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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Wednesday, November 15, 2017 at 2:24 PM

Just about every serious bettor will tell you that, yes, they are aware that the workouts for any debuting juvenile maiden are important. But question those same bettors and they will often tell you that when it comes to betting these first time starters they look to many other factors before spending time with due diligence on workouts in general and more specifically what the patterns might indicate.

These bettors will pay attention to the trainers such as Todd Pletcher and Chard Brown, who have sterling records with juveniles. In large part this is because they get the best stock to work with.

Next in the factor column will be the jockeys. It stands to reason some success can be drawn from this as well, for at any given circuit the top percentage barn will use the top jockeys.

Another factor that plays large, even before works, is breeding. Bettors are drawn to the leading sires and such things as yearling purchase prices and stud fees.

In addition, there are bettors who are locked into the belief that the most important evidence you have is the tote board; believing as they do that a live first out runner will be backed by smart money.

These are all legitimate factors, but they also are factors which often cause bettors to support first time starters even if there are indefinite work patterns in evidence. And these top notch “connection” factors often lead to debuting juveniles being over-bet.

Given the above references, maybe it would be productive for you to also take a hard look at the workouts and a number of patterns which very often point to first out winners at a decent price.


Let’s look at a trio of debuting juvenile maiden winners combined from Friday and Saturday, November 10 and 11 at Aqueduct.

A careful view of the works shows that consistency of works is crucial. You don’t necessarily need a series of bullet. Blowout works that are fast, fast, fast.

It is more important to see that these youngsters can get to the track in the morning on a regular basis. You want to see a series of works that are evenly spaced. By this is meant that they work every 6, 7 or 8 days apart.

Another key signifier is that among this regular pattern of works will be that one bullet or close to bullet work that is faster and perhaps at a furlong farther than the previous works. If this is followed soon after by the race you know that the trainer has seen everything he needs to see.

Now let’s get to those three juvenile maiden first out winners.

Friday 11/10 – BLUSHING JUSTINE - $26.20 - 40K Maiden Claimer – 6 Furlongs.

The daughter of Justin Philip is out of the small, unconsidered barn of trainer Dennis Lalman, so he price is not a surprise. But she was the only first time starter in a field of 8, all of whom were obviously still maidens and a number of which were already being dropped from MSW tries by their connections.

After 5 straight 3 furlong breezes she was finally asked to show what she could do on October 15 (over the Aqueduct main track) and turned in a bullet half mile breeze from the gate in :47 1/5. Not only was this a quick work but it was faster than any of her competitors showed over the last 3 months, in and between their races. She followed that up by going back to the 3 furlong breezes to keep her loose.

She broke alertly. Stalked the pace and drew clear in the stretch

Saturday 11/11 – COLONEL TOM - $14.00 – MSW – 6 Furlongs Turf

The George Weaver trained son of Colonel John turned in 3 straight half mile breezes around the dogs on the turf at Saratoga between 10/6 and 10/23 (evenly spaced 8 days.)

He was then shipped down to the stable at Belmont and was sent a half mile over the main track in :48 flat (3rd best of 27) followed 5 days later on the main track (11/6) by a half mile out of the gate in :47 3/5 (2nd best of 26) and made the debut a winning one just 5 days after that.

That closely paced, serious workout to race pattern was validated with a daylight wire-to-wire win.

Saturday 11/11 – VINO ROSSO - $5.50 – MSW – 7 Furlongs

As we discussed above, there was no reason to expect much of a price with this one because it met plenty of standards long before one got to the works.

The colt is a son of Curlin, trained by Todd Pletcher and owned by Mike Repole.

Nonetheless, the juvenile worked 6 straight times in leisurely breeze times spaced 6-8 days apart between 9/17 and 10/21. This was followed by the “key signifier,” a 5 furlong bullet in 1:00 2/5 on 10/28 and the lung clearing maintenance breeze at 4 furlongs on 11/4. The colt tracked the early pace and made it easy when asked coming off the turn.

By all means, pay attention to the connections, the breeding and the tote board, but you can’t go wrong checking in on the work patterns.


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