Connecticut has a pedigree but hasn’t made a deep run since 2014. Florida Atlantic plays in a small gym on a campus that’s an owl sanctuary. San Diego State got in on a free throw. And Miami’s coach likes his self-help advice.
Over the last few years, a good bet when looking for first-time starters in maiden special weight races for 2-year-olds and 3-year-olds has been to find top trainers running early foals with good workouts that are going off at decent prices.
In this race, four trainers are winning more than 20 percent of their races for the year: Bob Baffert, Carla Gaines, Jerry Hollendorfer and John Sadler. Their fillies scheduled to go to post in this race all have good workouts and were born in January, February and March.
The morning line maker has them all priced somewhere between 5/2 and 4/1. Of course, all I care about are the odds at post time and I will take whatever horses the public gives me.
I will bet $500 to win on the two highest-odds horses that are between 7/2 and 9/1 among #1 Blaze Along, #5 Lofty Ambition, #6 Dearly Concerned and #7 Candid Ride.
The kind of Southern California first-time starters that have consistently done the best since 2006 are the ones that were early foals, had 20 percent-plus trainers, ran more than two fast workouts and went off at odds between 7/2 to 9/1.
In here, Carla Gaines trains one such animal in #5 Runflatout. All that’s needed for a wager is at least 7/2 odds, however Runflatout is just 3/1 on the morning line.
Breaking just outside of Runflatout is #6 Real Heart, who will be saddled by Jerry Hollendorfer. This gelding has almost all of the qualities of a promising debuter with the only drawback being that his morning line of 15/1 suggests that he’ll be more than 10/1.
John Sadler has an excellent record with young, first-out maiden special weight runners. But with only a couple of good workouts showing, I’ll need at least 10/1 on his colt, #11 Diamond Touch.
At 5-1/2 furlongs, early speed is extremely important. On July 18, jockey David Flores tried to wire a nine-horse field with #4 Doughboy, but Smash ran him down. On Sunday, Smash is scheduled to run in the Best Pal Stakes.
Doughboy earned a respectable Beyer Speed Figure of 67 that day, but he may need to show improvement today because the median winning Beyer for this class is 76.
At 7/2 to 9/1, I will bet $500 on #5 Runflatout. Also, I want $300 to win on #6 Real Heart at 7/2 to 19/1 and $200 to win on #11 Diamond Touch at 10/1 to 19/1.
If the odds on either Real Heart or Diamond Touch are outside of the window, then I will move their money onto Runflatout. So, it’s possible that I could have $1,000 on Runflatout if he’s at least 7/2.
But if Runflatout is less than 7/2, then instead of him, I will put $300 to win on #4 Doughboy at 5/2 and above.
#2 Great Home 3/1
#4 Temerity 5/2
#6 Greely’s Ghost 12/1
In this seven-horse field, I think #2 Great Home and #4 Temerity have good chances to win at decent odds. On April 29, Great Home was tugging jockey Joel Rosario, which suggests his best distance is probably shorter than the 1-1/16 miles he was running.
Today, trainer Neil Drysdale enters him at this shorter 6-1/2 furlong distance where his lack of speed won’t hurt him and his good late kick fits the winning profile. Great Home has the best last race Beyer Speed Figure, which happens to also be the best Beyer overall.
But Temerity probably ran the best race by any of the runners in here. On Feb. 7, Temerity broke toward the back of the pack in a maiden special weight sprint. On the turn, he came running about seven paths wide and despite the bad trip Temerity still earned an 80 Beyer Speed Figure. Temerity’s race could easily be adjusted to an 88 figuring that he’ll be no wider than the three path today.
As recently as a few years ago, Carla Gaines had one of the highest win percentages with second-time starters. She hasn’t been as successful with these types recently, but #6 Greely’s Ghost looks like the type that could improve dramatically enough to win.
Greely’s Ghost is moving down in class and has at least one quick workout. I’ll like him more if he gets betting action.
I am hoping that the public pounds #5 Loyal Son, who ran an 81 Beyer on July 5. This gelding, who is 5-to-2 on the morning line, hugged the rail that day and had a good trip.
It is difficult for me to separate Great Home and Temerity. But trainer Ron Ellis has had much more success in sprints than Neil Drysdale, so I am leaning toward Temerity.
Anyway, my plan is to bet $250 Temerity at 2/1 to 7/2. But if Temerity is bet outside the zone then instead I will bet $200 on Great Home at 2/1 or more.
Also, if Greely’s Ghost is between 5/1 and 9/1, then I will put $100 on him.
The median winning Beyer Speed Figure for this class is 59, but none of the fillies in this race has run better than a 44.
