Results, Saturday, Santa Anita Race 9 — won $800

In my race preview, I planned to bet $700 on #7 Teasing Bernie at odds of 2-to-1 or more and, as the horses went to post, I was amazed that this gelding was 7-to-1.

The public fell in love with favorite #5 Mon Coeur. He was likely bet down to 6-to-5 for three reasons: Joel Rosario was riding, the horse was lightly raced and he had the top last-race Beyer Speed Figure.

I can see Mon Coeur’s chances being upgraded with Rosario on board, but running in these longer maiden-claiming sprints in just a horse’s third start hurts more than it helps. That’s because horses need several races to build the stamina to last to the wire with the extra distance added to a typical sprint. Otherwise, the animals are gasping for air at the finish.

Sure, Mon Coeur had the best last race Beyer, but he earned it in a one-mile turf route and today he was going 6-1/2 furlongs on the dirt. Teasing Bernie’s last three races were also at a mile on the turf where his Beyers were 61, 63 and 65 respectively. The difference was that Teasing Bernie was 7-to-1. Had he been 6-to-5, I would not have been interested in him either.

Teasing Bernie almost won this race. He was running his eyeballs out in deep stretch as he tried to catch Mon Coeur, who had been leading the whole way. About five jumps from the wire, Teasing Bernie was about a half-length behind and still coming on, when Rosario appeared to pull on his right reign, steering his mount into Teasing Bernie’s path.

Teasing Bernie fell head over heels and dumped jockey Martin Pedroza onto the track. Neither horse nor jockey moved as the camera showed them in the background of a pan shot of all of the runners crossing the wire. Fortunately, Pedroza got to his feet, dusted himself off, and was riding the next day. 

But Teasing Bernie was another story. When horses go down at top speed like he did, very often they break leg bones and are destroyed. Somebody in the grandstand posted a video on YouTube showing the horse ambulance arriving then pulling a black curtain across so none of the onlookers could see what was going on. Naturally, the spectators feared the worst.

However, in a dramatic turn of events a few minutes later, the curtain came down and Teasing Bernie got up and walked into the horse ambulance under his own power. The crowd roared.

All the while, the inquiry sign was illuminated on the tote board. The stewards were watching the tape trying to determine if Teasing Bernie fell on his own or if Mon Coeur was to blame. Eventually, they disqualified Mon Coeur and moved 18-to-1 shot Tribal Dreams into first.

The result was good for me since I also bet $100 on Tribal Dreams. I liked this first-time starter because his sire, Tribal Rule, has had good success with debuting horses in long sprints.

Also, I had $300 on another first timer #9 Jamakagoodsense, at 8-to-1.

On Monday, I checked on the Internet and found a story that said Teasing Bernie was back in trainer Jim Cassidy’s barn. Cassidy said the gelding’s legs were fine and that he was monitoring the horse to make sure the animal didn’t suffer a head injury.

In the end, I bet a total of $1,100 on the race and collected $1,900 for an $800 profit.

PGM PP# NAME JOCKEY TRAINER ODDS FN
2 1 Tribal Dreams (CA) Quinonez A Garcia V 18.00 1
3 2 Traweek (KY) Carrero V Rosales R 9.40 2
4 3 Dawns Goldendancer (CA) Bisono A Bacorn H 49.70 5
5 4 Mon Coeur (KY) Rosario J Dupuis J 1.10 9
6 5 Solana Soleil (CA) Bejarano R Hess, Jr. R 6.80 3
7 6 Teasing Bernie (KY) Pedroza M Cassidy J 7.10 10
8 7 Honeycomb (PA) Flores D Gallagher P 5.10 8
9 8 Jamakagoodsense (KY) Delgadillo A Walsh K 8.70 6
10 9 Cherokee Gambler (CA) Castanon A Dominguez C 44.90 4
11 10 Storm Harvest (CA) Santiago Reyes C Fanning J 50.20 7
SCR Ron Burgundy (KY)    
 
Pgm Win Place Show
2 $38.00 $17.00 $9.00
3 $9.40 $5.40
6 $6.00
 
Exotic Payoffs
$0.50 Pick 4 paid $713.25 (1-5-4/8-2)
$1.00 Exacta paid $118.10 (2-3)
$1.00 Pick 3 paid $197.20 (5-8-2)
$1.00 Place Pick All paid $2103.30 (8 OF 9)
$1.00 Super High Five paid $157703.20 (2-3-6-10-4)
$1.00 Superfecta paid $13079.00 (2-3-6-10)
$1.00 Trifecta paid $965.60 (2-3-6)
$2.00 Daily Double paid $66.20 (8-2)
$2.00 Pick 6 paid $1633.80 (4-11-1-5-4/8-2)
Fractional Times
22.02, 45.17, 1:09.94, 1:16.67
 

Sunday, Santa Anita Race 9 — post time 4:38 pm

 

Maiden King conquers So. Cal. maiden races

Maiden claiming $20,000, 4-yo’s and up, 7 furlongs

Median winning Beyer Speed Figure: 71

Possible overlays                        Morning line

#4 G Ten                                   7/2
#8 Nonrefundable                           5/2

I think I have located a couple of strong angles and plan to consider only two horses in today’s 9th.

John Shirreffs, who trains #4 G Ten, hardly ever tries to win with a first time starter on dirt. In fact, in the records I keep, he has only won two out of 35 races with first-time starters at odds of less than 20/1. Furthermore, just four of those runners have been in the top three at the first call. So what Shirreffs must do is ask the jockeys to break his horses slowly in their initial races. Sometimes Shirreffs’ horses rally slightly, but many times they do not.

This training methodology stands in stark contrast to when Shirreffs trained for 505 Farms and was winning with some 40 percent of his debuters. How times have changed.

Anyway, in this race, G Ten is making his second lifetime start and it doesn’t bother me at all that he broke slowly in his Dec. 15 debut and lost by 13 lengths. He adds blinkers for todays race and for all I know he trained in them before he made it to the races, then didn’t use them the first time he ran.

If that’s the case, we may see a dramatic improvement.

The morning-line favorite is #8 Nonrefundable. This 5-year-old gelding is making his sixth start, but three of them were at a significantly higher class including two maiden special weight runs. As a 4-year-old in Spring 2011, Nonrefundable earned back-to-back Beyer figures of more than 70. After finishing poorly in a route race, Nonrefunable was laid off for four months then came back on Nov. 26. In that race, the jockey didn’t seem to be asking Nonrefundable for much run. However, in the following race on Dec. 14, Nonrefundable pushed the pace in a 6-furlong event before finishing second in a three-way blanket finish.

Based on his past career best, Nonrefundable looks like he has an excellent shot.

My Betting Strategy: If #8 Nonrefundable goes off at 5/2 or more,  then I will put $500 to win on him. If Nonrefundable is 2/1, then I will reduce my wager to $300. If he’s less than 2/1, then I will bet $200 on #4 G Ten at 2/1 to 9/2 and $100 at 5/1 or higher. If Nonrefundable’s odds are 2/1 or greater, then I will bet just $100 on G Ten at 2/1 to 9/2 and $50 at 5/1 or higher.

