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In the last installment I wrote about warmup assessment and gave some guidelines for
handicappers who wish to try it. That having been completed, I now would like to offer
my appraisal of warmup assessment and elaborate on some of the points I mentioned
in that article.

At first glance it may seem that those who employ warmup assessment would have a
decided edge over those who do not. It would seem reasonable to assume that any
handicapper who possesses information not known to the general public would have
an advantage over them.

But is this really the case? The answer to that question is yes - and no. In short, the
value of warmup assessment is as difficult to quantify as the process itself.

The advantages that can be gained from clocking the warmups are fairly obvious. A
handicapper can uncover "wake up horses" and horses that appear to have a
condition edge on their competition. Often the value lies in horses that show mediocre
form but warmup in such a way as to suggest an effort contrary to their charted lines is
in the offing. Because the public relies heavily on past performance records, one who
carefully rates the warmups can find winners that are ignored by the public, usually
resulting in long prices. Based on these descriptions you may feel that reliance on
warmups is the way to go for racetrack profits, but beware. Warmup assessment has
it's downside, also.

The biggest negative in connection with warmup assessments is that to be done
properly it is VERY time consuming. The largest part of any racing day must be spent
watching, rating and recording warmups. This is not a problem if warmups are the
single most important aspect of the handicapping process. It is a problem if, as I
recommend, importance is placed on watching replays, searching for value and
revising handicapping after scratches, driver changes, etc. There is only so much time
between races and to successfully employ warmup assessment one must be willing to
sacrifice many of the basic principles of wagering. In my opinion, this is too great a
price to pay for most handicappers.

In summary, the use of warmups can benefit some but the benefits will not come without
a cost. First, a method of rating the warmups must be developed. Then, a great deal of
time must be spent to implement the method. Finally, sacrifices must be made at the
expense of basic wagering principles to gain and advantage from warmups.

My opinion of warmup assessment is that the potential for harm outweighs the
prospects of gain for most people. There is no guarantee of advantage and a
handicapper can actually suffer by ignoring form, class and speed factors that can
be used to reliably determine contenders in favor of warmups. With this in mind I advise
those who wish to employ warmup assessment to proceed with caution. It is a
double-edged sword that can swing against those who are not careful.

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