11/18/2015 3:36PM

Jerardi: A mortal Beyer lock pays off at 110-1


It was the ninth race at Mahoning Valley on Nov. 4, the betting opportunity of the 21st century, a maiden filly with an overwhelming Beyer Speed Figure edge going off at 110-1. As Andrew Beyer wrote me a few days after the race, “Under the circumstances, 110 to 1 was a bit of an overlay.”

In fact, the 110-1 shot entered the starting gate in the six-furlong, $5,000 maiden-claiming race for fillies and mares with recent Beyers of 51, 42, 42, 43, and 40. The longshot was in against a rather suspect field that included 11 other horses with a combined record of 0 for 115 and no Beyer figure as high as 40 in any of those races. In fact, seven of the entrants had a last-race Beyer of 0, while the other four got figures of 23, 20, 16, and 12.

So, what did the bettors miss? The same thing that was missed from the barn to the starting gate, as it turned out. The No. 1 horse, the 110-1 shot, was supposed to be Ruby Queen, a 3-year-old filly who had a career-best Beyer of 20 but had gotten a 0 in four of her previous five starts, with a 9 in her other race. She had been beaten by a combined 168 lengths in the 12 races that appeared in her past performances. She had no early speed, she was not getting Lasix for the first time, there was no new equipment, and she did not have a recent trainer change. She also was not in the starting gate.

It turned out that her stablemate, a 4-year-old gelding named Leathers Slappin, was in the starting gate that afternoon against those female maidens. In this spot, the winner of two lifetime races was American Pharoah against a field of $20,000 claimers, even though he was racing for the second time in 50 hours.

Both animals are owned and trained by Shane Spiess. The Ohio Racing Commission is investigating the incident. Whatever the conclusion, it is hard to imagine anything was done intentionally. If anyone knew Leathers Slappin was running as Ruby Queen, he/she would not have gone off at 110-1.

Proving once and for all that Beyer figures are the best evaluation tool ever invented, Leathers Slappin/Ruby Queen ran right to his/her figures, crushing the field by 7 3/4 lengths and paying a cool $222.40 to win, $79.40 to place, and $30.40 to show while triggering an exacta that paid $1,832.40 with a 20-1 shot second.

The real Leathers Slappin had run fifth in the fifth race Nov. 2 at Mahoning Valley. That was also at six furlongs but for $5,000 claimers who had never won three races. Leathers Slappin got a 40 Beyer that day.

With just those 50 hours between races and probably not a lot of training time, Leathers Slappin got a 46 in his blowout win, a six-point improvement, a clear indication that the horse had been getting too much time between races and just needed to be placed in the right spot.

And this race against maiden fillies was definitely the right spot, the kind of spot every trainer hopes to find but never does. Leathers Slappin was just 2 for 26 lifetime with $30,000 in career earnings, but four of the fillies he was in against had career earnings of $282, $500, $537, and $716.

You know how we all look back after the race to see what we missed? Imagine the puzzled looks after Ruby Queen/Leathers Slappin ran those six furlongs in a blazing 1:15.43 and, in the words of the chart caller, “had speed from the start inside, made the lead entering the turn, then widened the balance of the trip to win as much the best while under energetic handling.’’

The Florida-bred son of D’wildcat had been disguised, apparently unintentionally, as a Florida-bred daughter of Suave. Ruby Queen was every bit of 110-1. Leathers Slappin, in that maiden race, was 1-5. Beyer was absolutely right in his assessment of the final odds. Really, how often do you get 110-1 on a 1-5 shot?

