Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Eye Exam

I believe strongly in keeping score. So when I make a pick I keep a record of how it does. It helps me to honestly evaluate my level of competence and also, in a space like this, it may help you to decide whether or not my advice is worth the bandwidth it occupies.

I've spent a fair bit of time talking about my 20-20 systems which are statistical profiles. They're intended to give the viewer a clearer view of the respective chances of each entrant based on how they measure up with the historical profiles. Now that the Triple Crown is over it's time to lay out the results.

We'll start with the quick facts about the 20-20 systems for each Triple Crown race this year.

20-20 All Wager - $54.00
Returned - $90.30
Perfect Qualifiers - Charitable Man (4th)

20-20 All Wager - $71.00
Returned - $30.80
Perfect Qualifiers - Rachel Alexandra (1st - $5.60) Musket Man (3rd)

Kentucky Derby
20-20 All Wager - $179.00
Returned - $0
Perfect Qualifiers - Musket Man (3rd) Papa Clem (4th)

Perfect Qualifiers
Record: 5-1-0-2
Win/Loss: -$4.40 (-44.00%)
Average Odds: 9.74/1

Based on the raw data it's clear that blindly following the advice of the 20-20 systems in Triple Crown races this year was not a profitable exercise. My apologies to anyone who may have used this data to their own harm. Of course sightless subservience to a statistical system was never the ultimate intent of the project, but it's the only way to consistently judge the value of the system. In a perfect world I would love to have something that allows me to win with my eyes closed. Then if I opened my eyes I could do all the better!

The perfect qualifiers all managed to finish among the top 4, some at decent prices but you still would have lost money by focusing solely on them in the win pool. Rachel Alexandra was the only winner among the five that looked perfectly positioned for victory.

Still it was not all doom and gloom. In every Triple Crown race of 2009 3 of the 4 top finishers were ranked in top half of the field. 8 of the 12 Triple Crown superfecta finishers had just one strike or less against them. It's just a shame that Mine That Bird had so many strikes against him in the Derby. He was certainly the statistically most unlikely Derby winner of the modern era. The data on him clearly did not reflect the quality he had.

Looking towards next year there is always the goal of honing each system to be as accurate as possible. The Belmont and Preakness systems are specifically likely to undergo some subtle changes simply because these were the first released versions. It will likely take years to mold them into proper, reliable profiles.

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