good thing about having an inquisitive client base for my weekly SOUTHERN
CALIFORNIA HORSES TO WATCH is that I always receive thought-provoking
questions that usually end up becoming one of our new weekly handicapping
favorites are important to take note of for many reasons. Every
time I handicap any given day’s card, I circle in red all beaten favorites
in either one of their last 2 races. I do this to draw my attention
back to this horse after I’ve looked up his last race physicality, trip,
and post-race notes from my program for that specific afternoon.
first question you want to ask yourself about any beaten favorite is
“was he a legitimate favorite or a false favorite”? Obviously this
is a very subjective question, but much easier to answer after the race
is completed rather than before the gates spring open.
“legitimate”, I mean did you have any major knocks on
this horse before the race such as new negative equipment,
or a running bias for that specific afternoon that was
clearly against him?
you can’t find a good reason
for a horse NOT to be the race favorite, then you
can say that he was “legitimate”.
second question to ask yourself about this beaten favorite is why
did he lose?
he look good in the paddock? Did he walk correctly with good energy?
Did he have good muscle and color? Did he have a positive attitude
when going under tack? Did he warm-up properly and still remain nice
and “dry” right up until loading?
everything was OK in the paddock and the pre-race, how did the race
he get a bad trip of some kind that cost him the
win, or did he lose because he simply wasn’t good
he had a clean journey from front to back and wasn’t negatively affected
by that afternoon’s running bias and still lost,
then he simply wasn’t good enough------period!
he’s returning today against a similar field at the same class level,
he’s most likely a loser once again regardless
of any favoritism bestowed by the less-suspicious public!
on the other hand, he had a valid excuse, further
investigation is surely warranted.
I feel a beaten favorite was “legitimately compromised” somewhere during
the running of his last event and it REALLY did
cost him the race, I run to my post-race notes to see if anything written
down that day might be of help to me on this specific afternoon in his
comebacker. For instance, if I feel the beaten favorite galloped out
well in the post-race warm-down last time and came back to the unsaddling
area in good order, he’s more likely to get serious attention on this
specific afternoon if entered against similar.
if he came back exhausted and gasping for air with his
“tank clearly on empty” and/or walking short or
with any other notable negatives, he’ll get nothing more than a cursory
glance so that I have notes to go forward with in his next start after
assume a last out beaten favorite has survived so far.
makes him a solid contender today?
are a few things that always seem to point to a well-intended beaten
favorite in his very next start.
is surely a no-brainer. If the horse was ready to win today and caught
trouble that stopped him from running “his” race, entering him back
within 2 weeks is always a very positive sign.
BACK AT SAME DISTANCE
is another no-brainer. If a well-intended last out beaten favorite
is being “sent” today, the trainer won’t be experimenting with new and
untried distances. In other words, if a confirmed sprinter caught real
trouble last out, his trainer won’t be sending
him around 2 turns this afternoon if really “cracking” down. Why add
another variable to the equation?
BACK OVER SAME SURFACE
we have nothing but no-brainers here. If you have a confirmed dirt
horse who was a beaten-favorite last out, running him over a foreign
surface like the turf or over an off track that he’s not bred for, can’t
possibly help his chances this afternoon.
OR BETTER JOCKEY
you were a trainer hell-bent on winning this afternoon, you either keep
a rider with whom you are satisfied or go to a better rider. Anytime
you see a trainer employ a lesser rider on a last out beaten favorite,
drop the horse like a hot potato. If the
conditioner doesn’t think enough of his horse to get the very best ride
he can, then his horse races without my money---------period!
can’t begin to tell you how important
this last factor really is! If a beaten favorite
is well-intended this afternoon, you can be rest assured the jockey
will lightly canter his mount at least 4 furlongs and anywhere up to
8 furlongs or a full mile! As an example, I’ve seen Laffit Pincay warm
up his last out beaten favorites from 6 to 8 furlongs to get them wide
awake with their red blood cells out of their spleens and ready
to deliver maximum oxygen to their hardworking muscles. The “Ironman”
with over 9000 wins didn’t get there without warming up his mounts---just
next time you’re confronted with a last out beaten favorite, simply
employ some common sense and take advantage of the situation either
by “betting the farm” on him or strongly wagering against him!
like a win-win situation!!!