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Michael Pizzolla’s ValueCapping Rant: Thoughts On The Belmont Stakes And The Triple Crown Watch

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From The Desk Of Michael Pizzolla
May 30, 2014 9:33 PM
Las Vegas, Nevada

Dear ValueCapper and Friend:

The Triple Crown frenzy continues.

I’ve said before that California Chrome is a very good colt, a colt that BLAM put at the top of the line in both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness.

I was chided by a couple of readers because I said that California Chrome might not be a ‘great’ colt.

I suppose that all depends on how high a standard one sets for ‘great’. Certainly his times were good, not great.

And I was fortunate to see several races of a great colt, including the Belmont Stakes in which that colt ran two sub 24 quarters in that race, and after that came home in 25 seconds en route to setting a world record.

That great colt was Secretariat.

So I have admittedly high standards.

While California Chrome’s quest for the Triple Crown is a good thing for racing in that even casual racing fans are talking about it, I’m unsure about what effect his winning the Crown will have on the future of the sport.

Will it inspire large numbers to be suddenly interested in the game, in wagering or investing in the ‘nitty gritty’ low priced claiming races that make up the main menu of most tracks’ day to day offerings?

I rather doubt it.

Still, I’d be happy to see him win, although I won’t be betting on him to do so. Why? The price will be prohibitively low. Perhaps we’ll find a colt with a shot at a price to bet on against him, but if there’s not, I’ll just watch the race like millions of other fans.

I do have another reason for wanting Chrome to win. One of the Wizards who uses Black Magic: The Ultimate Handicapper Software has gone on a trip to see all three of this year’s Triple Crown races.

This was a young man who came to ValueCapping and BLAM without a lot of knowledge of handicapping, by his own admission. And he’s found that a distinct advantage. He financed what he calls this ‘trip of a lifetime’ from his winnings, and for his sake I hope he gets to see the first Triple Crown in 36 years.

What makes me even happier is that he wrote me yesterday telling me of his score on a race at Prairie Meadows last night in a lowly $7,500 claimer. A horse that was rather clear on BLAM wired the field and paid an astonishing $33.60. It was so clear that I had bet it in the morning, knowing that it would be a solid price, but I was surprised at the price, and at the $335.20 exacta.

‘Fans’ of the sport, of the great horses, may turn their noses up at these kinds of races, but ValueCappers, investors at the windows, know that these kinds of overlays can produce returns that the Wall Street hedge fund managers can only dream of.

Next week, I’ll send you my take on the 2014 Belmont Stakes and BLAM’s analysis of the race.

Until then, I thank you so much for your encouragement and support, and hope this finds you well.

All the best,


P.S. In answer to some questions I’ve received: I’ve been invited to attend the Belmont Stakes, but don’t know yet whether I’ll be able to go. I’ll keep you posted.

Michael Pizzolla’s ValueCapping Rant: Triple Crown Watch May 23, 2014

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From the Desk Of Michael Pizzolla

May 23, 2014 11:37 PM

Dear ValueCapper and Friend,

The Belmont is two weeks away, and of course, there’s a big buzz about a potential Triple Crown champion.

For all my clinical talk about value, about ValueCapping, about finding the best value bets, there’s still a racing fan in me.

Even though many big races present no good betting opportunities, that doesn’t mean that I don’t love the big races and the great horses.

I’ve been to the last three Triple Crown winners’ Belmonts in person-Secretariat in 1973, Seattle Slew in 1977, and Affirmed in 1978.

Secretariat’s Belmont was the single greatest sporting event I’ve ever experienced in my life.

As a pace handicapper, when I saw the time of 1:09 4/5 posted for 6 furlongs, I thought to myself that Ron Turcotte had blown the Triple Crown, that no colt could possible finish, much less win, at a mile and a half after that pace.

As Secretariat pulled away, the crowd was going crazy and I found myself not able to make a sound. I kept waiting for him to start ‘swimming’-moving his legs up and down and coming back to the field. Instead, he pulled away. It was stunning. I still don’t have the words to describe it.

California Chrome is no Secretariat. Still, it would be great for the sport to have a Triple Crown winner.

