Every Monday I'm going to select one low level maiden claimer from somewhere around the country to handicap. Why? Because as much as these races can be absolute beasts to break down, a player that likes to dabble in Pick 3s, 4s and 6s has to be able find winners in a race full of horses that don't want to have anything to do with the finish line. Some tracks (like those in California) just love to card these types of races to start off a difficult Pick Six sequence. And if you're like me and play a decent amount of mid and low level tracks, you just can't get away from the cheap maiden claimer.
This week's Maiden Claiming Monday featured the 2nd race from Turf Paradise - a $5,000 event for three year old fillies going six and one half furlongs. Below the jump I'll recap my analysis with the actual results of the race.
While handicapping this race I came to the conclusion that this field didn't have a lot of early pace to speak of, which to me is always the first thing I look at when handicapping a track like Turf Paradise. 3-Strawberry Sun Fun and 6-Brightly looked to be the controlling speed and I thought they had the best chance in this field. The rest of field looked average, at best, with the exception of the first time starter, 8-Kinda Cute. At 5/1 on the morning line, I thought Kinda Cute might offer some nice value in a race that was fairly wide open on paper.
Once the gates opened the race played out like I had envision, at least in terms of the pace. The race was controlled by the early speed but not by Strawberry Sun Fun, instead it was 7-Speed the Light that broke on top. That filly led by a head at the half mile pole, a half mile that went in a pedestrian :46 and 3. With little competition up front, Speed the Light rolled home to win by 3 3/4 lengths at 4/1.
The victory by Speed the Light aptly demonstrates the difficulty in handicapping these maiden claiming events. Speed the Light had raced five times previous to yesterday and had never been in the lead at any point in a race. The only clue that this filly was ready to show more speed than she had in the past was her five furlong work on January 12th where she was 2nd fastest of 32 that morning. But even then, it's tough to translate one work into the controlling speed of the race. But translate it did, and Speed the Light ran off to win and pay $10 in the process.
The other filly that I tabbed as part of the pace, Brightly, did absolutely nothing of note. After showing early speed in her previous race, Brightly found herself well back of the leaders early and ended up finishing dead last. Yeah, that's nice. Nothing bothers me more than a horse that I tab to be part of the pace that ends up bringing up the rear early on.
The first time starter, Kinda Cute, was bet down from her ML odds of 5/1 to 5/2, and was the favorite as the field went to post. She ended up racing wide almost the entire race and had nothing left in the tank when they rolled towards the judge. Given her connections and poor trip, Kinda Cute might be a nice play when she makes her next appearance.
Official Chart - Turf Paradise, Race 2 (1/18/10)