Originally posted on 05/09/2011:

Quote Originally Posted by str View Post

My first curiosity is the terms in the program. Terms such as finished strong are obvious, but there are less obvious ones when reading the chart callers comments from the last race. How do you interpret those comments, and what is considered good and bad from their last run?

Also, workouts. They are obviously important, but could you explain them from a significance standpoint? Also, what is the best way to read and gain information from the last workout chart?

Hi Abe,
The first thing to remember about chart callers is that they are all individuals that might very well see things differently.One guy might say "ridden out" the next guy "hand ridden" and so on.If there is one track in particular or should I say one circuit( by that I mean in for instance in Maryland,Laurel and Pimlico would be done by the same guy) getting to know what he sees is important.If you have access to replays , take the time to watch some and see what the chart caller saw . That might help bring clarity to his meaning.Like umpires strike zones, there is no exact to it. Some calls will be more accurate than others.It is hard to rate the calls in order of winning dominance but the best calls are probably, Easily, In hand,as the rider pleased,much the best,handily,etc.They are obviously top notch comments.Ridden out is also very solid.Some horses need a rider to stay active on them or they will tend to loaf ,ease up or lose interest.This usually means that the stick was put away and the horse won fairly easily.Driving is winning with the jock having to work to do so.Hung, means that the horse had the momentum to win but eased up and did not finish like he or she should have.That can be problematic if the horse has a habit of finishing 2nd .Blinkers on will hopefully fix that but not necessarily.Bad comments are faded,stopped,bore in or bore out(erratic running), and a host of others.If there was no apparent reason to stop or fade,well that is not good.However,if replays can show a reason why, then the set up of the next race might be more to the horses liking. There are too many others to list but if you have some that you don't understand ,let me know.
3/8s and 1/2 mile works are primarily sharpeners.They are used mostly to put a horse on there toes 2-4 days before a race.5/8 and further works are conditioning workouts to get or keep the horse fit.The trainer probably feels as though the horse needs that length of work to be able to get the distance they are shooting for. The problem with depending on workouts of say 5/8s is this. If they went 22.2,45.2,100.2., that means they went the last 1/8 in 15.That is not good at all.But if they went 24,47.2,100.2 that means they finished up in 13. That is very solid.It is a 10 length difference from the 1/8th pole home between the two finishes but the time is the same.You also do not know if they were in company or by themselves.With all these unknowns, it is best to not acknowledge the workout as anything from a handicapping standpoint.Don't pay much attention to them.When I try to figure out a race I pretty much ignore them.
And because of my answer, you are wondering about 1st time starters.Simple . Don't bet them. Only possible exception is if the sire and more importantly the Dam throw a lot of 1st time winners.Also, the trainer might be very good with firsters.Maybe take a flier on one once in a blue moon but if you always throw them out you will be right 90+% of the time.Most times the Pletchers of the world are bet down too much anyway.Remember, Secretariat got beat in his first start.
Reading charts is a great way to learn.If you take your time, the chart should allow you to reconstruct the race in your mind or on paper.You can see the way the race took shape and if a horse got a perfect trip .Like layed 3rd by himself behind a fast dual in front and was never bothered by another horse,simply waited and moved past the front 2 when they tired out or if a horse was pinned down inside and overcame much traffic and still finished strong . Any horse can win with a perfect trip.It's the ones that overcome adversity and run well that make for solid play backs in there next race.
Again, if you have access to replays ,you will see more and more each time you watch them.That is one of the best tools you can get.
Hope this helped.Let me know if you have any other questions.