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      Essay: Contender Screen for Graded Stakes Races for Older Horses

Spring into Action

A simple yet effective strategy for handicapping older horses in Graded Stakes Races, along with my thoughts for the Kentucky Derby

The title above says it all in terms of the focus in this essay. As always, our goal is to keep our earnings consistent and strong. I believe the contender screen in this essay will help to that end.

Here we are, 2 weeks away from the Kentucky Derby, slated for May 2nd. 
There is no doubt about it, this is a very exciting time of the year for us handicappers! However, as much as we love to discuss and watch the Triple Crown Races, for most of us, our bread and butter races are all the other races which run most every day. For example we have Graded Stakes Races for 4 year olds and up to which we can look forward.

Thus, the focus of this essay is not to discuss the Triple Crown, though I’m sure we will in a future date either as a prequel or as a post op. Rather, in this essay we’ll open with a brief discussion of stakes races for young horses, and then get to the main focus of this article, namely a simple yet highly effective contender screen for older horses in Graded Stakes races. Despite all the excitement and publicity and debate about the Kentucky Derby and The Triple Crown, the majority of Graded Stakes races are carded for older horses and not 2 or 3 year olds. 

First, I’ll preface my remarks by saying, I just love the excitement of watching the Kentucky Derby, Preakness, Belmont, and to a little lesser degree, the ‘prep’ races. As some of you know, I grew up seeing my dad handicap as well as discuss horse racing. I have fond childhood memories of watching the races with my father and uncle every year at this time. They just loved to watch them, especially the Triple Crown. My point here is simply that along with excitement surrounding the Triple Crown, I find this time of year to be a bit wistful.
Now, back to the heart of this Essay. In addition to the Summer/Fall stakes schedule for older horses, there is also the Breeders’ Cup, which as we all know is now a 2-day event and includes a number of stakes races for older horses. Additionally, there is a fair number of other races for older horses that are televised throughout the summer, but even if they weren’t a shared television experience, you can still handicap them in this age of the internet.
With younger horses, 2 and 3 year olds, there is usually more of the element of unpredictability. We’ve discussed this facet of handicapping many times, but a 2 or 3 year old horse is still maturing, and like a teenage human athlete, they may show a sudden terrific performance “out of nowhere” or sometimes they will have an unexpected downturn and decline in performance. For these young horses, many aspects of racing they will encounter will be new to them, and they may react in an unexpected fashion. It’s quite understandable. They are young, and like humans, each horse is unique as he grows and develops.
Generally, when I handicap 3 year old stakes horses, I like to look for those who are improving and also those who have had success at running in-the-money at today’s level. The next best factor I like to see with a 3 year old heading to the Kentucky Derby is a horse who shows a win or a 2nd place finish in a Grade 2 event, or even a 3rd place finish, especially if the horse appears to be on the improve. Seeing improvement is less important with 2 and 3 year olds, particularly those trying a new surface such as the turf in the Breeder’s Cup, especially if the horse has the pedigree for that surface. And naturally, I like to focus on Horse TIPS in the Kentucky Derby as well as in other races. However, one of the problems when handicapping the Derby is that it can be difficult to find an edge in Horse TIPS when the field is so large with 19 or 20 horses going. (
Horse TIPS are the main focus in a big and exciting way in the issue of the TIPS Report coming out early next week. If you don’t yet subscribe, now is an opportune time. Also, I give out my advice for Derby Day at the end of the essay.)

