Value Tech Blog

Home » Value Tech Blog

2014 Kentucky Derby Pre Rant Coming Soon

in Uncategorized by wp valet Comments are off

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

in Uncategorized by Michael Pizzolla Comments are off

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

in Uncategorized by Michael Pizzolla Comments are off

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

in Uncategorized by Michael Pizzolla Comments are off

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

in Uncategorized by Michael Pizzolla Comments are off

Michael Pizzolla’s ValueCapping Rant for March 22, 2014: Derby Preps-The Spiral And Sunland

in Uncategorized by Michael Pizzolla Comments are off

From the Desk of Michael Pizzolla
March 21, 2014 7:37 PM, Las Vegas, Nevada

Dear ValueCapper and Friend:

I want to tell you how lucky I feel to have a group like you with whom to share my thoughts about the Derby Preps.

As you know, there haven’t been very solid bets in these preps, and I’ve said so-on videos, on podcasts, and in these emails.

I was concerned that this would be the case, that the races would be, as they often are, muddled. That they would not yield solid investment opportunities. I thought that this analysis would not be very well received.

I couldn’t have been more wrong. I’ve received so many emails expressing appreciation that I shared my honest analysis about these races, rather than trying to ‘force’ a bet or a selection.

That’s why I feel so fortunate.

The level of maturity and insight into the game that those comments reflects is fantastic. It shows that you ValueCappers are truly looking at this great game as an investment opportunity rather than looking to make wild speculations.

I’m afraid that the two Derby Preps this weekend, the Spiral on Saturday and the Sunland Derby on Sunday, are very wide open races, and Black Magic: The Ultimate Handicapper Software (BLAM) indicates that very clearly.

This week I felt again that a video would not be all that instructive, so I’ve written my brief thoughts on these races below:

The Spiral Stakes

The Spiral Stakes (actually, the Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati Racing Spiral Stakes) is a Grade 3 to be run at Turfway Park on Saturday March 22, 2014. Of the 12 colts, 7 of them are above random in a very weak betting line.

By that I mean that the top colts, the 2, Asserting Bear, and the 10, Harry’s Holiday, are at 6-1 in the BLAM line. After that, the colts above random are at 8, 9, and 10-1. In plain English, it’s a wide open race.

Of the 12 colts, only 2 have ever run a mile and an eighth, the 4, Tamarando, the Morning Line favorite and the 2, Asserting Bear. Both won their only start at 9 furlongs.

The 10, Harry’s Holiday projects to be on or near the lead, and yet will break from the 10 post.

There’s no clarity in the race for me for a solid value investment. Normally, this would be a pass race for me. As far as speculation, if the odds on the 10 and the 2 are long, I might take some exotics using those with the 8, Solitary Ranger which is both the Fulcrum, and one of the Reversal Winners. I’ll use the 4 if price allows, and perhaps put one of the big closers at long prices, the 1 or the 7 in the mix. Admittedly, this is a lot of ‘spreading’ on a very unclear race. Even my exotic strategy as I type this sounds like a bit of a mess, which reflects the lack of clarity in the race.

The Sunland Derby

The Sunland Derby, a Grade 3 Stakes, is on Sunday March 23, 2014, and it’s to be run at a mile and an eighth at Sunland Park. As with the Spiral, most of the colts have never gone a mile and an eighth. There are 6 entrants above the random mark in the BLAM Oddsline, 4 of them are the Morning Line Favorites. Two of the colts in the mix are prices, the 8, Rebranded, and the 6, Lawly’s Goal.

With all the unknowns in the race, I can’t say that these represent solid value investments. The top colt on the line is the 9, Chitu, 2 for 3 lifetime, and just missed at the RB Lewis at Santa Anita last out. He’s the one that projects to have a clear lead, and could wire the field. However, if it goes off near its 4-1 Morning Line, I wouldn’t take the risk, again, given the unknowns in the race. A modest exacta and trifecta box of the 9, 8, and 6 will probably be the extent of my speculation (read gambling) in the race.

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

All the best,


P.S. You can always drop me a line at to share you thoughts, analysis, progress, questions, and insights about ValueCapping. I freely admit to knowing just enough about the technical aspects of things to be dangerous, so if you have a technical question, drop a line to, and they’ll be able to assist.

Michael Pizzolla
Post Time Solutions

Michael Pizzolla’s ValueCapping Rant: 3/14/14-The Rebel, Social Inclusion, And Winners

in Uncategorized by Michael Pizzolla 1 Comment

From The Desk Of Michael Pizzolla

March 14, 2014 8:17 AM

Las Vegas, Nevada

Dear ValueCapper and Friend,

Hope this finds you well and enjoying this great game of ours. In this week’s Rant: The Rebel Stakes, a colt named Social Inclusion, and some thoughts about winners.

The Rebel Stakes

The only official Derby Prep this week is the Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park.

The crowd will be betting the two colts that finished 1st and 2nd last out in the Southwest at Oaklawn, the 4, Strong Mandate, and the 3, Tapiture. The 3 is not only the Reversal Winner but the Fulcrum in the race as well. Those of you who’ve followed my work know that that is a strong combination especially for a place horse. That means there might not be value in the exotics.

