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Aug 25, 2006

Victory with the "V" Angle

By: Ray Taulbot

Every trainer in the business knows that the success of the individual horse depends to a great extent upon its current physical condition than it does upon any other single factor. Therefore, the trainer who backs his own horse takes every precaution to make sure his horse is razor sharp.

The betting trainer is interested in price. Thus, he is faced with the problem of determining the fitness of his horse without revealing its true state of condition to the betting public.

These chaps want to out-smart the betting public, and they develop many little devices which serve to insure them a good price on their horse on the right day.

A careful study of the past performance charts reveals that quite a number of the betting gentry use a little device which we call the "V-Angle" race. This type of race differs from the regular race in that the angle deals only with the lengths off the leader at the three final calls. That is, lengths off the leader at the pre-stretch, stretch, and finish calls.

The name "V-Angle" race was adopted because the length calls would actually form a "V" if placed on a graph chart. For example, take the three following length calls:

Pre-stretch Stretch Finish

74 56 44

Here the horse showed a good effort in that it was within four lengths of the leader at the pre-stretch call. Then it was given a bit of a breather, losing two lengths, after which it came on again to gain two lengths in the last furlong. So if placed on a graph, the beaten-length calls would form a "V" as follows:

4 4


Remember, the horse is not trying to win; it is only being tested for condition. The important point is that when the conditioner tested his horse’s fitness, the horse was able to be within four lengths of the leader at the pre-stretch, drop back a bit in lengths for the stretch call, and then come on again in the final furlong. A fundamental aspect of this angle is to make sure that the number of lengths or fractions thereof were greater at the stretch call than they were at either the pre-stretch call or at the finish.

In the vast majority of races the "V-Angle" horse did not pick up poundage today over that which is carried in its last start. In many instances, the horse got anywhere from one to four pounds off today. Therefore, we should include the weight factor when making the selections.

Another point of importance has to do with separating two contenders. Past experience reveals that the horse that made the greatest gain in the stretch run was usually the better choice of the two.

Personally, we are in favor of backing the "V" horse only when one horse in the field qualifies.

Price is a strong factor, so we will not play any horse that is less than 9-1 on the tote board.

In addition to demanding price, we make it a rule not to consider any horse as a contender on this angle that did not finish fourth or worse last start. Our reasoning in this matter is as follows:

The horse was being tested for condition, therefore it was not expected to finish among the first three. Second, in those instances where the horse won or finished a close second or third the price next start was no incentive to a betting trainer. Third, in many instances where the horse finished in the money it might have just run its best race.

Now, one final point: remember that the date of the test "V-race" is important because the race was run to determine the condition of the horse. The vast majority of winners was found among the qualified plays that had started within the past 15 days.

Now let’s review the rules of play:

1. Horse must have started within the past 15 days.

2. In that race, horse must have been within four lengths of the leader at the pre-stretch call, lost lengths at the stretch call and gained lengths at the finish.

3. The horse must not be picking up weight from its previous race.

4. Qualified horse must be 9-1 or more on the tote board.

5. If there are two qualified horses in a race at 9-1 or more, play both.

6. If there are two qualified horse in a race and one is less than 9-1 treat it as a non-qualifier and play the one that is 9-1 or more.

7. If there are more than two qualified horses in a race, pass the race regardless of their closing tote odds.

8. There is no play on any horse that finished closer than fourth in its most recent race.


Sunshine and flowers was a perfect qualifier in the fifth race at Golden Gate on December 30, 1998. She had raced within 11 days (Rule 1), was 3 1/4 lengths off the leader at the pre-stretch call, lost 1 1/4 lengths between the pre-stretch and stretch calls and gained one length between the stretch call and the wire.

The only other starter at 9/1 or more who had raced within 15 days could not meet the requirements of Rule 2. Sunshine and flowers paid $33.60 to win, a nice overlay.

Try out the "V-Angle" on some more races.u

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