Results, Sunday, Santa Anita Race 9 — won $530

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

1 1 Just Jumped In (CA) Smith M Spawr W 8.30 6
2 2 Husky Glory (KY) Flores D Gallagher P 8.00 4
3 3 Tiz Victorious (CA) Santiago Reyes C Moreno H 8.30 7
4 4 G Ten (KY) Talamo J Shirreffs J 3.70 8
5 5 Danceswiththewind (CA) Vergara D Becerra R 14.80 5
6 6 Knucklebuster (KY) Quinonez A Mandella R 3.90 2
8 7 Nonrefundable (KY) Espinoza V Gallagher P 2.10 1
9 8 My Top Cat (KY) Castanon A Heap B 15.90 3
SCR Oneinamillionyou (CA)    
Pgm Win Place Show
8 $6.20 $3.60 $3.00
6 $4.80 $3.80
9 $7.80
Exotic Payoffs
$0.50 Pick 4 paid $1642.35 (8-5-5-8)
$1.00 Exacta paid $10.90 (8-6)
$1.00 Pick 3 paid $99.60 (5-5-8)
$1.00 Place Pick All paid $1655.60 (9 OF 9)
$1.00 Super High Five paid $2770.00 (8-6-9-2-5)
$1.00 Superfecta paid $447.90 (8-6-9-2)
$1.00 Trifecta paid $105.70 (8-6-9)
$2.00 Daily Double paid $24.20 (5-8)
$2.00 Pick 6 paid $159.60 (2-2/3/8-8-5-5-8)
$2.00 Pick 6 paid $42173.40 (2-2/3/8-8-5-5-8)
Fractional Times
22.77, 45.55, 1:10.08, 1:23.03

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.


Saturday, Hollywood Park Race 4 — 2:30 pm post time

Maiden King conquers So. Cal. maiden races

Maiden King conquers So. Cal. maiden races

Possible overlays                         Morning line

#1 Mum Z                                              6/1
#4 Sweet Pea                                        2/1
#7 Sindyfromsantacruz                  5/2

Breaking from the rail, #1 Mum Z is a second-time starter who is adding blinkers for trainer John Shirreffs. The published purchase price is $310,000 and curiously she drops into a $40,000 claiming race after showing brief speed in her debut.

Ral Ayers is taking over the training responsibilities while Jeff Mullins serves out is suspension. Ayers saddles #4 Sweetpea who fits the profile of the type of horse that wins at this class better than any of the other runners. Sweetpea has the right running style and strong Beyer Speed Figures.

Mike Mitchell is unstoppable when his maiden claimers are bet down. Also, according to the Daily Racing Form, Mitchell’s maiden claimers won 27 of their last 76 races for a 15 percent wagering profit. Mitchell’s filly #7 Sindyfromsantacruz is dropping slightly in class after showing early speed in her only two lifetime starts.

At the window, I will bet $300 to win on #7 Sindyfromsantacruz from 3/2 to 5/2. If she does not fall into that range, then I will put $300 on #4 Sweetpea instead at 2/1 or better. Also, if #1 Mum Z’s odds fall between 5/2 and 7/1 then I will bet $150 to win on her regardless of the prices of the other two previously-mentioned horses.

© Maiden King, 2009.
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