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Horse Racing:
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Ready To Pick The Best Horses
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Late Action Horses
Average Money Won Per Race
Five Aces - A Winning Hand
Making Adjustments When Handicapping Horses
The Daily Double
Straight Betting At The Racetrack
More Horse Racing Tips

Late Action Horses

( Originally Published mid 1950's )



We start handicapping the day's card by eliminating unwanted races such as maiden races, steeplechase or hurdle events, races for two-year-olds, races under 6 fur longs or over 1 3/16, miles, and sometimes turf course races. And in our "Late Action" method we also skip handicap and allowance races, etc., and stick to claiming races of $7,500 or less. We take on horses of all sexes, aged 3 to 9 inclusive.

In the back of the book will be listed a few more general rules for all types of horses and races. These basic rules are designed to reduce your field of eligibles so sharply that you will be able to handicap a race in only a couple of minutes.

Beginners who throw up their hands in horror at the mere sight of any racing statistics, probably will be amazed by the simplicity of these general rules and the specific rules stating the requirements of each of the three main methods.

For instance, to become eligible for our "Late Action" method, a horse first must show that he has had either (a) 2 races in the past 12 days or less, or (b) 3 races in the past 18 days or less, or (c) a total of 5 races or workouts in the past 18 or less. The last one is the most common.

The second rule states that a horse must have gained (in lengths) during the stretch run of his last race while finishing in the money.

The only other main requirement is "Can Do"-the horse must have finished in the money carrying as much weight as has been assigned to him today, and regarding class, he either must have (a) won a race at today's class or higher, or (b) finished second at a higher class-higher by $500 or more, to be specific.

In most cases where a horse qualifies, this information will be contained in the record of the horse's last couple of races. Thus with a little practice the reader will be able to size up a prospective play in just one fast look at his record.

In cases where it is necessary to show more than just the past race or two, we will give a horse's class, weight, diagonals, etc., only where needed to demonstrate just when and how he qualified on those counts. In this way the reader should get a clear-cut picture of the essential parts of a horse's record without having to wade through a mess of extraneous and useless information.

To illustrate, here is the skeletonized, home-made type of past performance record which the writer used as a racing handicapper:

9/5 Wise Mike 1 1/16, $6000 4C 116

Races Works Dist. Class Str. Fin. Weight
8/25 9/3 1 1/16 $6000 4 4 3 2 3 114
8/22 8/30 1 1/16 7 5 7 7 7
8/1 8/20 1 1/16 7 7 7 6 5
5/21 1 3/16 $6500 (Best Race) 2 117

Most horses that qualify on late action either show a total of 5 races or workouts in the past 18 days, or else they have had 2 races in the past 12 days or less. Here you see that Wise Mike has had 2 races and 3 workouts since August 20. That was 16 days before the race, or 2 days under the limit.

Now at the same time you are noting that this colt gained ground in the stretch while finishing in the money in his last race, you also can see by his race of May 21 that he has finished in the money while carrying today's weight or higher and that he also qualifies on class. He didn't win at today's class but he finished second in a higher class, which is just as good.

In this case, though, you would have to look sharp, in checking Wise Mike's last race, to note that the horse gained 3'~ lengths from the stretch call to the finish because at first glance you might think he faded in dropping from second to third.

In the top line of Wise Mike's record, the 4C shows he is a four-year-old colt and the other numerals deal with today's race. The date of the race is at the left of the horse's name and the distance and class of the race are at the right. At the extreme right, the figure 116 denotes he has been assigned 116 pounds today.

Figures showing a horse's position in the early stages of his recent races will not be given in these illustrations where they are not needed. We are giving all of Wise Mike's calls here to show that he had added valueswhich he did not need in order to qualify but which might cause the race-goer to make a larger bet than usual.

In this case the added values are what we call "graphs." The graphs here are three diagonals, which you saw in Tom Fool's record earlier. Note that the first diagonal runs 7-7-3, winding up with the finish of the horse's last race.

