Welcome to the Club: Laura Ray

Nevada claimed Laura Ray out of the 5th race today for $7500.  She’s a turf specialist who most likely is worth exactly what we paid for her.  She’s a six year old mare who has 28 lifetime starts, winning 4 and hitting the board 13 times.  She is what she is and that’s not bad.  Three out of four of her wins were here over the turf course at three different distances.

Nevada will get her back to the barn and we’ll see how she came out of the race in a few days and see when we can bring her back.  Karl is looking so hopefully he’ll find one as well and we can have our full compliment in the barns shortly.

Here are Laura Ray’s lifetime Past Performances:

Laura Ray Lifetime PPs

We’re back in action!  Good luck everyone!

Still Looking

It was our hope to come out of the long weekend with a horse in each barn, however we did not. There were a few reasons for that. The biggest two reasons were budget and quality.

Until we ran Dos Cuernos, Karl was on the sidelines so he wasn’t able to start looking  for a couple of weeks.

Additionally, once we lost the horse, our budget for 2 new horses was about $15,000. This means that any claiming race above $10,000 were out and both trainers couldn’t go after $10,000 horses either.  The lower level races that were run over this long weekend did not contain anything appealing to either trainer, though Karl had an eye on one yesterday but decided against it.  The horse ran poorly so it was a solid pass.

We want the trainer to be comfortable with the horse he brings into his barn as his reputation is on the line every time that horse runs.  They are the experts that we pay for their experience and expertise and we need to rely on that – in spite of how very anxious we all are to get back to racing.

Claiming a horse just to have a horse is even a less ideal circumstance than not having a horse at all: claiming a mistake is very pricey in the form of higher vets costs and less racing opportunity.

However Nevada is looking at deciding between a pair he’s already looking at on Friday and Karl is looking forward to Saturday’s draw on Wednesday to go over the entries.

Hopefully we will exit next weekend with a pair of horses and we will have ample opportunity to run the rest of the season.

Racing Conditions

This is a post we did a couple of years ago that discussed the striations of racing classes. It bears repeating as we head into the racing portion of our season. There was some confusion on how we lost Dos Cuernos in the last race.  The answer is that it was a claiming race and that he was for sale (as was everyone else in the race).  It seems like a good a time as any to re-run this post and lay out the major conditions that make up the various race types.

Here is an encore:

About 80% or so of the races in North America are claiming races: races where the horses are for sale. We touched on claiming earlier in the season as we were looking for a horse but here I will try and give you the levels of races, in ascending order, and try and explain how races are designed and entered. Feel free to ask questions in the comments section and we’ll do the best we can to answer them!

LEVELS OF RACES

Maidens

Maiden Special Weight: the highest level of all maiden – or horses that have never won a race – races. These horses are not for sale and appear to have promising futures.

Maiden Claiming – These are maiden races where the horses are for sale. These are further striated by price to even out the races. One of the biggest class drops you can find in racing is a horse going from Maiden Special Weigh to maiden claiming.
Claiming

As mentioned, these make up the bulk of races in the country. They can start as low as $2500 at some tracks and go as high as $100,000 at others. Within each claiming level the races are further delineated to equal out the competition. There are races for non-winners of a race other than their maiden, 2 races other than their maiden, 3 and, sometimes, 4 races other than their maiden. As a horse wins races they move up this ladder or “clear their conditions”. You can spot these in the past performances by the notation “Clm 16,000nw2”, etc.

Finally they get to the point where there are races that are just a claiming price with no conditions or an “open claiming” race.

Additionally, usually at the bottom of the class ladder, there are races for horses that haven’t won a race or two over a period of time, usually a year. (Clm $5000n1Y etc.)

Allowance

Allowance races are races where the horses are not for sale, generally run for more money than claimers and are possibly stepping stones to stakes races. These are also striated similarly to claiming races: non winners of 1 other than maiden, claiming or starter, etc.

A “starter” allowance is an allowance race that is specifically for horses that have run in a particular claiming level. For example, a $7500 Starter Allowance is for horses that have started for a claiming price of $7500 or less for a period of time (generally a year, but can be more or less).

Allowance/optional claiming races are exactly what they sound like – a hybrid. The condition could read ‘For horses that have not won two races other than maiden, claiming, starter OR claiming price of $20,000″. In that race some horses would be for sale for $20K while others, that meet the allowance condition of never having won two races unless they were maiden, claiming or starter allowances, will not be.

Stakes

These are the highest levels of races usually for the best horses on the grounds – or from around the country.

