Transcript for the very popular Pace Makes the Race Podcast, aired in November 2016. Part 4 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 4: Real Bridge Jumpers and Chaos Races
Back on topic. You have decided that a particular bridge jumper horse is, to some degree, vulnerable, right? That is where it starts. Of course he qualifies as a bridge jumper horse because he has your 75% in the show pool. Then what do you do?
Derek: This is where it is different depending on what you are doing. If it is a true show bet, a bridge jumper-type of situation, I really look for the horse that can get in the money. This is different from looking for a horse that can win.
For example, in that Withers race it was a case of early speed, the need-to-lead type. These are great horses to bet against. In that case I am looking for a horse that can close. That is why Zenyatta, from a bridge jumper’s standpoint, was a good horse to bet to show because that closing style can typically get him in the money, while winning might be a different story.
There is a different approach. I really do not like to bet confirmed front runners in a show or bridge jumping situation because of the tendency for them to either win or be out. I am looking for a horse that can close and press. If I am looking just to beat the favorite that is a completely different story. I might look for a front runner that is a different type of horse. It is a bit different again based on the situation.
Dave: If I hear you right what you are saying is that if you are a negative bridge jumper one of the things you look for is a front runner to bet against
Dave: If you are looking for a positive side to that, in other words you have a bridge jumper race, then you look for potentially an early speed horse who could be up close throughout that race and may hang on for third or better.
Derek: Or a horse that closes if you are betting the show, if you are betting to win yes I would look more for the traditional factors in terms of winning. In fact, some of my favorites bets in the show are let us say you are betting against the horse due to lack of experience and the fact that the horse is a need-to-lead type, you think it can contest the pace, looking for that horse that is the steady performer, maybe not the best horse in the race, are some of the best bets in the show pool
Dave: So you have this bridge jumper race, are you now picking off characteristics of who you are going to bet? If it was a six horse field would you just bet all five of them show?
Derek: No, I have heard people do this where they see the negative pool and they bet everything in the race. The way I am looking at it is that I would like to make money or at least lose less when these horses that are heavily bet finish in the money because for the most part they are going to get there.
I prefer to go with one or two contenders usually. Sometimes I will go three if I am more confident the horse is going to finish out of the money.
I am going to tell people right off, there have been times where I bet two to three horses, it is a negative show pool, the horse I did not like finishes out of the money and I do not cash.
Six horse field, and my horses are four, five and six. That does happen but in the long run you are better off with it, I have had many instances where the three horses I played made up the top three and the show prices were astronomical.
Withers being an example but there are many examples of that. Or if I am betting two, both of them are in the money happens a lot when the big favorite wins anyway, but I can still cash. Certainly I would not have made money with Zenyatta if I am betting every horse in the field. I am very specific about the horses I chose to bet.
In those cases I typically did look for more horses with front speed. In fact, you could probably look at this as a general rule, if you are betting against a horse to show you kind of want to go against whatever that horse’s characteristics are. Zenyatta was a massive closer so I am looking for horses with more speed in those cases so I cash more on horses with more speed. Like I said, I tend to like the bet against horses to be in a need-to-lead type and then I am looking more for those closers. The opposite of whatever the horse is that you are betting against.
Dave: You are talking about running style?
Dave: Let me introduce an idea that relates to this. Folks, for those of you listening, we did not plan any of this out, we just kind of go at it extemporaneously, and it seems to work.
One of the things I look for – and I do not look for bridge jumpers per se – when I have a horse that appears to be a single, I handicap the race, and at the end of it I come up with just one horse. I have a set of characteristics that horse must have.
There is kind of a gauntlet, if you will. The example when Derek and I were talking about this before the show I referred to it as you have four legs on a table and each of those legs is a different look of the race.
For example, there is the pace scenario, the trainer, the general handicapping, etc. It does not really matter what your table legs are. The point is you have multiple ways to be able to you say that this horse has all four legs. That is the only way I can bet him. I have certainly bet a few of those that did not have all their legs.
The point is when I wind up with a horse that according to the handicapping should be a single I do not look for the second or third best horse. In fact, I look at it as a chaos race and that means to me that the handicapping is all going to break down. What if, if you have one of your bridge jumpers for example and you say this bridge jumper is actually vulnerable, he does not look like he has a 98% chance of winning, he is no Secretariat in the Belmont. The point is you look at that horse as how does this horse not get in the money, or not win?
Another one that I bet many years ago was Winning Colors at 1-2. After winning the Derby she came back in a non-winner allowance at 6 furlongs. She went off at 1-2 and she was like a steal. How do you not bet this horse? Her worst speed rating was twelve lengths better than the best speed rating in the entire field and she did in fact, win by twelve lengths or so.
The point is when I look at a horse who is low odds and it looks like he should be bet and then I find things wrong with him, I do not handicap the race. Handicapping will fail, why would I want to handicap?
That is why when you do not handicap or you do some very rudimentary handicapping but the most important thing is to take that horse out of the equation completely. All of a sudden you are cashing these $80, $150 horses and stuff like that. Have you ever had experience like that?
Derek: This is the amazing thing when I talk to you, I told you this before the show, since I have been betting more seriously and my ADW just upgraded. I am at that level now so this is nice. I have actually cashed quite a few winners – which has typically not been a strength for me – but I bet them more realistically recently.
In other words I am using more combinations. I have always been a cheapskate. I try to cash on three combinations, that kind of stuff. Relating to the chaos thing I was just thinking the other day how valuable it would be to know when a race is likely to produce a big price. Again, I am not great at predicting prices so a lot of times I will go deep in races and the 4-5 favorite wins and it is the most frustrating thing in the world.
I agree, it is not something I have done a lot with. Unfortunately there is only so much time to do things and I study all kinds of different things. I have not put a lot of time into this but I can absolutely see the value of a product like that that would help you find out, that you do not know who is going to win this necessarily but this race is likely to produce a big payoff.
Dave: That is the whole idea. My definition of a chaos race – and not all long priced races qualify – is a race where conventional handicapping is likely to fail. There are certain things you can look for, one of them is a standalone single horse who does not have everything going for him. That kind of fits in with your lack of experience being one of the reasons.
The next, and final, Chapter 5 coming soon
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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