all in Tips

Colds or a virus can become contagious.

So can second-itis.

A second-place finish by a young horse can surely be a highly promising effort, until it becomes a habit.

As much as a second-place finish in a horse’s first or second start can make that runner a solid bet in its next start, once those runner-up finishes become repetitive, it’s usually best to start relegating that horse to the bottom half of an exacta or trifecta until it proves you wrong.

Turf races are usually a demanding test for handicappers. They can offer full fields, and variables such as tight turns, a leisurely pace, and a horse’s ability to handle grass as opposed to dirt to complicate the quest for picking a winner.

Beyond all that, turf races can also be turned topsy-turvy when dark clouds appear and rain turns sod into bog.

A switch from the turf course to a muddy main track is a surefire way to change the dynamics of a race, and sometimes, unlike lightning, certain horses can strike twice on a wet track.

When it comes to handicapping angles, it’s the more the merrier.

If you can find a horse who blends a couple – or more – important changes, you might have uncovered a horse poised for a solid effort.

For an example, we’ll use Lady Ninja in the fourth race at Del Mar on Aug. 30.

There’s an old Beatles song that can offer a reliable handicapping tip.

You’ve probably heard “Hello, Goodbye” and might have even mused about what it means in regards to the duality of mankind.

Well, putting that aside for the moment, think about the lyrics, “I don’t know why you say goodbye, I say hello” and think about a claiming race.

A trainer loses his horse via claim and then reaches right in and claims the horse back. He said goodbye, now he’s saying hello, and it says great deal about that horse.

It’s not unusual for handicappers to have a certain type of horse that they always avoid.

A horse who was eased or vanned off in its last start seems a likely candidate for that type of designation.

And if that horse is a favorite or sent off at low odds in its next start, then it’s usually best to avoid it. There are surely much better 3-1 or 2-1 shots on a card than one who could not cross the finish line in its last start.

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