Every horse player seems to have a particular angle that the like to play at the track. Whether it be trainer, jockey, track, or something else all together, there's always that fall-back that we love to play when it pops off of the form.
I've got a couple different angles that I like to go to when they present themselves, although most are the type that you have to wait for since they don't appear very often. Here's just a few that are high on my list:
Jockey: Julien Leparoux on the grass
Perhaps that's too simple of a description because I won't play Leparoux in every race where he's riding in a grass race but he's the first jockey I look for when I'm handicapping anything on the lawn. Specifically, I like to see Julien riding a horse that could use a bit of patience in order to have something left for a charge in the lane or deep closers.
Jockey: Shaun Bridgmohan on a horse needing speed from the gate
This is an angle that I've picked up the last several years and it's been a profitable one, even if it rears it's head only sporadically throughout the year. When I see a horse that needs to have the lead but hasn't been breaking well, or just a horse that has generally been breaking slowly from the gate, and a change to Shaun Bridgmohan, I'm looking for an improved performance in that race. I've found Shaun to be excellent at getting his horses out of the gate quickly and without a lot of trouble, something that can make a big difference to some horses.
Trainer: Jim Penny first time off the claim
Jim Penny is a long-time trainer in the Pacific Northwest and one of the best on the ground at Emerald Downs. Penny rarely runs horses that are coming off of a claim but when he does, those horses are big-time threats to win. The price generally won't be huge but if you are looking to single a race in a Pick 3 or a Pick 4 this move is a good one to follow if it presents itself. This angle doesn't not happen often (maybe a few times a meet, at best) and requires you to watch each day's list of claimed horses.
Track: Dirt races an hour or so after a hard rain when the sun has come out
I picked up on this angle from handicapper and author Steve Davidowitz a few years ago at the Breeders' Cup and it's an angle that can be put to good use in the right situations. I'm looking for generally a summer track and one that has been receiving a bunch of rain either throughout the night or in the morning/early part of the race card. I then want to see the rain stop, then sun come out, wait about an hour (two races), and then start to play any grinder I can find. If the sun has done its job, the track will have started to dry out and can get really sticky, causing the horses in the front to tire badly in the stretch with the grinders picking up the pieces.
So enough about what I like, what's your angle? Are there tracks, trainers or jockeys you like to play more than others? Are you a physical handicapper that looks for certain traits in the paddock or the post parade? Let it fly.