Jun 20, 2014
AMERICAN TURF CLUB LEAD-OFF FORM WINNERS
following article can help you come up with some longshot winners. Good luck!
It certainly is cause for wonder when a horse, after
finishing far back of the winner several times in a row, comes out and wins a
race. Is it possible there is a hint, somewhere in the running line of its last
beaten-off race, that this wakeup is imminent?
The answer is yes—in many cases there is just such a hint.
It shows up in the early stages of the horse’s most recent race, in a flash of
early speed that is an unmistakable clue that the horse is ready to show
improvement in its races.
This doesn’t mean that every beaten-off horse that had early
speed last time out is a sure winner today. But it does help to explain why so
many horses that were badly beaten last out, come on to win or at least finish
Consider the horse and you will understand better why this
flash of speed suggests impending improvement. Let us assume that the horse has
been running below par in its races, but is gradually improving, thanks to a few
workouts and the careful attention of its trainer. It is not ready to cope with
horses that are well ahead of it in condition, but it IS in a running mood.
If this is the case, the horse will show it in its races. It
will run as fast as it can, as far as it can go, after which it will find it
impossible to keep up with better conditioned horses that have moved into
contention—and it will start to drop back.
Its jockey will quit urging it, while the riders on the
contenders work feverishly on their mounts in an effort to win the race. The
natural result is that the farther the race progresses, the more the
early-speed horse falls back, so that at the finish it may be 15 or 20 lengths
behind, or even more.
The point I make is, the
beaten margin means nothing. The big item is the early speed displayed by
the horse—the hint that it is in a
running mood, approaching peak form. It may not win its next race or the
one after that, but there can be no denying the fact that it IS approaching peak form. Which means that
it will run far better than its beaten margin the last few races would
This, then, is the hint that a wakeup is imminent—the flash
of early foot by a horse that ends up beaten by a wide margin. Now, how can you
use this knowledge in your handicapping?
Just make this a hard-and-fast rule: “Don’t eliminate any horse as out-of-form due to beaten-off races if in
any of these races it showed early speed.”
Note I wrote “any of these races—not all of them. If the
horse was beaten by plenty in its last two or three races, it must be
considered if it had early foot in ANY of the three, not necessarily all three.
This is important because you must not demand the same performance of a horse every
time it runs. Remember, they are not machines—and they must not be expected to
perform as such.
As long as the early-speed race was run within the last 30
days, that evidence is there that the horse is on the improve, and just because
it followed up this early-foot effort with a below-par performance doesn’t mean
it has gone back. It may have been overmatched, off poorly, outrun by speedier
horses in the early part, etc.
Include this rule in your handicapping procedure and I’m
sure you will find it possible to come up with a wakeup winner now and then
that you would never have given a look-in otherwise. You will not always
consider the beaten-off horse as the right play in the race just because it had
early speed recently; there may be other horses in the race that figure better
on class, consistency, and other important aspects of handicapping. But on some
occasions you will find that the beaten-off horse, if given credit for a good
performance recently on the strength of an early-speed flash, actually rates
best, or at least is a good longshot possibility.
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