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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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