Now in terms of having a wagering strategy for Graded Stakes races, I’d like to start with a brief discussion Milton Weinblatt’s approach. Long time readers of the TIPS Report may be very familiar with this, but it is always good to review how other handicappers have succeeded. Milton evolved so much as a handicapper over the years, trying new approaches, new handicapping tools, and most of all, especially with maiden and Graded Stakes races, new wagering approaches.
Although Milton first alerted me to the ProfitLine handicapping tool 10 or 11 years ago, it wasn’t until about 6 years ago that he began utilizing it, along with his handicapping for Superfecta wagering mainly in maiden and Graded Stakes races. He would handicap the top 5 rated ProfitLine selections, searching for one that would ‘stick out.’ If he found such a horse, he usually wagered between $40 and $60, with a $10 - $15 win wager, backed up with a $30, $40, or ocassionally $50, show wager.
Occasionally his main wager would be show only, as he reasoned, especially in the Derby, Breeders’ Cup, etc., that the show mutuels would often be more generous than usual, $4, $4.80, $5, etc. However, Milton would also invest the $12 cost of a ten-cent Superfecta wager to box the top 5 ProfitLine selections. Often, the Superfecta payoff would be large enough to provide a profit overall, and sometimes the payoffs would be huge, comparatively, $200 to $300. Milton even had a couple of 10-cent Superfecta wagers which cashed for over $600! That is with just a $12 investment!
In the May/June 2014 TIPS Report, we profiled a handicapper from New York who followed Milton’s strategy and cashed a 10-cent Superfecta at Del Mar which paid over $8,000! The 10-cent super in that instance was worth over $800! Although Milton had first started using ProfitLine and incorporated it into his handicapping, it wasn’t for a few years when he began using it to help him experiment with Pick 3 wagers, and then later on with the 10-cent Superfecta. Triple Crown races, and even in the Breeders’ Cup.
You may be asking, “What does this have to do with Graded Stakes races and with the Kentucky Derby?” Well, Milton’s use of ProfitLine as a contender screen combined with his Superfecta wagering strategy is not just a dynamic and profitable approach, but it is also a quick and inexpensive way to ‘have something going’ on these huge racing days, such as the Kentucky Derby. The May/June 2012 TIPS Report profiles his idea of using his ProfitLine approach, and the large fields and potentially bigger payoffs that can mean on these huge racing days. We are offering a special package of his ProfitLine collection that can have you in the “winner’s circle.”
The rest of this essay will focus on a strategy we profiled in the TIPS Report, one that is tried and true, and one that can be an excellent contender screen for older Graded Stakes horses. My use of this strategy netted a huge profit in our Best Bets Selection Service on Saturday, March 21st, 2015. So that we are all on the same page, let’s refer to it as the “Grades Stakes/Older Horses” screen.
This contender screen is straightforward, very effective, and reduces the ‘guesswork.’ The gist of it is simple and may be obvious to many of you, and if it is, it’s always a good idea to review strategies that work.

1.  Look for horses who have succeeded at today’s level. Since this is a Grade 2 race, you are looking first for horses who have at least 1 win at this level.
2.  Next, accept 2nd or 3rd place finishes at today’s level.

The more finishes a horse shows which qualify, the better. For tiebreakers I look for success at a higher level. This race is a Grade 2, so you would look for the horse who have won or finished in-the-money in a Grade 1.
The fewer horses which pass this initial screen the better. With some of the big races, you may have multiple qualifiers, and then you must look for other factors, but for this essay, we’ll focus on the Graded Stakes/Older Horses screen to isolate our contenders.

Here's the selections for 03/21/2015

RE:   Best Bets Selection Service
Date: Saturday, March 21, 2015

Aqueduct – 8th Race
#1 Village Warrior - 3-1 mline
Planning a 1 unit wager to win and a 9 – 10 unit show bet

Gulfsteam - 7th Race
Grade 2 Stakes Race – “The Inside Information Stakes”
#3 SWEET WHISKEY - 3-1 mline
Planning an 8 – 9 unit show wager and
if post time odds are 5/2 or higher, then also a 1 unit win wager 

