From The Desk Of Michael Pizzolla
April 30, 2010
Las Vegas, Nevada
Dear Handicapper and Friend:
The 136th Kentucky Derby is running tomorrow, Saturday, May 1st, and I have already gotten emails from acquaintances, people I’ve played golf with once 7 years ago, friends of friends from 9 countries around the world, all with the same question.
Who do you like?
For some, I understand. I know it’s the wrong question, but they are not investors in this game, but casual observers, they’re looking for a scrap of information or a horse, something on which to put a $2 bet, or to look good in front of their friends.
It would be like someone asking me what computer they should buy.
They know I work on computers, figure I know something, and so it seems a natural question.
To answer it, I need to know what they want to do on it, where they will be computing, what their budget is, and dozens of other details to make an intelligent answer.
So it is with the Derby.
To answer the ‘who do you like question’, I really need to know who’s asking.
To the very casual fan, I may say something like, well X is probably the best colt in the race, but I’m going to take a shot with colt Y.
They don’t need to know about pace scenarios, off tracks, and all the rest.
The last thing, the VERY last thing they want to hear, is that I don’t have an opinion.
I HAVE to have an opinion, after all. I’m an expert after all.
Well, sometimes, honestly, it’s hard to have an opinion in a race like this year’s Kentucky Derby. At least one on which I’m willing to bet seriously.
As an aside, I want to let you in on something that struck me as really funny.
I sit on the Board of Directors of the Las Vegas Country Club. On that Board are some prominent members of Las Vegas society, chairmen of banks, owners of mega companies, attorneys, and one strange one who sits with his MacBook Pro open and does something with the horses and zen. Or at least that’s how one of the Board members described me.
Anyway, we had our monthly Board meeting this past Wednesday. It was a marathon, decisions on the course, dress code, tournaments, the usual nonsense that goes on. The last item on the Agenda was a vague one, and curious. But I knew it was about me.
So, the high priests of the Club turn to me and one of them says, ‘So?’
He said, ‘So, who is it in the Derby?’
Well, I figured 4 years on that Board was enough, like having root canal without Novocain every month of the year.
And so I told them the truth:
I have no idea.
I thought it so funny, sitting there in my Bobby Jones navy blazer with the gold buttons, tweed pants, conservative tie, talking with the Board about a horse race (only in Vegas!), knowing that as soon as the meeting was over, I’d be heading to a local race book where, despite my attire, I would be much more in my element.
For all my comments about Mr. MOTO in the race books, at least everyone knows that it’s mano a mano, and BS doesn’t work at the parimutuel windows! I feel so much more at home there than in that stuffy Board room!
I remember reading a collection of ee cummings poetry called ‘Damn Everything But The Circus’, and I often think, sitting there in the race book, the parade of races going by, opportunities for great value bets showing up often enough to make some nice profit, I often think, ‘Damn Everything But The Race Track.’
I do love this game.
So, before getting to the Derby, a disclaimer:
When I talk about a race, whether the Derby or some run of the mill claimer, I am NOT touting a horse or horses, nor trying to show how clever I am.
As is inevitable when one bets value and price horses, there are more losers than winners. Because of the prices, the few winners more than make up for the losers, and that way profit lies.
I’m merely sharing with you my thinking process about a race, in the hope you can use some of the insights in your own handicapping.
They are just individual races in a sea of races, and on big days such as Kentucky Derby, I find myself much interested in the undercards and the ‘minor’ tracks. I sense 2010 will be much the same.
There are 21 tracks running on Saturday on which I can wager in Las Vegas, 15 tracks that are not booked at the race books in Vegas.
So I only have 213 races to review.
A couple of years ago, this would have been an almost impossible task. Now that I have Black Magic: Ultimate Handicapper Software, it’s a lot more manageable.
My big secret, my big advantage is this:
Rather than get drowned in the sea of information that’s available to the horseplayer on line and otherwise, I have a tool that lets me manage that information effortlessly, so I can focus on where the opportunities are, to whittle those 213 races to a manageable handful that have situations in which I like to invest.
That’s the real ‘magic’ in the Black Magic program. Sure, the numbers are great, the odds line unsurpassed, the patterns winnowed from decades of research. It’s my baby, of course I feel that way.
Where it really shines, though, is in handling the tens of thousands of details in seconds and presenting the races in which there may be value.
First, the Kentucky Derby.
If this was a normal day, a normal race, and I saw what Black Magic showed me, I would have immediately turned the digital page.