I’m on the road, in the deep South, and was actually asked by a couple of grandmothers from Alabama if Chrome had a chance at the Triple Crown.

Of course he does, and I told them as much.

He’s not in the same class as Slew or Affirmed.

And no colt may ever be worthy of being mentioned in the same sentence as Secretariat.

Still, part of me wants him to win for the good of our game.

As of today, I don’t know if I’ll head back to New York for the race.

I was there for Smarty Jones’s, Real Quiet’s, War Emblem’s, Funny Cide’s, and Big Brown’s losses in the Belmont when they had a chance at the Crown.

The three others that stick out in my mind were ten years apart.

I was there for Spectacular Bid’s loss in 1979. It was a shock. I saw Coastal make this monster move up the rail to run down Bid. That would have been three Triple Crowns in a row!

Fast forward ten years. 1989 was Sunday Silence’s chance. I watched Easy Goer cruise by him to win easily. I had a soft spot in my heart for Easy Goer, as he was a beautiful colt, and a son of Alydar, who I thought was a better colt than Affirmed.

Fast forward ten more years. 1999. This one was the most disappointing.

I was literally laughed at by some racing heavyweights on a radio show when I picked Charismatic to win the Derby that year, and when he paid $64 and change to win, I cashed one of the best bets I’d ever made.

It was heartbreaking to see him lose the Belmont. I knew something was wrong mid stretch. and watching Chris Antley drop to the ground to protect his leg after the finish line was so poignant.

I’m not superstitious, but there’s part of me that knows that I’ve gone 8 times now since Affirmed and have seen 8 potential Crown winners lose.

Crown is not a great colt. But at this point in our game, in thoroughbred racing, he’s got a great chance to spark excitement in our game, which is sorely needed.

He’ll be wearing his nasal strip, and I hope he runs his race.

I’ll let you know if I’ll go, and no matter what, I’ll give you my analysis of the race when we get the final entries in a couple of weeks.

Until then, I hope this finds you well, and please let the bet make you.

All the best,


Michael Pizzolla

Michael Pizzolla’s 2014 Preakness Stakes ValueCapping Video Rant

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From The Desk Of Michael Pizzolla

May 15, 2014 1:33 PM
Las Vegas, Nevada

Dear ValueCapper and Friend,

The 2014 Preakness Stakes is this Saturday, and the racing world is abuzz about the Derby winner, California Chrome, and his chances for the first Triple Crown since 1978.

I’ve made a video for you about the Preakness, analyzing it with Black Magic: The Ultimate Handicapper Software.

Spoiler alert: California Chrome is right on the top of the odds line.

No surprise there.

Also, to those of you who follow my work, it will be no surprise that my bet in the Derby, General a Rod, shows up well on the line again.

There’s a late running colt that might find its way into the exotics at a big price if Pimlico is favoring the running style that won the last two Preakness Stakes.

The fact that there are only 3 colts-California Chrome, General a Rod, and Ride on Curlin-in the race from the Derby actually makes it an easier race to analyze than most Preakness Stakes.

Please remember to check out the undercards, not only at Pimlico, but at the other tracks running. There are usually some very big errors made by the ‘big day’ crowd that you can take advantage of.

As always, my sincere thanks to those of you who have written with kind words about the videos and Rants.

You can always write me at I’ll be traveling and with the Preakness on Saturday, please be patient as I might not be able to get back to you immediately.

If you have a technical question, drop a line to

Enjoy, be well, and let the bet make you!

All the best,

Michael Pizzolla

Michael Pizzolla’s 2014 Kentucky Derby ValueCapping Rant

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From The Desk of Michael Pizzolla
May 1, 2014 12:21 PM
Las Vegas, Nevada

Dear ValueCapper and Friend:

Well, it’s finally here.

After months of Derby preps, the 2014 Kentucky Derby is this Saturday.

And I may not be able to bet.

Churchill Downs and Las Vegas have still not reached an agreement, so the Vegas books are not taking any bets on Churchill Downs.

It figures.

This year, for a change, I actually think it’s not a bad betting race.

