Coffee and Turf Paradise are for Closers

Horse Racing Radar
Chris O'Rorke
Chris O'Rorke is a Staff writer for Horse Racing Radar
Thursday, March 11, 2021

"Turf Paradise Has a Derby?" is the catch line for Friday's, Free Horse Racing Handicapping Contest. Now that we know, let's handicap that sucker and see if we can find a winning ticket. That way, if you aren't the lucky one who wins the $50 prize, we can all be winners; provided we unlock the right combination.

A field of 11 will race 1 1/16 miles in Turf Paradise's main track for their share of the $50,000 in prize money. It's a two-turn race that's favored off the pace types in the handful of races at the distance and surface, meet to date. Four of the five to run into the winners' circle were labeled stalkers/closers.

Typically, the eventual champ was seventh at the quarter pole – wow – with an average field size of 7.4 horses. By the time they hit the half-mile call, the soon to be winner ran fourth. From experience, when closing is the favored running style, post position doesn't usually play a role. We see that here as well as the first five wins were spread out.

Well, since closers are the way, we might as well start from the back and work our way forward. Let's start with late pace figures to identify the horses with the most late run, according to the numbers.

SATURDAY VALUE (PP: 2 ML 6-1) reached the highest point for these horse in his last race. He achieved the highwater mark going wire to wire, breaking his maiden at 6 furlongs. He didn't push the meter as high in his debut, which was at 1 mile.

MANDREW (PP: 9 ML 20-1) is a bit of a surprise here considering his morning line odds. He's yet to win a race in five outings but this is his third start following a layoff and is first try at race of a mile or more. That late kick could work to his benefit at a nice price. It also doesn't hurt to see his trainer Bart Hone wins third starts and first routes at 22%, two of his better angles.

SUPERDUTY JUSTICE (PP: 5 ML 6-1) ranks third in the last race, late pace figure column. He's coming out a 7 ½ furlong grass go and will also test a route for the first time. He's a neck away from winning both of his Turf Paradise dirt races after debuting a Santa Anita and at Golden Gate in his second effort.

MR. TRIPLEDOUBLE (PP: 3 ML 5-1), BECKHAM JAMES (PP: 6 ML 4-1) and DEVILS WORKSHOP (PP: 11 ML 30-1) all tied for fourth.

We also examined the average late pace score for the last three races, consistency matters too.

The numbers don't change much, just the order:

·         #9 MANDREW

·         #2 SATURDAY VALUE

·         # 6 BECKHAM JAMES


Morning line favorite, IT'S MY HOUSE (PP: 7 ML 3-1) is way down both lists. In fact, he is dead last in both the last race and average number. It's not all that surprising considering he's been on/near the lead in his last two races. He tried the stalking style in his debut and almost got home but went to the barn for a few months and came out a sprinter in the next pair of races.

Other than the pre-race favorite and our closers list, TONY'S TAPIT (PP: 8 ML 5-1) is another horse to add to our mix as he is a horse for the Turf Paradise course. The son of TONALIST has run at TP four times, hitting the wire first a trio of times with a third by a head against BECKHAM JAMES and MR. TRIPLEDOUBLE in his latest effort.

By all accounts and the early lines, this is a wide-open race and picking the winner will likely have a big say on who wins Friday's, Free Horse Racing Handicapping Contest.

We are going to go with #6 BECKHAM JAMES. He could be the biggest beneficiary of going the longest any of these have gone except IT'S MY HOUSE, who ran 1 1/8 miles at Golden Gate on February 13th.  As for wagering on the race, without a clear choice, we'll box:


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