 

Sunday, Santa Anita Race 2 — post time 1 pm

Maiden King conquers So. Cal. maiden races

Maiden claiming $30,000, 7 furlongs, 3-year-old fillies

Possible overlays                      Morning line

Median winning Beyer Speed Figure: 64

#2 Mango Tart                               2/1
#3 Warren’s Assassin                        4/1
#5 Kvell                                    5/2
#6 Frannie                                  7/2
#7 Here Comes Bonnie             5/1

This seven-horse field includes two contenders who ran their best races in weak fields.

The best-looking filly of the five listed above is #2 Mango Tart, who is bred for stamina and earned a 69 Beyer Speed Figure in a Nov. 6 maiden special weight sprint. If this horse had a few more starts under her belt, then I would bet her with confidence. But 7-furlongs is a tricky distance which leaves many a lightly-raced runner gasping for air as they near the wire.

A rider switch from Kerwin John to apprentice Eswan Flores allows Mango Tart to drop from 120 pounds to 114, which should help keep her strong in the stretch.

One experienced filly that I am taking a long look at is #5 Kvell. This Peter Miller-trainee has hit the board in six of her last eight races, but her Beyer numbers are weak. That can only mean she probably was lucky enough to be running in fields full of slow horses for the level. Kvell would have to improve significantly to beat Mango Tart if that filly runs at 7-furlongs like she does in shorter sprints.

Warren’s Assassin, who is trained by Jorge Gutierrez, ran against Kvell in three of her last four races and the two runners finished within a half length of each other every time.

With Santa Anita favoring early speed, the chances of #6 Frannie and #7 Here Comes Bonnie get a boost. Although Frannie has only run one time, she was bet down to 7-to-1 in her debut then ran a 50 Beyer Speed Figure in a race where she had a wide trip. I bumped the number to 60 when I adjusted for lost ground. It’s possible she could show more early energy in her second start.

Here Comes Bonnie’s three career Beyers are 31, 44 and 11. Her early foot and her cagey trainer, Jim Cassidy, make her an upset possibility. But she, too, is lightly raced.

It’s interesting to note that the Daily Racing Form consensus selects Kvell on top. This runner is by no means a strong favorite and bettors should proceed with caution.

Without a doubt, I am trying to find the cleanest dirty shirt among these fillies and won’t wager much.

My Betting Strategy: At odds of 2/1 or more, I will bet $200 to win on #2 Mango Tart. If #7 Here Comes Bonnie is 6/1 or better, I will place $100 to win on her. If #2 Mango Tart is bet below 2/1, then I will instead put $200 to win on #5 Kvell at 3/1 or more.

Saturday, Santa Anita Race 9 — post time 4:38 pm

Maiden King conquers So. Cal. maiden races

Maiden claiming $32,000, 3-yo’s, 6-1/2 furlongs

Possible overlays                         Morning line

Median winning Beyer Speed Figure for this class: 69

#2 Tribal Dreams                               12/1
#7 Teasing Bernie                              4/1
#8 Honeycomb                                   8/1
#9 Jamakagoodsense                             6/1
#10 Cherokee Gambler                          12/1

The highest last race Beyer Speed Figure in here belongs to #5 Mon Coeur, but he ran the 65 on the grass at Hollywood Park. Mon Coeur will be making just his third start and I prefer more experienced runners in this type of race.

That’s why I am going to back #7 Teasing Bernie. This gelding is also coming off of the turf, a surface which he ran on in his previous three races. Teasing Bernie, who ran OK in those three grass routes, had trouble on Nov. 4 when he  was unruly early before jockey Martin Pedroza settled him down. Yet, Teasing Bernie still ran a 65.

I would say that Teasing Bernie has the right running style for 6-1/2 furlongs, but early speed has been deadly since the winter meet opened at Santa Anita. So I won’t mention his running style.

It would not surprise me to see one of the first-time starters on the early lead. Tribal Dreams is the son of Tribal Rule, whose offspring I show has won with six out of 14 Southern California debuters at 6-1/2 and 7 furlongs where their odds were less than 20/1. But the best choice of the first timers is probably #9 Jamakagoodsense. The owner and trainer win with debuters fairly often in limited samples and Kentucky breds seem to do better after they turn 3-years-old. The one thing I don’t like about Jamakagoodsense is that his purchase price shown in the Daily Racing Form is $75,000 while the claiming price is just $30,000.

In the past few years, horses who were bought for big money at the sales have not performed well when making their first start at this class.

Finally, the Patrick Gallagher trainee, #8 Honeycomb, is wearing blinkers for the first time. That is usually a profitable move, from a betting perspective, early in a horse’s career. However, Gallagher does not do well with second timers.

I will put a $700 win bet on #7  Teasing Bernie at 2/1 or higher. Also, I want to put $300 to win on whoever goes off at higher odds, up to 9/1, between #8 Honeycomb and #9 Jamakagoodsense; and $100 on #2 Tribal Dreams at less than 20/1 only. In the unlikely event that Teasing Bernie is less than 2/1, then I will bet $300 on both Honeycomb and Jamakagoodsense — as long as they are 3/1 to 9/1. If either of them go to 10/1 to 19/1, then my bet reduces to $100.

Horses drinking beer while being entertained by a goat. Just another day at the O’Callaghan barn

Ruben is a popular 218-pound goat that entertains the 15 horses in Carl O'Callaghan's barn. Facebook photo.

HOLLYWOOD PARK — He has ponies, homing pigeons and a popular goat named Ruben at his barn. All of his 15 Thoroughbred racehorses drink a pint of Guinness in the morning and two pints at night. And after Kinsale King won the 2010 Grade I Golden Shaheen in Dubai last March, the gelding drank a whole bottle of champagne at the barn party. No, Carl O’Callaghan isn’t orchestrating a three-ring circus, it just seems that way.

“It’s like Old Mac Donald’s Farm, my barn,” O’Callaghan said on Frankie Lovato’s radio show on Sunday.

O’Callaghan came to the United State from Ireland in 1990 when he was just 14 years old and began working with horses in upstate New York. He started galloping Thoroughbreds for trainer Susan Duncan then moved onto John Kimmel and finally Todd Pletcher. He’s been training on his own for 2-1/2 years and is based at Hollywood Park.

“I knew horses are what I wanted to do. I followed it. I put my head down and just kept going forward,” he told Lovato. The interview starts at 15:08 and ends at 35:51.

Kinsale King, who was one of O’Callaghan’s first horses, is currently doing well at Hollywood Park.

O’Callaghan also acts as an exercise rider and works out many the Thoroughbreds that he trains. This helps him attract top jockeys to ride his runners on race day.

O’Callaghan prefers Garrett Gomez, but jockeys of his stature are usually booked by large barns full of high-priced horses. But O’Callaghan said jockey agents trust him when he says his runner is doing well because O’Callaghan is the one on board for the workout. And, therefore, agents for top riders are more likely to agree to put their jockeys on O’Callaghan’s horses, he said. 

