Angle analysis: The past can be prologue to profit

Updated January 11, 2018 - 6:30 pm

One of the goals of the interactive handicapping exercises we engage in each week is to generate real-world examples of sound principles that will produce positive returns over the long run.

With that in mind, let’s revisit last week’s Sham Stakes for a situation that turned an all but unbettable race into a wagering opportunity. Then we’ll turn to this week’s challenges: the Jerome Stakes and the LeComte Stakes (Grade 3).

The Bob Baffert-trained McKinzie was a deserving favorite in the field of seven in the Sham (Grade 3), a $100,000 stakes race at a mile for newly turned 3-year-olds at Santa Anita. The colt was 2-for-2 after winning the Los Alamitos Futurity (Grade 1) via disqualification, and his accomplishments weren’t lost on bettors, who pounded him to 1-5.

If you’re ever tempted to reach for your wallet to back a lightly raced 1-5 shot, do yourself a favor and have a trusted friend nail your arms to your sides.

In the Sham, however, there was another factor that bettors ignored: Earlier Saturday, Baffert had scratched McKinzie’s stablemate, Mourinho, one of two horses that figured to contest the pace.

That left the Simon Callahan-trained All Out Blitz as the probable lone leader in the early stages of the race, a dangerous scenario even for a horse trying two turns for the first time off a maiden score.

There was no beating McKinzie on this day, as he cruised past All Out Blitz in the final furlong to win by 3½ lengths. But All Out Blitz (15-1), who set the pace with no serious pressure, held second, turning a $2.40 payout on the winner into a $7.10 return on a $1 exacta and topping an easily hittable trifecta ($24.60 on a $1 bet) and superfecta ($31.60 on a $1 bet) with the two other logical contenders in the race, My Boy Jack and Shivermetimbers.

The moral of this story is that late scratches require re-examination of races. Handicappers who do so will be rewarded.

#RJhorseracing featured races

The #RJhorseracing handicapping corps is again focused on the Triple Crown trail, tackling the $150,000 Jerome Stakes at Aqueduct and the $200,000 LeComte Stakes (Grade 3) at the Fair Grounds on Saturday.

Our handicappers foresee an upset in the rescheduled Jerome, with Seven Trumpets, 3-1 second choice on the morning line, upending 3-5 favorite Firenze Fire. Factor This (12-1) will round out the trifecta, they say.

I also think Seven Trumpets’ speed makes him dangerous on what is expected to be a muddy or sloppy track and will pick him as well.

In the LeComte, at a mile and 70 yards, the handicappers are deadlocked between the filly Wonder Gadot (6-1) and Instilled Regard (4-1), with 5-2 favorite Principe Guilherme in third.

“Wonder Gadot is the only filly in the race and is in with a very good chance, as her only time missing the board was that awful trip in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies; it says a lot that her connections are not afraid of the boys,” writes Ponypicker Joe.

I think the morning line is wrong and that Instilled Regard will end up favored off his runner-up effort in the Las Alamitos Futurity (Grade 1). But I’ll have my money on Kowboy Karma (6-1), who looks ready to roll after being freshened by trainer Larry Jones.

Join the fun next week by emailing me or following me on Twitter.

Contact Mike Brunker at mbrunker@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4656. Follow @mike_brunker on Twitter.

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