Of course, with 11 colts above random, it’s not the paradigm of a simple, clear, and obvious race, but there’s a colt with a legitimate shot at a price.

California Chrome’s at the top of the BLAM line, but I have my reservations about him.

My sense is that the second colt down on the line has a chance to do well at a price.

There are some interesting colts near the top of the line that have a running style to be in the exotics.

I’ve made a 25 minute video for you all about this year’s Kentucky Derby. For those of you with really short attention spans, I give the bottom line within the first 5 minutes.

There’s an alternative link in the P.S. if this one doesn’t work.

For those of you (hopefully most of you reading this) who are more interested in the analysis process that goes into finding good value investments, the second part of the video goes into great detail on the pace scenario and the value issues.

I hope this finds you well, and wish you all the best on Derby weekend and always.

All the best,


P.P.S Don’t forget the undercards! For example, at Churchill Downs on Derby Day, there are a couple of 7 furlong sprints that come up Highly Pressured, the 7th and the 9th. Take a look at those races. There are some deep closers near the top of the line (lucky 7s?) that should be overlooked by the public. Depending on how receptive the track is to closers that day, they may be even better bets than the Derby.

Michael Pizzolla’s ValueCapping Rant: The 2014 Pre-Kentucky Derby Rant

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From the Desk Of Michael Pizzolla
April 25, 2014 2:39 PM
Las Vegas, Nevada

Dear ValueCapper and Friend:

The Derby.

It’s a week away. And racing fans around the world are all abuzz.

I overheard a couple of my golfing buddies yesterday discussing ‘the big race’.

They were actually discussing whether a couple of the horses had trouble changing leads.

Fair enough.

And then one of them noticed me sitting there, and came up and asked me how much a 2 horse exacta box cost.

I wish I were kidding.

The sheer volume of minutiae that is being discussed in articles on the internet is astounding.

Those of you who have been following my Rants for years know that I feel the Kentucky Derby really is just another horse race.

And I look at hundreds a day, every day.

Since developing Black Magic: The Ultimate Handicapper™ Software 5 years ago, I continue to ValueCap every race in North America, every day.

I also coach a small group of committed and dedicated winners on the Wizards’ Forum.

They get my personal attention and coaching and it’s something I’m involved with every day.

Nothing-not even a Derby winner-makes me happier than to see a Wizard finally ‘get it’ about value betting.

This past Tuesday, in the 3rd race at Turf Paradise, several of the Wizards bet on BLAM’s top horse, the 7, Battle School, and were rewarded with an $85.20 mutuel.

This was a $3,000 claimer at Turf Paradise. I imagine that some of the lead ponies for the Derby horses have better breeding than some of the horses that ran in that claimer.

Yet, it was an outstanding value investment.

Not because it won.

But because it was a horse that had some positives going for it that the public was sure to hate.

Like the fact that it finished 40 lengths back in its last race.

The public seemed to overlook that the second and third races back were quite good.

And the fact that BLAM’s algorithms selected a couple of turf running lines to make its odds line.

‘Everybody knows’ you don’t use turf lines in a 6 furlong sprint.

‘Everybody knows’ you don’t bet a horse that finished 40 lengths back in its last race.

It was a perfect example of ‘betting horses you like that the public shouldn’t’.

Of course they don’t all win, but how many $85.20 horses does one need to make up for the ones that didn’t win and show a very tidy profit?

Those of you who have BLAM, go ahead and open up the 3rd race from Turf Paradise from April 22, 2014.

And let me know, if you haven’t seen the race before, if this wasn’t a ‘picture perfect’ simple, clear, and obvious value investment.

One of the themes of my coaching is to wait until the race seems very clear, and the value horse is obvious.

Sure, there are occasions where the Derby is pretty clear, and I’ve done very well on those years.

Yet, the odds are against it.

20 three year old colts who have never gone a mile and a quarter, most of them potential champions running in the ‘chance of a lifetime’ in front of 140,000 screaming fans.

It’s usually more like a lottery than an investment opportunity.

Nonetheless, as soon as we get the final card, I’ll do an analysis of the Derby.

