has an advantage over the other, the simple truth is that none of them is likely to be a decent value investment.

It never ceases to amaze me when BLAM 1.0 and the upcoming ValueCapper software puts live long shots high up on the odds line.

But the cold hard truth is that very often, no matter how much we want to be contrarian investors, the best horses are going to be short prices. And BLAM 1.0 and ValueCapper will indicate that. In which case, the inherent randomness in this great game dictates a pass.

ValueCapping™ is all about looking for horses you like/favor/prefer that the pubic SHOULDN’T. Horses that will be underbet compared to their chances. Preferably running against horses that will be overbet compared to their chances.

If the public has the strong horses in their crosshairs, and are likely to bet them properly, there is usually no good value investment. (Of course, the public sometimes massively overbets one of the horses in which case there’s a potential for a decent bet. I’d be tempted to take the 5 horse, Awesome Banner, at something like 9/2, but the only way I can see that happening is if they bet Mohaymen down to a heavy odds-on favorite, and also overbet Zulu).

Rather than getting fixated with the featured race, a ValueCapper would be looking at the undercard at Gulfstream (and the other cards of races running at so called ‘minor’ tracks) looking for horses the public might overlook.

For example on the Saturday Gulfstream undercard, the 8th race is the Canadian Turf Stakes.
In that race, 6 of the 9 horses are on layoffs. So any investment for me will require a large overlay in my book to offset the risk that situation presents.

Having said that, tied at the top of the line is the 9, Passion for Action, 6-1 on the BLAM line, 11-1 on the Contention Line, and 12-1 on the Morning Line. It’s also the only horse in the field that has an Advanced Form Pattern, showing some early speed last out after a layoff against a very fast pace in a 6 furlong race. On Saturday, it’s going a mile on the turf, a surface on which the colt has 2 wins and 2 places in 6 starts. At something like 12-1, I’d be inclined to invest.

I hope you see how contrarian the approach of ValueCapping™ is. The average, conventional handicapper would see the Fountain of Youth as a much more ‘certain’ race, a race where ‘solid’ conventional handicapping will point to the ‘good’ horses. No argument there. The problem is that there’s no value there, no price that offsets the risk of the bet.

On the other hand, the Canadian Turf Stakes is a much more ‘iffy’ race to the conventional handicapper-it’s on the turf, many horses on layoffs, etc. Yet, there’s a horse near the top of the line that’s likely to be underbet by the crowd, making a potential overlay for the ValueCapper.

A better horse, more ‘solid’ than those running in the Fountain?

Definitely not.

A better bet? At 12-1 or so, yes.

These ‘better bets’-these value investments-don’t necessarily all win, heaven knows, but investing in these value situations yields enough wins at prices that can make up for the losses, and provide a long-term profit.

That’s why it’s called ValueCapping rather than handicapping.

I want to emphasize again that these Rants on the Triple Crown preps and the Triple Crown races themselves are not intended to ’tout’ or ‘pick’ horses. Rather, I’m hoping that by giving examples of how a ValueCapper looks at different races, it may help you in making the transition from a handicapper, more interested in picking a winner, to a ValueCapper, an investor interested in finding and profiting from good value bets.

My thanks to you again for your support and encouragement, good luck at the races on Saturday, stay focused and disciplined, and let the bet make you,

All the best,


Michael Pizzolla

Michael Pizzolla’s ValueCapping™ Rant: Derby Prep Season, Big Advances On Wizards’ Forum

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From The Desk Of Michael Pizzolla
February 23, 2016
Las Vegas 2:07 PM

Dear ValueCapper and Friend,

Hope this finds you well.

The Derby Preps begin in earnest this coming Saturday with the Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream. I’ll be sending rants out over the next few weeks leading up to the Triple Crown, and will have in-depth coverage of the Triple Crown races themselves.

As always, the object of sharing my thoughts and analysis with you is to describe a way of thinking about the races-as an investor as opposed to a recreational horseplayer. The actual results of any given race are not as important as the method of analysis. This is especially true of the Kentucky Derby, with 20 3 year old colts going a mile and a quarter for the first time.

