A few weeks ago I got Andrew Beyers The Winning Horseplayer. By the time I was headed to Aqueduct on the 29th of December, I read through a few chapters, learning about track biases, something I am still a little skeptical about, and trip handicapping. I used trip handicapping for stakes races before, like the Triple Crown, and have brought me success. However, after attempting it at Aqueduct, I started 0 for 5. Yikes! This rarely happens to me. So, I scrap my notes and rely on the basics, Past Performances from the track program (I do not use the Daily Racing Form). Next up was the sixth race. I narrowed down the race to the 2 horse Empress of Gold and the 8 horse My Dreamy Mimi. Then, I wanted to only place a bet on one horse, so I look at speed, an old trick. But not the Beyer or Equibase speed figures, but the times and lengths back on the Past Performances. As the old saying goes, “Speed matters, not class.” I go to the window to place my bet. Number 2, Empress of Gold, $10 across the board. Once the race went off, I was standing in a box in the grandstand. She was far back on the backstretch and just starting to make a move on the far turn. Junior Alvarado could not win with her at the way she was running and the unusual pace. But he did it. Empress of Gold won at the wire. My luck turned around. The 7th race was a bust. But the 8th race was the Swirlaway Stakes, my specialty. After handicapping the race for a few days, using a combination of Trip Handicapping (my way) and my stakes formula, I chose the 3 horse Proud and Charming. At the track, I looked over the Past Performances, trying to find a good trifecta. Had to go with the 1-2-3. Once the race went off, Proud and Charming was 14 lengths back. At the end of the far turn, Proud and Charming was sprinting! He passed almost everyone, just barely losing. Finished in second, and the final result was 2-3-1. I won the place and show bets on Proud and Charming, along with the $2 trifecta which paid $110. The last race finished off with a second, with Just Hold On unable to hold on in the end.
So after the last race, I wondered, is the traditional form of Trip Handicapping dead? My form of trip handicapping is making observation about a horse’s attitude and general statements about the horse. The traditional way is to analyze a race and find reasons for or against a good or bad performance. Now old method has been around since the late seventies, early eighties. However, how could a method go five races without even getting a horse to land in the money. Of course it could just be my fault, but this is just odd. Could a thirty plus year old method no longer be affective? It is a question that I have asked myself since that day. At least speed handicapping seems to work. Now I do not have enough information to make a conclusion about the question, but my hypothesis is: If a handicapper uses traditional trip handicapping over speed handicapping, then they will not hit the board as often. I am asking for my loyal followers to help. Give me your ideas about this and let us come to a nice conclusion on whether or not traditional trip handicapping still works. Debate Time!