How ya doin'? We're in a New York state of mind, ya know? But before we say something we'll regret (like, "Fuhgeddaboudit!"), a few things:
Don't forget to check out all the stuff that can help you win. It's in the Cynthia Publishing Company Handicapping Store. Mike Helm's various pedigree guides, your 2002 PARS PLUS package, either in book format or the exciting new Fast Capper 2002 software bundle, and so many other well-written, extensively researched "power tools" to sharpen your handicapping edge.
The Saturday Stakes Barnstorming Tour, introduced last week, returns next Saturday, for the races of June 15, with a twist: You make the calls. We'll rank-order the top contenders and assign them some odds; it's up to you to determine which ones are the value-filled bets. In other words, we set 'em, you bet 'em (or forget 'em!, as the case may be).
Last "mandatory" race for the May-June Triple Crown Trifecta Edition of the Big-Prize Handicapping Contest is -- what else? -- tomorrow's Belmont Stakes. Jump in now and play -- still plenty of chances for you to win real, spendable, honest-to-goodness American hard currency. Go to the Contest Page now.
Many thanks to Mr. Peter Cohen of MacCentral.com for his writeup of the new Fast Capper 2002 and its benefits for the legions of long-ignored MacIntosh-computer handicappers out there. Check it out at http://maccentral.macworld.com/news/0206/07.fastcapper.php.
There. That wasn't so bad. Not much longer than a New York minute.
You ever talk to your computer? No, we mean other than cursing it out when it lapses into its undocumented Seizure Mode on you. We are going to do it now.
Really, we are going to listen in on the following handicapping discourse between man and machine. The man is a reasonably talented and successful Thoroughbred horserace handicapper, particularly good at turf races and other contests in which a good-to-hot pace makes for an honest running through all stages of the race. He emphasizes the overall history of each horse's ability, rather than on the single, "one-paceline" outlook adopted or even required by so many various handicapping machines of the day. The man has used machines in the past to direct his handicapping, but his need for added mental stimulation and a little more control in the contender-selection and wagering processes has led him to a gray-matter-driven, analytical approach.
The machine is none other than Fast Capper 2002, exacting and precise at what it does -- namely, shaping up each contender, based on the single paceline selected for it, and plotting how fast the horses figure to run at each stage of today's race, no matter if some horses are changing distance, shipping in from other tracks or moving up or down in distance. Additionally, the Fast Capper 2002 provides a fair-odds betting line that estimates the tote board price at which each contender represents a break-even bet; when the tote board odds are higher than those on the betting lines, Fast Capper 2002 senses value, although it is ultimately up to Fast Capper 2002's partner, generally the human being using it, to dial up his or her own degree of value.
The two have their strengths. The man can sense the horse's "story," and whether there'll be a happy ending or not. The machine is unflinching, unsentimental. When the machine's human user says "go," the machine goes -- goes zoom, that is. Adeptly analyzing a smorgasbord of tracks, even as many as 30 in a single evening, is Fast Capper 2002's forte, and man is no match for machine when it comes to looking at virtually every race in the country, on demand. The man, at his bleary-eyed best, surrenders at seven racecards, sacrificing precious sleep during the ordeal. The machine can process four or five times as many races, every time, and always the decimal points and numbers are lined-up in their rightful columns.
But for big Belmont Stakes Day 2002, they will be focused on but a single racing program, albeit a king-size one. Saturday's card at Elmont, N.Y., contains 12 races, many of them stakes races. And the two will share with you what they have to say.
To practice for the Saturday Belmont card, they attended the races Friday night at Hollywood Park. Both enjoy the nighttime action, especially the machine, who rarely gets out but has developed a crush on a few of the Hollywood Starlets, even more so since they appeared in skintight black leather pants while exposing their navels this particular Friday night. Of course, in this regard, the man is only too happy to indulge his soulless though logiclly functioning pal.
Man and machine are united in the quest for generous-paying win mutuels. At the end of the eight-race evening, it is the machine who has bragging rights for the night. While both man and machine collected a 9-1 price on Slewsbox (a horse the machine's big brother, ALL-IN-ONE V5 also preferred at generous odds) in the feature, the machine's other big mutuel, Leprechaun Kid in the sixth, was, at 13-1, two points higher than the man's other big price, the 11-1 G L's Gold Strike, his lone contender in the wide-open, bottom-claimer fifth race. (It should also be noted that listening to the opinion of all three -- man, machine and machine's big brother -- yielded the modest-paying trifecta in the nightcap, as odds-on winner Call Me Again was machine's pick; runner-up Chinois was the man's; and third-place Orange 'Em was big brother's.)
In short, Friday at Hollywood proved an apt, perhaps fortuitous illustration of the handicapping prowess of all three entities: man, machine, big brother.
For Saturday's experiment, the man will proceed with his typical handicapping routine. He will generate a few words on each race. The machine will be powered by another human being, one who will use his or her own judgment in terms of the paceline-selection being fed into the machine. Really, "judgment" is not the right word, since the human being will be operating under the guidelines of an "expert system" regarding paceline-selection. This expert system favors recency, and within that framework of recency prefers the outstanding performance, as measured by each race's Cramer Speed Rating, with additional restrictions involving distance-structure and surface. In essence, the machine, the Fast Capper 2002, will most frequently be rating each horse's best recent race against that of each of the other runners. Given the overall top-quality of the Saturday card at Belmont, most if not all of the runners should probably be expected to be pointing toward a top effort, even if the actual outcomes fail to reflect that. While many handicappers might be quick to point out the dangers of such an expert system, they will rarely have a satisfactory rebuttal when asked to select contenders and pick pacelines for two or three dozen racetracks and up to 1,500 or 1,800 horses of a single evening. (However, we will hold out hope for the potential miracle from one or two readers out there.)
That said, we listen in on what they had to say.
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