It’s been awhile since I’ve written, as we’re working very hard putting the final touches on the new ValueCapper Software. I’m hoping that we can get a limited release right before Derby time.

Some other big news has to do with the Wizards’ Forum. Those of you who have Black Magic: The Ultimate Handicapper Software and are members of the Wizards’ Forum may know that this month, the beginning of our 9th year of the Forum, marks the beginning of our providing the monthly videos online, right within the Wizards’ Forum, rather than a hard copy DVD. This was partly in response to many of you asking for this (so you can watch the videos on your mobile devices as well as your computer).

The other reason we did this was part of the response to an increase in our data costs. Post Time Solutions has absorbed the increases in the cost of our data over the past 8 years, but with this latest major increase, we are forced to pass some of the cost increase to you.

I say ‘some’ because I’m hoping that with the online distribution of the DVDs, we can save on duplication and postage costs, which will offset some of the increased expenses for data so we don’t have to pass along ALL of the increased costs. We’re doing our level best to make this as affordable as possible and still provide the highest quality of data and support at a price that is still the best in the industry.

The increase is in cost will be modest. If you want to continue staying on the Forum, you don’t need to do a thing, if you want to change or discontinue, simply log into your account by going to the Post Time website and clicking on Log In or My Account, and you can change it there. Or just give the office a call.

The modest price increase does not go into effect until May 1, 2016.

This does NOT affect any other pricing, just the pricing on the Wizards’ Forum and the Data Package available to those on the Forum. For those of you who are not on the Forum, there is no change in our pricing.

In addition to the online videos, there’s more good news: Subscribers to the Wizards’ Forum will be also be getting updated track performance numbers more frequently in Black Magic: The Ultimate Handicapper Software. As part of our research on ValueCapper, we’ve developed a new technique of generating these. While I still don’t think tracks change ALL that much from month to month, there are some subtle changes which the new technique of generating these pars can pick up.

And frankly I wanted to do something nice for our Wizards’ Forum members by providing these updates to BLAM more frequently and as part of their membership.

I cover all of these details on the Series 8 Volume 12 DVD (January 2016) DVD, and an online version of that is now posted on the Wizards’ Forum for you to review along with the current Wizards’ Forum Inner Secrets Video Series 9 Volume 1 (February 2016) .

Thanks again for all the kind emails and your reports on your progress and successful scores. I’m looking forward to this year’s Triple Crown season and sharing with you the ValueCapping approach to these races.

All the best,


Michael Pizzolla

Michael Pizzolla’s 2015 Breeders’ Cup ValueCapping™ Rant

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From the desk of Michael Pizzolla
October 28, 2015
Las Vegas, Nevada

Dear ValueCapper and Friend,

It’s Breeders’ Cup time! This year it’s at Keeneland, and there actually looks as though there could be a few nice bets for a change. Including the BC Classic on Saturday.

I’ve made a 33 minute video for you on both days of BC races. What’s unusual about this video is that I’m looking at these races for the first time, so I could give you an idea of how I look at the odds lines, and my immediate response to them.

It’s the first time I’ve done this, and I hope you’ll find it useful.

Now, remember, I did this on Tuesday evening, October 27, 2015, 3 and 4 DAYS before the BC Races. So, I don’t have the benefit of scratches, weather changes, track conditions, etc.

But I wanted to get this right out to you so you could virtually ‘look over my shoulder’ as I take a first look at the odds lines.

Exciting things are coming to Post Time Solutions after the first of the year. Starting sometime around February or March, there’s going to be a new format for the Wizards’ Forum Inner Secrets DVDs. For those of you who don’t know, these are the ‘monthly DVDs’ that go out to members of the Wizards’ Forum. We’re going to move to an interactive format-and I think it’s going to be interesting, exciting, and very useful.

ValueCapper: Black Magic Handicapper Software 2.0 finally has a ‘release candidate’. There’s another month or two of testing, and then the final preparation of the instructional sites, so look for it after the first of the year, probably February 2016. I know that may seem like a long way away for some of you who have been anxiously anticipating the release of ValueCapper Software, but I am confident that when you get your hands on this software, you’ll know that it was worth the wait.

