Old Horse Racing Books, Same Horse Racing Problems; TV & the Derby

With apologies to Messers Beyer, AInslie et al, my most favorite handicapping book is Thoroughbred Handicapping, State of the Art, by William L. Quirin. Quirin's work was outside the box, whereby he was one of the first to look at a handicapping angle, and instead of showing a race where a horse won using it, drilled down into the data and created impact values and profit ($net).

Rereading the book, I had to chuckle at several instances, when we compare racing to today.

In one section, Quirin looked at the angle "closer to the lead". This angle did provide a flat bet profit, but did even better when filtered with "returned within ten days". One would think out of the 267 horses he looked at with this angle very few would have "returned within ten days", but 66 of them did. The horse he used to show what the angle looked like in the PP's was Crockford Lad, who in 1982 raced 22 times. He was making his fifth start on February 27th 1983.

This is a far cry from today, of course. I think even Richard Dutrow might say "those are some quick wheelbacks"

In another section he looked at supertrainer Oscar Barrera. Most New York fans who played in the 1980's will remember his stock vividly. He was the "off the claim move up" guy that we see so often today.

Here are a couple of gems:

"Ardent Bid who was 2 for 23 before being claimed won his next five of seven, the first of which four days after being claimed, two classes higher"

"Hot Words was 3 for 23 before being claimed for $7500. He won his first start four days later and won an allowance race two weeks later"

The more things change, in this case, the more they stay the same.

A few pages later, Quirin writes a short paragraph on drugs.

"When a claiming trainer develops a hot hand suddenly, the question of drugs arises. The trainer will ride the crest of the wave until the streak is broken, when a racetrack's chemists devise a test to identify the drug. Although patently unfair to rival horsemen, situations like this actually favor the astute handicapper."


"Florida is attempting to ban bute and lasix, and the trainers are boycotting the entry box in protest. What this country needs is a uniform set of rules applying to all states, and full disclosure in the Racing Form past performances of each horse's prior and current use of drugs."

It was coincidental that today a Joe Drape piece popped up in the New York Times that said the USADA is looking to take over medication rulings and reform in the US for horse racing. 

Joe Drape didn't create this problem, and neither did Senator Udall. It's been around forever, or at least since 1984 when Quirin's fine book was published.


Indulto looked at some solutions in response to one of my posts here at PTP, on TV and the Derby. He has some ideas that I agree with - namely software and giving fans more so they can make their own picks.

Steam-o-rama: Orb is the horse that clockers and the industry are both in love with. If this horse wins, horse racing will be a happy puppy.


ron said...

Spring/summer 1983 is the year i got hooked on the game. My dad and his best friend were aquaintances with Quirin, so i read quirin's first book religiously. State of the art came out the next yr. I cut high school to go to belmont more times than I care to admit that spring.

Unknown said...

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