10/02/2015 3:19PM

Fornatale: Flanders lands on favorite


Ryan Flanders, currently second in the National Handicapping Tour standings, will take us through one of the races in Saturday’s contest sequences on BCQualify.com and DRFQualify.com. Rather than examine one of the stakes, Flanders is opting to turn to the bread-and-butter of racing, a maiden claimer at Santa Anita. Take it away, Ryan!

Santa Anita, Race 5

#1 Mishegas (30-1): The quick turnaround with no works since his last is a positive for me, hinting that the last was a no-try, but a bug rider drawn against the wood in a 2-year-old maiden-claimer sprint race on the dirt is almost always a toss for me. I’m going to pass on this one on the top end, but I think he has chance of claiming a superfecta spot.

#2 Counterplay (6-1): He showed good speed in the last, but the winner could’ve won by 100 yards (Courageous Dave made a left-hand turn out of the gate, seemingly losing all chance, only to breeze by everyone and win under wraps). I also doubt this horse will get another sixteenth of a mile. Pass.

#3 I’mcomingthrough (7-2): I’ll return to him at the end.

#4 Greyson and John (5-1): He is a threat and probably a “use.” He was dead on the board first time out (morning line 10-1 in a six-horse field), and Tyler Baze rode this one early like he knew this wasn’t a day the connections were too worried about winning. He didn’t ride at all early, and he showed decent speed while getting a mild shuffle from in between early and then showed some greenness through the turn while being down inside. He was claimed out of that race and then showed speed again against maiden special weights. Today, back at the right level, I believe this one will be much tighter and certainly has a chance against this bunch.

#5 (30-1) Thunder Drums: He looks like a stab. His only gate work is a dreadfully slow three-eighths move, and his conditioner is not batting at a high enough percentage to warrant a further look.

#6 Small Town Shuffle (5-1): He had a perfect trip last out and looked awful down the lane, not switching leads and coughing up second to Star Express, who had been beaten by double digits in his previous three races. Moving right along ...

#7 Superside (4-1): Although this one has a pattern that I really like to see in his last two works (a fast one from the gate and then a slow one not from gate), he’s 4-1 morning line for a trainer who is just 1 for his last 21 first time out. I’ll pay attention and look next time, but I’ll almost never bet a trainer with a stat like that as one of the favorites.

#8 Too Much Chatter (6-1): He’s coming out of the same race as Mishegas and Counterplay – the one where Courageous Dave romped despite trouble. Too Much Chatter is improving, and although Clifford Sise is one of my favorite trainers, I’ll still pass from a value perspective.

#9 Start a Runnin (4-1): Speed players are going to jump all over this one, but not me. This thing was totally dead on the board last out (5-2 morning line, and he went off 9-2) and had a great trip, clearing early and losing to the same horse whom he dueled with, Brownie Finale. He’s not without a chance, especially because he probably will be clear again, but I’m not the rider’s biggest fan, and I’m willing to gamble against.

Which leaves me with #3 I’mcomingthrough. This one looks like a significant move up for me. I watched multiple replays, and I think there is some hidden trouble here. The comment line says, “3 wide into stretch, no bid.” On the pan replay, you can see that he breaks quickly and then seems to get “outquicked,” but the head-on view tells a different story. I’mcomingthrough shied badly from Dominic’s Way, which caused a shuffle. He was athletic enough and not deterred by the throwback. That ability to stay in range despite trouble is an important indicator of talent in a 2-year-old maiden claimer. From there, I’mcomingthrough made a decent run, staying inside, overcoming another mild shuffle, and being caught far more than three wide. Those who finished in front of him weren’t running any better at the finish. The colt also took a little action, being bet from a 20-1 morning line to 15-1 at the off. He’s getting blinkers, shows a solid gate work since raced, and Martin Pedroza stays. There are too many positives for me to pass on. 

That’s right, I’m betting the favorite here. In contests, hopefully I’ll be in a position to play him or be so far ahead that he’ll essentially be running for me anyway. If I have to, I’ll get creative with a horse like Greyson and John, or, if things are really bleak, I might have to take a stab with Mishegas.

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