2nd time out of 3 in the future wager pool for me this year. To recap, I missed the window for wagering Pool 1 but was able to get to both the 2nd pool and the Kentucky Oaks. I wagered to win and exactas between Orb (12-1), Revolutionary (28-1) and Code West (37-1) along with the field (3-1). In the sole Oaks pool, I have win and exacta bets on Fiftyshadesofhay (love that name, and the 20-1 odds), Pure Fun (10-1), and Unlimited Budget (9-1), all with the field (7-1)
Going into Pool 3, there are a number of few faces (er, manes?) among the 66. There is also the matter of 2 races this weekend impacting the wagering by the time betting is done. There is the 9-furlong Spiral Stakes at Turfway Park on Saturday, then the Sunland Derby the day after at Sunland Park.
In the Spiral, Pool contenders include Balance The Books, Channel Isle, Uncaptured, My Name Is Michael, Mac The Man, and Capo Bastone.
Pace is definitely one key component I use to determine wagers and this will be a huge challenge working against unknowns. The burning question is this: How do I, as a handicapper, appropriate distance to Brisnet speed figures if a horse has never run that distance before? What can be learned from the horse’s time, beaten length and the final time of the race to suggest a possible speed figure? If you know the answer, please let me know at once.
The challenging thing is this: I’d have to make a flat guess about the Brisnet speed times, possibly borrowing from each horse’s own past performances to see if similar distances were run slower or quicker. Uncaptured, lone horse of Pool 3’s standard wager choices, ran 8.5 furlongs last time out in last year’s Kentucky Jockey Club stakes. He stretches out to 9 furlongs in the Spiral.
Also, the Sunland Derby runs at 840pm ET Sunday, so I’m at the mercy of those results but not to the degree as the Spiral.
A lot to work with, and a lot to assimilate at the last minute! I’m temporarily ignoring those 2 races ahead and just working with what I know, and will give you insight on the top choices per variable used.
CLASS: 23 horses have won at the Graded level. 1 or 2 more will be added to that list. These horses all get greater consideration than those without victories at this level.
Churchill Downs PACE: Any horse with a run here scores better, and 12 have done just that.
PACE: This is the great unknown. What is known is that I did rank horses, per run-style by how they ran in their most recent races. I took the top 13 scores out of the 66. Obviously with 11 running this weekend, the rankings surely will change. Of those not running this weekend, top pace scores (using Brisnet speed ratings) belong to these: Tiz A Minister, Super Ninety Nine, Verrazano, Palace Malice, Normandy Invasion, Mr Palmer, Itsmyluckyday, Goldencents, Flashback, and Code West.
Distance: This will certainly change after the 2 Derby preps. I do give edge to those who have won at 9 furlongs thus far. Those are: Mr Palmer,Orb, Overanalyze, Abraham, Channel Isle, Freedom Child, Gunderman, and Rydilluc.
DOSAGE: Eight horses produced outstanding dosage numbers, comparing chef-de-race numbers to the typical winner at Churchill Downs. These horses are: Flashback, Orb, Revolutionary, Will Take Charge, Dry Summer, Ground Transport, He’s Had Enough, and Speak Logistics.
2YO PROGRESSION: A slight majority of horses in the field either were unraced or had poor running at age 2 before Labor Day weekend, then ran quicker races since that weekend until age 3. I chose the top 13 for serious consideration.
Average winning distance of sire/dam: I took the average of the two numbers, and kept the top 13 scores.
At my peril, I will wager based on what happens after Saturday. For the moment, here are my top 4:
1: MR PALMER. broke maiden after 6 tries, then won the 100k Private Terms at Laurel two weeks ago at 9 furlongs. He’s an absolute closer who already has a run at Churchill good AWD numbers (sire, Pulpit, and dam, In Truth, both at 7.5). Possibility of bouncing in next race after last race, with a 97 score. Pace is very competitive overall. Next race should be the Wood Memorial on April 6. This is my top choice.
Below him I have these 3 to consider:
2: OVERANALYZE has run in nothing but Graded efforts since breaking maiden in first race at Saratoga. Ended 2YO campaign with a 104 in the Remsen at 9 furlongs. Put up a 94 finishing 5th in the Gotham 3 weeks ago; I suspect a bounce back. 3rd in the Iriquois at Churchill. Will run in the Arkansas Derby on April 13.
3: REVOLUTIONARY had raced in 4 maidens and then narrowly won the Withers ending his 2YO campaign. This horse is on a 6 week layoff currently and should run in the Louisiana Derby on 3/30. Great pedigree in comparison: AWD for sire War Pass is 7.0, dam Runup The Colors is 8.0. The Withers earned him a 96 after breaking maiden going 103. Possible bounce back in progress.
4: Out of the field wager choices, I like BALANCE THE BOOKS. He’s running in the Spiral so my stance re pace for him will depend on his run. Good 2YO campaign for him: 3 races at 8.5 furlongs with best time 1:42.1 (89 Brisnet), then 1 mile (BC Juvenile Turf), finishing 3rd, 1:33.3. Put up 91 and 96 scores in last two races, on layoff since the Breeders Cup races in November. Pace for the moment gives him an advantage. Sire Lemon Drop Kid’s AWD is 7.9.
When I return to this computer on Sunday I will recalibrate and give you a sense as to my top choices. This much I do know: I plan to do win and exacta bets between my top 3, along with the field. Should Overanalyze be one of the top horses, I will skip him because I have a win wager on him for 37-1. If his odds are worse for this pool, I’ll take another swing. Otherwise I’ll take the next contender on the list.