Feb 14, 2014
STRAIGHT TALK ABOUT ANGLES
By: RAY TAULBOT
It is next to impossible for
an impatient player to become a success at turf speculation. This is due to the
fact that so few races on the day’s card offer the investor a real opportunity
to cash a wager. Most of the races carded every day defy the skill of even the
most experienced selectors. To put it bluntly, most races are nothing more than
Therefore, the individual
who is unable to wait for suitable betting spots is doomed to the ranks of
losers before they start. The old truism, "horses don’t beat the
players, the players beat themselves" contains more than just a grain
of truth. Ninety percent of all chronic losers beat themselves because they
undertake the impossible.
We are aware that many fans
do not have the time necessary for detailed, careful handicapping. But this
lack of time is no reason why they should be doomed to failure, provided they
have the patience to wait for certain races and certain types of selections.
From time to time over the
past 40 years, we have pointed out in American Turf Monthly that angle
handicapping can be used to advantage by anyone who can read and understand a
past performance block. Some of our articles have been devoted to this type of
analysis. Over the years, we have discussed and explained more than 20 angles
which can be employed successfully for selecting good-priced winners.
We stress good prices
because: 1) if you can beat the price, you can beat the races and, 2) no matter
how proficient one may become in this endeavor, they will always select more
losers than winners. Therefore, we cannot afford to back short-priced
What is a good price?
Certainly nothing less than 4-1, because it requires a price of this amount to
overcome the inevitable losers. This statement is based on the fact that if the
winning percentage is no higher than 25 percent, one must receive an average of
at least 4-1 to break even.
Breaking even is not
profitable, of course, but it is better than losing continually. Moreover, a
good angle will produce winners with average prices much higher than 4-1.
Here, we wish to point out
that no angle, no matter how good it may be, can keep the player in the black
if they insist on piddling away the angle profits on horses which do not
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 horses which do not meet every stipulation of the
angle (or angles) they are using.
Further, one should never
forget that the presence of a good angle in a horses" chart does not
necessarily make the horse a good wager. This is due to the fact that some
horses are not really good racing or betting tools.
How can one distinguish
between a profitable horse and one that is unprofitable? Simply by observing its
earnings record. Any horse today that can’t average purse money of $12,500 or
more per year is not a horse that is truly a profitable racing tool. Like
everything else, the cost of shipping, feeding and caring for a race horse has
almost doubled within the past 10 years.
But equally important is the
fact that horses which do not earn more than their bare keep are pretty poor
competitors. And poor competitors are poor wagers. When one risks their money
on the outcome of a race, they certainly should do it on horses which they know
are profitable for their owners.
Racing fans who recognize
this fact often assume that the number of times a horse has won as compared to
its number of starts will separate the wheat from the chaff. Unfortunately,
this is not always true.
Purse amounts vary from
track to track, and even from race to race. The point to remember is that the
higher the class of the race, the greater the purse.
Our angle this month is
based on four major factors:
1) The horse must have
turned in a good race in its third race back, finishing within two lengths of
the winner, in a race that was run no more than 50 days ago.
2) The winner’s time for
the angle horse’s last race must have been as fast as or faster than the
winner’s time for the third race back. Thus only horses which competed at the
same distance in their third race back and last race will be eligible for
3) The horse must have
displayed early speed for at least a half mile last start, or it must have
closed ground from the pre-stretch call to the finish, finishing out of the
money, and this last race must have been run within the past 21 days.
4) The horse must be the
only qualified play in the race.
5) The horse should go
off today at 4-1 or more.
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 the distance of the races on which it qualified? In
such cases, we would only take the angle horse if it showed a win in its past
performances at today’s distance.
In closing, let us remind
you of what we said about the importance 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 and you can get them if you’ll
wait for the right openings.
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