Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Radical Fringe: Bet him win-place and show a profit

Want one of the safer win-place bets in horse racing? Look no further than Radical Fringe.

I keep an eye on the 4-year-old Van Nistelrooy gelding because his dam, stakes-winning mare Broad Victory (Spartan Victory-Below Broad Street, by Kokand) is a full sister to one of my mares, Bushes Victory. And while the horse is lightly raced, when he does run, he tends to send you to the pay window.

Radical Fringe on Sunday finished second in a $40,000 claiming race at Keeneland, losing by a head to former stakes-winner Power Surge going 6 furlongs on Polytrack in 1:09.60. Thus, from six races, Radical Fringe has three wins, three second-place finishes, and $74,420 earned. And that mark would be better if he hadn't been caught completely flat-footed at the break in his debut at age 3, in which he was last early by double-digit lengths in a big group going only 5 furlongs, and managed to finish a closing fifth.

The horse is fast and consistent. He's won on turf and synthetic, and even when he's second, it ain't by much.

Radical Fringe broke maiden handily on turf in August 2008, missing an Arlington track record by 0.16. He followed that win with a synthetic victory at Arlington, coming even closer to a 5-furlong track mark -- 0.03 ticks (56.54). In his fourth start he was second beaten a half-length in a Keeneland allowance going 6f in a brisk 1:08.86. (By My Best Pal Red, a stakes-placer who finished third Sunday in Radical Fringe's race at Keeneland.) Then, "Rad" finished his 3-year-old campaign with a turf-sprint win at Hawthorne.

That's why I was surprised to see him resurface this year -- after a long layoff -- for a claiming tag of $35,000 at Arlington. He didn't disappoint in the race, finishing a hung-wide second beaten a length by former Woodbine stakes winner Stradivinsky going 5 furlongs on turf in 56.27. And on Sunday he came much closer to a win for a $40K tag, but was not among the two horses that were claimed.

The odds are never long on Radical Fringe; usually around 5-1. But if he places at least second (which he almost always has), you'll make a tiny bit. If he wins, you'll make out nicely.

And as consistently as he performs -- 6-for-7 finishing at least second place; beaten when he does lose only by horses with blacktype back-class -- I wonder how many more times Radical Fringe can run for a tag without getting himself claimed from Hugh Robertson and Wolfe Racing LLC.

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