Thanks so much again to all of you for your encouragement and support, and especially to you Wizards on the Wizards Forum for your kindness and support to each other every day. It’s a true joy to work with you.

And thanks for all of the kind emails. If you have a question about ValueCapping, or just want to let me know of your progress, don’t hesitate to drop me a line at

Michael Pizzolla’s 2015 Travers Stakes ValueCapping™ Rant

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From the Desk Of Michael Pizzolla
August 27, 2015
6:57 AM, Las Vegas, Nevada

Dear ValueCapper and Friend,

This coming Saturday, August 29, 2015 marks the 146th running of the Travers Stakes at Saratoga.

The Triple Crown winning American Pharoah is the horse everyone is coming to watch, and apparently, he was greeted upon his arrival yesterday by a crowd about ten times larger than most meet and greets in Iowa for US Presidential candidates.

Since it was announced that American Pharoah would be running in the Travers, I’ve gotten quite a few requests to do an analysis of the Midsummer Derby.

Guess what?

American Pharoah is right on top of my Black Magic: The Ultimate Handicapper Software™. This is no surprise. In fact, no matter how much we want to beat a ‘big’ horse, or how much we want our software to ‘pick long shots’, we still need to respect the fundamentals of the game.

In fact, if a method or software does not put a horse like AP right on top, you’d have to question its fundamentals.

And I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but our game has changed.

Gone are the days when many horses with a strong ‘numbers’-whether you use final time or incremental pace numbers-goes off at long prices.

Sure, the public makes mistakes now and then, but the proliferation of good numbers makes waiting for those mistakes even more important. Even if you’ve done everything ‘right’, even if you’ve waited for your spot, where the public is overbetting a flawed horse, and you’ve found one that is going off at a good price and is suited to today’s race, even after all of that, a simple twist of fate, a dwelling at the gate, a horse that unbeknownst to us is off its feed, or any one of a million variables can undo all of that planning and patience.

That’s when the successful player puts it into perspective, stays on the right end of the value equation, and moves on to the next opportunity.

So, no, this year’s Travers is not very interesting from an investment point of view. American Pharoah is at the top of the Black Magic: The Ultimate Handicapper Software Odds Line with a large gap. It’s BLAM Odds Line is 3-1, and you know that colt is not going off at anything near that.

The next two colts on the line are the 1, Upstart, and the 7 Keen Ice, the two that ran with American Pharoah in the Haskell at Monmouth on August 2nd.

Those two will be bet along with Frosted and the 4, Texas Red, the Fulcrum and winner of this year’s Jim Dandy.

The race also projects as an Unpressured race, and guess who AccuPressureV2 (a feature in BLAM and ValueCapper that projects the race using both position and velocity) projects as having a fairly easy lead early in the race? That’s right-American Pharoah.

Bottom line: AP is not a colt that can or should be bet by a ValueCapper. Nor does it make sense to bet against it.

That’s what makes this an object lesson in ValueCapping. Every day there are dozens of these kinds of races.

Not all of them are the Travers, or have anywhere near the quality of horses and champions. Yet, even in a $5,000 claiming race, there can be mismatches where a horse likely to be bet to heavy favoritism by the public shouldn’t be bet nor bet against.

This is perhaps the most important weapon in the ValueCapper’s arsenal: Patience.

Listen: I know we’re also fans of horse racing, and when we go to bet the horses we want to, well-bet the horses.

But taking this game to the next level-to the level of an investor rather than a player-requires selectively and patience. This is not a popular message, I know, but it is what is.

In a previous rant, I sent you a video on why avoiding races that don’t provide a price that compensates you for the risk you take when you bet is crucial. If you haven’t seen it, here’s the link:

I think the Travers on Saturday is one of those races.

On these days, I’ll be sure to look at the undercards not only at Saratoga, but at the other ‘minor’ tracks.

As I write this on the Thursday before the races, I don’t have scratches, or weather conditions, or any of that.

