Nickname sandracohen
Name sandra cohen
Location NE
Birthday 10/7
Sex female
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About Myself
Now that Freehold has opened for it's Summer/Fall meeting, it's time to consider some of the problems that confront handicappers at the beginning of a new meet. For a couple of weeks from the opening, a few adjustments to usual handicapping principles can improve one's chances of success. Here, then, are a few suggestions that may prove useful in the opening weeks of the new Freehold meet.

The central problem at the start of a new meeting is that the most useful of handicapping tools, namely form and class comparisons, are extremely difficult to accurately achieve. Horses that have remained in competition during the summer months have been racing at a number of tracks and these ovals vary in size, surface and quality of competition. Therefore, in any given race at the start of a new meet, the entrants will often show lines that make comparisons especially tough. A little educated guesswork can make the task a bit easier, however.

First, horses that have been competing for the biggest purses will have a class advantage over those that have raced for less money, even if the class conditions are the same. A NW2 race at Woodbine or the Meadowlands will invariably attract stronger horses than the same class will draw at Yonkers or Pocono. By the same token, The NW2 event at Yonkers or Pocono should prove somewhat tougher than the same type of race at Rosecroft or Monticello. Although these comparisons hold true at any time of the year, they can be especially useful at the start of a new meet when there is little to compare on a head-to-head basis.

In keeping with this purse-value theory, form assessments should be adjusted, also. A horse that has demonstrated mediocre form when competing for higher purses can be expected to show vast improvement against competition that has shown relatively good form in lower purse-value events. There is normally a relationship between class competition and form and this, too, can prove useful in handicapping a new meet.

Also, a bit added consideration should be given to speed horses. Freehold is a speed-favoring track, so any horses that have demonstrated good speed elsewhere could have an advantage here.

Another approach that can help in identifying winners is the "horse for a course" angle. A good many horses with exceptional local records may spring to life, regardless of their form elsewhere, when they return to the Freehold oval. Regular readers of this column know that I recommend keeping notes and those who have followed this advice stand to benefit greatly in identifying these prospective winners.

Finally, some thought should be given to those horses that have been rested during the summer break. While it may seem that fresher horses would have and advantage, caution should be exercised. Each individual should be treated separately. A few horses may be able to reach top condition through training and, hopefully, will demonstrate this in a qualifier. Still others will need at least one race to reach top condition. At this point a freshened horse may have an advantage over those that have been racing for months without a rest.

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