In last Saturday’s first race at Gulfstream Park, I loved a filly named And She’s Off at 10-1 on the morning line in part because she had been bet to odds of 4-1 in her debut just three weeks earlier, and because she was a $725,000 yearling purchase. She ended up running butt naked dead last on Saturday….at 3-1. Luckily, I picked her publicly in the debut of the LoneSpeed column on HorseRacingNation.com. So only a few thousand people saw it.
In the same race, Solar Kitten was making the second start of her career, coming off a respectable effort at Keeneland in October. Below are her PPs entering last Saturday’s race, and the chart for her debut…
There are a couple of reasons why I dismissed Solar Kitten on Saturday. For one, she was 60-1 in her debut against 11 opponents, four of whom were also making their debuts. In my experience, when a horse goes to post as the longest price on the board in the debut for a top trainer like Ian Wilkes, it’s a sign that those surrounding the horse aren’t exactly high on her ability. I get it. It was Keeneland and there were some good ones in there. But 60-1? Seems high.
Second, look at the chart of the race. By all accounts, it appears to have been a pretty fairly-run race, and she wasn’t the only one to close ground late. And the filly she beat for 5th had a bit of a trip. So yeah, she ran well. But when you factor in that the winner was 52-1 and was coming in from Indiana Grand, it doesn’t have the look of a super-tough race. Just my opinion.
As you likely already know, Solar Kitten won at Gulfstream on Saturday. And as I mentioned, And She’s Off ran last. So here is the lesson: Pay attention to past betting activity, but don’t let it be a substitute for what your eyes tell you. Because there is no doubt that even the most inexperienced of horse players would have picked Solar Kitten over And She’s Off just based on visual impressions. But this handicapper got too cute. And he lost money.
Oh, and it’s worth noting that Solar Kitten’s auction price was a full $705,000 less than that of And She’s Off.