Beating the Betting 'Whales'

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Derek Simon

November 16th, 2012

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That being the case, in a race like the one above, Willie would control 24 percent of the win pool ($10,000 / $41,585). Now, the track takeout on win bets at Finger Lakes is 18 percent; hence, if Willie maintains a five percent ROI when betting to win, this means that other bettors are bucking what amounts to a 43 percent bite (assuming my math is correct).

Obviously, 43 percent is nothing to sneeze at, but keep in mind that this is predicated on Willie controlling 24 percent of the win pool. In real life, such a large stake at such a small track would be foolhardy, as Willie would make the longest shot on the board, 7-Too Critical, a virtual co-favorite (from odds of 24-1 to 2-1) if he bet his entire 10 g’s on her.

If, say, Willie owned a more reasonable five percent of the win pool, other players would be tackling a 23 percent effective take — less than what Finger Lakes charges on many of the exotic wagers it offers (25 percent).

Here’s something else for those fearful of whales to consider: Many of the big-money bettors employ similar handicapping techniques — multiple regression being a popular choice. Thus, in a sense, the real competition is amongst the whales, not the average punter. As I pointed out on my latest podcast, there is more than one way to reach most goals. Frankly, I disagree with other horseplayers (many of whom I deeply respect as handicappers) all the time — sometimes I’m right and they’re wrong; sometimes I’m wrong and they’re right.

Nobody, except those who sell college and pro football “locks of the week,” is right all the time. Making money at the racetrack is not confined to those with the biggest and best computers or the cleverest algorithms. Nearly anybody can make money if they put the time in to acquire the needed skills and dedicate themselves to wagering in a thoughtful and disciplinedmanner.

As for the massive rebates that whales get, who cares? I understand that in today’s society one is expected to be incensed by any real or perceived injustice they face, but, seriously, how does it affect me if my buddy Willie the Whale is getting X dollars back in rebates?

Simply put, it doesn’t.

So, the next time you hear someone say the game of horseracing can’t be beat or that “insiders” and “whales” rule the day, pretend it’s one of the ladies on “The View” talking... and ignore them.

You’ll be happier — and probably wealthier — for doing so.

Weekend Win Factor Reports

11/17/12 Aqueduct
11/17/12 Beulah Park

11/17/12 Churchill Downs

11/17/12 Calder Race Course

11/17/12 Hawthorne

As many readers know, I am continuing to do database testing in an attempt to unearth new handicapping methods and angles. Among the more promising ones I've found is an angle that focuses on horses with the best last-race late speed ration (LSR).

Animals that qualify under this particular angle win approximately 33 percent of the time and produce a solid ROI, regardless of price (which can vary greatly).

On Saturday, Nov. 17, five horses qualify:

CD7: 11-King David (4/1 morning line odds)
CRC9: 3-Cat 'N Fiddle (5/1)

CT8: 5-Lucy's Bob Boy (7/5)
HAW3: 5-Snapped (8/1)
HAW8: 2-Hot Damon (7/2)