JC / Railbird

No Allowances

Is the stakes race the new allowance race for juvenile males?

There’s been a trend toward running 2-year-old maiden winners in stakes without a stop at the allowance level, but it seems especially pronounced this year. Consider: Of the 103 starters in the 16 open juvenile graded stakes run to date, 62 were coming off a maiden start, 48 of those maiden wins. Only four of the 103 had a start in an allowance race prior to their first start in a stakes, graded or ungraded. The number rises to six if counting Stormy Rush’s allowance start before the G3 Summer Stakes, not included below, or Conservative Value’s allowance start before the ungraded Cradle Stakes.

(Stakes races are organized by grade, then date. Horses are displayed in order of finish, from 1-2-3-X. View the full spreadsheet here.)

A few notes: Several horses in the Hollywood Juvenile, including winner JP’s Gusto, previously started in the ungraded Proctor Memorial Stakes at Hollywood. Those juveniles, as well as the Lost in the Fog Stakes and Par Four Stakes starters included above, were all entered off maiden races. Boys at Tosconova started his career in stakes, before winning a Saratoga maiden special, and then the G1 Hopeful. Things didn’t turn out so well for Manchurian High, who made his first two starts in stakes before entering a Belmont maiden, in which he finished ninth. Two of the juvenile starters above, Sensational Slam and Road Ready, have only run (and not well) in stakes.

I’m interested in any theories as to why the allowance start is disappearing among this set (or arguments that it isn’t), and opinions on the increasingly common move of going from maiden to graded stakes without a win …


My own vague memory of Saratoga seems to indicate that there are more options for 2yos in stakes races vs allowance races. It would also be interesting to do a comparison at the listed tracks to see if that’s really the case. I always thought the number of graded races for 2yo seemed kind of ridiculous and definitely geared towards post 3yo retirement/breeding career.

Posted by dana on October 19, 2010 @ 12:39 pm

Horses races less often, particularly at two, so going right into stakes company allows for easy graded black type.

Used to be a race like the Champagne would have had all the heavies in it, but this year only Uncle Mo showed up. If you wanted to prep for the Champagne an allowance made sense.

Great post and certainly a topic for discussion Breeders’ Cup week! More insight is definitely needed.

Posted by EJXD2 on October 19, 2010 @ 1:07 pm