A Beginner's Selection Method

     Although  called  a  "beginner's system",  this  method  can
be  used  by  anyone  wanting  a  relatively  quick,   mechanical
selection process.  It will usually point toward the best  horses
in  the race, with the winner to be found somewhere in the  final
three  picks  most of the time.  On May 10th,  1989  Golden  Gate
Fields, it picked 6 of 9 winners!

     So  you've  never  been to  the  racetrack,  know  virtually
nothing  about  horseracing, but would still like to  amaze  your
friends  with you handicapping prowess?  Do we have a method  for

     The  first step, of course, is to purchase the Daily  Racing
Form.    Next  turn  to  the  section  that  contains  the   past
performances of the horses running today at the track you plan to
attend.  That's the hard part!

     Frankly,  I'd like to reprint a couple of past  performances
here,  but  alas I do not have the permission  of  the  copyright
holder!  Even so, it should be simple to figure out exactly  what
I'm talking about.

     This  method is very simple and mechanical.  You won't  have
to worry about whether or not you've selected the "right" horse -
everything is automatic.

The Horse Cents Quick Method

     For each horse in the race, total the speed rating and track
variant for it's last two races.  These figures are found in  the
main  body of the past performances.  There's a speed rating  and
track  variant for just about every race line on each horse.   It
looks  something like this 77-14.  The first number is the  speed
rating  for the race (how fast a horse ran compared to the  track
record  for  that distance) and the second number  is  the  track
variant  (an  indication of how fast or slow the track  was  that
day).   Sometimes  a race did not get a rating at all.   In  that
case,  ignore  it and simply take the  first  two  rating-variant
combinations you find.  Start at the top of the past performances
as these are the most recent races.

     If  you're  having  trouble finding the  speed  ratings  and
variants,  ask someone who looks like he knows what  he's  doing.
Ask  a different person the same question just in case the  first
person was jiving you!

     Go  through  each  horse totaling those  speed  ratings  and
variants.  Write the total number somewhere near the horse's past
performances  and  circle it so you can't miss it.  This  is  the
SPEED  FIGURE  for  that horse.  After  you've  totaled  all  the
horses,  put  a big black "bullet" (solid black  circle  or  some
other distinguishing mark) next to the  horse  with  the  highest
figure. If more than  one horse has  the same  high speed figure,
give them each a bullet.

     Now it's time for step 2!  Find the lifetime earnings  line.
This  is found just above the latest running line for the  latest
race.  It looks something like this:

     Lifetime  42 9 8 6 $157,150

     What all of that means is that the horse ran 42 times in his
life, won 9 times, ran second 8 times, ran third 6 times and made
a grand total of over a hundred and fifty thousand dollars!   All
you really care about is how many times he ran (42) and how  much
money  he  made ($157,150).  Divide the money by  the  number  of
starts  into  the  amount of money and round it  to  the  nearest
dollar  (157150  / 42 = 3742).  Write the result  down  near  the
horse's  name and circle it.  This is the CLASS FIGURE  for  that
horse.   Find the horse with the highest class figure and  put  a
bullet  by  his name.  If more than one horse has the  same  high
class, give them each a bullet.

     The third step is even easier than the first two.   However,
it's  a  little confusing to do at first.  Looking for  a  winner
really involves looking for losers and eliminating them.   You're
going  to start eliminating horses that don't figure to  win  the

     You're going to eliminate the lowest CLASS FIGURES and SPEED
FIGURES alternately, starting with class.  Find the lowest  class
figure and eliminate that horse from contention - draw a squiggly
line  through his past performances and forget about  him.   Next
find the lowest remaining speed figure and eliminate that  horse.
Continue eliminating horses alternating from class to speed until
you  have  only three (3) horses remaining.   Remember  to  start
eliminating with CLASS (because C comes before S, you see!).

     Once  you have only THREE horses remaining, look to  see  if
any  of  those three horses had a "bullet work-out" at  the  same
track  they're running on today AFTER his last race.  This  is  a
bit  confusing,  but a bullet work-out is really  easy  to  spot.
Look  at the bottom of the horse's past performances  and  you'll
see up to four workouts that look something like this:

     Apr 20 GG 4f ft :49 H

     That's  a  work-out, but it's not a bullet work.   A  bullet
work-out would have a black circle in front of it like this:

     @ May 3 GG 3f ft :34 H    (pretend the @ is a bullet!)

     A  bullet  work is the fastest recorded  work-out  for  that
distance  of all horses working that day.  It's a good  indicator
that  a  horse is ready to run today, especially if  it  occurred
after  the horse's last race.  (The date of the last race is  the
first information on the first past performance line, 17Apr89-5GG
for example.)

     If  any  of your three horses have a bullet  work-out  after
their  last race, give them one of your "bullets" next  to  their

     At  this  point,  your  three horses may  or  may  not  have
bullets.   If only one of them has one or more of  your  bullets,
that's  your pick.  If two or all three have the same  amount  of
bullets, you're going to have to do a little more work.  Most  of
the time, one horse will have the only bullet or (even better) it
will  have two or three.  The more bullets the better the  chance
of it winning.

     If you still have a tie, pick the horse who came closest  to
winning  his last race.  Find the final "beaten lengths"  in  his
last  race - this is the small, superscripted number that  occurs
just  before the jockey's name in the last past performance  line
(in the Western Edition, anyway.).  You'll see four numbers  with
superscripted  numbers  right about in the middle of the  line  -
it's  the  last  superscript.  The big numbers  are  the  running
positions  at various points in the race.  The  superscripts  are
the  number  of  lengths behind the leader.   The  last  pair  of
numbers  is the final placing and the number of  beaten  lengths.
Pick  the horse with the smallest subscripted number if  the  big
number  is  2 or more, if the big number is a 1, he did  win  his
last race.

     In the highly unlikely event you still haven't come up  with
a pick, pick the horse with the highest class figure.

     With a little practice and a calculator, you should have  no
problem  doing a race in five minutes or less.  The hardest  part
is  dividing  for the class figure - just takes a  bit  of  time.
You'll  be  able  to do the entire day's races in  less  than  an
hour's time and you'll find your picks are as good or better than
anyone else's!

    *** Late (1992) Update ***
    Since the Daily Racing Form(c) now publishes the Andrew Beyer
speed figures for _most_ races, you may substitute these for
the Speed Rating - Variant pairs.