Research and Development
The Clockers' Corner website was launched in the summer of 2012. Our contender selections are the product of calculations formulated by a rigorous and continually ongoing process of research and development; which in addition to continuous - trial and error - experimentation, testing and refinement, has included literally thousands of "man-hours" of work in the areas of advanced statistical analysis, complexity, computation, probability and algorithm programming; executed on an almost daily basis over the past ten years - just to get to the point where we are now. The formulas are carried out by execution of a set of proprietary algorithms, which are individually designed to classify and rate specific handicapping factors, and, specific characterics of the thoroughbred race horse; while having been highly refined towards finding the winner of a race.
Who is Clockers' Corner?
The question continues to arise, and so, in response to the communications received via both our site e-mail and twitter; we feel the time has come to answer the numerous calls for clarification. First and foremost, we are horse players just like you. Secondly, we are not affilliated with Santa Anita Park, Rosie or the restaurant, Hollywood Park, Del Mar or any other racetrack.
It has literally taken a team of women and men to make this website a reality, including, but not limited to, my wife Veronica, mother Rosario, and daughters Cristina and Sakti. However, the driving force, the number one believer, the one who makes it happen every day, the creator and principal developer of the algorithms, computer programmer, daily handicapper, content producer, web designer, bankroller, driver-to-the-track, purchaser of tickets, payer-of-expenses (ie. Form, Program, Parking, Gate, Gas, Food, Cigarrettes, etc.); would be this author, your humble servant, horse-miner and mutuel-harvester.
No doubt, if you've ever frequented Clocker's Corner in the mornings at any time during the past fifteen or so years; then you've seen us. Tall, thin-build, full beard, dark sunglasses, racing form in tow, pack of yellow American Spirit cigarrettes; mostly keep to ourself but always greet everyone. We used to feed the birds every morning in the parking lot at Santa Anita (hundreds of birds would come in waves), know some folks on the front and back sides but not too many folks actually know us, who we are, where we come from, or what we're about. Seen every day but never really noticed and that's sort of the way we like it.
Been around long enough though, back in 05' Chris Paasch gave us "Diplomat Lady" to WIN the Starlet (happened to be sitting next to each other that day at Hollywood) she paid $80.00, to this day we can still remember the way he yelled "C'mon Tyler" when she hit the far turn, what a good hit! Another time around seven years ago, on a Sunday morning we will never forget, Bruno told us about a highly-rated maiden filly (it was the first time we saw our favorite horse ever, The Great Zenyatta, during a morning workout with David Flores in the saddle at Hollywood Park).
Dedicated to Dad
Introduced to Horse Racing by one helluva man, my father; at the wee age of - too young to actually remember. By the time I was 2, dad had already lost an 8-unit apartment building on Las Palmas, in Hollywood; which he and my mom bought when they got here from Cuba. As the story goes, he took out a mortgage, went to the track with the cash, and proceeded to bet the whole roll TO-WIN, on a horse named Omar. Years later he would tell me the story his way, "Can you imagine me, unclogging toilets - fuck that shit".
Dad didn't just have cojones, HE WAS 100% PURE COJONES. Lived on-his-own-terms, what an understatement. To this day, and forever, I have been the only one of my friends, and out of anybody that I have met; I am the only person that I know who has ever touched a five-hundred-dollar bill in real life, have you? Dad kept stacks of $500 bills, he would say "hey Omar, wanna help me count some krinkles"; and when I got older and asked him where that cash came from, he explained that when I was small, the racetrack paid in $500 bills.
He used to buy cars at the County auction, once in 1970 he bought a big red L.A. County fire engine for $750.00, brought it home and parked it behind his 1963 XK Jaguar (hard top convertible with a start button) in the driveway of our house at 822 S Masselin Ave. Imagine a kid with a real fire engine to play with, well that was me at five years old.
