Oct 14, 2005
The Freshened Repeater Angle
By: Ray Taulbot
Fall racing provides many more opportunities for the angle player than any other
season of the year. We suppose this is because many trainers get the feeling that they
are running out of time and can't afford to wait.
We have personal classifications for angles. Some we call "hidden form" and others we
call "obvious but overlooked." The first term is self-explanatory. The second categorizes
a horse that is in obvious winning form but which will nonetheless generally be overlooked
by the betting public. Most players are well aware that the trainer who is interested
in turf speculation dislikes nothing more than to have one of his fit charges go to post
at a short price. From his point of view, such a situation represents nothing more or less
than a waste of time and work; it deprives him of the opportunity to collect what he
considers his just profit. Once the player grasps an understanding of the conditioner's
attitude regarding price, it is not difficult for him to understand why so many trainers
spend much of their time devising ways to deceive the public regarding the true condition
of their horses. They want a price, and in order to get it they must go after it in a
manner which is apt to mislead those players who are students of form.
Fortunately for the players, however, the devices available to the trainer are few, and any experienced racing fan can soon learn to spot the little moves which are made to deceive him. Virtually every month this magazine calls your attention to oneor more of these angles.
The reader who studies each angle presented will soon becomehighly proficient at
spotting these odds-enhancing devices. The angle we are explaining this month is a common one. Nevertheless, thousands of racing fans know nothing about it, and their lack of
knowledge costs them many dollars each year. To begin with, the best bet in racing is
a fresh, fit horse. You may have heard your family physician remark that rest is the best
medicine known to medical science. This applies to the horse as well as to man. Constant
racing wears down a horse's physical condition, and eventually its reserve strength
drops to a level where thehorse is no longer fit to compete. When this occurs, the horse
must be given the "restcure." How much rest it will need depends upon several factors.
If its reservestrength has been wholly depleted, then it may require several months of
rest to restorethe animal to normal. However, if the trainer has used sound judgment
and returned the horse before it is entirely exhausted, then four or five weeks of
idleness is sufficient to restore it to normal. The trainer understands these points, so we
can leave the length of the rest period to him. Remember, however, that a horse eats
and it must be cared for during these idle periods, and that costs money. So the trainer
is anxious to overcome the overhead involved and at the earliest possible moment the
horse is returned to training. For this reason, horses that have been taking the rest cure are
carefully prepared for their return to competition. As a result of the rest and the extra
care, many such horses turn in a winning race first time out. Now we come to the angle
itself. We can just hear many readerssaying to themselves, "He's not going to tell us to
play these horses after the big build-up he's giving us about betting trainers not wanting
to take a short price. The trainer has gotten his with the winning race, why should he try
right back at short odds?"
This is exactly the kind of thinking that puts the "overlooked" part into this obvious angle.
The horse has been rested. The trainer has brought him back fresh and fit. The horse
has won at first asking. All these points are obvious. They are so obvious that too many
fans skip right by such an entry, especially if the horse is being moved up in class today.
We have conducted extensive research on repeaters, especially on horses that have been
freshened. It developed that many of them failed the next time out except in cases where
the trainer moved his horse up in class or when some astute horseman reached in and
claimed the horse, in which case the mandatory 25 percent boost in claiming price took effect.
There is sound logic to bolster our findings. If a trainer wins with a fresh horse and
moves it up, it is because he knows the horse has improved to such an extent that it can
defeat superior company and also has less risk of being claimed. In addition, when a
horse is claimed first out after a freshening period, you can bet your last dollar that the
claiming trainer has seen something in the morning workouts which was good enough
to cause him to lay his money onthe line. So our angle is reduced to very simple terms:
Look for a horsethat has been rested one month or more, wins first out after the rest
and is moved up in class the next time out. For horses up to the $5,000 claiming level,
we require a minimum increase of $1,500; up to $10,000, an increase of $2,500; up
to $20,000 an increase of $5,000. Claimers valued at more than $20,000 should move
$10,000 higher or into allowance company next out.
First-time two-year-olds subsequently moving up can also be included for play, since
their true ability is generally unknown to the public. However,be sure that they are
moving up in claiming price the same way as the older horses. Winners of maiden special
weight races or maiden claimers must move up into allowance company. While we said
at the start that there are more angle plays during autumn racing, we did not mean that
this angle should be restricted solely to that season. As a matter of fact, this is an
excellent all-season angle and for the purposes of illustration we consulted a recent issue
of the Daily Racing Form and had no trouble coming up with a perfect play. Once in a
while, you will find a horse of this type whose post-time odds are on the short side. When
you do, simply pass the race. It never pays to back a fresh, fit horse at less than 4-1
odds. The trainer might set that as his minimum.
Add the "freshened repeater" angle to your selection
of handicapping tools-the plays are few and far between but well worth waiting for.
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