Free Handicapping Essay: The Single Sizzler

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Read the Essay to see how one current TIPS Report subscriber used The Single Sizzler to isolate a $69 winner plus learn how to spot such a horse!


How to Spot The Tom Worth "Single Sizzler"
by Jon Worth

My father, Tom Worth, started researching and writing about thoroughbred horse racing when he came home from the Army after the end of WWII, but it wasn’t until the 1970s when his handicapping clients started the tradition of contributing “words of wisdom” in the form of improvements to his various handicapping factors and methods as well as constructive suggestions. My dad took stock of it all. He would test the suggested improvements, and if they held up he would incorporate them into his next publication with the permission of the handicapper. This working together at furthering everyone’s handicapping education, (including his own!), very much appealed to him, especially since he was an educator by trade, having earned his Master’s Degree in Education.

The tradition of sharing insights and improvements continues today. We have among our readership many sharp and insightful handicappers who share their “their reports from the field,” as my father would say. Such reports ultimately improve our collective skill level for handicapping the races.
 

The Single Sizzler
As a testament to this tradition, a handicapper from Maryland recently emailed me in regard to a concept my father had developed in the 1980’s, “The Single Sizzler.” He was a customer of Tom's going back to the 1970s and just recently used my dad's Single Sizzler to isolate a $69.00 winner! More on that further down the page. 

Mention of the Single Sizzler brought back welcome memories. In fact, for my first visit solo to the Connecticut OTB parlor, my dad gave me a selection he isolated using “The Single Sizzler.” I had previously gone with my father a few times, including a couple of times with his longtime friend and fellow handicapper, Walt Owen, but this time I headed there on my own. 
 
At that point in time, my father had schooled me in some of the basics of handicapping, which I thoroughly enjoyed, but after a couple of months it still took me 2 or 3 hours to review a card. On this particular day, I had finished my own handicapping, and I let him know I was ready to leave for the OTB. He asked if he could examine the Daily Racing Form briefly before I went. He looked it over for perhaps 3 or 4 minutes, wrote down his wager, gave me the money for it and wished me well. 
 
I made his wager, but before I did I noted his selection was far different from the one I was making in the same race. As I reexamined the race, I didn't understand how he picked his horse.
 
The Connecticut OTB parlors back then did not have any video or TV monitors, only the audio call of the track announcer. Thus, as soon as he intoned, "they're in the gate" all talk ceased abruptly until the announcer shouted excitedly, "they're off!" As I recall, the only mention of my selection was when the track announcer listed the order of the horses as they settled in during the running of the race. My selection finished well out of the money. On the other hand, my father’s Single Sizzler selection was in the thick of the action, and as the horses bounded toward the finish line, his horse nosed in front and held on to win. Better yet, his selection paid over $20 to win for each $2 wagered!
 
As noted, my dad handicapped this race in just a couple of minutes, and now 30 years later I realize that if you know what to look for in certain situations, you really do not need to look much longer. But all those years ago, I reexamined his selection and could not see anything that warranted my dad's wager and could not see why my selection had run out. I thought about this as I drove the 45 minutes home. 
 
When I handed my dad his winnings, I immediately asked him how in just a few minutes he spotted a well-meant long shot. What he showed me was an approach he had recently developed titled The Single Sizzler.” This concept is particularly effective with maidens and younger horses.
 
My dad had a couple of ways a horse could qualify as a Single Sizzler, (SS), both of which require the Tom Worth Workout Rating Table which you will find in your TIPS Update or on this page on our website.


First Way to Isolate a Single Sizzler
Look for a horse who has the fastest workout showing, preferably the horse’s most recent workout, though Tom would accept the next to last, or even the workout prior to that, provided it was within a time frame of about the last 30 days. When examining the past performances for a qualifying work, the standards varied a bit depending on the level of racetrack. For example, at New York he was looking for a minimum of two ‘5’ rated workouts or preferably one ‘6’ or faster rated workout, using our Workout Rating Table. Also, generally speaking, especially for the New York major tracks, the longer the fast, qualifying workout the better, at least 5 furlongs, although he would accept a 4 or occasionally 3 furlong workout, closer to race day the better.
 Understandably, when my father was handicapping lower level tracks, (Suffolk Downs, Rockingham, Pimlico, etc.), he lowered his minimum standard for qualifying fast workouts, and Single Sizzler status as well.