He told Lovato that his barn has a “lovely 2-year-old” coming up and Leaving New York is a promising older horse.

In Ireland, it’s common for trainers to put Guinness in their horses feed because it draws the animal to the food. Otherwise, many horses avoid eating, O’Callaghan said. Other local trainers, like John Sherriffs, do the same thing.

“Many trainers put a little beer in the horse’s feed,” O’Callaghan said.

Lovato mentioned that it may also help to sedate some of the more hyperactive young colts. O’Callaghan agreed to a point but added “I’ve got some orangutans in there and it doesn’t knock them down at all.”

Ruben is the barn’s goat. When O’Callaghan bought him he was 35 pounds, but now he fattened up to 218. The goat is a real character who bounces from stall to stall, playing with all of the Thoroughbreds.

“He’s everybody’s favorite. All of the horses like him,” said O’Callaghan, who may bring Ruben to Dubai if Kinsale King goes back.

O’Callaghan ships his horses from Hollywood Park to Santa Anita when racing is there, or south to Del Mar in the summer. Because the Santa Anita racetrack is favoring early speed, this week O’Callaghan sent four horses to Golden Gate.”I’m going there just to get away from the dirt because I don’t think my horses have enough speed to keep up with those horses across town,” he said.

Results, Saturday, Santa Anita Race 6 — lost $200

David Flores and Consulado cruised to an easy victory over $1 million yearling Welter Weight

I was looking forward to betting against morning line favorite #8 Welter Weight, who was a first-time starter that was purchased for $1 million at the Keeneland September sale in 2010. Trained by Steve Asmussen, this colt had two extraordinary 6-furlong workouts: the first stopped the clock at 1:11-and-1/5th seconds on Dec. 28 and the second was run in 1:11 flat on Dec. 21.

Very likely Welter Weight is going to be a good horse that earns a lot of money for owner Stonestreet Stables & Bolton. But my records show that horses running in their first races at less than 2-to-1 are very bad wagers. Some of the information I keep includes the prices paid for unraced horses, which is found in the past performances of the Daily Racing Form. Debuting runners that were bought for $500,000 or more ran 52 times in Southern California at less than 20-to-1, yet only won 10 races. If you bet them all, you got back just 48 cents for every $1 wagered. And it was just as bad for those less than 2-to-1.

Moving on, I whittled the field down to two contenders: #4 Consulado, who ran strongly last time, and the Bob Baffert-trained #11 Bobby Flay.

In addition to Welter Weight, five other first-time starters were in this 11-horse field. Many of them had fast workouts and they could have been any kind, so I planned to watch the board for betting action. If any of them went off between 10/1 and 19/1, I would place small wagers on them.

When watching the replay of Consulado’s first race on Dec. 17, I saw that his 81 Beyer Speed Figure was earned while going three-paths wide on the turn. Adjusting for the lost ground, I eased the speed figure up to 83, which was just one point away from the 84 median Beyer Speed Figure that wins these types of races. I determined that Consulado was obviously solid and hoped to get a gift of a price of 5-to-2 when Welter Weight was heavily bet.

Then I turned to Bobby Flay.  Baffert does excellent work with 3-year-old horses in maiden special weight races, however his colt needed significant improvement to win. He was in the same Dec. 17 race that Consulado came out of, but Bobby Flay ran just a 74 speed figure.

In the pari-mutuel betting pool, the crowd made Welter Weight 8-to-5, but Consulado was also 8-to-5. So, Welter Weight was being hammered, but Consulado did not hold any value for me.

This scenario came about because the public was betting the other first-time starters like they had no hope. The odds on those five horses ranged from 27-to-1 on Carlsbad Mountain to 84-to-1 on Malibu Affair.

In the running of the race, Consulado eased to the early lead, was never challenged and glided home under a hand ride. The 7-and-1/4th length victory looked impressive, yet earned just an 86 Beyer.

Welter Weight was second after getting stuck behind a wall of horses at the top of the stretch leading to a situation where jockey Julien Leparoux couldn’t find a running lane until the race was almost over.

At the betting window, I needed 5/2 on Consulado, but passed because his odds were too low. None of the first timers fell into my betting range, but my $200 bet on Bobby Flay did kick in at 9/2.

To watch a replay of this race go to www.calracing.com.

PGM PP# NAME JOCKEY TRAINER ODDS FN
1 1 Carlsbad Mountain (KY) Talamo J Headley B 27.10 4
2 2 Sea to Sky (NY) Smith M Hendricks D 34.50 6
3 3 Only the Gold (KY) Espinoza V Mandella R 20.20 3
4 4 Consulado (KY) Flores D Puype M 1.60 1
5 5 Congrats Ski (KY) Gomez G Walsh K 9.50 8
6 6 Symphonic Cat (KY) Quinonez A Headley B 39.10 10
7 7 Atticlude (KY) Santiago Reyes C Caceres, Jr. A 92.60 7
8 8 Welter Weight (KY) Leparoux J Asmussen S 1.70 2
9 9 Declan (KY) Gutierrez M Kruljac J 54.10 9
10 10 Malibu Affair (KY) Maldonado E Biancone P 84.20 11
11 11 Bobby Flay (KY) Bejarano R Baffert B 4.50 5
 
Pgm Win Place Show
4 $5.20 $3.00 $2.40
8 $3.20 $3.00
3 $5.40
 
Exotic Payoffs
$1.00 Exacta paid $8.20 (4-8)
$1.00 Pick 3 paid $746.30 (3-11-4)
$1.00 Superfecta paid $551.60 (4-8-3-1)
$1.00 Trifecta paid $81.50 (4-8-3)
$2.00 Daily Double paid $101.00 (11-4)
Fractional Times
21.53, 44.11, 1:08.48, 1:15.00

Results, Saturday, Santa Anita Race 1 — lost $100

Jockey Joel Rosario dominated Saturday's first race with Scream Queen

Scanning the past performances for these 10 runners, I noticed that none of these fillies ever had the lead at any point from the quarter mile forward. So, with no natural speed horse in the lineup, I expected a cavalry charge from the gate as the jockeys tried to establish themselves as the front runner.

But Joel Rosario made a clear lead with #6 Scream Queen and the strategy paid off as they were never challenged on this speed-favoring surface. The race favorite, #1 Silver Threat, was pushed along in second place down the backstretch, but was no threat to Scream Queen who smoked the first quarter mile in 21 and 4/5ths seconds and the half mile in 44 and 3/5ths.

 This was a rematch for these two runners, who met on Dec. 18. In that meeting, Silver Threat broke slowly then went wide, but still beat Scream Queen by a head while finishing second. Scream Queen’s tactics that day were to lay back a few lengths from the leaders then make a stretch run. Scream Queen’s change of running style from stalker to front runner on Saturday seemed to make a world of difference, as her Beyer Speed Figure increased from 63 on Dec. 18 to 70 on Saturday.

