Straight Talk About Angles
It is next to impossible for an impatient player
to become a success at turf speculation. This is due to the fact that so few races on the
day's card offer the investor a real opportunity to cash a wager. Most of the races carded
every day defy the skill of even the most experienced selectors. To put it bluntly, most
races are nothing more than guessing games.
Therefore, the individual who is unable to wait
for suitable betting spots is doomed to the ranks of losers before they start. The old
truism, "horses don't beat the players, the players beat themselves"
contains more than just a grain of truth. Ninety percent of all chronic losers beat
themselves because they undertake the impossible.
We are aware that many fans do not have the time
necessary for detailed, careful handicapping. But this lack of time is no reason why they
should be doomed to failure, provided they have the patience to wait for certain races and
certain types of selections.
From time to time over the past 40 years, we have
pointed out in American Turf Monthly that angle handicapping can be used to advantage by
anyone who can read and understand a past performance block. Some of our articles have
been devoted to this type of analysis. Over the years, we have discussed and explained
more than 20 angles which can be employed successfully for selecting good-priced winners.
We stress good prices because: 1) if you can beat
the price, you can beat the races and, 2) no matter how proficient one may become in this
endeavor, they will always select more losers than winners. Therefore, we cannot afford to
back short-priced selections.
What is a good price? Certainly nothing less than
4-1, because it requires a price of this amount to overcome the inevitable losers. This
statement is based on the fact that if the winning percentage is no higher than 25
percent, one must receive an average of at least 4-1 to break even.
Breaking even is not profitable, of course, but
it is better than losing continually. Moreover, a good angle will produce winners with
average prices much higher than 4-1.
Here, we wish to point out that no angle, no
matter how good it may be, can keep the player in the black if they insist on piddling
away the angle profits on horses which do not qualify.
In order to profit from the use of a good angle or two,
one must be prepared to wait for proper selections and must not waste profits on horses
which do not meet every stipulation of the angle (or angles) they are using.
Further, one should never forget that the
presence of a good angle in a horses' chart does not necessarily make the horse a good
wager. This is due to the fact that some horses are not really good racing or betting
How can one distinguish between a profitable
horse and one that is unprofitable? Simply by observing its earnings record. Any horse
today that can't average purse money of $12,500 or more per year is not a horse that is
truly a profitable racing tool. Like everything else, the cost of shipping, feeding and
caring for a race horse has almost doubled within the past 10 years.
But equally important is the fact that horses
which do not earn more than their bare keep are pretty poor competitors. And poor
competitors are poor wagers. When one risks their money on the outcome of a race, they
certainly should do it on horses which they know are profitable for their owners.
Racing fans who recognize this fact often assume
that the number of times a horse has won as compared to its number of starts will separate
the wheat from the chaff. Unfortunately, this is not always true.
Purse amounts vary from track to track, and even
from race to race. The point to remember is that the higher the class of the race, the
greater the purse.
Our angle this month is based on four major
1) The horse must have turned in a good race
in its third race back, finishing within two lengths of the winner, in a race that was run
no more than 50 days ago.
2) The winner's time for the angle horse's
last race must have been as fast as or faster than the winner's time for the third race
back. Thus only horses which competed at the same distance in their third race back and
last race will be eligible for consideration.
3) The horse must have displayed early speed
for at least a half mile last start, or it must have closed ground from the pre-stretch
call to the finish, finishing out of the money, and this last race must have been run
within the past 21 days.
4) The horse must be the only qualified play
in the race.
5) The horse should go off today at 4-1 or
Don't Gamble was a perfect qualifier in the fifth
race at Belmont Park on September 3, 1995.
He won his third race back on July 26, within the
50-day time limit required by Rule One. The winner's time for his top race was
three-fifths of a second faster than his winning time in his third race back and both
races were at the same seven-furlong distance (Rule Two).
Don't Gamble qualified on Rule Three by leading
at the first two calls of his top race, 18 days ago. The colt was the only qualifier on
Rules One through Three and he went off at 8-1 today (Rule Five). His winning payoff was
$18.40. Note that he was returning at the same seven-furlong distance today.
One question may arise for fans in future plays.
What if a qualified horse is running today at a distance that is not the same as the
distance of the races on which it qualified? In such cases, we would only take the angle
horse if it showed a win in its past performances at today's distance.
In closing, let us remind you of what we said about the
importance of patience. Without it one, has very little chance of winning consistently.
You actually need only three or four good winners a week to keep you way out in front, and
you can get them if you'll wait for the right openings.