The Freshened Repeater Angle
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 one
or more of these angles. The reader who studies each angle presented will soon become
highly 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 the
horse is no longer fit to compete.
When this occurs, the horse must be given the "rest
cure." How much rest it will need depends upon several factors. If its reserve
strength has been wholly depleted, then it may require several months of rest to restore
the 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 readers
saying 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
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 on
So our angle is reduced to very simple terms: Look for a horse
that 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
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.
The past performances of Moment's Best in the seventh race at
Arlington Park on July 4 are shown below. Note that the colt had won his most recent race
after 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 selection
of handicapping tools-the plays are few and far between but well worth waiting for.