Saturday, Hollywood Park Race 10 — 5:11 pm

Maiden King conquers So. Cal. maiden races

Maiden King conquers So. Cal. maiden races

Maiden $25,000, 6 furlongs, 3 yo’s and up

Possible overlays              Morning line

#1 Atlantic Victory                8/1
#2 Fire Scout                       9/2
#3 Reiterate                        15/1
#6 Jamieson                         7/2
#7 Dirt Diver                         6/1
#8 El Noche                          8/1

Howard Zucker trains #6 Jamieson and if he has this colt at his best off a year layoff then this race will be over very quickly. Jaimeson showed good speed in February of 2008 when he missed by a neck in a maiden claiming $40,000 contest. These days, he’s showing nothing but slow workouts, but Zucker may have intentionally kept things at a snail’s pace to keep away pari-mutuel attention on race day.

Another coming off a recent layoff is #2 Fire Scout, who showed early speed on April 29 before fading in the stretch. Trainer Brian Koriner switches jockeys to Joe Talamo, and together they have an outstanding record. In 2008-09, the Koriner-Talamo team combined for 32 wins out of 141 runners, or 23 percent. Betting all 141 runners yielded $1.24 for every $1 wagered. 

Two recently raced maidens who could hit the wire first are #1 Atlantic Victory and #7 Dirt Diver. Atlantic Victory would need to improve by only a length or two off his April 2 Beyer Speed Figure of 66 to win, while Dirt Diver’s debut might be good enough to get the job done.

Longshot possibilities include second-time starter #8 El Noche, who popped out of the gate first in a 7 furlong race on May 16 and he adds blinkers today. Also, low-profile trainer Richard Rosales saddles first timer #5 Reiterate. Rosales doesn’t win many, but when he does the tote board lights up like a Christmas tree.

I will bet $400 on #6 Jamieson at 2/1 to 7/2, but just $300 at 4/1 to 9/1. Also, I’ll take $250 on #2 Fire Scout at 2/1 to 5/1 only.

If either Jamieson or Fire Scout is bet below 2/1, then I will substitute $150 to win on #7 Dirt Diver at 7/2 or greater. Also, only if Jamieson or Fire Scout are below 2/1, I will take $50 longshot plays on #5 Reiterate and #8 El Noche at 6/1 or more.

Alex Solis’ boot got stuck, if only I knew

When handicapping a race, the Daily Racing Form is a nice blueprint, but by no means do Beyer Speed Figures, half mile times and beaten lengths tell the whole story. 

A horse who ran a low Beyer in his last, or who didn’t seem to fire, may still run huge today. As any horseplayer knows, crazy things happen that cause horses to run poorly.

For example, the saddle sometimes slips, jockeys lose their irons, horses take heat strokes, and sometimes the wackier ones try to jump the inner rail. More commonly, losing contenders get caught up in speed duels, go wide on turns, or get blocked in the stretch. 

So, a margin of safety is in order. Personally, I will not bet a maiden in Southern California at less than 2-to-1, and I prefer 7-to-2 to 9-to-1.

Using handicapping tools, we can get a good idea about a lot of things that will happen during the race. And that information can be used to judge who the contenders are and what odds we need for a bet.

But no matter how hard horseplayers work, some valuable information will be known only to a few insiders. And there’s nothing unfair or dishonest about it. These jockeys, trainers and owners are simply in position to know some things that almost all horseplayers will not be privy to.

An example of this happened in the ninth race at Santa Anita on Jan. 19.

Jazzin Razz, a 3-year-old gelding, was making his second lifetime start in a $32,000 maiden claiming race at 7 furlongs. In his debut on Dec. 14, Jazzin Razz was 52-to-1 and broke 10 lengths behind 12 other runners. The comment in the Daily Racing Form said “hesitated, off slowly.”

His Beyer Speed Figure was a lowly 38, which is a far cry from the median winning figure for the class of 69. So, Jazzin Razz looked like an automatic throwout.

However, trainer Richard Rosales added blinkers to Jazzin Razz, dropped him slightly in class, and on Jan. 19 the horse sat just off the pace, took the lead in the stretch and was all out to win by a nose.

He paid $32.80.

