Photo courtesy Eclipse Sportswire
A jockey switch can be a powerful handicapping tool.
The top jockeys at a meet are always in great demand and can pick and choose the horses they want to ride. Not surprisingly, thanks to having the pick of the litter, they quite often wind up on the backs of some very good horses.
And sometimes they have a highly successful reunion.
Hungry Wildcat and Hall of Fame jockey Kent Desormeaux formed a solid team in a couple of May races at Arlington Park. Hungry Wildcat ran second in a $7,500 starter allowance race on May 10 in his first race with Desormeaux in the saddle, and then won 17 days later under Desormeaux when he took a class drop into a $5,000 starter allowance race.
Off that victory, Hungry Wildcat returned in a $5,000 starter allowance race on June 19 at Arlington, but without Desormeaux. This time Seth Martinez rode Hungry Wildcat and the result was a third-place finish after a wide trip.
On July 11 in the seventh race at Arlington, Hungry Wildcat ran again in a $5,000 starter allowance, and, in a highly positive handicapping angle, Desormeaux was back in the saddle. The result was just like old times. Desormeaux guided Hungry Wildcat to a three-quarters of a length win as a $2.20-to-1 favorite.
Apparently a lot of people remembered how well Hungry Wildcat runs for Kent Desormeaux.
THE LESSON: It’s usually worth a trip to the betting windows when the successful pairing of a horse and rider is reprised, especially after a short absence.