The Fore-N-Aft Gain Angle
WE HAVE STATED QUITE OFTEN IN this space that
many handicappers like to depend entirely on angles as a means of selecting plays. To be
good, an angle must be restrictive. If the rules are too loose, handicappers will find
themselves making far too many plays to earn a profit.
The horseplayer who does not have the patience to wait may find themself stretching the
rules. Rather than doing this, the player should employ a few good, solid, restrictive
angles to give himself more action.
One of the best angles is that "oldie but goodie"
known as the "fore-and-aft gain angle." As its name implies, this angle involves
a twin gain. The first of these is the type of gain which reveals approaching good form.
The second confirms the evidence of the former, which insures the player that the horse in
question has not lost its sharpness since first revealing its improving condition.
To clearly understand why this angle produces a good percentage
of nice winners, it is necessary to explain its inner workings in detail.
Too often, in those instances where a horse is in strong contention during the final
furlong of its most recent race, the excessive effort deprives it of some of its reserve
energy. When this happens, it is quite likely that the horse will not come back with
another good race; not, at least, until it has had time to regain the energy it expended
in that hard-fought contest.
Likewise, the horse that finished either first or second last
start will very likely go to the post next out at short odds. Thus when the player sticks
to so-called "hot form" horses, they frequently deprives themself of a price
commensurate with the normal hazards involved in turf speculation.
Therefore, it behooves the player to search for horses that have given evidence of good or
approaching good condition and whose last race did not deprive them of the reserve energy
necessary to the winning of todays contest.
Evidence of this is sometimes found in the nature of early foot
in the next-to-last race. In other instances, the evidence is found in a sharp
beaten-length gain between the first and second calls. Such gains are often the result of
riding orders from trainer to jockey such as the following hypothetical conversation:
"This horse is getting good, son, and we want to know if it
is ready or if it needs more racing before going after a purse. Let him break on his own
and given him a quarter of a mile to find his stride. Then bear down on him during the
next quarter. If he can reach contention, okay. If not, let him run on his own."
Orders like these often result in a running line which may
appear something like this in the past performance block:
89 75 98 1011
Not very impressive, you say? Well, since you werent privy
to that conversation between jockey and trainer, that gain of four lengths between the
first and second calls does not register on your eye. But it is important nevertheless.
In the next start, the trainer may shoot the works, or he may
give the horse another race. It all depends upon the report he received from the rider
after the race shown above. If the riders report was favorable, then the trainer
will try next start. If the report was not good, he will give the horse another race
before going all out to win.
In those cases where the trainer tries for a win following the
type of race we have described above, we have the perfect set-up for an angle play next
start, always provided the horse does not win or finish second, and provided it gained in
both running positions and lengths during the final furlong.
Thus the current last two races of an angle horse will look like
78 75 55 32
89 75 98 1011
This horse has now displayed a gain both "fore and aft." It gained in both
running position and lengths in the stretch last start, and in its previous race it gained
lengths between the first and second calls.
In short, the trainer shot and missed after his horse had
previously made a gain between the first and second calls. It appears that the report the
trainer received following the next-to-last race was sufficiently good to tempt him to try
next out. Unfortunately for him, the horse needed another race.
The following rules will point out an angle horse like those
shown in the examples and most of them will go postward at prices conducive to profitable
1. The horses last race must not have taken place more
than 15 days ago.
2. Examine the first two calls of the next to last race and make note of any horse that
gained three lengths or more between the first and second calls shown in the horses
Daily Racing Form past performance block.
3. Next examine the last two calls of the last race. In order to qualify as a possible
play, the horse must have gained both running positions and lengths between the stretch
call and the finish. The horse must not have finished closer than third. It may have
finished farther back, but not closer than third.
4. The class of todays race must be no higher than the class of the horses
next-to-last race unless the closing odds are 10-1 or higher.
5. If the horse passes these four simple rules, it is worth an investmentprovided
its odds are 5-1 or higher on horses that are not moving up in class or 10-1 or more on
those that are, provided it has not been out more than 15 days.
For a good case study of the fore-and-aft gain angle, turn back
to page 49 and take a moment to study the past performances of Perfect Night in the tenth
race at Meadowlands on November 5the Coopers Ferry Stakes.
Note that this filly had gained more than the required three
lengths between the first two calls of her next-to-last race and had also gained both
running positions and beaten lengths between the stretch call and finish of her most
She had raced just seven days ago and though she was moving up
in class from her next-to-last race her odds of 10-1 permitted her to do so (see Rule
Five.) Perfect Night, an outstanding angle play, returned $23.40 to win.
The date rule is one of the hardest for any angle player to
abide by. There seems to be so little difference between 15 and 20 days that most fans may
be inclined to fudge a bit.
Personally, we abide by it. But where the line is thin and the
rewards are great, we do not believe a player will hurt himself too often if he stretches
the date rule somewhat.
A case in point was Flashy Love who paid $44.20 in the second
race at Hawthorne on November 28. The gelding had never been closer than fifth at any call
in his top two races but still met all the angle requirements. Though he had not raced for
18 days, his generous odds justified stretching the day rule in this race.