10/07/2007 11:00PM

Now is when Anderson's claimers do well

EmailThe weather is about to turn a little colder, but trainer Bill Anderson's barn is likely to start heating up.

Six of Anderson's eight wins at the Meadowlands over the past few years have come in October and November, so the best may be yet to come for a barn which is currently 2 for 12 at the 2007 meet.

"They run hard at Monmouth, and then they may need some time, or need a race at the Meadowlands," said Anderson, 62, in attempting to explain the statistics. "Also, the Meadowlands surface is a little harder than Monmouth's, and sometimes the horses need a race over the track."

A trainer who generally points his stable toward the Monmouth meeting each year, Anderson also realizes that the conditioned claiming levels tend to thin out a bit as the season wears on in New Jersey. Those claiming races for nonwinners-of-two lifetime, for example, are not nearly as strong at the Meadowlands as they were at Monmouth, because the better horses have already won at the level. For a barn which specializes in claiming horses and spotting them well, it's a good opportunity to pick up victories.

If past history is any indication, Anderson's winners in the fall at the Meadowlands will be claimers, and they will be horses turning back quickly following their last starts. Both of Anderson's winners at this year's meet scored after two weeks' rest, and both were claimers, which is no surprise at all given the barn's long-term stats with such runners. Anderson sports a positive return on investment with claimer, even with a win percentage of only 15 percent, because he flies under the radar a bit.

"We have owners that want the action, and that's the kind of stable we have," he said.

Anderson's best results have come with horses making their second start off a layoff of between 45 and 180 days. He posted 3 wins from his last 8 starters in that category, good for a $4.28 ROI. Those stats match up with Anderson's long-term numbers with horses making their third start off a break (19 percent winners, $2.13 ROI), suggesting that it's best to give his horses a race when they return from any kind of respite, and his five-year record with horses first time back (8 percent, $1.06 ROI) bear that out.

Similarly, Anderson, a former Quarter Horse rider for trainers such as D. Wayne Lukas and Clyde Rice, does very well with new claims making their second start under his care, winning at a 24-percent clip and a $2.03 ROI over the past three years. Conversely, his numbers first time off the claim are not as good (12 percent, $1.38 ROI).

"I guess a lot of times you're moving them up in class the first time off the claim, because of the rules in Jersey," said Anderson, alluding to the fact trainers can't run a claimed horse back within 30 days unless he's in for a tag at least 20 percent higher than what he was taken for.

"So you might run them a little higher than they may belong, and then in the second start back you drop them and they may fit better there."

Once the Meadowlands ends, Anderson plans to head to Philadelphia Park, as he has done for the last few seasons. In years past, Anderson would winter in New York, but given the purses in Pennsylvania these days it's become more economically feasible to go to Philly, though stalls have become tougher to come by as a result. Not one to take the winter off, Anderson has done very well the last three years in Bensalem, Pa., scoring at a 24-percent clip with a $2.22 ROI, and if he gets stall space again this winter he plans on making the most of it.

"We don't go there just to freshen up and get cold," he said with a laugh. "We go there to win."