Friday, May 23, 2008

Searching For Hidden Gold

I’d like to get some suggestions from readers on a study I’ll be starting on in a few weeks. Basically I’ll be looking for factors that influence the likelihood of a claiming horse eventually competing successfully in allowance or stakes races. If you have any suggestions for factors to look at in the study, please let me know!

Some of the factors I’m already planning to study include:
1. Age – I assume a younger horse has a better chance of substantial improvement than an older horse. I’d like to measure just how much better.
2. Experience – I assume the fewer previous races a horse has had, the better chance that it has some hidden abilities. I might also try to factor in its experience on a variety of surfaces and tracks.
3. Sex – The sex of a horse could affect the likelihood of it being put into claimers despite having the potential for improvement.
4. Trainer – I’d actually prefer to look at owner/trainer combinations, except that I think most wouldn’t have large enough sample sizes to learn much of value. I’d guess that some trainers aren’t as good at recognizing a horse’s future potential than others, and that some may enter their horses more aggressively at the lower claiming levels in order to try to win races.
5. Breeding – I’d guess that the higher the sire’s stud fee, the more of a dud the owner and trainer have to consider the horse before they’ll enter them in mid and low level claiming races.

Anybody have any other suggestions?


QQ said...

I have a theory -- totally unproven -- that certain trainers do better with certain types of horses. For example, at Mountaineer, I've noticed that Loren Cox generally does pretty well with older horses; most notably he claimed the then 7-year old Lady Grace for $10,000 in July 2004, then went on to saddle the aging mare for a 5-win streak in 2005, all allowances or stakes races. I have no idea if you can correlate trainers and types of horses but if so, I'd be interested in results that highlight a trainer's "specialties".

Winston said...

I have often wondered the same thing. My theory centered around patience and care of the horse rather than specific factors to look for.

If the pressure were taken off the trainer to run the horse, could they not give the horse more spacing between races and therefore get a better effort out of the horse. I think higher priced ($35k-$50k) claimers stand a better chance of making it to Allowance and stakes races.

Granted the horse should have some talent and the trainer should not be a moron; both of those factors would help significantly I would think.

steve in nc said...

As for age, I'm wondering whether putting a horse in for a tag at a young age isn't a big negative. I'd be curious what you discover.

Here'a one exception I would look for: a maiden that is claimed in it's first 2 or 3 starts. I suspect this type is very likely to improve and win at least at the NW1x level.