Maiden Special Weights to Maiden Claim “The Big Drop”

Maiden Special Weights (MSW) is a class that has well bred horses and most of the stars of racing come from this class level. MSW purses are around the fourth largest purses from about twenty class levels at each track.

Maiden Claims (MCL) purse amounts are located at the bottom of the class purse structure. The drop from MSW to MCL is the biggest drop in racing.

Belmont Park MSW Purse’s starts at around $50,000 and is the start of the MSW purse ladder. Belmont cards Maiden Special Weight purses that go up to $100,000. This is equivalent to a good stakes purse. The drop to Maiden Claim starts at around $20,000.

Santa Anita MSW purse starts at around $50,000 and MCL begins around $20,000.

Woodbine MSW also starts at about $50,000 and the drop to MCL is around $20,000.

When a horse wins a MSW purse of $62,000 at Belmont the owner receives 60% of the purse and his commission is $37,200. The MCL purse of $20,000 also has a 60% commission and has a payout to the owner of $12,000. There is over a $25,000 difference when MSW drops in class to MCL which is the reason why MSW to MCL is the largest drop in racing.

This is not an angle play. I disagree with calling a statistic an angle. The definition of angle is a particular way of approaching or considering an issue or problem. Horse Racing statistics are the amount of races and wins and then the percentage of these wins. It is easy to evaluate a statistic rather than considering something.

Many owners do not want their young expensive horse to be put up for sale at a bargain basement price and lose their horse to a claim so they run their horse over and over in MSW.  Sometime they run them 10 or 12 times before they drop their horse into the class of Maiden Claim.

The large trainers at New York, Southern California and Woodbine are the trainers who utilize this MSW drop to MCL to get the purse as well as get their horse claimed away.

Trainers who have a large stable like Bob Baffert in Southern California, or Chad Brown, Todd Pletcher, and Linda Rice in New York and Mark Casse at Woodbine race their high pedigree two and three year olds in the MSW class. These are the trainers you want to bet who are moving from Maiden Special Weight to Maiden Claim. These trainers have to discuss with their owners that to get a win they have to drop their horse into MCL.  This is a big move for the owner. The owner has invested in the horse’s pedigree and the gamble was that he purchased a stakes winner. To have a graded stakes horse that they will put in to the breeding shed and the owner hopes to make millions of dollars for syndicating shares of his horse. With the Maiden Special Weight class this happens.

Well bred horses from Chad Brown dropping into MCL events are up for sale and when another owner claims a well bred horse from Chad Brown the new owner hopes he just claimed a stakes runner.

From the betting side of racing most players know about that big drop. For me it is only the first drop into the Maiden Claiming class that is the bet to make. If their horse has been in MCL for their second race at this class level then I pass the bet.

It’s an easy play to find however, they are not there to bet every day or even every week. If you look for this by handicapping on race 1 horse 1 then you handicap in the same way as the betting public. This bet is not that easy to find and then try to determine can this horse win because of the big drop. You should be really cautious for this style of handicapping. Not bet a drop into the Maiden Claiming from Maiden Special Weights races by all trainers. The five trainers I mentioned have a class pedigree edge that is hidden and the big drop with that pedigree makes the bet a more attractive reason to place a bet. It is also a business decision for the owner so it is a planned move for them as well as their trainer. When I bet the big drop I usually like to place the bet when any of these five trainers return a horse from a layoff or when they are in the 4-race layoff or debut form cycle and then they go for the hit is when I bet with them.


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