The Power of Claiming Price Moves
Why do so many racing fans
fail to make turf speculation a paying proposition? We believe the reader
will agree that success in any given undertaking hinges largely upon
know-how. An individual is unlikely to succeed in any business if he lacks a
substantial knowledge of that particular field.
Of course, there may be any
number of reasons why a given individual fails to make turf speculation
profitable. But when racing fans are considered as a whole, the failure
pattern is strikingly clear.
There are four major
weaknesses present in this general pattern:
1) insufficient knowledge of
horse racing; that is, a misconception about the horseman’s business;
2) an attempt to do the
3) impatience; and
4) a lack of sufficient
Unless one is well versed in
the business of training racehorses, he can easily be persuaded to accept
false concepts. For example, the idea that owners and trainers are more
interested in the odds at which their horses go to post than they are in
purse money. Such an idea is a fallacy of the worst sort. While it is true
that betting owners and trainers employ many legitimate strategies in order
to get a good price on their horse, purse money is, and always has been, the
bread-and-butter of all stables.
Most racing fans also believe
that horsemen have an unbeatable "insiders" edge. This is only
true insofar as the general racing public is concerned. But it is not true
of experienced handicappers and students of the game. Eight times out of ten
a serious student of racing can spot stable intentions. The evidence in most
instances is plainly visible in the past performance lines and results
Thus, the racing fan’s
insufficient knowledge of the business of racing gives him a distorted
picture of his chances (as opposed to the chances of the horseman) to profit
from turf speculation.
Now what about the second
weakness displayed by racegoers, attempting to do the impossible? The
average fan will back five or six or more races on the card. When he does
this, he is attempting the impossible because there are usually only two or
three races on a day’s card that offer the player a good chance of
selecting the winner.
This brings us to one of the
typical horseplayer’s greatest weaknesses: lack of patience, as shown in
the inability to wait for really good investment spots.
Finally, most fans dream of
winning a small fortune with a single $20 bill. The real damage that results
from expecting too much for too little is that the failure to accomplish the
hoped-for riches produces a negative attitude that frequently leads the
player into making financially disastrous decisions.
With all of the foregoing in
mind, it’s safe to say that claiming races offer the racing fan the best
wagering spots. This is due to the fact that most trainers make free use of
claiming prices to get good odds on a fit horse. There are many
claiming-price moves, and we can’t possibly cover them all in the confines
of a single article.
Therefore, we have chosen
what we believe to be the easiest and one of the best price moves as our
The claiming-price move we’ll
discuss is one that is common practice, and yet one that seems to fool or
mislead racing fans with surprising regularity.
We’ll list the rules for
this angle in system form to make it easier for the reader to follow.
1) The horse must have raced
in the past 21 days, at today’s track or circuit, and have a gap of 30
days or less between its top two races.
2) It must not have won its
most recent race.
3) The horse must have been
moved up in claiming price last start and be entered today for a price lower
than the entered price in its next-to-last race.
4) To be a play, the horse
must be the only qualifier in today’s race.
March 7, 2001 Oaklawn Park 6th
Claiming price $5,000
25Feb01–3OP fst 6f Clm 10000
1h 21½ 55 6 9¼ 18.20
7 Feb01–6OP fst 6f Clm 8000
31½ 52½ 68 812¼ 15.70
Temperence Dancer, the only
qualifier in the sixth race at Oaklawn Park on March 7, 2001, was a perfect
She had moved up in claiming
price 18 days after showing some speed on February 7. Then just 10 days
later she was dropped to a lower claiming price than that of her
The mare paid $31.40 to win
today’s race as a real overlay in the betting.
AMERICAN TURF MONTHLY-