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Best of Howard Schwartz

Gaming Guru

 

Handicapping for Bettor or Worse -- Fresh Perspective for Betting Races

5 May 2004

John Lindley's new book for wagering on the thoroughbreds, Handicapping for Bettor or Worse (189 pages, hardbound, $24.95) should help develop new fans and clarify for beginners how best to devise their own system, how to ad value to their wagers, and understand the importance of equipment and medication changes.

Based in the Seattle area, the author, who has been an active horse owner since 1988, also teaches handicapping courses and is a regular at Emerald Downs. Written clearly and without technical jargon, this book contains nine chapters, packed with past performance examples worth noting - patterns to remember no matter what track you attend or bet at.

In the first chapter, Lindley addresses the subject of speed figures and how to interpret them. He gives advice on the proper application of Beyer numbers and their importance, calling them "straightforward yet complex," then moves to watching the races to maximum advantage, including trouble spots (for example, what happens once in the gate, the start); how a horse wins; how a horse runs; track bias and using bias to your advantage and the impact of wind.

Another key chapter discusses race-to-race changes and which are important. This includes changes in medication (lasix), equipment changes (blinkers, the tongue-tie and leg wraps included), changes in appearance, and workout changes.

Chapter four looks at what the author calls "backstretch decisions." Here he emphasizes the importance of choosing a race and entering a horse (the condition book); choice of jockey; shipping; filling a race; scratching. Race strategy; post position what happened last race; claiming; beaten favorites are included in this section.

Is "value" the key to winning? Many say yes. In this vital section Lindley explores factors like betting the morning line; determining value; isolating which horses are likely to be overbet or underbet; looking at betting the exotics.

He follows with a chapter titled Wagering/Betting Strategy: Can You Pick Winners But Still Lose? Here he offers opinions on planning your bets; deciding among betting options (win, place, show, exactas, trifectas, etc.); keeping records; evaluating your results; Return on Investment (ROI); dealing with streaks and luck.

One interesting section asks "Do Horses Know They Have Won?" and the author examines factors that impact how a horse trains, competes, reacts to various situations at the track during workouts or during an actual race.

The final section is titled "Can Statistics Lie?" and includes a look at trainer, post position and jockey numbers, along with the "key race" factor. A small section at the conclusion of the book explains historical pars and variants.

Overall, an excellent book for the person who needs a fresh approach to betting thoroughbreds or for the truly dedicated beginner who wants to move on from the basics and is patient enough to wait for his or her spots.

Howard Schwartz
Howard Schwartz, the "librarian for gamblers," was the marketing director for Gambler's Book Club in Las Vegas, a position he held from 1979 to 2010, when he retired. Author of hundreds of articles on gambling, his weekly book reviews appear in numerous publications throughout the gaming industry.

Howard Schwartz Websites:

www.gamblersbook.com
Howard Schwartz
Howard Schwartz, the "librarian for gamblers," was the marketing director for Gambler's Book Club in Las Vegas, a position he held from 1979 to 2010, when he retired. Author of hundreds of articles on gambling, his weekly book reviews appear in numerous publications throughout the gaming industry.

Howard Schwartz Websites:

www.gamblersbook.com