Betting Harness-Horse Two-Year-Olds In 2020, Part Two

Profile Picture: Frank Cotolo

April 15th, 2020

The exclusive section of the TwinSpires harness blog -- Freshman Frolics -- has successfully found valuable wagers on the sport's youngest competitors. Let us continue in Part Two with our process for evaluating this year's crop (whenever it surfaces for pari-mutuel competition).

Our concentration is on first-time sires' product, and then, those sires that are least expected to deliver stakes material. That's an important point, since we search for pacers and trotters successful at all levels, not just stakes-quality types. After all, freshman races will be available for betting in many classes and we want to be aware of the probabilities of high-paying performers across the board in any class. We learned a long time ago that a two-year-old maiden or conditional overnight winner at 5-1 returns the exact amount as does a 5-1 son or daughter of a sire that has made millions as a racehorse.

For pacing sires this season debuting two-year-olds, we will follow Arthur Blue Chip, Betting Line, Control The Moment, JK Endofanera and State Treasurer.  On the trot, there is only one, Bar Hopping.  Here are our notes on those new sires in alphabetic order:

Arthur Blue Chip
He is the weakest pacing sire on our list. He retired early, after some physical problems at two. On the list of Shadow Play's (his sire) top-10 earners, he was seventh.

Betting Line
This son of Bettors Delight lost one of 15 races at three, earning $1.8 million in two seasons (the bulk at three). His colts could draw a lot of attention at first crack and that would bad for betting purposes.

Control The Moment
Another $1-million winner in two seasons, some of his bigger wins were opportunistic, but he could produce some decent earners in overnights. His sire is Well Said, a one-brush powerhouse by Western Hanover, who himself was over-acclaimed as a racehorse and under-acclaimed as a sire.

JK Endofanera
We like the chances of this Art Major son as a sire of good earners. He raced four seasons, his last one a dud, his first three worth $2 million, including a fan-surprise (we supported him), winning the North America Cup.

State Treasurer
Best at six, the son of Real Desire earned his most in older divisions and kept racing until he was seven. He would be a real surprise siring a champ, but could do well with lower-class earners that race a bunch of seasons.

Bar Hopping
The only first-time trotting sire is our contender in the colt and filly frosh divisions. The only problem is the public will be drawn to his sire--most offspring of Missile Hill get lots of attention.

There is no expertise in those comments, but be aware that even bloodline experts are unable to predict success for new sires. They are mostly correct about the obvious track champions. When it comes to the sires we address, nothing good or bad is yet proven. As a novice, all you need to measure a sire as a racehorse are the obvious facts in a sire's pedigree pages. It does not hurt to download them and get a whiff of their racing histories, but for betting purposes, the less you know, the better.

Leaps Of Faith

Important to the risk factor of betting on freshmen is the lack of information we depend upon.  Researching many unproven sires over a few decades, we confirmed the obvious--freshmen paying the highest prices when finishing in the first three positions were those the public dismissed, because there was not enough obvious information available in their few past performances (PP) to satisfy a wager.

That's good news for us. It means that in order to bet freshmen the public won't bet, we have to take a "leap of faith," betting horses with little to no obvious handicapping factors. That leap, however, is extremely rewarding because of the prices offered.

Aside from the public ignoring certain freshmen due to unfamiliar sires, it will interpret PPs for freshmen the same way it does for seasoned horses. It will penalize the youngsters for moves, missteps and class hikes and drops, as if these are experienced steeds. Those judgments are useless, because two-year-olds are still learning and no one--not even trainers--can forecast their talent.

In our studies, youngsters can improve quickly, many times reversing sloppy form into winning miles at prices stunning the public. They do not stun any bettor taking a leap of faith, that bettor noticing a colt or filly broke after displaying speed for the first time, or one that closed after an overland journey to hit the board at huge odds in only his or her second start, etcetera. 

The public never learns. It continues to toss out freshmen before they show the kind of improvement felt to be worthy of a wager. However, when a freshman is an obvious choice against its own division, that's when they make notice and that's when we lose a betting edge.

The TwinSpires harness blog will continue to take leaps of faith so we can suggest freshman contenders that light up the toteboard, and if you followed how we do that per these two articles, you will get that powerful edge on the public.