02/15/2006 12:00AM

BreezeFigs update - Feb. 15

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plays from this past weekend that will bring additional insight into how to handicap maiden races more effectively--for 2-year-olds, and for the same crop through June of their 3-year-old year. As a bonus, we'll also look at an allowance and claiming race for winners where BreezeFigs definitely could have been used to increase ROI.

You would do well to start by looking at a new report we posted last week that will give the actual record of 2-year-old racing of 2005 as far as the 2-year-old sales (where BreezeFigs are compiled) are concerned. The document shows which sales had the most winners, how often first timers won from each sale, which BreezeFigs Groups at each sale produced the most winners, which sales and Groups produced the most stakes horses, and other information that you should use as a reference each time you need some more background information. Save it to your disk or print it out. to get it.

Saturday, at Gulfstream:
: Maiden Special Weight, 6 Furlongs

There were a few scratches in this race but enough opportunities for a potentially good play. Showing Up was a first-time starter from a clever outfit with BreezeFigs from two separate sales. He was a G3, six under Par, at OBSFEB, the first sale of the year--but was scratched out of that sale before he was sent through the ring; he was later sold at EASMAY, where he earned a G1 three over Par at a quarter mile--good for that sale. Ancient Fleet came out of the weaker OBSAPR sale as a G2, two over Par, but had already thrown in two slow Beyers, had to be thrown out. Giant Act was another firster who'd been scratched from the very good FTFFEB sale where he earned a fairly decent two over Par G2 at a quarter mile and a poor five under Par G3 at an eighth. He wasn't tearing up the track in the morning, but he is by Giant's Causeway and merited consideration. High Finance had also come out of the FTFFEB sale (where he was scratched) with a three under Par Group 3 BreezeFig at a furlong--not a horse we would normally consider but he'd run a good race in his only start to earn a 78 Beyer, validating the high quality of that sale. Of the BreezeFig horses, the only ones that seemed viable were Showing Up (almost 7-to-1) on being "the stranger with the Fig," and maybe High Finance (who went off at 8-to-5 favoritism) strictly on form. The logical form horse, Minidrop, went off at 5-to-2 and wound up splitting Showing Up, who won by four, and High Finance, who dueled with Minidrop and tired to be third. Showing Up paid $15.80.

Saturday at Tampa Bay:
: Maiden Special Weight, 6 Furlongs

A lot of second stringers from major stables at Gulfstream show up here with tough pickings all around. There are three BreezeFigs horses, all with good numbers, but one--Boldtoboot--had shown in three starts that he just didn't have it. The other two looked interesting beginning with firster Sr. Penny from Joe Orseno's barn. He was an RNA at FTFFEB where he was a G2, one over Par and had a long string of steady works. The other was Keep It, another RNA who had two G2 BreezeFigs at OBSMAR, including a very good five over Par at a furlong. He'd made one start at Calder in July, obviously came out hurt, and also was working steadily. Sr. Penny was sent off second choice to another firster, R Smoken Start, who was engaged in a front-end duel most of the race with 21-to-1 shot Tactful Prince. Meanwhile, Sr. Penny stopped after a half-mile while Keep It stalked the pace and got up in the final strides to beat Tactful Prince and R Smokin Star, paying $16.00

Saturday at Turfway Park:
: Maiden Special Weight, 6 Furlongs

In a race filled with firsters and fillies that had averaged somewhere around 40 Beyers, Gran Nieta was the only BreezeFigs horse in the race--and she'd earned the third best Beyer in the field by finishing fourth, while six wide, in her debut in January on this track behind the best Beyer, Nightmare, who'd finished a very good second in the same race. Gran Nieta came out of EASMAY with a very solid five over Par G1 BreezeFig at a quarter mile, quite good for that sale. It looked like a solid exacta with these two--but Nightmare tired after setting the pace in the snow at 1-to-2 odds-on, finishing third to Gran Nieta who stalked the pace and took over inside the final sixteenth to pay $14.00.

