Results, Santa Anita Saturday Race 5 — lost $550

Trainer Ron Ellis scored with a longshot FTS #3 Canonize

Trainer Ron Ellis scored with longshot FTS #3 Canonize

Horseplayers have core handicapping beliefs that tend to make them favor safe maidens — like recently raced runners with high Beyer numbers, while steering clear of perceived riskier types — like longshot first time starters and horses coming off long layoffs.

Thoroughbred racing is a good gambling game, because if horseplayers look closely enough, and mine enough coal, they’ll discover a few types of bets where they’ll have a long-term advantage. Of course, if bettors show a healthy profit on certain types of wagers, then other types must be huge losers.

It’s just the nature of the game. 

If the track takeout is 15 percent, not every angle over time will return 85 cents for every dollar bet. Some will return $1.25, while others just 65 cents.

And I’ve discovered one of the absolute worst bets in Southern California. It’s a first-time starter whose post time odds are below 7-to-2. So many times I see debut horses breaking slowly or not running their best until their second start. So, why take a short price?

According to my records, of the 203 first timers I have who were less than 7-to-2, just 44 of them won or 21 percent. And if you bet them all, you’d be losing 33 cents on the dollar. So, why bet any of them?

Most of these horses have high percentage jockeys and trainers, a hefty purchase price, and lots of good workouts including several bullets. Believe me, when you see one of these animals do your bank account a favor and stay away.

In Saturday’s fifth race, #10 Raymorrison was just such a beast. This first timer was hammered down to 2-to-1 by Santa Anita horseplayers, who must have been baited in by the perceived safety of Raymorrison’s six bullet workouts, decent connections and $110,000 purchase price.

Raymorrison ended up running fairly well, as he stalked the pace and hung on for second. The one positive aspect of these low-performing, heavily bet first timers is that they create opportunities for overlays on other horses in the race.

In Saturday’s race, first timers #6 Company Tiger and #11 Hidden Blessing  had long-term profitable angles going for them. And #3 Canonize was another profit fit until his price drifted out of my 7/2 to 19/1 betting zone as the horses were loading into the gate. Maybe it was the 50,000 fans onhand for the SA Derby that pushed up the price.

Anyway, Canonize ended up winning the race by open lengths for trainer Ron Ellis and he paid $49.20.

My plan was to bet $250 on #3 Canonize if his post time odds landed between 7/2 and 19/1. I would have won about $5,000 if he stayed at 19/1 but since Canonize was 23/1 my alternative plan kicked in so I did not have a nickel of website money on him. 

In the end, I ended up betting $150 on #6 Company Tiger at 9/1; and $200 on both #8 Vanquest at 5/2 and #11 Hidden Blessing at 5/1.

 To watch a replay of this race, go to

1 1 Caspian (KY) Solis A Hendricks D 15.50 5
2 2 Candy Store (KY) Nakatani C Yakteen T 21.10 10
3 3 Canonize (KY) Valdivia, Jr. J Ellis R 23.60 1
4 4 Gato Roar (KY) Baze T Mullins J 16.80 6
5 5 Ego (KY) Baze M Vargas J 50.90 9
6 6 Company Tiger (KY) Rosario J Paasch C 9.60 11
7 7 Ducane (KY) Flores D Pletcher T 13.40 8
8 8 Vanquest (NY) Garcia M Sadler J 2.60 3
9 9 Best Mon (KY) Bejarano R Harty E 13.00 7
10 10 Raymorrison (KY) Gryder A McAnally R 2.30 2
11 11 Hidden Blessing (KY) Gomez G Armstrong J 5.50 4
Pgm Win Place Show
3 $49.20 $19.00 $7.20
10 $4.20 $3.20
8 $3.00
Exotic Payoffs
$1.00 Exacta paid $119.50 (3-10)
$1.00 Pick 3 paid $758.10 (6-6-3)
$1.00 Superfecta

Saturday, Santa Anita Race 5 — 2:05 pm post time

Maiden King conquers So. Cal. maiden races

Maiden King conquers So. Cal. maiden races

Maiden Special Weight, 6 furlongs, 3-year-olds

Possible overlays                    Morning line

#3 Canonize                               8/1
#6 Company Tiger                      10/1
#7 Ducane                                 12/1
#8 Vanquest                              3/1
#11 Hidden Blessing                    5/1

Of the 11 colts and geldings running in this race, seven of them are making their first lifetime start.

Many of the first timers have been working out well, but the best potential bets are #3 Canonize, #6 Company Tiger and #11 Hidden Blessing. Both Canonize and Company Tiger are owned by connections that have good records with first-out winners. Jockey Garrett Gomez rides Hidden Blessing and he often finds himself on winning debuters at this class level.  

Of the experienced runners, #8 Vanquest’s second-place finish in his last race was a few points better than the median winning Beyer Speed Figure for this class. Vanquest ran behind Supreme Summit, who came back to win an  allowance race.

Coming off a seven-month layoff, the Todd Pletcher-trained #7 Ducane is showing a couple of good workouts. The 12-to-1 morning line seems very high to me considering Pletcher has a large following.

At the betting window, I will take $250 to win on #3 Canonize at 7/2 to 19/1; $200 on #11 Hidden Blessing at 7/2 or better and $150 on #6 Company Tiger at 7/2 to 19/1.

If either Canonize or Hidden Blessing fall out of the betting zone, then I will substitute for that horse only a $200 wager on #8 Vanquest at 2/1 or more.

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