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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

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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

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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,


Michael Pizzolla’s ValueCapping™ Rant: 2015 Arkansas Derby

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From The Desk Of Michael Pizzolla
Las Vegas, Nevada
April 9, 2015 10:17 PM

Dear ValueCapper and Friend,

Derby prep fever is in full swing, and this weekend features the Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park on Saturday, April 11, 2015

I did a video for you on the Arkansas Derby, the ‘800 pound gorilla’ in the field, American Pharaoh and also looked at some races from the Oaklawn undercard. It’s two days before the races I’m discussing, so I don’t have all the scratches, changes, etc., but you’ll get the idea of the approach to finding Value investments (as opposed to the ‘gotta pick a winner’ ‘who do ya like?’ approach).

What’s important is not so much those specific races and their outcomes, but the approach. The shift from ‘handicapper/horseplayer’ to Investor/ ValueCapper is more than just words. It’s a different game. And in this video, I hope you’ll gain some additional insight into the ValueCapping approach.

I hope this finds you well, and I’d like to extend again my sincere thanks to you for all the kind words, email, support, and encouragement. 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 can email
Good luck always!

All the best,


Michael Pizzolla’s ValueCapping Rant: 2015 Wood Memorial, Blue Grass, And Santa Anita Derby

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From The Desk Of Michael Pizzolla
April 3, 2015
6:47 AM
Las Vegas, Nevada

Dear ValueCapper and Friend,

For those of you celebrating a holiday this weekend, may I wish you and yours a happy and healthy holiday!

There are three Derby preps tomorrow, April 4, 2015: The Wood Memorial, the Blue Grass Stakes, and the Santa Anita Derby.

Because of the holiday, and because of how these races have come up, I’m writing a very brief analysis of these races.

I’m sure you’ve noticed that the public very often has the right horses in a race.

And if you’re like me, you may have noticed that this has been happening more and more lately.

That is, the horses with the best velocity numbers-whether that’s a final time number or pace numbers-are usually bet by the public.

Part of this has to do with the fact that access to good information about horse racing has been unprecedented with the advent of the internet.

The game has changed and so must our approach. In the ‘good old days’, we could simply calculate numbers that were sound but largely unknown by the public.

In my case, I used incremental fractional velocity numbers, and I could be pretty certain of finding a decent bet because very few people had access to those numbers.

Did they win all the time? Of course not. But they were often underbet (in other words, overlays) because they were not widely known.

Different story today.

Good numbers are easily available. Do I think the numbers in Black Magic: The Ultimate Handicapper Software and the upcoming ValueCapper software are the best out there? Of course-I’ve been refining them for over 25 years.

But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t other good, solid numbers out there, and the public has easy access to them.

To make a profit in this environment, it’s necessary to take the public into account, and to find horses that we like-that have good things going for them-that the public should not. This is the essence of ValueCapping, and it’s very different from traditional handicapping which focuses primarily on the merits of the horse.

With that in mind, the analysis of tomorrow’s Derby preps tomorrow will be very brief, because it looks like the public will be betting the strong horses. In other words, they are horses that we like, but it appears that the public will also be liking-and betting-them.

I’m writing this on Friday morning, April 3, 2015, so I don’t have scratches or weather changes for the races tomorrow, but here’s what it looks like to me this morning:

Wood Memorial

In the Wood Memorial, Black Magic: The Ultimate Handicapper Software has a tie at the top of the line between the 5, El Kabeir and the 4, Frosted. A close 3rd on the line is the ML favorite, the 6, Daredevil. These 3 are the 3 ML favorites, with the 5 listed at 3-1, the 4 at 5/2, and the 6 at 9/5.

Sure there are plenty of distinctions one could make-the 4, Frosted, is the Fulcrum horse, for example, a horse that often finishes in the exacta, and Frosted has finished 2nd in 4 of 6 lifetime races.

Or one might notice that there’s plenty of speed in the race on the front end and look for a closer (the 5 made a nice close to win last out), but the bottom line is the public will be betting these colts.

