I’m often in the minority with many of my opinions on racing. I view that as a positive. Two of those areas are small fields and entries. I prefer horses owned even in part or trained by the same trainer coupled. I also don’t automatically frown on short fields and Saturday at Santa Anita is a perfect example of why.
The Santa Anita Derby and Gold Cup cards are light on horses. Sure, that telegraphs some problems with the racing in California right now, but for the bettor it is not the horrible scenario people on social media are whining and complaining about. I don’t mind it at all.
Of course, big competitive fields are better and can lead to big payoffs. Small fields do not eliminate those opportunities. They just make it more challenging in a sense. You can’t spread all over the place like a fisherman hoping to hook something. You have to form an opinion and stand by it. That’s how I play anyway so for me field size doesn’t matter.
To go a step further, some of the short fields at Santa Anita on Saturday are very competitive. If you have to spread or maybe even buy a race with the dreaded all button, would you rather do it in a 14 horse field or a 6 horse field? I’ll save the money or double up in the 6 horse field. If my single or short races are correct, I will probably be better of than the 50 cent fishing expeditions.
It all comes down to your approach. You need that willingness to bet on your opinion and accept you’ll be wrong more than right. What’s the downside of hitting a pick 4 or 5 for $10 or $20 as opposed to 50 cents even with the small fields? We play the hand we are dealt and have to adapt to today’s game and the card we are attacking.
In a perfect world we would all love big competitive fields all day long at every track. One of the few things today most would agree on is this is no perfect world. Short fields force your hand. I embrace that and encourage others to as well. Find those stands or singles and make them count. Let the criers worry about the size of the field.
I am looking forward to seeing how and if Honor A P has progressed. I have been scouting him since I first saw him, and he has what I look for in a top three year old at distance races a la the Kentucky Derby. The schedule is off this year, and he doesn’t have to win tomorrow, especially with how patient, almost overly patient that barn can be, but I look for a good race. He’s absolutely on the radar.
If Improbable does not run big tomorrow it might be time to say he’s just not that good. He is working good, and looks on go, but often disappoints. We shall see. Tenfold was one I thought would be better and he gets a nice set up on Saturday. Interesting races I am looking forward to playing and watching.