The Illogical Choice. That is the clever title used by the person who wrote a review of my book on Amazon.com on June 19, 2013. You can read the complete review here.
I deduced from his review that he had attempted to duplicate my process of handicapping using a computer program. How else could he handicap 96 races in one day? This led me to ask the following questions.
How did this individual select the contenders for the races he allegedly handicapped using my method? Did he use the guidelines outlined in the book? Did he personally handicap the races and then apply the concept I offered? (It is a valid way to use the method, it just requires more work than I am willing to perform.) Did he apply the Value Plays chart in my book to all the horses in a given race without first eliminating non-contenders?
The statements in his review suggest there were an average of three playable horses per playable race. Yet, after eliminating contenders as described in the book, seldom will you find more than two horses in any race that qualify as playable, and many races offer no betting opportunities at all. Such wagering decisions should be made as the horses are entering the gate, yet it appears this individual based his conclusions on the final odds, which are tallied after the race begins, and which are often not the same as when the horses entered the gate. Offtrack wagers added to the pools as the race is being run routinely raise and lower odds, often making one horse look as if it would have been a pick. The opposite also occurs. I have seen the odds on more horses than I care to count drop after the bell, leaving me with tickets on horses I might not have bet had I known what the final odds were going to be.
He also wrote, “Actually, the public does an excellent job of handicapping and horses win in direct proportion to their odds: 2-1 horses win more than 3-1 horses, who win more than 4-1 horses, etc.” What he does not tell you is the fact that you will seldom see any given race finish in the exact order in which the public places them on the odds board. He also does not tell you that the average favorite, while winning 36.7% of all races in 2010, paid an average $4.40 for a $2 Win ticket, $1.60 less than you would need just to break even, and that is why the average race goer loses money. They cannot think ‘outside the box.’
I have written about how worthless Beyer Speed Figures are in the past, but the Internet is full of articles praising their use. Such is the nature of the horse racing. Everyone sees things differently; everyone has an opinion. This guy appears as if he is a frustrated horse player who simply cannot grasp the concept presented in the book. I expect 95% of all readers will fall into that category. It is for the other 5% that I wrote the book.
For the record: I wager on races at the Southern California racetracks almost exclusively. On June 14 and 15, 2013, the two day period reference in this guys review, I made fourteen Win bets and 14 Place bets. I had one horse that won and one horse that came in second. The winning horse paid $32.00 to Win and $11.20 to Place; the horse that finished second paid $6.00 to Place. So, yes, the two days in question were losing days, at least at Hollywood Park, but losing days are to be expected when one is dealing with a method of selection that produces between 15-18% winners.
The person who wrote this review seems predisposed to following the herd as he ignored the fact that it is not prudent to play multiple tracks at the same time as it is impossible to watch the odds as they change if you do so. Now, assuming he had others helping him watch the odds as they changed (highly doubtful), how can he possibly consider a two-day sampling of any method or system as proof that it does or does not work. Such a minuscule observation is utterly meaningless. It proves nothing. As for my method of handicapping, watch the odds change over an entire meet and you might be able to appraise the process with some validity.