Friday, October 21, 2011

Dancing With the Racing Secretary

It’s been an interesting couple of weeks behind the scenes in Tabby-land.  She’s doing fine but trying to get her into a race of our choosing was a bit tough.  The goal was to slide her down a notch to $15,000 claiming but after 5-days straight of the race not filling as an extra on the overnight sheet (sheet of entries for the races plus a list of races added to the condition book as possible races for the following race day’s entries) I was excited to see a $5,000 Starter Allowance.

A starter allowance, as a refresher, is a race for horses that have started for “X” claiming price or lower, usually for the span of a year/18 months.  In the above case it would be for horses that have run for a $5,000 tag and that would be perfect for her.  Theoretically you want to be competitive at 2x the starter price to have a shot at winning and Tabs has won at $10,000 this year already – twice in fact.  However the race only got to 6 possible starters.  It was going to possibly brought back as an extra the next day but then two horses backed out and entered a $10,000 claiming race.  That killed any possibility of the starter coming back as an extra and gave us a choice: run at $10,000 or wait.

Waiting didn’t seem to make much sense.  The race we really wanted, the starter allowance, wasn’t going to be back any time soon.  The claiming price we wanted, $15,000, just spent nearly a week not receiving enough entries.  The only real option was to go at $10,000.  Ultimately, I think, that’s her proper level.  Her PPs show a win at $15,000 but that’s a bit disingenuous since it was a race where the ‘open’ horses were in for $10,000 and any Minnesota breds were in for $15,000.  On the PPs it looks like a $15,000 race when, in reality, it was only a $10,000 race for her.  Each time she’s tried to move past the $10,000 level in the last year she’s been strongly rebuffed, losing at Canterbury by 11+ lengths in a $16,000 race and here at Remington by 10+ lengths in a $20,000 race.  It’s not like she’s the top choice in here either, she’s 9/2 in the morning line, the third choice.  And probably fair at that.

Unfortunately I will not be making the trip to Remington this race (probably adding to her chance to win) since I will be leaving for Massachusetts on Thursday to spend time with family.  I will be intently watching on the Remington Park live feed, however!

Here are the entries for the race.  $10,000 claiming going a mile and 70 yards over the main track Saturday night, Race 7:

1 – TABBY LANE (Rhone/Butler) 9/2

2 – Unhaltered (Rulland/Kimes) 10-1 – After starting her season 3-3 at Will Rogers Downs, she took a few months off and came back way over her head here at Remington.  Dropping in to probably closer to where she belongs, she’ll look to be out front early and set the pace.

3 – Frontier Franny (Rhone/Escobar) 8-1 – Tabby easily defeated her stablemate in their last race at Canterbury.  Since then she has been in 2 $10,000 races here at Remington and has been beaten soundly in each, though in her last she was much closer to the pace before fading heading into the stretch.

4 – Multifaceted (Hartman/Birzer) 2-1 – Your morning line favorite.  She was two in a row, one at Prairie Meadows and one in her last conditioned (non-winners of 3 lifetime) claiming race at $10,000.  She won that one with ease an notched a lifetime best Beyer of 75.  She doesn’t need the lead but should be close to it.  Meeting multiple winners is a pretty tough step up, but she looks to be capable and will be tough to beat.

5 – Xiano (Irwin/Quinonez) 4-1 – She’s been a bit flat since her return from  being laid off most of the year but her Beyers have remained consistent around 62 in all her races since last summer.  Her last looks worse than it was considered she may have been 3rd by 11 but the winner won by 10 ¾ at this level.  If Multifaceted can’t repeat her last performance, Xiano will be there.

6 – Miss Alfeet Alex (Lozano/Velazquez) 5-1 – Scorched with Tabby in her last at $20,000 and hasn’t shown a lot since her layoff though she’s been running at much higher levels.  Now racing at the lowest level of her career so far, she’s either going to respond or losing has simply become too much of a habit for her.

7 – Sarava’s Sensation (Ashauer/Joubert) 15-1 – She moved up to $10,000 from $5,000 coming over from Prairie Meadows and showed little in both.

8 – Oh So Noticed (Milligan/Murphy) 15-1 – She’s moving up after being beaten by 5 ½ a notch lower.  She’s stretching out and while her pedigree says she should be ok at this level, she didn’t hit the board in her one distance try.

As always, I ask myself how Tabby can win this race.  I would prefer not to see her so close to pace as she was in her last.  I can understand the move two back because Canterbury’s main track was clearly biased toward early speed and she was also clearly the best horse in the race.  Historically she’s been a one run horse and in her last she was simply fried when the time came for her to go.  In this case there should be some early speed and if she’s about 5 back sitting 4th or so down the backside behind relatively fresh fractions, I will be a very happy camper heading into the turn for home.

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