In my write-up before the race, I identified Scream Queen and Silver Threat as the logical contenders.  Although I noted that no natural speed horses were entered in the race, I did not attempt to identify who would likely go to the front. I should have taken a shot at it, because when I ran the past performances through my pace software, it showed that a repeat of one of Scream Queen’s past races would give her an easy early lead. 

But I was fixated on the bad trip by Silver Threat even though I knew her odds would likely be pounded down to an unbettable price of less than 2-to-1. In the Daily Racing Form, Silver Threat was picked on top by all of the handicappers and Brad Free wrote in detail about the trouble she encountered last time.

So, everybody knew.

I wrote that Scream Queen could win if she improved by a couple of lengths while Silver Threat regressed. And the way the race shaped up, that seems to be what happened. 

But I wanted 7-to-2 on Scream Queen for my $200 bet, yet she went off at only 2-to-1. My potential $400 wager on Silver Threat never materialized either because her post time odds were an ugly 7-to-5.

Anyway, I lost $100 on the race due to a flier I took on #10 Wild Date, who ran well four starts back, however has performed poorly in her last three — now make it four — starts.

To watch a replay of this race go to www.calracing .com.

PGM PP# NAME JOCKEY TRAINER ODDS FN
1 1 Silver Threat (KY) Talamo J Miller P 1.40 3
2 2 Cal Bayers (KY) Gomez G Hess, Jr. R 8.70 10
3 3 Ansede (KY) Gutierrez M Taylor T 10.00 2
5 4 Candy and Nuts (KY) Krigger K Pederson D 15.40 4
6 5 Scream Queen (KY) Rosario J Sherman A 2.40 1
7 6 Call Me Tough (CA) Flores E Collins D 69.40 8
8 7 Causeway Express (KY) Quinonez A McAnally R 15.50 7
9 8 Secret Genius (CA) Santiago Reyes C Knapp S 37.60 5
10 9 Wild Date (FL) Bejarano R Harty E 9.00 6
11 10 Four Forty Second (ON) Stra K Bernstein D 24.50 9
SCR Janie Girl (CA)    
SCR Bull Rush (FL)    
 
Pgm Win Place Show
6 $6.80 $4.00 $2.60
3 $8.20 $4.40
1 $2.40
 
Exotic Payoffs
$1.00 Exacta paid $26.50 (6-3)
$1.00 Superfecta paid $303.90 (6-3-1-5)
$1.00 Trifecta paid $61.70 (6-3-1)
Fractional Times
21.77, 44.55, 1:09.58, 1:16.24
 

Results, Friday, Santa Anita Race 3 — lost $700

Troy Taylor won Friday's third with 8/1 shot Coparcenary

In my race preview, I had many questions about favorite #11 Warren’s Performer and second-choice #7 Golden Nip. I came to the conclusion that neither one represented a good bet at low odds and that two second-timers in the race that were both coming off long layoffs — #5 Dani’s Sis and #6 Coparcenary — were horses that could win at a decent price.

Dani’s Sis is trained by Mike Puype, who is good with horses making their second lifetime starts and even better when they are coming off long layoffs. Dani’s Sis was making her first start in 10 months.

Coparcenary was being saddled by one of the leading horsemen at Hastings Park in Vancouver B.C., Troy Taylor. Taylor hit with 55 of 222 starters in 2011 — or 25 percent — so he is without a doubt a competent horseman. But since I had no statistics on how Taylor does with inexperienced horses coming off layoffs, and Puype is one of the best with this second-time starter move in Southern California, I opted to wager $500 on Dani’s Sis.

I should have known Taylor had a betting coup in the works with Coparcenary because virtually the same thing happened on January 15, 2009. On that day at Santa Anita, another Canadian invader, Mark Casse — who took  the Sovereign Award as Canada’s top trainer three times — also won with a horse who hadn’t raced in many months and was making just its second lifetime start. One other glaring similarity should have made Coparcenary, an 8-to-1 shot, an obvious play: both Taylor and Casse brought their own jockeys in from the Great White North — with Taylor using Mario Gutierrez and Casse legging up Patrick Husbands.

At the very least, I should have split the betting money between Dani’s Sis and Coparcenary. But, overall, second-timers in these cheap maiden races for older horses are not good bets. I typically need strong evidence that the trainer profitably uses this move. So, I played it safe and went with the Puype horse.

As the gates opened, Dani’s Sis broke slowly to be three lengths behind the leaders. At the quarter mile mark, jockey Freddie Lenclud used Dani’s Sis a bit to get into fourth place, just two lengths from front runner #1 Our New Dancer.

Meanwhile, Coparcenary broke alertly to be running with the first flight without rider Gutierrez even asking the filly for speed. Coparcenary settled into fifth place at the quarter mile, but was only three lengths from the front. Midway on the turn, Coparcenary came up the rail and was on even terms with Dani’s Sis. Lenclud was working hard on Dani’s Sis, but not getting much response.

At the top of the lane, Warren’s Performer overtook 50-to-1 shot Our New Dancer, but then Coparcenary came on in the middle of the track to mow them both down. Meanwhile, Dani’s Sis found enough energy to get by the tiring Our New Dancer for third place.

In all, I ended up losing $700 on the blog as I called an audible with 20 minutes to post and noted that I was preparing to put $200 on Golden Nip at 3/1 or more in the hopes she could match the 72 Beyer she ran four races back in November 2010. Golden Nip finished seventh.

To watch a replay of this race go to www.calracing.com.

PGM PP# NAME JOCKEY TRAINER ODDS FN
1 1 Our New Dancer (CA) Maldonado E Dunham D 53.80 4
2 2 Silver Luna (KY) Vergara D Knapp S 12.10 5
4 3 Warrens Matchmaker (CA) Steiner J Van Berg J 54.00 9
5 4 Dani’s Sis (KY) Lenclud F Puype M 4.00 3
6 5 Coparcenary (BC) Gutierrez M Taylor T 8.90 1
7 6 Golden Nip (CA) Nakatani C Miller P 3.20 7
8 7 Key Allegro (KY) Bejarano R Periban J 8.70 8
9 8 Tusun (CA) Stra K Locke T 88.40 10
10 9 Babeneau (KY) Talamo J Ellis R 10.00 5
11 10 Warren’s Performer (CA) Santiago Reyes C Gutierrez J 2.00 2
SCR Annie Lou (KY)    
 
Pgm Win Place Show
6 $19.80 $8.40 $5.80
11 $3.40 $3.20
5 $4.20
 
Exotic Payoffs
$1.00 Exacta paid $40.00 (6-11)
$1.00 Pick 3 paid $90.30 (5-5-6)
$1.00 Superfecta paid $2492.20 (6-11-5-1)
$1.00 Trifecta paid $156.40 (6-11-5)
$2.00 Daily Double paid $74.20 (5-6)
Fractional Times
21.95, 44.95, 1:10.72, 1:17.70

Looking ahead as Breeders Cup returns to Santa Anita in 2012

Saturday, Santa Anita Race 6 — post time 3:05 pm

Maiden King conquers So. Cal. maiden races

Maiden Special Weight, 3-yo’s, 6-1/2 furlongs

Possible overlays                       Morning line

#1 Carlsbad Mountain                        12/1
#2 Sea to Sky                               15/1
#4 Consulado                                5/2
#6 Symphonic Cat                            12/1
#9 Declan                                   15/1
#10 Malibu Affair                           20/1
#11 Bobby Flay                               9/2

The way I see it, this race is #8 Welter Weight versus the world.