My odds line STARTS at 11-1. That means if the race were run 12 times, my top horses would win ONCE.
Meaning I would need 20-1 to start being interested.
On top of that, there are 11, that’s ELEVEN, horses above the random line, that means with a better than random chance of winning the race.
Translation: I have no idea about this race.
On top of that there are 6 Reversal races going on: 1. The Arkansas Derby, 2. The Blue Grass, 3. The Louisiana Derby, 4. The Wood Memorial (with the actual huge winner of that race missing from the Derby), 5. The Illinois Derby, and 6. The Santa Anita Derby.
Top of my line at 11-1 is the 4, Super Saver, who finished second in the Arkansas Derby to the 5, Line of David, the Fulcrum horse in the race. Seems a small exacta may be in order, as the 5 is listed 30-1 morning line.
Second on the line is the probable favorite, the 1, Lookin at Lucky. Also at 11-1 on the Black Magic line, this is going to be a massive underlay.
Then there are three horses listed at 13-1, the 18, Backtalk, 50-1 morning line, the 12, Conveyance, 12-1 morning line, and the 17, Dublin, also 12-1 morning line.
I’ve looked and looked, and I can make cases for several other horses, but again, this is not a race I can bet seriously.
I will bet it, but only because it’s the Derby, and heck, I’m supposed to.
A 5 horse tri box using the 4, 1, 18, 12, and 17. A tri part wheel with the 5 in the middle, 4,1,18,12,17 WITH 5 WITH 4,1,18,12,17.
Depending on the win odds, I’ll have my win bet or bet on the ones with the highest odds.
The 5 horses have a nice mix of latish horses, 1, 17, 18, and early horses, 4 and 12.
The Projected Pace Scenario of the race is Unknown, according to Black Magic, and echoes my confusion about it as well.
I can see the 12, 7, 15, 20, 5, and even 4 going out early, but then again, the jocks know that there’s a lot of speed, and may try to conserve the horses. The probable favorite 1, Looking For Lucky is stuck down on the rail and may be forced to go out earlier than he would like.
Positionally, in addition to the 17 and 18, I can see the 16, Awesome Act, the 6, Stately Victor, and the 9, Make Music For Me, closing if and only if the speed collapses.
Analysis past this point is pure guesswork.
Again, depending on the odds, I may take additional tri boxes, one boxing the early horses, one with the late horses.
Then there’s the issue of the predicted off track.
Many of the colts have never run on an off track, and most of the colts have adequate off track breeding.
I do note that one of the bombs, the 18, Backtalk, is 2 for 2 on an off track.
So, that’s what I’m going to do in the Derby, treat it as a purely recreational bet, try to win a lot for a little, and not get caught up in all the hoopla.
Now to the potential value investments in the under cards.
I’ve looked at these races briefly, and much will be dependent on the odds and track conditions.
If the Turf races are taken off the Turf, I pass.
Philadelphia 2nd. Top of my line is the 7, Ms. Freightshaker, 9/2 on my line, 8-1 ml, right below it is the 5, Illustrater, 5-1 my line, 10-1 ml. The usual suspects, the 8, 6 (Fulcrum), 1 and 3 are right below it. Will watch the board if they take Philly tomorrow in Vegas.
Pimlico 3rd race, the 3, Belgian Beer gets a strong Black Magic Odds Line of 5/2, and while the ml is 5-1, the Contention is 9-1, meaning if I can get a nice 6 or 7 to 1 I may invest.
Arlington 3rd, a Turf race, there are potential bombs if I can get by the big favorite, the 7, Chantilly lady. I’m looking at the 2, Archipelago. I’ll hook her up with the other long prices in the line, the 5, Laguna Amiga, and the 3, Landers. Depending on the odds, the 7 and maybe even 6 will find their way into the tri box.
Philadelphia 6th race, at the very top of my line is a closer and a Sustained horse in a Highly Pressured race, the 11, Crafty Bill. 10-1 ml, will need something along those lines to bet (again if it’s being booked in Vegas). looking to use the 7, and 3 as prices, the 8 is the Fulcrum, but off a layoff, price will dictate, and the 6 is the other closer. May be a nice opportunity.
