Photo by Penelope P. Miller/America's Best Racing
The Turf vs Tech Handicapping Challenge is a public tournament featuring some of the best handicappers from the world of Thoroughbred racing taking on some of the best and brightest from the tech world. Many of racing's new fans are building their own companies or working on the next great mobile app and we thought it would be great to see what happens when they take on established handicappers in some of America's best races.
Stay tuned as this group of tech all-stars take on some of America's most recognizable handicappers in a winner-takes-all battle that pits the new school against the old school.
Peter Rotondo Jr.
Peter Rotondo, Jr. has been going to the races since he was 4 months old with his first trip being to Saratoga Race Course. His passion for racing led him to the University of Arizona Racetrack Industry Program in Tucson, Ariz., where he earned a bachelor's degree. Following school, he worked for one year at Daily Racing Form before moving to the National Thoroughbred Racing Association. In 2006, he began working for the Breeders' Cup and holds the position of vice president of media and entertainment. His experiences have led him to be part of the “Horseplayers” reality show on Esquire Network. The show followed Rotondo and his castmates on a tour of the best racing venues in the U.S. in the pursuit of the title of Handicapper of the Year and a $750,000 prize at the DRF/NTRA National Handicapping Championship. Click here for a Q&A with Rotondo.
Andrew Rideout is a 31-year-old entrepreneur based in Vancouver, Canada. He is the founder of the iOS app Hack The Races and is involved in several other exciting projects within the horse racing industry. When not traveling the world or shouting at his computer, he enjoys drinking coffee, eating food and long-distance running - but not all at the same time.
This week our two handicappers will have a $100 bankroll with which to use on the following races on Saturday, April 19: the $200,000 Coiolmore Lexington Stakes for 3-year-old, Keeneland Race Course, Race 9; the $200,000 Distaff Handicap for fillies and mares 3 years old and older, Aqueduct, Race 8; and the $1-million Charles Town Classic Stakes, Charles Town Races, Race ?.
$20 Win #1 – Mr Speaker – The Speaker should work out a ground-saving trip. He has tactical speed should Lezcano need to use it and I think he'll better value than his morning-line odd when the gates open. #loyalty
Total Bet = $20
$20 Win #7 - My Pal Chrisy – It was tough to close most of the winter on the dirt at Gulfstream so My Pal Chrisy was consistently up against it. Chrisy finds herself in a perfect spot with a ton of speed to close into in the Distaff Handicap, so I see her running late and getting up in the final strides for the win. #MPC
Total Bet = $20
$5 exacta box: 1,3,5 = $30
$5 trifecta box: 1,3,5 = $30
#1 Clubhouse Ride – He nearly pulled off the upset last year in the Charles Town Classic against Game On Dude. This year should be no different as he has been slowly rounding to form and will save a lot of ground (which is important at Charles Town given the tight turns). Unlike last year, there is a lot more pace for the DUDE to deal with, so maybe Clubhouse Ride turns the tables at a generous price.
#3 Game On Dude – He was the OLD DUDE last time as he toyed with best older horses in the country. He’s working spectacularly and should have no real issues other than there is a lot of pace pressure from all sides. At 1-to-5, I'll try to beat him (while still rooting for him) once again. If he does win and either Clubhouse Ride or Long River run second and third, I'll probably get even or make a small profit.
#5 Long River – He's the new shooter to this fight and he has big shot to upset the field. Ling River is impeccably bred — by Breeders' Cup Classic winner A.P. Indy out of Distaff winner Round Pond. He finally looks like he’s found his best stride and could sit the absolute perfect trip stalking behind the speedier types.
Total Bet = $60
I’m thinking that the track will play somewhat similar to last Saturday when horses coming from off the pace had a real advantage with a semi-clean trip. Divine Oath looks well-poised to keep moving forward and the price should be okay-ish, but I’m not expecting a blockbuster. We’ll also take a stab on the likeable but extremely unpredictable Poker Player because that one race at Keeneland still jumps off the page. Stewart Elliott has been winning at a nice clip, too. Rounding out the trifecta is Supermonic who probably will go straight to the lead and attempt to stay on like he did last week. It would be pretty rad to see a horse who can be turned back quickly like that and still win. You get the feeling they wouldn’t have even thought about running if they didn’t think he could handle it. He’s a live horse at a good price.
