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Jan 26, 2004

Current Class Angle

By: Ray Taulbot

Man can do whatever man can imagine.

Few care to dispute that statement because thereis so much irrefutable evidence to

support it. Man has flown to the moon and he sends television pictures around the world, to mention

two accomplishments which were thought impossible many years ago.

On the other hand, you can find thousands who will assure you that it is impossible to earn consistent profits through the medium ofturf speculation.

In both instances, the doubting of the"possible" was and is based upon nothing more than an

uninformed personal opinion. People who feel that a certain goal is beyond their reach find it much

easier to declare attainment impossible than to admit they lack individual ability to make the grade.

We could devote many pages to reciting the success stories of horseplayers who have proved beyond all

 doubt that beating the races consistently is quite as attainable as man"s ability to soar through the clouds.

Instead of wasting space in repeating history with which many of our readers are already thoroughly

 familiar, we are going to offer you a training angle which any sensible player can use to prove the point for themselves.

However, before we discuss the angle itself, weshould define our meaning of a good investment. To

 begin with, no horse is worth backing if its prevailing odds are lower than 2-1. That stands

regardless of how well the horsemay figure. We might add that in our own operations, we never back

 a horse at odds of lessthan 3-1.

This demand for price is not based upon a merewhim. We know before we begin that we shall be very

fortunate if 33 percent of the horseswe select and back live up to expectations. Hence, we must get

 odds of at least 3-1 inorder to earn enough to repay us for the time and work involved. So what some

of our friends consider our unreasonable price demands is actually only common sense, based upon

a dispassionate recognition of our individual ability as selectors, plus a little simple arithmetic.

The second qualification of a good wager has to do withthe horse itself. This means of course, that the

 horse in question must have the currentability to cope successfully with the competition it is meeting

 today. If the horse is handicapped by a serious age, class or condition disadvantage, then, of course, it

cannot possibly be considered a good investment. No matter what post position the horse occupies,or

how noted its rider may be, it is not a good investment if it lacks the current abilityto defeat its field.

As we stated above, there are many handicapping methodsthat are employed effectively to determine

the horse"s ability. Unfortunately, many of these methods do not accommodate themselves to the player

whose time is limited. It is forthis reason that we often discuss training angles in this space that can

be played effectively by the racing fan who cannot spare the time necessary to carefully handicap the whole card.

The angle we are explaining this month is actually a "current class and condition" angle based on the

trainer"s opinion ofhis horse"s current ability.

The trainer"s opinion can frequently bedetermined by the most recent placing of his horse. There are only

 three reasons why a trainer steps up his horse in claiming price (or class):

1. The horse may need further conditioning, with theresult that its trainer steps it up in price to protect

 himself against its possible loss via the claiming box, or because the race simply offers him an

opportunity to give his horse a workout. In the latter event, the trainer is not interested in the higher

qualityof the competition because he is not trying to win.

However, racing fans must not take it for granted thata horse that moved up in class and was beaten

 was not trying to win. Every bettingcoup does not succeed. Trainers can miscalculate the strength

 of their opposition and jockeys often put up a poor ride.

Therefore, we must watch for those moved-up horses that showed an early effort which was sustained

 right into the stretch together with asharp drop in betting odds. The public generally shies away from

 these moved-up horses.

2. A horse may be stepped up in claiming price or classbecause its trainer is convinced that it is now

 capable of defeating classier stock thanit has been meeting recently.

3. The claiming rules at some tracks demand that aclaimed horse be stepped-up a given amount in

entered price for a stated period followingthe claim.

We are not interested in Reason Number One except whenit shows a trying race as we have outlined.

 But Reasons Two and Three are, under certain conditions which we shall explain, highly important to the

 player who is seeking a soundinvestment.

Their importance becomes clear when the manner in whichthe horse raced against higher-class company

 is examined. If a horse was stepped up because its trainer believes it is now capable of defeating

 higher-grade horses, orbecause the claiming rules demand such a move, it becomes a possible angle

play if itfinished in the money, beaten no more than five lengths.

The logic here is easily discernible. If a horseis capable of finishing among the first three, and is beaten

no more than five lengthswhen meeting higher-grade horses, the evidence of its current ability becomes

clear. It iseither an improved or improving racer, of which there is no better wager, always provided that it

meets the demands of a recent date and worthwhile odds today.

Reduced to mechanical rules the angle is simplyas follows:

1. The horse must have moved up in claiming price (orclass) in its last start.

2. It must have finished in the money last start,beaten no more than five lengths or have been within three

 lengths of the leader for thefirst three calls while showing a sharp drop in odds.

3. Its most recent race must been run within the past14 days.

4. If the horse won last time out (in the step-up race) it must have won by at least one length.

5. If two or more angle horses qualify in thesame race, the choice is the horse that raced most recently.

 If tied on date, play thehorse that goes postward at the highest odds today.

In the tenth race at Philadelphia Park on October 3,1995, Voodooistic was an angle selection. The horse

 had finished third by 2-1/4 lengths inits most recent race 14 days ago after advancing from a $7,500 claimer to a $15,000 allowance race. As a perfect "only qualifier" on all angle rules, Voodooistic paid $32.40 to win.

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