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Jan 06, 2006

Current Class Angle

By: Ray Taulbot

Man can do whatever man can imagine.

Few care to dispute that statement because there is so much irrefutable evidence to

support it. Man has flown to the moon and he sends television pictures around the world, to mention two accomplishments which were thought impossible many years ago.

On the other hand, you can find thousands who will assure you that it is impossible to earn consistent profits through the medium ofturf speculation.

In both instances, the doubting of the "possible" was and is based upon nothing more than an

uninformed personal opinion. People who feel that a certain goal is beyond their reach find it much

easier to declare attainment impossible than to admit they lack individual ability to make the grade.

We could devote many pages to reciting the success stories of horseplayers who have proved beyond all doubt that beating the races consistently is quite as attainable as man's ability to soar through the clouds.

Instead of wasting space in repeating history with which many of our readers are already thoroughly familiar, we are going to offer you a training angle which any sensible player can use to prove the point for themselves.

However, before we discuss the angle itself, we should define our meaning of a good investment. To begin with, no horse is worth backing if its prevailing odds are lower than 2-1. That stands

regardless of how well the horse may figure. We might add that in our own operations, we never back a horse at odds of less than 3-1.

This demand for price is not based upon a mere whim. We know before we begin that we shall be very fortunate if 33 percent of the horses we select and back live up to expectations. Hence, we must get odds of at least 3-1 in order to earn enough to repay us for the time and work involved. So what some of our friends consider our unreasonable price demands is actually only common sense, based upon a dispassionate recognition of our individual ability as selectors, plus a little simple arithmetic.

The second qualification of a good wager has to do withthe horse itself. This means of course, that the horse in question must have the currentability to cope successfully with the competition it is meeting today. If the horse is handicapped by a serious age, class or condition disadvantage, then, of course, it cannot possibly be considered a good investment. No matter what post position the horse occupies,or how noted its rider may be, it is not a good investment if it lacks the current abilityto defeat its field.

As we stated above, there are many handicapping methodsthat are employed effectively to determine the horse's ability. Unfortunately, many of these methods do not accommodate themselves to the player whose time is limited. It is for this reason that we often discuss training angles in this space that can be played effectively by the racing fan who cannot spare the time necessary to carefully handicap the whole card.

The angle we are explaining this month is actually a "current class and condition" angle based on the trainer's opinion ofhis horse's current ability.

The trainer's opinion can frequently be determined by the most recent placing of his horse. There are only three reasons why a trainer steps up his horse in claiming price (or class):

1. The horse may need further conditioning, with theresult that its trainer steps it up in price to protect himself against its possible loss via the claiming box, or because the race simply offers him an opportunity to give his horse a workout. In the latter event, the trainer is not interested in the higher qualityof the competition because he is not trying to win.

However, racing fans must not take it for granted thata horse that moved up in class and was beaten was not trying to win. Every betting coup does not succeed. Trainers can miscalculate the strength of their opposition and jockeys often put up a poor ride.

Therefore, we must watch for those moved-up horses that showed an early effort which was sustained right into the stretch together with a sharp drop in betting odds. The public generally shies away from these moved-up horses.

2. A horse may be stepped up in claiming price or class because its trainer is convinced that it is now capable of defeating classier stock than it has been meeting recently.

3. The claiming rules at some tracks demand that aclaimed horse be stepped-up a given amount in

entered price for a stated period following the claim.

We are not interested in Reason Number One except whenit shows a trying race as we have outlined.

 But Reasons Two and Three are, under certain conditions which we shall explain, highly important to the player who is seeking a soundinvestment.

Their importance becomes clear when the manner in whichthe horse raced against higher-class company is examined. If a horse was stepped up because its trainer believes it is now capable of defeating higher-grade horses, or because the claiming rules demand such a move, it becomes a possible angle play if it finished in the money, beaten no more than five lengths.

The logic here is easily discernible. If a horseis capable of finishing among the first three, and is beaten no more than five lengths when meeting higher-grade horses, the evidence of its current ability becomes clear. It is either an improved or improving racer, of which there is no better wager, always provided that it meets the demands of a recent date and worthwhile odds today.

Reduced to mechanical rules the angle is simply as follows:

1. The horse must have moved up in claiming price (or class) in its last start.

2. It must have finished in the money last start, beaten no more than five lengths or have been within three lengths of the leader for the first three calls while showing a sharp drop in odds.

3. Its most recent race must been run within the past 14 days.

4. If the horse won last time out (in the step-up race) it must have won by at least one length.

5. If two or more angle horses qualify in the same race, the choice is the horse that raced most recently.

 If tied on date, play the horse that goes postward at the highest odds today.

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