In the first half of a diagonal (7-7 here) the rule is that the number which denotes the horse's position in the race, must not go up-although it does not have to go down-as you follow an imaginary diagonal line upward and to the right.

In the second part of the diagonal, however, either the number has to get smaller or-in cases where the number remains the same-the little number denoting the beaten lengths has to get smaller.

Or of course in the case of a diagonal like Tom Fool's, where the horse was leading bath at the stretch call of his next-to-last race and also at the finish of his last race, his lead must have increased in the second half of the diagonal as it progressed upward and to the right.

The idea is taken from a stock market graph. The line denoting the trend might not vary at the start of the diagonal, but it must take a definite downward trend in the last part of it.

You will note that Wise Mike had two more diagonals -7-7-2 and 7-5-3. Three diagonals are the limit-and reminding, the diagonals must be consecutive starting with the first one.

Three diagonals frequently denote a coming winner and such was the case here, Wise Mike winning and paying $7.20, $3.60 and $3.00 across the board. However, don't forget that this fellow qualified on the requirements of the late action method, not on the diagonals. It is only in our second method-to be discussed fully later on-that the diagonals are needed to qualify.

All these horses we are illustrating in the first part of the book are maximum investment plays. Later on we will take up what we call moderate investment plays, which are recommended for horses which barely miss qualifying under the regular rules.

Here is a gelding that had been given late action with a vengeance:

9/6 Whirltown 1 1/8 #3000 6G 114

Races Dist. Class Str. Fin. Weight
9/3 1 1/8 $2500 3 3 3 3 114
8/29 1 1/8 $3500 3 4 4 5 116
8/25 1 1/8 $3500 5 8 6 6 114
8/20 9
8/11 1 1/8 $3500 2 115

This horse hadn't been given any workouts in a long, long time but he didn't need any because in addition to 2 races in 8 days, he had 3 races in the last 12 days and 4 races in only 17 days.

In checking the other two requirements for selectionweight and class-it frequently will happen that a horse will qualify on weight in one race, and on class in another. Or sometimes he may qualify on both in the same race.

Here, Whirltown could have qualified on weight either in his last race or in his race of August 11 where he met the class requirement by running second in a $3,500 claim ing race, which was $500 higher than the class of today's race.

In that race of August 11 the gelding also showed he was able to stick it out for 1'e miles, the distance of today's race. That's all he needed to qualify, although as added values you will note that Whirltown has 2 diagonals, 6-4-3 and 5-4-3, reading upward and to the right.

Here you also see two new kinds of graphs-a horizontal graph and 3 perpendicular graphs. A horse gets a horizontal graph (3-3-3 here with the beaten lengths in the stretch diminishing) from the last 3 calls of his last race, reading from left to the finish at the extreme right. Whirltown gets his first perpendicular graph from the finishing positions of his last 3 races, reading directly upward and ending with the finish of his last race. Here it reads 6-5-3.

Now just as was the case with the diagonals, you move one column further to the left and get a second perpendicular graph, 6-4-3. And moving still one more column to the left, you get another identical 6-4-3 perpendicular graph.

Exactly as is the case with a diagonal, each graph consists of three numbers (or calls) denoting the horse's position at a certain stage of a race.

Whirltown almost made it four perpendicular graphs. He missed when the small number denoting beaten lengths remained the same (4) instead of diminishing in the second half of the diagonal as required in cases where there is a tie between the two larger numbers (3-3 here) which give a horse's position in the race.

At tracks where 5 calls of a horse's recent races are given instead of only 4, it is possible for a horse to have 5 perpendicular graphs. But of course, just as was the case with the diagonals, he could not be credited with any at all if he did not have the first one, starting with the "finish" column of his recent races.

All these graphs and diagonals are supposed to show that a horse is getting sharper with each race. Although all three types must show an overall downward trend, the diagonals are considered the most important of the group because in a way they are a combination of the other two types-the horizontal and the perpendicular.

