When Traffic Trouble is Viable Excuse for Racehorse’s Poor Race

Eclipse Sportswire

A horse with a nice late kick is often a good fit in a two-turn race.

Yet that same running style can also be problematic because of the inherent challenge in trying to weave through traffic in a large field. It can be a thing of beauty when a jockey guides his mount from last to first, but, on the flip side, it’s a source of aggravation when your horse gets blocked at a crucial juncture and finishes off the board.

Of course, when you’re stymied by a bad trip, there might also a silver lining.

Maybe that horse will make amends in its next start.

As an example there’s Bee Catcher in the fourth race at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 18.

In his previous start, after rallying from the back of the pack to finish third and then second in his first two career starts, Bee Catcher was steadied on the final turn and wound up seventh, beaten by a little less than three lengths.

Now, a key part of this equation is that just because a horse has some traffic issues, it doesn’t guarantee that runner will turn in a better effort next time. What you want to see is either a nice try by the horse after it encounters trouble or some changes that could help him turn in a better performance.

In the case of Bee Catcher, trainer Graham Motion switched jockeys and brought in Jose Ortiz, one of the top riders at Gulfstream Park. He also added blinkers, which could be interpreted as a means of bringing out more speed in Bee Catcher and keeping him closer to the pace to reduce the chances of a problem.

Given the trouble last time out and the changes, Bee Catcher was inviting at a price of 8-1 on the morning line.

Handicappers must have taken note of all that because Bee Catcher went off at that 8-1 price and this time, everything went smoothly.

Bee Catcher rallied from fifth in the stretch and surged to a length victory.

He paid $18, which was a nifty price for finding a horse who had a troubled trip last time and figured to bounce back in his next start.

newsletter sign-up

Stay up-to-date with the best from America's Best Racing!