Using Key Races and Trainer Angles to Handicap

Sometimes a race will seem so fast or demanding that the runners are considered to have put forth an effort that is above and beyond the usual for their class. When some of the horses from the key race run again they often win. If three horses come out of a race and win the next contest they are in that’s a very good sign. Any other horse that raced competitively in that key race should be given special consideration.

Obviously, if the race was demanding most horses will need a significant rest after such an effort, but if the horse lays off too long it may be that it will lose that great form it exhibited in that race. For that reason I don’t like to see a horse rest for more than a month after a key race. Any more than that and I begin to suspect that it didn’t return well after the race. It may be injured or lame or just exhausted. Any one of those things or a combination of them will be a reason to pass on the next race. A trainer who gives a horse too much rest is probably tipping you off that something is wrong.

Which leads us to trainer angles…

Many of the past performances that you can purchase have information about different moves that conditioners make to get to the winners circle. The ones that work get used over and again and also become public knowledge. That, as they say, is the rub. As soon as that angle gets to be public knowledge it loses a lot of its luster. Handicappers and tipsters tout the angle as if anything that is common knowledge will produce much of a profit.

Combinations of angles might be the way to go for the erstwhile prognosticator. Better yet, when a trainer does something just once, you might want to pounce on that move as an angle and play it the next time it comes around. You won’t know for sure how well it will work again, but the problem is that if you wait for it to be proven, it has very little value left.

While angles have their uses it’s best not to lean too heavily on them. A holistic approach might work best of all. Consider the angles and other factors in the race, both the dynamic and static and then form an opinion about each of the contenders. While you can form your own impact values and add up the points to arrive at a hierarchy of probability some outside of the box thinking such as intuition may also help.

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Michael Ortiz

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