Jan 19, 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 of turf 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 merewhim. We know before we begin that we shall be very fortunate if 33 percent of the horseswe select and back live up to expectations.
Hence, we must get odds of at least 3-1 inorder 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 bedetermined 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 when it 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 sound investment.
Their importance becomes clear when the manner in which the 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 itfinished 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 lengthswhen meeting
higher-grade horses, the evidence of its current ability becomes
clear. It iseither 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 thesame race, the choice is the horse
that raced most recently.
If tied on date, play thehorse that goes postward at the highest odds today.
In the tenth race at Philadelphia Park on October 3,1995, Voodooistic was an
angle selection. The horse
had finished third by 2-1/4 lengths inits most recent race 14 days ago after
advancing from a $7,500 claimer to a $15,000 allowance race. As a perfect
"only qualifier" on all angle rules, Voodooistic paid $32.40 to win.
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