In the middle of the Arab oil embargo 73' when everybody's panicking, he goes and buys a brand new Cadillac Eldorado (with a phone that required a "mobile operator" to use); and a Firebird 400 Muscle car to go along with a Country Squire station wagon for mom (with the two rumble seats way in the back), all during the so-called energy crisis.
Dad was a genius, not a gambler by profession but by true heart, gutt, cojones, intuition, call it what you may; ten grand on the superbowl was nothing to him, in fact in Miami, he has given me the cash and sent me to pay the bookie the $10,500, on the Monday morning after the super bowl on more than one occasion. When I was a kid, I can remember times counting out $35K with my dad in the back of a limo on the way to the track; and I remember times picking horses with Maria my step-mom, and checking the previous day's results out of the newspaper by candle-light, because the electricity was disconnected at his apartment in Silver Lake.
He made and spent millions of dollars, in the 70's as a Rock N' Roll concert promoter, artist manager, and through other recording businesses; and then hit broke in the late 80's (well broke for him, was no swimming pool, in the poor section of Beverly Hills - anything south of Wilshire, he was broke at 232 "S" El Camino) but by 1993 he was living high again, where he liked it, north of Santa Monica in the flats at 527 "N" Rexford.
You see during the 1970's, my father pioneered what is commonly referred to in the music industry today, as the "Multi-Label Production Deal"; but there was no such animal back then, my father created it, made it happen by his pure cojones, and paved the way for what is now a commonly used instrument in the industry... and so as it turned out, his companies from the 1970's (TERCER MUNDO, INC and some others) owned 100% of the copyrights in and to some musical compositions and sound recordings.
A catalog of 163 songs which became quite valuable because they had been sampled by so many Rap artists, so many times, on so many million-selling rap albums, that each and all of the six major record companies owed him a ton of money, he sued and got another bunch of millions through various settlements and deals (Priority Records alone paid him two million in a deal for the use of just one song "One Nation Under a Groove" on "Ice Cube's" album of the same title in 1992).
He would go on to spend it all and be broke again by 1998, even got evicted from the Rexford house by the Sherriff's, slipped, broke his leg, and ended up in the hospital; but then as usual, he pulls a rabbit out of his hat. Ultimately, the big-time music industry lawyers screwed him, and I think he knew he was getting screwed but just needed the money and had no choice. All I know is they structured the deal so the only way he could get any money was to sign over his ownership interest in the copyrights as colateral, but he got more millions, moved his family to Key Biscayne, took on a mistress, had a daughter at 63 (my sister Amba Montes de Oca who is now 12 and living in Spain with her mother), and continued spending like there was no tomorrow, for a few more years until there was no more to spend.
The last thing I will tell you, while I apologize for continuing on and on about my dad, but after all, if you want to know who is CLOCKERSCORNER.COM, then you should know these things. If you have ever been to a concert at any racetrack, then you can thank my father, INOCENTE LUIS MONTES DE OCA, aka NENE MONTES, aka "EL NENE". He was a visionary, the one who realized what a great venue racetracks are.
It was 1984, at Hialeah Park, the first concert ever to be held at any racetrack in the USA and the whole thing was my dad's brain-child, he promoted the concert and made it happen, "FIESTA EN HIALEAH" starring among others Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine (My father hired them to play the gig for $7,500 (try and do that today), I personally went with my dad to take the check to Emilio Estefan's house, which was right off of Coral Way and 107th Avenue, behind FIU, way before the fame and Star Island days. Towards the end of the concert my dad emerged from the stretch Lincoln Towncar limousine, which was parked right in front of the steps between the grandstand and the offices just to the west of the racetrack; he had been smoking joints and snorting cocaine with the Mayor - as the Hialeah Police stood guard and ran to the bar to fetch their drinks. Dad sent all the musicians up to the stage at the same time, whispered into his buddy Franisco Aguabella, the band leader's ear and all of a sudden George Clinton, Parliament Funkadelic, Francisco Aguabella, Arara, Hansel and Raul, Miami Sound Machine... they were all dancing a huge conga line around the stage, it lasted 15 or 20 minutes to end the show; and that's where Gloria and Emilio got the idea for their smash breakout hit "C'mon Shake Your Body Baby Do That Conga", and the rest is history.
