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Nov 20, 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 don’t 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 horse’s performance. But these same increases in weight frequently do affect the

 horse’s 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 linewith its actual chances for success.

This occurs because, as we pointed out previously, the publichas 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 public’s 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 class factor:

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 didn’t 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 condition.
5) If two or more horses qualify at odds of 5-1 or more, the classier horse of the two isthe play. Any

qualified play that goes postward at odds of 5-1 or higher is worth your support.

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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