With the Preakness on tap this weekend it reminded me of an aspect of handicapping that is not always talked about or used. What is the trainer’s game plan for the horse in question ?
Let me explain a few things to think about for this weekend or in fact the next time a horse comes into or out of a big stakes race.
-Was the last race the big focus for the trainer to get the horse to win and had him completely primed for the race
-The smarter trainers know you can’t have the horse perfect every time, so was the previous race a set up for this race
-A horse suddenly shows speed for the first time (change in form), only to know that the next race is going to be an off the pace top effort
-Applying to the Preakness, horses missing the Derby have only had minor success a few years back, but many at times have run in the money after skipping the derby. The sharp trainers or horses for courses may feel their best chance for success is at the Preakness rather than the Derby.
My main point is that you need to read between the lines and put the horses racing cycle in perspective. Rate the importance of the past race and the upcoming race and then decide is the “go” race or not. Now the top horses are good enough to do well most of the time. The want-a-be horses that may only have one or two top efforts a year are great horses to bet against after a huge stakes victory. Great time to bet against these over bet “One Time stakes winners.”
The three year olds that were on the fringe and pointed to the derby may already be out of gas and will get over bet because of the young back class.
A trainer with a very low win percentage does not apply to above thinking most times.