Bouncing has become a common term in the handicappers vocabulary. Ragozin invented the term when he became aware of this phenomenon over thirty years ago. Many profitable Sheet-plays are based on throwing out a short-priced favorite that figures to bounce.
Simply put, a bounce is a reaction to a previous effort. When a horse usually runs 20's or mid-teens and suddenly runs a ten, it is likely to bounce. Remember horses are athletes -- when they overextend themselves they are likely to react to the physical toll that this overexertion took on them.
There are numerous reasons why a horse may make a big move forward. The horse might be new to lasix, have a new trainer, be racing on a new surface, be wearing new equipment, getting over physical problems, or might just be maturing and developing. The reason for the big forward move will have an impact on the degree with which you can expect the horse to bounce. Each case must be considered individually, though there are some general guidelines on how severe a reaction might be expected. The chart below will help you in accessing a horses' chance of bouncing after a strong effort.
|More likely to bounce||Less likely to bounce||Comments|
|Sprinters||Routers||Router's lines are more even. Trainers tend to put unsound, "ouchy", bouncy horses in sprints.|
|Dirt||Turf||Grass is a kinder surface. Many horses can run a long string of solid races on the turf.|
|Big move||1-3 point move||The greater the forward move, the more likely the chance of a negative physical reaction.|
|Autumn||Spring||Condition plays a greater role later in the season. After a long hard campaign many horses might be more likely to bounce. Horse are more likely to explode with a series of new top efforts in the spring/summer.|
|Females||Males||Females react more to big efforts. However, classy fillies/mares tend to be nearly as consistent as males.|
|Short rest||Time off||More rest allows a horse more time to recover|
|Claimers||Stakes horses||Classy horses generally get better handling, more rest, and are more able to withstand strong efforts.|