Spur of the Moment Comments Off on SHIP-AND-WIN ANGLE
Pay close attention when a trainer ships a horse in for one race in the final days of a race meet. Here’s an excellent angle that serves well for the end of “prestige” meets like Del Mar, Saratoga, and Keeneland. As a key race meet draws to a close, it is natural to see horses stabled at the track ship off to the next locale as soon as their final start of the meet concludes. What is unusual—and worth noticing—is when a horse ships in when everyone else is heading out of town. When a meet is winding down and a trainer sends a horse in for one chance at a purse, take notice! There is an easy way to tell if a horse is shipping in and hasn’t just been stabled at the meet without racing: see if the horse shows workouts leading up to today’s start that were conducted at another race venue. To play this angle, the horse does not have to be shipped in for a feature or a stakes race. In fact, it is often a more interesting sight to see an allowance, claiming, or maiden runner ship in for one start. Horses will often ship in because they are traveling with a high-profile stablemate (the “other horse in the trailer” angle). Other horses are sent in with one specific purpose: to grab a purse and get back out of town. With the meet ending and no chance for a second race over the course, it is clear that this type of horse is taking its best shot. For instance, when a trainer ships a $20,000 claimer into a track like Saratoga at the end of a meet, the horse is being shipped for just one start. In other words, the connections are going out of their way to go after one purse.  The purse for a $20,000 claiming race at Saratoga is a generous $38,000, so shipping connections likely are confident that the extra cost and hassle of shipping in for a single try are outweighed by a pretty good chance of getting to the winner’s circle. Requirements to Play Shippers at a Meet’s End:
  • Horse that has not been stabled at the track ships in for a start in the meet’s final week of racing.
  • Horse can be shipping along with a high-profile stablemate, and this is acceptable.
  • If the horse appears to be shipping alone—or with a stablemate that is not high-profile—take this to be an added plus. The trainer is not simply filling up the trailer, but rather he or she has sincere intentions with the runner.
Be sure to check out Dean Arnold’s first handicapping book, A Bettor Way, on sale now through Xlibris Publishing ( and most major online booksellers.


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