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Mar 25, 2005

Current Class Angle

By: Ray Taulbot

Man can do whatever man can imagine.

Few care to dispute that statement because there is so much irrefutable

 evidence to support it. Man has flown to the moon and he sends television

pictures around the world, to mention two accomplishments which were thought

impossible many years ago.

On the other hand, you can find thousands who will assure you that it is

impossible to earn consistent profits through the medium of turf speculation.

In both instances, the doubting of the"possible" was and is based upon nothing

 more than an uninformed personal opinion. People who feel that a certain goal

 is beyond their reach find it much easier to declare attainment impossible than

to admit they lack individual ability to make thegrade.

We could devote many pages to reciting the success stories of horseplayers who

 have proved beyond all doubt that beating the races consistently is quite as

 attainable as man's ability to soar through the clouds.

Instead of wasting space in repeating history with which many of our readers are

 already thoroughly familiar, we are going to offer youa training angle which any

sensible player can use to prove the point for themselves.

However, before we discuss the angle itself, we should define our meaning of a

 good investment. To begin with, no horse is worth backing if its prevailing odds

are lower than 2-1. That stands regardless of how well the horse may figure. We

might add that in our own operations, we never back a horse at odds of less than 3-1.

This demand for price is not based upon a mere whim. We know before we begin

 that we shall be very fortunate if 33 percent of the horses we select and back live

 up to expectations. Hence, we must get odds of at least 3-1 in order to earn enough

 to repay us for the time and work involved. So what some of our friends consider

our unreasonable price demands is actually only common sense, based upon a

dispassionate recognition of our individual ability as selectors, plus a little

simple arithmetic.

The second qualification of a good wager has to do with the horse itself. This

 means of course, that the horse in question must have the current ability to cope

 successfully with the competition it is meeting today. If the horse is handicapped by

 a serious age, class or condition disadvantage, then, of course, it cannot possibly

 be considered a good investment. No matter what post position the horse

occupies,or how noted its rider may be, it is not a good investment if it lacks the

 current ability to defeat its field.

As we stated above, there are many handicapping methods that are employed

effectively to determine the horse's ability. Unfortunately, many ofthese methods

 do not accommodate themselves to the player whose time is limited. It is for this

reason that we often discuss training angles in this space that can be played

effectively by the racing fan who cannot spare the time necessary to carefully handicap

the whole card.

The angle we are explaining this month isactually a "current class and condition"

angle based on the trainer's opinion ofhis horse's current ability.

The trainer's opinion can frequently be determined by the most recent placing of

 his horse. There are only three reasons why atrainer steps up his horse in

claiming price (or class):

1. The horse may need further conditioning, with the result that its trainer steps

it up in price to protect himself against its possible loss via the claiming box, or

because the race simply offers him an opportunity to give his horse a workout. In

 the latter event, the trainer is not interested in the higher quality of the competition

because he is not trying to win.

However, racing fans must not take it for granted that a horse that moved up in

class and was beaten was not trying to win. Every betting coup does not succeed.

Trainers can miscalculate the strength of their opposition and jockeys often put

up a poor ride.

Therefore, we must watch for those moved-up horses thatshowed an early

effort which was sustained right into the stretch together with a sharp drop in

betting odds. The public generally shies away from these moved-up horses.

2. A horse may be stepped up in claiming price or class because its trainer is

convinced that it is now capable of defeating classier stock thanit has been

meeting recently.

3. The claiming rules at some tracks demand that aclaimed horse be stepped-up

a given amount in entered price for a stated period following the claim.

We are not interested in Reason Number One except when it shows a trying race

 as we have outlined. But Reasons Two and Three are, under certain conditions

 which we shall explain, highly important to the player who is seeking a

sound investment.

Their importance becomes clear when the manner in which the horse raced against

 higher-class company is examined. If a horse was stepped up because its trainer

believes it is now capable of defeating higher-grade horses, or because the

 claiming rules demand such a move, it becomes a possible angle play if it

finished in the money, beaten no more than five lengths.

The logic here is easily discernible. If a horse is capable of finishing among the

 first three, and is beaten no more than five lengths when meeting higher-grade

 horses, the evidence of its current ability becomes clear. It is either an improved

or improving racer, of which there is no better wager, always provided that it

 meets the demands of a recent date and worthwhile odds today.

Reduced to mechanical rules the angle is simply as follows:

1. The horse must have moved up in claiming price (or class) in its last start.

2. It must have finished in the money last start, beaten no more than five lengths

 or have been within three lengths of the leader for the first three calls while

showing a sharp drop in odds.

3. Its most recent race must been run within the past14 days.

4. If the horse won last time out (in the step-up race) it must have won by at

least one length.

5. If two or more angle horses qualify in the same race, the choice is the horse

 that raced most recently. If tied on date, play the horse that goes postward at

the highest odds today.

In the tenth race at Philadelphia Park on October 3, 1995, Voodooistic was an

angle selection. The horse had finished third by 2-1/4 lengths in its most recent

race 14 days ago after advancing from a $7,500 claimer to a $15,000

allowance race. As a perfect "only qualifier" on all angle rules, Voodooistic

paid $32.40 to win.

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