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Maiden Claiming Monday

Handicapping isn't just about the best horses running in the big races at the big tracks. It's also about trying to decipher seemingly disorganized scenarios into a clear picture. If you're a Pick 3, Pick 4, or Pick 6 player you know that in order to sweep a sequence you are most likely going to deal with some type of Maiden event, generally a Maiden Claimer featuring several first time starters and/or a collection of horses that have no desire of ever finishing 1st in a race. These types of races drive us crazy but they can lead to big payouts in the multi-race exotics if you can translate the puzzle and come up with a winner. With that in mind, I present Maiden Claiming Monday, a day to look at a low-level race taking place somewhere in the country.

Today's Race: 4th at Beulah – 6 furlongs, Maiden Claiming ($4,000), For Fillies and Mares Three Years Old and Up





Lorena's Whip






Bills Event



Legendary Music



Dixie Vale



Elva Mae



Zulema N



Donna Mia



Margret S.





The 4th a Beulah today is the classic collection of a bunch of horses that have shown very little desire to beat other horses, and as a result you see a morning line that finds every horse between 4/1 and 12/1. That tells me that the odds maker at Beulah really has no idea how the public will bet this race which when you look at this field seems particularly accurate.

There are only three horses in this field that have really ever displayed any kind of speed in a prior race: Bills Event, She'sahappycamper, and Lorena's Whip. Of the three, Bills Event has shown the most consistent recent speed (she's flashed an early foot in his last three efforts at Suffolk), but unfortunately for this filly she's come up with an empty tank in the lane and could only manage a fourth place finish three races back. Lorena's Whip was up on the early pace in her races at Presque Isle during the summer but went back to showing zero speed when she switched to the Beulah dirt surface in her last effort. I'd be leery of a filly that's only managed to show speed on a synthetic track although she may have had an excuse for that last race: she bobbled badly at the start. The final potential speed horse is She'sahappycamper, a filly that started out running at Gulfstream and Arlington for a tag between $10,000 and $45,000 but has recently been dropped to the very bottom of the claiming ladder. She'sahappycamper displayed some early speed in her last two tries at Beulah, both of which were run at two turns. The turn back to six furlongs in today's race may give her a fitness edge.

The Morning Line "favorite" in here is Margret S., a filly that is 0-for-20 lifetime (20-0-3-2) with a 27 ½ length loss at Mountaineer last time out. If you can get by that last effort you'll see a filly that at least is able to grab a piece of the Place and Show purse once and a while - only two other fillies in this field have ever finished 2nd in a race (Donna Mia and Elva Mae). The attractive attribute of this filly is her ability to generally sit reasonably close to the pace; she's certainly no speed horse but she at least displays some tactical ability. A good word to describe Margret S. is "inconsistent" as she's in a little bit of an every-other-race pattern right now that if it holds true should mean a solid effort today.

The first of those other two fillies that have sniffed 2nd place in their careers, Elva Mae, had a very rough stretch of results prior to taking a lay-off on September 17th. In races at Hoosier and Indiana Downs she finished 10, 16 ¼ , and 26 ¼ lengths behind the winners and wasn't a factor at any time. The other filly, Donna Mia, has likewise been finishing well back of the winners but she gets a little bit of a class relief today by dropping in from a $10,000 Maiden event at Hawthorne last time out. She ran a couple of decent races at Hawthorne about a year ago and would be big threat if she can regain that previous form.

Legendary Music takes a big cut in price ($15,000 tag last time out) but has been a truly abysmal horse in all seven of her lifetime starts. Throw in the fact that she's stepping out of Indiana state-bred restrictions to an open company race and she'll have to really come up with a big turnaround to have a chance. Of course, this is a $4,000 Maiden Claimer – does any horse not have a chance?

Zulema N is an interesting filly in this race as she's lightly raced (5-0-0-1) and she's actually coming off a decent 3rd last time out over this same surface. The 2nd place horse in that last effort retuned to win a $3,500 Maiden Claimer next time out with a 30 BSF. Zulema N doesn't appear to possess much of an early foot but there should be enough cheap speed in here to soften up the front runners. Dixie Vale is turning back after three efforts at a mile and 70 yards, but she really hasn't run well figure-wise since she tackled the Polytrack at Arlington last summer. Like Lorena's Whip, I'm leery of a filly that has only run well over a synthetic surface. And finally there is Quarterfinal, a filly that had run fairly well in her last two tries at Thistledown only to completely quit in her last at Beulah. This filly has been known to flash a little bit of speed here and there (albeit, very brief speed) but more often than not she's nowhere to be found when it comes time to run. The outside draw should help to track the speed but I wonder if she's got enough in the tank to beat these fillies.

Final Thoughts

Margret S. should be in the mix the entire time and will be a deserved favorite but I'm going to land on Zulema N. for top honors in this spot. She's coming off a strong effort last time out and she's still eligible to improve even though I don't like her outside draw (she's been more effective when she starts inside). That being said, if the pace breaks down (which it tends to do in these low level events) she should have as good of a chance as any to graduate.