May 29, 2007
Straight Talk About Angles
By: Ray Taulbot
It is next to impossible for an impatient player to become a success at turf speculation. This is due to the fact that so few races on the day's card offer the investor a real opportunity to cash a wager. Most of the races cardedevery day defy the skill of even the most experienced selectors. To put it bluntly, most races are nothing more than guessing games.
Therefore, the individual who is unable to wait for suitable betting spots is doomed to the ranks of losers before they start. The oldtruism, "horses don't beat the players, the players beat themselves" contains more than just a grain of truth. Ninety percent of all chronic losers beat themselves because they undertake the impossible.
We are aware that many fans do not have the time necessary for detailed, careful handicapping. But this lack of time is no reason why they should be doomed to failure, provided they have the patience to wait for certain races and certain types of selections.
From time to time over the past 40 years, we have pointed out in American Turf Monthly that angle handicapping can be used to advantage by anyone who can read and understand a past performance block. Some of our articles havebeen devoted to this type of analysis. Over the years, we have discussed and explained more than 20 angles which can be employed successfully for selecting good-priced winners.
We stress good prices because: 1) if you can beat the price, you can beat the races and, 2) no matter how proficient one may become in this endeavor, they will always select more losers than winners. Therefore, we cannot afford to back short-priced selections.
What is a good price? Certainly nothing less than 4-1, because it requires a price of this amount to overcome the inevitable losers. This statement is based on the fact that if the winning percentage is no higher than 25 percent, one must receive an average of at least 4-1 to break even.
Breaking even is not profitable, of course, butit is better than losing continually. Moreover, a good angle will produce winners with average prices much higher than 4-1.
Here, we wish to point out that no angle, nomatter how good it may be, can keep the player in the black if they insist on piddling away the angle profits on horses which do not qualify.
In order to profit from the use of a good angle or two, one must be prepared to wait for proper selections and must not waste profits on horses which do not meet every stipulation of the angle (or angles) they are using.
Further, one should never forget that the presence of a good angle in a horses' chart does not necessarily make the horse a good wager. This is due to the fact that some horses are not really good racing or bettingtools.
How can one distinguish between a profitable horse and one that is unprofitable? Simply by observing its earnings record. Any horsetoday that can't average purse money of $12,500 or more per year is not a horse that is truly a profitable racing tool. Like everything else, the cost of shipping, feeding andcaring for a race horse has almost doubled within the past 10 years.
But equally important is the fact that horses which do not earn more than their bare keep are pretty poor competitors. And poor competitors are poor wagers. When one risks their money on the outcome of a race, they certainly should do it on horses which they know are profitable for their owners.
Racing fans who recognize this fact often assume that the number of times a horse has won as compared to its number of starts will separate the wheat from the chaff. Unfortunately, this is not always true.
Purse amounts vary from track to track, and even from race to race. The point to remember is that the higher the class of the race, the greater the purse.
Our angle this month is based on four major factors:
1) The horse must have turned in a good race in its third race back, finishing within two lengths of the winner, in a race that was run no more than 50 days ago.
2) The winner"s time for the angle horse's last race must have been as fast as or faster than the winner's time for the third race back. Thus only horses which competed at the same distance in their third race back and last race will be eligible for consideration.
3) The horse must have displayed early speed for at least a half mile last start, or it must have closed ground from the pre-stretch call to the finish, finishing out of the money, and this last race must have been run within the past 21 days.
4) The horse must be the only qualified play in the race.
5) The horse should go off today at 4-1 or more.
Don't Gamble was a perfect qualifier in the fifth race at Belmont Park on September 3, 1995.
He won his third race back on July 26, within the 50-day time limit required by Rule One. The winner's time for his top race was three-fifths of a second faster than his winning time in his third race back and both races were at the same seven-furlong distance (Rule Two).
Don't Gamble qualified on Rule Three by leading at the first two calls of his top race, 18 days ago. The colt was the only qualifier on Rules One through Three and he went off at 8-1 today (Rule Five). His winning payoff was $18.40. Note that he was returning at the same seven-furlong distance today.
One question may arise for fans in future plays.What if a qualified horse is running today at a distance that is not the same as the distance of the races on which it qualified? In such cases, we would only take the anglehorse if it showed a win in its past performances at today's distance.
In closing, let us remind you of what we said about the importance of patience. Without it one, has very little chance of winning consistently.You actually need only three or four good winners a week to keep you way out in front, andyou can get them if you'll wait for the right openings.
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