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Mar 18, 2011

Straight Talk About Angles

By: Ray Taulbot

It is next to impossible for an impatient playerto become a success at turf speculation. This is due to the fact that so few races on theday"s card offer the investor a real opportunity to cash a wager. Most of the races cardedevery day defy the skill of even the most experienced selectors. To put it bluntly, mostraces are nothing more than guessing games.

Therefore, the individual who is unable to waitfor suitable betting spots is doomed to the ranks of losers before they start. The oldtruism, "horses don"t beat the players, the players beat themselves"contains more than just a grain of truth. Ninety percent of all chronic losers beatthemselves because they undertake the impossible.

We are aware that many fans do not have the timenecessary for detailed, careful handicapping. But this lack of time is no reason why theyshould be doomed to failure, provided they have the patience to wait for certain races andcertain types of selections.

From time to time over the past 40 years, we havepointed out in American Turf Monthly that angle handicapping can be used to advantage byanyone who can read and understand a past performance block. Some of our articles havebeen devoted to this type of analysis. Over the years, we have discussed and explainedmore than 20 angles which can be employed successfully for selecting good-priced winners.

We stress good prices because: 1) if you can beatthe price, you can beat the races and, 2) no matter how proficient one may become in thisendeavor, they will always select more losers than winners. Therefore, we cannot afford toback short-priced selections.

What is a good price? Certainly nothing less than4-1, because it requires a price of this amount to overcome the inevitable losers. Thisstatement is based on the fact that if the winning percentage is no higher than 25percent, one must receive an average of at least 4-1 to break even.

Breaking even is not profitable, of course, butit is better than losing continually. Moreover, a good angle will produce winners withaverage prices much higher than 4-1.

Here, we wish to point out that no angle, nomatter how good it may be, can keep the player in the black if they insist on piddlingaway the angle profits on horses which do not qualify.

In order to profit from the use of a good angle or two,one must be prepared to wait for proper selections and must not waste profits on horseswhich do not meet every stipulation of the angle (or angles) they are using.

Further, one should never forget that thepresence of a good angle in a horses" chart does not necessarily make the horse a goodwager. This is due to the fact that some horses are not really good racing or bettingtools.

How can one distinguish between a profitablehorse and one that is unprofitable? Simply by observing its earnings record. Any horsetoday that can"t average purse money of $12,500 or more per year is not a horse that istruly a profitable racing tool. Like everything else, the cost of shipping, feeding andcaring for a race horse has almost doubled within the past 10 years.

But equally important is the fact that horseswhich do not earn more than their bare keep are pretty poor competitors. And poorcompetitors are poor wagers. When one risks their money on the outcome of a race, theycertainly should do it on horses which they know are profitable for their owners.

Racing fans who recognize this fact often assumethat the number of times a horse has won as compared to its number of starts will separatethe wheat from the chaff. Unfortunately, this is not always true.

Purse amounts vary from track to track, and evenfrom race to race. The point to remember is that the higher the class of the race, thegreater the purse.

Our angle this month is based on four majorfactors:

1) The horse must have turned in a good racein its third race back, finishing within two lengths of the winner, in a race that was runno more than 50 days ago.

2) The winner"s time for the angle horse"slast race must have been as fast as or faster than the winner"s time for the third raceback. Thus only horses which competed at the same distance in their third race back andlast race will be eligible for consideration.

3) The horse must have displayed early speedfor at least a half mile last start, or it must have closed ground from the pre-stretchcall to the finish, finishing out of the money, and this last race must have been runwithin the past 21 days.

4) The horse must be the only qualified playin the race.

5) The horse should go off today at 4-1 ormore.

Don"t Gamble was a perfect qualifier in the fifthrace at Belmont Park on September 3, 1995.

He won his third race back on July 26, within the50-day time limit required by Rule One. The winner"s time for his top race wasthree-fifths of a second faster than his winning time in his third race back and bothraces were at the same seven-furlong distance (Rule Two).

Don"t Gamble qualified on Rule Three by leadingat the first two calls of his top race, 18 days ago. The colt was the only qualifier onRules One through Three and he went off at 8-1 today (Rule Five). His winning payoff was$18.40. Note that he was returning at the same seven-furlong distance today.

One question may arise for fans in future plays.What if a qualified horse is running today at a distance that is not the same as thedistance of the races on which it qualified? In such cases, we would only take the anglehorse if it showed a win in its past performances at today"s distance.

In closing, let us remind you of what we said about theimportance of patience. Without it one, has very little chance of winning consistently.You actually need only three or four good winners a week to keep you way out in front, andyou can get them if you"ll wait for the right openings.

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