Handicapping Tip of the Day #45 – Clearance Sale

Handicapping Tip of the Day for AGOS Visitors

by Rich Nilsen

I wrote an article roughly 20 years ago for Brisnet about the “For Sale” runner.  This is a horse entered for a claiming tag that makes absolutely zero economical sense.  The horse is damaged goods and the entry into the lower-level claiming race is like flashing neon lights “Sale!”

Sadly, recurring events are still happening from time to time in horse racing to this day.  A case in point was Monday, August 20 at Saratoga.  Note that in this article I will not hide the names of the guilty.

A runner named King Kranz was entered for the bottom of the barrel claiming tag of $12,500.  The 5yo son of Munnings was a former stakes winner and in only 19 career starts, he had earned an amazing $412,630.  It was only this past April at Aqueduct when he scored in a “three other than” optional $80,000 claimer for trainer Rudy Rodriguez.  After a subpar 5th place finish in a stakes event at Belmont in May, King Kranz was back in a similar optional claimer on July 7, this time for $62,500.

For Sale King Kranz

His sharp spring form and back class was too much to resist for high percentage trainer Danny Gargan and R A Hill Stables.  They put up the money and submitted the claim form.  When King Kranz finished 7th, beaten over 15 lengths, he was now their horse… and their problem.

King Kranz would work out twice for his new connections prior to his first start for the new barn, and one of those works was a half mile in a pedestrian 53.4.  This is hardly fast enough to be given an official clocking by the New York clockers.

Then came the clearance sale.  Gargan, a 23% first-off the claim trainer, entered his new runner for $12,500 on Monday, $50,000 less than the purchase price six weeks ago.  This race featured a total purse of $25,000.  If a horse wins, the owners will “clear” about half the purse; so, in this case, approximately $12,500.  If the horse is claimed, they also receive the claiming price; which in this case was another $12,500.  Does any of this make sense?

Off at odds of 8/5, King Kranz made a gallant effort to the top of the stretch in the 6 furlong affair before calling it a day.  In the final 1/8th of a mile he was literally galloped down the stretch by leading jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr.   He was eventually eased and the margin of defeat in the 5-horse field listed at 28 lengths.

He was claimed by low percentage trainer Naipaul Chatterpaul.

The Warriors that Keep Horse Racing Going

Handicapper Art ParkerBy ART PARKER

Last Saturday I notice the entry of a horse named Dance Floor Maniac in a $6,250 claiming race at Prairie Meadows. It has been a while since I ran across his name and I knew he was an older gelding. I looked at the past performances and remembered him more clearly. He is one of those that captures my admiration and respect as much as a graded stakes winner.

Dance Floor Maniac left the gate for the 100th time in the race at Prairie Meadows. He stalked and pounced and did his job with the same enthusiasm as a promising, high- priced, three year old. The best part of the race was that Dance Floor Maniac got to the wire first.

Dance Floor Maniac entered the Winner’s Circle for the 23rd time and certainly behaved like he had been there before. Winning 23 races out of a 100 is a pretty good percentage for any horse and he has won 3 of 8 this year.

Dance Floor Maniac is 10 years old. The Kentucky bred son of Eurosilver is 23-17-17 overall, which means he gets a check in 2/3 of his starts. He has over $250,000 in career earnings. He is owned by Greg Frye and trained by Karl Broberg.

No one will ever remember Dance Floor Maniac like famous geldings such as Kelso, Forego and John Henry. But guys like this are just as important, if not more so, because the racing game depends upon them a great deal. Whenever you see one of these old geldings run don’t look at them like a cheap horse. They are the warriors that keep the game going and their presence at the race track is just as important as any horse you do remember.

Handicapping Tip of the Day #26 – Recency & Claimers

Recency

by Art Parker, author of Keeneland Winning Trainer Patterns

Handicapping tips from agameofskill.com

When I was first learning to play the horses many decades ago, I was taught by a good friend to always consider recency. Something that is generally true with claiming horses, more so than allowance or stakes runners, is the need to have a recent race. My friend used a cut off of 45 DSLR (days since last race) for a claiming horse. Oddly enough, that eventually turned out to be the generally accepted time for a horse to be unraced and, hence, considered a “first time layoff” runner.

I pass on these types of claiming horses, who lack recent action, unless the runner goes for a trainer with a scorching hot first layoff record, which is another reason to keep good trainer records. To be successful at betting claimers it is important to distinguish between who “needs a race” and who is fit.

Handicapping Tip of the Day #24 – Claiming Jail

Handicapping Tip of the Day – Understanding the Claiming Business

Handicapping tips from agameofskill.com

By Art Parker

The most common race in North America is the claiming race. Without these horses we call “claimers” most every track could not fill a race card. Probably 80 percent of all our races are claiming events, whereby an entrant can be ‘claimed’ from the race for the stated purchase price by a party eligible to make a claim. The idea of claiming is to provide parity. If you own a horse that is truly worth $50,000 then you will think long and hard about entering that horse in a claiming race of only $25,000. The drop in in claiming price may make for an easy score with purse money but you may also lose an asset for a fraction of its value. One must understand the business of horse racing before they can understand the world of claiming races.

One of the most important things to remember about claiming races is the ‘jail time.’ While the rules vary from state to state, a claimed horse cannot run for the same or lesser claiming value within 30 days after being claimed. This is called “in jail” because the horse cannot run for a lower price until that horse is out of jail. In some states the horse cannot be removed from the state during the jail time, and in some states, the horse cannot run anywhere else until the end of the meeting. To be proficient at handicapping claiming races one needs to be up to date on the various rules in the various states.

When handicapping claiming races it is well worth the time to look at the horses from a business standpoint and play the game as an owner or trainer. Profitable revelations will often come to light when a business examination is made of the entrants in a claiming race.

Tampa’s High Spirit named AGameofSkill.com Claimer of the Week

Claimer of the Week at AGameofSkill.comComing off a dull performance for $20,000 at Remington Park, High Spirit invaded Tampa Bay Downs and won easily for an $8,000 tag in the second race Saturday afternoon (12/17/11). The Bernell Rhone trainee won for the same price tag in the spring at Tampa Bay and Saturday’s victory was an off the pace effort just like the one in April. A patient ride by veteran Mark Guidry placed High Spirit in excellent position turning for home. The 5 year old gelding by Stephen Got Even made it look easy passing foes in the stretch and coasted home in the final sixteenth of a mile. High Spirit is owned by Robert Hovelson and paid $5.80 to win.  High Spirit owns an impressive career record of 8 wins and 12 in the money finishes out of 29 career races.  — Art Parker.