Six years prior, in 1978... Dad was the one who had the world famous Apollo Theater in Harlem rebuilt. While on tour with the number one single on the charts Funkadelic was filling 100,000 seat stadiums like soldier's field in Chicago, so in New York it would be Madison Square Garden again (Parliament played the Flashlight Tour there earlier in the year); but not if Nene got it his way. George and the Parliaments had been booed off the stage at the Apollo in 1971 and that was the only thing he needed to hear. The old Apollo was in shambles, it stood closed and abandoned; and sat in the heart of what had become the drug territory controlled by the notorious Nicky Barnes. Forget about it they told him, you will never be able to do it, and that was the other only thing he needed to hear. Moral of the story, he met with Nicky Barnes in person, I was only 12 so I dont truly know how it went down but Archie Ivy might remember. I do know that along with his blessing, Nicky Barnes gave my father a muslim kufi (hat) woven out of 23 karat gold threads (like the one worn by Barnes and all of his Lieutenants); then with Barnes' blessing, dad proceeded to train the industry energy and power of two of the hottest acts in the country on the old Apollo theater, and had it fully rennovated, to building codes, fire codes, all that... by his pure cojones, Funkadelic tore the roof off with One Nation Under a Groove, and the rest is history.
We are talking about someone who lived LARGER THAN LIFE! A man who never went to the track broke looking to make a dollar from a dime. He would say, "El Hombre Que Juega Por Necesidad, Pierde Por Obligacion"... The Man Who Gambles Out Of Necessity, Loses By Obligation. Yet my own eyes have seen my father pull up to Hollywood Park in a limo with $50K cash (on a Memorial Day in 1981), and leave with $150K cash (100K Profit in one day), making nothing but WIN bets... And that's after dropping 12K on the first three races listening to one of my "uncles" Milton Lopez (R.I.P.), a veteran of the Bay of Pigs invasion, lifelong horse player who couldn't pick a winner to save his own life God bless him.
And so it came to pass, at 2:22 p.m. on a sunny afternoon in the City of Los Angeles 2012, amidst the summer heat and excitement of the fireworks displays, that this TITAN (in his autobiography David Carradine wrote: "Six foot four and Drunk as an Irishman" they were good friends since way before Kill Bill, when he starred in Kung Fu, David Carradine gave me my first dog "Kimba", the son of "Buffalo", Rest in Peace Old Friends); the man who took me so many places, taught me so many things, and gave me so many gifts, including the gift of being a horse player; looked into my eyes for one final time as if to say "Here I Go", and then just like that, made his transition to the higher plane of existence. Liberated on the Fourth of July, out with a bang, that was your style. Rest in Peace Father, I love you, and you will be missed for sure, but never forgotten. How Can I Ever Thank You? May God bless and keep you in his glory for ever, amen.
And do you know that right up until the end, this man of seventy-five years continued giving and teaching me so much, how to make one's transition without fear, with dignity, in control of all bodily faculties and functions, coherent right up until his final mili-second on this plane. He was so far beyond horse racing, I would talk to him about the CLOCKERSCORNER.COM algorithms and he would tell me about "GAIA" and "UNIVERSAL COMPUTATION", while I was trying to solve a race, he was literally trying to solve the problems of the human race.
But he did like the concept of the algorithms, and I could tell he was proud of my genius for having been able to conceive, create, develop and experience some degree of documented success with them. One thing he told me is don't charge money for the data, make it available to as many horse players as you can; and the tremendous response we have enjoyed since launching the website has proven him right.
