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Overlay, Overlay Paperback – February 20, 2004
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Heller shows a bottom line mentality: he wants you to be a better handicapper than you now are, regardless of your level of betting sophistication.
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The problem is most experienced horse players should already know that. And after reading the sentence that you should use form, class, speed, or pace as separate tools and parts of the subjective judgment of a horses chance to win and wager on the horse the crowd underestimates you pretty much have the content of the book covered.
There's some nice stuff for beginners on basic form, class analysis but the example of past performances use old past performance examples and much more info is now available. The speed figure chapter is dated and not that relevant to current speed and pace figure calculations using computers or even the information from the current figures provided in the DRF.
The money management chapter is decent and worth reading as is the putting it all together examples in the 2nd to last chapter.
So all in all its somewhat helpful if you can make the leap yourself to modernizing the work to what is out there for current handicappers in the Beyer Speed - Sartin Pace figures + computer handicapping era or if you are a flat out beginner looking to see how to create subjective evaluations of horse racing value using a comprehensive approach to handicapping. It should probably be part of a good horse racing library. But if you are looking for modern methods, using technology to get to that same point; or if you have already realized that wagering under bet horses with a reasonable chance to win is more profitable than wagering on the "best" horse regardless of its odds then you are not really going to gain much in the way of handicapping skills by buying this book.
I give it a 6 on a 10 point scale because the approach and information is legit, its just pretty dated.
Bill Heller, Overlay, Overlay: How to Bet Horse Like a Pro (Bonus, 1990)
Bob McKnight, Eliminate the Losers (Citadel, 1962)
Before the Breeders' Cup this year, I decided to forgo my usual re-read of Michael Pizzolla's Handicapping Magic (judging by how badly I did that weekend, this was a very bad idea) and went back to some handicapping books I read years ago to see if they were actually the same way I remembered them. Back when I first read these books, my memory tells me, I found Eliminate the Losers to be by far the best of the bunch, with the other two mediocre at best.
Finding Hot Horses was exactly as I remembered it; there's a bit of useful information here and there buried among stuff that most ten-year-olds could likely see through, a handful of long-disproven ideas, and writing that ain't all that hot. Overlay, Overlay, on the other hand, was somewhat better than I'd remembered it, and I earmarked a few ideas to pursue over the next year to see if they had any merit. There wasn't anything wrong with them on the surface, anyway.
The real surprise was Eliminate the Losers, which ended up being just another bad sixties handicapping tome. (My disdain for McKnight's Pick the Winners, which I read a few years after this one, probably should have clued me in.) The title is promising; after all, half the battle of handicapping a horse race, and sometimes much more than that, is figuring out which horses you can discard out of hand--but McKnight spends surprisingly little time on this concept given the book's title, instead spending more time on, yes, trying to pick the winners once you've eliminated the losers. Oh, well.
I'm going back to Pizzolla. At least I know the information in Handicapping Magic is worthwhile.
Overlay, Overlay ***
Finding Hot Horses **
Eliminate the Losers **