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Sep 17, 2004

The Fore-N-Aft Gain Angle

By: Ray Taulbot


WE HAVE STATED QUITE OFTEN IN this space that many handicappers

like to depend entirely on angles as a means of selecting plays. To begood, an

 angle must be restrictive. If the rules are too loose, handicappers will find themselves

 making far too many plays to earn a profit.

The horseplayer who does not have the patience to wait may find themself

stretching the rules. Rather than doing this, the player should employ a few good, solid, restrictive

angles to give himself more action.

One of the best angles is that "oldie but goodie"known as the "fore-and-aft gain angle."

 As its name implies, this angle involvesa twin gain. The first of these is the type of

 gain which reveals approaching good form. The second confirms the evidence of the

 former, which insures the player that the horse in question has not lost its sharpness

since first revealing its improving condition.

To clearly understand why this angle produces a good percentage of nice winners, it is necessary

 to explain its inner workings in detail.
Too often, in those instances where a horse is in strong contention during the final furlong of its

most recent race, the excessive effort deprives it of some of its reserve energy. When this

happens, it is quite likely that the horse will not come back with another good race; not, at least,

 until it has had time to regain the energy it expended in that hard-fought contest.

Likewise, the horse that finished either first or second last start will very likely go to the post next

 out at short odds. Thus when the player sticksto so-called "hot form" horses, they frequently

deprives themself of a price commensurate with the normal hazards involved in turf speculation.
Therefore, it behooves the player to search for horses that have given evidence of good or

approaching good condition and whose last race did not deprive them of the reserve energy

necessary to the winning of today’s contest.

Evidence of this is sometimes found in the nature of early foot in the next-to-last race. In other

instances, the evidence is found in a sharpbeaten-length gain between the first and second calls.

Such gains are often the result ofriding orders from trainer to jockey such as the following hypothetical

conversation:

"This horse is getting good, son, and we want to know if it is ready or if it needs more racing before

 going after a purse. Let him break on his own and given him a quarter of a mile to find his stride.

 Then bear down on him during the next quarter. If he can reach contention, okay. If not, let him

run on his own."

Orders like these often result in a running line which may appear something like this in the past

performance block:

89 75 98 1011

Not very impressive, you say? Well, since you weren’t privy to that conversation between jockey

 and trainer, that gain of four lengths between thefirst and second calls does not register on your

 eye. But it is important nevertheless.

In the next start, the trainer may shoot the works, or he may give the horse another race. It all

depends upon the report he received from the rider after the race shown above. If the rider’s report

 was favorable, then the trainer will try next start. If the report was not good, he will give the horse

another race before going all out to win.

In those cases where the trainer tries for a win following the type of race we have described above,

 we have the perfect set-up for an angle play next start, always provided the horse does not win or

 finish second, and provided it gained inboth running positions and lengths during the final furlong.

Thus the current last two races of an angle horse will look like this:

78 75 55 32

89 75 98 1011

This horse has now displayed a gain both "fore and aft." It gained in both running position and lengths

 in the stretch last start, and in its previous race it gained lengths between the first and second calls.

In short, the trainer shot and missed after his horse had previously made a gain between the first

 and second calls. It appears that the report the trainer received following the next-to-last race was

 sufficiently good to tempt him to trynext out. Unfortunately for him, the horse needed another race.

The following rules will point out an angle horse like those shown in the examples and most of them

 will go postward at prices conducive to profitable turf investment:

1. The horse’s last race must not have taken place more than 15 days ago.
2. Examine the first two calls of the next to last race and make note of any horse that gained three

 lengths or more between the first and second calls shown in the horse’s Daily Racing Form past

 performance block.
3. Next examine the last two calls of the last race. In order to qualify as a possible play, the horse

 must have gained both running positions and lengths between the stretch call and the finish. The

horse must not have finished closer than third. It may have finished farther back, but not closer

than third.
4. The class of today’s race must be no higher than the class of the horse’s next-to-last race unless

 the closing odds are 10-1 or higher.
5. If the horse passes these four simple rules, it is worth an investment—provided its odds are 5-1

or higher on horses that are not moving up in class or 10-1 or more on those that are, provided it has

 not been out more than 15 days.



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