If you remember in the last video, I talked a bit about the recreational player/fan vs. the investor. As a fan, it will be interesting to watch this race. But as an investor, I’ll probably be passing.

Blue Grass

The horse right on top of the BLAM Odds line with a significant gap is the 5, Carpe Diem. No surprise here, this colt has been sent off as the favorite in all 4 of its lifetime races, and it’s won 3 of them, and finished 2nd once-the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile last year at Santa Anita. It won the Tampa Bay Derby last out in very impressive style, looks as if it can run at or near the pace, or make a big middle move.

It’s also listed as even money on the Morning Line.

Second on the BLAM line is the next ML favorite, the 1, Ocho Ocho Ocho, winner of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint last November.

I may be rooting for Carpe Diem, but it will be too short a price to bet, and probably too strong to bet against.

Ocho Ocho Ocho? Whether to invest is a matter of personal preference. Some would say if it’s 7/2 on your odds line, what’s wrong with taking 7-1 on the bet? Nothing. A more conservative approach would look at the 5, Carpe Diem, and see its strengths, see that there’s nothing much ‘wrong’ with what the colt has exhibited in its past performances (no ‘Anti Value’) and not want to bet against it.

Santa Anita Derby

Pretty much the same situation here, with Dortmund. 5 for 5 lifetime, winner of the San Felipe last out, and 3/5 Morning Line. Again, I think the wiser course is to look for easier races where the public may be overbetting a horse with some flaws.

As always on these big racing days, the opportunities often come on the undercards at the tracks that are hosting the big races, and on ‘obscure’ races at ‘minor’ tracks. The overlays you can find on these races are sometimes bigger on these big days because of the amount of recreational money being bet.

I hope this finds you well, I wish you a fantastic holiday if you’re celebrating, and I thank you so much for your support and encouragement,

All the best,


Michael Pizzolla’s ValueCapping Video Rant: The 2015 Florida and Louisiana Derby

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From The Desk Of Michael Pizzolla
March 27, 2015
2:27 PM
Las Vegas, Nevada

Dear ValueCapper and Friend,

Made a video for you on the 2015 Florida Derby and the 2015 Louisiana Derby to be run tomorrow, March 28, 2015.

There’s also a quick intro to the crux of ValueCapping for those of you unfamiliar with the concept. There’s a big difference between being a ‘fan’ of the big races and looking at them as an investor. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a huge fan of these races, but I also look at them as I do every other race that I look at: Is there a horse that has positives going for it that the public should not like or may overlook.

If there’s not, I’ll pass-whether it’s a million dollar triple crown race, or a $5,000 claimer at a ‘minor’ track.

For those of you who have asked, yes, I’m still hard at work researching and refining the new ValueCapper software. I’ll keep you posted-I truly think this will be a game changer.

Hope this finds you well, and thanks so much again for your encouragement and support.

All the best,


Michael Pizzolla’s ValueCapping Rant: Winter Racing 2014, Deja Vu, Happy Holidays

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From The Desk Of Michael Pizzolla

Monday, December 23, 2014
Las Vegas
5:57 PM

Dear ValueCapper and Friend,

First and foremost, my heartfelt holiday wishes to you, your families and friends.

I was reading over a Rant I wrote back in 2007, and it struck me that the more things change, the more they remain the same!

What reminded me of this was an incident in the race book the other day.

Mind you, I try to keep a low profile when I’m in the race book, no screaming at the screens (any more) no calling horses ‘piggies’ at the top of my lungs (any more), no cakewalking away from the window with a pile of ‘benjis’ after a score (any more).

Ah youth.

And yet, I don’t know why, I attract horseplayers of all types who feel compelled to come up and speak with me.

Some have provided me with some of the most memorable and enjoyable moments of my year. For example, earlier this year, I met an ex-NFL champion at the book. He’s a BLAM Wizard, and we had the most wonderful time talking about ValueCapping, about perseverance, about the discipline it takes competing as a world-class athlete and how that applies to our great game. I waked out of there exhilarated and inspired.

