Have you ever noticed a horse drop in class to a level that you think is a misprint? Well, depending on when you see that drop it could mean a huge opportunity. For example, a maiden, running against $48,000 maiden claimers and finishing mid-pack suddenly is entered in a $25,000 maiden claimer should get the red flags flying. Why would an owner risk losing his horse to a claim in this instance?
One reason may be he noticed something wrong during a workout or around the barn and is dumping the horse onto someone else and cutting his losses. Hey, it’s business.
But, there is another reason why this happens and that’s where the advantage to the bettor comes in to play. You see, in accounting, a stable or barn full of horses is considered “inventory”, and, on a tax return for a business, such inventory is taxable. Owners, therefore, in an attempt to “thin the herd” so to speak, clean out their inventory to benefit the bottom tax line. Some of these horses are sold outright but there’s another great way of selling off their inventory…. claiming races.
Drop the horse in claiming value to sell, pick up the win purse and get the horse off your inventory. It’s a possible horseman’s trifecta. So, for the bettor, how do we know the difference between dumping an unhealthy animal or just lowering the inventory?
The “inventory sale” usually happens at the following times:
End of Meet
When the meet comes to an end and the owner doesn’t plan on shipping the horse to another track or to another state, then sometimes it is financially smarter to sell the animal instead of spending money on feed, vet and miscellaneous costs for 6 to 8 months till the next season starts. Look for this to happen in the last couple of weeks of a meet.
End of Year
Great time to get the horse off the inventory and get a much needed tax break just before the last day of the year. Most retail businesses build up inventory for Christmas but use January to sell off the excess inventory to avoid a tax hit. And they use January 31st as the last day of the their business year. But in the racing business, the year end most commonly is the last day of December.
So watch for the huge drop in class and then consult the area track schedules and the calendar. You may be surprised how much you can make on a good ol’ fashion “close out sale”!