American Turf Magazine
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Jan 28, 2005

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, mostraces are nothing more than guessing games.

Therefore, the individual who is unable to waitfor suitable betting spots

is doomed to the ranks of losers before they start. The oldtruism, "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

 andcertain types of selections.

From time to time over the past 40 years, we havepointed 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 selections.

What is a good price? Certainly nothing less than4-1, 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, butit 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 qualify.

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 thepresence 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 istruly 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'sl ast race must have been

as fast as or faster than the winner's time for the third raceback. Thus

 only horses which competed at the same distance in their third race

 back andlast race will be eligible for consideration.

3) The horse must have displayed early speedfor 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 with in 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 ormore.

Don't Gamble was a perfect qualifier in the fifth race at Belmont Park

on September 3, 1995.

He won his third race back on July 26, within the 50-day time limit

 required by Rule One. The winner's time for his top race was three-fifths

 of a second faster than his winning time in his third race back and both

races were at the same seven-furlong distance (Rule Two).

Don't Gamble qualified on Rule Three by leading at the first two calls of

 his top race, 18 days ago. The colt was the only qualifier on Rules One

 through Three and he went off at 8-1 today (Rule Five). His winning

payoff was $18.40. Note that he was returning at the same seven-furlong

 distance today.

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 thedistance 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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