Sunday, November 13, 2011

Greyhound Handicapping-Past Performance

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Like most serious greyhound handicappers, I'm always going over my old programs to see if I can spot something that will increase my odds of winning. Recently, I noticed something on some programs from the spring races at a New England track. It seemed to me that their M races and A races had dogs who ran much closer to form than the other grade races. I wondered why this was.
Why would M and A dogs at that track be more consistent? Why would they run the way it looked like they'd run, when the dogs in the other grade races didn't? It stumped me and I thought of all kinds of reasons why this would be so, until I suddenly realized that I was looking at this from entirely the wrong angle.

It wasn't that the dogs were more consistent in M and A at this track. It was that I was better at handicapping M and A races at this track. My method of handicapping M picked winners, because the factors I gave the most weight to when I handicap M races seemed to have more of an effect on M dogs at this track. Ditto for the A races, although I emphasized different factors for them.
I use a form of graded handicapping that I developed over the years. Not for me handicapping all races the same way no matter the grade or distance. As a matter of fact, I'm writing a system that covers this, but I keep getting sidetracked by writing posts and going to the track.
When it's done, the graded system will show how differences in grade and distance make it impossible to give the same weight to the factors that we all use to handicap races. M, for instance, is a grade where one factor is much more important than all the others - but only at some tracks. At other tracks, it's another factor that determines whether a dog wins or loses.
I had figured out which factor it was in M races at that New England track this spring and used it to pick winners in a lot of M races. Unfortunately, I wasted some - but not all - of my winnings on other grade races that are harder for me to handicap at that track.
We all have a handicapping style. If you look over the old programs for performances that you bet on, I bet you'll find that you're better at some grades or distances than you are at others. Like dogs who run well in A but not AA or prefer route races to sprints, handicappers are better at some things than others.
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