Friday, March 22, 2013

On handicapping systems in general

You know, handicapping systems always sound great in theory.

In ... (long pause) ... THEORY! (happy Talk-like-William-Shatner Day, btw!)

But in practice, you wind up winning ... and losing ... about the same amounts of money.

Except in books and movies, I've NEVER known anyone who actually won a lot of money, consistently, on every race day.

Definitely not ME!

So my best advice to you would be: come up with your OWN handicapping system!

Make sure it's:

1. EASY TO REMEMBER: "Let's see, was I betting on all horses with the post position of 3 who have a sire or dam who once ran on turf? Or was it #3 in turf races only? OR ... ?"


3. FLEXIBLE: "Oh, no, #3 got scratched! But #4 looks good ... but ... but ..."

4. FUN! If you aren't having fun at the races then it doesn't matter what system you're using. If you've lost three races in a row, skip the fourth and invest that $2.00 in a hot dog (assuming you can find one for $2.00 - it may just be a down payment!).

My current system is actually working pretty well. I've got a few "key words" floating around in my head and I look for horses whose names correspond in some way to those key words.

And that's actually not as illogical as you might think. For example, one of my "key words" is CAT. I look for horses with the word "Cat" as part of their names. Now you might think, "Oh, how stupid and arbitrary."

But actually, I've noticed that there aren't that many horses with "Cat" in their names - and strangely enough very few once you get away from the U.S. tracks. I have yet to find one in the U.K. or Australia.

So perhaps horses like "Tiger Cat" or "Tale of the Cat" tend to be bred and run more in the U.S. - particularly the West Coast - than elsewhere.

And since I'm primarily only looking at two Western tracks - Santa Anita and Turf Paradise - I'm going to see a lot more "Cats" than I would if I were in Melbourne.

And as long as they don't start singing, we're golden.

(Oh, and "Gold/Golden/Oro"? Another key word!)

So bottom line: (a) figure out what works best for you, (b) do it, and (c) never apologize!

Trust me, you are winning just as much as anyone else is with their ridiculous systems!

(No, I'm NOT saying your system is ridiculous! I'm just saying ... aw, forget it!)

And ... HAPPY ... BIRTHDAY ... MR. ... SHATNER!  Live ... long ... and PROSPER!!!

Saturday, March 16, 2013


Well, yesterday's seemingly spontaneous method of handicapping actually worked out pretty well for me!

Here's what I did:
  • Compiled a list of all horses in every race at Santa Anita with the word "Cat" either in their own name, their sires/dams, or grandparents.
  • Compared that list to the handicappers in the L.A. Daily News (which we maintain a print subscription to ONLY so I can have a physical piece of newsprint to mark up)
  • Picked the ones I thought had the best chance of winning or placing
  • Placed my bets
I wound up betting "Place" on these horses, with these results:

Race #2:
  • #4 Manando (sire Bluegrass Cat) - result: PLACE
  • #5 War Academy (grandsire Storm Cat) - result:WON
Race #3:
  •  #7 TRIBAL DUDE - (grandsire Storm Cat) - result: LOST

Race #4:
  •  #2 CLASSY LION (grandsire Tale of the Cat) - result: LOST

Race #6:
  •  #5 COULD BE TROUBLE (sire Ministers Wild Cat) - result:WON
  • #7 RUN CAPTIVE RUN (grandsire Storm Cat) - result: LOST

Race #7:
  •  #3 A TOAST TO YOU (grandsire Storm Cat) - result: LOST
  • #9 SWEET SWAP (grandsire Storm Cat) - result: PLACED
 Not too shabby! A couple of winners and placers - I broke even, but hey, still no worse than any of my other handicapping systems, and a lot more fun IMHO!

OK - now that you see how it works - today's mystery handicapping word will be:


Good luck!

Friday, March 15, 2013

O .. kay ...

Well, the only horse from yesterday's picks that came into some money was my last-minute "extra", #7, DOOR'S OPEN.

So much for my deep handicapping!

So guess what? Today I'm going to do "impulse handicapping". That's where I bet on every horse that has a particular word in its name.

Today that word is "Cat". So: bet on every horse with the word "Cat" in its name, and tomorrow, we'll see how you're "feline".

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Happy Thursday! I'm back with fresh picks for today!

Yes, that's right, all you millions of people who faithfully check to see if there's a new post at Chrissy's Racing Green, today's your day!

I'm up and I'm ready to handicap a race - how's about you?

Today I'm ONLY handicapping ONE race - race #2 at Santa Anita. I spent some quality time with the DRF stats and after some pretty exhaustive handicapping on multiple levels (and a shot of tequila), I'm ready to give you TWO picks - TWO nice little horsies that I think may be in the money today.

Pencils ready? Here goes:

  • has had the fastest recent workouts compared to the rest of the field.
  • This is her first race but she's from good stock (dad's Swiss Yodeler and mom's Aspen Gal).
  • She's being ridden by Corey Nakatani, a hot jockey;
  • bred by Edward Allred, a hot breeder (even if he IS married to a weird lady);
  • and trained by Don Collins.
It's a good combination; I think she's got a good shot.


