What I enjoy most about what I do is when I hear from handicappers. Aside from isolating a winning horse, the best part of my work day is getting calls, messages or letters from handicappers. Over the years we have been blessed to have so many handicappers who corresponded with my dad, usually via letter, though, especially during the last 6-7 years he was involved, occasionally by phone.
When I first assumed the 'reins' here at Tom Worth, I received just a bit in the way of calls and letters, though my first regular rapport with a handicapper had begun a few years earlier - a New York handicapper and I would often discuss handicapping until 2 a.m.! But truly the first phone call I received from someone who I did not already know, was a phone call from Bob W. in the spring of 1993, about 7 or 8 weeks after my dad and I published Place to Win for Routes.
Bob introduced himself as a professional handicapper from NY. He further noted that his colleague, Jim Lippitt, also a NY pro believed P-T-W for Routes, had proven extremely profitable for Jim. I was elated because though the method had been formally written out by my dad, I was the one who had conceived, outlined, research and tested the guidelines. I had been my dad's apprentice for years by now, and this was my first time in developing a spot play.
Several days later, I had the pleasure of speaking with Jim, and he proposed that my father and I meet him halfway between our mutual homes at the simulcast “Teletrack Theatre” in Connecticut, (about 80 miles from our place in Rhode Island and about 70 miles from Jim’s place in NY). And meet we did a few weeks later, on a weekday in late June of 1993.
When we shook hands upon meeting in the parking lot, after a brief discussion of traffic, (or lack thereof), Jim gestured to the Mini-Van nearby, and said in a matter of fact tone, that he had paid for that van largely from his profits wagering on Place-to-Win selections.
Now, mind you, he didn’t accumulate thousands in profit by wagering $25 a race, though did reveal just how he did it. First, he shared that before he incorporated P-T-W for Routes into his live wagering portfolio, he diligently tested the spot play on months of old Daily Racing Forms to confirm for himself that the results were very similar to the ones we published in the method. And indeed they were.
Jim then gave us a complete copy of six-months of recordkeeping of his selections made on races run at NY tracks. Every single selection and wager he made during those months was recorded. He showed a terrific roi.
He set up a Place-to-Win bankroll, labeling it his “Blue Chip” bankroll. Some weeks he would only have 3-4 selections. He showed great discipline. When he made a wager, it was for a significant amount, beginning with a starting wager of $150 to place. He would then add a % of profits to that base wager as he forged ahead.
We published his complete record, along with his results in our inaugural issue of the TIPS Report, (actually known as the TIPS Quarterly during its first 2 and ½ years). That initial issue, June 1993, along with the December 1993 one are still among our top 10 most popular issues of the over 130 TIPS Report issues we have published. Both issues feature lengthy reports from handicappers of thier extremely profitable results using Place-to-Win for Routes. Coincidentally both handicappers were professionals and the second lived clear across the country from NY in southern California. It's fascinating reading, especially when you read how these two handicappers, who had never met in person or by phone, ran into each other at a party in Mexico of all places! You have to read it to believe it. (When you read those very early issues, please forgive our attempt at a bit of humor when referring to names of horses, definitely a reflection of our then-youth & inexperience - we've matured since then - I hope!)
This long-winded introduction is my way of saying after all these years, I still get excited whenever I hear from someone, whether it is a question, or more often, as my father would say, a ‘report from the field.’
We have had a succession of outstanding ‘reports from the field’ over the last 5 weeks or so! I'll review each of them further below, but first here is an overview.
- First, Joe S. of Michigan wrote us the first week of December 2018 with the exciting news that he isolated a $119 winner earlier that afternoon.
- Subsequently, a new client from New Jersey has written twice to report of huge long shots he hit at Gulfstream.
- Yet another client, W.W., also from the Garden State, called me on Sunday, January 20. W.W. is a long time TIPS handicapper. In fact, he placed his first orders with my father in around 1974 or thereabouts to the best of his recollection. (A time when I was too busy being a teen be thinking about handicapping! In fact, it would be about 11 or 12 years before I even began handicapping, and another two - three before I became remotely proficient.)
- On January 17, 2019, for the better part of an hour I had the pleasure of speaking with a Midwestern handicapper, (from the Sunflower State!), as we reviewed, live, a few races at Gulfstream using the Even Finish Spot Play.
