All posts by canuguessit

Which horse should I bet on?

We were exchanging e-mails with a user on Saturday who was playing Aqueduct. This was a new user, and they were getting their feet wet with Betmix by using the Blend Dirt mix, available in the MixLibrary to monthly subscribers (Blend Dirt-ML).

When helping new users we try to get them to focus on one Mix and one track to get used to the way Betmix ranks horses. We tell them to play horses that have a big point advantage over the rest of the field, and focus on races where there is a small group of horses within 10 points of the top ranked horse.

The user asked us to take a look at the 3rd Race at Aqueduct on Saturday March 9th, and wanted to know if we would play that race, and if so, who we would bet on.

Using the Blend Dirt Mix, here are the rankings of the horses:

There is not a standout as far as a TOP HORSE (ranked at least 5 points better than the second ranked horse), but there are only 2 horses within 10 points of the leader. This is clearly a 3 horse race. And the obvious bet is the 4 horse.

Why bet the #4 Coalition, if he is not the top ranked horse? Was the question we got back, and the answer should be obvious. The #4 is only 2.4 points behind the leader, and he has the only Green Up Arrow in the race for speed (meaning that he has shown improved speed ratings over the last 3 races). On top of that, looking at the ML odds, as well as the actual odds at the track before post time he was the longest shot of the 3. The 8 was even money, the 3 was 2:1, and the 4 horse was 7:2. He was clearly the value play in the race.

There are other factors that put the #4 into GREAT BET territory. He finished 2nd last time he raced, and we love to bet horses that finished 2nd in their previous start in conditional races like this one (NEVER WON A RACE OTHER THAN MAIDEN; CLAIMING; OR STARTER OR WHICH HAVE NEVER WON TWO RACES). This means he ran 2nd against similar company last time but just missed, and should be among the best today. Looking at all of the horses in the race, only the #8 and the #4 were 2nd in their last start.

A good habit to get into when handicapping with Betmix is to isolate a single factor to see if your pick holds up against the field. In this case, we want to know how fast he is at this distance (1 Mile) so we would turn on just BEST SPEED DISTANCE to see how the #4 stacks up against the rest of the field.

The #4 Coalition is the fastest horse at the distance. We are really starting to like him now. Also, notice that the longshot #2 Small Town is ranked 2nd here and has a morning line of 30:1.

Finally, lets isolate Avg of Last 3 Late Pace to see if #4 will be running late in this 1 mile race:

The #4 is a standout on Late Pace, almost a full 10 points clear of the 2nd ranked horse.

This horse has moved into GREAT BET territory and we email back the user that not only should he bet the #4 to win, he should bet him heavily.

Of course it all worked out like it should (not going to happen every time unfortunately) but when you get a race where there only appear to be 3 contenders, and you can make a very strong case for one of those horses by looking at him in single factor screens (Best speed distance and Avg 3 Late Pace) and he has the only Green Up Arrow for speed in the race (Improving!), and he ran 2nd last time in a similar condition, and to top it all off he has the highest odds of the 3 contenders in the race. When you find a situation like that, you have to take advantage of it.

The #4 horse Coalition did what he was supposed to do, rallied late to get the win and paid a very nice $9.50 for a horse that checked all the boxes as a best bet.

The lesson here is to use the numbers to find the value bet. Look at all the factors and ask yourself if betting the top ranked horse is really the smart play. Betmix is a tool that will separate the contenders from the pretenders for you, and by using common sense in conjunction with the cold hard facts Betmix provides you can often find some stand out plays and some live longshots. Remember that #2 horse that showed up 2nd in BEST SPEED AT THE DISTANCE? He ended up running 4th and making the Superfecta a pretty easy call with the three favorites for $159.

Handicapping Keeneland

The Keeneland Spring meet has just started, and handicappers always look forward to the full fields and nice prices that Keeneland typically provides.

Keeneland was always viewed as a speed favoring track, but in 2006 that changed when they switched to a Polytrack surface. For many people the surface switch has made Keeneland a tough track to handicap, but we have found that Betmix can provide a consistent method for picking winners at Keeneland.

Many of the innovations and products that we provide come from user requests and suggestions. Not too long ago we recieved an email from a user who challenged us to create a mix that would be profitable across every race at Keeneland, since that is the only track he plays. With Keeneland being our hometown track and one we love to play, we took him up on his challenge.

We didn't have much confidence that we could create a mix that would be profitable across every race at Keeneland. Mixes are usually built to be specific rather than general. We normally build a mix for a race class, distance and surface and try to zero in on the handicapping factors that apply to that specific race type.

