Race of the Day, June 20
Lone Star Park, 6th Race, 5 Furlongs, Maiden Claiming $20K, 2 year olds, Purse $12K.
We’ll wrap up Maiden Claiming week here on All Day Racing with a visit to Lone Star Park, site of the 2004 Breeders Cup. You might remember that Ghostzapper was awesome. A solid card kicks off the weekend with some Friday evening action. I’ll focus on the 6th race — maiden claiming two-year olds going a short 5 furlongs.
What you need to know about 2 year old Maiden Claiming:
#1: The conventional wisdom for two-year old maiden claiming is to view every horse with skepticism. Why? Because nobody would offer a 2-year old for sale — this early in their career — if they were a decent horse. There’s some truth in this for sure, but it’s incomplete. Many of these horses typically are bred for very early speed with little stamina. They are fast-ish early, but likely won’t develop to excel beyond their two-year old campaign. They are placed in this level not because they are not good, but because this is the best place for them to win early. Offering them for sale is just part of the game for not-so-fast horses.
#2: As with all two-year old races, there are some trainers that excel at juvenile horses. Nationally, Wesley Ward comes to mind, as does Steve Asmussen and Jerry Hollendorfer. This could be a result of a special penchant for trainers youngsters, or simply be landing precocious two-year old in the barn. But, either way, past success with babies usually portends future success.
#3: While it may seem suspect to offer a young, unproven horse for sale, many horses at this level originally cost less — sometimes much less — than the claiming price. This, of course, ignores the real cost of raising a horse, but it the relationship between the purchase price/stud fee and claiming price tends to be a good measure of who might just be a bit better, especially for first-time starters.
#4: Two-year old races tend to be among the most formful of races. This goes against the conventional racetrack wisdom that young horses tend to be erratic. In fact, according to Brisnet, of the 8 of the 9 most recent winners at this level were 5/1 or lower.
Five Facts about the Runners:
- Prime Pilot (#5, 2-1) is the likely favorite. His race last time out was good enough to win here, if repeated. He drops from the maiden allowance level — along with several others. I rarely say this, but he’s a legitimate favorite!
- The entry of Nonobaby and Broken Zipper (#1-1A, 3-1) will likely scratch one. Conditioner Jack Bruner trains well with two-year old and can get it done at this level. He’s not the best with first-timers, though, and it could be difficult for either entrant today. I like Nonobaby better than Broken Zipper, with a sharp recent workout and good sprint breeding.
- Chatain Pass (#6, 10-1) has a chance to run well. Young does well with his first-time starters and there’s some decent win-early pedigree here. But up top seems like asking too much from him.
- Time for Taylor (#4, 5-1) doesn’t have the pedigree to show speed early, and likely needs more racing. Pish can win with two-year olds, but typically not first out at the claiming level.
- The entry of Witt’s Tax Day and Witt’s Runner (#2, 4-1) drop from maiden allowances. Both are a little too slow, and if the entry runs, they will likely be overbet, given their actual combined chances.
What I’m thinking of playing:
I almost always try to beat a favorite, but it’s hard to see Prime Pilot having much trouble with this group. Some decent works at the track, but more importantly, an actual earned speed rating fast enough to win here. I’ll probably try to link up in a multi-race wager — the late Pick 4 starts with this race.
Coverage starts at 9:40 ET on Twitter @alldayracing.