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Nov 18, 2005

The Freshened Repeater Angle

By: Ray Taulbot

Fall racing provides many more opportunities for the angleplayer than any other season of the year. We suppose this is because many trainers get thefeeling 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 firstterm is self-explanatory. The second categorizes a horse that is in obvious winning formbut which will nonetheless generally be overlooked by the betting public. Most players are well aware that the trainer who is interestedin turf speculation dislikes nothing more than to have one of his fit charges go to postat a short price. From his point of view, such a situation represents nothing more or lessthan a waste of time and work; it deprives him of the opportunity to collect what heconsiders his just profit. Once the player grasps an understanding of the conditioner"sattitude regarding price, it is not difficult for him to understand why so many trainersspend much of their time devising ways to deceive the public regarding the true conditionof their horses. They want a price, and in order to get it they must go after it in amanner which is apt to mislead those players who are students of form.

Fortunately for the players, however, the devices available tothe trainer are few, and any experienced racing fan can soon learn to spot the littlemoves 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 knowledgecosts them many dollars each year. To begin with, the best bet in racing is a fresh, fit horse. Youmay have heard your family physician remark that rest is the best medicine known tomedical science. This applies to the horse as well as to man. Constant racing wears down ahorse"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 thehorse before it is entirely exhausted, then four or five weeks of idleness is sufficientto restore it to normal. The trainer understands these points, so we can leave the lengthof the rest period to him. Remember, however, that a horse eats and it must be cared forduring these idle periods, and that costs money. So the trainer is anxious to overcome theoverhead involved and at the earliest possible moment the horse is returned to training. For this reason, horses that have been taking the rest cure arecarefully prepared for their return to competition. As a result of the rest and the extracare, 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 bigbuild-up he"s giving us about betting trainers not wanting to take a short price. Thetrainer has gotten his with the winning race, why should he try right back at shortodds?"

This is exactly the kind of thinking that puts the"overlooked" part into this obvious angle. The horse has been rested. Thetrainer has brought him back fresh and fit. The horse has won at first asking. All thesepoints 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 onhorses that have been freshened. It developed that many of them failed the next time out exceptin cases where the trainer moved his horse up in class or when some astute horsemanreached in and claimed the horse, in which case the mandatory 25 percent boost in claimingprice took effect.

There is sound logic to bolster our findings. If a trainer winswith a fresh horse and moves it up, it is because he knows the horse has improved to suchan 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 afreshening period, you can bet your last dollar that the claiming trainer has seensomething 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 inclass the next time out. For horses up to the $5,000 claiming level, we require a minimumincrease 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 allowancecompany next out.

First-time two-year-olds subsequently moving up can also beincluded 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 allowancecompany. While we said at the start that there are more angle playsduring autumn racing, we did not mean that this angle should be restricted solely to thatseason. As a matter of fact, this is an excellent all-season angle and for the purposes ofillustration we consulted a recent issue of the Daily Racing Form and had notrouble coming up with a perfect play. Once in a while, you will find a horse of this type whosepost-time odds are on the short side. When you do, simply pass the race. It never pays toback a fresh, fit horse at less than 4-1 odds. The trainer might set that as his minimum.

The past performances of Moment"s Best in the seventh race atArlington Park on July 4 are shown below. Note that the colt had won his most recent raceafter a layoff of more than two months and was moving up from a maiden claimer to an allowance race today. He had received a workout just five days ago. Moment"s Best paid$49.60 and won by the same 2-1/2 length margin today. Add the "freshened repeater" angle to your selectionof handicapping tools-the plays are few and far between but well worth waiting for.

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