After several weeks of trial and error, we did come up with a mix that returned a profit when used against every race in the 2012 Keeneland Spring meet. Not every race was a winner, but a $2 WPS bet made on the top pick in every race returned a 14% net profit for the meet.

There were 143 races in the 2012 Keeneland Spring meet, and we we placed a fictional $2 WPS bet on the top pick in every race, and also did fictional $2 exacta and $2 trifecta boxes using the top 4 horses selected in the Keeneland Mix.

$2 WPS bet: 143 races, total bet $858, total return $982.
$2 Trifecta box bet: 143 races, total bet $6864, total return $9554
$2 Exacta box bet: 143 races, total bet $3432, total return $2657

The WPS bets and Trifecta boxes showed a profit, while the Exacta boxes showed a loss. The Keeneland Mix hit 58 exacts in the 143 races, but there were several low returns that hurt the overall numbers.

We learned a great deal in trying to construct a mix that would work across every race type, class and distance at Keeneland and the mix that we ultimately came up with is actually very simple. Normally we would never play every race on the card, but for this test to be valid according to the conditions proposed we did. The results would have been better if we passed on Maiden races and tossed some of the horses that ended up on top but were coming in off of long layoffs or showing declining form.

The mix is now available in the MixMarket, and we will start accepting proven mixes from users as well. If you have developed a mix that is profitable across several races and you can provide the data to back it up, you can sell your mix in the market and earn some money while allowing other handicappers to take advantage of your hard work and creativity.

Best of luck at Keeneland!

Who will win the Kentucky Derby?

Who will win the Kentucky Derby? That is the question that all serious and casual horse racing fans will be asking over the next few weeks. The Kentucky Derby is the most watched horse race in the world, and the payoffs can be life changing.

There are many reasons why picking a Derby winner is so difficult. To start with, there are usually 20 horses in the race. Getting a trouble free trip in a race with that many horses is never guaranteed. These young 3 year old colts will be running 1 1/4 miles, a distance they have never run before and will probably never run again. The atmosphere at Churchill Downs is something that will be completely new to the horses. How will they react to over 100,000 screaming fans? Betmix can help solve some of the puzzle.

Did Betmix Pick the Kentucky Derby Winner? The 2014 Kentucky Derby was won by California Chrome, he was the overwhelming favorite so it was pretty easy to find a reason to put him on top of your tickets.  The real trick was coming up with Commanding Curve (38:1) in second, and Danza (9:1) in third.  The correct mix to use at Betmix was heavy on Best Lifetime Speed, Late Pace, Turn Time and Pedigree.  To win the Kentucky Derby a horse needs to have a history of running fast and closing well.  Having the pedigree to run long is also important.

Using a Mix of Best Lifetime Speed (84), Avg last 3 Late Pace (60), Avg last 3 Turn Time (49), Last Turn Time (54) Distance Pedigree Rating (22) and Trainer Current Year (1)
Kentucky Derby Mix

You would have had these rankings, and hit the Kentucky Derby Trifecta:
2014 Kentucky Derby Betmix Rankings

Kentucky Derby Pedigree (Who has the best KY Derby pedigree?)
Can a horse get the distance? Is the horse bred to be able to run the 10 furlong distance of the Kentucky Derby? Using the Distance Pedigree Rating factor you can determine which horses have the bloodlines that may benefit them when running this distance. The data behind the pedigree ratings is based on an analysis of hundreds of thousands of starts in North America, each start of all offspring from the Sire, Dam, and Damsire are evaluated and measured for their individual racing aptitudes and preferences. Chances are that if the horse in questions had parents or siblings that were able to handle the distance, they will be able able to as well.

Pace in the Kentucky Derby (Who are the late/early runners in the Ky Derby?)
Betmix can't predict what kind of trip each horse may get in the Kentucky Derby, but it can give you insight into the pace scenario. Pace ratings tell you how fast a horse ran up to a specific point in the race. The higher the number, the faster the horse ran. Looking at the pace factors in Betmix you can determine who will be running fast early, in the middle, or late. In a typical race if the majority of the field runs early then you would give the advantage to a horse who is the lone closer. The same would be true of a lone speed horse in a race full of closers. With 20 horses in the Derby there is probably not going to be a pace advantage for any one horse, but you can try and map the race out to see where a horse will be positioned. Using that in conjunction with the post positions (usually drawn the Wednesday before the race) you can start to map out how the race may unfold.

How important is speed in the Kentucky Derby
(Who is the fastest KY Derby horse?)
Speed is important in any race, and the Derby is no exception. We can look at speed in several ways in Betmix. You can look at the fastest lifetime number, the fastest number on dirt, the fastest number at this track (Churchill Downs), the average of the last 3 races, etc. Any successful Derby mix will use speed factors heavily.

