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This writer has read and reviewed numerous handicapping books over the years, and the majority of them attained their goal of educating the reader in improving his or her results in the parimutuel arena of Thoroughbred horse racing. The authors covered everything from the process of narrowing down a field to its contenders, using his or her preferred method, to proper money management and how to structure one's bets to maximize profits. However, wouldn't it be ideal to be in a room with many of these same authors and to learn from them in a "classroom" environment? In February of 2007, a number of horseplayers did exactly this, traveling to the Wynn Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas for the Daily Racing Form Horseplayers Expo, the 7th National Conference on Thoroughbred Handicapping, to spend a weekend just hearing some of the greatest handicapping and betting minds today talk about what works for them. In this new DVD set by Daily Racing Form, you can sit in on the same panels these horseplayers attended in person in the comfort of your own home or office. Popular New York racing personality Harvey Pack was the master of ceremonies, introducing many of the panels and served this function well given his natural sense of humor, years of knowledge of the game, and his television experience.
The list of panelists reads like a who's-who of contemporary handicapping. Names such as Beyer, Brohamer, Crist, Davidowitz, Friedman, Moss, Privman, Stich, Tomlinson, and Watchmaker show that this was a very talented group indeed. Each has their specialties, and in the more than 18 hours of footage recorded live in the conference rooms, you will learn their betting and handicapping strategies tailored for the 21st century. Even if you've read all their books, this is an excellent "refresher" as they not only talk about their strategies but how those strategies have been refined over the years to adjust for modern conditions. The best example of this is Andy Beyer, whose books on speed figures were written in the late 1970's and early 1980's. With figures readily available now, what he wrote then won't give you much of an edge today, so he discusses how he now uses modern technology such as the Formulator software to continue his success in the trifecta, superfecta, and pick 6.
One of the most interesting panels in the set is "Handicapping Synthetic Surfaces" which leads off Disc 3. With Turfway, Keeneland, Woodbine, and most recently California removing their traditional dirt tracks, this session is a must-see for anybody playing these tracks. Highly respected trainer Michael Dickinson, inventor of the Tapeta surface, was invited to talk about this phenomenon and he gave the most convincing arguments yet about why synthetic tracks are good for the sport in the long run despite fears by handicappers as the conversion continues. Also a must-see is "The New Imports". DRF's foreign racing writer Alan Shuback along with TV personalities Simon Bray and Jay Privman discuss foreign horses and how to include them when they ship to America. In particular, Shuback debunks many of the myths about horses shipping to and from Dubai, while Simon Bray, who specializes in Japanese racing, talks about that mysterious, insular yet lucrative racing and breeding industry.
Although the list price may seem excessive, the content of the DVD covers material that would cost several hundred dollars to purchase in book form, if you were to purchase the combined published works of all of the panelists, so 18 hours of lessons for this price does represent value. The content assumes that the viewer is relatively experienced in the game, but a novice can learn some valuable lessons from the experts and implement some of the strategies right away, such as Mark Cramer's many simple to understand handicapping angles and Dan Illman's tips on maiden and juvenile races. Some of the panels included handouts to the live audience, which are included as PDF files on Disc 5 and downloadable online on DRF.com. Also included on Disc 5 is some bonus material, including interviews with some of the panelists and speeches from the welcome dinner and the post-Expo dinner reception. Check here for more info about what is on each disc and some audio previews.
2007 Horseplayers Expo Collector's Edition DVD Set has a list price of $99.95 and is available from DRF.com.
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