Oct 31, 2014
NUMBERS ARE ONLY PART OF THE STORY
By: Ray Taulbot
The Sprint Switch Angle: A Case Study
Of all the old bromides about
racing, the one we like best is: "You can beat the races if you can beat
the price." We would much rather have one winner in ten at $40 than
to be a self-styled super-handicapper who picked 40 percent winners at an
average $7 payoff. The difference in profit margin is just
basic arithmetic. The catch is that the player must have the patience to
wait for openings and the fortitude toswallow losses while waiting for the big
In previous articles we have
explained that racing angles can be roughly divided into two groups:
1. Performance angles; that
is, angles that deal exclusively with the manner in which a horse performsjust
prior to a winning effort.
2. Trainer angles, which,of
course, have to do with the manner in which trainers tend to work in order to
get a worthwhile price on horses that are fit and ready.
There are, of course, angles which
comprise both of these general features, and it is one of these
"performance-trainer" angles with which we shall deal in this article
under the heading
of the "sprint
The turf reader should
understandthat doing a capable job of handicapping enhances the value of
any racing angle.This is true because angles are necessarily mechanical
and horses are not machines.
Secondly, all angles, like all
factors in a race, are closely related to many other elements.
For example, a hard, over-taxing
race of recent date could destroy the winning power of the very
strongest racing angle. Likewise,
the class or current condition factor, or both, can strengthen or weaken
the effectiveness of any angle. Thus, it is clear that the racing fan who
is capable of evaluating a racing angle on the basis of the factors to
whichit is closely related, will derive better results than those who make only
mechanical use of the same angle.
In a previous column, we dealt with
a horse making the route switch in distance; this time we shall detail
the sprint switch in distance. Before advancing any further,
however, we want to repeat a portion of our other article because of its
direct bearing on our discussion this month:
"A mistake commonly made by
some fans when considering the switch-in-distance angle has to do with the
time factor. When the switch is from a sprint to a route, and then back to a
sprint,the final time in which the route race is run has little meaning.
We all know that the pace of a sprint race over a fast track usually results in
a faster early pace than does a route race run under the same conditions."
Remember, the route race is for
conditioning purposes, because the trainer has evidently decided that his
sprinter needs more "legging up." Hence an easy distance race is in
This brings us to that all-important
date factor. Everyone who knows anything about racing surely
realizes that the more recently a
horse ran its last race the more likely it isto improve today, provided
its last race was not a taxing effort that tended to dull, rather than
sharpen, the horse’s current condition.
The date factors apply to cheap
claimers. Higher-price claimers (entered for $25,000 or more) and
horses entered in allowances or
other non-claiming events can qualify with more relaxed date rules.
We have found, however, that
itdoesn’t pay to back selections — especially cheap claimers — at less
Following are the angle rules:
1. The horse’s last race musthave
been a route run within 15 days for cheap claimers, 30 days for
high-price claimers and
non-claimers. It must be switching to a sprint today.
2. The horse’s next-to-lastrace must
have been run within the past 30 days for cheap claimers, 50
days forhigh-price claimers and
3. In its next-to-last race, a
sprint, the horse must have been leading or running within one length of the
leader at the stretch call and
finished in the money.
4. The horse’s most recent race must
have been an easy effort going a distance.
5. Prefer a horse that has turned in
at least one sharp workout at a date later than its last race. If no workout
since then is evident, demand at
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