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Thou Shalt Covet

Posted by Brian Mulligan on 11/15/2010 11:01:33 AM

Remember the pretty girl in high school that everybody wanted to date? Now transfer that thought to trainers that covet a horse so badly, that there is a group of them fighting for the right to train a horse.

Horse bettors that comb the claim register at their local tracks can ascertain which runners are so popular that when they run, people are scrabbling to claim them.

Horses that are crooked, not in the heart or the mind, but in the body with maybe a bow tendon, a weak knee or a dull coat, are not the kind of runners that are coveted and there is a distinct reason why they are not claimed repeatedly.

The popular claiming horses make the world and the backstretch go round.

One such runner is Unionize, who changed hands on Halloween going from the barn of Cliff Sise to the stable of Bob Hess Jr.

Hess won a three-way shake for the runner and what that means is that 3 different trainers wanted to claim Unionize but after they rolled the dice, actually they roll pills just like at the draw in the morning, Hess came away with the new student.

Unionize looms an astute claim. One of his best assets is fact he has tactical speed and that will usually give any runner a puncher’s chance. And you have to project him as one of the ones that will adapt to the new true dirt surface that will be in play at Santa Anita the day after Christmas.

The concept for that projection is that Unionize’s sire, Dixie Union, won a Grade 2 on the real dirt at Anita in 1999, handled the dirt in Jersey and closed his career with a Grade 1 score at Anita.

Usurp was dueled into submission in his final October start in first try for trainer Mike Machowsky, who claimed him from Jack Carava.

The runner doesn’t need the lead to win and should be allowed to track the leaders for best result. He is also proven vs. $50,000 claimers and was far from disgraced in his lone true dirt try when third in a stakes at Fairplex.

Slight drop back into a $32,000 claimer should be enough to get this speedball over the hump.

Watch for sophomore Majestic Afleet in the entries. Formerly under the care of Robert Troeger, who learned his trade working with good trainers like Jeff Mullin, Majestic Afleet was claimed by high-octane trainer William E Morey.

Morey shuffles his horses from Northern to Southern California, pops with about 30% of his claimers and is hitting at a 36% clip overall this season.

The chore for Morey will be to find the exact kind of race that Majestic Afleet wants and that is a race that has a fair amount of speed and only carded at 5 and a half furlongs.

Successful brokers have their pulse on the market and emerging trends, as should horseplayers.

Following the action of claims, which involves the barns that are on the cutting edge of the game since they live and die by the daily decisions they make, can only help the hard-working horse bettor get an edge on the competition.

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