Don’t forget class in your handicapping

Aug 17, 2012 | Handicapping

Plus Ultra - Blair Miller barn

Plus Ultra should be tough in the fourth race on Saturday

by Rob

Modern handicapping is so heavily focused on speed, how fast a horse ran and numbers, that people often forget about another important basic form of handicapping. Class handicapping puts heavy emphasis on what level a horse runs at and what kind of company it has been keeping in its races.

A crucial part of handicapping involves knowing the differences between the condition levels at each racetrack. Assiniboia Downs is pretty straight forward with their conditions, but you have to be careful, as there are times when a horse appearing to make class drop is actually running into tougher foes.

The Company She Keeps – Send Me a Kiss

In Friday’s fourth race Send Me a Kiss is 3-1 on the morning line and should be incredibly tough based on previous class and company. In her first start at Assiniboia Downs she ran against a $5,000 NW3L field that included Antivenom, a horse who had been sitting on a win for close to two months.

Send Me a Kiss dueled every step of the way and ran a great race to miss by only a neck. Antivenom came back and run a good fourth against open claimers including the tough mares Beaudacious Lady and Deceptive Miss. Send Me A Kiss ran next in a first level allowance race (NW1 other than Maiden, Claiming, Starter or Restricted) and was beaten 11 ½-lengths in a very tough field that included Reba, who won by 5 ½-lengths.

Reba has been one of the toughest mares on the grounds this summer. And making the lead against allowance mares is nothing to frown at. Now Send Me a Kiss is in a NW2L claiming race where she belongs, and she figures to make the lead and cruise going five furlongs. If she goes off anywhere close to her 3-1 morning-line she could be a steal.

Key Races

A key race is a race which comes up very tough for the class level and often produces a number of next-out winners. When a horse exits a key race it should be given extra consideration no matter where it finished in that race. The best example of a key race this weekend can be found in Money Baron’s form in the fifth race on Saturday.

On June 17 he ran fifth in a $2,500 claimer. The winner, Adorci, came back to win, as did Many Crows and Tizzy’s Desert Star. This information can be found in the program. Horses who win their next starts are listed in italics. The fourth place finisher in that race, Sorry came back to win on July 25. Money Baron ran a good second in his next start. This was a key race and should be highly regarded. I would move Money Baron’s rating up a number of points based on the fact that he performed well in a key race.

Overview for Friday, August 17

Friday’s card looked chalky to me but one bomber could make a lot of wagers pay well. In the first race I like Joanie Baloney on the class drop. The second race is between Rock N Royal and Orchestration. Amberann takes a big drop in the third and should crush this field. Send Me A Kiss is my best bet of the night in the fourth.

The fifth is tough but I would lean towards hard knockers Cool Lion, Angelic Fiddler and Mr. Exspeedient, all of whom have major class edges on the field. Watch how the Hawk Three O Eight performs, as he is the first horse to run for the new Dennis Hoffman barn. Sizzling Lassie and Mega Precious are the cream of the crop in the sixth race. The seventh race is wide open and the eighth race, the Manitoba-bred Quarter Horse Derby, should come down to favorites Cosmic Shindig and Eye Fly Bye.

Overview for Saturday, August 18

Unbridled Thoughts will once again be loose on the lead in the first race. I think second time routing she will be even tougher. Forchtenberg should get a great trip in the second race with tons of speed to run at. In the third race I like Dakota Big Time as a bit of an upsetter.

John Ganas should be tough in the fourth with his Plus Ultra and Hello Beautiful. Money Baron looks like the one to beat in the fifth race. Bunny Said Dance should crush the sixth race field also on the class drop. The Agassiz Stakes is C.C. Ride’s to lose but if someone does beat him it should be Pure Glory. The eighth race looks good for Proper Causeway and Chaffee John. The ninth and last race on Saturday should come down to Soul of a Samurai and Cash Up Front.

Rob’s Best Bets and Weekend Longshots

Record-to-Date 15-7-5 from 39 starts

Wagered: $575.00 Returned: $631.28 Profit: $56.28

Friday Best Bet: Race 4 – Send Me a Kiss

Friday Longshot: Race 7 – Oh Yackaty Yak

Saturday Best Bet: Race 6 – Bunny Said Dance

Saturday Longshot: Race 6 – Obligatory Glory

Next Post Time for Live Racing: 7 p.m. Friday, August 17, 2012