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Dec 11, 2003

Speed Prep Angle

By: Ray Taulbot


The trainer who is interested in turf speculation dislikes nothing more than to have one of his fit horses go postward at a short price. From his point of view, such a situation represents nothing more than a waste of time and work; it deprives him of the opportunity to collect what he considers his just profit.

Once the player understands the conditioner's attitude regarding price, it is not difficult for him to understand why so many trainers spend much of their time devising ways to deceive the public regarding the true condition of their horses. They want a price, and in order to get it they must operate in a manner which will tend to mislead those players who are students of form.

Fortunately for players, however, the devices available to the trainer are few, and any experienced racing fan can soon learn to spot the different moves which are made to deceive him.

Almost every month, this magazine calls your attention to one or more of these so-called angles. The reader who studies each angle presented will soon become highly proficient at spotting these price-getting maneuvers, and will cash in on a number of good-priced winners which the average racing fan will overlook.

The angle we will examine this month is a common one. Nevertheless, thousands of racing fans know nothing about it, and their lack of knowledge costs them many dollars each year. If the readers of AMERICAN TURF MONTHLY miss out on these goodthings hereafter, then their hard luck shall be of their own making, for following is a detailed explanation of this common angle:

To begin with, the best bet in racing is a fresh, fit horse. You may have heard your family physician remark that rest is the best medicine known to medical science. This applies to the horse as well as to man. Constant racing wears down a horse's physical condition, and eventually its reserve strength drops to a level where it is no longer fit to race.

The trainer understands these points, so we can leave the length of the rest period to him. Remember, though, that a horse eats and it must be cared for du ring these idle periods, and that costs money. As a result, the trainer is anxious to overcome the overhead involved at the earliest possible moment after the horse is returned to training.

For this reason, horses that have been taking the "rest cure," as it were, are carefully prepared for their return to active competition. As a result of the rest and the extra care, many such horses turn in a good race first time out. However, few of them win their initial start following a rest of one month (31 days) or more.

Now we come to the angle itself. Many horses that set or press the pace first out following a rest of one month or more are frequently allowed to fade in the stretch run, giving the appearance of "shortness." Such horses finish out of the money, and because they do just that, the public steers clear of them next out.

That is exactly what the betting trainer wants. Without too much support from the public next out, there is sufficient cushion to permit the conditioner to make a healthy wager without driving the odds down to what he considers an unprofitable level. That's why so many fresh and fit horses appear to weaken during the stretch run in their first race following a rest of one month or more.

When this occurs, the horse must be given the rest cure. How much rest it will need depends on several factors. If its reserve strength has been wholly depleted, then it may require several months of rest to restore its conditioning level to normal. However, if the trainer has used sound judgment and retired the horse before it is entirely exhausted, then four or five weeks of idleness is sufficient to restore it to normal.

 

To give you a clear picture of the sort of horse to look for with this angle, we have chosen the sixth race at Hialeah on March 17, 1995. Note that he flashed speed to the pre-stretchg call and was ignored by the betting public at 21-1 after returning from his layoff.

Held at the same odds today he paid $44.40 to win.

 

Mar 17, 1995 6 Hialeah 1 3/16 miles (turf) Claiming price $40,000

Johnny North c.4 $40,000\

25 Feb 95 11 GP fm 1 1/8 (T) Clm 50000 2 2 9 9 21.60

20 Jan 95 5 GP fm 1 1/8 (T) Alw 30000 2 6 10 10 18.60

 

In the first race at Hialeah that same afternoon Ensign's Blue Rose (1 1 10 10 in her top race seven days agao with a gap of two months to her previous race on January 12), returned $20.20 in a maiden claiming race.

Another claiming race winner was Snowtin (Arg) in the fifth race at Santa Anita on March 9. His top race running line of February 18 was 4 5 7 8 and his previous race had been run on January 15. His win payoff today was a generous $45.60.

While this is primarily a betting stable angle it picks winners in many other types of races. For example, some other March winners were exclusively Marked $28 at Hialeah in a maiden special event, plus Sky Kid $40 at Santa Anita, Corrie Kayhay $65 at Oaklawn Park, and Sherunsfornanny $35 at Hialeah in allowance races.

 In summary, all you need to look for is fresh horses that had good early speed to the pre-stretch call last out and which finished out of the money in their initial start following the layoff.

Once in a while, you will find a horse of this type whose post-time odds are on the short side, say 3-1 or less. When you do, pass the race. There is always the danger that its trainer will not be interested in such short odds.



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