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HRN Original Blog:
Handicapper's Corner

In Search of Value

Each day gamblers compete with one another in a multitude parimutual pools, trying to find value in every race. Value means something a little different to everyone and can be found in a variety of ways. It could be a horse going off at 4-1 that someone thinks should be 5-2, wheeling a 20-1 plodder in the 3rd spot of a trifecta where a speed dual looks to develop, or an odds-on favorite that looks like a total throw out in multi-race exotics. Value isn’t only found in “life changing” pick-6 pools, it can be found in all pools, though there is a common theme to finding value: beating well-backed horses.
 
Being primarily a pace/speed figure handicapper, I am constantly trying to figure out how the early parts of a race will be run. Is there a lone speed runner that will threaten to wire the field? Does it appear that a multi-horse speed dual will develop and set things up for a stretch runner? These are very important questions that need answering before putting your hard-earned money through the betting windows, because if your horse doesn’t get the pace setup they need, you will be tearing up tickets more times than not.
 
One angle I love to use when throwing out “contenders” is a horse that appears to be a closer, but always loses ground in the stretch. These horses are not quick enough to get to lead early in races & since they never gain ground, they need the proverbial flying pig to win. These runners are scattered throughout past performances around the country & the beauty is these horses are usually in contention, so they get bet in virtually every start. If you can surmise that they are to be eliminated as win candidates, you’re on the road to bigger payoffs regardless of which pool you’re participating in.
 
 
 
Aweeoneinthebunker ran in the 3rd race at Hawthorne Race Course back on April 7, 2012. It was a $5,000 claiming race going 6 furlongs for horses who never won 3 races in their life, the same class level as her last 2 races. She was seen as a contender by evidence of her 3-1 morning line odds. Also entered were 2 or 3 other runners that figured to be ahead of Aweeoneinthebunker at the ½ mile pole. In her last start, she even passed horses when 5th after a ½ mile and finishing 3rd, though she lost 4 ½ lengths during that ¼ mile, while being sent off at $6.10-1. In the start on 3/10/12 she lost ¼ lengths while being well backed at $2.40-1. In fact, a glance at her races shows this is a common theme, with common results.
 
 
 
By checking the result chart, last Saturday was no different.  Aweeoneinthebunker was 3rd, 2 lengths off the leaders, after the first ½ mile, but checked in last, finishing 11 ¾ lengths behind the wire to wire winner. The public didn’t think she was some hopeless entrant that had no shot. In fact, she was sent her off at $2.80-1, but was an easy throw out! Opportunities like these present themselves every day, it is up to you to unearth these gems in the attempt to increase the value of your wagers.
 
Past performance courtesy of Brisnet & results chart courtesy of Equibase.
 
Please be sure to follow me on Twitter-@Cappercorner and/or friend me on facebook.com to continue the horse racing conversation!   

 

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Older Comments about In Search of Value...

Dutching is the main weapon, not the only one
If you don't follow 3 AM and 3 to 4 PM courses, you will find very little real opportunity to wager logically when the odds are in your favor
If dutching is your thing, so be it, I search for a horse in a favorable situation. If the odds aren’t right, watch and learn. Where we part ways is *The simulcast venue allows another contest coming up for evaluiation in a few minutes.* >> The pursuit of action generally hurts the overall ROI.
BETTING angles are to be learned and utilized.LEAVE THE HANDICAPPING ALONE
The wagering pool, the shifts, the distribution, the various pools and how much it in each one...This is what separates the casual from the serious player in this game. Handicapping (unless there is a big weather change, or a late scratch alters the early pace scenario) should be LEFT ALONE as its interaction will remain the same no matter how close to post it is...FOCUS on the wagering pools: see where the collective crowd mentality is going and KNOW, do not guess, HOW much of the pool , YOUR wager(s) have covered and how much remains. I have found a healthy ratio should be to only cover 50-55% tops so that there will be enough return on investment even in a dutch..IF any particular pool is not widely distributed enough (fields of 7 or less) or the odds on horse really figures, WATCH..The simulcast venue allows another contest coming up for evaluiation in a few minutes. KEEP MERTICULOUS records, or demographics on which tracks are nice to your style and which are not.
I have a lot to learn from you.
People should ENTER the race course with all the handicapping finished as spend the rest of the program analyzing what Your Morning line is compared to what the crowd is giving you.
To much of Annette's shagrin, I'm a cigar guy. That's actually my cigar & some of my busted out tickets from day 2 at last year's BC.
It is great when you can confidently toss a horse that is getting bet. Thanks, Jasen.
I didn't realize you were a cigar man, Jasen ;-)
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Meet Jasen Mangrum

My interest in the Sport of Kings goes back over 25 years with my father taking me with his friends to the old Ak-Sar-Ben Race Course in Omaha, NE.  From those early experiences I was able to read the Daily Racing Form before the age of 10.  Once The Woodlands opened in Kansas City in 1988, I became totally hooked on the sport studying racing charts after homework and tennis practice.  In recent years, with the explosion of handicapping tournaments, my love for handicapping the races has risen to a new level.  Primarily focused on New York, Chicago and Louisiana racing, I have now been forced to study races far and wide in attempt to find “cap horses” in the tournaments I play.  I have also dabbled in horse ownership within syndicates and on my own.

 

My fondest memories in racing include Silver Charm’s 1997 Kentucky Derby victory.  Both my father and I selected him, which made for a memorable day.  The best race I’ve seen was Tiznow’s first Breeders Cup Classic win in 2000 when he outdueled Giant’s Causeway down the length of the Churchill Downs stretch.   My biggest windfall as a gambler was a pool-scooping pick-4 win, paying over $6,600 at The Woodlands in 2005.

 

The point of this blog is to get everyone out there a few winners, but also to go in depth at how I come to the conclusions that I do.  From week to week, I’ll explain angles I think are important to locate winners.  I encourage others to post picks they like too, but please explain how you come to your conclusions.  That way everyone can learn a little more about this great game, and add another weapon to their handicapping arsenal.-Best of luck, Jasen Mangrum