This is the third and final part in my series regarding
calculating ROI. If you remember the first part of the series (CLICK HERE
discussed an in-depth analysis of three years’ worth of races to see if I was
actually making money
and in which categories. In that analysis I learned that
only 9% of my impulse bets turned a profit, that impulse (non-handicapped) bets
cost me a lot of money over the years, and that I suck at straight wagers and
perform much better with exotics. That analysis also provided a look at how I
performed at certain tracks and with certain types of bets at certain tracks.
The second part of the series (CLICK HERE
) took a deeper dive into other
categories looking for specific situations which scored large ROI. Here in Part III
of my series of blogs, I revisit
previous categories, break everything down year by year, and add a wealth of
other categories, some of which are downright ridiculous
! Would you expect anything less?
As I’ve said before, my wife would say I never do anything
half-assed, so I decided to take an even deeper dive
with the stats. I again
poured through chart after chart, hour after hour, to see how my wagers
performed in many other categories such as month, age, sex
, and odds: all
broken down by year.
In explaining the charts a little, the return on investment
(ROI) is represented as a percentage.
- -100% would be a total loss
- 0% would be break-even
- +100% would be doubling my money
Also in this analysis I again did NOT include my impulse
wagers, tips, or going after bridgejumpers. What you see here are only my handicapped
wagers (which will obviously make my numbers look better!) And as I have
mentioned before, horizontal wagers span many different classes, surfaces, and
distances. I haven’t found a good way to break those up and represent ROI by
the different categories. So actually, for
example, my ROI on turf would be better than indicated.
Here in the first slice of data I revisit the types of bets
made and also group them into categories.
When comparing just straight bets to exotic wagers, we
obviously see where the money is being made. There is a 100% difference between the two! All these years I thought win bets was where
it’s at, and obviously I was wrong. Is
my handicapping getting worse? Am I just
being lazy and not working enough to single on one horse to win? Without revealing the number of wagers made,
exactas are where my highest ‘N’ is over the years. It truly looks like I should focus most
efforts there. Yes, the ROI on Pick 4’s
is quite high, but the actual win percentage is about 10%! So here’s the question: live and die by big
Pick 4 scores, or have a steady and growing ROI through exactas. Discuss.
Here is a view again where I break down the amount wagered
(total stake for any one wager) by group. The results are stunning:
As I’ve increased the amount wagered over the years, the ROI
has increased quite a bit. The
lower-stake wagers have gotten much worse. In fact, anything between $1 and $10 wagered has been in a downward
spiral! I’m interested in knowing why
this is the case. Strange!
This third slice of data looks at ROI by year, month, and
So yes, I am having an excellent 2013 which has more than
made up for 2010-2012. As a side note,
my dad and I were quite successful in the 80’s into the early 90’s. Then I stepped away for a few years and
apparently it took me a while to get back into it again. But I digress. As you can tell, over the years Friday and
Saturday have been my best days of the week. However, before you get excited and think “I should see who Dark Horse
picks for the Breeders’ Cup, look at the analysis by month. Wow. I
stink in November! Yes, historically the
Breeders’ Cup has not been kind to me and I’m hoping to turn it around this
And here in revisiting the state-bred races, you can see I’m
consistently decent with the Illinois-breds! That makes sense with my Chicago connections and all…
This next slice is quite interesting to me as this is the
breakdown by race condition.
! My performance
in claiming races of ANY kind is, and has been, awful! 2010’s figures seem to be the outlier in this
With the ROI in stakes and allowance races being much
higher, I think it’s safe to say I should avoid any and all claiming races at
all costs! And maiden claimers? As my friend E would say… “puh!”
Now speaking of race conditions, I have a breakdown of ROI
by allowance conditions…
…and claiming conditions…
Whoa. Apparently I
like the N3X condition a lot! I really
ought to just stick with what works!
Now let’s take another look at ROI by surface.
Again I know the turf stats say ROI is negative, however if
I were to add the Pick 4 I hit at CNL this summer (all turf races), it would be
a positive ROI. I sure do like the “off”
tracks though, both dirt and turf! And
I’m not as bad on the polytrack as I had thought!
Now here’s a look at races by distance.
Much, much better at routes and not so much at sprints. Should I just target 9 ½ and 10 furlong
races? No…. well maybe….I’ll be sure to
check with Derek Simon again to discuss the back-testing fallacy.
Again, it’s no secret to those who know me well that I
perform better with higher-quality and stakes-graded horses. The numbers don’t lie! Who would I play a cheap claiming race on
And the breakdown by tracks shows, again, that I perform
well at Keeneland, Colonial, Churchill, and the now defunct Hollywood
Park. I’m very close to break-even at
Hawthorne, Fair Grounds, Dubai, and Monmouth and not too far off at Arlington
and Canterbury as you can see below.
All this time I was thinking I was decent at Gulfstream and
Woodbine. I couldn’t be more wrong! I then wanted to look to see maybe if it was
a specific surface at a specific track. Here were the results.
As you can see in some cases there is a difference at a
single track between the surfaces, at least for me. Next, as I went back through all of these
charts for a third time, I wanted to see how I fared in certain categories like
age, sex, odds, and even, yes, WEATHER!
Here is the analysis of ROI by age and sex.
I’m much better at 2-year-old races than I had originally thought,
and I’m also quite decent at races for just 3-year-olds. However when they add the “and up” condition,
my performance is not as good.
Now here’s the category that I think is most telling. I wondered (based on past conversation) what
my ROI truly is depending on who won the race. So I calculated returns based on the odds of the winner of the
race. I didn’t calculate the ROI of my
wagers based on the odds of my selections for one main reason: it was too
difficult. Sure on a straight bet that
would have been easy. But what about an
exacta box or a daily double? Not as
easy. However I digress. Here are the stats.
Now this has to make sense, right? ROI increases as the odds of the winner
increases. Wouldn’t that be the case for
everybody? I’m interested in your take
on this. When the favorite or low odds
horses win however my ROI is toast. Is
this because I’m chasing larger prices way too often? Does anyone, besides Big E, win when the
And here’s my favorite category of them all!
Showery versus Rainy. Discuss. (And snowing for you
Finally I leave you with this. A plethora of meaningful(less) categories to
help you determine whether or not to trust my picks when I post them
publicly. Use them wisely, and try not
to use my selections in the Breeders’ Cup. Kentucky Derby, yes. Breeders’
Well there you have it!
I hope you enjoyed this three-part series. I’m interested in hearing your feedback,
advice, stories, and calculations!