NOVEMBER 13, 2012
by Ed DeRosa
Racing may not need stars or a Triple Crown winner, but it definitely needs Eblouissante to win race 4 on Friday at Hollywood Park (free PPs).
OK, that's a bit dramatic, but considering she is Zenyatta's half sister (Brisnet.com pedigree) and already has her own Facebook, Tumblr, and Youtube video (click here for more), it's not a stretch to imagine this one being able to move the dial with a 20-length win and world record performance on Friday.
And as a fan of horse racing I'd like to see her do that, but as a horse player, I have to wonder if there is an opportunity to make some money here if she loses.
It's a similar lament to betting on the Belmont Stakes with a Triple Crown on the line when fans "cheer for history but bet against it."
It happens in maiden races, too, though. When Barbaro's full brother Nicanor debuted on January 31, 2009, at Gulfstream Park, he was the 13-to-5 second choice in a field of 12. Who knows what his price would have been without the Barbaro connection [same breeding (Dynaformer-La Ville Rouge), owner-breeder (Roy & Gretchen Jackson), trainer (Michael Matz), and jockey (Edgar Prado)], but I'm comfortable saying he'd have been more than 13-to-5 considering the race included future graded stakes winner Warrior's Reward (1st at 30.5-to-1), Allrightsreserved (2nd), favored Dubinsky (4th), Il Postino (6th), and Big Flirt (8th).
Given that Eblouissante has had 45 published workouts the past 17 months, including 8 in the past two months, one handicapping report that will be indispensable in determining how to play the race is Andy Harrington's National Turf Clocker Report.
If Harrington has liked what he's seen in the morning ("B+" grades or better) then she is certainly the most likely winner of this group considering only one horse has run better than par (89) and all of the synthetic figures are in the lower 80s.
Even if she is the most likely winner, though, it's difficult to envision her offering any value in the win pool, but that's where multi-race wagering can help. I'm not sure how many Zenyatta fans (the kind of fans that would bet her half-sister blindly) bet, but my sense is that the ones that do stick to the following wagers: Win, WPS, show, exacta, double, and trifecta with a heavy lean toward the straight wagers.
Put another way, I don't think they dabble in Pick 3s, Pick 4s, and Pick 5s -- bets where the wise guys & gals are more likely to hang out. If I truly like Eblouissante then I'd look to single her in the multi-race wagers. She's the fourth leg of the $.50 Pick 5, third leg of the $.50 Pick 4, and is involved in three different Pick 3s. I'd then be open to hedging against her in the win pool if other key contenders floated up because of sentimental money on the Zenyatta kin.
If I don't like Eblouissante then I'd probably eschew the multi-race wagers altogether and still focus on the win pool because I'd anticipate her take money. The double pool in races 3-4 also merits attention A) for potential overlays, and B) to gauge how much money Eblouissante might take in race 4.
And maybe it'll turn out that there's no opportunity, and that's OK, too. The presence of a superstar's half-sister is reason enough to watch, and the conversation that is sure to happen on Twitter will make it all the more fun.