Results, Del Mar Friday Race 9 — lost $500

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Trainer Mike Mitchell and owner Desperado Stables cashed on $16.80 winner #6 Wicked Mischief

Sometimes horse racing is just horse racing. But other times it’s more like a poker game.

And nobody’s better at playing the poker side of it than Mike Mitchell. Over the years, Mitchell has made his name as a savvy claiming trainer. And sometimes trainers must drop valuable horses in class for easy wins. If they only dropped the bad ones, then nobody would claim off of them. 

So, in order to sell a horse with problems, other trainers must believe that they are claiming a good runner and getting a great bargain.

In Friday’s $25,000 maiden claimer, Mitchell saddled first-time starter #6 Wicked Mischief. I became curious because somebody, it seemed, spent serious money on this horse as a yearling and now it was being risked for just $25,000. In Wicked Mischief’s past performances, it showed that a winning bidder in 2005 either paid $160,000 for the horse at the Keeneland September auction, or the owners at the time bought it back for that price.

The stud fee alone for sire Distorted Humor is $150,000, which was six times the claiming price for Friday’s race.

Furthermore, Wicked Mischief was a 5-year-old and had yet to run his first race. But somebody was paying years of bills for this gelding, who must have suffered from serious problems at one time.

On the other hand, current owner Desperado Stables could have recently bought this horse privately from the original bidder for $15,000. It’s hard to tell.  

Anyway, Mitchell and the Desperado Stables partners probably concluded that it was unlikely that anybody would take a chance and claim Wicked Mischief. So they ran him in an easy spot.

It was the best of all worlds. This horse’s well-documented problems allowed the connections to cash an easy bet at excellent odds while picking up a purse of more than $11,000. All of this with a horse that was vastly superior to his competition and had little chance of being claimed.

In the race, jockey Joel Rosario took Wicked Mischief to the back of the pack then he made a move 7-wide on the turn toward the leaders. In the stretch, the others were no match.

Wicked Mischief paid $16.80 and nobody dropped a claim.

In my race preview, I liked Wicked Mischief , but only at odds of 3/1 to 6/1. I figured if the horse was live then the stable would be betting. Wicked Mischief opened cold on the board at 12/1 or so then the money gradually came in before he closed at 7/1. I spread a total of $500 on three other horses — #7 Sven Diesel at 4/1, #10 Megillah at 7/2 and #11 Hotsie at 15/1.

To watch a replay of this race, go to www.calracing.com.

PGM PP# NAME JOCKEY TRAINER ODDS FN
1 1 Donthaveatizzy (CA) Baze T Palma H 9.40 7
2 2 Giveitagomate (CA) Kaenel K Kitchingman A 17.80 10
3 3 Bert’s too Kinky (CA) Blanc B McCarthy S 49.80 9
4 4 Classical Bartok (CA) Pedroza M Papaprodromou G 71.70 8
5 5 Born to Cus (CA) Talamo J O’Neill D 12.80 6
6 6 Wicked Mischief (KY) Rosario J Mitchell M 7.40 1
7 7 Sven Diesel (KY) Quinonez A Eurton P 4.20 2
9 8 Fiery Rebel (KY) Gomez G Knapp S 2.20 5
10 9 Megillah (CA) Espinoza V Kruljac J 3.90 3
11 10 Hotsie (FL) Nakatani C Hess, Jr. R 15.60 4
12 11 Warren’s Deputy (CA) Arambula P Gutierrez J 72.80 12
13 12 Worlds Apart (CA) Santiago Reyes C Lewis C 24.90 11
SCR De Brief Me (CA) Baze M Puype M
SCR Swingin Jim (CA)    
 
Pgm Win Place Show
6 $16.80 $8.00 $5.80
7 $5.60 $4.40
10 $4.60
 
Exotic Payoffs
$1.00 Exacta paid $46.10 (6-7)
$1.00 Pick 3 paid $609.10 (6-10-6)

Friday, Del Mar Race 9 — 7 pm post time

Maiden King conquers So. Cal. maiden races

Maiden King conquers So. Cal. maiden races

Possible overlays                 Morning line

#1 Donthaveatizzy                         10/1
#5 Born to Cus                               8/1
#6 Wicked Mischief                         8/1
#7 Sven Diesel                               8/1
#9 Fiery Rebel                                7/2
#10 Megillah                                   9/2
#11 Hotsie                                      8/1

This race has many possible winners and I will be paying close attention to the odds board for further clues.

