Chapter 3: Taking Responsibility
So, how do we take responsibility? Let me tell you how it worked for me.
I began with a system to test, a notepad file and a commitment to handicap 50 races without making a single change from my “system.”
As I handicapped each race, I logged the results in notepad. But I also opened a second notepad file. I called it the “mistakes” file.
You know how, as you go through races, that a horse that you “almost had” nags at you? Well, those “nags” (pun intended) are the key to making your system work.
Let’s say that I am using the Reynolds Ranks for contender selection, using the top 4. Imagine that a horse comes along that pays $18 and ranks 5th. I work through different system scenarios until I find one that would make him a winner.
So, let’s say that I notice that if I could have made him a contender he would have become a play. I ask the question, “How would I have to modify my system to make this horse a contender?”
The answer goes into “mistakes.txt” along with the race info. The entry might look like:
Cont: Prime3 Raw – top 4
… which is a simple note telling me I could have gotten this horse if I had used Prime3 Raw as a contender selector instead of Prime3 Rank.
After awhile my notepad has grown to a list of common “mistakes.” These mistakes contain the seeds of improving my approach. After 50 races, I made the new changes and tested against another set of 50 races. The new “mistakes” file contained new improvement ideas.
The process continues until such time as it appears the system meets your needs.
Understand that this will not be found in bet records because you do not know the winner before the race is run. It will not be found in database analysis because it is on too high a level.
It must be done with the results available before you handicap the race. You are trying to find a reason why the winners could become plays. And don’t waste your time fishing for horses that are ranked 9th in a 10-horse field. Those are pipe dreams (for your approach).
Concentrate, instead, on those horses you are “just missing.” If the winner wasn’t a contender, what strategy would you have to implement to make him one? If he was a contender, what strategy change would have made him a play?
Ultimately, my notepad file became two columns, one for contender “mistakes” and one for “selection” mistakes. By the way, if I can make the winner a contender but not get him as a play, I still put in the contender error, but I mark it with an “*.” These potential changes have less value than one where I can actually get the winner.
(Much more on this process in Chapter 5.)
So, where does Steve Fierro fit into this equation?
Next Chapter:Â Chapter 4:Â Real Value