Transcript for the very popular Pace Makes the Race Podcast, aired in November 2016. Part 1 of 5, check back soon for the next installment!
- Bridge Jumpers – 75% or more of total show pool.
- Bridge Jumper tracks can be charted.
- What makes a Bridge Jumper fail?
- Dubious Trainer Patterns
- Chaos Races
Special Mentions: John Barile, Mark David
Chapter 1: Bridge Jumpers Introduction
Dave: This Dave Schwartz and the Pace Makes the Race podcast. My guest today is Derek Simon. We are pacemaketherace.com, join our email list and Facebook group. Derek what is on your agenda today? The topic is Four Ways to Absolutely find Vulnerable Favorites.
Derek: I figured since we talked a little bit about that before, the criteria needed to play a favorite, you brought up the term bridge jumper and you take it to mean lower odds horses
Dave: Very low, like below even money
Derek: I said before that I think the actual bridge numbers – when you have that negative show pool – is one of the best bets in racing simply because you can make some show bets and break even or lose a little bit you but you are going to catch that one where the favorite is completely out of there. So I wanted to talk about what I look for in those situations which I think goes beautifully with your point in terms of looking for very vulnerable, very low price horses.
Dave: So your definition of a bridge jumper are these guys that are going off 1-5, 1-9, is there a cutoff point and how do you define it?
Derek: I look for the actual bridge jumping. This is looking at the show pool. Well, it could be any of the pools, but 75% or more of the pool. I know that is not always negative but it is close enough.
I especially like if – you are going to bet the show. To try to catch these bridge jumpers, look for a track that has net pool pricing. It is very important when you are looking to make some money in the show pool, looking for those really strong favorites and the ones that are vulnerable.
Dave: Are you telling me you actually understand net pool pricing?
Derek: Yeah I actually read about it. Probably three of four years ago I was intrigued by the concept. For those who do not know how that works it is something you should learn and know whether you are track opposite or not.
When Zenyatta was running she generated any negative pools so I would bet against her consistently in the show pool even though she was not the type of vulnerable favorite we are going to be talking about today. I actually made money betting against Zenyatta in the show pool despite the fact that she never finished out of the money and that is because of net pool pricing.
Dave: I cannot wait to hear how that works. I have been in this game a long time and I know a lot about racing but I cannot wrap my head around that net pool pricing-thing. You make the show bets then?
Derek: Yes. In fact, I have started betting more seriously as of the start of November, I am always looking for those situations. The thing I would like that I do not have yet is a program that would at least alert me to possibilities.
You’d think it would be simple. You just look for the horses that are 4-5 or 3-5 in the line. In fact, when the horse is not 4-5 or 3-5 in the line those are some of the best situations. At certain tracks you see it more often. Believe or not Mountaineer, is a track where you see a lot of negative pools and it is a great place to bet into those show pools.
Dave: I had a conversation with a guy on our Facebook group – I know you know him too. He posts under the name Mark David. We had a conversation a week or so ago. His paradigm for handicapping is different from mine because I do it all with metrics.
I was shocked when I talked to Mark about how similar his handicapping is to mine despite the fact that he does not use lots of numbers like I do. He is certainly not systematic, but he is highly methodical. Mark is really an intelligent guy, so much so that I want to do a podcast with him in a couple of weeks.
Mark talked about what you are talking about, Derek. Specifically he said the same thing you said: that there are a handful of tracks that really produce these bridge jumpers. He charts them statistically to become an expert on them.
Derek: I love that
Dave: Do you do any of that?
Derek: No I do not, but that is what I need to do. I look forward to that podcast and I know him, too, so it would be interesting to hear how he goes about that. That is one thing I love about talking to you Dave.
We have both been in the game for a long time. We are not afraid to admit we do not know things. This is so rare in our society because everyone knows everything. I am not good at predicting odds. I never have been. I do not know why.
You would think that, as someone who has done so much stuff with, fair odds, value and databases that I would have a good idea, but I do not. Sometimes these show pools develop and I am thinking why would anyone in the world bridge jump on that horse? Those are the greatest opportunities, but it does not help when it is zero minutes to post and you are rushing to try to get that bet in.
Dave: I guess I have never taken it seriously because I do not like being a scrambler. I only need about three, four minutes in a race. It is relatively automated and all systematic but I do not want to be a ground squirrel.
Do you punch the numbers in? You really only need the two numbers, the amount of money wagered on the horse and the total amount the show pool and you are looking for 75%, Mark actually said 80% but I do not want to steal his from that podcast.
Derek: I would have no qualms with the 80% because that is when you are truly getting negative. It is not always the case but usually it will be enough to boost up those show prices and it is just a nice number to look for, it is a little bit easier I think.
Dave: What is your strategy? What do you do?
Derek: This would apply to heavily bet favorites as well. I am actually going to start with what I think is probably the key point – lack of experience.
It is not necessarily that the horse has not raced much, although that is certainly a good way of going about it, but it is basing a horse’s ability or your assessment of their ability on very little evidence.
This is something I think can be applied to handicapping as a whole. So many people look at a horse that is starting out, that looked impressive. But how many times do we see that horse that started that one time, wire the field, earn an easy speed figure?
We do not know what that horse is going to do if it faces pace pressure, if it cannot get the lead. When people bet these kinds of horses as they look like absolute world beaters. Especially in the show pool, it is a great time to go against them because we have seen over and over again that these need-to-lead types – if they do not get that lead or that desired trip – not only do they not win, they do not hit the board.
Some of my greatest bets have been against these kinds of horses. In fact, in the Withers a few years ago, there was a massive favorite in there. I bet three horses to show and the top three horses fell through and it was astronomical payoffs on them.
Dave: Are we usually talking about small fields?
Derek: I would say as a general rule that is true. The bridge jumpers come out to bet the show in smaller fields. That is true.
Dave: So you are looking at races where you have a very lopsided show pool and then you are basically hoping the bridge jumper falls out of the money.
Derek: Correct. The beautiful thing about betting the show, especially in net pool pricing, is a lot of times you can still make money if the horses is in the money because it is the dynamics of the way those show prices are determined; the secondary prices.
That is the reason I like show much but I know you were looking at it from a broader perspective. This would apply to heavily bet horses as well because most of the time if the horse is being bet heavily in the show it is well under even odds, in that 2-1, 1-5 range. This would apply for those horses as well.
The advantage of betting to show is you get a little bit of comfort in the sense that if the big horse or the big favorite does win you can still cash. Obviously, if you are betting to win that is not the case. But I would still say that if you see a horse that does not have a lot of experience, you are not basing its ability on a lot of data, Taking 1-5, 1-9, these kinds of prices do not make a lot of sense
Dave: We are going to have to do a show on net pool pricing because I cannot imagine you have a winner that pays $2.10 in the show pool and that is a good thing for someone else. You are going to have to explain that. It is outside our scope for today.
About Derek Simon:
I love numbers and analysis and have been able to parlay that into an exciting career writing about two of my greatest passions — business and sports.
In addition to working as a freelance financial writer for Newsmax, The Motley Fool, Investopedia/Forbes, Beacon Equity Research and Investor Concepts (among others), I was also the editor of Small Cap Insider, a monthly newsletter highlighting investment opportunities in the small cap sector.
Currently, I am the editorial director for US Racing where I contribute written, audio and video content and oversee a team of talented and passionate writers.
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