Sunday, Del Mar Race 3 — 3 pm post time

Maiden King conquers So. Calif. maiden races

Maiden claiming $40K, 3 yo’s and up, 6 furlongs

Possible overlays                Morning line

#9 Breakmark                            5/1

Most of the lower-priced horses on the morning line in this race showed early speed in their last starts. Getting the lead early is typically a good way to the winner’s circle, but the early lead is much more valuable at 4-1/2, 5, and 5-1/2 furlongs than it is at 6 furlongs.

In fact since early 2007, just 26 percent of all older maiden claimers that had the lead at 6 furlongs held on to win the race. That contrasts with 38 percent of the same class of quarter pole leaders that won races shorter than 6 furlongs.

The best time to bet speed may be in races for 2-year-old maiden claimers that are running in sprints shorter than 6 furlongs. In these races, the quarter pole leader won a whopping 43 percent of the time.

Anyway, in races like this one today for older maiden claimers, I usually won’t wager on the early speed unless the runner is at least 7/2 and preferably 5/1.

The morning line favorite in here, #3 Hugs to All, appears to be the quickest experienced horse out of the gate. He’s 5/2 on the morning line and the addition of leading rider Joel Rosario will not help that price.

Second time starter #5 Fortunate Appeal was bet to 5/2 in his June 19 debut when he finished second to Honor Family, a horse who was fully cranked coming off a long layoff. Fortunate Appeal adds blinkers, which is a positive, but at 2/1, I’ll pass.

Two first time starters  — #1 It’s Not Unusual and #7 Romeo Royale — might have some appeal to me, but they both have one huge drawback – they are late foals. Both horses, who are sired by Unusual Heat, have decent workouts and good trainers.

The best bet in this race is unquestionably #9 Breakmark. This colt is making its second lifetime start off a long layoff and is dropping in class. In the past, this type of horse has been very profitable for me.

Furthermore, the colt’s owner, Martin Wygod, is selling 110 horses at a special Barrett’s Equine Ltd. sale on Oct. 12, so I doubt he would care if Breakmark got claimed – as long as he won the race.

Therefore, I will wager the full $1,000 to win on #9 Breakmark at 2/1 or more.

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