In so many ways, he is directly and indirectly responsible for the algorithms, website and content: twenty years ago, he opened my eyes and pointed me towards chaos, complexity and random self-organized systems. It was thirty-seven years ago, when he taught me about the concept of "entelechy"..., which as he defined it means: potential existence as opposed to existing reality. Did you catch that, or did it zip right by? Let me say it again, but this time please read the words more carefully: ENTELECHY - POTENTIAL EXISTENCE AS OPPOSED TO EXISTING REALITY.
For all of the above stated reasons, and some others too (believe me I haven't scratched the surface when it comes to my dad); you can understand now why my father is almost directly responsible for so many things, the algorithms, the website, the fact that we finally stopped procrastinating, actually built the website and decided to undertake the task of making the algorithms available to bettors on a daily basis, and even for the concert they will have at Hollywood Park this Friday night. And since it wasn't until after he made his transition, that we actually felt the fire-in-the-belly to launch and dedicate the website; we would hope you agree that irrespective of our personal opinions, he is well deserving of the space occupied by each and every word written above, in the context of answering the question, Who is CLOCKERSCORNER.COM?
Your servant, Omar Yul Montes de Oca. Born in Lansing, Michigan, on November 2, 1965. As American as Ford, Chrysler, General Motors, Horse Racing and apple pie. Parents came to the United States from Cuba in 1963 and for me Thoroughbred Horse Racing is one of the last standing, if not the last bastion where the great American Dream continues to thrive.
A 47-year-old, Cuban American, husband and father of four daughters ages 19-years through 11-months-old. Lover of trees, animals, music, nature, the universe and this precious gift of life; student of algorithms, probability, complexity, and quantum physics; computer technician/geek, network administrator, systems engineer, internet programmer, mathematician, horse player. Microsoft Windows Certified "Master", top test score in the City of Los Angeles - stands to this day.
Horse Racing was a Bad Word
By 1974, my mom just couldn't take it any more; the women, the booze, the ups and downs of flying high one day, broke the next. My parents divorced, it was ugly with two kids in the middle; and to top it off, my new step-mom Maria had been my mom's best friend "Aunt Maria". So dad left to create his new family with Maria while my sister Cristina and I stayed with mom. Cut to the chase, basically from the time I was seven-years-old horse racing was a BAD WORD at home. (Except for the times when my dad would come down to Silverlake in a limo to pick me up, all the neighborhood kids would run behind the limo all the way down the block to my house; and it would be a weekend or a week at dad's, in another world, limos, airplanes, hotels, rock n' roll concerts, and yes, horse racing, Santa Anita, Hollywood, Del Mar, and the Pomona fair too).
The Birth of an Algorithm
But since horse racing was a bad word in my own home for so many years, it took until I was 35 to find my way to a racetrack. It wasn't until December of 2000, that I got this really great job in Puerto Rico, to setup and administer some webservers, with an 96-port ascend router for a dial-up Internet Service Provider in San Juan. I ended up living in Puerto Rico for almost the whole year of 2001, until 9/11 when I returned to the states as soon as it was possible.
One thing about Puerto Rico if you didn't know, Puerto Rico is an island of Horse Players. Everybody on the island plays horses. There's only one racetrack "El Comandante" (The Commander), but they have "Agencias Hipicas" Off-Track Betting Agencies all over the island, literally on every block in some areas.
One of the guys I worked with was an avid, a daily horse player, and so it wasn't long (being a tourist and all) before I was inside of an Off-Track betting parlor. Now in Puerto Rico there's no Daily Racing Form, they have a "revista" (magazine); and not only that, it's not like everybody gets to have their own, there is only one for the whole betting parlor and those interested, have to pass it around, so I'd say the best you can do is get about 2-5 minutes to look at the pp's in a race and make your selection.