Trained by Steve Asmussen, first-time starter Welter Weight was bought for $1 million and sports two sparkling 6-furlong workouts: 1:11 1-5 on Dec. 28 and 1:11 flat on Dec. 21. This colt is the 9-to-5 morning line favorite and in the long run, debuters whose odds are below 2-to-1 are bad bets. Some of the information I keep relates to the price paid for unraced horses. Of all the debuters who were bought for $500,000 or more, 10 of them won out of 52 for a paltry return of just 48 cents for every $1 bet. At less than 2-to-1, they won 3 times in 13 tries for a 46 cent return on $1.

So, I am hoping Welter Weight gets pounded down to 6-to-5 at the windows, which will raise the prices of contenders like #4 Consulado and #11 Bobby Flay.

These runners have performed well in their only lifetime starts and wouldn’t have to improve much to win. And who knows if a monster is lurking among the other five first-time starters — so I will have to consider them if the price is right.

My Betting Strategy:  At odds of 5/2 or more I will put $300 to win on #4 Consulado. If Consulado is bet below 5/2, then I want $200 to win on #11 Bobby Flay at 4/1 or better. Also, I will bet $100 on any first-time starter who goes off at between 10/1 and 19/1.

Saturday, Santa Anita Race 1 — post time 12:30 pm

Maiden King conquers So. Cal. maiden races

Maiden claiming $30,000, F&M 3-yo’s, 6-1/2 furlongs

Possible overlays                            Morning line

#1 Silver Threat                                     5/2
#6 Scream Queen                                      3/1
#10 Wild Date                                        8/1

The two favorites in this race — #1 Silver Threat and #6 Scream Queen — are running in a rematch of their Dec. 18 6-furlong tilt at Hollywood Park. On that day, Silver Threat finished second by three-quarters of a length after getting bumped as the gates opened then going wide on the turn. After watching the video, I estimated that Silver Threat conservatively lost three lengths at the start and two more on the turn, so I upgraded her 61 Beyer Speed Figure to a 73. 

Scream Queen had a clean trip, although she was in the three path on the turn, so I nudged her 61 Beyer up to a 63. She finished third and was just a head behind Silver Threat.

The curious aspect of today’s race is that no true early speed horses are in the 10-horse field. Therefore, it will be interesting to see which jockeys try to gun their mounts for the lead then try to hang on at the wire.

Although, Scream Queen was the 4-to-5 favorite last time, it looks like Silver Threat is almost certain to be today’s choice. The four Daily Racing Form selectors pick her on top and Brad Free provides all the details about her rough trip in his race analysis. It could be that everybody at the track is aware that Silver Threat ran a winning race last time and they will back her today.

Silver Threat has a couple of other angles going for her, too: Her owner Gary Barber won with four of his last five second-time starters and her trainer Peter Miller has an excellent record with maiden claimers in their second lifetime starts. The major drawbacks are that Silver Threat wore front wraps last time, she has little racing experience and the crowd is likely to overbet her. Many times when the whole world knows about a bad trip, then for some reason the horse doesn’t fire in it’s next race.

Scream Queen can win if a.) Silver Threat runs a poor race or b.) she improves by a couple of lengths while Silver Threat regresses slightly.

Finally, I’m giving #10 Wild Date a chance based on the 58 Beyer Speed Figure she ran on July 21. However, this Eoin Harty-trained filly has not run impressively in any of her three starts since.

My Betting Strategy: I will wager $400 to win on #1 Silver Threat at 2/1 or higher. But if Silver Threat is bet below 2/1, then I will take $200 to win on #6 Scream Queen at 7/2 or better. At odds of 6/1 or higher, I will put $100 on #10 Wild Date.

Friday, Santa Anita Race 3, Post Time — 2:02 pm

Maiden King conquers So. Cal. maiden races

Maiden claiming $20,000, 6-1/2 furlongs, 4-yo’s and up, f

Possible overlays                  Morning line

#5 Dani’s Sis                                   5/1

#6 Coparcenary                           6/1

#7 Golden Nip                               3/1

#10 Babeneau                               6/1

#11 Warren’s Performer           5/2

In this 10-horse field of maiden claimers, few of these runners have approached the 66 median winning Beyer Speed Figure for this class.

One filly that has arguably exceeded the speed number, though, is #11 Warren’s Performer who had a troubled trip in a turf  route on Sept. 7. In that race, which was Warren’s Performer’s last start, she was three paths wide on the first turn and four wide on the second. She pulled jockey Chantal Sutherland along early and seemed hard to handle throughout. After being bumped in the stretch, Sutherland looked like she breezed this filly through most of the stretch. Yet with all of the trouble, Warren’s Performer still earned a 61 Beyer, which I upgraded to a 68. 

The one drawback for Warren’s Performer is that her trainer, Jorge Gutierrez, is much better when running a horse for the second time after a long layoff, not the first. The same can be said for Ron Ellis, who trains #10 Babeneau, a filly that hasn’t run since last April.

One of the more experienced contenders in the race is #7 Golden Nip, who will be making her seventh start. If this five-year-old can run back to the 72 Beyer figure she ran on Nov. 4, 2010 she’d be difficult to beat. But this horse seems like another one with major problems. After she ran the 72, Golden Nip was laid off for 11 months. In her three races back, she has yet to finish within five lengths of the winner.

Two of those races, however, were against higher class horses. And after Golden Nip flopped when running a 39 Beyer last November, the owners changed trainers. She is now in the Peter Miller barn after being taken from Vladimir Cerin.

With no strong runners to choose from, I am considering a couple of second-time starters that may run well at good prices. Mike Puype won last Sunday’s nightcap when Rass Stone went wire-to-wire and paid $13.20 while was making his second lifetime start. Puype does well with this training angle and when a second timer is coming off a long layoff, Puype’s numbers are even better. In here, #5 Dani’s Sis ran an unremarkable debut on April 24 and hasn’t run since. In her first start, Dani’s Sis was bet down to 5/1 in an eight-horse field. She has a couple of fast workouts and is scheduled to be ridden by Freddie Lenclud, a native of France, who has been riding in the Midwest.

Breaking right beside Dani’s Sis will be #6 Coparcenary. This filly last ran on May 6 at Hastings Race Course in Vancouver, BC and she is trained by one of the leading horsemen at that track, Troy Taylor. I don’t know much about Taylor, but Coparcenary has a weak-looking past performance line in her only lifetime race, and the barn could cash a nice bet if they have this horse ready to win off the layoff. But I am reluctant to wager on this animal because I don’t have any information that says Taylor is good in this situation.