Hopefully, it will present a clear value investment.

If not, I’ll do what I do every day of my life: Pass the race.

Oh, heck, I’m human, and sure, I’ll have a ‘recreational bet’ on the race.

But unless it’s clear as a still pond of water, I won’t invest.

That mindset can make you significant profits in this game.

Treat it as an investment, and you’ll do very well.

Speaking of which, I hope this finds you happy and well.

All the best,


P.S. Thanks so much again for all of your encouragement and support. You can always write me at As this is Derby time, please be patient, but I will get back to you. And if you have technical issues, drop a line to, or call the office Monday through Friday, 9-4 Pacific Time at 702-889-2814

2014 Kentucky Derby Pre Rant Coming Soon

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ptd-hm-slider-v23From The Desk Of Michael Pizzolla

April 24, 2014 5:02 PM

For those of you who have asked, yes, I will most definitely be doing a ‘Rant’ on the 2014 Kentucky Derby.

But, as important as that race is to racing fans, I’ll be doing a pre-Derby Rant that I think you will find helpful.

In that, I’ll outline why although the Kentucky Derby is the ‘big race’ of the year, from an investment standpoint, it’s often a poor investment.

Stay tuned!

Michael Pizzolla’s ValueCapping Rant For April 19, 2014 Lexington Stakes

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From The Desk Of Michael Pizzolla
Las Vegas, Nevada, April 18, 2014 3:37 PM

Dear ValueCapper and Friend:

The coming weekend is a quiet one for Derby prep races. Makes sense-the Kentucky Derby is only two weeks away, and it’s a holiday weekend for many.

The only Derby prep being run this weekend is the Lexington, carrying only 10 Derby points (as opposed to the 100 point preps such as the Louisiana, Florida, Santa Anita, Arkansas, and Blue Grass Derbies).

In the Lexington, the 9th at Keeneland on April 19, 2014, of the 11 colts, 7 are above random (i.e., have a shot), and 5 are off layoffs. When you have nearly half the field off layoffs, projecting the potential pace/position scenario becomes problematic. While you may know that a horse has the tendency to go to the front, or press, the question becomes which of those horses off layoffs will be ready to demonstrate those abilities.

For example, if you have a field with many layoff horses, and think that the race will favor a closer because there are many early horses BUT of the 4 early horses, 2 are coming off layoffs, if those 2 don’t run, you’ve got a very different scenario.

It looks like the 2, Solitary Ranger, will be part of the early pace, and may be able to get on top, but the colt expends its energy very early. The track profile for Keeneland 8.5 furlongs is decidedly late. One late colt that’s interesting is the 7, Ami’s Holiday, second on the BLAM line and has closed in all of its 4 lifetime races, all of which were run at Woodbine.

BLAM’s AccuPressureV2 makes it the lone closer, which is unusual to find in a Fulcrum horse. However, it’s been off since December.

All in all, most likely a pass race for me.

I also took a look at the Illinois Derby which is not technically a Derby Prep, as it doesn’t carry any Derby points.

In the Illinois Derby, the 9th at Hawthorne on April 19, 2014, it looks like the public will have the same 3 horses as BLAM: The 4/5 ML favorite, the 3, Midnight Hawk, the 8, Class Leader, and the 1, Dynamic Impact. While I don’t think the 3 deserves the 4/5 ML, I don’t see a bet ‘making me’. I lean slightly towards the 8, Class Leader, but I doubt I’d get the 6 or 7-1 I’d need to invest.

I hope this finds you well, and no matter what holiday-or no holiday at all-you’re celebrating, I hope that you get to spend some quality time with friends and family.

Let the bet make you, and we’ll talk soon,

All the best,


P.S. For those of you who prefer to read this on the Post Time Daily Blog, Click Here

Michael Pizzolla’s ValueCapping Rant 4/12/14 Derby Preps Blue Grass and Arkansas Derby

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From the Desk of Michael Pizzolla
April 11, 2014 10:17 AM Las Vegas, Nevada

Dear ValueCapper and Friend,

Tomorrow’s Derby preps are the Blue Grass at Keeneland and the Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn.

