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Horse Racing Wagering System:
The Red Badge Of Courage
Big League Of Horse Racing
Weight Will Stop A Locomotive Or A Good Horse
Gelding Repeaters Beat Lovers At The Racetrack
Supplementary Claiming Horses
Final Summary Of Racing Systems
Glossary Of Racing Terms
More Horse Racing Tips
( Originally Published mid 1950's )
Carrying extremely high weight is a tough obstacle for a horse to overcome in all races except in handicap races for colts of the highest caliber, who are used to carrying plenty of poundage.
The old race track saying, mentioned previously, that weight will stop a locomotive, is particularly true in claiming races at distances more than a mile, and generally in shorter races as well.
Therefore, in claiming and allowance races, rigid rules are given regarding weight. Generally, no horse in these races is played if he is being asked to carry more than 120 pounds. And a horse also is eliminated if he is asked to carry 8 or more pounds than he did in his last race. An extra weight of 8 pounds may slow up a horse by as much as 2 lengths in the running of a race.
For female steeds, the rules are even stricter.
The greatest problem regarding weight, outside of excessively high poundage, is the apprentice allowance, or "bug," given horses ridden by boys who have not won very many races and therefore generally are a handicap to a horse.
The number of apparently solid horses ruined by apprentice jockeys is appalling. Most of these light boys do not seem to be strong enough to handle a spirited steed.
The danger becomes even greater when a horse with a "bug" rider is asked to carry a comparatively high weight and therefore has to carry lead in his saddle bags to make up the difference. This seems to be a terrific handicap in the great majority of cases. Probably it is due to the fact that this extra weight is being carried at a portion of the horse's anatomy where it will tend to make him sag in the middle.
A heavy boy, on the other hand, can provide the horse considerable relief by leaning forward on the horse's shoulders, where it will not bother him nearly as much as "dead" weight.
Just apply this theory to human beings and you will get the point immediately. Anybody who has to carry heavy packages learns quickly to shift the weight around to where it will give him the least amount of strain.
In other words, you might say that dead weight makes a horse dead on his feet, whereas live weight makes for live horses.
If a horse is carrying an apprentice allowance, that fact will be shown by a symbol in front of his (today's) assigned weight in his past performance record. A "z" shown before the weight indicates that an apprentice allowance of 3 pounds has been claimed. An asterisk will indicate 5 pounds. Two asterisks will indicate 7 pounds, and three asterisks 10 pounds.
The importance of the apprentice allowance angle necessitates several rules in our claiming race system (a colt carrying a "bug" rider in a high-class race is thrown out immediately). But a race fan needs plenty of good angles to beat the game. Just remember that the fabulous Pittsburgh Phil of an earlier era was a successful turf operator only because he collected more and better information, and knew more good angles than any of his contemporaries.
Reviewing our rules dealing with weight in, we note that in two places they should perhaps be clarified.
The phrase "no overweights" in Qualifying Rule 3 means that you should eliminate from consideration any horse going to the post with more weight than was assigned to him in the original entries.
Also, in the third rule of selection on Page 78 where it says "never beaten either at today's class or weight," it means "never beaten either at today's class or else never beaten at today's weight." In other words, it does not mean "never beaten at today's class and also never beaten at today's weight."