Three second-time starters — #1 Escape Plan, #11 Rose S. and #12 Goldeneh Medina — may improve. But I think the three first time starters are better bets.
Owner Harris Farms, who won with debuting 7-to-2 shot John Scott on Sunday, sends out first time runner #2 Storm Needed. And trainer Carla Gaines has a great record when her first timers go off at odds of 3/1 to 9/1.
Carla Gaines, who won with debuter John Scott on Sunday, trains FTS #2 Storm Needed
Another owner that does well with first timers is Tommy Town Thoroughbreds. They’re employing trainer John Sadler today to saddle #9 Royalty Gone Wild.
It’s curious that #3 Private Valentine shows up at Del Mar. This Washington-bred switched circuits from the Peg. training track, which I’m unfamiliar with. Every now and then one of these outsiders comes to San Diego and lights up the tote in its first lifetime run.
In her second career race on July 16, #10 Sheskey was bet to 3-to-1 in an eight-horse field, and that was despite her low-profile connections. She showed good speed that day and might be a play at proper odds.
I will bet $200 on #2 Storm Needed but only at 3/1 to 9/1 and $150 on #9 Royalty Gone Wild at 7/2 to 9/1. However, if Royalty Gone Wild breaks into the 10/1 to 19/1 zone they I’ll bump my bet on her to $200.
Also, if #3 Private Valentine is 10/1 to 19/1 then I’ll wager $150 to win on her. Finally, if either Storm Needed or Royalty Gone Wild are 10/1 or greater then I’ll put $150 to win on #10 Sheskey at 3/1 or more.
In this race, jockey Garrett Gomez was riding the 9-to-5 morning line favorite #3 Bench the Judge. This colt was making its second start and had performed well in its July 5 debut.
Maybe if Bench the Judge was 5-to-2 or more I would have considered him, but with Gomez it wasn’t difficult to forecast this colt’s minuscule 4-to-5 post time odds. And that made it easy to look elsewhere for the winner.
I had a few possibilities: The owner of #6 Runaway Bandido, Judi Partridge, won with a couple of debuters from a limited sample and Carla Gaines, the trainer of #5 John Scott, has a good record when her first-timers get betting action.
I also saw a few things to like in other debuters #10 L’Il Charlie Rose, #11 Twenty Hawks and #1A Full Effect.
I was waiting for odds of 10/1 to 19/1 on #6 Runaway Bandido, #10 Charlie Rose and #11 Twenty Hawks. With a minute to post they were all in the range, so I bet them and #5 John Scott, who fell into my 3/1 to 9/1 parameter.
Runaway Bandido broke toward the back of the back, but came with a huge run in the stretch to briefly hold the lead with 100 yards to go. He almost gave me a giant payoff, as he clicked up to 21-to-1 in the final flash. Of course, I couldn’t have claimed the win on the blog, but real money is OK, too.
However, John Scott’s jockey Victor Espinoza was also hitting the gas in the stretch and that colt outran Runaway Bandido to the wire. Favorite Bench the Judge led at the top of the lane, but faded to third.
I had $150 on John Scott and collected $720, however subtracting out my three $150 wagers left me with only a $270 profit.
Maiden special weight, 5-1/2 furlongs, 2 year olds
Possible overlaysMorning line
#5 John Scott 4/1
#6 Runaway Bandido 20/1
#10 L’il Charlie Rose 20/1
#11 Twenty Hawks 8/1
#1A Full Effect 7/2
The 9-to-5 morning line favorite #3 Bench the Judge ran well on July 5 when he finished third in a race where the second-place horse, Lion’s Story, came back to win on Saturday. He’s legitimate, but with Garrett Gomez riding, Bench the Judge will almost certainly be overbet.
Therefore, I will look to one of the first time starters to run a monster race. Carla Gaines trains #5 John Scott and she wins with a large percentage of debuters that go off at less than 8/1. So, it appears that this barn bets the good ones.
Judi Partridge owns #6 Runaway Bandido. She won with two of her last three first-time starters, and they were both trained by Rafael Becerra.
It’s possible that trainer Doug O’Neill may be sitting on a good one with #10 L’Il Charlie Rose. O’Neill will also saddle Bench the Judge and I’ve seen this scenerio played out all too many times. The trainer puts two horses in the race and they both run well, but the longer price defeats the chalk.
Also, trainer Mike Harrington is dangerous when he both owns and trains a Swiss Yodler 2-year-old. No doubt, Harrington has an excellent record first time out with these types, but most of the winners came at 4-1/2 furlongs.
Finally, #11 Twenty Hawks is a good bet if the price is right.
