Pedigree handicapping with Brisnet.com's APR OnlineIt used to be detailed pedigree information was the domain of the horse industry professional--particularly those on the breeding side of things, but handicappers would do well to familiarize themselves with Brisnet.com's American Produce Records (APR) Online during a free trial through January 31.
When I joined the staff of Thoroughbred Times in May 2002 I had been playing the races semi seriously for about four years but was not at all familiar with the depth of pedigree information out there. Sure, I had been using Brisnet.com Ultimate Past Performances since fall 1997 and had come to rely on its sire, broodmare sire, and first dam stats as a way to help handicap maiden, turf, and route races, but diving even deeper into a horse's pedigree was a true eye opener--like going from Daily Racing Form PPs to the Ultimates. "How did I ever handicap two-year-old races without this," I wondered. Sometimes, more really is more.
APR Online puts Brisnet.com's entire pedigree database at your fingertips regardless of where those fingertips are. This product is easily accessible on a desktop, laptop, tablet, or mobile device, udpated daily, and includes more than 3-million pedigrees stemming from more than 900,000 dams, including European Produce Records dating back to 1960.
So how does a handicapper use all this information? Well, that's where the free trial comes in. We all handicap differently--from the information we use (or don't use) to how much we weigh each variable. Some don't use pedigree at all, but as a multi-race player I don't have that luxury.
I turn to pedigree information for one of two things: A) confidence in an overlaid single, and B) spot plays at big prices.
It can be disconcerting to dope out a positive pedigree play only to find your horse open at even money. As my editor at Thoroughbred Times liked to say, "I can read the toteboard, too." But we only see the win odds for that race, meaning that there can still be value in playing these horses in multi-race wagers.
This all began for me on August 10, 2002, which was not only my first visit to Ellis Park but also the day I became hooked on pedigree handicapping--talk about a watershed day in the life of a young horseplayer!
I headed to Ellis that day to cover the Gardenia Stakes--my first "road" assignment as a staff writer with the now-bankrupt Thoroughbred Times. I had handicapped the whole card and was especially interested in race 5, a maiden special weight race for two-year-old fillies on the grass. Talk about a race ripe for pedigree handicapping: a ten-filly field with five first-time starters and all of them trying turf for the first time.
I, along with most of the wagering public, landed on first-time starter Million Stars, a Buckram Oak Farm homebred by Henessy out of the Exclusive Native mare Million Stories. I singled her in all three Pick 3s I could play with her and was rewarded when she won by five lengths at 11-to-10 odds.
Now obviously a $4.20 winner is no great shakes, but this was more about having the confidence to single a first-time starter in a full field and being rewarded for it, as the three Pick 3s I hit paid a combined $945 on about $100 in handle. So that 11-to-10 became nearly 17-to-2.
Was Million Stars a cinch on paper before the race? Of course not. I could even argue that 11-to-10 in the win pool was kind of light, but for the way I play (especially with my bankroll 10.5 years ago) singling her there and going deep elsewhere made more sense than deep in her race and singling elsewhere.
Without getting too much into it, four of Million Stars' six siblings (including Tubrock!) had won on grass and most were sprinters. That's OK, but one of the kickers was that another sibling--the Green Forest mare Nara--was unraced but had thrown several turf winners. Coupling the family's affinity for turf with a win-early and win-short sire like Hennessy with connections that couple pop at first asking (trainer Pat Byrne), and I was willing to hang my hat on this one.
These types of opportunities present themselves every time a horse debuts, switches surfaces, or stretches out, and sometimes the opportunity isn't finding a horse to bet but one to bet against. If a debut runner favored in a two-year-old race has no family member to win at two or at first asking, then I'll consider a bet against at short odds.
These things don't always work out, of course, but the information available in APR Online will increase edge, and in the long run that helps to equal profits. Check it out today.