It seems to me that there is no more realistic trainer in the game than Mike Mitchell. A few years ago, I remember a horse owned by Overbrook Farm that ran several times at maiden special weight, but just wasn’t good enough to win at that class. Since Overbrook Farm is mainly a breeding operation, the owners were reluctant to enter their horse in a claiming race and risk losing him.
And gelding him? That was completely out of the question.
Enter Mike Mitchell.
Mitchell talked one of his owners into buying the horse in a private sale. The trainer quickly gelded the animal, dropped it into a claiming race, and watched it win convincingly.
So, it’s no coincidence that Mitchell is winning with 37 percent of his maiden claimers. He knows how to get the job done.
In this race, #11 Bostoner was running in his tenth lifetime start, but nine of those were in maiden special weights. Zayat Stables, Bostoner’s owners, paid $360,000 for the horse as a yearling in 2006 and were very patiently waiting for him to learn how to run.
Dale Romans trained Bostoner on the East Coast and Mid West during 2007-2008, then Zayat sent the 4-year-old colt to Mitchell this January. Mitchell seemingly tried everything to appease the powerful Zayat Stables, who also owns Pioneerof The Nile: He ran Bostoner once on the grass, once in a main track route and then tried him in a sprint against lower quality maiden special weight horses at Golden Gate.
In his nine races, Bostoner never finished better than third and never broke 80 on the Beyer scale. So, it seemed painfully obvious that Bostoner wasn’t going to suddenly wake up and start winning stakes races.
Bostoner was nothing more than a claimer and Mitchell knew it. Although the colt couldn’t win at higher levels, he ran fast enough in a majority of his previous races to win most low-level maiden claimers in Southern California.
So, on Sunday, Mitchell dropped Bostoner into a $25,000 maiden claiming sprint where the colt was finally running where he belonged.
In the race, jockey Rafael Bejarano battled for the lead down the backstretch, Bostoner took over in the lane then hung tough to the wire. When it was over, Zayat Stables had moved Bostoner out of the maiden ranks, while Mitchell fattened up his already bloated winning percentage even more.
But Bostoner only paid $4.40 because all of Mitchell’s live ones seem to be bet to 5/2 or below. On the site, I wagered $400 to win on #11 Bostoner and $150 on #6 Don’t Forget Mug at 4/1. I profited $330 after collecting $880.
To watch a replay of this race, go to www.calracing.com