The Gulfstream race is carded for 7 furlongs for fillies and mares, 4 years olds and upward, with a purse of $200,000. As my father used to say, 7 furlongs can be a difficult distance, so, in addition to a horse passing my Graded Stakes/Older Horses screen, I prefer to see success at this distance.
Initially, there were 7 entries. However, #5, Quiet Hour scratched, leaving 6 going. Incidentally, Quiet Hour would have been eliminated anyway because nearly all of his races showing were optional claiming events, except for 2 ‘name handicap’ races with small purses, ($50,000 and $75,000), compared to today’s $200,000 prize. 
The initial handicapping of the remaining 6 horses went quickly because it was very easy to run each one through my Graded Stakes/Older Horses screen. I realize it would be easier for you to see this process if we could reprint the past performances in this Essay, but it is so straightforward I believe we’ll be able to do so with the description on whether or not the horses pass the screen.
The first post belongs to You Bought Her. She is pegged at 30-1 in the Morning Line. She won her last out at Tampa, at 6 furlongs, a name handicap, the Minaret with a $50,000 purse, and this is the highest level at which she has competed. She is certainly sharp of late, with 2 wins, (one a $32,000 Optional Claimer), and the Minaret last out. She has a few other positives, but since she hasn’t even competed in a Graded Stakes race, let alone won, or finished 2nd or 3rd, I eliminated her.
At even money the morning line favorite is Merry Meadow. It is easy to see why, as she crushed a small field of 5 in her last out, winning a Grade 3 race on Valentine’s Day at Gulfstream, which means she passes the Graded Stakes/Older Horses screen, though that race was at a lower level than today’s event. She has raced 3 times in a Grade 2 event with one of these racing resulting in a 3rd place finish, the Grade 2 Honorable Miss on July 28th at Saratoga. I’ll accept that so thus far this keeps Merry Meadow in the mix.
However, I want to find a stronger selection for two reasons. First and foremost, in Merry Meadow’s other two Grade 2 stakes efforts, the best she could manage were two 4th place finishes. Second, while she absolutely crushed that small field last out, winning by over 9 lengths, it was her first start off a layoff, and after going all out, I am a little leery of the ‘bounce’ effect today, especially since she will be going up in class.
Classic Point is 7/2 in the morning line. Point won her last race, the Grade 3 Go For Wand at Aqueduct at the end of November 2014. That is good news. Also good news is that trainer Jimmy Jerkens shows a juicy flat bet profit in Graded Stakes races. However, other than her win last out in a Grade 3 race, her record in Graded Stakes races has been inconsistent. She competed in two other Grade 3 races in her last 10 races, and finished 4th at Gulfstream in the Sugar Swirl, and 8th in the Bed of Roses, another Grade 3. She finished out, (5th), in the Grade 2 Gallant Bloom race at Belmont on 9-20-14. With this many out of the money finishes, you would expect she didn’t acquit herself well in the Grade 1 Phipps race in June of 2014, and indeed, she was outclassed, finishing 6th, (last). Verdict: Classic Point is another horse which passes the weakest version of this contender screen, and if there isn’t another horse who is more qualified, she is one whom I would consider, as she does well returning from a layoff, (which she is doing today), and she is training terrifically.
Centrique is 15-1 in the morning line. She competed at Gulfstream last time out in the same Grade race as favorite Merry Meadow. Centrique ran 4th, picking up a piece of the purse, but did not finish in-the-money. In December, she ran at Gulfstream in another Grade 3, finishing out, (5th). She ran in two Grade 2 races a year ago and finished 5th in one, (3-22-14 at Gulfstream), and did manage a 2nd place finish in a Grade 2 race at Laurel on 2-22-14. Centrique is another who passes, but her only in-the-money success, admittedly in a Grade 2 race, was over a year ago. I would prefer to see a more recent in-the-money finish, especially since she finished out in her 3 more recent Graded Stakes efforts.  Furthermore, she ran in 3 name handicaps from June to November and finished well out in her last two. These name handicaps are lower class races than a Grade 3, so while technically she does pass, it was a while ago. She did pass the screen, so we’ll examine her along with the other horses who passed the screen after we finish go through each horse the first time around. 
Best Behavior, slated at 12-1 in the morning line, shows only one Graded Stakes effort in her past performances. Behavior competed in a Grade 2 Stakes at Laurel last out, on Valentine’s Day. For a moment, she showed a bit of early speed, (1.5 lengths behind at the first call), hung in there in 4th, 3.5 lengths back by the 2nd call, before faltering and immediately being stuck in 10th, (last), and there she stayed until the finish line. All the rest of her races are allowance, optional claimers, and a few name handicap races. She performed well, winning one of the name handicap races. In addition, she finished 2nd twice in name handicaps; won 3 optional claimers; and finished 3rd in 2 allowance races a year ago, in February and March of 2014.
Behavior has carved out a decent and successful niche in allowance and optional claiming races and has definitely been successful of late in name handicap races with a victory and 2 second place finishes since November. In fact, she has won over $150,000 in the last 13 months, which of course shows she can win races, collecting a fair amount of money against pretty good competition. However, it is one thing to win optional claiming races, be competitive in allowance events, and win and finish 2nd twice in 4 name "handicap" events, but it is a whole different kettle of fish to jump up a few levels and begin knocking heads with some of the best of the best, just one level below the Grade 1 Stakes! 
This analogy could be akin to having a successful minor league baseball player, who is doing really well and consistently hitting the ball in Double AA professional ball, which is 2 levels below the Major Leagues. Let’s say the Major League club is in a bind because of injuries and decides to call this player up. He might get a few easy hits, but once he begins to face pitchers with a good curve ball or slider, suddenly he is making a lot of outs, and the pitchers make him look foolish at the plate more often than not.
Similarly, usually an older horse like Best Behavior, who has been winning races and money in allowance and name handicap races, will be trounced against graded, especially Grade 2 or Grade 1, stakes horses.
Finally, we’ll examine Sweet Whiskey, who is trained by Todd Pletcher, who as we all know oversees a huge and extremely successful operation loaded with star equine athletes. However, while Pletcher trains a host of extremely successful Graded Stakes winners, what really matters here is whether Whiskey is going to measure up today against her competitors. Whiskey is 4 years old and entering the ‘prime’ of her career, yet already when we examine her last 10 races, she has raced in 9 Graded Stakes events!

