Sunday, December 22, 2019

Pitching the Chalk

If you follow Inside the Pylons on twitter, you'll often hear him talk about taking stands against any heavy chalk with holes.

This is tough for a lot of folks because often times that chalk (probably over 70% of the time) will hit the ticket and your tickets are toast. This is not even montioning (for casual bettors especially) psychologically it's hard to go against the crowd because of FOMO and prospect theory.

What warm and cuddly ITP will tell you though, is that if you do invest in such races, when you win, you can really, really get paid.

Last night we had a couple of these races, one at the start of the Mohawk card and one at the end of the Big M card.

In the first race, the very clever Ryan Willis noted to me that the heavy chalk at Mohawk - a brother to Warawee Ubeuat - looked rather odd on the far turn last week. He wondered why the driver let another horse look him in the eye, which is usually not a good strategy. It was a very minor thing, but it was something that perhaps foretold some gait issues.

The horse ran out at 1-2 because of those gait issues.

The tri with a 5-1, 6-1 and 10-1 morning line horses running one through three paid $1,700. The superfecta paid $7,000.

In the last race at the Big M there was another one of these nuanced pitches. Chris Ryder's horse bled last time and was adding lasix. His form before this was pretty poor as well, but the horse had massive back class. He was bet completely off the board to 3-5.

To wager the horse, we have to assume lasix is going to completely turn this horse around. This can happen, but often times this is a pattern seen in barns. So, when we check how well Ryder - a great horseman, but one not overly concerned with his win percentage - has done first time lasix, we see it hasn't been good at all. In fact, when I looked back I didn't even find a single horse who won first out.

He also ran out.

In this short field affair, with the three completely logical horses running 1,2,3, the tri paid a whopping $580. The super paid $2,400 for a buck. There was nothing remotely difficult in hitting both. You didn't even need to handicap.

We can't beat every chalk, but we can beat some. And when we have nuanced reasons to pitch one - like in the above two examples from last night - we have to take our shots, because if we're right, it can make the month.

Have a nice Sunday everyone.

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