What’s In a Name?
|(Click on image to enlarge|
In the end, Ed concluded that 7-5 was more than fair on a filly that he felt had a 50-50 shot of visiting the winner’s circle and, judging by Eblouissante’s convincing 4 ½-length score, he was right. But it got me to thinking (something I like to do when I’m not keeping up with the Kardashians): Does it make economic sense to follow and play horses that even casual players are aware of and, therefore, more likely to bet? I decided to do a little — emphasis on little — study to find out.
Below is a table that includes all the 2011 Eclipse Award-winning thoroughbreds (minus Black Jack Blues, who was voted best steeplechaser) along with their pari-mutuel performances thus far in 2012. I figured if any group of animals could be considered “name horses,” recent Eclipse Award winners fit the bill nicely.
That’s right, two quarters... five dimes... 10 nickels... you get the picture.
Mind you, this is better than one could expect betting a bunch of random no-names or even favorites, but it is hardly the stuff of legends, which brings us to Saturday’s Cigar Mile Handicap at Aqueduct.
Among the entrants in that Grade I event is Groupie Doll; the same Groupie Doll that won the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint by 4 ½ lengths. The same Groupie Doll that is a lock to win the Eclipse Award for top female sprinter.
I feel likewise about another “name horse.” Although Stay Thirsty has not won an Eclipse Award (and isn’t likely to), many fans are still aware of him thanks to his high-profile connections. Owned by Mike Repole and trained by Todd Pletcher, Stay Thirsty is coming off a game second in the Jockey Club Gold Cup on Sept. 29 and also has a win in the Grade I Travers on his resume.
The horse I’ll be taking a long look at in the Cigar Mile is Buffum, a four-year-old Bernardini colt owned by Godolphin Racing.
Plus, I’m guessing Buffum’s price will be a lot more generous than the price on either Groupie Doll or Stay Thirsty. And value, my friends, is the name of the the game — the only name that counts.
Additional Aqueduct Analysis (11/24/12)
AQU6: To say that 1-UNLIMITED BUDGET’s debut was impressive is akin to calling the Rocky Mountains “hills” — a gross understatement. Not only did the daughter of Street Sense win by 9 ½ lengths on Nov. 9, she recorded a -14 early speed ration (ESR) in the process. Unlimited Budget ran so fast early that day that she left the 1-2 favorite Brilliant Jewel, who was coming off a second-place showing behind 2-EMOLLIENT (today’s morning-line favorite) in her lifetime bow, gasping for air even before the field turned for home. What’s more, Unlimited Budget earned a -7 late speed ration for her maiden score — just a couple ticks slower than Emollient recorded in her maiden victory.
AQU9: I’m afraid the morning line tells the story. 2-DANCE CARD has the most talent, but I hate the layoff, while both 6-BOOK REVIEW and 7-MY WANDY’S GIRL look like viable alternatives.