And then there’s the other kind of encounter.

Like the one that greeted me the other day.

I’m staring at my computer screen, minding my own business, when between my face and the screen a pointed index finger appears. At the other end is a red-faced fellow who screams at me-“#**&@$ winter racing. And it’s all the fault of #**&@$ guys like you! #**!”

After a moment of being stunned, I managed to straighten my shoulders and say, “And Happy Holidays to you, sir!”

For some reason, this infuriated the fellow, who lit into me with a torrent of profanities. Some of which I had never heard, and I grew up in New York City!

Between the f bombs, I managed to determine that he was convinced that me and my computer were manipulating the board and the odds and that’s why he was losing money.

The crack security team noticed this fellow, racing form in one hand, bottle wrapped in a paper bag in the other screaming at this other odd fellow in a suit and tie, and figured something was up.

After some pointing and nodding from the race book manager, the fellow was escorted from the premises, still screaming at me.

I looked back to the board of a modest claiming race at Tampa Bay and went back to the business of ValueCapping.

I passed the race, but I was reminded of an email I had gotten a few days before from a brilliant Wizard who asked if I thought there was manipulation of odds going on by big bettors who would make a big bet on a horse, cancel it, and then bet on the horse they fancied in the first place.

As part of my reply, I told him about how I had seen this strategy backfire:

“I was at the track many years ago with a group of very big bettors. It was a slow day, and they found a horse in a maiden race that they loved, with a morning line of around 4-1.

They chose what they thought was the worst horse in the race, a horse that hadn’t picked up its feet in three races, and put a substantial bet on it so that in the opening flash, the horse went from a morning line of 20-1 to 8/5.

They chortled as the horse continued to maintain those odds, even dropping to 6/5 at post time.

The horse won by 10 lengths.

What they didn’t know was that the trainer had given the horse some performance enhancing drugs, everyone in the backstretch knew about it, and the trainer’s family and friends were at the track betting the horse with both hands.

I don’t worry too much about this, rather just make sure that I’m getting the overlay I want on the horse I’m betting. One strong betting pattern I’ve noticed is when a horse has a big ValueTech Ratio, say the BLAM odds are 3-1 and its Contention Line is 12-1. By BLAM’s procedures, the horse is a strong horse, but the public, using conventional methods should not see it as such.”

This incident at the book also reminded me of something that happened back in 2007, something I shared with the Wizards:

“A fellow came up to me in the race book the other day, after one of the many winter cancellations and wanted, I suppose, to let me know that he wasn’t just a horseplayer, but a man or erudition.

So he says, ‘Hey, they cancelled Penn National again’. Then, in a big voice, ‘Now is the winter of our discontent.’

Normally, I would have chuckled, nodded, and gotten back to my work.

But, hey, Penn National was cancelled, there was precious little going on, and I was waiting to see what the crowd was going to do with a race later that evening.

So I opened my big mouth.

I told him that he forgot the rest of that quote—that after ‘Now is the winter of our discontent’ comes the real meaning—‘made glorious summer by this sun of York.’

Of course, he looked at me as if I had three heads.

I said it means that the time of discontent is over!

He left to go bet a harness race.

Well, the ‘sun of York’ that has made the winter for this son of New York bearable is the new software that I have been working on night and day.

Now there’s good news and bad news about this.

The good news is that I’m in a ‘creative’ mode.

The bad news is that I’m in a ‘creative’ mode.

You see, the ‘creative’ mode can be one of the most dangerous for the handicapper.

Let me explain.

In any endeavor, to get better, to refine technique, there is always the eternal cycle of creation, maintenance and dissolution.

Create. Maintain. Destroy.

After a period of maintenance, the old is destroyed, and the new is created.

And, as evidenced by the big bang, that creative process can get a little messy.”

