American Turf Magazine
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May 10, 2012



Knowing that 90 percent of all racegoers do not do any serious handicapping, it is not surprising that so many readers have written ATM to request what amounts to a "magic angle" formula. What they want to be able to do is to go to the track, buy a program or Daily Racing Form, make their selections and get a lot of winners at good prices.

At this point, we'll state that "there ain't no such animal." No angle will cover every types of race found on a nine-race card, from maidens through the feature event. What these fans should do is provide themselves with enough angles to adequately cover all types of races.

If they don't want to go to the trouble of memorizing a half dozen good angles, then they should stick to just one, making their biggest bet on whatever horse it points out (If indeed there is one) and go about having fun with two-dollar bets on the rest of the card.

In this respect, we think it best for such fans to stick to a good trainer angle. If they get involved with raw time and speed ratings from the past performances, they can miss the boat.

Before we go into this month's angle, we'd like to point out that almost all trainer angles demand more than cold facts and figures from the past performance data. They demand an awareness of what the trainer has done and what it appears he is likely to do today. In short, a little dab of "mind reading" won't hurt and it is not too hard to acquire this with experience.

This angle will pick winners in all types of races if the player uses such awareness. It will pick winners in maiden races because a horseman wants just as much to win a bet with a maiden as he does with a handicap horse. However, it is best with claimers because too often with classier horses, there are too many contenders. Very often, one can find a single qualified angle horse in a claiming race and this makes a particularly solid bet.

In using this particular angle, the player must keep in mind the power of "back class." For the benefit of those who may not be entirely familiar with the term back class, it has two meanings. One of these pertains to the class in which the horse has raced prior to its last race. However, when the term is used in conjunction with an angle, it takes on a slightly different meaning. Since the angle we are presenting comprises the horse's last three races, back class therefore means the horse's class level prior to the second race back. Any reader who uses this angle without consideration of pace or other basic methods of handicapping should always make sure that in some race prior to the second race back, the horse finished well in a class equal to or higher than its entered class today or showed good early speed in better company than itis meeting today. We will explain these points and present examples shortly.

First, we'll put the points we are looking for into proper perspective:

1. Watch for horses whose odds went up five points or more in their next-to-last race after a trying

effort in their third or fourth race back.

2. In order to qualify on this angle, the horse's odds must have dropped at least five points last start as compared to the odds at which it was held in its next-to-last race.

3. Such a horse must have run a race not more than 15 days ago in claiming races and 20 days ago in allowances or feature races; the more recently it was run, the better the selection.

4. Though not a hard and fast rule, if the horse is the only qualified angle horse in the race, the better the selection.

5. If there are two qualified angle horses in the race try to choose the one for which you see some additional favoring factor. If you do not find any additional favoring angle, play the horse going off at the best price if there are only two. If there are more than two angle horses in the race, skip it.

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