In getting back to the Maryland handicapping, it was very nice to hear how his use of the Single Sizzler method and was especially nice to hear how he hit a $69.00 winner using it! He explained how he made a modification or two which helped him collect on a $15 winner that week as well. We will examine those 2 races more in-depth along with his refinements in an upcoming issue of the TIPS Report.

In the meantime and for purposes of this essay, we’ll briefly discuss two recent races using the original Single Sizzler and one other related facet to it that my father used in the 1980’s with great success.


The Second Way to Spot a Single Sizzler
The other way to isolate a Single Sizzler is: 

  1. spot a horse with 3 or 4 qualified fast workouts as determined by our Workout Rating Table; and then
  2. using the Workout Rating Table, tally the ratings of this horse’s workouts, looking for a total of 19 or higher for 3 fast workouts and at least 21 for 4 fast workouts.
If, for example, the horse reached a ‘19’ total with 3 works, this meant that at least one of the 3 workouts rated higher than a ‘6’! These are very fast works indeed, especially for the eastern and Midwest tracks. Such a horse is a Single SizzlerYou can see an actual example below with Vapor Cloud.

Examples
Last week, on July 23, 2015, there was a horse who fit the guidelines to a “t” for a Single Sizzler, and it was a selection I gave out to to subscribers to our daily selection service. The qualifying Single Sizzler was Vapor Cloud in the 3rd at Arlington, on the turf, with morning line odds of 4-1. In the Selection Service email, I noted:
“very good signals mostly; trainer having awful meet” and for myself I was planning “1.5 - 2 units to win @3-1 or > and 8-9 units to show, not odds dependent”
 
Indeed, Vapor Cloud was showing strong signals:
  1. Cloud had an excellent rider named today, Florent Geroux, currently winning 23% at the Arlington meet. In addition, Geroux is on a ‘hot streak’ of sorts with 5 wins in the last 7 days and 60% in-the-money.
  2. While Cloud was in a maiden special weight last race and was in one again today, she is dropping down in class from a much classier special weight last out and with a purse nearly 3 times that of today’s $21,600 purse.
  3. Cloud qualifies for a very powerful move, especially with maidens, namely our Well Spaced Workout Pattern TIP, (WSWP), which also included a Wound Up Tight, (WUT tipoff), maneuver within the WSWP. While these two complementary trainer moves can be helpful in spotting a well meant and very ‘in shape’ horse for any type of race, they are most effective in maiden races. 
  4. She showed an excellent “closing punch” in her debut, (2 races ago at Arlington), gobbling up ground to finish a close up 4th.  While early speed can and often is very important, particularly in maiden races, closing power should not be underestimated, especially in maiden races.
  5. Finally, but certainly not least, Vapor Cloud qualified for a very powerful Single Sizzler workout aggregate speed total for 4 workouts:  ‘7’ rated workout on July 15, 2015, [most recent], ‘5’ rated work, ‘6’ rated workout, and another ‘6’ rated workout. When you tally these speed ratings the total is terrific—‘24’ which more than qualifies for the minimum of ‘21’ for 4 fast workouts.

While my dad did require the ‘21’ minimum for 4 fast workouts for the major New York tracks, he did use his judgment by asking for a lower minimum at Suffolk, Penn National, Rockingham and places such as those, which were more toward the bottom tier tracks. Places like Monmouth and Meadowlands during that time period, (early 1980s), were ‘mid-level’ tracks. Arlington, in 2015, would qualify as a ‘mid-level’  or lower mid-level track, meaning that based on purse value it does not qualify for the top level such as Belmont, Aqueduct, Saratoga, Gulfstream.

So because Vapor Clouds workout ratings totaled to 24, this more than qualifies for the minimum acceptable at a top level track. Thus logic tells us that at a mid-level track this horse is an extremely qualified Single Sizzler! The other positive factors noted gave me more confidence that this horse was more than primed and ready for today's race.
 
In addition, Vapor Cloud qualified as a Fitness Factor selection. Using the Single Sizzler in conjunction with our Fitness Factor spot play is like having “bottled lightning” in that this horse could be very explosive! 
 
