LAST YEAR'S WINNER - CLASSIC EMPIRE
- Trainer: Mark Casse
- Jockey: Julien R Leparoux
- Owner: John C Oxley
- Odds: 11/2
- Betting Stats
- Favourites: 2/8 (25.0%) | Level stake loss -43.8%
- Odds on Favs: None
- Median winning price: 7.5/1
This has been a division which has look pretty straightforward but in other years the winner has caused a bit of head scratching but there are clues to be gleaned from recent runnings in California.
How has the favourite fared?Although only two of the eight favourites to contest this in the last two decades in California actually finished on top, five of the others took the runner-up spot. The only one to run a complete clunker was Cuvee, who raced prominently until dropping out quickly as if something was amiss in 2013.
Run record and class clues
Again, there are mixed messages coming from looking at the class profile of successful runners in this event. Half of the winners had previously won in G1 company whereas the other half had only a maiden or allowance success to their name.
Local trainers had three of the winners in their barns with the other five shipping in. Five of them had won last time out and the other three had taken frame finishes on their final prep, so solid recent form is a plus. The muddy messages continue with have the winners arriving off local preps and the others completing their work in races away from the Golden State.
Conclusions are also difficult to draw from the run styles of winners in the last 20 years here. Three of them raced on or near the front, unusually for US dirt racing, three were deep closer with the other pair being midfield stalkers. The pace profile has been the key to understanding the outcome.
Although Midshipman succeeded in 2008 when breaking from post 10 of 12, it has largely been beneficial to get a post position towards the inside of the starting gate in this contest.
- Hope your contenders get a draw in the first five places in the starting gate.
- Favourites tend to be very competitive in this division.
- Consider the pace profile of the race closely; it is often the key – how the race will be won can be as important as who will win the race.
- Be liberal when considering the likely class requirement.
- Accept runners with strong recent form as contenders.