Now of course it isn’t enough to have ‘competed’ in 9 Stakes events; to pass the straightforward, yet effective, Grade Stakes/Older Horses screen, the horse needs to have demonstrated success preferably at today’s level, or a higher. Since Whiskey has been racing in so many Graded Stakes races, you, the handicapper, would surmise that because she is continually entered, she must have shown promise and at least some success. Before we examine those races in detail to see if that is true, let’s first see if in fact she passes the contender screen, and if so, we will examine those stakes races when we examine the others who passed.

Her most recent race was in November 2014, a Grade 3, and she finished 4th. This was her 8th race of the 2014 campaign, with all but one of her last 10 races came against Graded Stakes horses. She likely was tired a bit due in part because she had had a long and difficult year. Her next to last race, which happened to be at today’s distance of 7 furlongs, the Grade 2 Raven Run, she chased a runaway winner but finished 2nd.  Therefore, Whiskey passes our contender screen.
We have now examined the field, and using our contender screen we’ve been able to completely eliminate 2 horses: #7 Best Behavior who does not have any in-the-money Graded Stakes finishes, let alone any wins or in-the-money finishes at today’s Grade Stakes level or higher; and #1 You Bought Her.
The remaining 4 entries do pass the lowest bar, and with a brief examination, one by one, we should be able to narrow the contenders down even more.
Centrique, the #6, has competed in Graded Stakes races in 4 of her past 10 races. This is the good news. Two of her races were at today’s Grade 2 level. This is good, but the bad news, is that both these efforts are over a year old.  In her 3-22-2014 race at Gulfstream she had a very awkward start, was bumped as well, and never really recovered though she managed to finish 5th. The prior race, another Grade 2, was at Laurel where she ran well and finished 3rd, just 1 and ¼ lengths behind the winner. If there weren’t any other contenders who passed our screen, I would consider this horse, providing she had run well in Graded Stakes races more recently. However, when we examine her recent record, we see she does show a couple of wins at Gulfstream, but unfortunately those were in much lower class races, (optional claimers). Her two most recent races were in Grade 3 company, one level below today, and she finished out of the money each time, gaining a 5th place finish in December and a well beaten 4th in February by today’s morning line favorite. Thus, we eliminate Centrique.
Classic Point, as we noted earlier, has competed several times in Graded Stakes races and has in fact raced in all levels, Grade 1, 2 and 3. Her record is inconsistent. She shows a win in a Grade 3, the Go For Wand Stakes on 11-28-2014, (same last race as Sweet Whiskey); then 4 finishes where she didn’t crack the top 3 in any of them, although she did earn a piece of the purse by finishing 5th in the Grade 2 race on 3-20; and 4th in a Grade 3 event on 12-14-13. Her rest and layoff, along with her excellent workout pattern may have her ready today, perhaps ready to improve enough to finish in-the-money in a Grade 2 race, jumping up in class from her last out, Grade 3 win, in the end I eliminated her because there was a much more qualified horse.
Merry Meadow sure looked terrific in her last race—absolutely trouncing a small 5 horse field in the Grade 3 Hurricane Bertie. She also won a Grade 3 race in December at 6 furlongs. She’s proven she can beat Grade 3 horses, (3 wins against Grade 3 foes showing, including the Vagrancy at Belmont last May. She has four Grade 3 races showing. She won 3 of those events and finished 2nd in the fourth one where she was beaten by a nose in the Bed O Roses also at Belmont. However, when her connections tried testing the Grade 2 waters, (3 times), the results weren’t as ‘rosy.’  In the three Grade 2 races showing, she finished 4th, (11-14), 3rd, (at Saratoga), and 4th, at Laurel. 
