So I have to admit to walking around on Cloud 9 since the Prince of Wales Stakes at Fort Erie last Tuesday. The race finished in the way I predicted in last Monday’s Bettor’s Edge, which meant you could have cashed a superfecta that paid $2,020 for $1, $404 if you played it for 20-cents. How often do race analysts get to gloat about nailing something that big? You’re welcome!
Using rules to come up with my picks, I had suggested boxing these horses: 4,6,8,10,12. A 20-cent superfecta box of those five horses would have cost you $24. The race result was 10-6-8-12. In addition to the two-grand super, the $1 exactor paid $66, the $1 triactor returned $335.
I had suggested in last week’s column that #6 Kaukokaipuu at 12-1 would race better than his 15th-place finish in the Plate. After all, he was nine for 12 in the money and had a quick closing fraction in a 1 1/8-mile race (which is my rule in handicapping 1 ¼-mile races such as the King’s Plate). He just had a bad trip in the 17-horse King’s Plate. So he did finish second in the Prince of Wales, behind a horse that ran a big race at 1 1/8 mile as a two-year-old, Velocitor, whom I hadn’t given up on despite races in which he regressed.
I didn’t think I could top last year’s Queen’s Plate column where I was the only public handicapper to predict the top three finishers that produced a $200 triactor for a $1 ticket and to have done so in a 12-horse field that was filled with uncertainties — horses who have never raced on dirt, sloppy track, etc. — felt especially rewarding as you could well imagine. So I’m really, really hoping some of you played it.
So how am I going to top that? Maybe in Breeders’ Cup races using an original betting angle that I came up with after last year’s ‘Cup races. It could be huge. The Breeders’ Cup goes Nov. 3 & 4 at Santa Anita.
Overlooking a trainer change can hurt
If there ever was a case for adding a trainer-change horse to one’s wagers it was the third race yesterday afternoon at Woodbine. In only a six-horse field of $40,000 maiden claimers, the favourite finished last and, by far the longest shot in the field won the race. In fact, the race result odds looked upside down: 39.40-4.00-2.60-3.35-4.85-2.60.
The longshot winner, Wealllikedhim, had last raced in June at Belmont where he finished ninth in a $20,000 claimer and his other six lifetime starts were equally bad. So, based on that, no wonder his backers were few. But he had taken on a new trainer since then. And he had four nicely spaced workouts in which he got faster and faster. His latest was Sept. 8 in which he worked 5 furlongs in a decent 1:00.60. Wasn’t that a reason to add him to horizontal exotic wagers?
His win resulted in the 20-cent pick-5 in races 2 to 6 paying $1,394 even though two of the other legs were won by less-than-even-money favourites. Trainer changes, just like equipment changes, can obviously have a big impact.
What should have come as no surprise, though, in last week’s Woodbine races was the take-down on Thursday of the $48,990 Jackpot Hi-5 pool in the final race of the evening. It was the often-chaotic non-winners of two races lifetime condition (nw2L) and a 115-1 bombs-away horse finished fourth. The favourite and second-favourite finished one-two but it was this extreme longshot that helped produce a single 20-cent ticket with the correct top-five finishers in the race.
While some players might avoid playing this race condition, others might take a shot for the very reason that they have a better chance to win the entire jackpot than in a race condition that usually has more predictable results.
Here’s a warning as ASD race meet comes to an end
So tonight, tomorrow night and Wednesday night are the final race cards at Assiniboia Downs, which merits a warning to players: this is the time trainers empty their stalls of horses even though some of them might not be as competitive as they once were. Trainers get $200 just for entering horse in a race, so that could be reason enough to enter a horse one more time.
So how do players know which horses to be cautious about backing? Generally speaking, using past years as a guide, horses that haven’t raced for a month or more might be suspect. Most horses race every two or three weeks, so a longer absence might be a sign the horse still might not be ready for a top performance.
Such heavily-backed horses in previous end-of-season races have finished up the track — so have a care.
ASD races go to post at 7:30 p.m. with two stakes races tonight and tomorrow. The stakes races feature 2-year-olds, top fillies and mares and the best horses on the grounds. The highlight of the closing card Wednesday will be the mandatory payout of the 20-cent Jackpot Pick 5 that sits at $112K and should grow to about $700K..
One more thing: To mark ASD’s 65th anniversary, Global television produced a wonderfully-edited piece on the history of racing in Manitoba which includes rarely seen black-and-white photos and video. It’s well worth watching and you can do so here.