Many horseplayers believe that when first-time starters are getting heavily bet, then it’s time to also get on board. They think that the insiders — trainers, owners, workout analysts and jockeys — knocked the odds down with huge bets because they saw the debuter train and they know that it can’t lose.
But that theory couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, first-time starters going off at 3-to-1 or less are some of the worst bets in the Southern California maiden ranks. They win 20 percent of the time, but return just 66 cents for every $1 wagered.
In this race, the Doug O’Neill-trained #7 High Five Gal was making her first start after scorching the track with fast morning workouts. She was the 9-to-5 morning line favorite and leading rider Joel Rosario was aboard.
In the actual wagering, she wasn’t the favorite, but was still pounded to 8-to-5. High Five Gal ran well to be a game second to #1 Magic Yodeler, who was also no bargain at 6-to-5.
I was prepared to bet Magic Yodeler at 5-to-2 or more, but the betting public laid off second-time starters #2 Siberian Heart and #3 Brianna Marie. So Magic Yodeler’s price was too short.
I ended up with a $150 bet on #5 Whispering Hush at 12-to-1, who finished third.
To watch a replay of this race, go to www.calracing.com.