Well our Samstar finally brought home the bacon last night, winning the 10th race at 11:05 PM. Besides celebrating the win with our partners on this horse, the Sampson's, I enjoyed seeing a bunch of handicappers from my handicapping page, "Horse Players Forever", jump into our win picture and take home a few sheckles in the process. Bri, Nick, Ian, Joe, Angela, and even my just graduated HS handicapping students Craig, Logan, Finley and their friends Bailey, Keith and Spencer, were there to cash in and go home winners. Thanks for showing up kids. It's nice to see young people find so much enjoyment in the sport we love by learning how to take risks properly.
Lesson time for the kids.
By Seth taking the short route on the rail the entire two turn race, he had a 4 to 5 length distance advantage at the wire. This, as I have explained, is simple geometry and you should note Samstar only won by 2 lengths. Seth could relax Samstar early, saving both ground and energy for the stretch. This was the first time this was done in his 10 races, even though his breeding strongly suggests this running style. Everything was possible because these were cheap maiden claimers, and since Seth is a very talented and confident rider, he could wait until the stretch to pick his spot for the drive. Why you may ask? Because cheap horse are typically well spread out coming home, unlike proven better horses that have what's called tactical speed. Normally only a few horses in cheap fields can stand out and be good enough to be near the pace coming home. With a short 7 horse field anyway, Seth could easily pick his spot to run in the stretch and found a rail hole, making it just that much easier.
This is why, "The Shape of the Race", is vital unless dominant capability exists. This is also why the public only made Samstar the 3rd choice in the odds. The jockey change was a key. Also this post should help explain why real handicappers need to not only watch a race and look at PP's, but understand what they are watching. You need to know more than whether or not a horse wins or loses a race. You need to know HOW a horse wins or loses if you want to predict future results. For example, will Samstar enjoy the same "Race Shape" next time and run a similar speed next time against better horses at his next condition of Non-Winners of 2, at 6 furlongs versus two turns, with a different jockey, with a different post position, etc., etc.
Ah, the beauty of understanding variation and predicting the future. Gotta love it!
Dave Astar is a race horse owner, stallion owner, breeder, 40 year business executive, and 50 year handicapper.