2013 Pacific Classic race analysis

Yesterday was just about crazy. 20 races to handicap, and I hardly made progress. 8 of those races focused on the Saratoga and Del Mar card, and I managed just 1 win, nothing in the money otherwise. Monmouth was much better with 2 wins, Emerald with 1 win, 2 2nds, and Remington was best, as I started Day 1 of that challenge with 2 wins out of 3 races.

Today I have worked on 6 races for Emerald, and 3 at Monmouth. Amazingly, I’m still in the latter. Remington returns on Wednesday.
I also realized that, in the craziness, I failed to deliver analysis of the Travers, but I do have analysis of today’s Pacific Classic, the major race of the day at Del Mar, so here it is, horse for horse:

ENDORSEMENT comes out of a game inside effort at Del Mar on 7/24, 2nd to Indy Point in a 90k restricted stakes race. Considering his inside post, where he’s won his last 2 races, this will make him a contender, albeit an outside one. This is one horse that should be considered in exotics, as I feel he can contend at a price.

HOLDING GLORY ships from Brazil and makes his 2nd US start, usually something of a ‘trap race’ in my eyes. Nevertheless, he has defeated top horses in Brazil and does belong here. ROI angle: Jockey Chantal Sutherland-Kruse so far in 2013 has one win in one start with a closing type horse. Further she’s 1-of-6 running in routes. Both variables led to double digit positive ROI cashings. I did like how this horse rallied in its US debut on this track 8/3. Seems to have enough natural quality to him for contending.

FARRAAJ makes his US debut as well for Sheikh Ahmed Al Maktoum, with all of his racing done in Europe, mostly in the UK. Stats are lacking per Brisnet, but I do see this angle: Trainer Roger Varlan has shipped foreigners to the US, 1 win, 3 in the money, for an even return of 2.00. What’s more, this horse has also won right off layoff previously. Another outside contender who could surprise.

YOU KNOW I KNOW comes out ofa $62.5k optional claiming race here, putting up a 95 score with a win. One of three horses who will benefit from the track bias. Through today, absolute closers in routes on this surface are winning 41%. Also, horses in posts 4 through 7 are winning 15% of the time. His stats are great but the competition is real tough today.

RICHARD’S KID at age 8 comes out of a G3 win on this track. Benefits from the track bias as per You Know I Know. Very tough to pick here, as no other stats back up his performance.

KETTLE CORN is out of a win here in the San Diego H., (G2), sporting a 104 Brisnet. From that race, he shared winning speed on this track out of this field with Dullahan. Recovering in pace: After his last layoff, he was 2nd with a 100 score in a G2 race at Betfair Hollywood, then 4th with a 97 in another G2 race there, followed up with a breakthrough and lifetime 106, finishing 2nd in the Hollywood Gold Cup. The 106 score was just past his prior best, which occured in last year’s Gold Cup. This is the 3rd of 3 horses who can close firmly and also runs in a middle post, and can benefit from the track bias. Realistically his chances are quite good here.

BYRAMA leads with the top average winning distance from his pedigree among the field (Byron-Aymara, out of Darshaan, all GB bred). Won the Vanity H. at Betfair Hollywood (G1) 3 races back, forging a lifetime best, and exploded past his 3YO best, suggesting further improvement. Best jockey/trainer win% of the field (Gary Stevens, 29%, Simon Callaghan, 21%). Liked his 3rd place finish last race in the CL Hirsch earlier in August; survived a tough trip and really should have won that one.

DULLAHAN after 2 disappointing efforts in Dubai, had a very good trip finishing 3rd in the Arlington H. He is the defending Pacific Classic champ, and had also won last year’s Blue Grass Stakes, both at the G1 level (in fact, these are his last 2 wins to date). His win in the Classic at 104 ties Kettle Corn for fastest winning speed on the track. 8th post position, a middle post today, and he’s fared very well in such an area, with those 2 G1 wins. Definitely a contender.

