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  How to handicap maidens with success
     Solve the mystery on how to consistently cash maiden long shots

Take a look at our spot plays, downloads, subscriptions and services so you are prepared for all the Spring Meets! The Fitness Factor with the Addendum is an excellent and exciting spot play for handicapping Maidens!

Maidens offer great opportunity, especially in the spring and summer meets at race tracks around the country, for you to successfully isolate long shots once you solve the mystery that surrounds the dynamics of maiden races - all you need to do is know for what clues to detect when looking over a maiden field. (Note: at the end of this article there is a special new option to consult with Jon by phone.)

We’ve discussed how to handicap maiden races and various betting strategies in previous issues of the TIPS Reports, at times in great detail, though it’s been some time. With spring racing finally here and with many exciting meets soon to start such as Belmont, Churchill Downs, Pimlico, Woodbine and Arlington - not to mention the many terrific meets still running as of today at racetracks such as Keeneland, Santa Anita, Tampa Bay, Evangeline and Gulfstream - this is an opportune time to discuss maidens and how you should be planning your approach to handicapping maiden claiming maiden special weights races, whether it be a minor, mid-level or major size racetrack.  

As some of you know, I believe maiden races are often the most misunderstood by the general public in all of thoroughbred horse racing  in that they are reputed to have a high level of unpredictability. I even know of seasoned handicappers who automatically cross off maiden races and thus don’t handicap them at all, (more on this below).  With some of the biggest and oftentimes most exciting long shot winners being maidens, plus the many long shot entries finishing 2nd and 3rd, it is understandable why maiden races have the reputation they do.

However, despite so many racing fans hesitant to handicap them, maiden races are actually among the most predictable of all in the realm thoroughbred racing, especially when it comes to how often the favorite wins or finishes in-the-money. Overall, for all types of races, the favorite wins about 35% of the time. At some tracks it may be a little lower, (I have noted a few tracks/or meetings where the winning horse may be 32-33%), but overall the figures are consistent. On the other hand, when it comes to maiden races, the favorite is the winner about 37% of the time, or just a tick higher. Furthermore, the favorite in maiden races finishes at least 3rd about 2% or so more often than the post time favorite in other types of races. Young horses, and most maidens are young, usually haven’t learned any bad habits either.

As noted above, I hear occasionally from handicappers who say they avoid maiden races completely. One reason some tell me is that the past performances for maidens, in general, contain less information than horses in claiming, most allowance, non-graded stakes races, etc. Many maidens are young which of course accounts for little in the way of past performances. In some ways, I believe that less information can be a very good thing, especially if you know for what to look. Maiden races are dynamic and if you develop skill at handicapping, they offer not only opportunity but also a high level of excitement, especially those which you have handicapped with our Fitness Factor method.

While there are several approaches you can take for handicapping maiden races, some of which we've detailed in various issues of the TIPS Report and others for which we've developed guidelines and outlined in several different spot plays, if you have been avoiding maiden races, the following is an easy starting point for you.

One of the most powerful moves in maiden races, and is certainly no secret as it is universally acknowledged to be the biggest class drop in all of racing, is when a horse who has previously only competed in straight maiden or maiden special weight races and today is dropping into the maiden claiming ranks for the first time. This angle is a very powerful one and can be very effective. Often a maiden who has shown little before will ‘wake up’ when dropped into the claiming ranks for the first time by running a terrifically improved race to win, or finish at least second or third and at good odds of 4, 5 or 6-1, perhaps even 8 or 10-1 or more.

Now, when there is just one horse in a maiden field who shows this huge drop then this can be a very effective contender screen in finding a possible contender. 

However, what happens when you see a maiden claiming field where 2, 3 or perhaps 4 horses qualify for the huge class drop of maiden special weights to maiden claiming contender screen? You then need to use one or more factors to help you separate your multiple contenders to assess if there is one horse who stands head and shoulders above the rest. Here's a couple of suggestions:

► Workouts can be very helpful, especially in maiden races, and thus you could look to see if just one horse who qualifies for the maiden class drop also shows a workout such as say a Fast Workout as defined on the Tom Worth Workout Table or the Well Spaced Workout Pattern TIP, (WSWP, an outgrowth and improvement on the original WUT(T) factor and is defined in The TIPS Update). Let’s say that two of our hypothetical four maiden contenders pass the workout screen. Next,  check to see if one of the two shows faster workouts, preferably within 10 days from today's race, but generally the closer the workout to today's race the better.

► Next, check the trainer's record to see if one shows an edge in success rates, say with horses in maiden races in general, or in particular with horses dropping in class.  Very quickly, you may well have found yourself an excellent selection.  There are other steps you could take, where you can look to see if a horse has a definite edge in more than one category, but with a little bit of practice and knowing for what to look, you could very well find yourself a strong selection in a maiden race in just a matter of two to three minutes.

In fact, this past Saturday, 4-15-2017, in our daily selection service, I found just such a horse. Bourque was entered in Race 5 at Santa Anita Race Track, a maiden claiming event.  Of the 9 horses entered only two were dropping for the first time from a maiden special weight into a maiden claimer:

Bourque, 4-1 Morning Line; and
June Sixth, 6-1 Morning Line. 

However, while both were dropping for the first time Bourque was head and shoulders above June Sixth in every other important category such as trainer, speed, class to mention a few, and here is where our maiden methods and various TIPS Reports can be of great help in guiding you.