The Trainer and Jockey factor in the Kentucky Derby
(Who are the best Jockeys and Trainers in the KY Derby?)
In Betmix you can evaluate the trainer and jockey based on their statistics for the current meet and for the current year. In looking at the Derby, the stats for the year are going to be much more important than for the meet. This is because the Chuurchill meet will have only been running for about 1 week prior to the Derby and because the Derby contenders will be shipping in from all over the country. The best trainers and jockeys in the world will be involved with the Derby horses, and you will want to look at how they compare for the year to get a true picture of who has the best.

There are 45 handicapping factors that you can use in Betmix and while some of them may not be relevant to the Kentucky Derby, you can create a very accurate handicapping method that will give you a big advantage when trying to pick a Kentucky Derby winner.





Did Betmix pick the Kentucky Derby and Oaks winners?

Yes. We have been asked numerous times if Betmix picked the Oaks and Derby winners. The first thing we tell people who ask this question is that Betmix ranks horses based on the criteria that you provide, so it is ultimately the user who made the pick because the user told Betmix which factors to use and how important those factors should be. That combination of factors and weighting is what we call a Mix.

So, was there a Mix that picked both the Kentucky Oaks winner (Princess of Sylmar $79.60) and Kentucky Derby winner (Orb $12.80)? Absolutely. There were probably several Mixes that did. Many users have told us that they hit big both days, some used the same Mix for both races, others used different ones.

One Mix that worked for both the Oaks and the Derby is the Alpha Mix. It is available in the MixLibrary for any Monthly Subscriber to add to their saved mix list. To find the Alpha mix, just open up the MixLibrary and in the search box type "Alpha", then hit the SEARCH MIX LIBRARY button.

The Alpha mix is simple, as you will see when you add it to your saved mixes. The mix was created in response to a challenge from a user (we get challenged all the time!) who asked us which Mix we would use if we could only use one to handicap every race. The Alpha mix is the result. It utilizes some basic handicapping principles that we believe would work in most races. It catches its fair share of longshots (the Oaks winner) and favorites.

To answer the question, yes, there were several mixes that picked the Oaks and Derby winners and several that did not. It's up to you - the user - to decide which Mix to use in any given race. If you were like Jason H. who uses the Alpha Mix regularly then you would be celebrating with him. The $20 Oaks/Derby double he made using the Alpha Mix returned a very nice $6,214. Congratulations Jason, and congratulations to the many users who have shared their winning Kentucky Derby stories with us.

Who will win the Preakness? Using the Alpha Mix again, it's interesting to note that the predicted winner of the Preakness is not Orb. We will update this post with the results after the race or you can run the Alpha Mix on your own to see the predicted winner...

Start mixing it up with Today's Free Race.


Finding longshots in horse racing.

Using Betmix to find longshots
The most important thing that Betmix offers its users is a consistent method for handicapping and the ability to quickly look at entire race cards to find horses worth betting.

Looking for races with potential longshot horses is a great way to use Betmix. In this example we will be using the Longshot45 mix, available for free to monthly subscribers in the MixLibrary. If you are a subscriber just go the MixLibrary and type "Longshot45" into the search box then click the search button. When it comes up, click the "Save to MyMix" button and it will be available for you to use when handicapping any race.

How to use the Longshot45 Mix
The best way to use this mix is through the All Races Report. That view allows you to select a date and a racetrack, and apply a mix to the entire card. You can scroll through the results of every race. After you have selected your date and racetrack, select the Longshot45 Mix from your saved mixes. Every race on that card will now be shown ranking the horses using the Longshot45 Mix. This is a selective mix, so we are only going to be betting the top ranked horse that meets the following conditions.

1. Morning Line odds of 5:1 or greater
2. Last finish position 4th or better
3. No long layoffs (Greater than 60 days)

All of that information is available to you on the results screen and you should be able to spot the playable longshots in a matter of seconds.


The above image shows the 2nd race from Churchill Downs on April 27th. As you can see, the top ranked horse using the Longshot45 mix has ML odds of 5:1, he finished 4th or better in his last race, and he is not coming off a long layoff (last race was 28 days ago).

The data below shows the results of using the Longshot45 mix at Churchill Downs during the 2013 Spring meet. Through May 18th there were 17 horses that qualified under the Mix conditions. If you would have bet $2 WPS on each of those horses you would have bet a total of $102 (17 x $6) and you would have collected $168.60, for a profit of $66.60 (65% ROI). If you had just bet $2 to win on each horse the total bet would have been $34 (17 x $2) and the return would have been $67.20 for a profit of $33.20 (97% ROI).

