My Interest in Greyhound Handicapping Started in 1985
By 1985, I had developed some very good simple thoroughbred handicapping systems. A customer, Wes Hurley in Pensacola Florida, was an experienced handicapper and winning with my thoroughbred and harness systems. Part of the reason he won is because he knew how and when to bet. He also handicapped the dogs, and asked me if I could develop a greyhound handicapping system based on my successful thoroughbred software. I thought Wes had a great idea and bought a few books on greyhounds from Gamber's Book Club in Las Vegas, and that started everything.
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Greyhound Handicapping and Harness Racing
Once I got those books on the greyhounds, I decided that I could apply my already successful harness linear regression analysis to the greyhounds. Since my harness system uses racing times, I thought I could change the times calulation for the very short dog races. While harness races were just over 2 minutes, dog races were fast at 30 seconds or less. But adjusting the time wasn't the only modification. Though there are some similarities, dog racing was very different. So, what started out as a harness system, changed into a dog racing analysis after several required modifications (race time calculations and track length differences), and a few added factors with point weight changes.
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While my harness system looked at post position, the results can be different in dog racing, so I had to change my algorithm. In dog racing positions 1 though 3 and maybe 4 are more likely to come in (if they're fast) than the outer dogs (5 through 8). In harness racing the inside position, 1, is more important to evaluate (it's a slightly shorter distance), so that adds to the advantage.
Drop in Class
My friend, Wes, in Florida gave me several suggestions. He said speed was important (which is what I like to evaluate), but drop in class may be even more important to look at. A dog can be dropped in class, say from B to C, because he wasn't running as well with the B class dogs. So, when he gets into a race with the C dogs, he has an advantage, no matter if he lost some races in the higher class. He was a better dog. Wes told me to add a few points to a dog that dropped in class, even if the other statistics are not that promising. After some testing, it proved to worked, and in about half the races, the dog that dropped in class, made it in the money.
Another important factor Wes said would definitely help was to what out for the troublemaker dogs that fight dogs in the other lanes. He said if the system picked a dog in position 3, but there is a known troublemaker dog in position 2 or 4, do not bet that dog. It's very possible the troublemaker dog will cause a problem, and your fast dog won't come in. And, I'd say about half the time, it was very good advice. If a dog caused a fight in a previous race, that will be indicated in the greyhound racing form. It's a factor to look at for sure.
About Wes Hurley the Handicapper
On a sad note. It's unfortunate that my good friend and gambling buddy, Wes Hurley died in the fall of 2010 from lung disease. As a Merchant Marine he was exposed to asbestos used to insulate pipes and boilers in the ships, and after years of exposure Wes, along with many other sailors developed a number of lung problems.
Wes was a kind gentleman with a New Orleans accent and a quick wit who made you laugh when he wasn't discussing his latest handicapping techniques that I needed to apply to my systems. He also had some simple number wheeling systems to cover the various combinations when you wanted to bet your favorite numbers in the lottery. He won a lot of money playing the thoroughbreds and at the greyhound track, and even won a few large jackpots in the state lottery. At retirement, he opened The Ferret and Dove Sanctuary with his wife, and they cared for a lot of needy animals, finding the right home for many.
Wes was Great for the Greyhounds
I owe a lot of my success with the Advanced Greyhound System to Wes. I think the class question makes a lot of difference in picking winners and it's important to factor in those troublemaker dogs. He also helped test the software for me down in Florida because we don't have dog tracks here in Michigan.
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