Jul 10, 2003
Current Class Angle
By: Ray Taulbot
Man can do whatever man can imagine.
Few care to dispute that statement because thereis so much irrefutable evidence to support it. Man has flown to the moon and he sendstelevision pictures around the world, to mention two accomplishments which were thoughtimpossible many years ago.
On the other hand, you can find thousands whowill assure you that it is impossible to earn consistent profits through the medium ofturf speculation.
In both instances, the doubting of the"possible" was and is based upon nothing more than an uninformed personalopinion. People who feel that a certain goal is beyond their reach find it much easier todeclare attainment impossible than to admit they lack individual ability to make thegrade.
We could devote many pages to reciting the successstories of horseplayers who have proved beyond all doubt that beating the racesconsistently is quite as attainable as man"s ability to soar through the clouds.
Instead of wasting space in repeating historywith 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, weshould define our meaning of a good investment. To begin with, no horse is worth backingif its prevailing odds are lower than 2-1. That stands regardless of how well the horsemay figure. We might add that in our own operations, we never back a horse at odds of lessthan 3-1.
This demand for price is not based upon a merewhim. We know before we begin that we shall be very fortunate if 33 percent of the horseswe select and back live up to expectations. Hence, we must get odds of at least 3-1 inorder to earn enough to repay us for the time and work involved. So what some of ourfriends consider our unreasonable price demands is actually only common sense, based upona dispassionate recognition of our individual ability as selectors, plus a little simplearithmetic.
The second qualification of a good wager has to do withthe horse itself. This means of course, that the horse in question must have the currentability to cope successfully with the competition it is meeting today. If the horse ishandicapped by a serious age, class or condition disadvantage, then, of course, it cannotpossibly 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 abilityto defeat its field.
As we stated above, there are many handicapping methodsthat 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 forthis reason that we often discuss training angles in this space that can be playedeffectively by the racing fan who cannot spare the time necessary to carefully handicapthe 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 bedetermined 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 theresult that its trainer steps it up in price to protect himself against its possible lossvia the claiming box, or because the race simply offers him an opportunity to give hishorse a workout. In the latter event, the trainer is not interested in the higher qualityof the competition because he is not trying to win.
However, racing fans must not take it for granted thata horse that moved up in class and was beaten was not trying to win. Every bettingcoup does not succeed. Trainers can miscalculate the strength of their opposition andjockeys 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 asharp 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 classbecause 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 followingthe claim.
We are not interested in Reason Number One except whenit shows a trying race as we have outlined. But Reasons Two and Three are, under certainconditions which we shall explain, highly important to the player who is seeking a soundinvestment.
Their importance becomes clear when the manner in whichthe horse raced against higher-class company is examined. If a horse was stepped upbecause its trainer believes it is now capable of defeating higher-grade horses, orbecause the claiming rules demand such a move, it becomes a possible angle play if itfinished in the money, beaten no more than five lengths.
The logic here is easily discernible. If a horseis capable of finishing among the first three, and is beaten no more than five lengthswhen meeting higher-grade horses, the evidence of its current ability becomes clear. It iseither an improved or improving racer, of which there is no better wager, always providedthat it meets the demands of a recent date and worthwhile odds today.
Reduced to mechanical rules the angle is simplyas follows:
1. The horse must have moved up in claiming price (orclass) 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 thefirst 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 thesame race, the choice is the horse that raced most recently. If tied on date, play thehorse 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 inits most recent race 14 days ago after advancing from a $7,500 claimer to a $15,000allowance race. As a perfect "only qualifier" on all angle rules, Voodooisticpaid $32.40 to win.
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