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Searching for Reasons

Posted by Brian Mulligan on 6/28/2010 9:29:56 AM

It is a natural thing after a rough day at the track to look for that lost shaker of salt and head to margaritaville but the most successful horse players around search for answers and the reasons why their pick lost and some long shots cashed.

This week we’ll isolate a couple of 16-1 shots that recently race at Monmouth Park and a complete Louisiana Downs bomb that blew up the tote at 41-1.

First the shore. Silver Smoke was making his second start since February and that after breaking slowly from the dreaded Monmouth rail.

The rail at Monmouth Park this meeting at 6 furlongs has been horrible. From the first 76 starters, only 4 won from the inside for an anemic 5%.

Not only did Smoke win in his second off the layoff start last July but this was the cheapest placement for him in his career and despite being in for only a $7500 tag, the blood is solid for this guy. His dam banked over $300,000 and his sire won a Grade 1.

As the race unfolded, the gelding got a perfect trip sitting in 4th after a half mile and went on to win going away to key a near $150 daily double.

In the fourth the same day at the shore, another second off the layoff runner prevailed. The veteran caught the slop in his 2009 finale, had no business when overmatched and given a pure prep in allowance company to kick off the meet, then returned to overcome a bad start and win a desperate decision.

The runner also got a positive rider switch to a journeyman that had won 18% of his starters this year, losing a 10-pound apprentice.

The lesson here from both runners is that fans have to know that trainers read condition books inside and out and that they always have the option to use a race for another opportunity down the line.

It happens every day at every track in America, but maybe not with all 16-1 surprises.

At the Bayou and Louisiana Downs last weekend, Antaean is yet another that rocked the tote board after getting a comeback race over the track.

The gelding hooked a decent group in his May finale as the place horse returned to win and the sophomore was coming off his career best effort. By a versatile sire, he is the first foal from out of a non-winning dam so there was no help from the pedigree but there were a couple of other clues fans could have searched out.

He was re-united with rider Taylor, who was up for the local debut, he made kind of a double move in his last race showing legit signs of life and hails from a trainer who also owns the runner and can be very patient with placement.

The truth of the matter is that the likelihood of state-bred $5,000 maiden claimers being much stock is nil and any runner that shows any kind of life is eligible to run huge.

Astute bettors are fully aware of the benefit of a race over comeback workouts and those issues were on full display last weekend.

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