Shaking Coins from the Candy Machine
We’ve put one full quarter in the books, and we’re happy to show our RTSS reports generated a profit. Q1 was a bumpy road and the margin was thin, but our picks improved over the months, strengthened by an ongoing analysis of the results.
The 1.1% ROI is a conservative figure. In races where we recommended betting two horses (most races) we advised subscribers to “heavily” overweight bets on our lower-odds selection. In calculating the return on investment for this report, we applied only a minimal overweighting of an extra $2 bet. A “heavy” overweighting is open to interpretation, but clearly it would result in a much higher ROI. For integrity’s sake, we used a more conservative weighting. (See the final section of betting examples to see how we applied this strategy.)
Adjusting Methods from The Punter’s Tale
The foundation of our approach comes from Roger LeBlanc’s book The Punter’s Tale: A Bettor’s Quest for Racetrack Profits. The book details how to identify false favorites and suggests making a 2-horse bet against them when you find one.
With an 81% accuracy rate achieved in RTSS races, our results in Q1 verify the effectiveness of the false-favorite ID methods in the book. We bet into races where the favorite won only 19% of the time! We stretched the book’s methods to good advantage, and we didn’t see any of the three FF categories in the book fall short of expectations.
The book’s reliance on Beyer speed figures also held up. Even though we use BRIS speed figures for RTSS, we saw again that a thoughtful application of speed figures produces winners consistently. From our statistical review we learned that “angle-based” handicapping used in conjunction with speed figures outperforms angles alone. The one exception in RTSS was the 3-year-old stakes division. We did quite well using the pace-based handicapping methods from The Lazy Bettor’s Guide to the Kentucky Derby rather than speed figures.
The negative ROI we encountered through the opening month or so taught us two things:
- We needed to pay greater attention to speed figures.
- Improvements to the book’s betting strategy were needed.
Our “Optimizing the Instant Value Handicapping Approach” articles shared these revelations and others with RTSS subscribers. The stats shown in the remainder of this Q1 review include the adjustments to betting strategy we recommended in those articles. (See the “Reviewing Optimizations” section that follows.)
Examining the Big-Picture Stats
We assumed $40 wagered per race, split between two horses except when our optimizations directed you to bet only one horse. Here are the overall stats in key categories for March 2022 through May 2022:
- 18 of 91 false-favorites won (19.7%)
- 30 of 91 races with RTSS pick winning (32.9%)
- 60 of 91 races with an RTSS pick winning/placing (65.9%)
- $3,340 wagered (on 156 horses); $3,377.70 returned (ROI +1.1%)
We found a strong correlation between our lower-odds selections and our win percentage. There seems to be a convergence with our lower-odds choices and either “smart money,” insider betting or valid public opinion. Our optimizations seek to maximize the return on these horses and minimize losses shown for our longer-odds selections.
The most up-to-date optimizations include the following:
- Bet only 1 horse if the odds on one recommended horse fall below 2-1.
- Skip the race if the odds on one recommended horse fall below 1-1.
- Overweight your wagers on the lower-priced horse in races for which you’re making 2-horse bets. In other words, bet so that your potential return is much higher on the lower-priced horse than on the longer shot of the two.
- For recommended horses going off at odds of 7-1 or higher, adjust your bet to return the minimum profit. For example, assuming a $40 race bankroll, if the odds on our 2 recommended horses are 5-2 and 8-1, bet only $5 on the 8-1 shot (potential return of $45) and $35 on the 5-2 shot.
Digging Deeper into the Stats
With fewer than 200 wagers, our sample isn’t huge and subcategories are small. For what it’s worth, here are a few stats we’ve been keeping an eye on:
- Even Money through 5-1: 27 winners from 123 bets (21.9%, ROI -3%)
- EVEN MONEY through 5-1 (optimized): 27 winners from 112 bets (24.1%, ROI +3.0%)
- 6-1 and higher: 3 winners from 24 bets (12.5%) Straight $2 wager ROI -12%
- 10-1 and higher: 0 winners from 22 bets
NOTE: We use 7-1 as our marker for lowering our bets even though 6-1 horses have yet to win for us. Because we’re hitting at a healthy rate with 5-1 shots, we believe we’ll soon start seeing winners at the 6-1 level. Also, optimizations didn’t produce any significant improvements for horses going off at 6-1 and higher, so we skipped the optimization stats for those categories.
- All-weather: 4 wins in 11 races (4 winners, 19 horses bet). $2 return = $47 for $38 wagered.
- Turf: 10 wins in 28 races (10 winners, 50 horses bet). $2 return = $52 for $100 wagered.
- Dirt: 16 wins in 52 races (16 winners, 87 horses bet). $2 return =$147.10 for $174 wagered.
NOTE: The win percentage was about the same in all categories, with turf payouts lower (surprisingly!).
- Sprints (7 furlongs or less): 73 bets, 16 winners (21.9%). $2 return = $157.90 for $146 wagered.
- Routes (includes 2-turn turf at 7.5 furlongs): 81 bets, 14 winners (17.2%). $2 return = $120.30 for $162 wagered.
We’ve been far more accurate in sprints than in routes. We’ll continue to examine our bets in routes to generate an improved ROI in those races.
Applying the RTSS Betting Strategy
Following are examples of how some of our bets played out per the “Optimizing the Instant Value Handicapping Approach” articles provided to subscribers.
March 26, 2022. Gulfstream Park, Race 10
Race Craft ($2.80-1). Bet $24. Return $91.20.
Mack ($3.50-1). Bet $16. Return $0.
In this race we simply overweight our wager on Race Craft by a few dollars because, per our records, we’re more likely to be right about him at 5-2 than about Sky Bridge at 7-2. In Q1 we won 15 of 22 bets that we adjusted upward on lower-odds selections.
March 11, 2022. Gulfstream Park, Race 5
Julius the Great ($2.80-1). Bet $24. Return $0.
Sky Bridge ($4.00-1). Bet $16. Return $80.00.
In this race we simply overweight our wager on Julius the Great by a few dollars because, per our records, we’re more likely to be right about him at 5-2 than about Sky Bridge at 4-1. This is one of the few cases that went the other way, with Sky Bridge pulling the minor upset.
April 4, 2022. Oaklawn Park, Race 12 (Arkansas Derby)
Cyberknife ($5.80-1). Bet $34 Win. Return $230.20.
Doppelganger ($7.40-1). Bet $6. Return $0.
Because Doppelganger went off at 7-1, we bet only enough to achieve a minimal profit (return of $48) if he wins. We shift the bulk of our bet to Cyberknife, the horse with the lower odds of the two and (per our RTSS records) who has the much better chance of winning.
April 8, 2022. Tampa Bay Downs, Race 9
Internet of Things ($1.60-1). Bet $40 Win. Return $104.00.
Mighty Ghost ($5.00-1). Bet $0. Return $0.
Because Internet of Things fell below 2-1, he becomes our only bet. Here the convergence of our perspective with that of smart money or insider action once again results in a big bet and focused score.
By conservative accounting, the Racetrack Super Scout squeezed out a small profit for the quarter. With 7 winners in our final 14 races of the quarter, we saw that our renewed focus on speed figures along with our betting optimizations improved our performance. That impressive finish suggests that, even with an understated tally of returns, we can improve on the positive 1.1% ROI in the months ahead.