The point of this post is not to say that the Longshot45 Mix will show the same results at every racetrack or even that it will produce the same ROI at Churchill for the remainder of this meet. What we hope you take away from this post is how to use Betmix to screen races for playable horses, and to demonstrate that you shouldn't bet every race - pick your spots!. We also hope that you will create your own Mixes for certain racetracks and conditions and create a set of rules to follow to find the most profitable betting scenarios. Betmix gives you a consistent handicapping method. When you combine a consistent method with solid money management rules you are well on your way to being a winning horseplayer.

Churchill Downs
Date Race # Horse Win Place Show
04/27 2 5 D'Wildcard 15.80 6.00 3.80
04/27 7 1 Destrehen 22.60 9.00 5.20
05/01 4 1 Scatman 0.00 0.00 3.60
05/01 10 6 Soto's Hija 0.00 13.60 8.00
05/02 4 4 Bluebrass B. 0.00 4.00 3.00
05/03 2 7 Cora Mesa 0.00 0.00 0.00
05/03 4 8 Love Train 0.00 0.00 0.00
05/03 10 6 Positivley 0.00 0.00 0.00
05/04 7 8 Bryma 0.00 0.00 0.00
05/04 11 9 Overanlayze 0.00 0.00 0.00
05/04 13 5 Column 19.20 8.20 5.40
05/11 6 1 Chocolat City 0.00 0.00 0.00
05/11 10 9 Palazzo Babe 0.00 3.60 2.80
05/11 11 9 Lafitte 0.00 0.00 0.00
05/17 8 4 Barksdale 0.00 0.00 4.20
05/18 7 2 Southern S. 0.00 7.60 5.00
05/18 9 8 Treasured Up 9.60 4.80 3.60


Horse Ranking System

We have a new feature at Betmix, called RANKINGS. If you look at a race screen you will see a new button on the menu called rankings:

Clicking this button will open a pop-up window that will give you detailed information about where a horse ranks within the 30+ handicapping factors we offer as part of our handicapping system. Each factor is listed, with the rankings of the horses to the right of the factor name:

Looking at the information above as an example you can see where each horse ranked in a specific category. Looking at the Best Speed at the Distance factor you can see that the horses are ranked 2,4,1,5,3 - Horse #2 has the fastest speed at today's distance and horse #3 is the slowest. LEARN HOW TO CREATE A MIX USING THE RANKINGS

The Overall Rankings chart looks at every factor in the race and then assigns points to each horse based on where they ranked. In a 10 horse field, if a horse was ranked on top for a factor he would get 10 points, the second ranked horse would get 9, and so on down to the last ranked horse who would get 1 point.

You can use the rankings feature as a stand alone handicapping tool that will give you an indication of how well matched the field is. When you find that the highest ranked horse has a very large point advantage you may be on to a sure thing! Or, when all of the horses are very closely ranked you might want to pass the race or back the horse with the highest odds.

The goal of the rankings information is to help you create more accurate mixes very quickly. When you look at past race results and want to build mixes that will predictive in future races you can use the rankings information to identify the handicapping factors that produced the most winners in the race types you are looking at. You can also use the rankings information to potentially explain longshot results. If you look at a span of races where the winner paid over $20, you can try to find common factors where the longshot horses were ranked highly, and they use those factors with heavier weighting in future races to find longshot scenarios.

The Rankings button is available in Today's Races, Historical Races, MixMaker, and the Free Race of the Day.

How to create a Mix using the Rankings view

The Rankings view was created to help users build better mixes. If you are new to Betmix, the RANKINGS button is located on the right next to Trainer-Jockey.

When you click on the Rankings button you will see a list of all of the handicapping factors at Betmix, and be shown where horses rank in each factor for that race.

So, how do you use all of that information to create a Mix?

Let's walk through an example of how we would begin to create a mix and you should begin to see how useful this information is.

Open up Historical Races (sorry, subscribers only) and choose 6/12 (2013) as the date, and for the race track select Belmont, race #6 - which was a 5.5 dirt claiming race.

When we click on the RANKINGS button we see the following chart:

We know that the results of that race were as follows:

The #4 horse won the race and paid a very generous $17.00. How should we have created a Mix that would have predicted that result?

The first thing we want to know is in what factors did the #4 rank the highest? Go back and look at the above chart and find out where the #4 was ranked the best.

