Photo courtesy of Eclipse Sportswire
Sometimes horse racing can be as easy as it seems.
When Hurricane Girl made her turf debut on Dec. 21 at Gulfstream Park there were no guarantees that she would handle a new surface. A front-running 1 ¾-length victory in a 5-furlong sprint put those doubts to rest.
Claimed out of that race for $40,000 by trainer Robert Dibona, Hurricane Girl returned to the races on Jan. 18, running for the same claiming tag at the same distance on the same surface.
Pretty much. The only differences were a larger margin of victory (2 ¼ lengths) and a smaller mutual payoff ($3.80 as opposed to $5 the last time.).
A lone reason for concern might have been a bump in weight carried from 116 pounds to 123, yet even that was not enough to slow down Hurricane Girl. The outstanding – and rather obvious - form evident in her past performances was the real deal.
The lesson: Dibona played the claiming game perfectly. Keeping Hurricane Girl at the same claiming level after a win did not indicate dissatisfaction with the new acquisition. He was merely looking for a quick dividend. He kept Hurricane Girl at a winning level, was rewarded with $20,400 in purse money and even got to keep the horse when no one put it a claim. For bettors, it was a reminder that sometimes suspicions should not be allowed to run amok. History can indeed repeat itself - even when it seems too obvious to be true.