Those colts are at the top of the BLAM line, as they should be. The third on the line is the 7, Street Strategy. Just missed in its first start, and then an impressive win last out in its maiden at a mile at Oaklawn. The Morning Line maker somehow makes this 8-1. I don’t think it will go off at anywhere near that. The race sets up for a closer, and the one that closes consistently is the 8, Kobe’s Back. Unfortunately, this colt is the 3rd Morning Line favorite, and might be bet.

Without seeing the betting, I don’t think this race will provide a value investment opportunity. Perhaps if the crowd overlooks the 8, I may get involved, using the other late horse, the 5, and the obvious horses. If you asked me now, based on how I think the crowd will bet, I would say I’ll be passing this race.

Social Inclusion

I did see a race on Wednesday that made me sit up and take notice. It was an Allowance race at Gulfstream Park, the 8th race, and the 1-2 favorite was Honor Code, the Shug McGaughey trained colt that won the Remsen in November and which just missed in the Champagne in its second lifetime start. Three lifetime starts, won its Maiden at first asking, then just missed in the Grade 1 Champagne, then wins the Remsen, a Grade II.

This is a potential champion.

Yet BLAM’s top colt on the line was Social Inclusion. Social Inclusion had only had one lifetime race, and it was its maiden win on February 22nd at Gulfstream.

Since BLAM made Social Inclusion and Honor Code the top two horses, and they were 7/5 and 1-2, it wasn’t much of a betting race, but I happened to be at the race book. Social Inclusion just blew away the field, trouncing Honor Code by 10 lengths at the finish. It set the track record for a mile and a sixteenth. This is an impressive colt, and I have a feeling we’ll be seeing him in the Triple Crown races.

Value and Winners

During the running of the race, the race book at which I was playing was a wall of sound. They were cheering madly for either Social Inclusion or Honor Code (mostly for Honor Code as far as I can tell). And the ‘victors’ were high fiving each other as Social Inclusion passed the finish line.

All of this over a 7/5 winner.

Rejoice, ValueCappers, rejoice.

This is our competition.

They care not for profit, only for being ‘right’, for being held in high esteem for those few fleeting seconds after the race when their genius has been validated, and all is right in their world.

This, of course, is a losing strategy, but one that feels good. Death by one thousand cuts.

Don’t get me wrong. Winners are necessary.

And you’ve seen-and have written to me about this-how Black Magic: The Ultimate Handicapper Software does such a good job at getting the winners. I suppose I’ve seen this for over 7 years now, and it’s old hat to me. It no longer comes as a surprise when BLAM has the win, exacta, trifecta, etc. among the horses at the top of its line.

But that’s NOT the point of the exercise. The point is WAITING until a potentially strong horse is being UNDERBET by the public and is running against a horse or horses that is being OVERBET.

Simple? Yes.

Easy? Not so much.

You see, we are human, we want to ‘play’ the races, to be ‘right’, to be considered an ‘expert’, a ‘sharpie’. The professional, on the other hand, sits and waits until everything is in his or her favor, including getting a price that compensates for the risk. And then makes a measured investment.

His focus is on profits, on value, not winners.

The professional is a ValueCapper.

I hope this finds you well, and again thank each of you so much for your kind words, for your support and encouragement, and your good wishes. The reports of the progress and the insight you are experiencing makes what I do rewarding, and for that I am grateful to you indeed.

With my very best regards,


Michael Pizzolla’s ValueCapping Rant: Derby Preps 3/8/14, Run Ups, Class

in Uncategorized by Michael Pizzolla Comments are off

From The Desk Of Michael Pizzolla
March 7, 2014 5:37 PM
Las Vegas, Nevada

Dear ValueCapper and Friend:

By now, you’ve seen how I’ve gone about taking apart the Derby Preps on my videos I’ve been sending. Thanks for all the kind words, as BLAM has been pretty solid in identifying the colts that have won or run very well, but that’s a very different thing than finding a solid value investment, which is the point of ValueCapping.

Rather than doing a long video on the two Derby preps for tomorrow, only to come to the conclusion that these races do not provide clear and solid value investments, I thought I’d summarize my analysis in this email.

The two Derby preps for March 8, 2014 are the Grade II San Felipe at Santa Anita and the Grade II Tampa Bay Derby at Tampa Bay Downs.

I’ll make this brief:

In the San Felipe, Black Magic: The Ultimate Handicapper Software (BLAM) puts the heavy favorite, the 4, California Chrome, right on top. 3rd start after a layoff, two impressive wins in state bred company, and obvious favorite. Second on the line is the 8, Schoolofhardknocks, impressive winner of its maiden race at Del Mar last August. Then comes the 9, Midnight Hawk, the second ML favorite. These are the obvious colts, and I don’t see much reason to bet for or against. The dark horse in the mix is the 5, Sawyer’s Hill, a colt that’s only had two sprints, and is still a maiden. This would be a huge upset, but might be a reasonable speculative investment at a huge price.

