Tools of the Trade / Handicapping Update

by Ed Meyer

posted on July 14, 2014 in General Discussion, Handicapping, Horse Racing, | 1 Comment >>

Has anyone ever tried their hand at playing in a contest? If the answer is yes, you’ll definitely know there is a difference between playing for money and trying to take down the big score. If there was ever a day when lightning struck, it was my first handicapping contest. I was playing at Trackside OTB in Louisville, and Churchill Downs put on a first class show. I started my day with a $40 winner on both of my cards, and from that point I cruised home to victory. The payday was a sweet $10,000 for first prize, and accommodations for two for Bally’s Casino where the NTRA / DRF Championship was to be held. I was elated to say the least, but the most important lesson that this gambler could ever learn was that the difference of playing for money and contest play are not the same animal.

Calder was first up, and BANG! A $40 payoff for my two separate entries. Its always good to get the jump on the others. When they look up at the leader board, they’ll start thinking about playing catch-up. Good starts usually have good endings. That was my case, and it had a super ending. To this day, playing in contests has always been in my blood.

Winning Ponies offers up a great tool to make your day more competitive. When playing in a contest where the cap price is usually 20-1 on your win wager, and 10-1 for your place. – Most formats employ this type of play, but there are a hundred different versions where you have live money formats with no cap, and you get to keep your winnings in addition to the prize money. Some have 5 designated races, and 5 races of your choice. Anyhow you slice it up, there is one fact that has held well  for players. You cannot play anything under 5-1. This applies to about 90% of the contests with the exception of multi-day events where your score is carried over to the next day. Just keep in mind the 5-1 rule, and you’ll keep ahead of the game. Trust me, I have won three races in a row with a 2-1 shot, and other players blow me right off the map with one 12-1 shot winner. Just keep that in mind and we’ll start from there.

Winning Ponies E-Z Win Forms has a tiered level of selections. They have their top plays, middle plays, and third ranked selections. The real bonus is that the top selections are not always the chalk ! – Yep, you may have a crisp 10-1 shot right there in the color coded tiers that stop your search right there. You may find the tier levels may not have that price you’re searching for, and this is where you can scan the color coded tier levels to examine a runner that fits your needs. It’s not a contest to see who picks the most winners. It’s about handicapping, and money / odds management. Paying attention to the odds is just as important as who you like in the race.

I have always used the 5-1 rule of thumb for one day contests. – Now, with that being said, it doesn’t apply to multi-day contests. Winning Ponies may have a sweet priced runner in the top tier that fits your needs. They have detailed past performance information, jockey / trainer stats, handicapping icons to alert you to changes. Oh, and don’t forget the most important part. WP has one-of-a-kind Race Ratings for that race, Composite Rating for the past three races, and a Turf Class Rating if the race is carded for the weeds. Not only will Winning Ponies show you who they select, but they have detailed numerical data to support their decisions. If you’re still not sold, you can follow along in real time to get up-to-the-minute results as soon as the race becomes official. You will see who they select, and how they’re doing. If you decide to jump in later in the card, you will only be charged for the races you use versus other data providers who charge for the entire card even if there if one race left on the card. – You are able to take charge of your handicapping by deciding when and who to wager. You can follow along and jump in when ready, or maybe your schedule does not allow for early handicapping but will afford you time later in the day. Either way, Winning Ponies is your full service data provider.


Place Parlay Update


For those who have been following along, I have entered in with two handicapping partners. We started with $1,200, and so far have a $655 profit. There were two place wagers we decided to make on Sunday, and here is where we stand on 7/14/14.

Race #1 – 5f – Mdn Sp Wt – Polytrack – Woodbine

#2 -Passion for Action (5-2) – $200 to place. – This first time starter by Speightstown had the services of Luis Contreras (19%), and owned a “Monster Work” and “Blinkers On” handicapping icons. – He finished 3rd. = Bankroll total – $1,655.

Race #5 – Mdn Sp Wt – 7f turf – Woodbine

#2 – Go Bro (8-1) – $200 to place. – The handicapping icons read “3-yr-old and Dropping in Class.” This was the top tier selection who won and paid $9.70 to win, and $4.70 to place. Bankroll total – $1,925 after the $200 wager.


If you want to win the big contest ” you can’t win it unless you get in it.” – As far as our place parlay, I’ll keep you up-to-speed as this was a last minute decision for the “three handicappers.” Best of luck, and have a great week. – You can bet dollars to donuts we’ll have plenty of action for the upcoming weekend!