Hearing of all these reports was more than just wonderful - it so rewarding to develop a camaraderie over handicapping as we discussed various races and sharing observations. It was a pleasant reminder of times past when I've handicapped with either a group or at least with another handicapper. Of course my introduction to handicapping was when my father showed me the ropes. Later on, was going along with my father, and his friend Walt Owen on their trips to either Rockingham Park or Suffolk Downs. (I also met Walt on a trip to Las Vegas in the early 1990’s, 1991 I believe), and a couple of additional times in the late 1990’s I met him at the Newport Rhode Island simulcast for an afternoon of handicapping and watching the races together. In addition, I met Al M., a fellow Rhode Islander once at the Lincoln Simulcast facility, and Andy Pincince, (another Rhode Islander) also at the Lincoln Simulcast. (Now the Lincoln simulcast is a full fledged casino. In addition, I met George Edge, two different times, once when we visited Reno for a few days, after visiting my cousins in Sacramento. George, at the time, lived nearby in Sparks. We got together three times that week, once for dinner with at the Nugget. A second time I walked to his house, only a mile or so from the Nugget. And the third afternoon we spent the day together at the racebook. About 14 years ago, when George Edge was driving cross country, he and I met at that same Lincoln simulcast.
Now, let’s dive into the most recent 'reports from the field', dating back to December 2018.
First, K.W. of New Jersey has sent me two very exciting emails in the last two weeks. We haven’t spoken by phone yet, but we have been exchanging emails. He has been using The Fitness Factor, and has sent me a couple of very exciting reports, from Gulfstream. His first e-mail, from January 4th, he very excitedly detailed a $44.80 winner he isolated using The Fitness Factor. He also collected the exacta this race. He has sent follow up e-mails, including another very nice winner and exacta, using the Addendum to the Fitness Factor which prompted him to zero in not only on a 6-1 winner at Gulfstream, but isolated the exacta horse as well. The exacta returned $107--! We are profiling Ken’s races in the next TIPS Report issue but wanted to mention his recent successes using The Fitness Factor & Addendum. I will include one excerpt from his e-mail here, however:
“I'm absolutely fine with you discussing/analyzing the $44.80 winner and exacta I won using The Fitness Factor process. In the past I mostly avoided maiden races if there were first time starters or very lightly raced horses in the field due to the "unknown" element of many of the runners. The Fitness Factor interested me as usually there are two or three maiden races on every card that I now have a means handicap.” (Emphasis mine.)
With the right tools, in this case the right “handicapping tools” you can indeed handicap nearly any type of race! Now that Ken has the correct tools for handicapping maiden races—handicapping maiden races he is, he can continue instead of avoiding potentially hugely profitable races thanks to the Fitness Factor and the Addendum to the Fitness Factor, he can take advantage of those juicy longshot opportunities! (He has cashed several double digit winners and two very large exactas in just 2 + weeks, in large part, thanks to the Fitness Factor!
W.W., also from New Jersey, is a very engaging fellow. While I do not speak with him regularly, once every year or two, dating back to the early 2000’s, I always enjoy hearing from him. Perhaps one reason we do not speak often, is he is very pleased with the several Tom Worth methods he has purchased, and is not particularly interested in adding to his collection. His favorites, are the TIPS Methodology, and The Only One II. He also noted that in general he avoids sloppy and/or muddy tracks and prefers to focus on sprint races.
We had quite an interesting discussion, and he was effusive, (perhaps overboard), in his praise for The TIPS Methodology and The Only One II Spot Play. However, his biggest revelation was that he was planning to retire in a little over a year. Apparently, he had been contemplating retiring for the last few years, but now he was very confident, he could retire. I asked him what had changed?
He very simply said that while he had been a winning, (e.g. profitable handicapper for a number of years), it was only in the last couple of years that he was now absolutely sure he could, (and would), be able to continue to supplement his retirement income with his handicapping income. I gathered this feeling of confidence was now firmly instilled, and that it gave him the assurance, that while his retirement pension would obviously be less than what he earned now in his job, his handicapping would continue to be able to ‘bridge the gap’ for him, and he was very excited by this prospect, and very much looking forward to his retirement!
While the TIPS Methodology is a very effective and profitable method, the one ‘drawback’ is that it can take a bit of time learning all the signals, (tipoffs) and nuances of the method. On the other hand, The Only One II is a TIPS based spot play. While it is not for use in all types of races, it is extremely effective at handicapping the ones for which it was designed.
Anyone using The Only One II can handicap a race quickly, in just 5 minutes or less. It is also extremely effective at finding those mid-range long shots, (4-1 to about 8-1), although more than occasionally you will find winners that pay $20 to as high as $35. W.W. uses both The Only One II, and TIPS regularly and has been earning excellent profits for years now! In addition, The Only One II is designed to handicap only certain types of races and thus is a very dependable and profitable spot play.
Finally, a new client, (over the past 3 weeks or so), phoned me from Colorado on 1-17-19. He explained that he drives for his work and often has a layover of several hours, up to perhaps overnight. In these instances, he often uses this time to handicap. He wanted to discuss a few races on that afternoon’s Gulfstream card, mainly using The Even Finish Spot Play.
We discussed a one race, ‘live’ before post time. We also discussed how much more effective and profitable the Even Finish Spot play is if the selection is a single qualifier. (When there is a single qualifier with the Even Finish the ROI can and does double, or even triple! T.R. phoned again to review the 8the at Gulfstream. The race was due to go off in about 20 minutes. My handicapping “antenna” went up when T.R. noted that he thought he had found a “single” Even Finish Spot Play qualifier.
