Nov 07, 2003
Weight Shifts and Evolution of an Overlay
By: Ray Taulbot
SOMETIMES THE ANGLES WE present to readers stir up a lot of
controversy. The one offered may be one of them but such is not our intention.
This angle is based on our experience and research and all we ask is that you dont
knock it until you have checked it out on a few hundred races, as we have.
Turf writers have used up a lot of ink over the years in telling
their readers about the effect of "weight off." Since we have studied this
subject for a great many years, we have been unable to bring ourselves to believe in the
old theories concerning weight shifts.
Every factor involved in the winning of a race is related in some degree to some other
governing factor or factors. Take weight, for example. The effect of this factor is
governed largely by both class and current condition. In other words, the relationship
among these three factors is very close. Therefore, it is impossible to estimate the
probable effect of pounds on or off without taking full cognizance of the factors to which
weight is related.
The performance of a high class horse, for instance, will not be
affected by a substantial increase in weight to the same degree that the same number of
pounds would affect the performance of a cheaper horse. Thus, the relationship between
class and weight is clear.
Much the same applies to the relationship which exists between weight and condition. A
substantial number of pounds on will not affect the performance of a sharp horse to the
same degree that an identical number of pounds will affect the horse that is short of the
peak of its best form.
Since the above is fact and not theory, it should be clear that
under certain conditions (which we shall explain a bit later,) the addition of from two to
five pounds has little or no effect upon the horses performance. But these same
increases in weight frequently do affect the horses odds.
To put it briefly, weight on tends to increase the odds; while
weight off will usually reduce the price the horse will pay. We are speaking of only
horses that are fit and logical contenders.
For example, take the horse that last raced within the past 15
days and which turned in a good effort, finishing within 3-1/2 lengths of the winner. This
type of horse, if properly placed as to class and distance, will frequently pick up no
fewer than two pounds and no more than five and win at a price that is far out of line
with its actual chances for success.
This occurs because, as we pointed out previously, the public
has been led to become highly weight conscious, with the result that the crowd tends to
shun a horse that is picking up even a small number of pounds in a field where other
horses are getting in with weight off. In short, the public has reached the point where it
blindly responds to weight shifts without considering the relationship of weight to the
other handicapping factors involved.
This is all to the good of the player who recognizes the facts
and, therefore, is in a position to take advantage of the publics common weakness.
There is a wealth of evidence to support the idea that some
trainers who relish a good price on their horses also take advantage of the situation.
They appear to accept pounds on in exchange for higher odds.
The following rules for making selections will produce
exceptionally good results for the player who applies sound judgment in regard to the
1) Check and mark all horses in the field that last raced within the past 15 days. It is
among this group that you will find a play, if any.
2) Discard any horse you checked under Rule One that didnt finish first or second or
within 3-1/2 lengths of the winner.
3) Of the remaining group, discard any horse which does not pick up at least two pounds
and no more than five pounds over the weight it carried last out.
4) If there is only one remaining horse after applying the rules above, it is a play
provided it is not badly outclassed by some horse in the field which also enjoys sharp
5) If two or more horses qualify at odds of 5-1 or more, the classier horse of the two is
the play. Any qualified play that goes postward at odds of 5-1 or higher is worth your
Remember: The horse must pick up no fewer than two pounds and no more than five pounds
over the weight it carried last time out. Rule Three keys the success of these selections.
Below, you'll find the past performance data for Cleverly
Intended in the fifth race at Aqueduct on January 2.
Note that the filly was picking up five pounds after winning her
most recent race, 12 days ago. She also had received a workout on December 30. Although
she was switching from claiming to allowance company, her easy repeat win by 3-3/4 lengths
today showed that she was not outclassed. Her win payoff was $20.00.
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