Of the three lightly-raced horses coming from recent long layoffs — #4 Queen Mariles, #7 Crooked Smile and #11 Ampys Lil Girl — I liked Queen Mariles the best because she had the quickest early speed.
But I wasn’t going to bet if the odds were too low or if she was too cold on the board. So I waited, waited and waited as her odds held slightly above my 2/1 to 7/2 range for much of the betting period. Then finally, with a minute or two to post, late money poured in and it was likely that the odds on Queen Mariles would stick below 4-to-1.
Meanwhile, #7 Crooked Smile was hammered from 9-to-2 on the morning line to 7-to-5 early. She drifted up to 2-to-1 then 5-to-2 and finally went off at 3-to-1. So, two of my horses were in the odds zone, but speed was the deciding factor to sway me to Queen Mariles at 7-to-2.
When the bell finally rang, Crooked Smile popped from the gate, but Queen Mariles willingly established herself as the clear leader on the backstretch. Jockey Mike Smith took a comfortable lead into the lane and nobody got within a length of this filly the rest of the way.
I bet $350 to win on Queen Mariles and got back $1,610.
To watch a replay of this race, go to www.calracing.com.