Tuesday, December 18, 2007

What I'm Looking For

The Tampa meet is slowly getting underway with just a few cards each week until after the first of the year when racing will pick up steam and we'll start seeing 3, then 4 days a week. I've started capturing the races and watching replay after replay on my tiny computer screen (it occured to me too late to ask Santa for a nice wide screen and keyboard for Christmas!). After talking to Ms. Trainer a few times, it was apparent we were looking for different things - and that is a good thing!!

As I may have mentioned in the past, I do not hold myself out as an expert judge of conformation or pedigree. David has taught me a lot, but his experienced eye is a wonder to behold. Same for Ms. Trainer. She's on the lookout for horses that move well, show no signs of soreness and are tiring in their races. Perhaps they'll be dropped again in the mistaken belief that it is ability rather than training that is the issue? Then we can make a purchase, she can condition the horse properly for racing (in our opinion, of course - pick 100 trainers and you get 100 theories) and we can start moving the horse up the ladder.

Me? I'm looking for horses in trouble. Maybe traffic issues, bad luck, a tough start or even a nice move mid-race, but not enough left in the tank to sustain him through the stretch. Something that would make a bad race excusable. Maybe a bad enough race that the current owner will drop from $16,000 Claiming race to a $12,500 Claiming race, knowing his charge can handle it, but showing a bad enough running line to scare potential suitors away. Maybe we can get a $10,000 horse for $8000? It certainly makes it easier to bring the horse back up the ladder if we know he can handle it already and is a prudent use of our client's money.

There are some intriguing possibilities that have run so far, but for every 30 horses you study in the form, you get maybe 3 that merit a second look and after they run, you may have one that you want to see again. It's quite the workload. It would be tremendously frustrating if I didn't love it so much! Today there is a lightly raced three year old Grand Slam filly running that is very intriguing. Nice pedigree through her sire's side (Grand Slam from Gone West) but hasn't shown a lot in her 4 career starts on poly and turf. It makes me wonder if she's got potential as a broodmare. Mom's an Irish dam, Danse du Diable that I know nothing about, though. Makes you wonder what she's doing running for $12,500 when she was claimed over the summer for $30,000. All a apart of the intrigue and gamesmanship when you're tying to claim a horse. It'll be fun to watch her run in a few hours.

I'm glad that we have Ms. Trainer's experienced eye on the lookout for soundness and hidden ability. I think that between the two of us we will be able to find a solid horse for GRS #1.

Lightening in a bottle? Well, who knows, but like I've said - Why not us!?

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