  • has also had several fast workouts in a row; in the latest one she came in 3rd out of 60;
  • first race but from good stock (dad's Singletary and mom's Jah;
  • ridden by A T Gryder, good jockey;
  • bred from Harris Farms;
  • trained by Sean McCarthy.
I'd also consider #7, DOOR'S OPEN, as another long shot to consider if you're looking for one, for many of the same reasons as #8.

There you go! Let's crank open our wallets and put some moolah on these babies, shall we?

See you tomorrow with the results!

Friday, March 8, 2013

No more chasing losses - real handicapping right here!

Yeah, yeah, chasing your losses is a bad thing. If you have ever done it you know what I'm talking about. If you haven't - don't start!

It's kind of what I've done the last couple of days, in between bouts of blogging. But I've found that if I take my time, check the handicapping stats, think think think and THEN bet - I'm more likely to at least get SOME of my money back, than if I do my usual "she has a cute name, let's put ten bucks on her!" Which rarely works.

So in that spirit, I've seriously handicapped ONE race today - just one. Race #3 at Santa Anita. It's 6-1/2 furlongs, on turf; so based on the stats and info I've looked at, I'm going to recommend two horses - #2 and #3 - to consider putting money on.

Horse #2 is "Chimi Dee".  She's run on turf before (at a mile) and won; she's also shown steady upward movement in her Beyer's speed figures (from 57 to 73). So she's worth a look.

Horse #3, "Rebelution", is a long shot but here are some reasons I think she might be worth a shot:
  1. her jockey, E. Flores, has won on turf before, 2 times out of 15; which doesn't sound like much but it's way better than the stats on any of the other jockeys in this race;
  2. she did win her one and only race, a mile on turf, and with a pretty good speed figure (64).
Now if you really want a long shot, Horse #11, "Mary Contrary", is now in, because horses #9 and 10 were scratched. Here's a point in her favor: she's being ridden by Brice Blanc, who rode her to both her prior wins.

There you go, folks - some gen-yoo-wine handicapping! Now - which one am I going to bet on?

Hmmm .... let's see what the guys at the Daily News say ...

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Beyer's speed figures not always accurate?

Here's a great article by Dick Jerardi at the Daily Racing Form about Andy Beyer's speed figures, the ones I've been using for my very basic, beginner's-level handicapping.

Dick Jerardi: Beyer Figures not always based just on final time

Making Beyer Speed Figures is an art/science based on mathematics. That was never more obvious than last Saturday at Fair Grounds when Randy Moss, one of the original fig makers on the Beyer team, was confronted with data that was, at first glance, confusing.

The Mineshaft Handicap, Rachel Alexandra Stakes, and Risen Star were all run at 1 1/16 miles. Exactly 64 minutes separated the off times from the first of those races to the third. Once Randy looked at the entire card, it was clear that the variant was -12 Beyer points or 1.3 seconds at the distance. That means to assess the performance of each horse, 1.3 seconds or 12 points had to be subtracted from the times/raw figures of each race to account for the relative speed of the surface on the day.

The Rachel Alexandra’s time of 1:45.38 equated to a raw figure of 98. Thus, the actual Beyer assigned to the race is 86.

The Risen Star went in 1:44.52, a raw figure of 107. The Beyer is 95.

The Mineshaft’s time was 1:44.82, a raw figure of 104. The assigned figure is 97.

So, how does the slower race at the same distance on the same track run an hour apart get a better Beyer?That is where art, common sense, and pace are factored into the math.

(Read the rest of the article here ).

Still SO much to learn!!!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Happy Monday! Results AND the THREE STOOGES!

OK, so first the results: yesterday I picked #4, Buenos Dias, in Santa Anita's race 4; he came in DEAD LAST. Sorry!

However, I hope this made up for it: at Turf Paradise, I recommended #5, Lord Avalon, in race 6, and he WON!  Good horsie, good horsie!

Now since Santa Anita won't have any more races till Wednesday, I'm going to take a couple of days off.

Let me leave you with this gem from the Three Amigos - er, the Three Stooges: "Playing the Ponies" (1937)! (You'll never order filet of sole from a restaurant again - nyuk nyuk!)

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Pick the right track, dingbat!!!

OK, as you may recall, yesterday I recommended you bet on Lady Gila at Turf Paradise (horse #6 in the 2nd race), and Mr Commons at Santa Anita (horse #8, race 9).

Well, first the bad news: Mr. Commons came in 4th, and Lady Gila showed. So if you bet both of them to Place (as I did), you're out four bucks, sorry.

But get this:  like an idiot, I forgot to check which track I was betting, and accidentally bet on Santa Anita’s race 2 instead of Turf Paradise’s!

As it turns out, it wouldn’t have mattered, since horse #6 in that race (“Wednesday”) came in 5th.

However - the GOOD news is that this morning, I heard a tip from a handicapper on the radio (wish I’d gotten his name! I didn’t, sorry!) who recommended the long shot “Clubhouse Ride” in race #10 (the Santa Anita Handicap.