Stakes races also have their own levels. Most tracks have their own stakes programs that are open to all types of horses and others for just for horses bred in their state. Some tracks’ stakes races have become so popular and prestigious that they are “graded” on a scale of 3 to 1 with 1 being the highest. The Triple Crown and Breeders’ Cup races are Grade 1 races, as are others, while many prestigious races are Grade 2 or 3s. These are decided by the American Graded Stakes Committee of the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders’ Association: https://toba.org/graded-stakes/

CLAIMED!

Well that was a short lived run at home.  Dos Cuerno was moving into contention toward the far turn under Eddie Martin Jr. when he started falling back.  He finished last and was claimed by Robertino Diodoro.

We won’t know what went wrong for sure because he’s not ours anymore, but indications are that he may have bled a little bit during the race.  Eddie got off and said he had a hard time breathing and, generally, that commentary following that type of performance is indicative of pulmonary bleeding.

This is not a fatal issue for horses but it is uncomfortable.  It can be treated with Lasix and other adjunct drugs as well as rest.  With some time and proper medication he should be just fine.

Now, however, we need to find horses.  Fortunately we have four days of racing next weekend and plenty of opportunity for Nevada and Karl to pick up horses to finish out the summer.

Race Preview: Dos Cuernos

Dos Cuernos makes his hometown debut tomorrow (Saturday) in the 6th race.  The $4000 claiming race for horses that have not won two races since November 18, 2018 will be run at 6.5 furlongs over the main track.  Eddie Martin Jr. will get the ride.

The Club will have a spot in Silks if you want to take advantage of the set-aside seating.

Paddock Group 1 will meet us at the paddock gate after the replays of the Lady Slipper Stakes (Race 5)

Here is the field:

American League (Fields/Lindsay) – Claimed for $3000 in victory at Turf Paradise two back in a mile and had some issues cutting back to a sprint next out.  Has shown some early quickness in the past.

Let’s Tango (Riecken/Goodwin) – Up from Fonner Park where he was unable to win at $2500, though did notch a second three back over a muddy track.  Has won at Canterbury in the past but only ran here twice last season and wasn’t competitive.

Madelyn’s Wild Max (Broberg/Eikleberry) – Oft claimed as of late, Karl Broberg thought enough of the gelding to claim him back for $5000 after losing him for $4000 the start before in Louisiana.  Didn’t fare well in his last start at Evangeline in the slop but also was hiked up in class into an optional claimer.  Back in with $4000 claimers, he should be close throughout and the one to beat.

Justcallme Charlie (Rengorf/Goncalves) – Minnesotan dropping in off of a pair of lackluster allowance efforts.  Interestingly, this gelding did better last year in open company at this level than he did against state bred company, winning at this level twice here in 2018 – once over a sloppy track.  He’ll want to come off the pace.

Major League (Backhaus/Butler) – Had a nice run at Fonner after being claimed for $2500 on Washington’s birthday pushing up to $5000 and finishing 2nd, 3rd and winning in his subsequent starts.  Pushed up to $7500 for his last Nebraska start proved to be too much, however.

Colonial Power (Diodoro/Arrieta) – Should be one that wants the lead early, this is another that toiled in Louisiana before coming north.  Arrieta is off to a hot start and front runners in sprints are doing particularly well here so far.

With rain in the forecast we can take a look and see how everyone has done in the rain and every horse in the race but American League has a win over an off track.  The only reason American League doesn’t have one? He hasn’t run in one! So that neither helps us nor hurts us.

In Does Cuernos’ most successful races he has come from a bit off the pace.  Taking a look at the field, there doesn’t appear to be a lot of flat out speed.  American League has some speed as does Colonial Power but it will have to be seen if they can wear each other out up front enough to pave the way for one of the off the pace types to take the race.  Madelyn’s Wild Max has been able to stay close and just missed at 7 furlongs in January which most likely makes him to get first run on the leaders.

It’s going to be interesting to see what the rain has done (and will do) to the way the racetrack has been playing the last couple of weeks.  We knew fully well that the $12,500 claimer at Oaklawn was going to be too tough for the guy, but he was very competitive in the $6250 race we claimed him out of (in the slop) and that compares him, class wise, very favorably to everyone in here. We’re in with a shot – which is all you can ask for.

Good luck everyone and see you at the track!

Brief Rundown From Nevada

We caught up to Nevada on the backside and he gave us some quick thoughts on the race tomorrow.

We have space in Silks tomorrow (the bar and gathering area near the bridle path where the horses come on to the racetrack).  Sometimes we get inside space, sometimes the patio – watch for the signs, the Club area will be marked.  Given the weather forecast…I think we’ll be inside!