Power Cap

Power cap- existential handicapping

16 December 2009

Play Of The Day Year In Review




All year we have been plugging away at the "play of the day". We have learned a few things from this exercise. The first thing I learned was that I am an ordinary handicapper at Saratoga; even a losing horseplayer. Saratoga would be a good time for me to take a European sojourn while the rest of the horseracing world is betting on twelve horse fields with shippers from all points. My strength is that am a good handicapper at a track like Aqueduct; this is a track where I can isolate over 50% winners at a gaudy ROI. The third thing I learned is that the game can be beat; in fact it can be brutally beaten with the existential handicapping principles discussed in the play of the day posts. In an era of "computer cappers" and outsourcing handicapping to commercial speed figures - having a holistic understanding of the game may be more profitable that ever.


Most handicapping publications will go on and on about class, speed and form. These are the three critical factors when handicapping horse races but they are not the chief quality of a winning player. It is rarely spoken of but the number one quality a punter must have is discipline. Discipline is not sexy nor does it fill parimutuel pools so it is not in managements best interest to promote discipline. Racetracks talking to the horseplayers about discipline is like a maĆ®tre d’ selling you on rice cakes as he seats you in a restaurant. It is in your best interest to have discipline in spades if you intend to make money from handicapping horseraces. This is a struggle at times. There are rare days when I travel to the races and it is expected that I am going to wager on almost every contest. It is important to keep the "Action Jackson" mentality in check and isolate it to pleasurable visits to the races. The overwhelming majority of days when a player is not going to the races is key; these are the days when the punter can assassinate races from afar and focus on the prime targets without getting mixed up in "emotional" gambling.

The antidote for discipline is confidence. Too much discipline and you are betting $2 to show on a 4-5 shot. While discipline is important it must be paired with confidence. Confidence is what allows the player to pull the trigger and blast the target with a large "power bet". This is a bet that is large enough to make you a little uncomfortable without doing any permanent damage to your financial health. This bet could be $20 for some or could be up to whatever the parimutuel pools can handle up to the point of diminishing returns. With increased confidence a $2000 win bet on all "play of the day" horses in 2009 would have returned $180,800 for a profit of $70,800. They say that this game can not be beat or that punters require a rebate to break even. The game can clearly be beat; the requisite qualities are a cool trifecta of power handicapping, contemplative discipline and stone-cold confidence. It is an investment with a 64% interest return.

play of the day breakdown






















Turf/dirt or sprint/route revealed only marginal differences in the returns. However the location variable was key. Strong returns at Aqueduct with diminishing returns elsewhere.

8 comments:

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The_Knight_Sky said...

Greg -

Well done. It's great that you're speaking about the need for discipline while handicapping.

This is clearly underplayed in the handicapping textbooks.

PowerCap wrote:
In an era of "computer cappers" and outsourcing handicapping to commercial speed figures - having a holistic understanding of the game may be more profitable that ever.

I agree with the hit 'em where they ain't philosophy. But it gets harder every year. The remaining bettors in the game didn't lucky, they too found alternatives to figures and numerical rankings.

Do you know the ratio of how many races you handicapped for every Play of the Day you posted this year?

Kennedy said...

Congrats on an excellent year!

The value of knowing your method and doggedly sticking to it cannot be overstated. If everything does not line up perfectly it's best just to walk away.

Discipline is a life skill and it aids whatever you do.

SaratogaSpa said...

Excellent philosophy all non syndicate bettors should follow. Pick your spots, know your options, be confident. Great year Mr. Power Cap

bob white said...

great job. can you tell me how you calculated your cumlative return?

Power Cap said...

The cumulative return is a $2 win bet return on each of the horses listed as the play of the day.

Anonymous said...

You should have provided a print button with your post, well done...Cice

Horse Racing Nation said...

Solid handicapping. Totally agree... put another way, discipline is really about money management. There are lots of good handicappers, but not so many good bettors.

By the way, one of the best analysis tools on the market is the MyROI tool offered by Youbet. Worth a look for those that haven't seen it.