We can see that he was ranked1st in the following factors:
Best Speed Number at Today's Track
Best Speed Distance
Horses Beaten %
Avg. Earnings Today's Track

If you would have told me before the race that the horse with the best speed at the distance and best speed at the track (who also had the best Avg. earnings at Belmont and had also shown over his last 5 races that he can beat the majority of the field) was going to win the race I would not have been surprised. If you told me he was going to pay $17.00, I would call that a steal.

If you are still looking at the rankings screen, close that by clicking the X in the upper right hand corner. You will now be back at the main screen and we can start creating a mix. If you can keep this post open in one window and open

The first thing to do is turn on each of the factors mentioned above where the #4 was ranked the highest. To turn a factor on, just click the ON button next to the slider and give it a value - let's start with 10.

After you have turned on all of the factors and set the values to 10, you will see that our Mix using those 4 factors - all set to 10 - would have ranked the horses in the following way:

Note that we removed the horses that scratched from that race. We did that by clicking on their name and hitting the CLICK TO SCRATCH button.

The Mix has the Exacta right (4,3) but let's see if we can get the Trifecta too. We could do this in several ways. We could go back and look at the Rankings again and see where the #1 horse was ranked highly and add those factors into our mix, or we could mess around with the point values to see if we can get the #10 horse to move down a spot and move the #1 horse up into 3rd.

Right now we have all 4 of the factors (Best Speed at Today's Track, Best Speed Distance, Horses Beaten % and Avg Earnings today's Track) all set at 10. That means that Betmix is treating them all equally. We would get the same result if they were all set at 20, or 5, or 33. If they all have the same value then the computer is going to give them the same weight in its decision.

Look at how the results change if we make Best Speed Number at Today's Track more important than the other factors. We set it to 50 and left the other factors at 10.

Now the #1 (In Todd We Trust) has moved into the 3rd spot and the Betmix rankings now give us the Trifecta - (4,3,1).

If we are satisfied with that mix we would hit the SAVE MIX button, give it a meaningful name like "Belmont 5.5" and use that the next time we encountered a 5.5 furlong dirt race at Belmont.

But, what we really should do before thinking that we have just figured out how to beat the races is test that Mix against several 5.5 dirt races at Belmont to see how it holds up. We could do that fairly easily by using the ALL RACES REPORT (Sorry, available to subscribers only) and pull up some past cards at Belmont using that mix to see how it would have done. We would check the accuracy of that mix across several races and tweak it until we have a Mix that picks frequent winners.

The Rankings feature is an excellent tool to use when creating mixes and gives you a great idea of what factors were the most predictive in any given race. Using the Rankings feature in conjunction with MixMaker will help you build profitable mixes in very little time.

Best of luck!

Horse Information Screen Updates

We have improved the horse information screen at Betmix, and the new features will allow you to dig deeper into the horse's past performances to spot a potential winner.

When you click on a horse's name in any screen (except the All Races Report) the horse info box will pop up. This is where you can scratch a horse and see more details about their past performance data, connections, bloodlines, etc.

We have expanded the past race data to 10 races, added race number, post position, Jockey, track condition and number of starters. The most important addition is the ability to click on past races. This will allow you to easily open up a past race and see what conditions are similar to today’s race.

The dates for races from the current year will appear in Blue. When you click on the date, that race will open up in a new window.

The info box in the example above is for STRAPPING GROOM who ran Aug 12th at Saratoga in the 8th race. He won and paid $9.20. Looking at the race info box we see that he won on June 26 at Belmont, and lost on 19 July at Saratoga. What clues do those races provide about how he may run today?

If you click on the Belmont race on 26 June, it will open in a new window. We know that he won that race, so we can click on the RANKINGS button to see what factors he was ranked highly in on that day.


Strapping Groom was #3 in that race, and we see that he ranked 1st in several Pace Categories. Last E1 and E2 as well as Avg. E1 and E2. He had an early pace advantage and won the race.


In the Saratoga race on July 19th, Strapping Groom (#9) ran 5th. The pace scenario was much different for him on that day and he did not enjoy an early lead.

Now, look at the pace scenario for his race on August 12th


Yesterday’s Pace scenario looked more similar to the winning race in July at Belmont. He was 2nd in last E1, and First in last E2 as well as 2nd in Avg of E1 and E2. The pace was going to set up more to his liking than it did in the July 19th race at Saratoga, it did and he won paying $9.20.

As you can see, using the links to compare previous winning races to today’s races will provide you with another powerful handicapping tool. This is just one example of how you can use the past races to gain an edge in today's races. You can also look at past races for a big odds on favorite and see if he might be vulnerable if today's race does not seem as ideal for him as his past races.