Now, it’s true, her last out effort was fantastic, and it was a small field, but more importantly it was a Grade 3. Her record in higher class Grade 2 races is inconsistent at best, with just one 3rd place finish showing. I was already shying away from Meadow as a contender and essentially had eliminated her, but there is one other item I want to discuss. Her last race was her first off a layoff, and she ran a BIG race nearly equaling her best ever speed figure. Even if I didn’t eliminate her for not passing the contender screen I would have been wary of the potential ‘Bounce’ (decline in performance today) after a huge effort in her first race off a layoff.  True, often animals of higher quality, such as Graded Stakes horses are less susceptible to the 'bounce' I thought the 'bounce' could be a possibility also because the big race off a layoff is combined with the fact that Meadow is jumping up again in class to a Grade 2, and she has decidely mixed results when facing these tougher horses.
Finally, remember, we are looking for a Best Bet, as that is what the people who subscribe to the service expect. For me, a Best Bet doesn’t necessarily mean that the horse must win, but rather has the best chance to finish in-the-money, although I do often recommend a portion be put in the win hole, (as I did today).  Furthermore, while the vast majority of the Best Bets in the selection service go off approximately between even money and 4-1, Merry Meadow is pegged at even money in the morning line, and almost certainly will be bet to ‘odds on’ and go off below even money.
It is one thing to have, as a handicapper, a couple of question marks about say a 6-1, 8-1 or 10-1 horse you are considering, but a horse who is going to go off at even money or lower, you shouldn’t have any concerns or questions about his ability to handle track, class level, etc. In other words, we’re eliminating Merry Meadow and any other even money or lower horse we come across in our daily handicapping that isn’t a virtual 98% sure thing, without questions such as those posed above.   For a 'best bet' you want to see a horse who has handled and succeeded at this class, not one who has thus far had 'mixed results' whenever she's been jumped up to a Grade 2 level.
Now that we’ve eliminated Meadow, let’s now examine in finer detail our last contender, and not just focus on her last race no matter how impressive as we saw Merry Meadow’s was in winning a lower class Grade 3 event last out.
Sweet Whiskey, as noted above, unlike all the other entries, has competed almost exclusively in Graded Stakes races. In fact, she didn’t just compete, but she did very well. Back on August 2nd, at Saratoga she finished 2nd in the Acorn, which was a higher class race, (Grade 1), also at today’s distance. In April, also at 7 furlongs, she finished 2nd in another Grade 2. Prior to that, in her only non-Graded Stakes showing, she finished 3rd which took place at today’s track, Gulfstream. Previously, also at Gulfstream, she won the Grade 3 Old Hat Stakes race. In 2013, she finished 2nd in the Grade 2 Matron at Belmont. The race before that, during Saratoga’s closing week, she finished 4th in the Grade 1 Spinaway.
By digging a bit deeper into her history and not being satisfied with examining only the last out, we can see that Sweet Whiskey is the one who most satisfies the ‘spirit of intent’ concerning our Graded Stakes/Older Horses contender screen.  Whiskey has competed far more than any of the other horses in today’s field in Graded Stakes races, and has also finished in-the-money far more at today’s Grade level, (or higher).
Whiskey is the horse who not only passes the screen to the highest level, but she has a couple of other factors which helped make my final decision easier and clearer. John Velazquez remains as jockey, and he has a win and 3 second place finishes with Whiskey. Her record at the distance is very decent, 3 in-the-money finishes in 5 starts. She apparently likes Gulfstream with 1 win and 1 3rd place finish in 2 starts over the Gulfstream oval. Pletcher, even though he runs a huge operation, has terrific results which of course makes him such a highly regarded trainer.
Although I mainly use the Earnings Per Start in claiming and optional claiming races, and an EPS of 17 or above is something for which I usually ask, I decided to calculate it here. (
Please see info at the end of the essay on how to calculate the Earnings Per Start or click here to jump down to that section if you are not yet familiar with this TIP, (think handicapping factor or angle. If you own the TIPS Update, you can find the how-to on page 16.)