So I bet $2 on him to show - and he placed! At 27 to 1 odds, no less!!

So I bet a total of $6.00, and got back $6.80. Not too shabby! Of course, not QUITE as big a margin of profit as I’d like, but hey, a plus sign always beats a minus, at the end of an otherwise blah race day!

Moral of this story is: the correct name for anyone who thinks they have a "system" to bet the races is: "LOSER!!"

Still - I'll keep tryin'! But I'm going to take today off - it is Sunday after all ... 

(Oh all right, quicher whinin'! Santa Anita race 4, go for #4, Buenos Dias; Turf Paradise race 6, try #5, Lord Avalon. Just because they're each the two with the highest Beyers ratings in their previous races. No other good reason. So there!)

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Just two picks for Saturday, 'cause I'm pooped!

Wow, it's been a long day but a nice one. Drove from Reseda to Simi Valley via the scenic Santa Susana Pass, and then kicked it up a notch by continuing up through Santa Paula all the way up to Ojai. All on back roads. All achingly beautiful.

All of which means I didn't have a whole lot of time to spend handicapping races! So I'm only going to pick two races for today: one from Santa Anita, and one from Turf Paradise. Here goes!

At Santa Anita, I'm enthusiastic about "Mr. Commons", horse #8 in Race 9. This is the fKilroe-G1 Purse, one mile on turf. And Mr. Commons not only has a high Beyers speed but has also run - and won - on turf MANY times. So, Mr. Commons - #8 in the 9th.

At Turf Paradise, not a whole lot to get excited about but I think the best pick of the day will be "Lady Gila", horse #6 in Race 2. Her speed has consistently and steadily increased since her 2010 debut; and she’s had multiple wins at this distance. So Lady Gila - #6 in the 2nd.

Those are the only bets I'm gonna put in for tomorrow. Will try to put in more for Sunday.

Thanks for reading this - and good luck!!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Friday's results - 4 out of 4 in the money!

OK, I didn't do TOO bad for my first handicapping try.

Actually did better with Turf Paradise than Santa Anita ... hmmm ... maybe a sign that ... NO!!! I'm NOT moving to Phoenix!! Noooooo!!

Ok, sorry about that! Anyway, here's what happened to the horses I bet on today:

Santa Anita:
Race 2: #2 Candy's Jewel came in 4th.
Race 3: #1 Grand Giant came in 4th; #7 Wild Student came in 7th.
Race 7: #4 Surfcup WON!!!

Turf Paradise:

Race 1: #6 Moon Valley Babe came in 7th.
Race 2: #5 Black Storm Regard WON!
Race 5: #7 Adriatic Moon PLACED!
Race 8: #4 Waronthehomefront PLACED!

So if you were with me, we had 4 out of 4 horses run in the money - not too bad for a first try, eh?

I'll be back tomorrow morning with more picks for Saturday's races!


And now - what you’ve all been waiting for: AUNT CHRISSY’S PICKS OF THE DAY!   

Yup, I’m going to give you a buncha horses that I think just might make some $$ today - and I’m going to bet on ‘em too, so as I said yesterday, if you lose, don’t come whining to me because I’ll be feeling pretty bad too.

Note: I refer to the Beyers Speed Figures a lot, so just to save whatever the virtual online equivalent of “trees” would be, let’s abbreviate that “BSF” from this point on, shall we?

Anyway, here goes! Let’s start with a track in my neck of the woods - beautiful SANTA ANITA!

Race 2: Check out #2, CANDY’S JEWEL. Her BSF last time out was 87, and she’s shown a nice steady increase from 61 to 87 in her last several outings.
In race 3, I think #1, GRAND GIANT, will at least be in the money.
For race 7, check out #4, SURFCUP, who’s definitely the fastest horse in this lineup.
(LONGSHOT: #7, WILD STUDENT, in race #3.)

Heading east to TURF PARADISE in beautiful not-yet-scorched-earth-hot Phoenix, Arizona, I’m looking at four races today.

Race #1: I am definitely betting on #6, MOON VALLEY BABE, who had a whopping 106 in her BSF the last time out - that’s just super fast, fastest speed of any horse in ANY race at this track OR Santa Anita today! If she doesn’t at least show I’m gonna be real surprised.
Race #2: Let’s go with #5, BLACK STORM REGARD - shows a lot of potential and very fast at 98 BSF.
Race #5: Not really enthusiastic about the entire field, but #7, ADRIATIC MOON, looks to be the best of the lot.
Race 8: #4, WARONTHEHOMEFRONT, looks pretty good. Not great, but better than the rest of the field.
(LONGSHOT: pretty much every horse in races 3, 4, 6, 7 and 8. Sorry! I’ll come up with something better next time!)

And - to show I have the courage of my convictions - I’ll check in tomorrow with the results and let you know how much I won (or lost)!

(And important P.S. - I'm doing "Place" bets for now - till I get more confidence in my handicapping skills!)