My Betting Strategy: I will bet $500 to win on #5 Dani’s Sis from 3/1 to 7/1, but reduce the bet to $100 if she goes off at any other odds. At 1:43 pm, I see that with 20 minutes to post Golden Nip and Warren’s Performer are both more than 3/1. Therefore, I will bet $200 to win on whoever goes off the longer of the two, just as long as they are 3/1 or more.

Results, Sunday, Santa Anita Race 9 — lost $150

Trainer Mike Puype hit with $13.20 second-timer Rass Stone on Sunday

With the three lowest-priced horses in this 7-furlong sprint looking rather ordinary, this appeared to be a good spot to dig deeper for a good price. In my race preview, I planned to go against 5-to-2 favorite Sabe, 7-to-2 shot Hava Cigar and Officer Bavetta, who, at 5-to-1, had the best last race Beyer Speed Figure. Although these runners looked competitive, none of the three appeared likely to run the 68 median winning speed figure for this class level.

However, one of my four wagering prospects was #14 Rass Stone, who thoroughly dominated this field of 3-year-olds by going straight to the lead on the backstretch then never looking back. This gelding’s trainer, Mike Puype, does well with second-time starters and Rass Stone showed good early speed on Dec. 10, which was his only lifetime start. Early speed is nowhere near as valuable in longer sprints as it is in shorter ones, but in weak races it’s worth a shot at the right price.

My only problem with Rass Stone was that I needed odds of at least 6-to-1, and not more than 19-to-1, for a bet. He was 8-to-1 on the morning line, however the public knocked him to 5.60-to-1, which was just a shade under my minimum betting number.  After the race, I broke down Puype’s maiden claiming second time starters and found that the best odds range for this angle is between 3-to-1 and 7-to-1. In this medium-priced range, Puype won 6-of-16 times for a return of $2.25 for every $1 wagered. At all other odds, Puype’s horses were still profitable — mainly because of a 12-to-1 shot he struck with on March 11, 2011 — but his net winnings with this group of second timers were only about half as much as those in the medium-priced range.

So, in hindsight rather than wagering $100 at 6/1 to 19/1, the proper betting strategy would have been to put down $150 at 3/1 to 7/1, and just $50 at 8/1 or higher. Hey, I’ll get ’em next time.

The other three angle horses I was looking at — #4 Push Button Magic, #7 On a Burner and #12 Thunder of India — didn’t move a muscle and all finished toward the rear of the pack. Both Push Button Magic and Thunder of India were cold on the board, going off at greater than 20-to-1. So, I didn’t touch them.

But my $150 bet on On a Burner did kick in. This gelding was also a second-time starter and he showed a decent late move in his last. He was adding blinkers, but they obviously didn’t do the trick as he finished ninth at 12-to-1. His trainer Kristen Mulhall did have a nice day, incidentally, as she won two maiden races earlier in the card.

To watch a replay of this race, go to www.calracing.com.

PGM PP# NAME JOCKEY TRAINER ODDS FN
1 1 A. P. Corsair (KY) Flores D Drysdale N 22.90 5
2 2 Officer Bavetta (CA) Blanc B Stein R 5.10 3
3 3 War Wizard (KY) Cedeno A Lucarelli F 35.50 7
4 4 Push Button Magic (KY) Quinonez A Ellis R 29.30 6
5 5 Buds Pal (KY) Krigger K Armstrong J 29.70 11
6 6 Sabe (FL) Espinoza V Machowsky M 2.80 8
7 7 On a Burner (KY) Delgadillo A Mulhall K 12.30 9
8 8 Tizpat (CA) Talamo J Fanning J 15.50 4
9 9 Adam N Ryan (CA) Vergara D Becerra R 18.20 13
10 10 Deal’ Em (CA) Atkinson P Collins D 52.40 14
11 11 Prometheus Bull (MD) Flores E Palma H 51.20 12
12 12 Thunder of India (KY) Pedroza M Carava J 41.20 10
13 13 Hava Cigar (MD) Rosario J O’Neill D 3.40 2
14 14 Rass Stone (KY) Sutherland C Puype M 5.60 1
 
Pgm Win Place Show
14 $13.20 $6.80 $4.60
13 $5.00 $3.40
2 $4.00
 
Exotic Payoffs
$0.50 Pick 4 paid $411.25 (10-3-1-14)
$1.00 Exacta paid $23.10 (14-13)
$1.00 Pick 3 paid $177.20 (3-1-14)
$1.00 Place Pick All paid $8616.70 (9 OF 9)
$1.00 Super High Five paid $8755.30 (14-13-2-8-1)
$1.00 Superfecta paid $994.40 (14-13-2-8)
$1.00 Trifecta paid $128.90 (14-13-2)
$2.00 Daily Double paid $60.00 (1-14)
$2.00 Pick 6 paid $567.40 (5-6-10-3-1-14)
$2.00 Pick 6 paid $56721.80 (5-6-10-3-1-14)
Fractional Times
22.24, 44.89, 1:10.24, 1:24.28
 

Sunday, Santa Anita Race 9 — 4:38 pm post time

Maiden King conquers So. Cal. maiden races

Maiden claiming $30,000, 3-yo’s, 7 furlongs
Possible overlays                            Morning line
#2 Officer Bavetta                                    9/2
#4 Push Button Magic                             8/1
#6 Sabe                                                          4/1
#7 On a Burner                                           8/1
#12 Thunder of India                              15/1
#13 Hava Cigar                                           9/2
#14 Rass Stone                                           8/1
 
Based on the median Beyer Speed Figure of 68 needed to win a race at this class, we are looking at a weak group of 14 newly-turned 3-year-olds.
 
Sure, #2 Officer Bavetta ran a 64 in his last race, on Dec. 1, but he hugged the Hollywood rail the whole way and generally got a great trip. Today, he may get blocked in this large field or jockey Brice Blanc might need to go wide on the turn.  Although today’s distance of 7 furlongs is a forgiving one — with it’s long straightaways on the front and back stretches — a 14-horse field of relatively young horses is a recipe for chaos.
 
Besides, the types of horses I usually like in these races have a bit more seasoning than Officer Bavetta, who will be making just his fourth lifetime start. They look more like #6 Sabe, who was running with better company in four sprints in the second half of 2011. In his last start, Sabe was subsequently dropped into a $30,000 route. Sabe, who is trained by Michael Machowsky, showed decent early speed while earning Beyer Speed Figures of 61 and 59 in races on Sept. 2 and Oct. 6 respectively.
 
Yes, Sabe’s last two Beyers were in the 40’s, but his second race back was in the mud on Nov. 6 where he blasted from the gate, setting the pace with a scorching first quarter mile in 21-3/5th seconds and a half mile in 44-3/5ths. After that early gas, I can see why he had nothing left. 
 
Sabe’s last race was a route, which likely built his stamina for today. In each of Sabe’s last two races he wore blinkers. And today, the blinkers come off.
 
