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.