The 2019 Club will make our first start of the season on Thursday at Oaklawn. Horny will head out in the 3rd race, a $12,500 claiming race for horses that have not won a race since November 25 going six furlongs. It is a seven horse field and we’ll be breaking out of post four with Justin Shepherd aboard. Estimated post time is 2:25 Central Time.
As some of you have already noticed, Horny won on December 18 at Mahoning Valley so how can he be eligible for this race? Reading deeper into the conditions, in parenthesis, the condition of the race reads: “Races where entered for $8,000 or less not considered in allowances and eligibility.” That race at Mahoning was a $7500 claiming race and thus didn’t count for eligibility into this race.
The decision to run here was an interesting one. We try and run the Club as close to “real life” as we can so folks can get the experience and understand the decision making process involved. There are times, however, that decisions are made that are contrary to what might be done if we weren’t the racing club and we’ll try and point those out when they come up. This race is an example of that.
Horny is in a little bit over his head here. While he’s not as outclassed as I thought he would be, it would be a surprise if he wins (as noted by his 12-1 morning line odds). However, the horse was ready to run, feeling good and not eligible to run at Canterbury until the second weekend. A race this weekend sets him up perfectly for that weekend. In a “normal” circumstance we would have run him back at the same level ($6250) to try and get a win and if he gets claimed, he goes. Eventually there would be another horse. Given that the meet is closing in a few weeks and claiming activity, especially at the lower levels, is getting frenzied, we decided to “protect” the horse and run him a little higher in order to dissuade a claim.
Horny is healthy, sound and has potential to win some races at Canterbury. He would be difficult to replace before we open here and, as the Club, we want to hit the meet running so we entered at this level instead of lower. (Side note: Karl is looking for a horse as we speak but we may end up claiming one with him opening weekend). So, as a Club decision, we protected the horse while in a “real world” scenario, we wouldn’t have run so high. You run to try and win, not protect your horse from being claimed. We will not be doing the same once we get here.
Of course anything can happen in a claiming race but should we lose Horny at this level we would have done so whilst doubling our money. That definitely would be a balm to the soothe the loss.
All of that said, the race didn’t come up as tough as I expected and we certainly have some hope (which I will cover in the race preview in a couple of days).
Good luck and can’t wait for the gates to open on the 2019 season
Reminder: RSVP to the coffee and donuts the morning of May 11, 9-11 open house style, by the end of the day on Thursday, May 3 to firstname.lastname@example.org.