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May 03, 2013

The Basics of the Up-and-Back Angle

By: By Ray Taulbot


The following is an angle by Ray Taulbot, this angle has stood the test of time. Nevertheless, it will not serve everyone with the same degree of efficiency. Those of you who know very little about making sound selections cannot logically expect results as good as the readers that have advanced to the point where they are thoroughly capable of recognizing a truly good investment when they see it. So your ultimate goal should always be to acquire a high degree of ability as a selector.

The angle is based upon the fact that if a horse which has shown little or no form in its previous races suddenly turns in a good race, it will bear close watching thereafter.

However, we exclude winners from this category. When a horse suddenly wakes up and wins, the chances are that the stable has already gotten what it wanted. How winners are usually handled with respect to their future racing requires an entirely different line of reasoning, angles which we hope to elaborate on in future articles.

Horses that show a good race without winning are a different matter. When this happens, their conditioner is, so to speak, on the spot. That is, he can never be quite sure that the sudden improvement was not to some degree the result of racing luck. He must decide at once whether the poor luck encountered by some of the other horses in the field was responsible for the sudden improvement or whether the improved race was the result of improved condition.

The distinction is highly important to the trainer because he must base his future plans for the horse upon the cause he deems responsible for the improved race. If he guesses wrong, the future result will not be what he hoped for.

In most situations of this kind the conditioner plays it safe. That is, he will step the horse up a notch or two in class and give it a comparatively easy race. This affords him the opportunity to observe the horse in action before sending it out to win if it can. Thus any soreness that may have resulted from the improved race or any inclination on the part of the horse not to extend itself due to other causes can be detected and appropriate steps taken to correct the condition before trying for a purse.

If the horse gives any indication that it is not yet ready for its best effort, you may be sure that next time out the horse will be entered in a higher class than its last race. In such cases the horse is not a sound investment.

However, if the horse’s performance is satisfactory in its trainer’s judgment, the chances are that he will drop it down in class next out. He will drop the horse back to the class level of its next-to-last race where it showed the sudden improvement, or he may drop it to a level somewhere between its entered price last out and the price for which it was entered when it displayed improvement.

The fact that he drops the horse a bit in class is positive evidence that, in his opinion, the horse is ready for a top performance. Therefore, if the horse is not badly outclassed by other sharp horses in the field, it is a good investment — provided, as always, that its odds are worthwhile.

Let’s put the salient points of what we are looking for with this angle in proper order so that the reader will have them firmly fixed in his mind before we take up an example race.

  1. The horse must show an improved race, finishing close up without winning, after a dull effort.
  2. Next out, the horse must be hiked in class, finishing out-of-the-money in an apparently dull effort.
  3. The horse must be running today at a class level at or very near the one it was entered for in its second race back.
  4. Today’s race must be within 30 days of its last race.
  5. It must also have a gap of 30 days or less between its top two races.


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