and checking it twice, your going to find out if you been struggling the windows.
There are so many handicappers that are very good, but they are simply horrific game managers.
A checklist is meant to keep you on the track, and not off the rails.
This is my checklist, so this is geared towards to my tendencies, you have to find yours:
I have three different lists.
Checklist Item #1: Evaluate the track
My favorite tracks, in the winter, are the ones I have had success at, not because 'It's my favorite one, I night suck at it, but It's still my favorite'
If I don't 'feel' I have an advantage or I can get the prices I need, I don't play that track, it's simple.
YOU NEED AN ADVANTAGE.
I usually make an order of preference, at this time my list is:
Gulfstream (Santa Anita when it starts)
Tampa Bay Downs
When Santa Anita starts it will take over # 3
The South Florida's product has been weak. I don't have an advantage there, there are too many clockers and mainstream media hammers on horses that are common knowledge.
Gulfstream, to me, has really lost its luster.
My list might change from day to day, depending on the card.
I may move Gulfstream Park up on a big day, like Pegasus, or Fountain of Youth day, but those are the exceptions.
Tampa on Sam F Davis or Tampa Bay Derby, but I always seek an advantage.
Do I have a horse or a race where horses from outside the Gulfstream track limits I can sneak in a play I have info on
Checklist Item #2: Background on the track
A. Post Position Stats are a must.
You can find them at Equibase.
Some of them are useless, for example when they lump all turf races together, sprints and routes.
You need to separate one turn from two turns.
For example at Oaklawn right now (refer to our post position study e-newsletter) the inside two or three posts going one turn have been underachieving.
THIS IS A MUST, DO NOT GO INTO A TRACK WITH ASSUMPTIONS.
B.) Kingpin jock and trainer.
You can find the current trends on top jockey, trainer and owners.
Most Tracks Websites are like 'Where's Waldo'.
Go to Equibase, follow the link.
c.) Track Tendencies, are different than bias, where do the winners come from. Watching races from that track helps, but you need to know if speed is a strong factor or is it a fair track.
Beating your head against the wall to play closers on a track that doesn't cater to them is the definition of insanity, 'doing the same thing over and over, and expect different results'
D.) Shippers, do shippers from other training facilities do well and from where.
My definition of a shipper is not a horse that raced at another track last out.
A shipper is a horse that trains at a track or training center outside the host track.
A horse can be housed at the host track, ship out to run, and then come back to his home, and then race at his home track, that is not a shipper.
If a horse is housed at Oaklawn and ships in to Fair Grounds, that's a shipper.
You need to know if those shippers do well.
This is a strong angle to know, understand, and add to your arsenal.
There is NO statistical advantage being stabled at host track, none, and we know that from Barry Meadow latest book
Horseplayers, the bad ones, will cross out any horse that doesn't have a work or a recent race over the track.
Don't be one of those bad handicappers, do your homework on what works.
Checklist item # 3: Trainers
Where does a trainer have his main string, at the host track or an adjacent racetrack or training facility?
Where does he prep his maidens ? Host track or adjacent facility.
There is a huge difference as some trainers will have their best horses on the host track depending on stalls, but their maidens and layoff comebackers are at a training facility.
I made a killing clocking at Hollywood Park in the winter in California, while Santa Anita winter meet was running.
Many top trainers kept their good horses at Santa Anita, like stakes and allowances, few maidens, but the bulk was at Hollywood Park.
Price after price after price, as they were second thought or discounted for being across town.
It works, look at where Pletcher and Brown train in Florida, Pletcher at Palm Beach Downs and Brown at Payson.
You don't zero in on Pletcher's Gulfstream stabled string.
How do I know where they are stabled?
Simply look at where they are working. Horseplayers don't notice where a horse works, in general, they look for bullets or fast times.
Training centers and off track facilities often get little scrutiny on how times are reported.
Trainers are gamblers too!
"I don't bet'' one trainer use to always say, but I had been, many times before, stuck behind at the betting windows, as he was counting thousands of dollars for the teller.
Trainers bet, or sometimes its easier said 'someone bets for them'
Have a working knowledge of the trainers, not just the overall percentage.
On Twin Spires you can click on the trainers name and see his stats in the last 14 days or 30 days, it is far more telling than the overall yearly percentage.
I clicked on Shane Wilson, and I know last 14 days he is clicking at 22% with a 3.00 ROI.
All right there, at your fingertips.
Stats based on what's happening now not over a year or two.
Todd Pletcher red hot over last 14 days, at 32% winning almost two times more than last 90 days stats.
Checklist item # 4: Jockeys
Handicappers know which Trainer - jockey combo is hot. It's common knowledge, but what has the jock done lately.
Saez is riding hot at 23%, in the last 14 days, as of 12/23/2023, well above his usual %, he has actually been very good on All-Weather Sprints and allowance races.
You will find sometimes even the top jocks will go thru rough patches, you want to know those.
Saffie Joseph, Jr. is hammered at the windows as people play the overall average of 22% over last 365 days.
In the last 14 days thru 12/22/2023, Saffie, has been throttled at 11%, 3 for 28 with 7 seconds, and last 30 days, 9 of 68, 13% with twice as many 2nds.
Crucial information, while all the other ''mammalukes'' look at the yearly, you have the understanding that Saffie is going thru a down cycle, and trainers go thru cycles
The trainer checklist is by the far the most important one, as it will open up opportunities at a particular track.
I also make my own checklist on owners, who is the kingpin owner at the track and for which trainer.
Every trainer has a top owner. Find them.