But I’ll look to these kinds of horses: In the 7th at Saratoga, the Ballerina Stakes, Le Verdad, the 2, a champion mare figures to be a heavy favorite. Yet, this 7 furlong race comes up as a Highly Pressured race, and it’s unclear how she handles pressure. So, I’ll look to a closer in the Above Random Cluster, a horse like the 5, Kiss to Remember, but, given the presence of Le Verdad in the race, I’ll insist on a price around 15-1 before investing.

On the other cards, I’m looking at the Parx 5th, where BLAM has the Fulcrum, the 7, Nasuet Beach at the top of the line, and might be worth an investment at 10-1. Also the Woodbine 9th, another Highly Pressured race, where one of the favorites, the 2, Jimmies Truck looks to have a closing style, but there’s another interesting horse in the ARC, the 1, Careless Cousin, a horse that’s been running in turf routes and is cutting back to 6.5 furlongs, has closed in dirt sprints, and might be worth an investment, again at double digit 10-1 odds and up.

Again, I don’t know the scratches, the weather, and especially the odds, so these are not ‘selections’, but I wanted to give you an idea of the kinds of races I’ll typically look at for value.

I hope you’ve been enjoying this great summer of racing.

The new ValueCapper Software is coming along very nicely. We’ve made great strides with it. The breakthrough I’ve had this spring with the new numbers is one of the biggest improvements I’ve been able to make in all my years in this field. Still, I’ve never been a person who will release software just to release software. I’m testing this not only on a database of hundreds of thousands of races, but under fire, with real money at real races.

Thanks for your patience, but I promise you it will be well worth waiting for.

I know the term ‘game changer’ is bandied about carelessly, but ValueCapper will be, without a doubt, a game changer.

I want to thank you again for the kind words and emails, and please don’t hesitate to drop me a line directly at if you have any questions or want to let me know of your progress.

Enjoy this great game and remember to let the bet make you!

All the best,


Michael Pizzolla’s 2015 Belmont Stakes ValueCapping™ Rant

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From The Desk Of Michael Pizzolla
Las Vegas, Nevada
June 4, 2015 10:47 AM

Dear ValueCapper and Friend,

The third jewel of the Triple Crown, The 2015 Belmont Stakes will be here in two days.

Naturally there’s a lot of excitement about American Pharoah possibly winning the Triple Crown.

As many of you know, I was there in 1973 for Secretariat’s Belmont, and then in 1977 and 1978 watched Seattle Slew and Affirmed take their places in history. When I saw the great Spectacular Bid finish 3rd in 1979, I shrugged and thought there would be another Triple Crown winner soon enough.

And here we are, 37 years after the last Triple Crown winner.

I’ve been to almost all of the failed attempts since then. I saw Easy Goer beat Sunday Silence in 1989, and then ten years later was very disappointed to see Charismatic run third. I had been the subject of a great deal of needling when I did a radio show a couple of days before Charismatic’s Derby and selected him to win. The experts weren’t laughing as hard after he paid $64.60.

I won’t be going back this year, not because I don’t think American Pharoah doesn’t have a shot-obviously he does-but because of family obligations that can’t be avoided.

Although I often advise you ValueCappers to treat this game as an investor would, the racing fan in me would love to see a Triple Crown winner. As a youngster, I went to the track with my grandfather and begged him to take me there again and again, begged him to take me there rather than to the amusement park. On big days like Belmont Stakes day, I still feel that thrill. I know many of you can relate.

About the race.

Surprisingly, American Pharoah’s not at the top of Black Magic: Ultimate Handicapper Software’s Odds Line. Then again, he is the Fulcrum, and there are some interesting calls that can be made in the race. Plus, it’s a mile and a half marathon, a distance that’s not particularly well suited to incremental pace analysis.

I did a video for you on the 2015 Belmont Stakes, and will take you through how I look at the race and the calls and ‘what if’ scenarios I examined.

As with all of the videos I do, what’s important is not so much this specific race and its outcome, but the approach of ValueCapping, and the moving away from the sometimes frustrating pursuit of ‘picking a winner’ to the investment mindset of ValueCapping and finding a good value bet.

