A win streak can indicate improving form regardless of the track the wins took place at. (Photo by Eclipse Sportswire)
Claiming races are the meat and potatoes of the racing industry.
They feature horses that are a cut below those in allowance or stakes races but who tend to stick around the racetrack longer and make a different type of name for themselves.
Some New York handicappers are no doubt familiar with Chairman Now. They might recall him from 2012 when he won four races.
Yet they probably didn’t recognize him this spring when he returned from a 9-month layoff and lost his first two comeback races by a combined margin of more than 30 lengths.
It seemed as if his best days were behind him.
Now fast forward to Aug. 11 when Chairman Now was entered in a $20,000 claimer at Saratoga, a big jump from the $12,500 claimer he raced in during his last start at a NYRA track. He was also 5-1 at the Spa after being sent off at 8-1 in his last start at a NYRA track.
It seems Chairman Now found himself at Finger Lakes.
While races at Finger Lakes are not usually stepping stones to victory at Saratoga, Chairman Now’s two wins at the track were noteworthy. Back in 2013, in his last start before the layoff, he finished seventh in a Finger Lakes claimer.
Now, after two weak efforts at Belmont Park, he was shipped to Finger Lakes and reeled off a pair of wins.
Since he had lost at Finger Lakes during his tailspin, the wins at Finger Lakes gave off an indication that he was upswing.
Enough handicappers reached that conclusion to send him off at 5-1 at Saratoga and they were treated to a $13.60 payoff when he ran back to his 2012 form and gamely held on to win by a nose.
THE LESSON: A string of wins are a powerful indication of improving form, even if they take place at a smaller circuit.