Sep 14, 2012
AMERICAN TURF CLUB LEAD-CONDITION PLAY
A horse may get lucky in the running of a race and win it "on the breaks"…but it can only happen to a horse that is in sharp racing condition. Which is another way of saying that the key factor in spotting a winner is condition. . . the condition of the horse, that is.
This is not secret to the trainers, of course, and in most races there will be a majority of horses that are in condition to run well, at least, if not at their best. As a result, the average race is keenly contested and something of a puzzle to handicap, since it is hard to discern for sure that a horse is in winning condition from the cold figures shown in the past performance charts.
There is one way, however, to pick a spot play on the condition factor. . . an angle I experimented with some years ago that is strictly for the spot-play bettor since it calls for certain conditions that occur only in certain circumstances.
The key factor in this angle is spotting a horse that is "on the way up" in racing condition, as opposed to one that has reached its peak and is beginning to "tail off" in condition.
A horse that has put in several good efforts in a row obviously is in good condition–but it may have already passed its peak, and that's one reason why some "hot form" horses run below-par races.
On the other hand, a horse that has just shown a hint of good form after a weak race or two is on the way toward its peak, and is a more likely prospect to run well than the one that has been in the money several times in a row.
That is the theory on which this simple-and-easy angle is based, and here's how it goes.You can play all types of races except jumping races and maiden races.
Begin by marking all horses whose third race back was run not more than a month ago. That is, if today's date is September 10, the horses' third race back must have been run not later than August 10.
Double-mark all those horses that were running first, second or third at the stretch call, or finish, last time out, and which finished out of the money in the previous race. Boiled down, you are seeking a horse that has raced three times in the last calendar month, and was close up at the stretch call or finish last time out, following a race in which it finished out of the money.
If you find more than three horses in the race that answer this description–pass the race. If three or fewer are found, the play is the horse that raced in the highest class last time out. And it must not be stepped up in class more than 20% for today's race. In other words, if it ran in a $25,000 claimer last time out, it could step up $5,000 and go in a $30,000 claimer today, but no higher.
In the event of a tie on class value of the last race, favor the horse whose most recent race was run at the latest date. If there is still a tie, play the one that finished closest to the winner last time out in point of beaten lengths–not finish position. In the event of a continued tie, throw up your hands and pass the race.
Remember, this is a spot play system. You must find a race in which only a few horses are in good condition as prescribed by the system, and ignore those with more than three contenders on the condition factor. Just follow the rules and you should get your share of spot play winners at varied prices.
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