In the Tampa Bay Derby, BLAM is taking a stand against the ML favorite, the 2, Surfing USA, and a deep closer, the 5, Conquest Titan. It gives good marks to the 8, Cousin Stephen and the 6, Vinceremos, two colts that had hard races last out, very gritty performances. Interestingly, the software puts a real longshot on top, the 10, Tuscan Getaway, 20-1 morning line, on a layoff since November, working well. Once again, I don’t see a bet making me, but as in the San Felipe, a small speculation on the 10 if it’s a very long price might be in the cards.

Another thing I wanted to talk with you about is an article that Andy Beyer wrote this week about the variations in the ‘run up’ distances and the confusing array of race classifications.

I’m sure most of you know that the ‘run up’ distance is the distance between the point where the starting gate is and the beam that begins the timing of the race. The longer the run up distance, the better the time looks in the race, because the horses are in stride when they break the beam to start the timing of the official time of the race.

As you might imagine, the owners of the race really like a long run up distance, because it makes the horses look faster, and therefore more valuable.

The other point he made was that the confusing array of optional claimers, classified claimers, etc. are very good for the owners and trainer looking to find a soft spot for their horses, but a nightmare for handicappers trying to assess the class level of the horses in the race.

His point, with which I wholeheartedly agree, is that the racing industry is looking out for the interests of the owners, breeders, and trainers more than the horseplayer. They forget, as they often do, that without the horseplayer, there would be no racing, full stop.

Frankly, there’s not much that can be done about the run up distances. The fact is that they vary from track to track, from meet to meet and, sadly, sometimes from race to race. The best we can do is to base our numbers on the actual times run and make adjustments from those times.

This would be more of an issue if, as ValueCappers, we were only looking at one number, the top number, for example. But we look at the entire set of numbers in the pps. An anomaly in one distance or surface will stick out like a sore thumb.

Rest assured, we’re tweaking numbers like mad scientists here at Post Time, and hopefully we’ll have something that improves things by the Fall. In the meantime, the best thing to do is to use the computer sitting on our shoulders to make some common sense calls about numbers. The tried and true ValueCapping extras such as Reversers, Advanced Form Patterns, Fulcrums, etc., still produce excellent value investments.

I think we’ll see a time when the Trakus system-or one like it-will be in place at all tracks. This is the system that has a computer chip in the saddle of the horse and beams its position and time to a satellite. An almost infinite number of measurements can be made rather than the small number of measurements that we get now. I think that would be great, as numbers will be even better, everyone will have them, and the ValueCapping concepts will keep us even further ahead of the betting public.

There’s also not much to be done about the classification morass. Class is a very slippery concept to begin with, and knowing whether a horse is going up or down sometimes more art than science. I’m dealing with these issues every day on the ValueCapper Professional Software project to automate the process of negative drops. Getting it to excellent has been extremely challenging.

I actually think there’s a silver lining to all of this for ValueCappers.

Our opponents, the Stage 1 handicappers who are trying to predict the outcome of the race, are pulling their hair out trying to make the perfect number by getting it down to the millimeter, and making class rankings for 100s of different classifications of the race. They’re attempting to do something which cannot be done: Create the perfect number and thereby predict the outcome of the race.

Of course, that’s impossible.

But here’s the silver lining:

Instead of obsessing about numbers, we have numbers that are solid, and as close as we can come to perfect, and then we handicap the public, see what they do, see where they are overbetting and underbetting, and bet if the risk is worth it. This key dynamic of ValueCapping will keep us ahead of the crowd regardless of the challenges involved in the measurements of thoroughbred performances.

Well, that’s it for this Rant. I hope this finds you well, and thank you so much for all of your encouragement, support, and kind words.

All the best,


P.S. To get these Rants directly sent to your email inbox, go to, scroll down to the bottom of the page and enter your email address and you’ll never miss a Rant!

Michael Pizzolla’s ValueCapping Video Rants: Derby Preps-Gotham Stakes

in Uncategorized by Michael Pizzolla Comments are off

I’ve made a quick video for you analyzing the 2014 Gotham Stakes, the Derby Prep race that’s running tomorrow.

I’ll show you a couple of underused and very cool features of Post Time Daily 2.0 as well as my analysis of the race using the sophisticated tools of Black Magic: The Ultimate Handicapper Software.


Michael Pizzolla’s ValueCapping Video Rant: Derby Preps Fountain Of Youth

in Uncategorized by Michael Pizzolla Comments are off

Here’s a quick video I made showing my analysis of the Derby Preps from February 22, 2014: The Fountain Of Youth at Gulfstream Park and the Risen Star at Fair Grounds.

As with all these videos, the emphasis is not on ‘picking the winner’ but on demonstrating the process of ValueCapping. Since we’re looking for a horse that we like that the public shouldn’t like, when races stack up from your analysis in the same way the public is likely to bet, very often there’s no value in the race. However, the public does strange things in betting, and there might be a price looming.

There’s also a rather humorous story about a strange email I received while at the race book today concerning the 8th Race from Tampa Bay, February 21, 2014.


Page 5 of 97« First...34567...102030...Last »