Race Shape and Positional Pace Handicapping


Horse players are always in search of the automatic bet.  Whether it is an angel play or some sophisticated computer generated bet, it always comes down to the bettor giving way to a choice that comes not from the mind, but from a source.

During the mid-1990’s, I started to use early pace positioning developed by Jim Cramer.  His premise was that if you could predict which horse would be in the lead at the first call, you could show a profit betting this as an automatic bet.  I do not believe in an automatic wager but the concept took hold with me and I was off to the world of pace handicapping.  I had mixed results but the idea stuck with the genesis of my handicapping and contender selection methods.

Last year TimeformUS launched it’s handicapping site and when I read that C.J. Milkowski was involved, I knew I was ready for the next step in my pace investigation.  C.J.Milkowski is a well-known pace and number maker and through his service, Pacefigures.com, a strong reputation was developed in the handicapping fraternity.  I looked closely at his pace projector and decided that the “grunt” work of my handicapping was taken over by C.J.Milkowski pace projections and numbers.  I cut down my time spent handicapping early pace position and now could look towards incorporation the 40+years of experience into one method of play.

I have incorporated some of the features that two authors have exposed and my results have been very favorable.

I start with listing the order that Timeform puts forth in their Pace Projector which appears for each race presented on their website.  I then match these pace projections with their Timeform running styles and Jim Creamer’s preferred running style/position as follows:

E ~ leader/early – one-dimensional front-running horse.

Early – 1st or 2nd at the quarter.

E/P~ speed/early presser – a horse that races on or near the early lead.

E/P – 1st or within the top 4 as long as there are not other E/P horses.

P ~ tracker/presser – generally a stalking type of horse, or one with a very trackable running style.

Presser – 1st or 2nd  at the quarter.

P/C ~ midpack/presser closer – a horse who generally races in the middle of the pack.

P/C – 3rd or 4th at the quarter.

S ~ closer/sustained – a stretch running horse who comes from the back of the pack.

Closer – 5th/6th/7th as long as there is speed, with fast to moderate  fractions in front,  to set up the closer.

Plodder ~ one-dimensional horse who languishes at the back of the pack.

Plodder – plots in the back and has a very difficult task to win.  Must have a total meltdown in order to finish in the money.

My experience using this method is that it works best with dirt races up to 10 furlongs.  I have limited success with turf races.  Maiden races are only considered when 80% of the horses have recorded at least 2 races.