After the race, Jazzin Razz’ owner and breeder Shirley Girvin found this blog and read my summary of the race. She commented to me that Jazzin Razz’s full sister Razi’s Star also paid a big price of $58 when she broke her maiden back in 2007.

Girvin and her husband Russell operate a small California breeding business and are trying to prove their stallion Raz Lea, who sired Jazzin Razz, by themselves. To date, Raz Lea, who is a son of Arazi, has sired eight runners with four winners, she said in the email.

Then she explained why Jazzin Razz’s debut went so poorly.

“In Jazzin’s first race, the reason he got such a late start was because Alex Solis, through no fault of his own, got his boot caught in the starting gate,” Girvin wrote.

Well, that was very important to know. Because 10 lengths at 6 furlongs equates to 25 Beyer points and if that is added to Jazzin Razz’s 38 it gives him a 63. And that makes him a contender at the juicy price of 15-to-1.

Solis’ boot got stuck. Such flukes happen in racing, and some things are not possible to know. And just because Jazzin Razz had problems in his  debut, didn’t mean he was going to win second time out. It just made him a good bet.

Obviously, we’re playing a game with imperfect information, so we need solid prices to make up for all of the things we don’t know, and for all of the races our ignorance will certainly cause us to lose.

Results, Santa Anita Monday Race 9 — lost $600

Jockey Clinton Potts broke #8 Jazzin Razz alertly, which led to victory

Jockey Clinton Potts broke #8 Jazzin Razz alertly, which led to victory

In his debut race on Dec. 14, Jazzin Razz  dwelt at the start to spot the field 10 lengths, essentially losing all chance. But on Monday, trainer Richard Rosales equipped #8 Jazzin Razz with blinkers and jockey Clinton Potts encouraged the gelding to run early.

At 15-to-1, Jazzin Razz responded by breaking well and he ran with the leading group on the backstretch. Jazzin Razz took the lead in the stretch then won a tight photo finish over the fast-closing #5 You Wood.

Jazzin Razz’s trainer Rosales won just six of 78 races in 2008 and was 0-for-5 this year. But maiden long shot players know him well. Somebody posting as MagicHorseman on Pace said that Rosales trained two maiden claiming bombs that came in in 2007. The first was a $58.80 winner named Razi’s Star on Feb. 28, 2007, and the second was H.E.’s Girl, which paid $133.60 on Nov. 9, 2007.

I considered betting four horses in this race and ended up with three of them. I bet $200 on #5 You Wood, #9 Zephaniah and #12 Hurley’s Way. You Wood missed by a nose at 5-to-1 and #12 Hurley’s Way was only a head behind You Wood after going very wide on the turn.

To watch a replay of this race, go to

1 1 Suspect (CA) Sutherland C Metz J 23.50 5
2 2 Bert’s too Kinky (CA) Blanc B McCarthy S 46.00 8
5 3 You Wood (KY) Bejarano R Cerin V 5.00 2
6 4 Rise Above (CA) Espinoza V Stute M 1.70 9
7 5 Mont La Salle (FL) Quinonez A Garcia V 40.00 4
8 6 Jazzin Razz (CA) Potts C Rosales R 15.40 1
9 7 Zephaniah (CA) Nakatani C Moger, Jr. E 4.90 7
11 8 Blue You’re My Boy (CA) Sorenson D Gutierrez J 21.10 6
12 9 Hurley’s Way (OH) Baze T Baffert B 2.40 3
SCR Bartok’s Magic (CA)    
SCR Renzo Sean (CA) Baze M Ellis R
SCR Delmando (CA)    
Pgm Win Place Show
8 $32.80 $10.60 $6.60
5 $7.20 $4.20
12 $3.60
Exotic Payoffs
$1.00 Exacta paid $108.30 (8-5)
$1.00 Pick 3 paid $901.80 (1-6-8)
$1.00 Pick 4 paid $8228.30 (4-1-6-8)
$1.00 Place Pick All paid $3447.50 (8 OF 9)
$1.00 Super High Five paid $67192.70 (8-5-12-7-1)
$1.00 Trifecta paid $500.20 (8-5-12)
$2.00 Daily Double paid $208.60 (6-8)
$2.00 Pick 6 paid $653603.00 (8-2-4-1-6-8)
$2.00 Pick 6 paid $8442.20 (8-2-4-1-6-8)
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