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American Turf Monthly

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Is The Trainer Trying For A Price

The basis of this month’s angle is a step up in entered claiming price following a good race last start. Most racing fans believe that when a trainer raises his horse in claiming price it means that he is not sending the horse out to win, much less planning to back its chances with his own money. But many trainers supplement their incomes by backing their horses under certain conditions, and these conditions should be a signal to the player also.

Few trainers will lay their own money on the line at odds of less than 4–1, and to increase their charges’ odds a trainer will often step up a clearly sharp horse in claiming price. As a general rule, the factor that permits one to distinguish between a sharp horse which has been stepped up for further conditioning and one that is well-meant and is being stepped up to increase its odds is the date of its last race.

If a horse is stepped up in claiming price after turning in a good race 20 days ago, it frequently means the trainer is giving the horse a conditioning race. But if a horse is stepped up no more than 20 percent higher than its entered price last start and turned in a good race within the past 12 days, the move generally means the sharp horse is well meant and the trainer is after a price. In almost all instances, the horse that has raced most recently is the correct choice.

The following rules will guide you when making use of this trainer betting angle:

1) Consider only those horses that are moving up in claiming price today.

2) Eliminate any horse that qualifies on Rule 1 if it was claimed last start.

3) Eliminate any horse that has not started within 12 days; that race having taken place at the same track as today’s race.

4) Eliminate any remaining horse that has won both of its last two starts.

5) Finally, eliminate any contender that is entered to go more than one furlong farther, or one furlong less, than the distance it ran last start.

6) After making the above eliminations, any remaining contender that finished in the money last start is a final contender, provided it is not moving up more than 20 percent in entered claiming price today.

7) Where two or more qualify, choose the horse that has started most recently. If two horses have raced on the same date, choose the one going off at the highest odds today.

November 11, 2000

6th Meadowlands 6 furlongs

Claiming price $16,000

Zi Pep g.6 $15,000

31Oct00-4Med fst 6f Clm 12,500 5 5 4 1no

13Oct00-2Med fst 6f Clm 12500 5 5 4 36¼

We found a good example in the sixth race at Meadowlands on November 11, 2000. Three horses — Zi Pep, Pal’s O K, and Rey de Copas — qualified on Rules 1 to 5, but the latter two starters were moving up more than 20 percent in claiming price.

Note that the entered claiming price is not necessarily the top claiming price of the race. Zi Pep, therefore was moving up only $2,500 (or 20 percent) in entered claiming price rather than the full $3,500 (28%), which would have disqualified him.

Zi Pep, who had finished in the money in his most recent race and who had not won both of his top two tries, was a perfect single qualifier. He returned $12.40 to win.

Ties are the exception rather than the rule with this effective angle, and we found other winners — some at higher payoffs — during the month. Look for these angle plays in future races. u

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