Handicapping a Maiden Race


Southern Phantom - Son of Bodemeister

Saratoga - July 21,2018 - Maiden Race 6 - 5.5f


Maiden races can be very lucrative if you take the time to do some research. Once in awhile, the eventual winner will stand out like a sore thumb among the group. Once in awhile, after taking the time to look into these colts, you know when it is in your best interest to walk away. This can do wonders for your bottom line.


This Saturday at Saratoga, a group of very highly qualified runners will be competing at either their first or second time at a short 5.5f. The list consists of sons of Malibu Moon, Into Mischief, Jimmy Creed, Bodemeister, Flashback, Tapit, Fed Biz, etc. A star-studded group who are trained by some of the best. All with very nice early workout times as well.


Maiden races are usually handicapped by looking at the sire, the trainer, the jockey and the workout times. That's it. That's what you have in the Past Performance sheets. If you are like many of my handicapping buddies, the sire is what they zone in on. (And usually it is one of their old favorites!) How could anyone put up their hard-earned money on an old favorite who isn't even running in the race?! How could anyone throw 50 bucks on a horse who has never even walked in a post parade just by looking at their workout times or how much they took in on the bidding?


The only way to make money on short early maiden races is to bet on the speed and the only way to do that is to understand who is holding it and who is not.


But there are some very important rules as well. You must know when to pounce and when to walk away. Many times after doing your research, one or two of these guys are going to stand out for the short distance among the rest. Jump on it as heavily as you can. And sometimes, the field is filled with so much potential for the distance that the risk is too great. You must walk away and jump to the next.

On Saturday at Saratoga in Race 6 - you may just want to sit back with your wallet shut and enjoy the view. Here is the field and quick analysis of the group:


This particular Maiden race is 5.5f. Six out of the eleven contenders stand out at this distance. Not to mention that Johnny V, Joel Rosario, Irad Ortiz, Jose Ortiz, Luis Saez, Manny Franco, etc all have mounts. This is one serious maiden race.


Speed, more importantly, High Sprinters Speed wins at 5.5f. These guys are so green that they will be relying 101% on their ancestors. If you do not consult the numbers of the contenders in a maiden race, you might as well take your money and rip it to shreds, because it is all about what is running in the horses veins at this distance. If there are more than 4 horses on the field with an advantage in a maiden race, walk away.


1. Puttheglassdown - He has three positives for this 5.5f distance. He gained 3.4 times more speed than stamina from his chefs. The mares lean higher to speed, the mare index is over 1.00. The Triads see-saw left to speed. All speed. Short workouts are fine. Post is not great. He has the correct speed to compete at this distance. First contender for the win.


2. Nitrous - Both chef and mare index are nice and high, showing he is dominant in speed, but what is even nicer is that he has more stamina if all of the other speedsters go completely crazy out of that gate. He also has proven he is running to his numbers, the only one out of the group to do so in the fashion that he did. He is deserving of his favoritism. But you must remember, he is still going up against the several who are packing serious speed as well, and we have no idea if they too have the ability to run to their inheritance. The favorite, and second contender for the win.


3. Binary - First and foremost, this guys numbers have Kentucky Derby written all over them. High chef index coupled with gorgeous triads. They are high and balanced. On the flip side, he also has the speed to compete at 5.5f from that 3.57 chef index. The dilemma here of course is the fact that since his numbers are showing a very high advantage at the 10f Derby, there is always the chance that he may not want any part of this short little race and his best will come later. If he favors his chefs, he could win this race easily. We now have the 3rd contender in this maiden.


4. Market King - One of two stamina guys on the field. This guy would not be a strong bet for a 5.5f maiden because he is lacking in the necessary speed, however, if this guy happens to take advantage of all of the speedsters who have a gate and who could potentially beat each other up at the top of the stretch, he could come late. One thing about this guy is that if he does make noise in this race, take note, he would be out-running his numbers and he would be considered a standout. Most likely though, he is in the wrong race.


5. The Big S - Average amount of chef speed generally does not do well at 5.5f. However, just like Market King, if he wins, take note. He would be a standout going forward.


6. Fed Fever - Same as Market King, however, this guy inherited the most early sprinters speed from his mares. Generally, a stamina horse can find his way onto a superfecta and generally they would become an early stand-out. With the nice amount of mare speed added to his stamina, his numbers could be something very special. Just like #'s 4 and 5, he is not configured for a 5.5f race, but should he grab it, keep betting him along the way. As a stamina guy, this is the 4th contender.


7. Majestic Hero - 3.00 index coupled with a 12 in the first slot of his triads make this guy an easy toss. Not enough inherited speed in a maiden at 5.5f against what is in the stalls next to him. This does not mean he couldn't be something special going forward, it means that 5.5f is not really what he was built for.


8. Southern Phantom - The most gorgeous of the field is also holding the highest amount of chef speed on the field. From his inheritance, he has the chef numbers to compete against the 87 beyer of Nitrous. The only thing he has to worry about is the lower speed numbers from his mares. Nitrous has a high 1.04 mare index pitted against Phantom's lower .81. In reality, the indexes cancel each other out. Phantom has a serious shot here. The 5th contender to win.


9. Cromwell Avenue - refer to Majestic Hero.


10. Most Mischief - refer to The Big S.


11. Coast - First time runner with a beautiful 3.40 chef index for 5.5f. The speed from the mares is lacking against a few of the others. If the pace is extreme though he has a shot with that stamina. He must be kept as the 6th contender.


With 6 contenders at this distance, it is best to walk away from this particular maiden. There are many maiden races to come where there will only be two or three advantaged runners. That is the type of maiden race where you would be confident in your bet. This one seems to be meant to only watch and enjoy and take notes.


Past Performance for this race has been posted. Good Luck!


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