Merry Meadow had a career EPS of just 13, while Whiskey had one of 19.6. This was just ‘icing on the cake’ as it were. I made my decision to make Sweet Whiskey a Best Bet selection based on the fact that she passed the Graded Stakes/Older Horses contender screen at a much higher level than any other entry in today’s field, her overall record and excellent workout regimen for her return, as well as the other factors noted above. However, I probably would not have examined her as closely if she hadn’t passed the contender screen in the strongest manner of all.
I recommended a win/show wager, with 1 unit win at 5/2 or more, backed up with 8-9 unit show. For ease of calculations with the Best Bet service we use a $2 base unit, though we all have various $ amounts set as our ‘base unit.’ Total invested using this base was $20 on this race and $20 on the Aqueduct race.
We cannot put the chart in, but Whiskey led until the stretch, at just over 3-1, whereas Merry Meadow, at 50-cents on the dollar, or 1-2 odds, pressed the pace in 2nd place until the 2nd call.  Meadow immediately dropped back to last, (6th), by the stretch and finished last.  Whiskey carried her lead until the stretch, was passed in the final yards, but easily held 3rd at 3-1. When a huge favorite finishes out, get ready for some crazy, especially show, mutuels.  Here was the finish order:

1st     Classic Point                          $10.80    $  4.60      $12.40
2nd    You Bought Her (off 19-1)         ----       $11.40      $26.80
3rd     Sweet Whiskey   (off 3.2-1)      ----         ----          $11.00

That is a $99 return on the $20 wager, and a profit of $59 for the day, for all those with units of $2.00! If your unit was $5, your profit would have been $147.50 for the day. Just the profit on the $2 unit is enough to pay for the service for more than a month.
Of course, I am not saying these returns happen every day, but results are solid, and the in-the-money finishes very high, and are conducive to show parlays or even a ‘due’ column. 

Now, let's discuss one our most favorite days on the horse racing calendar, namely The Kentucky Derby!!

