Blinkers Off

New Frontiers in Form Cycle Analysis
Blinkers Off: New Frontiers in Form Cycle Analysis (formerly founder and Pace Figure creator Cary Fotias compiled his thoroughbred handicapping thoughts and form cycle analysis pattern recognition approach into his 2002 book Blinkers Off: New Frontiers in Form Cycle Analysis. In this section, we present an unabridged version of this book as a valuable supplement to the Pace Figures and Form Cycle Patterns found throughout

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Blinkers Off: Table of Contents

Foreword – Professor William T. Ziemba “Dr. Z” writes the Foreword for Blinkers Off as a quick introduction to Cary Fotias and form cycle analysis.

Chapter 1 – Introduction: In the book’s introduction, Cary identifies the three major ingredients of a winning handicapper and sets the stage for understanding the key concepts of condition and form cycle analysis.
Chapter 2 – The Whole Picture: Cary supports his belief that one number cannot and does not embody a complete representation of the horse’s performance. More importantly, a series of Pace Figures and Calculations paint the “whole picture.”

Chapter 3 – The Education of a Horseplayer: Cary presents an autobiographical take on his path to becoming a handicapper and what he has learned from those before him.

Chapter 4 – First Principles: In the book’s fourth chapter, Cary defines the four most critical principles to understanding performance of thoroughbreds: condition, pace, velocity and ground loss.

Chapter 5 – The Xtras: Now seen on as the Pace Figure content which includes Form Cycle Patterns, the Xtras are easy-to-use and understand normalized pace calculations that account for almost all of the factors included within a thoroughbred race.

Chapter 6 – General Principles: Cary spends the sixth chapter of his book overviewing thoroughbred racing terminology and how various topics relate to the general principles of handicapping.

Chapter 7 – The New Pace Top: Quite possibly the most powerful of the Form Cycle Patterns, the New Pace Top best identifies horses prepared to significantly improve final times and position in upcoming races.

Chapter 8 – Distance Switches: An important topic lightly covered on, but that Cary made sure to highlight, outlines appropriate expectations for horses that are stretching out or turning back for significant distance switches from previous races.

Chapter 9 – Lightly Raced Horses: The Form Cycle Patterns include an entire section devoted to spotting trends with lightly raced horses. Cary goes into greater depth on the topic, particularly with respect to varying expectations relative to surface.

Chapter 10 – Turf Racing: Speaking of surface, unique phenomena tend to occur to horses that move from dirt to turf. Understanding turf-specific Form Cycle Patterns is important to assess future turf races accurately.

Chapter 11 – Track Biases: It’s already accounted for in the normalized Pace Figure numbers, yet it is still important to note biases inherent within various tracks around the world. Cary outlines this concept and cites many specific examples.

Chapter 12 – Oddments: Cary addresses some ancillary pieces not previously discussed in full that may impact race expectations and performance. These include back past performance (before the previous 12 races), equipment changes (and how to handle blinkers), pattern combos, soft wins and more.

Chapter 13 – At the Windows: Now that Cary’s book and the Pace Figures have prepared you for your day at the races, the ultimate test of handicapping skill is making decisions under pressure with real money on the line. Cary’s last chapter focuses on real-time implementation of these strategies.