Don’t forget that on ‘big days’ such as Belmont Stakes day, there’s often great value bets to be found in the undercards, as ‘amateur money’ is plentiful on these days.

You can watch the video by clicking here:

I hope this finds you well, and I’d like to extend again my sincere thanks to you for all the kind words, support, and encouragement through this Triple Crown series. You can always email me at and let me know of your progress or ask any questions you have. (If you have technical questions, you’ll get a quicker answer by emailing As it’s Belmont week, be patient with me, as it may take me some extra time to get back to you.

Good luck always!

All the best,


P.S. For those of you who have been asking about the new ValueCapper software, thank you for your patience. We’re getting close, and I promise to keep you posted.

Michael Pizzolla’s ValueCapping Rant: The 2015 Preakness Stakes

in Uncategorized by Michael Pizzolla Comments are off

From The Desk Of Michael Pizzolla

May 14, 2015

7:07 AM

Somewhere Near Prescott, Arizona

Dear ValueCapper and Friend:

​ I’m sitting here on a beautiful Arizona morning counting my blessings. Here’s one:

I’ve been here for three days, and not one person has asked me about the Preakness. Just before I left Vegas, the race book was abuzz with those who were ready to just hand the Triple Crown to American Pharaoh and how he was a sure thing in the Preakness.

‘Did you see that speed rating?’

‘Look at those bloodlines!’

‘He’s just un-freaking-beatable.’

We’ll see.

As those of you who read my Arkansas Derby Rant, where he DID look unbeatable, Black Magic: The Ultimate Handicapper Software saw the potential in this colt.

The problem is that it wasn’t hard to see. He was made the favorite in the Derby, and no matter how strong a colt looks, 3-1 is just too short to take in a huge field of 3 year olds.

I missed the exotics in the Derby because by the time I got through fiddling around with the lines on the BLAM software, I had completely eliminated Firing Line by excluding one of its races.

It’s something I warn those using the software against and, of course, did it myself on the Kentucky Derby.


But heck, that was my call before the race, and I thought it was a sound one at the only time those calls matter-before the race.

Also, the colts from the Florida Derby and the other Florida prep races didn’t run to their numbers. Least of all Upstart, the colt I thought was going to be a decent bet, that finished dead last. As it turned out, the colt only went off at 16-1, and even though it was near the top of the line, the BLAM odds were 10-1 on the horse.

Given the size of the field and all the unknowns, I didn’t feel that was enough. I was almost tempted to take a shot at Itsaknockout at 30-1, but by that logic I could have made a case for 3 other long shots that were in the cluster of horses above random. Couple that with the fact that I had American Pharaoh and Dortmund both in that cluster, and looking at the odds, felt unsure of what to do.

When you start thinking like that, please take a step back, and a deep breath. You’re probably wading into very choppy investment waters.

In those situations, you can either pass the race or do what I did in the Derby: take a small ‘mental health’ bet hooking up the horses you like at prices in some small exotics. I don’t recommend doing this as a regular habit, as it can be very detrimental to your bankroll.

While the Zen master may shout Attention! Attention! Attention!, the ValueCapper’s version would be Patience! Patience! Patience!

I wound up having a decent Derby day, but it was not because of the Derby, but only because a horse I played in a cheap claiming race finished second at a long price, triggering a very nice exacta.

I’m expecting much the same thing on Preakness day this Saturday.

You knew I’d bring this around to the Preakness eventually, didn’t you?

Every year in the Preakness, we face the same general pattern. The winner of the Derby shows up with a few of his pals from that race.

And then there are the second tier horses that get entered to take a shot at the Black Eyed Susans.

I wish I had more a more insightful analysis for you, but looking at the BLAM Summary Grid, American Pharoah is right on top, Dortmund is second on the line, and Firing Line is third.

They’re also the 3 top Morning Line favorites, and deservingly so. The only other entrant in the cluster above random is Mr. Z, a colt that’s been running an ‘in and out’ pattern in its last 4 races (for those of you who have BLAM, two Type 1 patterns in a row).

In fact, it’s the only above random horse that has one of those patterns is Mr. Z.

So, theoretically, it would be a bet at double digit odds.

