For the month of January, TVG has a late pick 4 promo running on Wednesdays at Gulfstream Park and Fridays at Santa Anita. Last week I managed to get 3 out of 4 races correct and missed out on a $296.90 payout. After coming so close, I decided to work on an Excel spreadsheet macro that would help me handicap the races. I have a lot of experience writing macros and I always wanted to write one for my horse racing hobby. The ultimate goal would be to enter some data, push a button, and have it display the winner. But we all know that horse racing doesn’t work like that.
I spent about 4 days deciding what data to use and wrote a macro to process and compare the past 3 race results for each horse in the upcoming race. Each horse is assigned a rating based on attributes that are known to benefit a racehorse. Things like cutting back in distance, running for a lower purse, carrying less weight, and other data that may indicate that they are in good form. This past Wednesday I tested my rating scheme on the late pick 4 at Gulfstream. In my spreadsheet I also put “expert” picks from five sources. What surprised me was that many of the experts were picking horses that had received low ratings on my spreadsheet.
With a budget of $18 for my pick 4 wager, I can pick 3 horses in two races and 2 horses in the other two races. I used the spreadsheet to make some decisions about which horses to wager on. Having the data and the rating system made this a lot easier. I ended using horses with the highest total rating (my rating + expert ratings). I was busy during the day and didn’t have a chance to watch the races. Later that evening I logged into my TVG account and saw that my account balance had increased by $153.50. The next day I received $18.94 from the TVG promo. With the highest winner at odds at 5 to 1, the payout was nothing spectacular. The pick 4 pool was $194,406 and the takeout at GSP is 20%. So, 1013 total players won. 13% of those winners (132) were on TVG. My spreadsheet will need more testing before I can call it a success, but it is off to a good start.
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