Churchill 8th, the Humana Distaff. It’s a very weak line, and there should be lots of amateur money in the pool. The 3, Informed Decision will be the favorite, but doesn’t look like a world beater to me. Will focus on the 8, Rated Feisty, the Fulcrum, and the only horse with an Advanced Form Pattern in the race, looks like it had a workout race last out off a layoff, could be a nice price (12-1 ml, 10-1 Contention Line). Will also use the 7, Cassidy’s Pride (also 12-1 ML) and may dabble with the 2 and 4 in tri boxes.
Pimlico 6th, Highly Pressured race, one closer, one Sustained runner, the 4, Bernadette’s Song, 4-1 on the Black Magic line (second on the line to the Fulcrum, the 1, Sages Conniption), 8-1 on Contention and 10-1 Morning Line. This is a bet for me. Don’t know about the exotics, as the 1, 2, 3, and 7 are all short prices, but you never know on Derby Day.
Belmont 7th, a Turf race, caught my eye only because a potential bomb was in the top odds cluster, the 2, South Fourth St., well bred for the turf, but has never run on the turf before. 30-1 morning line, 3rd on my line at 7-1. The favorite, the 4, Straight Story, is on a layoff since November, may come up short. So, will use the 2 with the probable favorites, the 4 and 9 (which to be fair ARE at the top of the line at 5-1 and 6-1, but will be underlays) and the 10, Dantastic, and the 5, Pegasus Tommy D., the Fulcrum. A speculative investment, but a chance to risk a little and make a lot.
Louisiana 8th, a Highly Pressured Race. There are two closers, the 3, Overnight Flight, and the 6, Air Combat. They are 1st and 3rd on the Black Magic line, the 3 is listed as 12-1 morning line, at around 10-1 may take an investment, although he’s been off since March. The usual suspects are the 8 and the 7, but the 2, at 20-1 ml may sneak into the trifecta.
Prairie Meadows 4. Another potential speculative investment, the 2, Kafleen, is at the top of the line at 7/1. It’s based on numbers from Remington Park, if those numbers translate, it may be a good investment. This mare is at the top of the line at 7/2, 25-1 Contention, and 12-1 Morning Line. At a big price, I will take a win bet.
Mountaineer 10th, ah, my style, a $5,000 claimer, top of my line is the 8, Landry, 3rd off a layoff, reverses the 1, Ok Bay, listed at 8-1 ml, may be a nice play as by 7:45 PM, there can’t be much smart money in the pools.
Well, that’s a brief look at the Derby and the undercards.
Be cautious about getting involved in Highly Pressured races if the tracks come up sloppy, as that scenario is less likely to develop. Again, races taken off the Turf are passes to me.
I advise looking at those races and applying your handicapping insights to see if you can spot value investments in them. At this point, I see them as only potential investments, and the track conditions and board odds will dictate whether to invest or pass.
Thank you so much for all the kind emails, well wishes, and letting me know of your progress. I really appreciate it.
Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or to let me know how it’s going. As this is Derby weekend, it may take a little bit to get back to you. You can see the latest goings-on at Post Time by visiting http://www.posttimedaily.com
One last thing. In answer to the many inquiries I’ve gotten about when Black Magic will be open again, the good news is that it will be opened again starting tomorrow, May 1st, and going through the Belmont Stakes.
I am personally involved on a daily basis supporting the Wizards on the Forum, so I have to keep the numbers limited. They get personal coaching from me on the Forum and a full length DVD every month from yours truly, and it’s a tremendous amount of work, but I am so pleased with the progress I see with the Wizards, and the scores they post, I can’t even begin to say.
As an added sweetener, those of you who get Black Magic: The Ultimate Handicapper during the 2010 Triple Crown Season will receive a copy of the latest DVD set, ‘Mastering The Art Of Handicapping And Value Investment’, 15 DVDs, Manual, special StackTech™ upgrade for Black Magic), valued at around $1,500, normally sells for $497, as a free bonus with your getting Black Magic.
Any application for Black Magic made between tomorrow and Belmont Stakes day will automatically get a copy of this course. I’ve never gotten so much positive feedback about any other Seminar course, many have found it an utter game changer.
If you’re interested, go to http://www.posttimedaily.com, and you’ll see banners about Black Magic and ‘Mastering the Art’ right on top. But remember, only apply for the Black Magic, and you’ll be sent a copy of the ‘Mastering The Art Of Handicapping And Value Investment’ as a special free Triple Crown bonus.
Good luck on Derby Day and always!
Remember to make the bet make you,
All the best,
Post Time Solutions, Inc.
2900 South Rancho Drive
Las Vegas, NV 89102
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