From The Desk Of Michael Pizzolla
Las Vegas, Nevada
March 15, 2012
Dear ValueCapper and Friend:
The Triple Crown prep season has begun again, and it's the same cacophony of 'who is it in the Derby this year, Michael?' from my golf buddies.
I can only say 'too early to tell' for so long. But I can tell you what I really think about it.
One of the main ideas behind ValueCapping is that WE get to choose which races are worth an investment. We get to pass races that don't provide investment grade opportunities. This is a huge advantage.
Now consider the 'big' races. Some feel compelled to bet these simply because they are prestigious races with the best horses in the country. The height of this every year is the Kentucky Derby with 20 three year old colts going a mile and a quarter for the first time, foreign horses thrown in, skittish youngster colts subjected to the roar of a crowd well over 100,000 screaming at the tops of their julep-saturated lungs.
Sometimes an investment emerges. But not often, simply because of all of the uncertainty.
This was one of the main themes of the ValueCapping Academy we had in October: While uncertainty is a part of racing, and we'll never know for sure exactly what will happen in the running of a race, we can filter out the noise by staying out of races when we know that there's a lot of uncertainty going in. For example, several horses making their first start, or for that matter when most of the field is on a layoff. You'll see this often when tracks begin their meet.
By venturing into only those races that have a manageable amount of uncertainty, and where we can find a horse we like that the public shouldn't (and optimally betting against a horse or horses that will be heavily bet but are flawed) we increase our chances of success exponentially.
A remark I've heard from several ValueCappers who have turned their game around after ValueCapping Academy was that the game seemed so much simpler and more profitable when they focused on the handful of good opportunities and let the marginal bets go.
For those of you who are patiently waiting for the DVDs of that Seminar, we're getting close to announcing that they're ready. With a multi-camera shoot, and days of footage, putting it together so that you'll get the experience of being in that total immersion atmosphere of one of my Seminars has taken months of post production. I'll keep you posted. As soon as the Academy package is ready I'll let you know via this Rant and also at posttimedaily.com
There were a few racing related stories that I wanted to pass along and comment on as well:
It's a sign of the times, times in which we're subject to thousands of marketing messages every day, that Hollywood Park will soon be known by a new name. The historic Hollywood Park will be known as Betfair Hollywood Park. It's the first time that a race track has sold the naming rights to another entity. We've all seen the names of the classic races of this sport turn into marketing billboards-The Kentucky Derby presented by Yum Brands comes to mind. But a race track?
Where will it end? Burger King Belmont? Sony Santa Anita? Dell Del Mar? Oakley Oaklawn Park?
I shudder to think of what's going through the minds of Madison Avenue ad firms.
For more on this on my blog:
An interesting recommendation from veterinarians has come out relating to the differential between claiming prices and purses. We all know that casino gaming at certain tracks has made it possible for those tracks to offer large purses for modest horses.
And there's the rub: When a horse that's running for a 10,000 claiming price is running for a 40,000 purse, the 24,000 winners share is worth much more than the horse. The vets feel this leads to less care for the horses, and trainers caring less for the horses than the purses.
For the ValueCapper, it makes the issue of whether a horse is taking a negative drop a bit more complicated. The incentive of the purse may far outweigh the risk of losing the horse. I'm looking at this carefully, as it impacts the Anti Value approach that is part of ValueCapping.
For an interesting article on this:
Finally a story that reminds me of an old joke. A lost dog poster was spotted that described the missing dog as follows: Light brown labrador, has three legs, recently neutered, blind in the right eye, missing left ear, broken tail, answers to the name 'Lucky'.
Well, today, HBO announced the cancellation of its series called 'Luck'. This was due to the death on Tuesday March 13th (yes, the 13th) of another horse during filming of an episode for the second season. This was the third horse to die during the filming of the show, despite great precautions being taken. Whether it was the ratings, PETA, or the heat HBO was taking over the deaths of the horses, the bottom line is the series has been cancelled.
I had hopes that the series, with its heavyweight roster of Hollywood stars (Hoffman, Nolte, Allen, etc.), a featured role for Gary Stevens, and breath taking cinematography of horse races, would provide a boost for thoroughbred racing.
I held these hopes despite the way horseplayers were depicted in the show: You know the stereotype-desperate, degenerate gamblers, dreamers, simpletons, and so forth. It made me frustrated to think that writers who know so much about the handicapping game-writers like Jay Hovdey and Bill Barich-would foster these stereotypes. How about a show where sober professionals beat the game by applying sound investment strategies? I suppose that wouldn't sell, because it's not sexy enough.
For more about the cancellation of the Luck series:
Well, that's it for this Rant. Thank you so much for your emails and comments, I really appreciate it. You can drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org to let me know of your progress. It's always great to hear from you.
My thanks again for allowing me to share with you my insights about this great game-it's a real pleasure to talk with people like you who are serious and passionate about the game!
All the best,