Photo courtesy of Eclipse Sportswire
Horses often fall into the category of sprinters who prefer six furlongs or routers who relish a mile or more of ground.
Then there are horses like Wickapecko, who enjoy something in between.
Entered in the fifth race at Belmont Park on May 5, Wickapecko had mediocre at best past performances.
Her best finish was a fourth-place finish in a seven-furlong maiden special weight turf race.
In the May 5 race, she was entered once again in a seven-furlong turf race, this time against weaker company, maiden $35,000 claimers.
Besides that, her last race was encouraging. Entered in a mile and a sixteenth $40,000 maiden claimer on Polytrack at Keeneland on April 10, she was shuffled back and could not flash her typical dose of early speed. She wound up sixth, but was only beaten 5 ¾ lengths, which was only a length shy of as close as she’s ever come at the finish line.
The Keeneland race clearly indicated Wickapecko belonged in a claimer and it was reasonable to believe she could have been closer at the finish with a smooth trip.
Returning at her optimum distance of seven furlongs on the turf in a race that was her third start since a five-month layoff, a well-conditioned Wickapecko seemed nicely spotted to fire her best shot – which in this case turned out to be rating in third for much of the way and then rallying in the final furlong to win by a half-length at 9-2 odds ($11.20 for $2).
THE LESSON: While reading a horse’s past performances try to determine what it does best, and if the conditions suit be sure to hop along for a ride in the wagering.