Many handicappers, no matter how much or how little handicapping experience, may feel a need to isolate the winner of the Kentucky Derby, for a variety of reasons ranging from a sense of obligation to ego. It’s a huge media event, a conversation piece, and to those who know you are a handicapper, especially if you are one by trade, will often be asked the age old question, “so who do you like?” From my father-in-law to my brother and all my friends in between, each year they ask me who I think will win. Yes, Derby Day is fun, it gives us a shared experience, and it sure is satisfying when you can say you picked the winner. However, as most of you know, historically, (especially over the past 30 years or so), the Derby winner is more often than not a long shot - a horse that many of us didn’t see on the horizon.
In an online article from May 3, 2012 at forbes.com, writer Allen St. John writes,
“In the last 32 years, the betting favorite has won only four times. That included a remarkable 20-year drought between Spectacular Bid in 1979 and Fusaichi Pegasus in 2000.”
Mr. St. John continues to write that, “long shots have had a surprisingly good record at the Derby.”
With tongue in cheek, he advises his readers to bet against the favorite! And as for me, the best advice I have for you is to relax, have fun and enjoy the race! You cannot get too wrapped up or too emotionally invested in this one race. There are races every day of the year so don’t hang your hat on this one race.
Every year, I receive phone calls from people in mid-to-late-February asking if I have any early thoughts on this year’s Derby. I truly admire their enthusiasm but other than a passing fancy at that very early point, I cannot expend too much energy, thought and attention into making an early choice for the Derby – not in February! Some of the early possibilities might not even make the post when the Derby runs 9 or 10 weeks later. Not only is the race extremely competitive, with the best of the best three year olds vying for the Derby crown, but with the huge fields that have become the norm, there is the added element of problems with traffic and how the race unfolds. Therefore, while I do spend time handicapping the Derby, I do my best not to go overboard in time invested. The more time and money you invest in the race affects the level to which you are emotionally invested in its outcome. In sum, I do my best to take a prudent approach to the Triple Crown races in general, especially with the Kentucky Derby in particular from all viewpoints.
In closing, enjoy the race and the festivities. For those of us who aren’t owners, trainers or jockeys of any of the entries, it’s a fun day to celebrate horse racing!

As handicappers, we are always looking for an edge, one that has been overlooked by the betting public.

To calculate EPS or Earnings Per Start:
1. Divide the purse money the horse has won by the number of starts, (on today’s surface). For example, if you were looking at the Past Performances for Sweet Whiskey you would see that would be $432,500 divided by 11 starts = 39318.

2. Divide this figure, (39318), by the amount of today’s purse, ($200,000) = .1965909

3. Move the decimal point two places to the right and you have 19.6 which is the average Earnings Per Start figure for Sweet Whiskey.
As another example, to Calculate Merry Meadow you would take the money she has won, $693,550, and divide by her 26 starts and that equals 26675. Divide this figure by today's purse of $200,000 which equals.133375 or 13.3 EPS, a much lower figure than Sweet Whiskey's.

Find your edge the Spring & Summer Graded Stakes Races with any of these publications and special value packages.

Let's start with the TIPS Report issues.

The following issues of the TIPS Report can give you winning strategies to capitalize on Graded Stakes races, specifically those for older horses. These competitive races feature thebest of the best and handicapping for an edge is a key for success.

Don't let the dates of some of these issues throw you off - each is like attending a handicapping seminar at just a fraction of the price. Also, be sure to check out the Value Packages further down the page as they too can prepare you for the competitive races coming up.

TIPS Reports
May/June 2012
Strategies for Super Stakes Racing Days

July/August 2010
Use common sense to spot possible false favorites!

March/April 2010
Handicap the 2009 Breeders' Cup alongside longtime winner handicapper and TIPS contributor Art Baker as he analyzes the Breeders' Cup. His ROI to win for the 2-day extravaganze was 112%. He generously lists all his selections and gives his 'how to' suggestions. This is a must have for your handicapping library.

March/April 2009
Milton Weinblatt's Stakes Blockbuster! 

September/October 2005
Mapping out your strategy for handicapping Stakes races. Utilizing a contender screen can help you handicap not only more efficiently, but profitably too!