But something peculiar happened, when I picked up that "revista" with the pp's and looked at it for the first time. I realized right-off-the-bat that I knew what a furlong was, what's more, I knew that 12-seconds was the average-time for a furlong; I knew how to read a running line, I knew what the first, second, third and fourth call times were, I knew how to read the beaten lengths at each call, and I even knew the down and dirty rule each length = a fifth, I knew what a maiden was, the difference between a sprint and a route, a frontrunner and a closer, post position, workouts, weight, earnings, odds, the toteboard, purse monies, win, place, show, exactas, payouts, I knew more than the guy who took me to the Off-Track betting parlor.
It was like a light bulb had gone off in my head, I felt right at home, and it wasn't long before I was uncovering winners. At first I started using final-time at the distance. Very quickly, I began to incorporate earnings into my calculations, then WIN percentage, In-the-Money Percentage, and the algorithms were born. Since I had to share the pp's, I needed a fast way to go over each race, so I would very quickly look at the Final Time, Earnings, Win and In-the-Money Percentages of each horse, to find the main contenders, then absent anything obvious (and I mean really obvious because I really didn't know squat at that point), I would keep the one(s) who ran fastest during the "stretch" call.
You'd be surprised how well that little system worked in Puerto Rico. In maiden races, all I had to do was sort the entries by their In-the-Money percentage; and they would often come in one, two, three, exactly in that order (By the way: that works on most minor USA tracks, I hit a $5,000 trifecta at Parx, on a $6-ticket just by boxing the three horses with the highest In-the-Money Percentage - Only in maiden races and only at off tracks, I've tested it at Parx, Lone Star and Penn National, it works). If you're interested in learning the exact method, just read the following article: Horse Racing: Handicapping Maiden Races at Minor Horse Racing Tracks
It got to be so guys in the Betting Parlor didn't even care about using the "revista" too much, yeah they looked at it, but what they really wanted to know was which horse I was betting on, and I would tell them, and they would leave me with the pp's for as long as I needed them, no matter how crowded the joint was, they just wanted the algorithm output. Only, I wasn't even aware of what was happening, I didn't realize I was using algorithms until later.
Cutting our Teeth
Upon returning to the states in 2002, it wasn't instantly that we picked up a racing form and headed for the track; but the bug was there; and eventually, we were at Betfair Hollywood Park playing horses. Then little by little, as our interest continued to grow, Horse racing began to take a more important roll, we began reading, studying, practicing, until we were living and breating horse racing. Then we began to combine horse racing with our computer and mathematical skills, this shift occured over a period of a couple years, but by 2004; the original algorithm ("FORM") was up and running 100% exactly the way it is today.
And then the winners started to come in more often and more consistently right away, at least 2, 3 or 4 per day, we now had our own consistent race-to-race barrometer. This original algorithm ("FORM") eventually evolved into its natural place within an algorithm set, which includes ADJUSTED-CLASS and COMBINED-SPEED-PACE.
We continued using only the FORM algorithm for about the next five years and it did pretty good just by itself.In March 2007, the FORM algorithm hit the PICK-SIX for the first time at The Great Race Place. It was the day RAGS TO RICHES won the Santa Anita Oaks with Garrett Gomez up, we had GoGo singled on the last two legs of a $40-dollar ticket, the last race was a maiden race coming down the hill, and just before they hit the dirt GoGo made a power move from mid-pack into the lead and we never looked back, the PICK-SIX paid $4,700 that day for our $40-ticket. But it had been one of those days when everything we threw out there was hitting, and we already had $10-Grand in our pocket, so we didn't even cash the ticket for a couple weeks.
Soon after that, we hit the PICK-SIX again at Santa Anita Park, on December 26, 2007 (Opening Day), again with a $40-ticket, but this time it paid $27K. That's about when we became full-time horse player/handicappers; and thus began the journey down-the-road, in development of our present-day working algorithm-set.
Thanks for your interest, thanks for your time, thank you for reading this, and thanks for your visit to our website. We are grateful for the efforts of the riders, trainers, owners, clockers, stall muckers, racetrack personnel and all who work every day in Thoroughbred Horse Racing; but most of all we are grateful to those graceful, majestic, beautiful animals. God Bless theHorses!