One of my very favorite patterns is the Circle Back. In short, this pattern is one where a horse runs its Best, follows that Best with a Regression of one or more races, and then runs an improving race, although not as fast as its recent Best. This last race is what I call the turn-the-corner race. After the turn-the-corner race, our horse often improves to pair the previous Best and sometimes even improves on that Best.
The Circle Back Pattern often spotlights horses that run well at generous odds; mainly because the horse’s Best race is not its last race, or even one of its last two. When our Circle Back horse also has the fastest Best in the race, well, I usually consider that time to make a wager.
In the 7th race at Gulfstream, last Saturday, January 28, a 5 furlong Turf Stakes, Pretty Perfection showed the epitome of the Circle Back pattern, plus she had the fastest Best in the race. Pretty Perfection returned to the track last August at Saratoga, after a year on the sidelines. She was clearly cured of whatever ailed her, as she posted a career Best of 9.5 in a deceptively good effort as she finished last in a field of 6. Pretty Perfection then regressed in her next two starts backing up to 16.2, before her turn-the-corner race where she improved to 11.4 in winning an Allowance event by a neck.
As a huge bargain, the fastest horse in the race with an excellent pattern, Pretty Perfection was overlooked by the crowd and dismissed at 13-1. As the race turned out, she sat a bit off the early pace, and then mowed them down in the lane, to score easily by 1 ½ lengths. She returned a generous $29.80 to her backers and keyed some lucrative exotic payoffs.
Mind the Circle Back horses, especially if one has the fastest Numbers in the race!