Here is the daily selection email from Saturday, April 15, 2017:

-----Original Message-----
From: TIPS Report <tipsreport@aol.com>
To: tipsreport <tipsreport@aol.com>
Sent: Sat, Apr 15, 2017 11:24 am
Subject: re: classic selections 4-15
Complimentary Selection:
Santa Anita Race Track
5th Race
#7 Bourque - 4-1 ML
1 Unit to Win @5-1 or >
5 -6 Units to Show, Not Odds Dependent

I was surprised that Bourque did reach my minimum win odds, as this was a strong selection, but indeed he did. Bourque was either in the lead or vying for the lead the entire race, before rebuffing all challengers, and winning paying:

$11.60 win  $5.80 place$2.80 show
This race is a picture perfect example of not only the factors on which to focus when handicapping maidens, but how to do this efficiently and with confidence.  If you still cannot isolate one horse with a definitive edge compared to its competition, then you can pass the race. With these streamlined approaches to handicapping maidens, you have only invested a few minutes of your time, and there will be another opportunity to handicap other maiden races right around the corner.

We have handicapping publications that are perfect for handicapping maiden races. Perhaps the following can be of guidance, and we’ve put together a few packages below which are perfect for handicapping spring racing meets. Our Fitness Factor method is a niche method specifically designed for maiden races, and can help you isolate some excellent well meant long shot entries, and can go hand in hand with the Show-a-Profit method more geared to very well meant maidens going off at even $ to about 5-1. Collection rates to place and show with Show-a-Profit can be close to 60% to place, and nearly 80% to show! Together, the Fitness Factor and Show-a-Profit can have all the bases covered with maidens.

If you don't already own the following, we strongly encourage you you to add them to your portfolio of handicapping materials so you can capitalize on maiden races.

Click into any of the following links to order on our website or to read a more detailed description. Also, as you will see toward the bottom of this page, we have put together a special collection of TIPS Reports with each featuring articles on handicapping maiden races. And for a limited time, you can get FREE shipping to USA for any of the following - so be sure to take advantage of this offer! (If you are outside USA, please email mary@worthhandicapping.com for a shipping quote.)

Show-a-Profit: A Maiden Method  
Traditional approach to handicapping maidens with carefully selected factors to help you zero in on horses that finish in-the-money over 80% of the time.

When you order Show-a-Profit, you'll also receive a free copy of the Sept/Oct 1995 TIPS Report as it details one handicapper's 3 week live play workout during a stay in Nevada, and is timeless still through today, especially in the lessons to be learned from this remarkable handicapper, one who grew over the years from being ultra-conservative in terms of his wagering apprach, as you will see here, to later on evolving to a conservative risk-taker in going from straight wagers to exotic ones, and through his evolution, always making money. This issue marks his first of many contributions to The TIPS Report, and regular readers know of him very well - namely, Milton Weinblatt. In this issue, every selection Milton wagered on is listed, showing how he more than doubled his bankroll, growing it from $500 to over $1,200, and how during one stretch he collected on 30 straight show wagers.

The Fitness Factor Method & Addendum
This method is an ideal complement to Show-a-Profit in that it helps you find selections in those occasional circumstances where Show-a-Profit does not!

As a limited time special, when you order The Fitness Factor & Addendum, you'll receive FREE as a DOWNLOAD: The July/Aug 2000 TIPS Report as a download

Already own The Fitness Factor & Addendum, but want this issue of the TIPS Report? It is available as a download - click on the following links to order.
July/August 2000 TIPS Report as a download

The Only One II  

Ideal for handicapping maiden races plus it serves as an easy and straightforward introduction to TIPS handicapping, an outgrowth of Tom Worth's POPS & TIPS Method. This is a terrific method, one which we highly recommend, especially for the spring and summer meets.

Collection of 13 TIPS Reports, related to maiden races
Each issue has an article on handicapping maiden races, each with a different slant. This is a terrific offer. All are print versions and for a limited time you can get them at a special price of $99.95 with FREE shipping to USA included!

The TIPS Report issues are as follows:
May/June 2014
Sept/Oct 2008
July/Aug 2005
Sept/Oct 2005
July/Aug 2003
July/Aug 2001
March/April 2000
Jan/Feb 2000
May/June 1999
March/April 1997
Jan/Feb 1997
Nov/Dec 1996

Special!! Schedule a consultation with Jon to analyze maiden races
Schedule 1 one-hour appointment for $25
Schedule 2 separate one-hour appointments for $35
Would you like to better understand the dynamics of maiden races to better isolate strong contenders, especially those going off at long shot odds?

Many avoid maidens, but there is really no need to do so. Maiden claiming and maiden special weights are among the easiest to handicap! And what's more, many strong maiden contenders often go off at long shot prices because many casual racing fans overlook signals that point to a well meant entry!

As a special service, in each one-hour consultation Jon will review with you two maiden races from the previous day, or within the previous 3 days depending on when your appointment is scheduled and your preferred track, plus he will review with you a maiden race slated to run the next day. Jon will point out various factors and angles, both for the respective horse and trainer, and give you insight as to how together they signal to a serious contender, compared to its competition.

Appointments can be scheduled Tuesday - Friday afternoons, as available. Click one of the links below to order or call us at 401-921-5158.

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Use Promo Code = FINALSTRETCH for 17% off, good on all products & services sitewide through June 6, 2023.

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Jon Worth  Tom Worth Publishing Co.  PO Box 7054  Warwick, RI 02887-7054

Phone or Text: 401-219-6009 eastern time  ♦  jonworth@worthhandicapping.com

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