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Book Review

Trainer Angles: Maximizing Profits using Formulator and Advanced Trainer Stats
by Dean Keppler
DRF Press, November 2006, 157 pages paperback

With most contemporary handicappers relying on speed figures of various flavors, trip handicapping, pedigrees, and pace analysis, the art and science of using angles has fallen by the wayside. However, this has always been a profitable course of action for the bettors, and trainer angles can be just the extra edge a horseplayer will need to cash some bets at decent odds. In his new book, Trainer Angles, DRF Press director and longtime handicapping expert Dean Keppler shows the reader how to make use of current technology to maximize the advantage when using trainer statistics.

The key to Keppler's system is Formulator 4.1, the most recent version of DRF's free proprietary software which is used to decode the past performance files and sort the data in various ways. Formulator allows the user to customize the look of the past performances, look back at past result charts, and create individualized race lines built to the user's specifications. Although DRF has included trainer angle statistics on the bottom of the past performance lines for several years now, this is of course common knowledge to all horseplayers, so Keppler takes it a step further. Making use of Formulator's filtering feature to combine several angles together to narrow down the sample size, the user can calculate a more accurate winning percentage and return on investment (ROI).

Keppler discusses the most profitable trainer angles, namely claiming (first off a claim and class drops), layoffs, turf racing (including surfaces changes to and from the main track), equipment changes, medication changes, first time starters, maidens, juvenile, and go-to jockeys. There are about 40 trainer angles that Formulator is able to track, which gives the user a huge advantage over a horseplayer who does not use the software and is limited by the maximum six angles included in the newspaper. Oftentimes, the newspaper may show a positive angle but further Formulator analysis shows that the horse should not be bet on, or vice versa. Clearly, Keppler's system will help the Formulator user to avoid false favorites and bet on overlays, the basic principle of profitable horse race betting.

This is a useful book for modern horseplayers who either already use, or are willing to pay for and use Formulator 4 datafiles (the Formulator 4.1 software itself is free) as Keppler's system strictly requires it. Horseplayers who prefer other sources of past performances such as the paper version of the DRF, the cheaper basic Formulator files, or competing software packages such as from BRIS or Equibase, will not be able to use his techniques. For these players as well as Formulator users, Keppler does include a comprehensive list of positive jockey-trainer combinations from across North America with winning percentage and ROI, compiled from races between January 2004 and July 2006. A horse switching to one of these winning combinations may be a worthwhile bet at good odds.

Trainer Angles has a list price of $14.95 and is available for $10.61 from Amazon.com or directioy from DRF. An excerpt is available to read online here.

Rating:     4/5

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