(The Even Finish Spot Play is so quick and easy to use I could see in a minute, that Our Pride was indeed a single qualifier. Pride was 6-1 Morning Line. The only thing which troubled me a bit was while the trainer had a very decent record overall, he was not having a very strong Gulfstream meet. Still, there was no doubt about it, this horse, Our Pride was indeed a ‘single.’ We spoke for a few more minutes, then I rang off. There were still about 10 minutes or a bit until post. (One thing I have noticed at Gulfstream this year, even when there are 0 minutes to post, there is still usually 2-3 minutes to go.) I checked back on Twin Spires TV, and Pride was nearly 20-1! Pride was hovering around at 3 times his morning line. (I tend to be more conservative than many, and I was thinking of more of a. place show wager, with a smaller amount in the win slot.) During our talk, I mentioned and discussed a wagering strategy that J.M. of NY suggested a couple of years ago for his Even Finish spot play selections. (We’ll include J.M’s wagering/$ management strategy below. Essentially what I was suggesting, was at the 20-1 price, I would consider breaking up the wager, for every unit to win, 2 or 3 unit place and 5 or 6 unit show.) Well, as the British say, “I rung off” so that T.R. could place his wager, and we both watched the race. Our Pride broke close to the lead, and for a couple of calls was fighting with the favorite, Saint Michael for supremacy. At the six furlong mark, Pride finally secured the lead, and held it, (rebuffing one challenge between calls where he briefly lost the lead), and held steady in first place until he crossed the wire! Better yet, Pride was nearly 20-1! With the favorite out of the $$, I expected a better show mutuel.
While the payoff to show was a bit on the low side; I thought a return of $8 or $9 show might be more in line, but at any rate, T. R. had a fantastic day of profit spending his layover time not only productively but profitably!
Before we conclude this essay, here is an interesting e-mail, with an excellent money management/wagering strategy I received from a NY handicapper:
Sent: Wed, Jan 4, 2017 8:51 pm
Jon....purchased your Even Finish method last month. I could not be more pleased. For the month of December over 6 tracks I wagered on 87 races with 29 winners and 77% of the selections
finishing in-the-money. I wagered 10-20-x on all horses going off at 4 to 1 or less and 5-10-20 if they were 9/2 or more. I cleared $1648. 77 of the selections were singles. Thanks and keep up the good work.
Joe (from finger lakes)
Not only is Joe’s collection rate using the Even Finish spot play terrific, his record continues to reinforce what I found when developing the Even Finish spot play, and what other handicappers have related as well: that races with Single qualifiers continue to be the most profitable!
Just as I was finishing this essay, I heard from Rick, a fellow Rhode Islander, although he has been living in California for many years.
Rick wanted to update me on a few Even Finish horses at Santa Anita on January 26 and 27. Two that he mentioned were Madaket Sunset and Time For Suzzie. Neither of these horses won—however, they were terrific longshots! Rick referred to Joe M’s wagering strategy and boy did Joe’s wagering strategy pay off big time here!
Madaket Sunset finished 2nd and paid
Suzzie ran 2nd as well and paid
Now Rick also mentioned that had Sunset won, he would have paid $30 to win. Suzzie, Rick noted, would have paid $90 to win had he won! However, if you spread your wager out such as Joe M. recommends, instead of grousing about what “Coulda, shoulda, woulda,” happened if these horses had just won!!, what a profit you “woulda had.” Instead of being upset, if you leverage, even a longshot horse to place and show you can still have a terrific payday!
(We had an instance of this in our selection service on December 16, YODA MAN. This horse, Joe S. spotted, using what else, the Even Finish on Dec. 7, and Yoda paid $119 to win! On Dec. 16, I suggested a win –show wager on Yoda, who went off at 26-1! Yoda was in the thick of things the entire race, but did manage to hold third--. Now a $55 win payoff woulda been nice-but Yoda did not win. However, backing up the win with a show wager helped as he did return $10.70 to show!
First, I want to thank all those who continue to write, email or call me. I so very much enjoy our ‘talks’ whether they are by the “old fashioned” way by phone like W.W. or Jim and Bob, or letter, or more commonly email.
Second, this essay provides handicapping methods and approaches for every style of handicapper! If you are conservative, there are fantastic ways to earn a profit with Place-to-Win, and more recent methods such as The Big Easy or The Four Aces+2.
If you want solid prices, sprinkled in with some long shots, The Only One II 2 is a perfect blend of solid horses, but also gives you opportunities to cash those long shots which pay $9 to $15-$16, and an occasionally hit a $25 winner. (I still use Jim Lippitt’s definition of long shot, 7/2 or>.)
If you want a fast, but consistent method, which brings in all kinds of prices including more than its share of long shots, then the Even Finish Spot play is for you! And finally, after all these years we have the Even Finish Spot Play available as a download!!