Thoroughbred Handicapping:
Learning, earning and loving the track.

NetCapper Store
New Stuff

The Grandstand
Capper Demo
Spot Play Demo
New Features
Track Tracts
TTs Archive
Contact Info
More Books
Capper Email























Track Tracts

Part 10: Predatory Handicapping/Nuances and Trainers continued
by Joe Takach

In Part 9 of this series I promised you 7 more of the best trainer nuances on the planet.

Here we go!


Clothing nuances can be subdivided many times if used as a general topic like I�m using right now.

Whenever a trainer is wearing his or her �Sunday best�, there is usually much more positive intent than when wearing casual clothing. At first, this may appear to be a no-brainer to most handicappers, but in Southern California some trainers are always dressed in their Sunday best.

Are they always �going�? Positively not! That always �dressed up� trainer might only be in a �send� mode if wearing a specific shirt or tie. Or if a female conditioner, it might only be a �send� if she�s wearing a specific color.

With other non-suited trainers, the addition of something as simple as a baseball cap screams �intent�.

If wishing to use this nuance, you have to do your homework thru intense head to toe scrutiny of those trainers you wish to follow.


It could be subconscious thought or perhaps certain trainers actually understand that they give off a different �air� whenever they have a �live horse� and use sunglasses to hide their exuberance. They want to cash a good sized mutuel ticket just like any of us. After all, they just put a lot of work into their runner to bring him to peak form.

As with the clothing nuance, you have to take notes until you know who on your circuit wears them and exactly when they wear them. But pay particular attention to trainers who do not wear them------that is, until they are �going�!

The winner�s circle will tell the whole story when the �picture� is taken as to who wears sunglasses on days when they win, so that might be the best place for your initial information gathering.

But wait, you haven�t heard the best part of this sunglasses nuance. I wish I could be standing next to you near the winner�s circle when you finally discover that the trainer using sunglasses to mask his excitement does so even on cloudy days as well as when it is raining!


The chewing gum nuance is most easily spotted in those conditioners that usually don�t employ gum. But for some strange reason on a �send day�, they begin �a chewing� like the world is about to end and this is their last opportunity! I�ve seen this many times over the years while perusing the paddock.

Acceptable replacements for gum could be �chewing tobacco�, a swizzle stick from a mixed drink, or perhaps a toothpick. I�ve even noted rapid candy ingestion.

My educated guess is that a number of �sending� trainers so elevate their expectation levels that they become outwardly �nervous� or fidgety. And in doing so, they need something to assuage or to minimize their outward excitement. The gum, tobacco, candy, swizzle stick, toothpick or whatever serves to minimize any �telling� signs.


Even though I stopped smoking over 12 years ago, I�ve hardly forgotten the soothing and calming effect that a cigarette could and most likely still does produce in a stressed out individual. And yes, cigarettes are very bad for you which is exactly why I�ve remained smokeless for over a decade and will remain so for the rest of my life. But that doesn�t stop me from capitalizing on the chain smoking nuance.

When I did smoke, whenever I felt stress of any kind I lit up a cigarette. Whether it actually helped or not, I believed that it did and I guess that was all that mattered. I immediately felt better.

Training racehorses is a very demanding occupation. On days that trainers are �sending�, more stress is heaped upon them because they most likely told the owners to come out and bring their friends for a possible picture taking adventure in the winner�s circle.

Some trainers with �live� or �well-meant� runners not only light up, but they continually smoke from the time they enter the paddock until their horse crosses the finish line. Their smoking is even evident as they tack up their runner in the saddling stall before the post parade.

The best way to identify this chain smoking nuance is to first know which trainers smoke. Once this is done, watch how each trainer smokes in non-stressful situations such as merely talking to a friend or perhaps watching a race in which he doesn�t have a horse running.

Once you have his normal smoking pattern down to a science, the chain smoking nuance won�t be hard to see! In fact, it will literally jump out at you!


When watching various trainers over the years I�ve noticed that certain trainers are very exacting and quite serious when giving riding instructions to their jockeys-----especially when they are going for the throat! On those �send days� they might have a Racing Form with them to show something to the jockey, or sometimes they whip out a program and point out to their rider the horses that he can expect to give him battle. Or, they might even motion with their arms as if they were actually riding the horse themselves.