I’m more cautious.

Over the years working with those using BLAM, I’ve found there are two main barriers to success, especially among those just starting with the software.

The first is betting too many races, not waiting for your opportunities and prices. Devastating.

The second is betting too quickly against very strong horses for no good reason.

By ‘strong’ horse I mean one that is on top of the line, with a Contention line that’s low (in other words, the public should like it), and the Morning Line that’s also low (the track handicapper thinks it’s best as well).

Of course I’ll bet against these sometimes, but there has to be a very good reason-two to be precise. The first is there has to be something ‘wrong’, some ‘Anti Value’ on the strong horse. And second, there has to be lots of ‘extras’ and a big price on the horse you’re considering.

In the Preakness, American Pharoah is at the top of the BLAM line, 2-1 on the Contention Line, and 4/5 on the Morning Line. There’s nothing ‘wrong’-the Derby was a good win, but the colt wasn’t fighting too hard in the early stages of the race.

Even if I ‘got by’ American Pharoah, there’s Dortmund right underneath it. Second morning line favorite. Followed by the third ML favorite, Firing Line.

So, bottom line is that sitting here on Thursday, before scratches and weather, the horses I ‘like’, that BLAM ‘likes’ are the horses the public should also like.

For me, that’s the easiest kind of pass race.

Whether or not I put a very small bet on one of the price horses, Mr. Z, for example, I’ll be hoping American Pharoah wins. It’s been a long time since I watched Affirmed win his Belmont and the Triple Crown in 1978, and I’d love to see the drought broken.

As always, be sure to look for other opportunities in the undercards other races running that day, as there are often lopsided overlays caused by the ‘big day’ public unloading on a vulnerable favorite.

I got several emails in the past two weeks since the Derby from BLAM Wizards using the ValueCapping strategy of waiting for good opportunities and prices about their successes-two of them hit trifectas that paid almost $5,000. There’s nothing that makes me happier!

Hope this finds you well, please enjoy Preakness Day, and best of luck!

All the best,


Michael Pizzolla’s 2015 Kentucky Derby ValueCapping Video Rant

in Uncategorized by Michael Pizzolla 1 Comment

From The Desk Of Michael Pizzolla
April 30, 2015 11:07 AM
Las Vegas, Nevada

Dear ValueCapper and Friend,

Well, the big day is almost here-the 2015 Kentucky Derby will be run this Saturday, May 2, 2015.

Along with the usual disclaimers (it’s Thursday morning, I don’t know what the weather will be like, don’t know if the Also Eligibles will draw in due to an unforeseen scratch, etc., etc.), I’ve been urged to get right to the race.

And in this video, I’ve done that.

Well, almost.

I feel it’s so very important to understand the core principle of ValueCapping that I’ve done a very brief (I promise) review of that before getting into the analysis of the Derby.

I’ll show you the way I analyze the pace scenario of the race just using the past performances from the Post Time Daily 2.0, and then show you what Black Magic: The Ultimate Handicapper Software does with the race.

As I’ll do sometimes, I make some tweaks to the software’s calls, and I think you’ll find that interesting. I don’t do that often, as I’ve learned through experience that the software usually makes better calls than I do, but to me they seem like quite obvious calls.

This year’s Derby, unlike the past few Derbies, actually looks like it may provide a decent betting opportunity.

On the video, there are also a couple of races from the undercard at Churchill, and one from a rather undistinguished maiden race at Lone Star.

And for those of you who stick it out to the end, there’s a bonus section on the Kentucky Oaks, running tomorrow, May 1, 2015.

Thank you so much for your support and encouragement, and the many kind emails. I appreciate it more than I can tell you.

I’ve been working so hard on the new ValueCapper software, and I know some of you are very anxious for its release. We haven’t had a major release in 7 years, because I don’t believe in the ‘software of the month’ approach. Suffice it to say that it will be well worth waiting for, as I think it will mark a major breakthrough in thoroughbred handicapping software. I’ll keep you posted.

Hope this finds you well, enjoy the Kentucky Derby, and remember to let the bet make you!

All the best,


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