Lucky you. Your opportunity to take advantage of lazy handicappers has just taken a big leap forward. That’s because turf racing has begun at Woodbine and lazy handicappers will not take the time to perform the most important step in handicapping turf route races — figuring out the closing fractions of turf horses in their previous races.
Even some of the most skilled handicappers I know just simply refuse to wrap their heads around this highly important handicapping angle. Sure, it takes a bit of effort to begin to do it – but after a few times, it becomes a snap – and perhaps turf route races will become one of your favourite kinds of races, as they are mine.
By “closing fractions” I mean a horse’s time from 6f to the end of the race, whether it’s a mile, 1 1/16 mile or 1 1/8 mile. The closing fractions you want to see at a good track are 24 seconds for a mile, 30 seconds for 1 1/16 mile and 36 seconds for 1 1/8 miles. Am I losing you? Great. Turf handicappers who already do this hope you won’t learn this technique so the pools will be bigger for them.
But if you’re still with me, what you do is compute the amount of time it takes for horses to race from 6 furlongs to the end of the race by also looking at whether they gained or lost lengths during the closing part of the race. If they GAINED lengths, reduce their time by 1/5th second for each length they gained. And, obviously, if they LOST lengths, add the lost lengths to their closing fractions.
A great example is race 5 at Santa Anita Saturday which you can download here. Look at the second last race for #7 Rhea Moon which was run on March 7. It was one mile on the turf which means 24 seconds is a good closing fraction. What is the fraction for #7? Computing the time from 6 furlongs (1:11.51) to the end of the race (1:35.17) is about :23 3/5. But notice Rhea Moon gained seven lengths. So subtract seven 5ths from :23 3/5 and you have :22 1/5. That’s huge compared to any other horse in the field. It was worth a $1,000 wager and he won like he should have, paying $4.
It really isn’t that complicated. A big motivating factor for you is that you’re taking the time while so many other handicappers aren’t doing this. So you have a big edge. In my horizontal bets (pick-4s, pick-5s, pick-6s) I like to key a turf route race with the horse with the quickest closing fraction, which is what I did with the above example.
My best track right now for the efficacy of closing fractions is Santa Anita, but Woodbine will improve once there are more turf route races in their past performances.