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Betting Synthetic Surfaces: Conquering Racing's Newest Frontier Hardcover – September 1, 2008


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Daily Racing Form (September 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1932910824
  • ISBN-13: 978-1932910827
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 0.8 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,181,671 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

For centuries, horses have raced exclusively on dirt or grass, but many of today's Thoroughbreds are now running over various mysterious mixtures of polypropylene fibers, recycled rubber, wax-coated sand, and even something called jelly cable. Synthetic surfaces are already in place at major racetracks such as Keeneland, Del Mar, and Arlington Park, and for the first time ever, the Breeders' Cup will be run over a synthetic surface at Santa Anita in October 2008. It's a new era in American racing. And while it may seem strange and perplexing to horseplayers, veteran racing writer and handicapper Bill Finley tells us how to cope--and profit--in Betting Synthetic Racing Surfaces. What impact are theses new surfaces having? How will they affect Thoroughbred owners, breeders, trainers, jockeys--and the horses themselves? What new handicapping riddles will they create for even the most seasoned horseplayers? Finley is the first author to tackle all of the necessary handicapping adjustments and angles. The good news is that these new tracks might not be quite as difficult to decipher as many people feared. While the fundamentals of basic handicapping still apply, synthetic tracks definitely have their own nuances and quirks, and Finley examines them in detail. His thorough research and expertly outlined statistical data, gathered from thousands of races, arms the handicapper with a much better understanding on how to wager and win in the synthetic-surface era. He describes the differences among various brands of surfaces in relation to track biases, running styles, pedigrees and sire lines, the "bounce" factor, and horses making surface switches: synthetic to dirt, dirt to synthetic, turf to synthetic, etc. The modern handicapper cannot afford to ignore the synthetic revolution.

From the Back Cover

"Leave it to one of America's most experienced racing journalists to be the first to tackle the synthetic revolution in an honest and informative way. Bill Finley's statistical analysis and interviews with racing insiders about the sport's newest surfaces will benefit all horseplayers--and especially those intimidated by Polytrack, Cushion Track, or Tapeta. Finley proves that new doesn't have to be confusing." Randy Moss, Thoroughbred-racing analyst for ESPN and ABC, and creator of Moss Pace Figures

Customer Reviews

3.4 out of 5 stars
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See all 9 customer reviews
The bad, its not in alpha order making it nearly impossible to use.
Inno2
My wife and I had the good fortune of meeting Bill Finley at a fast food restaurant in Saratoga prior to the races more than several summers ago.
PTWoodman
The book is good at exposing myths and gives good statistical examples in support of its premises.
R. Mallory

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By R. Mallory on October 14, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Best book written to date for dealing with synthetic surfaces. The book is good at exposing myths and gives good statistical examples in support of its premises. Very honest in introducing the limits of statistics due to the limited number of races run over these surfaces relative to dirt and makes well founded assumptions based on most current data. Good approach to introducing the nuances of various and varied surfaces. A great primer, it is also a good book for anyone having wagered on these surfaces since their introduction. I recommend this book to anyone curious about synthetics who wants either general knowledge or to refine their handicapping.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Inno2 on November 25, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
First, some good, data regarding breeding and potential to run on synthetics is very good. The bad, its not in alpha order making it nearly impossible to use.
Other good,handicapping insights helpful to players of all calibers, no question. The bad, charts and reproductions are to small to read without a magnifying glass!!.
One of the most glaring issues that I personally disagree with and was evident in the breeders cup was that good form on turf was almost required. Author continually denies this saying that best horse will win.
Other not so good was lack of actual content. Take away the charts and form reproductions and there is not much to read.
Worth reading...yes...but...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Best Of All on September 26, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Several years ago it seemed that synthetic racing surfaces were going to be a niche product in North America; mostly found at tracks which race through the frigid winter months.

But the evolution of the revolution has catapulted these surfaces into locations - and climates - throughout North America, which has made a puzzle for handicappers seem even more puzzling. This is where Bill Finley's outstanding analysis becomes the winning ticket.

In the first book out of the starting gate to explore the angles from the current data available, Finley takes the macabre out of the subject. "The modern horseplayer now has to learn the ins and outs of synthetic surfaces, which has some people horrified," he writes.

Through research from thousands of races, Finley delves into the brand differences of surfaces & track biases, running styles, pedigrees & sire lines, the "bounce" & training factors and racers making surface switches. "As it turns out, most synthetic surfaces are anything but slow, deep, and tiring," he says. "The bottom line is that synthetic surfaces are not that different from conventional dirt tracks."

Finley has a solid exploration into this new subject which gives any railbird a chance of finding success in this sweeping change of a landscape that is here to stay.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Dr. A. on July 3, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Bill Finley is the worst handicapper of my generation. How this dude can write a book on anything related to handicapping is beyond reason. He couldn't pick winners ( beyond the typical 2/5 in a 3 horse field) on dirt & turf and now he wants to lecture the masses on how to win(?) on a surface barely 2 yrs. running in the U.S.? I stopped buying the NY daily news b/c of him (and Jimmy Breslin) and have never looked back. Good Luck on that $5 exacta probable, Bill.
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By PTWoodman on November 3, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a welcome addition to any racing library. My wife and I had the good fortune of meeting Bill Finley at a fast food restaurant in Saratoga prior to the races more than several summers ago. He was very cordial, and we shared mutual opinion on a Nick Zito trained turf frontrunner expected to go at very enticing odds that afternoon. As I recall, Saratoga had experienced an unusually dry and hot August and the turf courses were beginning to be extremely speed favoring. I believe the longshot held on to finish a close second. I saw Bill after the race as he was leaving the "Press Box", he having used the horse in an exacta, while I cashed on the place portion of my win/place bet. He was a very thorough a handicapper then. He is very thorough now in his research and easy to comprehend "Betting Synthetic Surfaces". Besides being a good writer and handicapper, he is also a real nice guy!
....."PTWoodman"
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Betting Synthetic Surfaces: Conquering Racing's Newest Frontier
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