However, the truth of the matter is that Sabe looks just OK and he could easily be beaten.
 
Trainer Doug O’Neill claimed #13 Hava Cigar out of his Nov. 10 race, but that horse doesn’t look like anything special either, although he’s also been running against better.
 
With no standouts in the lineup, I will choose from four lightly-raced horses with good trainers who will pay well if they win. First off, #4 Push Button Magic is making his debut for trainer Ron Ellis. On the downside, this Kentucky bred is a late foal with all slow workouts. But Ellis does well with first-time starters that are at least 3-years-old. In fact, my records show that he won with nine of 28 at less than 20/1, or 32 percent, and every $1 wagered returned $2.68.
 
Kristin Mulhall trains #7 On a Burner who trailed for most of the race on Dec. 10, but then made a nice little stretch move from the eighth pole to the wire. Many maiden claiming second timers who add blinkers do well and On a Burner is adding the hood today.
 
Breaking from the outside in a large field carries its own set of risks. Jockeys need to tactically use their horse’s speed to stay out of trouble and avoid going too wide.  Second-time starters #12 Thunder of India and #14 Rass Stone will need good rides in order to win. Jack Carava, who will saddle Thunder of India, doesn’t train many young horses, but he gets them to win early. Although Thunder of India showed absolutely nothing in his first race, he might not have liked the muddy track on Nov. 6.  On that day, Thunder of India — who was purchased as a yearling for $42,000 — was bet to 9-to-1, so somebody liked something about him.
 
Finally, #14 Rass Stone showed good early speed when he debuted on Dec. 10 and trainer Mike Puype is good with second timers. Also, Rass Stone has been working out fast.
 
My Betting Strategy:  Because this race is so wide open, I am not going to wager much, yet I’m hoping one of my horses wins at a big price. At odds of 7/2 to 19/1, I will bet $200 to win on #4 Push Button Magic; at 5/1 to 19/1, I’ll put $150 to win on #7 On a Burner; at 10/1 to 19/1, I’ll take $50 on #12 Thunder of India; and finally, at 6/1 to 19/1, I’ll wager $100 on #14 Rass Stone.
     
 
 
 

Baffert on Indian Charlie: “A superstar from day one.”

Indian Charlie, who died at Airdrie Stud in Kentucky on Dec. 15, won the 1998 Santa Anita Derby then finished third as the favorite to Real Quiet in the Kentucky Derby. The 16-year-old horse sire four champions: Fleet Indian, 2006 Eclipse Award winning older female; Indian Blessing, 2007 Eclipse Award winnning juvenile filly; Indian Apple Is, 2010 Sovereign Award (Canadian) winning female sprinter; and Uncle Mo, 2010 Eclipse Award winning juvenile male. Video from www.bobbaffert.com.

Results, Monday, Santa Anita, Race 2 — lost $750

Jockey Chantal Sutherland

In three of What a Rush’s first four races, he pushed the pace then faded away to finish no closer than four lengths from the winner. After a six-month layoff, trainer A.C. Avila dropped the 3-year-old gelding in class from maiden special weight to maiden $20,000.

By running against cheaper horses, What a Rush was able to sit closer to the lead, but he still lacked the toughness to gut out a close win. For example, What a Rush had a lead in deep stretch on Nov. 11, but faltered to finish third by a neck. When he came back on Dec 7, What a Rush was in second place a half length behind the leader in the stretch, but finished third again.

However, on Monday at Santa Anita, What a Rush put it all together. Instead of hustling to be on the pace, What a Rush broke midpack in the 10-horse field and was sitting in fourth as the runners entered the far turn. Jockey Chantal Sutherland had a ton of horse as she eased up the inside on the turn, cruising into third behind the leader #6 Street Titan and the second place horse #7 Siempre Mio.
 
But the stretch run had been where What a Rush had struggled in his career. In fact, in five of his most recent races, What a Rush ended up in a worse finishing position than before he entered the lane. What a Rush had competitive Beyer Speed Figures with the rest of Monday’s field and the 81 Beyer he ran on March 25 towered over any race run by the other horses. If What a Rush could roll another 81 Beyer, then he’d win by open lengths.
 
The main question, though — which was about to be answered as the field came off the turn — was had Avila and Sutherland taught What a Rush how to rate?  Would he pass horses in the stretch?
 
If not, then it was not sensible to run him at 6-1/2 furlongs. He belonged in shorter sprints. Well, in the end, it looked like What a Rush had learned a thing or two in his seven-race career. Entering the stretch, he was just two lengths back. But with Sutherland whipping and driving in midstretch, What a Rush blew by Street Titan at the sixteenth pole, then nailed Siempre Mio on the wire.
 
In my betting strategy, I downgraded What a Rush because I viewed him as an early-speed type, which I was trying to avoid because only 16 percent of horses on the lead have won at this class and distance. In a cruel twist, one of the animals that I decided to bet, Street Titan, had never gotten the lead in the 10 past performances showing in the form. Yet he and jockey Joe Talamo dashed to the front when the starting gate bell rang.
 
Street Titan went the first quarter in a quick 21.89 seconds and got to the half in 44.53. In deep stretch, Street Titan was cooked and faded to third. My other horse, #4 Zapeye, who was coming off a long layoff, never threatened and I was quickly down $750 in imaginary betting money.
 
To watch this race, go to www.calracing.com.
PGM PP# NAME JOCKEY TRAINER ODDS FN
1 1 Warrens Two to One (CA) Maldonado-Alicea E Van Berg J 107.50 9
2 2 St. Valentino (CA) Delgadillo A Garcia O 39.00 4
3 3 Maybe Tuesday (CA) Flores E McCarthy S 22.10 5
4 4 Zapeye (KY) Bejarano R Eurton P 4.30 6
5 5 What a Rush (CA) Sutherland C Avila A 3.00 1
6 6 Street Titan (KY) Talamo J Mitchell M 2.00 3
7 7 Siempre Mio (CA) Quinonez A Wicker L 11.40 2
8 8 Three Time Dancer (CA) Castanon A Castaneda K 66.80 10
9 9 Directors Room (CA) Scott J Nettles K 60.90 8
10 10 Trando’s Tremor (CA) Pedroza M Pender M 3.30 7
 
Pgm Win Place Show
5 $8.00 $4.20 $3.00
7 $10.60 $6.20
6 $2.80
 
Exotic Payoffs
$1.00 Exacta paid $49.70 (5-7)
$1.00 Superfecta paid $920.70 (5-7-6-2)
$1.00 Trifecta paid $123.00 (5-7-6)
$2.00 Daily Double paid $14.20 (6-5)
Fractional Times
21.89, 44.53, 1:09.39, 1:15.89
 
 

Monday, Santa Anita, Race 2 — post time 12:32 pm PST

 

Maiden King conquers So. Cal. maiden races

Maiden claiming, $20K, 6-1/2 furlongs, 3 yo’s and up

Possible overlays                    Morning line
#3 Maybe Tuesday                         8/1
#4 Zapeye                                           4/1
#5 What a Rush                                 4/1
#6 Street Titan                                  5/2
#10 Trando’s Tremor                     3/1
 
I am hoping that first-time starter #3 Maybe Tuesday is cold on the board and his odds drift into the 10-to-1 to 20-to-1 range. Then I won’t have to deal with him. These cagey connections bet their live horses and this gelding is a contender if less than 10-to-1, although I probably won’t take him anyway.

