When is 5-1 a gift?

For starters, I did not bet on the horse or even the race we are about to discuss.  So this isn’t a redboard.

I’d like to direct your attention to Santa Anita’s 8th race on Sunday.  A $25k claimer for non-winners of two lifetime at 7F on the dirt.  Eight horse field.  Here is your eventual winner.

Face of Victory was sent off at 5-1 as the fourth choice in the betting.  And in retrospect, the $12 win payout looks like an absolute steal.  For starters, while it’s sometimes tough to gauge the true class of lightly-raced horses at this level, you can always look at the level at which they broke their maidens for at least SOME indication of their class.  And most of them in here got their first wins at either the $20k or $30k level.  One did it at $50k versus state-breds.  And one scored for $80k but had been awful since.  But Face of Victory broke his maiden over THIS surface at THIS distance for $40k. So right there, you have a small check in his column.  Not a large green check.  More like a tiny black check.  Just a bit of an indication in the mysterious world of gauging true class in the maiden claiming ranks that Face of Victory might have at least a minor class edge over this bunch.

Now let’s look at distance.  Most of them in here had never raced at 7F.  But Face of Victory had a win and two 2nds from three starts at this sometimes-tricky distance.  So we knew, without question, that he liked it.  And we know that many horses just don’t respond to 7F.  So now we have another check in his column, only this one is big and green.

So he liked the distance.  He liked the SA dirt.  And he was arguably the classiest horse in the race.  Yet somehow he was the fourth choice of eight at 5-1.  Too bad we can’t bet after the fact, amiright?

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