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,


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