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Picking Winners: A Horseplayer's Guide Paperback – May 6, 1994

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

ANDREW BEYER thoroughly revolutionized handicapping when he created his “Beyer Speed Figures,” a measure of how fast a horse has run in a given race, and an indispensable tool for horseplayers. Making the necessary calculations to develop a set of figures for each horse in each race was too time-consuming for most horseplayers, so in 1992 the Daily Racing Form commissioned Beyer and his associates to provide his speed figures for every horse competing in North America. Beyer has been a columnist for the Washington Post since 1978, and contributes regularly to the Daily Racing Form. He is considered one of the leading experts on horse racing.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books (May 6, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0395701325
  • ISBN-13: 978-0395701324
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #41,740 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By J. Berry on October 1, 1997
Format: Paperback
Quality journalism, genuine passion and beneficial insight in the same book on gambling? Beyer is not only the preeminent thoroughbred handicapper in the world, but he's also an accomplished sports journalist. He wraps everything perfectly in his primer "Picking Winners." The book reads like a documentary (you feel his pain!) but teaches like Mister Miyagi (weight on, weight off). Anyone with a remote interest in horse racing betting will enjoy the experience, absorbing Beyer's sage advice all the while. While a beginner won't become a black belt handicapper overnight (like Danny), a new world of awareness will open. And actually that's the essence of this book -- no shortcuts, no easy answers. Become aware of the influences and gain proficiency in interpreting them. "Picking Winners" succeeds on many levels but primarily on where so many books of its genre fail. You can read it. Jax Berry
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42 of 48 people found the following review helpful By bixodoido on May 15, 2006
Format: Paperback
I've never bet on a horse race. I've actually only been to a track once in my life (we don't have a lot of it in this part of the country), and yet I still found this book tremendously useful. Why? Well, it was recommended to me as a guide to "Picking Winners," not just in the horse racing world but in the stock market as well. And, having now read the book I can say that it has proven a more effective lesson in choosing stocks than most of the investment books I've read.

Some of the areas Beyer explores which I think apply to the stock market as well (or to any investment situation as far as I can tell) are:

-the effect different track conditions can have on a horse's performance.

-considering the effects of trainers on a horse's ability to win, lose, progress, or decline in performance.

-spotting potential cases of insider information.

-When to bet on a consistent performer over an unproven newcomer and vice versa.

-detecting signs of physical malady or deterioration early before you lose money because of them.

-How to detect and hopefully stop a losing streak once one begins.

In short this book provides an incredible amount of insight into the ways of selecting the merits of one horse (ie stock) over another without discounting the influence of other factors (the trainer, ie management, for example) on the outcome. I highly recommend this book as a source of investing knowledge and insight and, were I to take up speed handicapping, would absolutely start here.
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33 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Rod Allison on February 1, 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've read many fine books on handicapping and this one is probably the best of them all. A real easy read, its peppered with fascinating and often humerous anecdotes and rules of thumb.
Beyer first introduced his speed handicapping concept in this book, and he shows how to compute the now famous Beyer speed figures. Even though they're available in the Form, its still good to know how they were derived.
At the time Beyer wrote this book, he focused most heavily on speed handicapping, and he would more thoroughly embrace other factors such as pace or trip handicapping later in his career. But he does at least touch on all facets of handicapping in this book, and either a beginner or expert will find it a informative and amusing read.
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33 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Nicholas Fifield on November 16, 2005
Format: Paperback
The last time I went to the races I was five or so, and went to a track just outside Chicago on a beautiful, sunny day. I placed three bets on two races, cashed on none of them, and was thoroughly bored for all but about 2:22 1/5 of the afternoon. As I often did any time I wanted something, I began to pout; knowing I would get what I wanted. I wanted, more than anything else I could imagine at that time, to leave that awful, boring place, and never return.

Almost twenty years later, the writing of one man, published 30 years ago, has done what, just yesterday, seemed impossible, and completely reversed my perception of this sport.

Until reading this fascinating account of horse racing and it's amazing intricacies, I was among those to criticize nearly every facet of the "event" (never one to dignify it as a sport). You name it, I probably disagreed with it: the physical treatment of the horses both during training and races, the drugs that were unquestionably prolific in use, the jockeys' voices becoming unnaturally high as a result of their ghastly profession, the addict gamblers wasting what should be productive lives in the grandstands at some racetrack, and those same gamblers who seemed to care more about horses than people. Nothing about it impressed me and everything about it disgusted me. And when Tony Kornheiser, on both his radio and television sports shows, openly considered and argued Secretariat to be one of the 50 top athletes of all time, well, that was, to me, the most laughable, offensive comment I had ever heard from a sports analyst, on any previous topic. When ESPN dignified his opinions by naming five horseracing-related athletes in their Top 100 All-Century list, including Secretariat (at No.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By J. Wolf on December 19, 2004
Format: Paperback
Two years ago, I didn't know the difference between am exacta and a trifecta, or a fig from a fig newton. All that changed when I ordered my first book on racing "Picking Winners" by Andy Beyer. I had read Beyer's horseracing articles in the Washington Post for years, but was such a novice, that I had no idea that he had to speed handicapping like no other before him.

Picking Winners introduced me to the game -- to what handicapping was all about. Beyer gets you started. Read this book, and any novice is ready to go to the track and at least have some fun pretending he knows what he's doing.

The most important aspect of this book, of course, was my introduction to the Beyer speed figures. They are all he claims them to be; they are not all what others claim them to be. The figs are not the Holy Grail -- but you'll never find the Grail without them.

Most importantly, Beyer gave me an instant understanding of the horseracing game -- no crap -- no esoteric wanderings, but a true working knowledge of handicapping techniques -- and did I mention the speed figs? (haha)

If you are new to the game or if you have little knowledge of those mysterious numbers highlighted in the DRF under "Speed," get this book.

After two years and a dozen other books, I still refer to it several times a week. It has made betting the horses for me a fun, and most often profitable hobby.
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