I’ve often stated that wagering against heavy favorites in negative pool situations is one of the best betting opportunities in horse racing. And there may be just such an opportunity in the New York Stallion Series Stakes today at Aqueduct.
But before I get into the specifics of this race, some background information is in order. A negative pool exists when a horse commands so much money in a particular pool (win, place or show) that the track must dig into its own coffers in order to cover the mandatory payoff — usually $2.10, but sometimes $2.20).
Of course, with place and show bets, a horse’s price is influenced by how much was bet on the other horse(s) comprising the wager. For example, the place price on a horse in a race where the place pool favorite finishes in the top two, will typically pay less (depending on the effect of breakage) than the place price on that same horse in a race that sees the place pool favorite finish third or worse.
Thus, it’s easy to imagine what happens when enough money is bet on a horse to create a negative pool and it finishes outside that pool — the place and/or show prices explode! Now, in the past, if the big favorite was a part of the pool, the prices on the other horses were severely — and I mean severely — reduced. With the advent of net pool pricing, however, that is not necessarily the case — which makes betting against negative-pool favorites even more attractive.
So, with that out of the way, let’s discuss the New York Stallion Series Stakes, which was carded as the eighth event on the Aqueduct card today with an approximate post time of 3:47 p.m. today.
Stoney Bennett has been made the 3-5 morning line favorite — and for good reason. He appears to be the fastest horse in the field and his pace figures are solid. However — and, granted, this may be quibbling — I’m not thrilled with the addition of blinkers today.
I mean, I get it: the son of Bustin Stones broke awkwardly last time, which led to a rough trip, and the blinkers should help correct that. But the toughest thing to get a young horse like Stoney Bennett to do is relax and I suspect blinkers won’t help in that regard; in fact, they could well have the opposite effect.
And given that the Ollie Figgins trainee once before showed unbridled early enthusiasm — he recorded an insane -17 early speed ration in the Sleepy Hollow going longer — I think it’s worth taking a stand against him today should a negative show pool materialize. Hence, if Stoney Bennett controls 75 percent or more of the place or show pools, I’d consider the following place/show contenders (in order of preference):
COMMENTS: Although he was dismissed in his debut, this son of Trinniberg ran super, chasing a very fast pace, yet still recording a solid -10 late speed ration at Churchill Downs on Nov. 17.
COMMENTS: He’s improved in every start and has already proven that he can come off the pace.
COMMENTS: Generally, I don’t recommend playing against a negative-pool favorite with a horse possessing a similar running style, but this guy was impressive in his debut and has worked very well since.