Following is my analysis of the 9th race from Laurel on July3:

This is an off-the turf stake for Maryland-bred 3 year olds at 9 furlongs. To get value in short fields you usually need at least one horse whose chances of winning are vastly overestimated by the crowd. This race had two!

David Patent

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9th at Laurel on 7/3/99

NAME ODDS COMMENT
Big Brush 5:1 Consistent horse but significantly slower than the top contenders (mostly 20s) and no reason to believe he will jump forward. Big underlay.
Bishops Pay Master 50:1 Ridiculous horse in this field (22 top). Throwout, even at the hugh price.
Show King 7:1 Has not been able to get near his 2 y.o. top of 12. A 15 seems about the best he can do. Possible use in exotics.
Smart Guy 3:5 Fastest and most consistent horse in the race. Heavily raced already (9 races in 4 months). Ran big 3 point top in last. Likely to bounce to between a 12 and a 14, although he has an outside chance at a 10 or 11. Underlay, but must be used.
Pettit's Quest 6:1 Healthy horse with a nice pattern. Ran through his 2 y.o. top in his second start this year and then almost paired up two races back. Had his bounce and figures to run between an 11 and a 14. He also gets 1.4 points (7 lbs.) in weight from the favorite. Big overlay.
Minister Of Decorm 7:2 Why is he being bet? Edgar Prado! Has never gone further than 6 furlongs. Stretching out to 9 furlongs and is hung outside. Has a chance to run a 14 but figures somewhere in the 15-19 range. Gigantic underlay.

This race looked like a two horse affair all the way. The right play was win money (a lot) on Pettit's Quest and an exacta box of Smart Guy with Pettit's Quest. You could also get cute and put a couple of horses in the 3rd spot for the trifecta. Pettit's Quest won by a length (the weight may have been the difference), paying $14.20. The exacta returned a big $28.40. With the 5th choice, Show King, getting up for third, the tri returned $112.

Robespierre's comments:
I'm not sure I agree that
Smart Guy is any value at all at 3:5. I certainly wouldn't play him underneath in exactas, since if he bounces there's no way to know how much it will be. (I wouldn't have given him better than 10-20% to pair up). Playing trifectas may have been a viable option as Big Brush and Bishops Pay Master look like good throwouts.

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