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Jun 20, 2003

An Angle That Gets an

By: Ray Taulbot

THE A ANGLE DEALS WITH A HORSE"S last two races; it is composedof a good next-to-last race in which the horse finished in-the-money, followed by an easy conditioning race last start.

The following running lines of the last two races outline thebasic theory of the "A angle":

Last start: 65 76 76-1/2 89

Next to last: 41-1/2 31 31 21/2

Here, the horse turned in a very sharp performance in itsnext-to-last race. Following this sharp effort the trainer decided for any one of a numberof reasons that his horse needed a conditioning race before trying again for a purse.

It should be clear that relationship between the next-to-lastand last race exists only when the next-to-last race was run at a comparatively recentdate. The more recently the next-to-last race was run the better.

However, the date of the next-to-last race is not the mostimportant factor. The angle has real value only when the speed rating for the last race,as compared to the speed rating to the next to last race, reveals that the horse has notgone completely off form since turning in the good next to last effort.

For instance, suppose the horse earned a speed rating of 88 forits next to last race, over a fast track. Further, suppose that going the same distanceover a fast track next start the horse earned a speed rating of only 70. The drop of 18points in the speed rating indicates that the horse may have lost its previous sharpcondition, and the angle is of little or no worth.

The "A angle" has winning power only when the speedrating for the last race is no more than 10 points below the speed rating earned for thenext-to-last race. In other words, if in the above example the horse earned a speed ratinglast start of 78 or more the angle would be acceptable. In some instances the speed ratingfor the last easy, conditioning race is higher than the speed rating for the next to lastrace. The improvement in speed rating last start makes this angle very powerful,regardless of the date of the last race.

The "A angle" becomes a power angle when the horse isentered today for a claiming price or in a class no higher than the class of its lastrace. And when the horse is entered for a price or in a class lower than its entered priceor class in its next-to-last race, the angle takes on even greater strength. Consider theexamples outlined below:

Speed Figure

Entered today $4,000

Entered last start $5,000 79

Entered next to last $4,000 85

The drop in claiming price today makes the "A angle" apower angle of normal strength. In the following example, the angle becomes a verypowerful angle because the horse is entered today for a price below its entered pricein its good next to last race:

Speed Figure

Entered today $4,000

Entered last start $5,000 79

Entered next to last $4,500 85

This angle is frequently found in combination with other angles,and when this occurs the angle takes on additional power. For example, the "Aangle" may be present in conjunction with the switch in distance angle. This occurswhen the last race was run over a distance different than that over which the next-to-lastrace was run, and when the horse is entered today go the same distance it ran in its nextto last race, the following example:

Today six furlongs

Last race 1-1/16 miles

Next to last race six furlongs

Since the horse is entered in a six furlong race today, we havethe "switch in distance" angle combined with the "A angle." The pointto remember is that the presence of these other angles in combination with the "Aangle" constitutes great winning power. These additional angles mean more winningpower.

Fans at Laurel on November 20 last year found a classic "Aangle" horse in What A Whittle One. Before November 20, the horse"s lastouting had resulted in a sixth-place finish in an easy conditioning race. Her next to lastrace, on October 28, had been a solid, rallying third-place finish. Clearly, trainer DaleCapuano had a sharp horse on his hands and wanted to keep her on top of her form cycle.

Note that What A Whittle One met the speed figure requirement ofthe "A angle" as well: her Beyer figures from October 28 to November 8 onlydropped five points. The November 8 race was also a big jump up in class. The finishingtouch for horseplayers looking over What A Whittle One"s PPs on November 20 were the addedturf-to-dirt and distance-cutback angles. The savvy angle player could see that Capuanohad taken several steps in order to keep his filly in competitive form. Her "Aangle" status, combined with two other angles, steady speed figures and return to aclass level and distance where she"d been competitive before all pointed to an imminentwin. In light of these positive factors, 3-1 on November 20 was definitely a square priceon this filly.

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