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Jan 26, 2004

ATC Lead

By: Joe Girardi


            As we try hard here in New York to get through these tough winter months we are going to take a

look at a race run on 1/19/04. As you know the racing over the winter at Aqueduct is not of the best quality but

can offer you some solid betting opportunities.    

            In the second race on 1/19/04 at Aqueduct they carded a maiden claiming race with a claiming price of $30-25k.

With a large field of 12 horses the value is there to be had. It is tough to take a horse as a big favorite in races like these.

As we look top to bottom we see that out of 78 total starts these horses have only been able to finish second a total of

three times and third 12 times. The favorite in the race was a horse named RISCHIO, who finished second last time out as

the favorite against the same class of horses. There were no workouts since that race which weighs negatively on the favorite.

MAX’S CAT, who was sent off at 9-2 was taking a drop in class from maiden special weight into maiden claiming company

and would be one of the contenders in the race. However, as a horseplayer you must always look for where you can get the

best value and this race offered that in a big way. The winner of the race was WILD TERM, who was sent off at 72-1 and

returned $147 to his backers. Let us take a look at why WILD TERM was a must use in this race and how by really analyzing

the past performances you can come up with a large mutuel.

            In seven career starts WILD TERM had failed to hit the board. But let us look a little closer. Three of those starts came

on the turf and he never made an impact but did show some tactical speed. In three other starts he had raced against much better

company and races that went in quick times. He did show tactical speed in all of those races but never made an impact on the

result. In his only start at this level he was returning off a two month layoff, was up close and then tired to finish a well beaten

eighth. That race was on January 2nd and was run at 1 and 1/16th miles. With that bottom under his belt he returned on

January 13th with a bullet workout of 35 flat over the training track at Belmont. A very sharp work especially for a horse that

was 0 for 7. He was entered back six days later going six furlongs against $30-25k company and he drew the rail. Let us also

remember that this horse was bred to be a solid racehorse, out of WILD AGAIN from a PRIVATE TERMS mare, this horse was

bred by the famed Mrs Richard C Dupont also known as Bohemia stable. There was always quality there, some improvement

in his last few races and that bullet workout that was best of 45 also showed that he is sharp right now. The even bigger positive

was that this horse was being sent off at 72-1. In his two most recent starts on the dirt, one against better company and the

other at a distance of ground he was sent off at less than 25-1 each time. 72-1 was high considering he was at the lowest maiden

claiming level in New York and he had shown improvement and the bullet work may have tipped his hand.

            After breaking well from the inside and staying within striking distance of the leaders, WILD TERM saved ground and was

able to run through a hole up the rail and score going away. The favorite had to settle for the place spot and will probably be sent

off as the heavy favorite again next out against similar and again win, lose or draw will be a bad bet. Remember, horses are at this

level for a reason, they are not that good. Again remember these four angles, always look at the horses’ company lines. A horse

can be competing way over his head and can show a complete turnaround when tried with lesser. Second, always try to anticipate

what the trainer is doing. The route race on the second of
January was clearly a race to get this horse some bottom for a return to a sprint. Thirdly, especially in races with maidens at a low

level, look at the recent workouts. Bullet drills are very important, they point out a horse’s sharpness which can also signal a

turnaround in a horse that had been floundering in the past. Finally, and maybe most important in the key to winning at the track,

always look for value. Sure RISCHIO should have been sent off as the favorite but 6-5 is too low. And sure WILD TERM should

have been sent off at double digit odds but 72-1 was too excessive and had to warrant a play on that basis alone.

            In summary races that look unplayable because of the quality of the stock can sometimes turn into the most profitable

races on the card. There is a lot of unpredictability and with a little imagination there is a lot of money to be won.



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