I made a nice score on a turf race at Gulfstream this last Saturday and the scenario is one that shows up frequently in these maiden events now that GP is in its slower summer season. The best jocks and trainers have gone north, taking the best horses with them. But for the discerning punter, there are still opportunities to prosper at GP in June. One such chance came in the 2nd race on Saturday the 17th of June in a race for maidens, most of whom had been maidens for a long time. The horse that IHR (iHandicapraces), the handicapping program I use, recommended, the 11, Lady Greatness didn’t look too great to me.
Jockey, Richard Mitchell, has 5% for wins in the last month. He has no wins in the last 10 days, no places and no shows. However, on the turf at this distance, out of 42 races this year, he has 10% for wins, 5% for place and 5% for show. What interested me strangely though was his ROI for this distance and surface a very healthy 326% ROI.
Mitchell comes from Jamaica where he rode for several years, so although he’s only been riding in the US since 2014, he’s not a newcomer to the profession. At Golden Gate, where he first rode in the US, he had respectable stats.
More importantly, as far as my handicapping was concerned, he and Lady Greatness had a good history together. He’d ridden the horse on both turf and dirt, fast and sloppy tracks and brought her in 3rd and 2nd. To some people, all the 2nds and 3rds would look like a maiden who couldn’t make it. And I agree that oftentimes, when a horse keeps missing as many times as this horse had – 22 races in two years – it’s just a dud that will never win a race. However, IHR (iHandicapraces), picked Lady Greatness for first with the 8, Perfect State, another seemingly perpetual maiden, for second and I’ve learned to trust its picks.
The 8 had another jockey with poor stats, but with better stats on this distance and surface – 10% for wins, 6% for place and 19% for show in Gerardo Corrales. But, once again, Corrales has a positive ROI – +80% – at the distance and surface also. Then I noticed something else. Perfect State’s damsire was Silver Deputy, a very good damsire for turf runners, indeed. And both of the top two horses that IHR picked were in the top 3 for earnings and that matters in maiden races.
I played the 11 and 8 in a $2 exacta and was richly rewarded when they came sprinting home in that order. The exacta paid $146 and change and I had played them to win and place also. The 11 paid $32 to win and $10 to place, so I got almost $200 from $8 worth of bets. I also got reinforcement for my belief that IHR is very good at handicapping turf races with large fields, especially maiden turf races.
If you haven’t tried it yet, it’s $3.99 for a whole day’s worth of all the simulcast tracks and there are plenty of turf races with a slew of horses in them, especially on weekends. I have no financial interest in it and I’m not an affiliate, but I would like to see more people use it for two reasons. One, if they win more they’d make more money and be happier handicappers and support horse racing by playing it more. And two, I want to see the program make money for its developers so that they’ll continue to offer it to handicappers. I’ll be using IHR this weekend and hoping for good weather and lots of turf races with large fields.