Horses can rebound off of a sub-par effort to record a win in their next start. (Photo by Eclipse Sportswire)
There are times when a loss can be more intriguing to a handicapper than a victory.
What sometimes gets lost in the shuffle when people peruse past performances is that horses are not machines that can duplicate one great performance after another.
A horse who was an easy winner in its previous race might have peaked in that effort, increasing the chances of a weaker showing this time as opposed to another superlative try.
Meanwhile, horses coming off a loss can benefit from that loss and turn in a much improved effort when they return to the racetrack – and at potentially better odds
For example, consider Partly Mocha in the third race on July 5 at Belmont Park.
He was coming off a third-place finish that was as promising as a five-length win.
A month earlier, on June 6, Partly Mocha ran in the same non-winners of one allowance race on the turf. That race, though, was at six furlongs.
The race on July 5 was at seven furlongs and the added distance seemed perfect for him.
In his previous start, Partly Mocha reared at the start and was 11th in the field of 12 in the early stages of the race. Fourth at the eighth pole, he closed quickly to miss by three-quarters of a length while settling for third.
Based on that late kick, it figured that with a clean trip and another furlong, Partly Mocha would be a major player in the race.
Making him even more attractive, the June 6th race was the first of the year for Partly Mocha, whose previous race was Oct. 25 at Laurel. Running that well off a seven-month layoff, it was reasonable to assume that Partly Mocha would be a more formidable rival in his second start of 2014.
Priced at an attractive 6-1 in the morning line, Partly Mocha’s merits did not go unnoticed by the Stars and Stripes Day crowd at Belmont Park, who bet him down to 3-1 and collected $8.30 when he registered a two-length victory.
THE LESSON: Some losses, under the right circumstances, can be more impressive than a victory.