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Greetings all (echoes in the empty hall - anyone here?)! ;-)

I'd like to build up a database of past performances & results so that I can play with the numbers on my computer and see if any of my handicapping ideas have any merit (I find the Mechanical Investing board here inspirational).

What are my options? Anything beyond Formulator* downloads from the Daily Racing Form website?
* http://www.drf.com/formulator/formulator_ad.html

I need a comma or tab-delimited file with past performances, as well as (possibly separately) full results for each card. Ideally, this would be available historically so I could simply purchase a number of cards all at once, say a couple months or a season at a good track. I'm not sure, but I don't think that's an option with the Formulator downloads - looks like you have a window to purchase them and then they are unavailable.

Also, it's unclear to me if you can download the data as comma-delimited text files or if you first have to download them into the Formulator software and convert it. I ask because I'm on a Mac and of course Formulator is for Windows only. I suppose I could try VPC, but am looking for a more elegant solution.

Any ideas?

TIA!
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I'm not sure if they have exactly what you want, but have you tried Equibase?

http://equibase.com/


(echoes in the empty hall - anyone here?)! ;-)

We definitely need to get some more folks over here... so if you know of any racing fans, steer 'em this way!

Rex
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I'm not sure if they have exactly what you want, but have you tried Equibase?
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I couldn't find anything downloadable as a data file there - looked like all they had were PDFs. Am I missing something?

We definitely need to get some more folks over here...
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I just heard Hollywood Park is closing soon - and the folks talking about it on the DRF boards appear to feel that it's a symptom of an ongoing problem, that horse racing is going down the tubes due to a combination of lack of interest and incompetent management. Of course, I seem to remember similar conversations last time I was following racing, back in the '80s, so... Still, Hollywood closing is chilling - what a bummer!
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I couldn't find anything downloadable as a data file there - looked like all they had were PDFs. Am I missing something?

I'm not sure; I just threw out their name because I know they provide stats.


folks talking about it on the DRF boards appear to feel that it's a symptom of an ongoing problem, that horse racing is going down the tubes due to a combination of lack of interest and incompetent management. Of course, I seem to remember similar conversations last time I was following racing, back in the '80s, so...

Me too. I think incompetent management and a weird structure of competing groups -- track owners, horsemen, breeders, jockeys -- have a lot to do with the decline. None of them can seem to work well together.

Rex
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To follow up on my original questions - Brisnet looks like it probably has the goods!

Now I just have to decide on a track(s) and time period to study.
I'm pondering:
- A full season at a couple of tracks (a representative major and minor?)
- A couple full seasons spread out at a bunch of majors

Any thoughts?
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Ah, I remember using Brisnet many years ago.

As to your question, what sorts of things are you planning on doing with the data? As in stock investing, you might find more "mispricing" (and hence better overlays) at minor tracks, seeing as how fewer people are following them.

Rex
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As in stock investing, you might find more "mispricing" (and hence better overlays) at minor tracks, seeing as how fewer people are following them.
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That's an interesting analogy! I hadn't been thinking along those lines; I confess I'd rather had the idea that the minors were best avoided. I guess it depends on whether they are mispriced due to fewer betters or some inherent elevated level of chaos with lower class horsies.. I dunno - what do you think? It'd actually be nice if you're right - the only track around Seattle is Emerald Downs (a minor)...

Think races at majors and minors need to be handicapped differently?
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I love that... "inherent elevated level of chaos with lower class horsies"! If you mean more occurances of hanky-panky, you're probably right.

Still, if you could become an expert on a minor track like Emerald, it seems reasonable to me that you'd do better than an expert at Santa Anita.

I'd love to have data that tells me every possible trend with trainers and jockeys. Which trainer does best after claiming a horse (both the first and second race after the claim), best overall in claiming races, best in stakes and allowances, etc. Who does best when moving a horse up or down in class or distance? How significant are jockey switches with each trainer?

What is the rail bias at Emerald? Which trainers/jocks understand it? Perhaps more important, which don't? Which pigheaded jock will gun for the lead even though the rail is a killer, for example?

When weird longshots win, which trainer/jock is usually involved? What was the pattern leading up to that race?

Ah... so much ahead of you. :-)

Rex
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Think races at majors and minors need to be handicapped differently?

Missed this one, and a good question. Perhaps the "inherent chaos" at minor tracks would cause longshots to win more.... and you could bet with more confidence if you found a strong one, or bet on a greater percentage of them than you would at a major track? Not sure, just guessing.

But overall, I'm not sure there need be a great difference in handicapping between the two.

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Ah... so much ahead of you. :-)
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We need to get some of the MI boys over here...

As I go through the Past Performances and explore hypotheses, my guiding motto will be "What would Elan & Moe say?"...
;-)

(of course, that will probably mean throwing out the bulk of all the handicapping theories - you know, the ones with irreproducible results...)
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