American Turf Magazine
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Nov 07, 2008


                The following is a simple angle that may lead to some winners especially at this time of the year as the quality of racing is not at it’s best.

Races at a mile or more commonly called "route races" offer occasional opportunities for "sleeper" type winners that can be picked with a very simple but quite effective angle that works only on races at a distance of more than a mile (mile and 70 yards, 1 1/16, etc.). These races baffle some players because there are more "angles" involved in route then in sprints. But then route races also turn up more "upset" winners at long odds than do sprints, and that's why I think this angle is well worth checking in each route race on the card when you go to the races. It won't turn up a play in all of them, by any means, but invariably it picks a horse that figures well, and sometimes you get juicy payoffs on them.

                The idea is to play only races at MORE THAN A MILE, up to and including a mile and a quarter. I don't suggest going beyond a 1 1/4, miles because then you are getting into the marathons and you need special angles to pick the marathon winners. Races at 1 1/16, 1 1/8 and 1 3/16 miles are just right for this angle.

                Look for a horse that is going a LONGER distance today than it ever ran before in its past performance record. That is, if the distance is 1 1/8 miles, look for a horse that has never raced beyond 1 1/16 miles, in all races shown in its published past performances. You may find more than one such horse in the race, in which case you will consider all such horses as possible angle plays.

                Of these horses, place a checkmark on each one that has shown LATE SPEED in most of the races shown in its past performances. In other words, if the past performances show 9 races for the horse, it qualifies if it displayed late speed in 5 or more of these races.

                By "late speed" is meant passing one or more horses in the run from stretch call to finish line or gaining ground on the leaders in point of beaten lengths. That is, if a horse was 10th at the stretch call and finished eighth, it would be considered as having gained in the stretch run, even though it may actually have lost ground when only beaten lengths are considered. Or, it may have been fifth at the stretch call, 6 lengths behind, and finished seventh, 5 lengths behind which would be considered a stretch gain even though the horse was passed in the stretch by two others. The fact that it closed some of the gap between itself and the winner, in point of beaten lengths, is sufficient evidence that is was doing some running in the stretch.

                Pay no attention to how far back the horse finished in a race, as long as it made a stretch gain in either beaten lengths or passing one or more horses. All you are seeking to establish is that the horse is capable of coming on in the stretch run, which means it will be suited to the distance of today's race, which will be longer than any distance it has traveled in the recent past.

This is your tip-off that the stable will surely crack down with the horse, and the angle is twice as strong if the horse is dropped a notch in class or has a switch in riders from a young apprentice to a capable older rider. Sometimes a trainer will prep a horse in short races with an inexperienced rider in the saddle, then drop it into a race at an increased distance as soon as he sees it is ready to win a race. A switch usually accompanies this to an experienced rider, and if there is also a class dropdown, you have a perfect angle play.

                You may come up with more than one angle play in the same race, in which case you'll need to use a little judgement in separating the contenders, or skip the race and look for a spot where only one horse in the race qualifies.



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