Jamie Murphy More than 1 year ago
Keith Murphy More than 1 year ago
Jamie ... the writer should have used "like" in front of "American Pharoah" so that it reads ... "the winner of two lifetime races was like American Pharoah against a field of $20,000 claimers ..."
Jamie Murphy More than 1 year ago
hell no. they let it happen, they can pay for the winner and loser involved and see if any of those "winners" had any sort of relationship to the barn/trainer involved. completely ridiculous. ide love a job identifying horses, but im not qualified.....or am I?! I can certainly tell the difference between male and female. Why are all these small time tracks closing again? at Saratoga this year, I was looking closely at the horses and saw a horse with a plate that read something other than what it should have been. I just assumed that the horses equipment broke and they borrowed another, but it makes me wonder after seeing things like this. I told one guy standing next to me and he just shrugged it off. wish I followed up on that race, didn't see if it won or lost or what happened. this game is hard enough. ive had past bets where a horse beat me then tested positive for some kind of substance.....did I get my winning wager back, no, not even a refund, it more than frustrating!!!!!
Pete Slaughter More than 1 year ago
The fact that no true journalistic investigation is involved with the writing of this article is shameful. This is a story about how predictive Beyer figures are when they were not available to the public for the horse in question. It's an easy to understand story, it just has no value to any reader! Shame on you DRF for promoting passivity by squandering an opportunity to delve deeply into chicanery and larceny with fluff instead. If DRF stands by this story and the line "disguised, apparently unintentionally" they should be boycotted to be held accountable! I must inform all that I personally know Shane Spiess, I was a very young Track Handicapper with Ladbroke DRC in the early 90's. I also owned a few horses, one was a mare who I had claimed and then later sold to Shane upon the conclusion of the racing season at the track. I knew him well enough to know that he was a pretty good horseman who could easily put a over a price horse, especially off a layoff and even more especially to start a spring season as many of his runners were as fit as those coming in from southern racing venues. As a Track Handicapper, I once made one of his runners (Berry Victory) my Best Bet of the day. This I announced to all during a closed circuit televised broadcast of our pre-race show. It went off at 33-1 despite being my BB and proceeded to win by the length of the stretch from gate to wire. I made a lot of money that day, I'm certain Shane did too.
Jamie Murphy More than 1 year ago
best part is... this is a pay article. must have DRF plus to read a story that's fiction. the real story is the screw up, not that the public missed something (ps they didn't). how about a call to the racing sec, or whomever handles the track, and get an reason for this to be able to happen on their watch. the bettors must be able to trust the track/circuit, itself, even if they cant trust the connections involved
Jack Armstead More than 1 year ago
Jamie... this is a free story. I know; because my subscription expired on the 8th of November... after Jerardi censored me again. I'll bet I'm on a hot list where Beyer, Crist, Watchmaker, and Jerardi all have an "auto toggle" for me... which is code for the "awaiting moderation" trigger drf.com has given them to protect the collective good. As a journalist, Jerardi can't write 2 paragraphs about any equine topic without using the word, "Beyer" as a noun.
Chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
This story is all fantasy just like Beyers' figures.
DavidM9999 More than 1 year ago
When horses, money and gambling are involved the word "unintentionally" is not part of my vocabulary.
David G. More than 1 year ago
The story doesn't tell it, but how/when was this discovery made, and by whom?
DRFFormulator More than 1 year ago
It was made in the testing barn, immediately following the race.
Jim Fields More than 1 year ago
It may be an oh well story, but it does happen, and most of the time it is inadvertant error by humans. I had a friend, who was a long term licensed official, who misread a lip tatoo, and basically the same thing happened. The trainer had back to back to back runners and an extra groom to take the third horse to the paddock, in night racing, and the non english speaking groom brought the wrong horse, it wasn't caught until the test barn, after the urine and blood were drawn, and the test barn vet checked the tatoo. My friend lost his job, the trainer got a huge fine and suspension, and the owners lost the purse. Nothing happened to the groom, because it is trainers responsibility. There was no intention of defaming anybody, but it sure affected several good people.
Steve More than 1 year ago
Track officials and trainers can not tell a gelding from a filly? I would give better than 110-1 odds that is not true.
Bruce Epstein More than 1 year ago
No smart "bookie" would ever take action at a small track like this. Furthermore, the outside action if any was not "laid off" on track, as the small pool shows. Just another under qualified person, working in an important job. Sorta like our President.
Cliff Amyotte More than 1 year ago
Suit the track for fraud!