What’s so ironic about this is that tonight, as I write this seven years later, I’m in the very same place, hard at work on the new ValueCapper Software.

Here’s how I described my process when developing Black Magic: The Ultimate Handicapper Software:

“For the past months, my life has consisted of little else but caring to the physical needs—you know the necessities, food, water, air, golf—and working on these computer programs.

Here’s the rub.

I’ve always found that it’s very difficult to analyze or explain something at the same time you’re doing it.

So, over a golf ball, if you’re thinking about every little thing your arms hands hips eyes have to do, you won’t be able to put the club on the ball.

Same with baseball.

As Yogi Berra said, ‘how can you swing and think at the same time?’

So it is with handicapping.

When I’m on all cylinders, I recognize the races to play, the opportunities, the patterns, all of that almost in one fell swoop. Because I’m a ‘natural’? NO! Because I’ve looked at thousands and thousands of races!

Well, when working on a program, taking apart every part of every number, working with databases of hundreds of thousands of races, then programming in things that you see in a glance, but have to give the computer precise rules—it’s like trying to think about how you walk while walking.

Better get yourself a helmet.

I have to separate the time in the race book investing and the time researching. As in about 12 hours per day every day doing nothing but working on the software.

That’s what I’ve been up to lately.

It is a labor of love, truly. The hours fly by in a blink. It is what is making the winter of my discontent really like a glorious summer. Only with less golf.

The moral of this story as it applies to your handicapping is this:

Separate your practice and analyzing time from your wagering and investing time.

I’d encourage you to spend time practicing on races, recognizing patterns, doing all of that.

But put some time between that practice and when you go and invest.

Practice mechanics, play by feel.”

Seven years later, I’m in that very same place, burning the midnight oil, working on the ValueCapper Software. I’m confident it will mark a real breakthrough, streamlining the entire process of ValueCapping, and incorporating 7 years of refinements on one screen, at one glance.

It’s been a massive project, but through it all, I am buoyed by those of you who have made great progress, and have shared with me your journey. It really thrills me to hear of the scores, of course. But more than that, the process that went into making them and the insights you’ve had about how ValueCapping applies to all decisions with which we are faced.

Also, the support of the BLAM Wizards on the Wizards’ Forum for each other, sharing techniques and insights with a generosity of spirit that truly reflects the holiday spirit, inspires me every single day.

I hope this finds you well. Thank you so much for all of your support and encouragement, and my very best wishes for a fantastic holiday for you and yours.

All the best,


Michael Pizzolla

P.S. As always, if you have any questions or comments, just drop me a line at

Michael Pizzolla’s ValueCapping Video Rant: The 2014 Breeders’ Cup

in Uncategorized by Michael Pizzolla Comments are off

From The Desk Of Michael Pizzolla
October 29, 2014
9:57 PM

Dear ValueCapper and Friend,

How time flies! It’s time again for the 2014 edition of the Breeders’ Cup this Friday and Saturday, October 31st and November 1st.

As usual, there are the handicapping and ValueCapping challenges with large fields, odd distances, and horses making their first starts in the U.S.

While the Breeders’ Cup races are the ‘big event’, it’s always a good idea on these big days look for profitable opportunities on the undercards. Do this not only at Santa Anita but the other tracks as well. There’s a lot of ‘recreational’ money in the pools on these days.

I’ve made a video for you with 5 keys to ValueCapping the 2014 Breeders’ Cup and then a ‘look over my shoulder’ as I analyze all of the Breeders’ Cup races from Friday and Saturday from the point of view of finding good value investments.

In the video, I use the software tool I use every day,   Black Magic: The Ultimate Handicapper Software. I hope you enjoy.

Thank you again for your support and encouragement, I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it. If you have any technical questions, drop a line to the tech team at

Any questions for me on ValueCapping, or to let me know of your progress, drop me a line at (although it may be a day or two before I can get back to you, what with traveling and Breeders’ Cup.)

Good luck at the races, at Breeders’ Cup, and always!

All the best,


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