Michael Pizzolla’s Handicapping Rant: August In Vegas, Closer At Finger Lakes

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Michael Pizzolla’s Handicapping Rant

Autumn In Las Vegas, Closer At Finger Lakes

From The Desk Of Michael Pizzolla

Las Vegas, Nevada
September 27, 2008
7:43 AM

Dear Friend:

Autumn this year has a bittersweet taste this year.

The Yankees are not in the post season, and what’s worse is that Yankee Stadium is no more.

My friend of many years, Bob Harris (who is also a top notch handicapper and one of the moderators of the Black Magic Wizards’ Forum) got a chance to go back to New York and take his son to a Yankee game.

He asked if I was going back to see one more game, and I told him I couldn’t bear to.

The company for which my father worked had season tickets to the Yankees games, and he got to use them often. We lived not far from the Stadium, and my happiest memories were sitting behind home plate with my dad watching Elston Howard, Roger Maris, Clete Boyer, Jim Bouton, Al Downing, Whitey Ford, Moose Skowron, Hector Lopez, Bobby Richardson, Tony Kubek, and of course, the Mick.

I talk with Mickey’s nephew often, and he tells me great stories about my childhood sports hero.

So, I can’t even think about ‘the Stadium’ (yes, New Yorkers refer to Yankee Stadium as THE stadium, as if there is no other, in the same way they call New York City ‘the city’ for precisely the same reason) without feeling such an intense nostalgia that I can hardly breathe.

Now for the sweet part.

It’s Autumn.

And that means cooling air (it’s in the high 90s during the day here which is like heaven).

And that means the Fall tracks: Oak Tree, and of course, Belmont.

Belmont, that I referred to during my sophomore year at NYU as the ‘university sports complex’, in case anyone asked where I was instead of being in Philosophy 101.

It had sport, it was quite complex, and I got an education at that race track.

I guess it’s why I like closing horses so much!

Belmont, as many of you know, favors horses coming from off the pace. This is largely because of the sweeping turns, Belmont being a mile and a half in circumference.

So for years, sprinters who expended their energy with a certain type of energy distribution (around 51.5% give or take) had a real advantage. Without going into the technical details, just know that it’s pretty late for a sprinter.

One thing I’ve noticed is that the new polytrack surfaces seem a little less speed biased than the surfaces they replaced. Of course, we’ll need to wait and see what the future holds for the new surface at Santa Anita.

So, when youve got a track that’s favorable to late running horses, and a race with a lot of speed horses, if you can find a horse with a big late kick, that horse has a shot. And since the public likes to bet speed horses in sprints, you’re likely to get a bigger price than you should.

Boy, that Michael Pizzolla is sharp!

Yes, I know, it’s Handicapping 101. So simple.

Yet so effective.

There was a race on September 16th at a lesser known New York track, Finger Lakes in upstate New York.

Here’s what I wrote about the race the morning before the race was run on the Black Magic Wizards’ Forum:

“There’s a race that jumped off the screen at me today, the 8th at Finger Lakes.

It”s a Pressured/Highly Pressured race, and the Finger Lakes track profile for 6 furlongs is conducive to horses coming off the pace.

There’s only one Accupressure V2 closer, and that horse is on the top of the OPM odds line. It’s the 7 horse, Hailey’s Hero, the only horse with an S (Sustained) designation as well. In Position Pointer, it’s the most pronounced closer.

It’s also a nice Type 1 (plus 2a and 2b) AND a NOLO. At first glance, some in the public will dismiss this because it’s a ‘claimer’ going into an allowance race. However, those last two claimers were run at Saratoga, and this is a optional claimer, so it’s not exactly a race that will attract champions.

As far as structure, a win bet on the 7, of course.

I’m going to BOX the three value tech horses, the 7-2 and 4. They are also the three long horses in the odds cluster. The 2 can close a little, so I may take an extra 7-2…

As you can see, I don’t get too fancy when I get a race like this. If I’m very right, (i.e. 7-2-4), I’m going to make a very nice score. If the 7 is around at a decent price, I’ll make some money. If it runs out and the race doesn’t finish 2-4 or 4-2, I’m going to be losing money in the race. (Unless I get prices that allows me a 5 horse tri box and the 4-2 finishes with the 3 or 6, or with the 5 in the middle).

