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A Minnesotan Invades the Bluegrass

When Canterbury concludes, where do our state-bred horses go? One very talented youngster named Jelloshotsforjill has made her way to Kentucky and will race against open company for the first time on Saturday.

Keeneland’s third race is a non-winner of two allowance for a $52,000 purse with eight entrants. Jelloshotsforjill drew post position number six, and is set at six to one morning line. What’s odd about this? In a world where speed figures rule, the filly with the highest lifetime Beyer is the fifth choice.

In her only career start, Jelloshots’ took a field of nine wire-to-wire and registered an 84 for a Beyer. While in most circumstances that would spell instant favorite, either the fact that she earned it at Canterbury or the fact that she was foaled in Minnesota have made her a mid-priced entity. Her final time, too, for five and one half furlongs was far faster than her competition. The favorite Flying Rapunzel (Kentucky-bred) is one for three lifetime with a second, racing each time as the favorite. While her win was on polytrack, it also registered a lower speed figure (79) and came with slower fractions throughout at seven furlongs. Of course, Wayne Catalano (20% on the year) and Julien Leparoux (17%) as your trainer and jockey will automatically lower your morning line, but with their current winning percentage together (13%) and ROI ($0.65), five-to-two seems a little light.

Yes, she comes out of a graded stake but she took a thumping that day. With very comparable maiden races, the value lies with Jelloshotsforjill. If you think I’m being defensive by stating her state-bred status raises her price, just take a look in the family tree.

Jelloshotsforjill has a full three year old brother named Horvat Clan. Horvat Clan is a Kentucky-bred though, and he’s been far better received as a result. The Purim colt has been up for auction twice, each time failing to meet his reserve. As a Keeneland weanling the bidding reached $17,000, and as an Ocala yearling the price reached $27,000. Conversely, his sister was let go at Fasig-Tipton for merely $8,000. Horvat Clan has amassed just over $35,000 in ten lifetime starts, whereas Jelloshotsforjill has already earned over $15,000 with her sole win. The purse in his only win was nearly identical to hers ($24,000 vs. $25,000), which came at Arlington Park against maiden claimers. With such similarities, one would think Horvat Clan would regularly be around six to one…..yet he’s never gone off over five to two since breaking his maiden in May. Keeneland is a different ballgame than Arlington, but if HC had a Minnesota license plate on him perhaps the prices would be a bit more appealing.

What’s the point? Don’t judge a book by its cover. A talented horse does not know where it was born. Don’t be afraid to bet Minnesotans when they head out of state – there’s value to be found, especially at big venues like Keeneland. We may not always win, but when we do it will be for size. We may never see six to one on Jelloshotsforjill at Canterbury if she shows her two year old talent as an older filly. Cheers!