Friday, June 24, 2022

Watching Replays

DeRosa, and others, are talking about the importance of watching or not watching replays to handicap. It's a discussion I always find interesting. 

Like almost everything in this game, to me this is a matter of personal preference and what works for us. If we believe watching a replay makes us play the game more profitably, go for it. If not, and our time is spent better on other things, then we probably shouldn't. 

Do we have to watch replays to win? Absolutely not; players who play solely on performance or speed figures, along with pace scenarios or whatever else, do win. Conversely, people who watch replays can win as well. I believe, like a lot of things in handicapping, it's about knowing what we're good at, and knowing what we're doing. 

For newer players in the Thoroughbred game, replay watching is wading into a deep pool. We could see a horse look terrible in the last sixteenth, but the race was at 6 furlongs and this horse needs to be stretched out. Smart replay watchers discount this and wager, while others just see a dead horse. Sharp players (sharper than me!) can decipher a horse's action on a replay, with style and surface. For newer players this is like reading Latin. 

I respect those who put in the time to watch replays. Smart players like Chris Larmey or Mike Maloney (and many contest players) can make scores the sheets and the numbers don't see well. But trying to emulate them is pretty darn tough, in my view. 

Over to harness racing, replay watching is somewhat different. The race is one standard mile, the horses race each week, and trip can be just about everything. We can see who is live or dead, and especially for young horses, we can see how the horse paces or trots. 

Someone asked me today who I liked at the Big M, with their complete set of two year old races tonight. I can see who I like on the form, and these horses might win, but I don't have two hours today to dive into replays (luckily this blog piece took ten minutes).  I want to ensure my horse was not all out, was pacing or trotting like a good horse should, that the driver was confident. I won't dive into these races, for example, without a replay. 

A caveat of course, like with the Thoroughbreds, this doesn't mean one can't win without watching replays. The teams can and do. And if everyone is watching a replay and see that horse locked and loaded, is it worth 7-5 this time, or is the horse overbet because of replay? Again, that's simply a numbers game, and the numbers guys and gals are good at it. 

Have a nice Friday everyone, and whether you watch replays or not, good luck this weekend at the windows. 

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