Once again I’m not sure there’s much value in these races (although there are some possibilities) but there might be value in the undercards.

I’ve heard from many of you who had the $23.60 winner of the Carter Handicap at Aqueduct last week, which was on last week’s video rant.

One of you used this horse in a contest that netted him a 5 figure prize. I couldn’t be more thrilled for all of you.

In today’s video, I’ll review that race. And yes, I’ll show you one of the tickets I had.

As wonderful as that was, there’s a much bigger lesson to be learned.

A secret, if you will.

It’s a secret that’s hidden in plain view, but many of us, even seasoned veterans of the game, overlook.

I made a video for you today not only analyzing the Blue Grass and Arkansas from a value investing perspective, but letting you in on this secret.

I have a feeling many of you already know this. It’s much, much more valuable than the $23.60 horse. Or even the $121.50 and $49.20 horses from last week. No matter how nice those pictures of the winning tickets were, this secret is worth much more.

Much, much more.

It can transform your game and your results!

Thanks again for all your encouragement and support. Several of you who are using Black Magic: The Ultimate Handicapper Software wrote to tell me how you had that $23.60 horse in the Carter, and I couldn’t be more pleased.

You can always write me at to let me know of your progress or to ask questions. As the Derby approaches, my schedule gets a bit hectic, so please be patient, but I will answer you personally. (Because of my limited technical knowledge, if you’ve got a computer issue, drop a line to and they’ll get you going)

With my thanks again.

Talk soon,


Michael Pizzolla ValueCapping Rant 4/5/14 Kentucky Derby Preps Wood Memorial, Santa Anita Derby, and Longshots

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From The Desk Of Michael Pizzolla
Las Vegas Nevada
April 4, 2014 8:11 AM

Dear ValueCapper and Friend,

Tomorrow’s Derby preps are the Wood Memorial and the Santa Anita Derby.

I’m not sure there’s much value there, but there might be in one of the undercards.

I made a video for you looking at those races, and also showing you a couple of long shots.

These were from yesterday, April 3, 2014, and the day before, April 2, 2014.

Long. Shots.

As in a $49.20 horse and a $121.50 horse.

For those of you on the Wizards’ Forum, I’m going to go into great detail on this month’s DVD, but I wanted to give you a sneak peek.

Funny story.

I’m sitting at the book yesterday, laptop open and iPad propped up so I could visit the BLAM Wizards’ Forum.

Fellow sitting next to me snickers and says, ‘With two computers, I guess you can’t lose’.

I thought he was being pleasant, and said something like, ‘Well, there are no sure thing.’

He said, ‘Except that all you get is chalk with those things. I’d rather use my head.’

On cue, two horses came down the stretch at the Pimlico 5th and my new ‘computer expert buddy’ was screaming for them to finish and ‘stay just like that’.

As I live and breathe, they were even money and 9/5.

The exacta paid $7.80 for 2.

The fellow had a $5 exacta box, and was quite proud of himself.

I tried.

I wish I were a better person, but I couldn’t resist.

When he went up to cash his ticket, I went to cash my tickets on the $121.50 horse from the day before so he could see me take a few thousand from the window.

Not content to let well enough alone, he said to me, ‘well anyone can win five thousand if they bet ten thousand.’

Again, I wish I were a better person.

I could have nodded, wished him a good day and been on my way.

Rather, I had a receipt for a $30 win bet that returned over $1800. I’ll show you that ticket and the race in the video.

He looked at the ticket, looked at me, and then got very quiet.

I didn’t dare show him the other tickets.

Watch the video, get BLAM’s take on the Wood Memorial and Santa Anita Derby, and see the massive long shots BLAM revealed.

Thanks again for all your encouragement and support. Several of you who are using Black Magic: The Ultimate Handicapper Software wrote to tell me how you got those long priced bombs, and I couldn’t be more pleased.

You can always write me at to let me know of your progress or to ask questions. As the Derby approaches, my schedule gets a bit hectic, so please be patient, but I will answer you personally.

Michael Pizzolla’s ValueCapping Rant: 2014 Florida And Louisiana Derby

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