Thursday, October 30, 2008

20-20 Review

It was not a vintage year for the Breeders' Cup 20-20 system. In fact one might say it was the worst year ever.

For those of you wondering what on earth I'm talking about feel free to get up to speed by consulting my archives. In a nutshell the 20-20 system is a statistical profile system built to help guide your Breeders' Cup wagering.

For the first time ever a flat bet on all perfect qualifiers would have lost you money. Not a lot of money mind you but a losing year all the same. There were 16 perfect qualifiers in 8 races. They combined for a record of 16-4-0-5 in the Breeders' Cup. A $2 win bet on each would have cost $32 and returned $29.60.

Betting the entire fields based on the 20-20 profile scores would have lost you 38% but that is still better than the 50% you would have lost by betting every horse equally. The 20-20 still outperforms random chance but it still wasn't good enough to turn a profit this year.

Handle was down on a race by race basis and I certainly felt it with my own wagers. Nothing paid as much as it seemed like it should. More handle causes a greater disparity in the pools and subsequently better prices on some entrants.

There was a worry prior to the Breeders' Cup that synthetics would render systems like this irrelevant. If you look at the breakdown on the 20-20 spreadsheet you'll see that it was indeed the synthetics that caused this negative performance. The Turf races were actually nicely profitable. Perhaps a little tinkering will have to be done in order to adjust for this new challenge.

All of the synthetic race winners had a win over the turf or synthetics already. Had that been added as a factor for the main track races 3 perfect qualifiers would have been excluded (Curlin, Fairbanks and Sky Diva) and the system would have had a profitable year.

By all accounts it was not a great year but it was also not such a poor year that it should necessitate wholesale changes to the system or scrapping the project altogether. 6 of the 8 winners were either perfect qualifiers or had just one strike against. Midnight Lute was really the only outlier and even when I look at his Past Performances now I still don't see a horse I'd want 2/1 on. He was a bad bet considering all the questions surrounding him. My thought is that he was simply a special horse who accomplished something that went against statistical probability.

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