$2 exacta box: 4,6,10 (Poker Player, Divine Oath, Supermonic) ($12)
$1 trifecta box: 4,6,10 (Poker Player, Divine Oath, Supermonic) ($6)
$5 win/place: #10 Supermonic ($10)
$6 win/place: #6 Divine Oath ($12)
Total Bet = $40
This race is a tad deeper than it might actually look on paper, so keep your eyes peeled for any weird anomalies you might see on the racing form. I think Munnings Sister might deliver at a decent price and is one of the few horses that I’ve seen be able to show in a graded stakes race at Saratoga after winning a maiden special weight on the California fair circuit. Linda Rice’s charge, La Verdad, is the logical favorite here though and seems to be a horse that just knows how to find the finish line. It’s tough not to include Kauai Katie as well, and the recent series of workouts is pretty good but nothing that blows my hair back or anything. If the old Katie shows up then it could be on for sure.
$5 win/place: #4 Munnings Sister ($10)
$1 trifecta: 1,4,5 (La Verdad, Munnings Sister, Kauai Katie) ($6)
$2 exacta: 1,4,5 (La Verdad, Munnings Sister, Kauai Katie) ($12)
Total Bet = $28
I’m sure if somebody let them do it, Charles Town would card 71 races Saturday night. Fourteen seems to be the magic number this year and the feature contest looks like it could be another stroll for Game On Dude. There are a few out there taking a shot at him for this big-money, Grade 2 race. If you’re simply going to assume that the dude abides then why not key him up at the top of a super with Long River, Moreno and Clubhouse Ride on the bottom. If you’re looking for somebody to beat the Dude then it’s likely to be Moreno who looks like he could be suited to the bullring.
$2 superfecta: 3 over 1,2,5 (Dude over Clubhouse Ride, Moreno, Long River) ($12)
$10 win/place: Moreno ($20)
Total Bet = $32
Account wagering – Betting by internet or phone, in which a bettor must open an account and deposit money with which to bet.
Across the board – A bet on a horse to win, place and show. If the horse wins, the player collects three ways; if second, two ways; and if third, one way, losing the win and place bets. Actually, three bets.
Bounce – An especially poor performance on the heels of an especially good one.
Box – A betting term denoting a combination bet whereby all possible numeric combinations are covered for certain horses.
Bridge jumper – A person who wagers large amounts of money, usually on short- priced horses to show, hoping to realize a small but almost certain profit. The term comes from the structure those bettors may seek if they lose the bet.
Chalk – Betting favorite in a race.
Chalk player – Gambler who wagers on favorites.
Daily Double (or Double) – Type of bet calling for the selection of winners of two consecutive races.
Exacta – A wager in which the first two finishers in a race, in exact order of finish, must be picked.
Exacta box – A wager in which all possible combinations using a given number of horses are selected.
Exotic (bet) – Any bet other than win, place, or show that requires multiple combinations. Examples of exotic wagers are trifecta, Pick 6, Pick 4.
Handle – Amount of money wagered in the pari-mutuel system on a race, full day of races, or entire racing season at a track.
In the money – A horse that finishes first, second or third.
Key horse – A single horse used in multiple combinations in an exotic bet.
Morning line – The starting odds set by the track handicapper.
On the board – Finishing among the first three.
On the nose – Betting a horse to win only.
Overlay – A horse whose odds are greater than its potential to win.
Pari-mutuel – System of wagering where all the money is returned to the bettors after deduction of track and state percentages.
Parlay – A multi-race bet in which all winnings are subsequently wagered on a succeeding race.
Part wheel – Using a key horse or horses in different, but not all possible, exotic wagering combinations.
Pick (6 or other number) – A type of multi-race bet in which the winners of all the included races must be selected. Pick 3, Pick 4, Pick 5, Pick 6 are commonly used by tracks in the United States.
Place bet – A bet on a horse to finish first or second.
Quinella - Bet in which the first two finishers must be picked in either order.
Show bet – A bet on a horse to finish in the money; third or better.
Speed Figure – A metric that rates a horse’s performance in a race, which is determined by a combination of the horse’s performance and the level of competition he/she competed against.
Trifecta – A bet in which the first three finishers must be selected in exact order.
Trifecta box – A trifecta wager in which all possible combinations using a given number of horses are bet upon.
Underlay – Horse whose odds are more promising than his potential to win.
Win – A bet on a horse to finish first.
Wheel – Betting all possible combinations in an exotic wager using at least one horse as the key.