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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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,