First, thank you for your interest in my Stat Guides! My name is Craig Andrews and I live in Winterville, NC with my wife and two beautiful daughters. I am an avid outdoorsman and love spending my time outdoors with my family doing anything from hunting to backpacking. Every year my wife and I lead a group of around 25-30 teenagers on a 4 day, 30 mile trip through the North Carolina mountains. We enjoy watching the self confidence of the students grow as they overcome things they never thought possible and begin to build themselves young leaders. In the months of December and January I put horse racing aside to focus on my life long passion for duck hunting. My dad first took me duck hunting when I was 5 years old and now it is something he and I are able to share with my daughters as well.
I've always kept up with horse racing, but my first experience at the track was at the Preakness. I had never handicapped a race or placed a bet. My wife and I were in DC for her work that week and decided to stay over and go to the Preakness a few miles away in Baltimore. The night before I read everything I could soak up online about handicapping and betting horse races. The next day we sat down in our seats just as the horses from the first race came down the stretch. I can still remember a horse from mid pack running down a tiring leader. From that moment on I was hooked. There is nothing quite like being at the race track.
I took out my program and started to handicap the next race. I didn't know much from my late night studies the previous night, so I was strongly leaning on speed figures, what little I knew about class and records. My budget for the day was $100. I headed to the betting machine and punched in my bet. I didn't know how to part wheel on the machine so I boxed 3 horses in an Exacta at $1 each. The bet cost $6 and I watched with joy as two of my horse finished first and second. As I cashed my first ticket I thought, "Well that wasn't so hard!" Usually in my life when I have that thought I am about to get my world rocked, and this time was no exception. Although I did win another bet or two that day, the majority of the day I lost and lost and lost some more. By the end of the day I had lost my $100 plus the small winnings from the day. As I left Pimlico that day I laughed off my loses, but something had changed. I was in love with the sport of horse racing and even more determined to find out why I had lost and to learn how to beat this game.
Horse racing maybe the greatest game ever invented. I always tell people, a 120 pound man on a 1200 pound animal going 40 miles per hour - how is that not the greatest game in the world! And the best part is, you get to bet on it! But, it can also be the most frustrating game in the world, even to professional handicappers. It is impossible to pick the winner in every race and this is what leads people to say, "You can beat a race, but you can't beat the races". I believe that statement holds the key to being a successful handicapper - learning which races you can beat.
North Carolina does not allow pari-mutuel wagering, so besides the Preakness, I usually go to Colonial Downs when I want to go to the races. From a handicapping perspective, I mainly spend most of my time on the Maryland/Virginia circuit. However, I do look outside of that circuit to handicap the major stakes races.
I am a statistical minded handicapper. I've always loved number and statistics and that easily transitioned into my handicapping. Some of my best day to day statistic angles are looking for shippers from certain tracks that always have good win or in the money percentages. I also like to find class and distance angles associated with jockeys. Certain jockeys have positive ROI's because they ride a particular distance on a particular course extremely well. And thus, they get the call from trainers in certain races, like Maidens. And, I've also found that by putting minimum and maximum caps on the odd requirements for these horses you can increase your ROI. These are just a few of the angles I like, but it is these type of statistics that I love to uncover.
Researching statistics like this led me to be curious about statistics for major stakes races. The problem was I couldn't find the information anywhere, so I decided to create my own. I put out my first Stats Guide for the 2013 Breeders' Cup. The response was overwhelming and I immediately began working on the Triple Crown series. My goal is to offer accurate, informative and useful stats for horse racing's biggest days. These stats have been an extremely useful supplement to past performance data for me and hundreds of handicappers just like us.
If you have feedback or questions about my guides or stats, please feel free to contact me. I always enjoy talking racing, especially since I live in North Carolina where people look at me like I'm crazy when I tell them I follow horse racing.
Thank you to everyone who has taken an interest in my stat guides!
How to Use Our Stats
I've always believed that the best handicapping tool is the human mind. Computers can help us file, sort and even process data into useful information. But information from computers will always be based on a certain criteria and the human mind can take into consideration things a computer cannot.
Our Stat Guides are never meant to take the place of basic handicapping principal of class, form, pedigree, etc. They are meant to help you include horses that fit a certain criteria that have a higher percentage chance of winning or finishing in the money based off historical data. It also helps you eliminate horses and false favorites using this same data.
I once had a business professional that I respect say to me, "In the business world never make a decision based solely on the numbers, but never ever make a decision without the numbers." I think this is very true in the world of horse racing. Statistics may not take into consideration traffic issues, pace, etc., but going against something that statistically has happened 85% of the time may not be wise either.
Our guides contain a lot of stats and information. Some stats are extremely useful and others are basic. For instance, a simple glance at the post position table may show that no horse has an advantage over another solely based on post position. But, the next table down may show that 45% of the winners have won while racing on the lead.
Or, the post time favorite may win 33% of time, which is around average. But a closer look will show you that the post time favorite finishes in the superfecta 85% of the time. This would tell you that while you don't necessarily have to use the post time favorite in the win spot, you should definitely include them in your superfecta, even if it is just as a saver. I don't know about you, but if I know something is going to happen 85% of the time, I am not going to go against that very often, if at all.
Our guides do not offer you picks or selections for races, rather they allow you to formulate your own ideas by comparing useful stats with the past performances (PP's) you already use. I think this is better because it lets you chose which stats you think are pertinent to the race and allows your mind to decide which horses best fit these stats.
One should always keep in mind that historical stats are just that, they are stats. They happened in the past and in no way guarantee that something is going to happen a certain way in the future. It's important to keep in mind that if something happens 70% of the time in a race, then in 3 out of 10 races (30%) it is not going to happen.
To use our Guides successfully take the stats that seem most useful to a specific race and then let them help you include or exclude horses and then apply your own handicapping skills.
Should you have questions about how to use our Guides, please feel free to contact me.
For purchased Guides, after the post position draw for each race I will email all the customers who purchased that stats guide a past performance sheet. This sheet will show the running lines for the major prep races for each horse. The running lines will have my trip notes as well as our par rating for each race.
Thank you for your interest and I hope you enjoy the guides!