DELEGATION has the fastest Brisnet of the field, a lifetime best 112, from his impressive win last time out up at Woodbine, July 1. The 112 is also best winning score on all-weather tracks of the field, and the best for 10 furlongs. Best Brisnet to his stalking style in the field. Also a top contender.

GAME ON DUDE, a mainstay on the West Coast and consistently putting up high numbers, has also defeated top company in two Hollywood Gold Cups, the Santa Anita Handicap and the Awesome Again. Has won before from a layoff. Great work tab, 6 works in all at Del Mar, the last one 3rd best of 54. Won one of his Gold Cup and the Santa Anita from an outside post.

JERANIMO won the Eddie Read, the Shoemaker, and the San Gabriel at the G1 level. Trainer Michael Pender has won 29% of races, plus 56% in the money in all graded stakes entered in 2013 for a 3.99 ROI return.

BLUESKIESNRAINBOWS comes out of a game 99 effort, 3rd in the Cougar II Handicap, 7/26. Probably will bounce down from that score.
Pacewise it could be fairly slow, especially with 6 closers in the field. Kettle Corn has the fastest overall speed of those 6. I kinda like him, along those lines.
My selections are these:

10-9-7-1-8 Delegation, Dullahan, Kettle Corn, Endorsement.

Emerald Downs 123racing handicapping analysis for today

No time for Friday Night Fight viewing but I did work on 6 of the races in tonight’s portion of Emerald Downs handicapping challenge. Cutting to the chase, I’m find that the most important variables in the arsenal include:

Results from trip handicapping…seeing which horses have had some trouble, got out of trouble, and still finished like a contender. Or those with ideal trips that had some traffic trouble.
Track bias: matching the patterns from the meet to the run styles and post positions of the applicable horses
Horses who have won multiple races from a general selection of posts (near the rail, near the outside, or somewhere in middle), or otherwise had a better average pace in those areas
Horses bounding back in pace after having an ‘off’ race

I have other sets of data involving jockeys and trainers, plus the application of pace and recent form and lifetime stats. Combining it all, I feel more confident about making intelligent selections.
Tonight at Emerald, I chose these:
Race 2: 7 MOJAVE SECRET: Trainer has 2 wins in 3 races, 3rd also in money, when claiming a horse, then dropping to lower claim price first race used (2.13 ROI). Juan Guitterez/Blaine Wright jockey/trainer combo has best win % in field. Had an off race of 64 last time out, and should bounce back here. Had a very good trip in last race, yielding race in stretch very late.
Race 3: 7 MERRY SHERRY has longest price of my 6 picks. Recovering in pace from last 2 races. Has exploding/forging pace angles as well. Best pace numbers per post, also comes out of a great trip,rallying at finish.
Race 4: 7 BIG PAYDAY should bounce back after a 67 race, that from an 81 lifetime best 2 races ago. Had tough trip but finished competitively in large field.
Race 5: 5 SILVER SNEAKERS has done with a middle post, raced against his closing type last time and was competitive really should have saved more ground prior.
Race 6: 5 DUCOTI is my best. Has outstanding edges in most categories including pedigree, best jockey/trainer, 1st race off reclaim, fastest rated horse and good works.
Race 7: 3 JORDAN’S JEM is best in class, good pace numbers for the track, also has Juan Guitterez/Wenzel connection, both over 20% wins. Wenzel great with horses dropping 2 classes.

