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American Turf Monthly

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Repeater Power Plays

Ask yourself a simple question: Do you have the temperament to lose nine out of 10 plays—even if the tenth is a winner at a $30.00 mutuel? Most horseplayers can't stomach the idea of a zero-for-nine streak. In addition, they don't mind getting a low price if they get a high percentage of winners. This may be due in small part to the fact that many ATM readers are progression players.

The angle with the highest winning percentage that we know of is a repeater angle which we outlined to our readers some years ago. Over the long term, its payoffs will average a little more than 3-1 but it snags a double-figure payoff on occasion.

We are sure that the vast majority of our readers realize that current condition is the one factor which most strongly affects race results. This is true, of course, because it is current condition which actually governs the effectiveness of class and speed. We certainly do not argue that it is simple to determine the exact class of a horse. However, the horseplayer must attempt just that in order to produce the desired results.

However, we won't ignore class entirely. We'll attempt to handle this factor through weight conditions rather than through the lengths and complicated work of class graduation.

For example, you know that if a horse drops weight after a winning effort, the drop in weight usually indicates that the horse is moving up in class. But if the recent winner goes back next start carrying the same poundage it carried in its recent victory, or additional weight, then you know generally that the horse is not actually stepping up in class, regardless of what the claiming price or grade of the race indicates.

Thus weight is employed as a general yardstick of class shifts. And that is what we shall do in making the selections for the "repeater method" given here.

To begin with, we know that any horse that won by as much as two lengths in a race that was run very recently is a sharp horse.

Therefore, if such a horse is not overmatched next start, it is logical to assume that it is, at least, one of the best prospects in a given race.

All such horses do not win their next start, due to many reasons. But a good percentage of them do make the grade, and a very high percentage of them finish in the money.

Considering these facts, it is difficult to think of any spot-play method which is likely to produce a great number of winners, not to mention a higher percentage of in-the-money horses.

One of the strongest features of this method is its reliance on the date of the last race. It would be foolish to back a horse simply because it won by two lengths or more last start, regardless of when this victory took place. Such a race indicates sharp condition as of the date of the race, but it offers no assurance that the horse is equally as sharp today. Therefore, if we do not limit the number of elapsed days between the victory and today, we are not taking due note of the condition factor.

One day and a night is sufficient for a horse to lose its sharp condition. Hence, every elapsed day between the most recent race and their next start did not exceed 10 days. This same study revealed that the majority of all repeaters were horses that did not drop weight off the scoring effort. That is, the majority of repeat winners were horses that started within 10 days of the initial victory, and did not drop weight next start.

Some of the successful plays repeated under a poundage identical with the weight they carried in their winning race last start. Others were horses that picked up anywhere from one to nine pounds next start.

There were, of course, some repeaters that dropped anywhere from one to 10 pounds in the race following their scoring effort. They were in the minority.

The very fact that a trainer moves his horse down following a two-length victory indicates that he is none too sure that the horse is capable of another victory. This lack of assurance may be due to any one of several factors. The horse may not be sound, for example, and its trainer fears that it cannot run back to its previous race unless it is entered with cheaper animals.

Or again, the last race may have taken more out of the horse than meets the eye in the charts. Knowing this the trainer is aware that if it is to repeat it must go back against cheaper stock.

However, since our research showed that among claimers there were quite a few winners which dropped only a pound or two we will allow a horse to drop as much as two pounds provided it is moving up at least 25 percent in claiming value. This increase must not be the mandatory one after a claim.

Following are the rules for making the selections.

1. First, we consider only those horses that won their last start by two lengths or more.

2. Second, this scoring race must have been run within the past 10 calendar days.

3. The horse's weight today must be the same as, or more than it carried last start in its winning race in allowance races. In claiming races a horse may drop as much as two pounds providing it is moving up at least 25 percent in value. This increase must not be the mandatory one after a claim.

4. There is not play on handicap or stakes races.

5. We never accept a horse that is just one race removed from the maiden ranks. This means that we never back a last-start winner that has not won at least two races during its lifetime record shown with the past performance consistency box.

6. We accept no qualified horse that lost more than one length in the stretch run last start. For example, a horse may have been leading at the stretch call by three lengths, winning by two. That is okay. But, if the horse lost more than one length during the stretch run then we do not accept it.

7. The race today must be within one furlong of the distance which the horse ran last start.

8. Track conditions today are not considered but we never accept a horse to repeat that did not win last start on a track that was either fast or good.

9. Further, we have found that it does not pay to back horses that are running more than 1-1/8 miles. These grinds to not produce a sufficient number of repeaters to warrant bothering with them.

10. It pays to confine our action to horses that are no more than 7 years old. These types do repeat sometimes, but generally speaking they are not profitable investments.

Now, a bit of final instruction on Rule 3. Remember that apprentice allowance are actually a part of the weight. Hence they must be included when qualifying the horse on the weight factor.

For example, suppose a horse carried 112 last start. Here a small "5" after the jockey's name informs us that this horse received a five-pound apprentice allowance. Therefore, the conditions of that race demanded that the horse carry 117 pounds. The higher weight must be employed in figuring today's weight requirement.

You should also determine whether the horse is carrying overweight today as this might qualify an otherwise eliminated horse on the weight requirement. If you stick strictly to the rules and pass up all marginal plays and races where there are two or more qualifiers, we think you will be more than satisfied with this repeater method.

Redeeming a gift certificate or promotional certificate? We'll ask for your claim code when it's time to pay.