At 10/1 to 19/1, I will bet $150 to win on #6 Runaway Bandido, #10 L’Il Charlie Rose and #11 Twenty Hawks. At 3/1 to 9/1, I’ll put $150 on #5 John Scott.
I won’t bet #1A if he’s still part of the entry with #1 Zees Echo. But if Zees Echo is scratched, then I’ll bet $150 on 1A Full Effect at 10/1 to 19/1.
Maiden claiming $40,000, 6 furlongs, 3 yo and up, F
Possible overlays Morning line
#1 Brilliant Response 3/1
#5 Hannah’s Moment 6/1
#9 Angel of Mystery 6/1
#12 Lady Alex 7/2
Jockey Rafael Bejarano chooses to keep the mount on #1 Brilliant Response after that one ran poorly coming off a nine-month layoff on May 23. The filly, who is trained by Carla Gaines, has positive long-term angles going for it if betting action shows up.
Also, Gaines’ is only a 12 percent trainer this year, but she wins at 29 percent over the last two years when Bejarano rides.
Two second-time starters look good at the right price. Both #9 Angel of Mystery and #12 Lady Alex have been working out well and they ran decently in their debuts.
Finally, #5 Hannah’s Moment deserves a chance because she has the kind of good early speed that wins at 6 furlongs.
At 2/1 to 7/2, I will bet $300 on #1 Brilliant Response. If she falls out of the betting range, then I will put $150 on #5 Hannah’s Moment at 3/1 or higher, and $200 on both #9 Angel of Mystery and #12 Lady Alex at 5/2 to 7/1 only.
There are two $40,000 maiden claiming races for fillies and mares today and the Harris Farms-Carla Gaines-Rafael Bejarano team has a good shot to win them both.
Gaines trains #4 Brilliant Response, who ran decently in two maiden special weight races last summer at Del Mar. Today, she’ll try to win off a nine-month layoff.
Gaines is OK off a layoff, but trainer Brian Koriner is outstanding when the layoff horses he saddles are getting bet. Koriner trains #1 Extended, who has been idle for almost a year, but looks to have the best early speed and that’s important at 5-1/2 furlongs.
I will bet $400 to win on #1 Extended at 2/1 to 7/2, but $200 at 4/1 or better. If #4 Brilliant Response is in the 2/1 to 7/2 range then I will bet $300 to win on her, but only if Extended is either 4/1 or more or 9/5 or less.
Of the nine horses going to post, three of them are first-time starters. I will let them beat me if they’re good enough.
Two fillies in here look strikingly similar. Both #6 Asanti and #9 Gold Image are coming off long recent layoffs, they’ve run close to the median winning Beyer Speed Figure for this class, and both have the right running style.
Gold Image has great connections. Over the years, the Harris Farms-Carla Gaines team won plenty of maiden claiming sprints in Southern California, but they have recently underperformed. Also, jockey Rafael Bejarano won on 15 of the last 51 horses he’s ridden for Gaines, or 29 percent.
But Gold Image is likely to be overbet, which is why I’ll probably have my money on Asanti.
Another possibility is #4 She’s Very Rare. She was off slowly in her only start and now Garrett Gomez takes the mount. Also, trainer Donald Warren won with four of his last 17 second-time starters.
I will bet $250 to win on #6 Asanti or #9 Gold Image at 2/1 to 7/2 only. If both fall into the betting zone, then I will put my money on whoever is longer and wager nothing on the lower-priced one.
Also, I want $100 on #4 She’s Very Rare regardless of the prices on Asanti and Gold Image.
Maiden Special Weight, 6-1/2 furlongs, 3 yo’s and up
Possible overlaysMorning line
#9 Raise the River 7/2
#12 Grazen 6/1
#13 Charlie and Chris 6/1
It seems to me that horses coming off layoffs don’t do well in races like this and neither do first time starters.That leaves me with one big stick out here: #9 Raise the River.
In his last race, Raise the River ran a 92 Beyer Speed Figure while missing by a nose. In seven races, his odds have never been higher than 5-to-2, so the 7-to-2 morning line looks a bit unrealistic even in a 13-horse field. I think bettors will see that big last race Beyer and knock him below 3/1. Bejarano, who has won on 15 of the last 46 Carla Gaines horse he has ridden, will not help the price either.
Mike Mitchell trains #12 Grazen and his second-time starters win at a 39 percent clip, although most of them are maiden claimers. Also, rider Garrett Gomez has won on 21 of the last 56 Mitchell horses he has ridden.
