Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Mincing Through Maidens

Maiden Special Weight and Maiden Claiming races are very common on even the most elite circuit. Some handicappers pass the races because the form gives very few clues, others blindly go with connections but there are a few clues about horses you should be staying away from.

Copy That is almost a textbook example for handicappers to study for good bet against prospects in maiden races.

He is superbly well bred and sold for a decent price as a yearling. He is a full brother to Distaff winner Spain and sold for $550k as a yearling. On paper he looks like the kind of horse you'd try to win the Derby with. He's got championship dirt routing pedigree. But obviously he had a problem as a 2yo because he did not make it into the gate until May of his 3yo year. Pletcher and Scatuorchio are win early connections, he wouldn't have sat out for no reason.

It's also worth noting that trainers don't typically put their prized maidens in grass races unless they're well bred for it or unless the trainers last name is Sheppard or Toner. Turf races is where good trainers put horses who have failed to show them anything in the morning. So always be wary of high priced maidens who are bred for the dirt but are starting on the Turf. It's usually the trainers signal that they aren't expecting very much.

Copy That was also running as a part of an entry in his debut. His entrymate Three Lions had flashed moderate ability but was a bit of a headcase but still Pletcher's main rider Johnny V was on board him instead of the regally bred Copy That. Another sign that the connections really didn't think much of him.

An even worse sign is that after just two races (one where he flashed some speed and finished decently) his connections were willing to sell him for less than 10% of their purchase price. That's called cutting your losses.

To pretty much seal the deal he's been in maiden claiming turf races for 3 starts now and no one has wanted him. Connections even had the option of selling him for $45k or $40k in his last and they chose $40k.

Ever since he made it to the races every move his connections have made have indicated that he is horse who is going no where.

Copy That did manage to actually win the race that is linked at the top of the page but all these signs were evident early on and would have saved you money in his first 4 starts. $40k maiden claimers is the level he truly belonged at and his connections suspected that from the outset it just took a few outings for them to be willing to lock in a loss on him.

Aspiring handicappers would be well advised to write down some of these factors. You see them over and over and they can usually save you from putting money on a bad horse early in their career.

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