Trainer Jack Carava ran Lunar Humor against maiden special weight company until his fifth race. But when the gelding could finish no better than third in four straight races, Carava began descending the class ladder.
In the maiden claiming ranks last May and June, Lunar Humor ran low-to-mid 70 Beyer Speed Figures while finishing second two times — first for $80,000 claiming and then for $40,000. On July 24 something curious happened, as jockey Michael Baze merely breezed Lunar Humor in the stretch, which caused the Beyer to sink to an all-time low of 63.
I am sure that the low last-race Beyer kept some betting money off of Lunar Humor, a 3-to-1 shot, despite the presence of jockey Garrett Gomez, who has a large following. In a recent TVG video, Carava — who is the son of a horse trainer — said that he enjoys picking spots for his runners, strategizing and compared horse racing to poker.
So maybe, just maybe, Carava was “strategizing” by breezing his horse in the stretch, so it would pay a good price when he picked his spot on the drop.
This race began with #2 Al N Con, #8 She Made Me Do It and #11 Cafe Con Leche all battling head-to-head down the backstretch. Al N Con, who had led in his last two races against $40,000 maiden claimers, shook clear by a length on the bend, as Cafe Con Leche kept chasing.
As the field swung into the lane, Morton Owen and Joel Rosario were making a move some eight paths wide with Lunar Humor also coming on just inside of him. They had to make up four lengths on Al N Con, 4/1, at the top of the stretch.
When Joe Talamo rode Al N Con past the sixteenth pole, he still had what appeared to be a safe 2-length lead. But Lunar Humor came with a late charge to get up with two jumps to go.
Despite being extremely wide, Morton Owen, at 9-to-2, only missed by two lengths.
I bet $400 on Morton Owen because he had lots of positive long-term betting angles going for him. This gelding was 3-to-1 on the morning line, but was cold on the board throughout the betting period and ended up at 9-to-2.
To watch a replay of this race, go to www.calracing.com.