March/April 2005
Make judicious use of 'all the angles' when you roll up your sleeves to handicap Grade 2 and Grade 3 races. You will get some great ideas to get you 'on track.'

March/April 2001
stions for planning your strategy for a winning day set against the backdrop of the "Super Bowl of racing" namely the Breeders' Cup.

May/June 1995
Brush up on your TIPS methodology to cash in on Graded Stakes races. We analyze the Arkansas Derby, Kentucky Derby, and The Mother Goose from New York.

March/April 1995
A terrific report from Bill T. of California and how he scored with a huge upset winner, Saratoga Gambler, who paid $71 while winning the Ancient Title Breeders' Cup, a Grade 3 Stakes race. Read all the details, complete with his insights and discussion.

To order any or all of the above 9 TIPS Reports listed below, please click on the quantity desired below and follow the instructions for letting us know which issues you would like unless you are ordering the complete package.

Any 1 issue $12 with FREE S&H to USA*
Any 3 for $20 + $2 S&H to USA*
Any 6 for $35 + $3 S&H to USA*
All 9 for $49 + $5 S&H to USA*

*If outside of the USA, please email mary@worthhandicapping for S&H.

Value Package #1
This package includes:
1.  All 9 of the TIPS Reports Graded Stakes Races Issues plus
2.  A One-Year subscription to the TIPS Report

This package is for a very special price of $107 plus $6 S&H to USA.

*For shipping outside of the USA, please email mary@worthhandicapping for S&H

Value Package #2
This package includes:
1.  All 9 of the TIPS Reports Graded Stakes Races Issues plus 
2.  The TIPS Update 

This package is for a very special price of $65 plus $2 S&H to USA.

*For shipping outside of the USA, please email mary@worthhandicapping for S&H.

Value Package #3 
This package includes:
1.  All 9 of the TIPS Reports Graded Stakes Issues
2.  One-Year subscription to the TIPS Report, plus
3.  The TIPS Update. 

This package is for a very special price of $127 plus $8 S&H to USA.

*For shipping outside of the USA, please email mary@worthhandicapping for S&H.

Value Pack for Newcomers
This ultra-value package includes:
1. This package includes all 9 of the TIPS Reports Graded Stakes Issues
2.  The TIPS Update
3.  Any two of our spot plays. View our spot plays by clicking here, but if ordering this option, please click here to place your combo order; there is no need to purchase the 2 spot plays individually.
4.  Plus, a one-year renewal or subscription to the TIPS Report

This package is for a very special price of $177 plus $8 S&H to USA.

*For shipping outside of the USA, please email mary@worthhandicapping for S&H.

Subscribe to the TIPS Report (click below your desired subscription length)
Click here to subscribe for 1 issue of the TIPS Report - $12 - Free S&H to USA*
Click here to subscribe for 6 months to the TIPS Report - $33 - Free S&H to USA*
Click here to subscribe for 1 year to the TIPS Report - $63 - Free S&H to USA*

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If ordering by mail with a check or money order, please make it payable to Tom Worth Publishing Co. and mail to:

Tom Worth Publishing Co.
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Warwick, RI 02887-7054

As always, we’re here to field any questions or comments by phone or email.  For questions on our publications or handicapping related questions please call or email:

Jon Worth
(401) 921-5158
jonworth@handicapping.com or tipsreport@aol.com
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A note for newcomers: Welcome! Jon Worth's dad, the late Tom Worth, developed the widely acclaimed TIPS Handicapping Method. TIPS are angles and plays which can point you toward “live” horses, many at long shot prices. These angles help you zero in on well-meant horses, ones who are in good current form and ready to run his best effort today. As you will read toward the end of this essay, The TIPS Update divides the tipoffs into two categories: Trainer TIPS and Horse TIPS. Use a combination of these tipoffs to isolate strong selections. TIPS handicapping is one of best kept secrets among winning handicappers - join them!

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Jon Worth  Tom Worth Publishing Co.  PO Box 7054  Warwick, RI 02887-7054

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