20 August 2005

Slowing down the pace

Still basking in our modest wins at the WV Derby, we're taking the weekend off to go hiking. Hopefully, the murmuring of unnamed creeks and the scent of pine will clear our heads. You see, we've been reading Beyer on Speed, and frankly, I feel the need to slow down.

Beyer is, of course, Andrew Beyer, creator of the famed Beyer Speed numbers that appear in the Daily Racing Form's past performances. By all reports, he's one to wager with gusto and to share his opinions with great bravado. A true bon vivant. He's probably a genius, and it seems as if he's made a fortune at the track. He believes in speed. And his book has left me breathless.

For the serious handicapper, this title is a gem, as it advises how to apply the speed numbers to wagering. Even though 'it's all about the speed,' there are other factors to consider, and Beyer enumerates these considerations: pace, track biases, trips, change of distance, dirt to turf, class drops, mud... the list goes on, and the mind reels.

Beyer refutes some other handicapping theories (bounce, Sartin pace handicapping) while acknowledging the valid points of these methods. And an entire chapter describes exotics betting. It's masterful. It's magnificent. It's ... mathematical.

There's the rub. I fear that I will ever be fuzzy on the fractionals, perplexed by par, and baffled by bias. I'm dazzled and dizzy from it all, so, this weekend, we'll go off to the woods and hike the sides of a gorge created over thousands of years by the steady, persistent passage of water over rock. A millenia ago, who would've bet on the stream?


Brian said...

I also thought Beyer On Speed was an excellent book.

Joe Coker said...

I also enjoyed reading the book. But, after using a whole chapter to explain Pace Handicapping and showing how important rating horse (ie ESP) then dismissing it as a method ONLY good on the west coast. It only made me more curious about Pace Handicapping. I'm reading Tom Brohamer, "Modern Pace Handicapping" now.