Robert V. Rowe
June 15, 2000
Objectivity can be a selector’s greatest asset if taken advantage of. In other words try approaching each race without a pre-formed judgment. The best way of accomplishing this is to reverse what for most players is the usual procedure i.e., check the Form, decide who the contenders are; make a choice and then glance at the odds. Don't do it this way.
Instead of handicapping first, check the odds first to see which horses are receiving "action" and then consult the past performances to determine WHY? This approach is best when used in conjunction with wide-open races filled with "question mark" horses.
A fine example came up awhile back. The second race at Belmont Park was a turf event. The race posed a double jeopardy inasmuch as it was for 2-year-old maidens and was on grass. There were question marks galore involved, but for those who heeded its message the odds-board was there to lead the way.
The favorite had opened at 5/2 (in the actual betting) and by post time had been backed down to 8/5. The original favorite opened at 2/1 then went to 5/2 and then back down again to 2/1.Both choices were obviously receiving heavy mutuel support, and the trend normally would be for the rest of the field to go up in odds. This trend would apply particularly in this case where the gap between the 2nd and 3rd choice was large (2/1 -6/1).
At odds of 6/1 a third choice would be much more likely to be nudged upward than a third choice at lesser odds (say 7/2). As it happened, the third choice not only defied the normal trend but actually had gone down from 7/1 to 6/1 - despite heavy play on the first two choices. Every other contender in this 10-horse field went up.
The third choice was obviously receiving unduly heavy play. This becane even more obvious when the past performances were consulted he hadn’t been out for 42 days, had finished 6th by 14 lengths, and never ran on grass. The biggest knock was he was a New York bred competing in open company.
However, with a stretch of the imagination a case could be made for him.. First off; there was a rider switch from a 10-pound bug boy to top-rated Jorge Velasquez, Secondly, his daddy was Cormorant a leading New York sire, and his trainer had been working her consistently on grass.
The gist of what we’re saying is that the odds-board was directing attention to this 6/1 shot but only if one was open minded. In this situation the winning mutuel of $14.40 certainly suggested that a wager was warranted.
Look for HH #31 to appear on or about July 1st.
The Running Horse (http://www.isd1.com/)