HOW TO USE TRAINER PROFILES

There are all sorts of handicapping methodologies out there, to say one is better than another is shortsighted and foolish. Whichever one works for you is the best. However, after having tracked trainers for over 25 years we believe that the trainer is the most important factor. Trainers win races not horses. That’s a pretty bold statement, but it’s a fact. A horse is a very intelligent animal and may run its heart out but it can’t train itself, know when to race and when not to race, what class to run, what distance and surface to run, what medications, if any, to use, what jockey to ride, how often to race, how often and what distance to workout etc.. It’s the trainer’s job and responsibility to make these determinations. Therefore, it’s important to know what a trainer’s winning patterns and tendencies are … Trainer Profiles.

We receive a good number of emails asking how to use trainer profiles or the confusion about the abbreviations. Without the abbreviations, we could not possibly provide such comprehensive trainer information and present it in such a manner as to be easily readable on a single line. When the profiles are printed the abbreviations are included at the top of the report so as to be readily accessible when reviewing the reports.

Generally speaking, we use the profiles as another handicapping tool to assist us in solidifying or discarding our picks. We get our top three picks and then see how the trainer patterns match up with the race and then make our picks based on that. However, if we see a trainer with a specific pattern that has won at a good price in the past, the same exact pattern appears again, and the odds are right, we may bet regardless of whether the horse is one of our top three or not. We have been very successful doing this. Words of caution though, make sure that the horse’s running style fits the race.

So then the question is asked, “Why is the Thoroughbred Trainer Profile information any more reliable than DRF, Brisnet, Equibase or numerous other trainer statistics available?” There are two answers to this question:

  1. Statistics can be very misleading. For example, a trainer shows a 6% win percentage when racing a horse 1st off a rest.  What if all of the 1st off a rest wins were in conjunction with a dirt to turf surface change, a class drop, and were all run on the Belmont inner turf course? How would you know that with statistics? Another trainer shows a 26% win percentage when racing a horse 2nd off a rest. What if all of the wins paid $4 or less except when the trainer moved the horse up in class and brought it back to race in 10 days or less from the previous race? Again, how would you know that with statistics? Most statistics are for individual patterns. Show us what statistics are available that will provide the same information, especially in a format like Trainer Profiles, where you can see all of it at a glance.  Also, remember, trainers not only have long-term patterns but they also have short-term patterns and statistics cannot provide insight in to short-term patterns. Usually short-term patterns have ended by the time there is enough statistical data to flag it.
  1. Everybody is using the same statistics. Whatever past performance source you use, the trainer statistics are essentially the same so that everyone is looking at and using the same statistics.  It’s like using the Beyer speed rating; it generally lost its effectiveness at finding long shots as soon as it was published in DRF. What use to be long shots are now favorites because everyone is now betting on the same horse. It’s the same with statistics. Handicappers who continue to place importance on the same speed numbers and statistics that everyone else is using have little or no chance to stay ahead in this game, much less show a positive ROI. Simply put, you must dare to go against the prevailing handicapping methodologies that the majority of handicappers are following. FYI ... 95% of them are loosing money.

We could go on forever about the over-use of statistics in handicapping. The industry has become so saturated with them that they’ve become, in our humble opinion, meaningless. We continually get asked if we have statistics to support our profiles. We feel that our profiles don’t need statistics … they stand by themselves. Remember, every profile listed under a trainer is a win. These are the patterns that the trainer is winning with, past and present. So this information is FACT!

There are two specific ways to use trainer profiles: 1) as stated above, look for patterns unique to each trainer, for example a trainer shows a propensity for wins of $7.80 or higher when moving a horse up in class and bringing it back to race 10 days or less from the previous race. We then start watching for this trainer to make the same move again, under the same conditions, and if we get the odds we want and the horse’s running style fits the race, then we bet it, especially if it is one of our top three picks based on our normal handicapping procedure, 2) and most importantly, THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX! This is an over-used term, but folks, if you want to be successful in this sport then you must get away from the herd mentality and start thinking differently.   

Don’t just look for the obvious, really look at and absorb the information we present in the Trainer Profiles. How many days since a trainer last raced the horse (LRxx, BKx)? Is this the norm or is the trainer bringing it back earlier than normal? How many days prior to the race is the trainer giving the horse a workout? Is it the norm or is the trainer working the horse 2 or 3 days prior to the race? What type of workout did the trainer give the horse? Is the norm breezing and now the horse was worked handily? How often is the horse given a bullet workout? How often does a trainer move a horse up in class without winning the last race? How often does a trainer drop a horse below its claiming price? How often does a trainer win off a rest of a year or more? We can go on and on but hopefully you get the idea. Folks, all you have to do is look at things differently and genuinely analyze what changes a trainer makes to win … it’s all there and the vast majority of handicappers are unaware of it because they can’t see all of the information together via statistics. Case and point, the first race at Hollywood Park on 07/02/08 … a 50K maiden claiming race at 8.5 furlongs. All of the horses were dropping in class from Md Sp Wt except Zanda Blue, who was moving up in class from state bred MC40 to an open MC50, coming off a 30+ day freshening, going from a sprint to a route, and retaining the jockey that Bell had won a similar maiden race with earlier in the meet. After handicapping the race, Zanda Blue was in our top three picks. However, Bell was doing two things that are not the norm: 1) he was moving the horse up in class instead of down which is the norm off a rest, and 2) he worked the filly at 3 furlong two days before the race, which is not the norm, but which he had done in the past and won. Zanda Blue was our pick and won by 3/4 of a length, paying $12.20. This example is not the exception. There are plenty of races with similar or other patterns that don’t follow the normal course of trainer actions from one race to another. Take the time to really study the profiles ... there are not short cuts to being successful.

The beauty of the Trainer Profiles is that you may see a pattern that others don’t. Some of our subscribers have pointed out patterns that we didn’t notice.  So if you want to be part of the small group that actually show a profit from this sport, start keeping betting records and break away from the herd and evaluate your picks with an understanding that the trainer is significantly more important than the vast majority realize. GOOD LUCK.