Michael Pizzolla’s ValueCapping Rant: The 2016 Fountain Of Youth

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From The Desk Of Michael Pizzolla
Las Vegas, Nevada
February 25, 2016 7:17 PM

Dear ValueCapper and Friend:

The Fountain of Youth, an important Derby Prep, is running this Saturday, February 27, 2016, the 12th race at Gulfstream Park.

Before getting into a ValueCapping™ analysis of that race, I want to say thanks to the many of you who wrote back after the last Rant.

I’m thrilled with the progress many of you are making; hearing of your breakthroughs makes my work all worth while!

And really excited about your feedback about how convenient it is to have the monthly Wizards’ Forum Inner Secrets videos available online.

OK, onto the Fountain of Youth.

It’s Thursday, two full days before the race, so I don’t have scratches or changes.

But this has got to be one of the easiest ValueCapping decisions ever.

Black Magic Handicapper Software 1.0 has the top 4 colts as the 5, 6, 4, and 2. Collectively, they’ve had 13 races and have won 12 of them!

The morning line favorite is second on the BLAM line, the 6, Mohaymen, a Tapit colt that won the Holy Bull on January 30th at Gulfstream, its 4th lifetime start, and 4th lifetime win. The colt has won 3 straight Grade 2s, the Nashua and Remsen in New York, and the Holy Bull. Potential champion.

Top of the BLAM line is the 5, Awesome Banner, winner of the Grade 2 Swale last out, before that it won the Grade 3 Hutcheson. 3 for 3 lifetime. Another potential champ.

The 4, Awesome Speed, and the 2, Zulu, are 3rd and 4th on the line, lightly raced-the 4 has won 3 of 4 races, The 2 horse, Zulu, is perfect at 2 for 2. Quality colts.

Here’s why it’s such an easy ValueCapping call:

The BLAM Odds line on the 5 is 5/2. Morning Line 7/2
The 6 on the BLAM Odds line is 3-1. Morning Line 6/5
The 4 on the BLAM Odds line is 4-1. Morning Line 4-1
The 2 on the BLAM Odds line is 9/2. Morning Line 3-1

The Contention Line (what the public should do based on conventional handicapping) pretty much tracks the Morning Line, perhaps the 3 and 4 are a bit higher.

Here’s the thing: According to BLAM, the ‘best’ horses in the race are the probable favorite and co-second favorite. The other two contenders above random are the other Morning Line favorites.

While it might be fun to make a case for why one of these colts has an advantage over the other, the simple truth is that none of them is likely to be a decent value investment.

It never ceases to amaze me when BLAM 1.0 and the upcoming ValueCapper software puts live long shots high up on the odds line.

But the cold hard truth is that very often, no matter how much we want to be contrarian investors, the best horses are going to be short prices. And BLAM 1.0 and ValueCapper will indicate that. In which case, the inherent randomness in this great game dictates a pass.

ValueCapping™ is all about looking for horses you like/favor/prefer that the pubic SHOULDN’T. Horses that will be underbet compared to their chances. Preferably running against horses that will be overbet compared to their chances.

If the public has the strong horses in their crosshairs, and are likely to bet them properly, there is usually no good value investment. (Of course, the public sometimes massively overbets one of the horses in which case there’s a potential for a decent bet. I’d be tempted to take the 5 horse, Awesome Banner, at something like 9/2, but the only way I can see that happening is if they bet Mohaymen down to a heavy odds-on favorite, and also overbet Zulu).

Rather than getting fixated with the featured race, a ValueCapper would be looking at the undercard at Gulfstream (and the other cards of races running at so called ‘minor’ tracks) looking for horses the public might overlook.

For example on the Saturday Gulfstream undercard, the 8th race is the Canadian Turf Stakes.
In that race, 6 of the 9 horses are on layoffs. So any investment for me will require a large overlay in my book to offset the risk that situation presents.

Having said that, tied at the top of the line is the 9, Passion for Action, 6-1 on the BLAM line, 11-1 on the Contention Line, and 12-1 on the Morning Line. It’s also the only horse in the field that has an Advanced Form Pattern, showing some early speed last out after a layoff against a very fast pace in a 6 furlong race. On Saturday, it’s going a mile on the turf, a surface on which the colt has 2 wins and 2 places in 6 starts. At something like 12-1, I’d be inclined to invest.

I hope you see how contrarian the approach of ValueCapping™ is. The average, conventional handicapper would see the Fountain of Youth as a much more ‘certain’ race, a race where ‘solid’ conventional handicapping will point to the ‘good’ horses. No argument there. The problem is that there’s no value there, no price that offsets the risk of the bet.

On the other hand, the Canadian Turf Stakes is a much more ‘iffy’ race to the conventional handicapper-it’s on the turf, many horses on layoffs, etc. Yet, there’s a horse near the top of the line that’s likely to be underbet by the crowd, making a potential overlay for the ValueCapper.

A better horse, more ‘solid’ than those running in the Fountain?

Definitely not.

A better bet? At 12-1 or so, yes.

These ‘better bets’-these value investments-don’t necessarily all win, heaven knows, but investing in these value situations yields enough wins at prices that can make up for the losses, and provide a long-term profit.

That’s why it’s called ValueCapping rather than handicapping.

I want to emphasize again that these Rants on the Triple Crown preps and the Triple Crown races themselves are not intended to ’tout’ or ‘pick’ horses. Rather, I’m hoping that by giving examples of how a ValueCapper looks at different races, it may help you in making the transition from a handicapper, more interested in picking a winner, to a ValueCapper, an investor interested in finding and profiting from good value bets.

My thanks to you again for your support and encouragement, good luck at the races on Saturday, stay focused and disciplined, and let the bet make you,

All the best,


Michael Pizzolla

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