I think a mid-70’s Beyer Speed Figure will be necessary to win this contentious race. Coming off of a nine-month layoff, #4 Zapeye is trying dirt for the first time after not threatening in his three turf routes. Being a 3-year-old who was a May foal, Zapeye is definitely eligible to improve and my layoff information shows that horses who look like Zapeye have been outstanding bets at 7-to-2 to 5-to-1, but they tail off a bit up to 10-to-1. It’s interesting to note that this gelding is named for handicapper and breeding consultant Larry Zap, whose Twitter account @LarryZapeye states that he is known “as the Eye for being able to measure quality in Thoroughbred racehorses.”

Chantal Sutherland rode Zapeye in his first three races, but she moves to #5 What a Rush. Sired by Tribal Rule, What a Rush has plenty of early speed, which I believe is disadvantageous for this class at 6-1/2 furlongs. In fact, only 16 percent of these races are won by runners who get the lead at the quarter pole. However, by what I observed watching What a Rush’s last two tries, it appears that Sutherland and trainer A.C. Avila are working with the horse to throttle back his early energy. To me, this horse appears to fit better at 6 furlongs or shorter. However, What a Rush did run an 81 Beyer figure five races ago on March 25 and he’d be tough to catch if he ran like that on Monday.

Mike Mitchell trains #6 Street Titan. Need I say more?

Mitchell, who won with a gaudy 107 of 324 runners this year — or 33 percent, took over the training of Street Titan this Fall after Ian Wilkes and Roger Attfield made a combined 10 unsuccessful attempts with him to win higher class races in the Midwest and in Canada. The fact that Street Titan is making his 13th start doesn’t bother me at all. Sure, he’s failed 12 times, but all except one of these races were for maiden special weights and at least three of those races were on the grass. Mitchell started Street Titan twice in the last two months for higher-priced claiming tags and, after troubled trips in both starts, I upgraded the horse’s Beyer figures from 65 to 70 on Nov. 3 and 64 to 69 on Dec. 1. Street Titan needs to improve a length or two to win, but the Mitchell magic is due to kick in sooner rather than later.

Finally, #10 Trando’s Tremor began his career for Dan Hendricks on Sept. 2 when he was squeezed after the start at 5-1/2 furlongs to be 12 lengths behind, but then rallied well to miss by just 3-1/2 lengths. I upgraded the Beyer from 57 to 68 to account for what I estimated to be a 4-length loss. In that race, Michael Pender claimed Trando’s Tremor for $20K and then brought him back on Oct. 6 where the gelding pressed the pace from the 11 post at 6-1/2 furlongs to miss by just a half-length. In the 10 stall on Monday, Trando’s Tremor might suffer a wide trip.

My betting strategy: If the odds on #4 Zapeye fall between 7/2 and 5/1, then I will bet $500 to win on him and $250 to win on #6 Street Titan. If the odds on Zapeye, however, are 6/1 to 9/1 then I want just $100 to win on him and $700 to win on Street Titan. If Zapeye is less than 7/2, or 10/1 or more, I’ll bet nothing on him and $800 on Street Titan.

Countdown to opening day at Santa Anita

MK back with 6-1/2 & 7-furlong maiden races in 2012

On June 25, 2008 – in the spirit of the book “My $50,000 Year at the Races”  — I started off with an imaginary bankroll of $50,000 and attempted to bet my way to $100,000 by June 25, 2009. 

The night before the races, I wrote summaries of the merits of each prospective maiden contender then designed a betting plan for the day.  When the results were in, I posted them on the site with a recap of the money that I either won or lost. 

My results were as follows:

For the year, I won 42 of the 133 races that I wagered on,  or 31.5 percent. I bet $59,715 and collected $76,495 for a profit of $16,780. My average race bet was $448 and my average payoff on the races I won was $1,821. Over the 133 races, I made $1.28 for every $1 bet for an average yield of $126 for each race wagered on.

I didn’t reach my goal of matching Andy Beyer’s $50,000 year, but even billionaire Warren Buffett would be pleased with a 28 percent annual profit.  

Almost all horseplayers know Beyer. He popularized speed figures in several books he wrote while working as a Washington Post racing scribe. In 2007, I met Beyer at a seminar and asked him how much money he won over the course of his lifetime playing horses. He said that if he told me, I would never believe him. 

In 1978, Beyer published “My $50,000 Year at the Races” after experiencing, in 1977, a dizzying year that took him on the roller coaster ride of winning $10,000 one day, while being so frustrated on another day that he bashed a hole in the Gulfstream Park press box wall. 

When the ride stopped, Beyer had won $50,664 from a beginning bankroll of just $8,000.  

On this blog, it hasn’t been all wine and roses. I’ve had some successes, yes. But I’ve also experienced setbacks.

Toward the end of the first 12-months that I was blogging, which ended in June 2009, I began to recognize that I was falling behind with the information I keep in a database. Therefore, I wasn’t betting with as much confidence and my profits were disappearing. So, in the fall of 2009, I stopped the blog and did more research. A year later in 2010 at Del Mar, my attempt to make $10,000 during the meet by wagering $1,000 a day was cut short when my results clearly showed that many of the money-making trends that were so good to me from 2008-09, weren’t working anymore.

Although I haven’t put anything on the blog in a while, I worked hard to get my information up to date and did well betting the 2011 Hollywood Park fall meet.

So, now I am back with a new theme for Maiden King.

During 2012, I plan to play every 6-1/2 and 7-furlong maiden claiming race in Southern California. Also, I will bet every maiden special weight race for 3-year-olds at these same distances.

Why only 6-1/2 and 7-furlong races?

I tend to do well in these races because most horseplayers put a premium on early speed, which is valuable in shorter sprints, but not so much at 6-1/2 and 7 furlongs. It’s amazing how many times horses who ran strong races near the lead at 6 furlongs, get nailed when stretching out an extra half furlong. In these elongated sprints, you can have the lightly-raced early speed at a short price, and I’ll take the 4-to-1 shot who is shortening up after spending his life trying to win turf routes.

Starting on opening day at Santa Anita — which is annually Dec. 26 — I will stake myself a $100,000 imaginary bankroll with the goal of making a $50,000 profit by the end of the 2012 Hollywood Park fall meet. I estimate that I’ll bet about 100 or so races, which works out to about two a week. That will give me plenty of time to handicap, write and work my day job while keeping up on my records.

Of course, I think I will have an extremely successful year and I will almost certainly be writing about some of my bets with supreme confidence. But if you read about a race on this blog, please bet conservatively because this is horse racing and the only thing certain in this game is that there are no sure things.

View from the saddle

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