The horse who has the best past performances is #9 Fiery Rebel.  On June 19, he was wide on the turn, so I adjusted his 72 Beyer Speed Figure to 76. then on July 3, Fiery Rebel shot to a 2-1/2 length lead down the backstretch and kept that margin into the stretch in a 7-furlong race, only to lose by a nose at the wire. He still ran an 80 Beyer and if the race was a half a furlong shorter, his speed figure likely would have been better. Jockey Felipe Valdez, who went too wide on June 19 then too fast too early on July 3, is being replaced today by Garrett Gomez — a huge upgrade.

One training move Robert Hess seems to excel at is bringing maiden claimers off layoffs. He saddles #11 Hotsie and I will like this son of Flame Thrower more if the betting action is hot. 

However, jockey Victor Espinoza jumps off Hotsie to ride #10 Megillah. This Erik Kruljac trainee ran two credible races in the Spring at Santa Anita and is coming off a four-month layoff. My figures scream at me not to bet this horse, but in the Daily Racing Form I see that Kruljac won with six of his last 20 runners who were off from 61-180 days. And the average payoff for those runners was 7-to-2. Also, Kruljac and Espinoza won with nine of their last 36 and anybody who bet them all would be have gotten $1.76 for every $1 wagered.

One of the quickest horses in the race is #5 Born to Cus. I am throwing his last race out as jockey Joel Rosario took him to the lead then merely breezed him from the turn to the wire. On May 22, this 3-year-old showed good speed in a 7-furlong race before tiring, then on June 21 he came with a nice 4-wide rally. Today’s 6 furlong distance fits this gelding’s running style and, although he’s never run better than a 68, I believe Born to Cus can run a low-to-mid 70’s Beyer Speed Figure.

The key to the rail horse, #1 Donthaveatizzy — a second-time starter who has been laid off for a year — will be his post time odds. If Donthaveatizzy is 10-to-1 or higher I don’t think he’ll run well. But he’s dangerous if bet to 2/1 to 7/2 and has an outside chance at 4/1 to 9/1.

Finally, two first time starters deserve a long look. The first is #6 Wicked Mischief, whose listed purchase price at the Keeneland September sale is $160,000. Today, Wicked Mischief is entered for just $25,000, but Rosario is riding this one instead of Born to Cus and trainer Mike Mitchell has a great winning percentage in maiden claiming sprints for older horses.

The second debuter is #7 Sven Diesel. Usually, I would not consider a first time starter in these types of races, but Sven Diesel’s trainer Peter Eurton has won with two first timers in three tries at this class. Larry Zap, who purchases horses with Eurton, wrote today on his Twitter page: “(Sven Diesel is) something to root for and maybe bet a couple $$ on…little guy can run a little.” 

My wagering possibilities are many, so I am ranking my horses in order of preference. So if more than one horse fits into the following betting zones, then I will bet the top three horses in this ranking order #9 Fiery Rebel, #5 Born to Cus, #7 Sven Diesel, #10 Megillah, #11 Hotsie and #6 Wicked Mischief.

If #11 Hotsie is 2/1 to 7/2 then I will bet $200 to win on him, but if he is 4/1 to 9/1 then my bet reduces to $150. At 10/1 and up, I’ll bet just $50.

On #10 Megillah, I will take $150 to win at odds of 3/1 to 8/1 only. As for #9 Fiery Rebel, I want $200 to win at 5/2 and up.

At 4/1 and up, I will take $150 to win on #5 Born to Cus. At 3/1 to 6/1, I will bet $150 on #6 Wicked Mischief and $200 on #7 Sven Diesel at 7/2 to 11/1.

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