The �instruction nuance� is easily recognizable in most trainers because when they aren�t �sending�, the contact and exchange between the conditioner and his jockey is usually quite light and jovial. But when seriously attempting to win, frivolity is nowhere to be found and the trainer is all business!


I might lose a few of you with this one, but let me assure you this monitor nuance is quite real. It might take you a while longer before you recognize and profit from this trainer nuance, but I guarantee you that it is just as strong as any mentioned thus far.

I first picked up on this monitor nuance at Atlantic City in the mid 70s and quite by mistake. Most likely the only reason that I did pick up on it, was because I frequently bet on this specific trainer�s horses. One evening I decided to take a walk to the far end of the grandstand because I wasn�t playing the upcoming race and had nothing better to do.

As I neared the end of the grandstand, I noticed this trainer intently watching the very last TV monitor. Since it was a weekday night, there were not too many people at that end of the track, so he stood out like a sore thumb. It wasn�t long before my overly suspicious nature screamed to me that something was up. I quickly turned around as if I hadn�t noticed him and a few seconds later the race went off. I moved to an area behind him where I couldn�t be seen, but I could see him. I quickly checked my program to make sure that he had a horse running in this race which he did.

His horse won by 6 lengths and paid 20 something. Here�s the kicker! As soon as his horse passed the pacesetter nearing the � pole with 2 furlongs yet to run, he began a quick paced walk back to the winner�s circle as if not wishing to be seen in the �wrong part of town�.

I wasn�t quite sure what I had just seen, but I knew I had seen something new and unique. I made a mental note to watch this trainer before every race in which he ran a horse to see if this strange �happening� would repeat itself.

It did----again and again and again! And unless this trainer slithered away to the far end of the grandstand and watched the race on this specific monitor, you could toss his runners out with utmost confidence!


You would think that binoculars would be �standard fare� for each and every trainer any day that they were on track----if not to watch their own horses, at least to keep an eye on their competition for insight into future placements of their runners.

I can assure you that this is not the case. And I don�t necessarily mean that the trainers should be carrying binoculars around over their shoulder, as would a handicapper. Some trainers keep their glasses in their box seat and the glasses never leave that seating area.

The actual location of the binoculars is totally inconsequential.

What should concern the binocular nuance seeking handicapper is the actual trainer�s use of the binoculars either on the front apron or in his box seat. And not only their use, but exactly when they are employed.

In order to get the full benefit of the trainer binocular nuance, one must first take note of all trainers using binoculars at their local oval. This knowledge will take some time to accumulate, but the rewards will compensate you for years to come after your initial outlay of time.

When beginning to track the binocular using trainers, you will start to notice exactly when they use them. It positively won�t be every race. Most likely it will only be when they have a well-meant horse in the upcoming race.

They most likely gave the jockey precise instructions on just how intently and exactly how far they wanted their horse warmed up. This trainer has put a lot of work into his horse expecting him to win, or at worst make a good showing. By watching how the jockey warms up his horse, should his runner fail to perform the way he expected, at least the trainer has a partial or entire reason as to the �why�.

The trainer will also use those same binoculars during the actual running of the race, but so will every other non-nuance trainer who happens to have binoculars.

The �key to the highway� for the binocular nuance seeker is the use of the binoculars for the full 10 minutes of the pre-race warm-up, clear up until loading.

Don�t get yourself in trouble with this nuance. A couple of quick 5 second glances before the race begins is not the same as fully using the binoculars for 10 minutes in the pre-race----it is merely a couple of 5 seconds glances.

What you are looking for is a trainer intently keeping his eyes on his horse for a full 10 minutes before the start of the race!

In closing out this section on trainer nuances, by now you�ve noticed that some trainer nuances require next to nothing as far as effort on your part goes, while others demand intense study.

But regardless of the amount of effort necessary to master each one, be rest assured that every single one of them works, they have been working for a long time, and they will continue to work in the future!


Editor's Note: Joe is off to play Del Mar for the summer and his articles will resume on or about 9/15/03.

Copyright �2003 by Joe Takach.  All rights reserved.
Joe can be contacted through his website at

Track Tracts Archive

Back to Top