The Bottom Line
- Useful update of Litfin's pivotal 1995 work of the same name
- Adjusts 1995 techniques to 2008 realities
- Can be helpful to horseplayers at all levels of bankroll and skill
- No fault was found. Litfin successfully educates the reader on modern betting techniques
- Condition Analysis and Speed Figures: explosive horses, forging horses, the recovery line, the bounce, pair-ups
- Beyond Figures: expanded past performances, Tomlinson ratings, trainers, workouts
- Playing the Game Today: Polytrack, track profiles, bankroll allocation, value, the Pick 4, evaluating favorites
- The Handicapper's Handbook: The bettor's best bet -- big event days, Preakness Day 2004, Belmont Stakes Day 2006.
Guide Review - Expert Handicapping
The introduction of synthetic surfaces to American racing signals the biggest change to handicapping in recent memory, with long-held beliefs thrown out the window in many cases, such as the Keeneland speed bias. Assumptions about Polytrck such as consistently slow times and a closer bias also fail, with winners coming from anywhere in the pace scenario, and synthetics can actually be tweaked the way dirt was, and could be made faster or slower at the whims of the track superintendent. More data is needed, but track profiles will eventually prove more valuable, as they had always been with dirt.
Speed figure analysis has been around since the 1970's, but in today's world, betting the "fastest" horse likely gets you an underlay if not the heavy favorite. Today, form cycle analysis is the name of the name, using past figures to predict today's form; will a horse run the "race of his life" or is he on the downswing? Litfin also draws on competing products The Sheets and Thoro-Graph to further demonstrate form cycles. A long-time angle which has returned to the forefront is the often underestimated influence of trainers. A careful study of trainers' angles can lead to a profitable day. Litfin shows us how the new DRF with expanded past performance data reveals many the trainer angles needed for profitable play. Along with the Tomlinson ratings, these innovations were not in the DRF when the first edition of the book was published.