We have received tremendous feedback about the Fitness Factor and now with many maiden races carded for the summer and fall, including numerous ones for 2 year olds, now is an ideal time to capitalize on these races using the Fitness Factor. Long time TIPS handicappers will certainly remember Art Baker. He wrote us after using the Fitness Factor for several weeks, that he thought that it was “the finest spot play we had yet produced.”
 
The only reason Vapor Cloud was not a qualified Best Bet was because, as I noted in the email, his trainer, Pessin, was having a tough year, logging just 7% wins overall and had yet to saddle a winner at Arlington. In fact, the trainer’s current slump was the reason I recommended that most of the wager be put to show as he had saddled so few winners, but with both the Fitness Factor and Single Sizzler qualifications, Vapor Cloud seemed to be primed to finish in-the-money.
 
The results? Here is the chart caller note:
“Vapor Cloud was rated tracking just off the first flight outside a rival racing to the backstretch, made a steady advance to terms with the leader racing into the far turn, took over from that one after six furlongs and was roused clear through the stretch under firm left handed encouragement”
 
Perhaps this is a bit of an understatement, as Fitness Factor selections tend to have “power in reserve” and often come on in the latter stages of a race and indeed, Cloud did just that, going from 3rd to 1st quickly at the ¾ mark, and steadily pulling away to win by 3½ lengths. 
 
Cloud returned:  $6.80 win, $4 place and $3.80 show.
 
Opening weekend at Saratoga provided two more terrific selections, both qualified Fitness Factor entries, and one of which was also a “Single Sizzler”. 
 
On July 25, 2015, in Race 1 at Saratoga, the selection was War Stroll who was 8-1 in the morning line. I recommended the following to my Selection Service clients: 1 – 1.5 units to win for odds of 6-1 or more; 5 – 6 units to show; ½ unit for an exacta with the #7 over the #4 and #3; and another ½ unit exacta with the #3 and #4 over the #7.
 
War Stroll was an excellent Fitness Factor selection. It’s interesting and important to note that we’ve studied and written a lengthy essay in the TIPS Report about combining  the Fitness Factor with horses who are well bred and whose parent have shown success at producing progeny that win. While War Stroll did not qualify as a Single Sizzler, he indeed qualified for being a horse born to a dam who has shown excellent success with offspring who win. Stroll was not able to get up for the win, but Stroll did manage second at nearly 10-1! Stroll returned $7.60 place and a terrific $6.20 show! This was enough to earn an excellent ROI on this race.
 
Later in the day, in the 7th at Saratoga, Clothes Fall Off and Paid Up Subscriber were the only 2 entries who qualified as both Single Sizzler & Fitness Factor selections. The #1, Sister Margaret, came close but was a bit below the other 2 in qualifying for the Single Sizzler. I used a bit of judgment and went with Clothes Fall Off because another factor tipped the balance in her favor. I did not bet any $ to win on Clothes Fall Off, (8-1 Morning Line), but I did make a 6-unit show wager on Clothes Fall Off at 9/2.

The results? The two Single Sizzler/Fitness Factor horses came in 1st and 2nd, with Paid Up Subscriber holding on by a nose over Clothes Fall Off, who paid $5.10 place and $4.10 show. The exacta of Clothes Fall Off and Paid Up Subscriber paid $41.20. I was briefly disappointed I did not wager to win on both horses or make an exacta box; however, the show wager on Clothes provided a very good profit from the race and an excellent ROI - nearly doubling the entire wager, which is what it’s all about.

All in all, a horse who is both a Single Sizzler and a Fitness Factor should by all means should make for a strong selection.

 
The bullet workouts are of course the easiest to spot when looking for a Single Sizzler, but you should actively refer to our Workout Table for spotting qualified fast rated workouts.
 
Thank you to our Maryland handicapper who emailed and reminded me about my dad's Singler Sizzler. I also want to thank Al Patini who nearly 15 years ago developed 10% or faster workout TIP which can also prove extremely useful to us handicappers as well as in isolating qualified Single Sizzlers

Keep me posted if you've spotted any Single Sizzlers! As always, please email or call if you have any questions.

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