On the Outside Looking In – Gemologist

The Kentucky Derby 2012 is less than 2 months away and while Union Rags, El Padrino and Creative Cause are topping most lists for Kentucky Derby favorite, there is still time for other horses to make an impression. One such horse is Gemologist.

Unfortunately, as the Kentucky Derby graded stakes earnings rules go, Gemologist is one of the many horses on the outside looking in. Gemologist currently has $103,855 in graded earnings. Typically, it takes $200,000 to be assured a spot in the Kentucky Derby starting gate. While he hastn’ made it in yet, there is still time for him to earn enough to get into the gate.

Gemologist has the classic pedigree to make him a legitimate Kentucky Derby contender. By the amazing sire, Tiznow, only horse to win the Breeder’s Cup Classic twice and out of the Mr. Prospector mare, Crystal Shard. Although his dam was unraced, she features solid racehorses from quite a ways back – Mr. Prospector and Northern Dancer. He sports a respectable 2.73 dosage index with a distribution falling heavily in the classic distance.

Gemologist has been flawless in his four career starts, three as a two year old and just one as a three year old. His debut saw him win by five lengths in a Maiden Special Weight. In his next start, an allowance at a mile and 1/16th, he again set the pace and won by 2 lengths. In his last start as a two year old, he made his stakes debut in the mile and 1/16th Jockeky Club Stakes. That field featured other well thought of foes in Optimizer and Secret Circle and Ever So Lucky. This time, Gemologist waited off the pace and dueled with Ever So Lucky for the win. The appearance of both  Currency Swap and Gemologist in a one mile Allowance race at Gulfstream on March 16, brought excitement to what would have been just another race on the card. In his three year old debut, Gemologist did not disappoint. He handled the field and the talented Currency Swap en route to a seven length win. Again, he returned to the role of the pacesetter and wired the field. Impressive!

Impressive, but will he be ready for the Kentucky Derby field should he make it in? Pletcher states his next start will likely be the Wood and then the Kentucky Derby. While it is possible for a lightly raced horse to come away with the roses, they usually have been tested much more. The Kentucky Derby with its large field and super-pressure requires a horse who has been in a “fight” or two and has not backed now. It will be interesting to see what kind of field shows up for the Wood if that is indeed where Gemologist next goes and see how he handles such a field. For now, he’s on the outside looking in, but he’s certainly an exciting prospect to watch.

I’m turning for home and will talk with you later,

Blue Blue Sea

Can I get an ALLOWANCE?

If you read my previous article Claim Is the Name of the Game (https://blueblueseaottb.wordpress.com/2012/02/24/claim-is-the-name-of-the-game/), you have an understanding of what most races being run each day in the USA. Allowance races are another common race that you will see at tracks each day in the USA.

I never ran in an allowance race during my career, but famous Rapid Redux (http://www.equibase.com/premium/eqbHorseInfo.cfm?refno=7704652&registry=T) has made his streak and name from running in a particular kind of allowance race, so I’ll refer to some of his races to give you an idea.

The first thing to understand is that there is no ability to make a claim in an allowance race, so none of the horses in an allowance are going to be for sale. In an allowance race, the racing secretary will set conditions that determine how much weight each horse will carry in the race. The theory behind assigning weights is to level the playing field – better horses carry more weight to give the other horses a better chance at winning, so theier is better competition. Allowances are based on things like the age of the horses, the gender of the horses, how many races the horses have won and when those wins came, among others.

When you look at the racing form, it will state that the race is an Allowance and you might see something like this:

Three Year Olds    119 lbs.  Older    124 lbs.  Non-winners of a race other than Claiming since March 16   2 lbs.

These are the allowances – how much weight a horse can subtract from the standard depending on age. In this example, all 3 year olds would start at 119 lbs and those over 3 would start at 124 lbs. If a 3 year old entered that had won a claiming race since March 16, would only need to carry 117 lbs. If a 5 year old was entered who had won a Stakes race, the horse would not get any allowance and would carry the full 124 lbs.

Now, a special Allowance race is a Starter Allowance, and this is where Rapid Redux found his niche. Generally, you will find the best of the Claiming runners in a Starter Allowance. To enter a starter allowance, a horse must have run at a certain claiming level according to the conditions of the race during a specified time period.

So, there you have it, Allowance races. Hope you will find reading the form easier now that you understand these two races better.

Allow yourself some time, and you’ll be a pro in no time. 🙂

Blue Blue Sea

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