Sunday at Golden Gate:
: Maiden Special Weight, 6 Furlongs

This race had so many angles that you had to basically boil it down to two: Would the "Lost in the Fog" connections put another BreezeFigs firster over (Smokey Stover) in a race where there was a very legitimate BreezeFigs horse who'd already run two 70-plus Beyers in his first two starts (Firebaugh)? What made it all the more intriguing is that both came out of the same sale, EASMAY where both breezed a furlong--but Smokey Stover earned a G1, eight over Par BreezeFig and Firebaugh earned a one over Par for a G2 rating. There were a couple of others who attracted attention, but Firebaugh was sent off at 9-to-5 while Smokey Stover was held at 2.60-to-1--and beat his rival by 2 lengths, to pay $7.20 while approximating the difference in lengths of their EASMAY BreezeFigs. The $1 exacta came back at $10.30.

Sunday at Gulfstream:
: Maiden Special Weight, 6 Furlongs

Probably the toughest race of the weekend--four G2 horses, all sold for good prices, three firsters among them. The one that had started already, Katy Texas had been scratched from OBSJUN following a three over Par BreezeFig effort, and had finished "2nd best" twice already with improving Beyers (71 and 63). Menu Varnish, the highest priced one, was also three over Par, but at the better OBSMAR sale where she fetched $210,000. Luvyasomuch, a $125,000 OBSAPR purchase had racked up a seven over Par BreezeFig at that sale, but that was at 1/8 mile, while Cherokee Jewel, also an OBSAPR graduate at a much lower price ($22,000) had been only two over Par, but at a quarter mile, which is very competitive for that sale. If you really wanted to play a BreezeFig horse, it was a tough selection, as there were other contenders who did not go through the 2-year-old sales, including the eventual even-money favorite Ginger Punch. Situations such as these require additional insights--trainer-jockey patterns, workout lines, pedigrees. The sires of each filly were all known for speedballs, so it looked like a tossup. Watching the board helped you throw out Menu Varnish--no action, 44-to-1. Katy Texas and Luvyasomuch both had action at 5-to-1, while Cherokee Jewel was dismissed at 12-to-1. If you wanted to include the latter three in gimmicks with the favorite, you might have scored, for as it turned out, Cherokee Jewel won off impressively, paying $26.60, with Ginger Punch second and Luvyasomuch third. The gimmicks came back $39.70 and $162.10.

BreezeFigs can also be used in handicapping allowance races or claiming races, especially when they feature horses coming off debut wins.

Friday at Oaklawn:
: Claiming (30-25k), 6 furlongs

Becky's Angel was coming off a debut victory at maiden claiming (15-10k) in December at Turfway, where she racked up a 49 Beyer after breaking in the air and winning by two. She was claimed out of the race. She was listed as sold as a yearling for $145,000, but actually was an RNA at OBSMAR with a four over Par BreezeFig, good enough for a G2 ranking. She was stepping up, but the field looked weak, and she galloped home to the tune of $35.00. If you used her as a saver with the favorite and second choice, who finished second and third, you would have cashed a $414.20 exacta and $655.50 trifecta.

Saturday, Gulfstream:
: NW-1x, 6 Furlongs

Here you had a classic confrontation of two BreezeFigs Group 1 standouts from the same sale who'd both dominated their rivals in their first wins: Noonmark, who had a 12 over Par BreezeFig at a quarter mile at KEEAPR where he was an RNA, and won his second start by more than 10 at Belmont in October with a 97 Beyer; and Praying for Cash, who came in with an eight over Par at the same distance at KEEAPR and broke his maiden in his debut in June at Monmouth with an 81 Beyer, but had not started since. Both had obvious talent, but all things considered you had to go with Noonmark if you were playing a BreezeFig angle--which was viable since they looked the best on paper in a short field. Somehow, the crowd let Noonmark get away at 3-to-1, and sent Praying for Cash off as 3-to-2 favorite with Bernie White Shoes, who'd broken his maiden with a 96 Beyer in his fifth start, second choice. The three of them went out early with Noonmark always a bit in front and he held on all the way, widening to win by two, paying $8.60. Bernie White Shoes completed an $11.40 exacta, and Praying for Cash held on to finish off a $29.90 trifecta.