The circumstance that this Whirltown had not won a race in 12 starts this particular year reminds the writer of a delightfully eccentric handicapper around 1930 who used to nominate horses like this as best bets even though the odds might be as much as 20 to 1.

His comment would be something like "Today's the day!" He would give no other reason for going overboard on a nonwinner like this moving up in class, thereby driving conservative handicappers crazy. They would be even crazier after the horse won, as it frequently did.

The chances are that this selector had in mind handicapping values like the ones we have just given, but which none of us knew about at the time.

It took a long, long time and many examples like this one to convince the writer and his one-time conservative co-workers that a horse with all these (new) angles in his favor doesn't need any overall consistency, because, like the man said, everything points to the conclusion that "Today's the dayl"

Whirltown, which was really worth a solid bet, paid $11.40, $5.20 and $3.20 across the board. The favorite in the race was 10 years old, making him ineligible for consideration under our methods.

At the same track that day, it also was a case ot "Today's the day" for this one, which had not won in its last 9 starts:

Note that this fellow gained in the stretch, from the

9/6 Hackensack 1 1/8 $4000 4G 110

Races Works Di'st. Class Str. Fin. Weight
8/29 9/3 1 1/8 $3000 3 2 1/2 3 1/2 113
8/15 8/27 1 1/8 $3500 2 2 2 1
8/11 8/26 1 1/8 $3500 3 4 4
7/10 8/22 $4000 2 115
6/25 ( BestClass ) Allow. 2 113

standpoint of beaten lengths. He won and paid an even 4 to 1. Also note that his second in an allowance race, which of course had to be at a major track, is the equivalent of a win in a claiming race.

There were three "Late Action" plays at 1B miles that day and all of them won at good prices. This one paid $16.20, $8.00 and $4.20 across the board:

9/6 Arctic Tern 1 1/8 $2000 5G 112

Races Works Dist. Class Str. Fin. Weight
9/1 8/31 1 3/16 $2000 4 3 112
8/23 8/12
8/19
6/30 (Best Class) $2000 1

The June 30 race, at 1 1/8 miles, also was this horse's "best distance" race. The "best distance" requirement is needed only when a horse is competing in a race at 1 1/8 miles or longer.

At this point let us take one quick, final review to make sure that the reader has the rules of this "Late Action" method fixed firmly in his mind.

In the example just given, we were handicapping Arctic Tern for a race on Sept. 6. He qualified right on the nose in respect to the late action requirement in having had 3 races in the past 18 days. Or he could have qualified by showing (a) 2 races in the past 12 days, or (b) a total of 5 races and workouts in the past 18 days.

Arctic Tern qualified on the second rule which states that a horse must have gained in lengths during the stretch run in his last race while finishing in the money.

The third and final main requirement is "Can Do"the horse must have finished in the money carrying as much weight as has been assigned him today, and regard ing class, he either must have (a) won a race at today's class or higher, or (b) finished second at a higher class. You will note that Arctic Tern qualified on weight in his last race, and on the class requirement in his race of June 30.

That's all there is to it.

This fellow, Relic Gold, with a good class background earlier in the year, didn't do anything all summer until he gave our reliable warning signal-closing well and finish ing in the money-that he was ready to go for all the marbles next time out:

9/8 Relic Gold 1 1/8 $5000 5G 115

Races Works Dist. Class Str. Fin. Weight
9/2 9/6 1 1/8 $5000 3 3 114
8/27 1 1/8 $5000 4 115
5/13 1 1/8 $5000(Best wt.)2 118

Relic Gold won and paid $6.80, and you can see readily that he qualifies on the requirements that were just reviewed.

In looking at the records of more of these "Late Action" qualifiers in the next chapter, the reader might take particular note of how smart trainers of claiming race performers start giving horses plenty of races and workouts when they begin to round into form-and then shoot the works as soon as a horse finishes well and winds up in the money.

These trainers don't expect minor miracles such as a horse jumping from last place to first. They bring him to hand gradually, as is illustrated by our diagonals. And that's how a race fan can cut down on losing bets by waiting for the proper spot.



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