Finding Value at the NHC

In the days leading up to the National Handicapping Championship (NHC) my Twitter feed was inundated with negative comments about the event.

The theme of the conversation was how poor the value is for those playing in the NHC, specifically how a large portion of the revenue taken in via the qualifiers was not returned in the prize pool.

While I respect the opinion of many of those commenters they were exaggerating, whether intentionally or unintentionally, just how much money was taken out of the potential prize pool.

I didn’t do an analysis of this years NHC financials but they are likely in-line with the analysis I did last year, which if you are interested in you can read about here.

I will concur that from a purely financial perspective the NHC is not a great value to most horseplayers, especially if you spend tens of thousands of dollars just to qualify.

However if you earn a seat via a free qualifier, at a zero takeout onsite qualifier or on points as I did the burden of the high takeout is slightly mitigated.

After my analysis last year I vowed to reduce my participation in high takeout online qualifiers significantly and I did.

I earned most of my points in two free qualifiers (one NTRA NHC Tour and one Del Mar Online), in a Horse Tourneys qualifier which I qualified for via a low cost feeder and in the Twinspires qualifier which has a single digit takeout rate and in which I earned a trip to the Horse Player World Series (which has a takeout rate of only 10%).

I didn’t play consistently in online qualifiers until December when I realized I had a good chance to qualify via tour points.

Again from a purely financial perspective qualifying for the NHC isn’t a great investment of your time or money but there is value to be found.

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Gulfstream Park Case Study: How I Turned One Strong Opinion into an 886% Profit

Gulfstream Park

One horse, that’s all it takes to turn a small investment into a large return.

Sometimes the horse is a long shot but they don’t always need to be.

Sometimes the horse keys a Superfecta or Pick 5 that triggers your big payoff but not always.

In this case the horse in question was a nondescript second time starter in a Maiden Special Weight at Gulfstream Park.

At 6/1 on the morning line and facing no would be world beaters the final odds figured to be somewhere in that vicinity.

Here’s the story of how one opinion on that one horse, who ended up going off at only 7/1, resulted in an 886% profit.

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Golden Gate Fields Pick 5 Carryover: A Case Study of Effective Takeout Rates

There are a few occasions when horseplayers are guaranteed a positive expectation on a specific wagering pool.

One is the negative show pool, which means one horse has attracted such high percentage of the show pool that the track will lose money if that horse runs out of the top three.

Another, and the one we will discuss today, is when there is a non-jackpot carryover.

In today’s example we will look at the Pick 5 carryover on December 11, 2015 at Golden Gate Fields.

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Wagering 2.0: The Next Generation of Wagering on Horse Races

Handicapping the races are half the equation and no matter how well you do with that part of the game your results will be influenced more by the second part: Wagering.

Handicapping 2.0 looked at advanced techniques and tools for improving that part of your game.

Wagering 2.0 looks at the second part of the equation and provides advanced wagering techniques and tools for maximizing your returns when you win.

First let’s quickly take a look at the basic wagering techniques, which we’ll refer to as Wagering 1.0.

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Race Track Warriors: Where the Only Guarantee is There are No Guarantees

If you have been reading my articles over the years and/or follow me on social media you know that I am a staunch proponent of lower takeout rates.

This applies especially to takeout rates on wagering pools but also applies to takeout rates of handicapping contests.

There are many good options on the web for playing in cash contests as well as qualifiers to major events with the most prominent being Derby Wars, Horse Tourneys and Horseplayers Qualify.

All three have fair takeout rate structures and a wide range of contests to choose from and those sites appeared to have the market cornered.

When a newcomer to the online handicapping contest scene emerged with the lowest takeout rates around it was a pleasant surprise.

Of course you cannot and should not judge a book by its cover and upon closer inspection the silver lining quickly faded away.

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Breeders’ Cup 2015: Turning One Strong Opinion Into an $8,940.54 Profit

The two day 2015 Breeders’ Cup festival of racing at Keeneland is in the books and while many will remember the dominating career finale of American Pharoah in the Breeders’ Cup Classic or the drama surrounding the connections of Breeders’ Cup Sprint winner Runhappy I’ll look back fondly on a different horse, which I’ll get to shortly.

Like I do with any day of serious wagering I look back at how the races played out to see how accurate my handicapping was as well as the results to see how my wagering strategy performed.

Following is a detailed look at each of the twelve Breeders’ Cup races including how I thought they would play out, how I bet each race and what my results were as well as a brief look at the supporting races.

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2015 Breeders’ Cup Saturday

Not much time to post detailed analysis so I’ll give you the quick and dirty on each Breeders’ Cup race.

To me there looks like a good mix of solid favorites and some live long shots throughout the card.

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