This is the transcript, chapter 5 of 5 – It’s All About Pattern, Everything Is A Pattern, from the PaceMakesTheRace Podcast: Actually Brilliant Ideas that You Need to Know from Mark David
Dave Schwartz Interviews Mark David. “This was a very enjoyable podcast. Mark turned out to be as articulate a speaker as he is a writer. The bar for podcasts has just been raised.” – Dave S.
Dave: Wait, you’re saying you write down what factors, you quantify some reasons why this bet doesn’t feel good to you.
Mark: Yes. Then I play the flip side when I go to play the other side.
I try to assess a bridge jumper horse from how confident I am if I was on their side. If I was really nervous about playing them I would want to try the other side if I could find something to play. Then I see how often I am right about that.
Do those horses fail? Why do they fail? What is common about them that makes them fail? Then I start looking at all the ones that fail anywhere. I start looking for a common denominator of why they fail or could fail.
Here is when the percentage comes in. The minute you get under 80%, a lot of them fail. That one I told you about at Charleston a few weeks ago, on the Saturday night that I mentioned to you briefly, that horse had 79% of the pool. That doesn’t mean he was going to fail.
But that is the line where he is the only one that failed all month at Charleston. The only one that missed the ticket for a bridge jumper play. I missed it because I was out doing something else that night.
But if I had looked at him I would’ve seen things about him that told me he was right to go down, but that doesn’t mean he will because a lot of them still get it done anyway.
As you say there’s three positions he only has to get one of them in a small field. He had the bigger chance to fail than the bettors that were playing him, and the really confident people were not jumping on him either. If they were he would’ve been 89% and not 79%.
That is a starting point for me to work on like you do with your plays. You have all these factors, I go from there and use that to try and see the common pattern. It is all about pattern, everything is a pattern.
Dave: I have to come back to this.
The transition from what I call the “seat of the pants” horse player to a player who is trying to build some models. The idea of modeling you is brilliant, it really is.
But the goal might be, for example, like you found the pool percentage was the percentage of money bet on the horse in the show pool became something you would track. Are there other things you are willing to share that you might track?
Mark: There’s lots of things.
The main thing is when I beat at the red mile about two months ago I simply watched the replay using my horse skills.
I know most people will just look at the line on the page and not see what I saw, that the horse has a behavioral problem that is going to come back to bite him.
I just watched him. The next race came, he was an exception. He had like 99% of the show pool which I almost never play against. That’s a big win fall if you can get it. I don’t usually go for this because it’s a lottery play and you are going to lose so much more often than you win.
It’s a poor percentage play but in that particular case I watched the horse on the track the next time, he was doing it again. I could see that he was likely to blow up.
All I had to do was have the right ones to go against him which I did, I covered that within reason. I have to watch the horse even if it’s a percentage play. I still have to use all my skills to find the best percentage play I can make.
Dave: Do you still play the positive side play?
Mark: I do at times.
Dave: But more often you play the negative side and then there’s a bunch of them you just don’t play at all right?
Mark: I will put it to you this way.
I play the positive side knowing I won’t make a profit. I play it to learn more and I won’t lose or win but I do play it because, like you, I have to practice and get better at it to do better on the profitable side that I think is the profitable side.
Dave: Again the “seat of the pants” player – when you tell him you need to chart something – how you feel is not something you would chart.
Most people wouldn’t do that, instead they think of concrete numbers like Quirin Early Speed points or the speed rating in the last race or whatever.
The idea that how you feel could be charted but it could lead if you go inside it and ask the question why do I feel this way?
In our software we’ve recently developed an approach for singles where we demand, think of a cable. Imagine there are four angles or objects that we look at and when a horse comes up as a potential single demand three of the four legs to keep the table standing.
You know what happens when you have a table that only has two legs. I think it real dovetails nicely into what you’ve said. Do you keep a notebook, how do you do this?
Mark: In the site that I use which is called HPI – the Canadian version of Twin Spires – they allow you to write notes and save them on any horse you want.
Any time I say something, I write the note in there. If the horse races again and I think I might want to go into the notes, something I saw, wrote, looks beatable next time, lugged in, might hit the rail, whatever.
The note could be percentage play, going to have to move up, bad actor, it could be anything. Whenever I do that I write down and it’ll be there when I get there.
Dave: There are people out there trying to catalog trip notes, comments in the pace lines. The idea of taking your comment and putting them into a document then having the ability to search the document for keywords that is actually pretty smart.
Mark: The other thing is if you try to do it the way those people are doing it, you get so overwhelmed you miss it because you bet too much. You’re only one person and you can’t keep up.
Dave: I would agree, you can bite off way too much.
Mark: We are lone wolf players pretty much, we do not have teams of people go to our department for that. Cannot do that.
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