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Fishing for Prices

Posted by on 11/25/2015 10:05:05 PM

You should never settle in this game and those that went for the gold and got it at Churchill Downs last weekend deserve their props if they used some price horses in all the slots.

Sure, it’s easy to go back and be a Monday Morning Quarterback and review the results but the fact of the matter is that is what good handicappers do. They don’t just accept a result, but they delve into what and why it happened.

Upsets happen, just ask Native Dancer, who lost only once in his career to Dark Star in the 1953 Kentucky Derby. Or interview the ghost of Man O’ War, who also only lost once in the Sanford Stakes getting beat by a runner named Upset. In modern times, former rider/turned commentator Jerry Bailey knows a little about the subject since he guided Arcangues to victory in the Breeders’ Cup Classic at 133-1.

In the opener last Sunday at Churchill a half dozen were lined up to go a mile and a sixteenth in a $15,000 non-winners of 2 races event.

It was a pretty wide-open race. Four of the 6 runners were sent to the post at odds of 2 and 3-1. There was a 12-1 shot that ran fourth which left the door ajar for the longest shot on the Snickerboxer, an 18-1 shot that was coming off a dull turf race about 2 months prior in his first effort vs. winners.

This was the runner’s second time on dirt, but he had a valid excuse as he caught the slop. He was freshened a couple of months and finished first, proving he could fire off a layoff, but was taken down by the stewards for drifting.

He graduated about 3 weeks later and had 3 slow works before the Sunday effort. There were a couple of things to like. First off, he was taking a big drop price-wise and maybe more important, he is trained by John Gaver III, who has a long history in the game.

Gaver is the grandson of John Gaver, who trained champion Tom Fool and he had been around the track his entire life, outside of an education in the Northwest. He mentored to train basically under Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott and obviously learned his lessons well.

Perusing the Aqueduct results from last Saturday, another trainer that is steeped in tradition pulled off a monster win. Jason Servis has been around the game like Gaver for decades. He understood from his brother John, who trained Smarty Jones to win 2 thirds of the Triple Crown, that hard work and dedication is what makes a trainer successful or not.

Saturday at the Big A he saddled Boomerang Becky in her second start in a about a month as she stretch out from a 6-furlong grass race to a route on grass. Her rider had gotten to know her in the last race and she was bred to go long as her dam graduated in a similar stretch out situation and there was route success in the family.

Becky was forwardly placed while wide and was inching toward the winner when 8 lengths clear of the show horse. She was 19-1 but brother John had the last laugh.

In the 7th at Aqueduct also last Saturday, John also used a stretch out maneuver with his trainee Res Judicata . The runner was coming off a solid third in a live $150,000 stakes in Philly and was going from 6 furlongs to a mile. Often in these situations when a sprinter goes a route of ground it will show more speed and that was the case here. Res Judicata was sent along at the sound of the bell, made the lead opened up a length and a half and extended late to prevail as the longshot shot on the board.

Res Judicata was 46-1.

As much as the horse does the work in this game, the human connections pull the strings. Good luck and happy long shot hunting.



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