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Thursday, September 14, 2006

The Cheaper the Bettor?

- Been meaning to post about a column that Jay Cronley wrote on ESPN.com last week. A recurring theme in Cronley's column is that he likes to bet on cheap horses in cheap races, and after recounting the futility in handicapping the Woodward (It was as though the facts and figures led up to a big equals sign, and beyond that, a question mark), he asks: Why bet a tough stakes race instead of a cheap claiming race?

It's as though winning handicappers have to pay a low-rent tax after hitting a 10-1 shot in a $5,000 claiming race. It's [as] though hitting a stakes race makes you sleep better.

Many people think cheap claiming races are run roughshod over unruly surfaces, featuring pot-bellied trainers and old horses.

So? [ESPN.com]
Personally, I get a kick out of hitting cheap races out of town, but unlike Cronley, who says Twenty-to-one shots are easier to find, I always seem to come up with the favorites when I look at those races. I grew up strictly on a NYRA diet, getting accustomed to the racing here before simulcasting came along. I guess it made me spoiled.

But while I wouldn't say that hitting a stakes race makes me sleep better, I think it definitely carries a premium. Strictly from a financial standpoint, Cronley is probably right. Stakes races can be impossible to bet. I'm sure there are a hundred $5,000 claimers every week that are far easier to figure than the Breeders Cup Turf. The Breeders Cup Turf? That race is whack, man! Besides being run at an unnatural distance, you have all those European horses with the sparse running lines. I can't make heads or tails of that race.

But we're racing fans, and the big stakes races are what the sport is all about, and of course I want to have some action on it. I don't have to bet them, and I've passed on many a Breeders Cup race (though never the Derby), and to be sure, I don't think it's a great idea to tap out the bankroll on these races. But if you have some opinions on some very good horses at great prices in contentious stakes races, being right can be well-rewarded. Not only financially, but for the all-important ego boost as well. The bragging is better when the races are bigger.

Nonetheless, always having an open mind, I found a nice $5,000 claimer - for non-winners of two for that matter - going as the 10th at Turfway tonight. So I'm going to tackle this one; I'll let you know what I come up with. If anyone has any ideas, let me know.

5 Comments:

KK said...

If you want cheap races where you get good prices use Charles Carroll's formula on the 4.5 furlong races at Charlestown. Just like a ATM baby!

alan said...

Unexcused looks like the speed in the finale at Turfway. Two back was a breakthrough, albeit against an awful maiden claiming field. He caught in a three-speed duel in his last, and finished behind Uptown Bates, but he should have an easier time. I don't like the disappointing effort as the 4-5 fave off the steep drop morning live fave Rossignol.

I also like 12-1 ML Chain of Miracles. He has some nice back figs, tailed off and had a couple of eventful races, but his last signals a possible return to form. I'll play some exactas with these two.

Anonymous said...

I have gotten to the point where I bet almost exclusively in New York. I'm more comfortable with trends, jocks, trainers, when I concentrate on one circuit. Long story short, I still think the best angle is Maidens dropping out of MDN SPWT into MDN CLM. Today it produced a 901.00 Exacta at Belmont in the 4th. I wheeled the winner for 2 bucks, Tipperary 7-1, and got lucky when a 50-1 shot that was also first time MDN CLM for Johnny Campo Jr, got up for 2nd. Next best bet 7F events, cutting back in distance and dropping in class. Nick

alan said...

Wow, Nick, nice score!

Anonymous said...

I agree with Nick, this is a great angle, just box all the droppers. Also terrific in the multiple race gimmicks, you only need one to win.

Alan, as for the BC Turfs (all three), easy as pie. Box ALL of the first time North American runners and get on the IRS line to collect. Check it out!

PS - almost didnt post this as afraid it will catch on and I will lose value, but then again if it gets me off the IRS line it is worth it.