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Feb 04, 2005

How do you eliminate horses when handicapping? (Part 2)

By: Joe Takach



Returning worktabs are as varied as the number of trainers running on the lucrative Southern California circuit.


I could fill volumes listing every trainer and exactly how his or her “specific” winning layoff worktab should appear before wagering.  But even when those specific morning drills replicate those of an upcoming “send”, there are never any guarantees other than the fact that this or that specific barn is “sending”. 


There might be another strong barn entered in that same race with an equally compelling worktab.  Or the worktab might be correct, but today’s actual race might be too high or too low in class. 


I could go on and on with “what ifs”. 


The bottom line here with all things being equal, a returning layoff horse must have a very “specific” winning workout pattern before I’ll bet him.


Thirteen years of daily play on the Southern California circuit has offered me “trainer workout patterns” that are very “telling”. 


While these specific workout patterns don’t necessarily yield a winner every time they are present, one thing is dead certain.   Without these specific workout patterns for each trainer’s returnee, they rarely visit the winner’s circle-------at least in sunny Southern California.


Were I again living on the East coast, I’d have to readjust my thinking back to my pre-West coast days.  But on the West coast, horses win with astounding regularity when coming off vacations of 90 days up to a full year!  That is, just as long as they have their specific trainer induced winning morning worktab pattern.


So exactly what do I do I mean by a “winning layoff worktab”?


A certain Hall of Fame trainer on our circuit is deadly with returning vacationers. 


Let me add to that.


A certain Hall of Fame trainer on our Southern California circuit is deadly (in fact, the word “deadly” might not be strong enough!) with returning vacationers when, and only when, the worktab of his runner shows the drills evenly spaced every 6 or 7 days with absolutely no “gaps” of any kind. 

And by no “gaps” I mean that there can’t be morning drills 6 days, 14 days, 7 days ,

6 days, 7days, 15 days, 7 days, 12 days, 7 days. 


“Gaps” of 14, 15, and 12 days, are just that---gaps!  Perhaps the horse twisted and ankle to miss a scheduled work. Or maybe he ran a temperature for a few days and needed more time to recover.  Maybe he cut himself or “maybe” a lot of other things.


No “gaps” simply means no “gaps”.  Works come exactly every 6 or 7 days---period!


Whenever that specific worktab is evident with one of his returnees, I stand up and take notice.  The horse in question is by no means an automatic bet of any kind, but this barn is positively “sending” today.  Whether or not the horse is good enough to win, might be another story. 


But isn’t it always nice to know what horses are actually trying to win a race vs. those just out for exercise?


I’m sure you get the drift.


When any horse comes off a 90 or more day layoff in Southern California, a specific winning workout pattern must be present for each specific trainer.  And if it isn’t, I simply toss the horse out without hesitation of any kind.


Returning workout patterns are extremely important. 


The more morning drills a vacationer shows on paper, the more likely he is to run back to his ability.  And the fewer the “gaps” in between those drills, no matter how many are showing in the past performances, the more likely he win “fresh”.


I like vacationers working every 6 to 8 days with no “gaps” of any kind---not even a single gap of 14 or 15 days. 


The times of those drills are really on no consequence to me because I know that any horse working every 6 to 8 days with no “gaps” is a healthy and very sound animal. 


Even if not winning his first returning race, somewhere in that race he’s going to make his presence felt.  Perhaps that presence could be enough to stop my choice from winning.



(Continued in PART 3---RUNNING BIASES)

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