Warning. I’m playing with a large enough bankroll that allows me to take these bets, and not breathe hard. Also, I noticed that when I started writing this post, that I do most of this intuitively, and it actually has taken me 10 times longer to type this than it did to come up with the race and the structure.

Again, all of this is based on the prices. If the 7 is a decent price, I go, if not I don’t. If I do and it runs up the track, I would bet it again.

Hope this finds you all well,


Let’s forget for a minute all of the technical stuff like Accupressure V2, the various patterns, and so forth. (I’ve taught these at Seminars, and they’re built into the Black Magic software). They are really simple concepts.

Here’s the main thing: It was a very simple race with one closer in a race full of speed who looked like it might be a price.

As it turned out, the 2 got scratched, and that dropped the price on the 7 horse. I had bet it in advance, knowing that the public would bet the 3 horse (they did, betting it down to 4/5). The 7, Hailey’s Hero got up by a nose (it was dead last at the second call and closed 8 lengths) beating the 4 horse, Large Popcorn.

Now, $10.80 doesn’t sound like much to brag about, but it was one of those solid value plays that I talk about. The bet made me, the analysis was simple, clear, easy.

Simple, clear, easy.

You see, we humans like things complex. Somehow it validates us if we can know things that are really complicated (well, this horse had an energy distribution of 51.8 percent, and it was this and that, and the trainer is 3 for 13 with horses named after comets).

Here’s the truth.

It was an easy race, a gift. I like those. Very much.

And here’s a big secret.

The challenge in racing isn’t handicapping any more, it’s FINDING those races.

Anyway, the exacta came back a generous $105.00 and the trifecta paid $488.50. I wound up taking a little over $1,500 from the race for about $150 invested. Now, if you’re playing with a different sized bankroll, that might be $200 out for a $20 bill.

But here’s the big point. Focus on those simple, clear races, where the bet makes you, where you’re not scratching your head worried about 17 different scenarios.

Here’s the link to the tickets:


Today, for example, there’s 33 race tracks in North America running thoroughbred races. I downloaded 18 of them, the 18 being booked at the race books in Las Vegas. (Again, the Black Magic gang has a big advantage as they get the lowest monthly rate in the industry for the data, so it’s affordable).

And I’ll look through for those situations. Now, I’ve been sitting here writing to you, but I’m going to be looking at a race a Remington Park tonight (not all good opportunities are at Belmont, Sant
a Anita, or whatever your ‘favorite’ track is).

The 3rd race tonight, part of the Oklahoma State Bred Classics series, is filled with speed.

There’s a bunch of lightly raced horses, and a first time starter. So, there’s lots of unknowns. But there are a couple of things I know. First, there’s a lot of speed in the race. Second, Black Magic Ultimate Handicapper tells me the track profile at 6 furlongs at Remington can support a closer.

Well, there are two closers, one of them is going to be one of the favorites, the 1 horse, Peach Brew. The other is the 3 horse, Going Okie, 10-1 morning line.

This beast in its only race, September 5th, dropped from 10 by 7 1/2 lengths to 10 by 19 lengths at the second call, and then closed to 6 by 2 and 1/2 lengths. That’s the equivalent of around a 23 final quarter. Crazy fast. Now, there’s a change of jockeys to Pettinger, who may not have the horse so far back.

Again, here’s the point. Lots of speed. A deep closer at a price. Given the firster and the lightly raced horses, I’m going to need that price to bet, otherwise I stay out.

The beauty of Black Magic is that I was able to wade through 180 races and find that one in about 3 minutes. The analysis is Handicapping 101.

Well, that’s about it.

I’m sitting out in the morning fall air, and cool September air makes me want to go out and buy school supplies. Think I’ll go and get some of those highlighters with the built in Post It tags to take my mind off the Stadium not being there next year.

And then I’ll go on the Wizards’ Forum where the gang is doing extremely well, and supporting each other in a way I’ve never seen on any internet venue anywhere. It makes me happy each and every day.

I hope this finds you well and happy, and enjoying your weekend!

Again, thank you so much for your kind words and emails—I can’t tell you how much I enjoy hearing of your success.  Please drop me a line at Michael@posttimedaily.com to let me know how you’re doing, or if you have any questions.

    Yours in Handicapping Magic,


    Michael Pizzolla
    Post Time Solutions, Inc.
    2900 South Rancho Drive
    Suite 205
    Las Vegas, NV 89102

©Copyright 2008 by Michael Pizzolla, All Rights Reserved.

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