With any improvement and a good trip, #13 Charlie and Chris can get there. He ran an 83 Beyer Speed Figure on Feb. 26, which fits in well here as the median figure needed to win this type of race is an 86.
I will bet $200 to win on #9 Raise the River at 2/1 and up and $150 to win on #12 Grazen at 3/1 or higher. If Raise the River falls below 2/1 then I’ll bet $100 on #13 Charlie and Chris at 7/2 or higher.
Of the nine horses in this race, three of them are first-time starters — and I don’t like any of them. That leaves six fillies and mares of which #3 Ruffled Feathers looks to have the best chance to win.
This Patrick Gallagher-trained filly drastically upgrades jockeys from Danny Sorenson to Garrett Gomez and is on the improve. On March 29, Ruffled Feathers lost ground when she walked out of the gate then swang ultra-wide into the turn. Because of the bad trip, I adjusted her 69 Beyer Speed Figure to a 74, which is in the range of what it takes to win a race of this class.
Irridescent Red, #5, ran against Ruffled Feathers last time and she finished second in that March 29 race. She set the pace and beat Ruffled Feathers by a half a length at the wire.
Coming off a 10-month layoff, #6 Gold Image has great connections. She’s owned by Harris Farms which gives all of their best horses to Carla Gaines. Over the years, Gaines has won with many second timers coming off long layoffs and her winning percentage with jockey Rafael Bejarano is outstanding.
I will bet $250 to win on #3 Ruffled Feathers at 5/2 or more, and $200 to win on #6 Gold Image between the odds of 3/1 and 5/1 only. If Ruffled Feather’s post time odds are 2/1 or less then I will instead bet $150 on #5 Irridescent Red.
Trainer Carla Gaines and jockey Rafael Bejarano won with 14 of their last 43 horses
What threw me off on #3 Indomitable was she was showing a purchase price of $210,000, but she was dropping into a race for $32,000 claimers.
And it’s not like she had run five times and never came close. This was only her second start and she showed speed in her debut, yet the owner was still giving up on her.
No question that Indomitable had a couple of things in her favor, as trainer Carla Gaines has won regularly with second timers over the last decade, and Gaines has a high winning percentage when using jockey Rafael Bejarano.
But, at 2-to-1 on Indomitable, I instead opted for #5 To Hot for You, who was coming off an eight month layoff for Mike Mitchell. Also, I liked #10 Humane who ran a monster race in her Feb. 5 debut, but hasn’t duplicated it now in three tries.
In the race, both Humane and To Hot for You were plugging away four lengths behind #2 Touch Me Babe, who set the pace until the top of the stretch. Indomitable, who tracked the leader all the way, then moved strongly to the lead while both Humane and To Hot for You tried fruitlessly to catch her.
I bet $400 on #5 To Hot for You at 5/2 and $250 on #10 Humane at 5/1.
Trainer Carla Gaines teamed with jockey Rafael Bejarano to win with a first timer
While watching the tote board during the betting of this race, I was curious about why the odds on #5 Irridescent Red were so high. I commented to someone that #6 Humane was 6-to-1 and she had run a 59 Beyer Speed Figure in her only race, while Irridescent Red was nearly 20-to-1 and she probably had better early speed and ran a 67 Beyer in her debut.
If Irridescent Red looked that bad then somebody should have told the horse, because this 19-to-1 shot had winning on her mind. Jockey Aaron Gryder made a clear easy lead with her on the backstretch, then turning for home, race caller Trevor Denman said encouragingly “Irridescent Red goes on, leads it by three.”
But then first-time starter Excessive Blend, at 9-to-2, started gobbling up ground with huge strides and by midstretch it was clear that nobody was going to beat her. Irridescent Red, however, held onto second.
Carla Gaines, who trains Excessive Blend, worked this filly out slowly, but the horse did go a quick 4 furlongs in 48 seconds on March 3. In my opinion — after looking at the breeding, the connections and the workouts in the DRF — Excessive Blend’s odds were much too low for a wager.
Majority leadership of both legislative houses of the New York government released proposed budget resolutions on Tuesday that include endorsements for a plan to loan the New York Racing Association hundreds of millions of dollars so that the association can remodel Belmont Park.
If the odds were to believed, the Angels Flight Stakes, a 6 1/2-furlong test on the turf at Santa Anita for 3-year-old fillies would set the scene for a dramatic clash between 4-5 favorite Manhattan Jungle and second favorite Teena Ella (3-1).
Franco captured his fourth winter meet riding title at Aqueduct, posting 63 wins at the meet that ran from Jan. 1 to March 26. Rice paced all trainers with 37 wins, while Windylea Farm secured their first NYRA-circuit owners title with 12 wins.