Looking at the past performances, I noticed that only one of these eight colts and geldings had ever matched the median winning Beyer Speed Figure of 71 — and #8 Nonrefundable did it twice. Of the other runners, the best Beyer they could muster was a 62, which #9 My Top Cat earned back in April.
So, it was easy for me to focus on Nonrefundable as the most likely winner.
All that I was concerned about was whether Nonrefundable’s odds would be high enough for me to wager. I noted in the race preview, that if he was less than 2-to-1 then I planned on passing.
The public made three horses 8-to-1 — #1 Just Jumped In, #2 Husky Glory and #3 Tiz Victorious. I guess whoever supported these three runners hoped that they would improve by the leaps and bounds necessary to win.
But, as the saying goes, hope is not a strategy.
Two others were 7-to-2, #4 G Ten and #6 Knucklebuster. I thought second-time starter G Ten may surprise with a big race only because I know that trainer John Shirreffs’ debuters never do well. G Ten broke slowly in his first race then finished fourth, 13 lengths behind. On Sunday, he was adding blinkers.
But G Ten broke poorly again, rallied into the middle of the pack entering the turn, then faded badly to finished dead last.
Knucklebuster fared better. My guess is that bettors liked Knucklebuster, not because he has a cool name, but because he is trained by the venerable Richard Mandella and he was dropping steeply in class from maiden special weight. Knucklebuster led down the backstretch before being collared on the turn by Nonfundable, who drew off and won by 9-1/4 lengths. Knucklebuster hung on for second.
While distancing this field, Nonrefundable earned a 79 Beyer.
At the windows, I was prepared to bet $500 to win on Nonrefundable if he was 5-to-2 or more. But at 2/1, I still liked him enough to bet $300 to win. In all, I collected $930, yet profited just $530 after subtracting out the $300 I wagered and another $100 I bet on G Ten.
To watch a replay of this race, go to www.calracing.com.