It's been said,
see what has not been seen before - look where no one has looked before."
I don't think there are very many handicapping
factors/variables that haven't been investigated during the multi-thousand
year history of racing horses. But - what about the combinations
of those variables? They are far too numerous to ever fully
research and test them all.
How many things do handicappers look at? From
what extent does a horse racing system have to draw? That is . . . how many factors,
and variables are possible to be used - in the whole world
of handicapping? 50? 75? More?
Let's be ultra-conservative and say 35.
Now, consider this - it may astound you:
Say that we might only use at least 2, but no more than 4, of those factors in
our approach to handicapping a race. Let's further say that we use
different factors from among the 35 for different types of races and that
different "weighting" of those factors is often required (that is -
making one or more of the variables more or less important than
another in a particular race situation).
There are 519,600
possible combinations of those factors!!
The natural response is, "Holy
I mean - how could a horse handicapper ever even hope to touch the
complexity of a handicapping puzzle that has that many (at least) possible
Well, we have one great thing going for us . . .
The brain is master of
pattern recognition - and much more adept at it than even the most
powerful of computers.
A two year-old child can far out-perform the
fastest computer when it comes to recognizing and identifying a person's
face. Our greatest forte - the skill that has evolved through thousands
of generations of the human family, and the human brain - is the ability to
process visual images.
So then, how can we make best use of this skill
in handicapping and betting horse racing?
First, no matter how amazing our capabilities
in this area - I think that everyone would agree that trying to identify
profitable pattern combinations from among 519,600 is asking too much!
We need to get the number of
variables down to a manageable few - this is key.
I think it was Doc Sartin who once turned me
onto a study done by a stock investment company for an article in Forbes
magazine. This study showed that the more information (numbers of
handicapping factors) an investor (or race bettor) had - the more confidence
he had in his decision-making.
Unfortunately, the accuracy of his
decision-making decreased with the excess of information! It was
concluded that 5 is the maximum number of factors with which an investor or
race player can deal before diminishing returns sets in.
Serious handicappers should begin immediately
to whittle down the number of handicapping factors they use in making wagering
decisions. A valid horse racing system requires it!
It shouldn't be done arbitrarily of course -
testing, research, and accurate record-keeping are a must ( I know you didn't
want to hear that!). Draw your factors from the major groups; Class,
Speed, Pace, Connections, Odds. Develop your own "looks" and
then begin to let the brain's natural abilities at pattern recognition work