Sometime overnight I’ll have trip analysis and ratings of my contenders for the Travers Stakes and Pacific Classic.

future plans for handicapping

hinking of going back to ‘capping (going back to ‘capping..going back to ‘capping. Hm. There’s a song in there). Actually I have been handicapping since a self-imposed ban on posting about it. I’ve taken in a couple of free (that means no-cost to me) online challenges run by 123 racing. One is elimination-style at Monmouth Park..where you get to pick 1 horse per race in 3 chosen races. If you fail to hit the $ you get 2 more chances to avoid being shutout again. And if you last long into the competition, you get another ‘horseshoe’. I’m on my last free horseshoe with a few more weekends to go. Haven’t picked a lot of winners, but the favorites have come in when needed.
At Emerald Downs, a small track in Aurora, WA, the challenge is simply to earn the most based on the mutuel prices, using a $2 win/place/show bet, one hrose per race, in the last 6 races of each card, no elims. I’m in the upper third of all players, consistently getting my shares of wins and placings.
Even tho some major races are ahead this weekend, I have no temptation of gambling, being that I really can’t afford it.
Nevertheless I am redoing my system just a bit to give certain variables more weight, and also include something called trip handicapping. This involves, for me, watching the replay of the last race of each horse entered. It adds maybe another 15 minutes on top of my usual 10-15 minutes per race, but I feel it’s worthy. On my own, I had already felt like I knew how to watch a race, seeing when a jockey calls upon a horse, when horses travel wide, or when they make a move. I think sometimes I fail to see how a horse could have done when hemmed in in the stretch, or similar. And sometimes, having to watch online, you can’t always see how a horse gallops out after the race, seeing who is still full of run after the race.
While that is happening, I found a great instructional video on the almighty YouTube from the folks at HorsePlayerNow, giving equal time to thoroughbred and standardbred (yes, the one’s with the ‘drivers’ in the ‘sulkies’). Both systems can be looked at equally. Hmmm. Maybe I can wean myself away from my difference in understanding past performances in the latter. Meanwhile, I will concentrate on the thoroughbreds. In the video, there are nuggets of wisdom about the type of horse that is either compromised or aided along with the sequences of action in the race.

I paired this with an informative document that looks at a horse’s run style, be it sprinter, closer or somewhere in between. The stress is on pace, positioning and the race shape based on who’s in the field and the collection of styles. Add to this the prevailing track bias, and you have angles that some horseplayers don’t take into account. This is why I absolutely adore Brisnet and their BRIS ratings for including this in their ‘ultimate’ past performances.

So here’s what I have to look forward to this weekend:

Friday I handicap 3 races at Monmouth for Friday, and also the prescribed 6 for Emerald. Total of 9.
Saturday a new challenge, elim style, starts up at Remington Park, and I’m sure that’s 3 races worth. There is 3 more at Monmouth (IF I’m not shut out), 6 at Emerald, and 8 more with a one-day challenge from the folks at Equibase, with a focus on picking 1 horse to win 8 races, using $2 win and place only. The races include 5 major races at Saratoga (including the Travers) and 3 at Del Mar (including the Pacific Classic)
20 races in all.
Sunday? No idea what will be running those days.

I will devote the next handicapping post to  Saturday’s Travers and Pacific Classic, plus pick out a race on Friday for you all. 

Again, I share this info with no intent to gamble, and I do not have any temptation to do so. Frankly, I don’t care whether you do or not. If you do, hopefully you’ll feel armed with good knowledge. 

Cincinnati Open tennis women’s final analysis

Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka, World #1 and #2, duel in the finals of the Cincinnati Open, likely their last matches before the US Open at the end of the month.

Serena holds a commanding 13-2 edge in matches head to head, Victoria only finding her wins on the hard court, including earlier this year in Doha, Qatar. It’s their 6th meeting in the championship round.

So how does Victoria win this? Here are the stats she dominated in the matches she lost head to head:
Azarenka routinely outperforms Serena in 1st serve % in her losses, ranging from 60 to 80%
Break points conversion has been at the rate of 50%
Net approaches has ranged from 57 to 80%
2nd service points won ranges from 35 to 50%
In both of Serena’s losses, she still managed to have better net points in aces-to-double faults
Examining this tournament here are the weaknesses in Serena’s game thus far:
2nd service points won (30% from one match)
Break points conversion (averaging 55% across 3 matches where she lost in the category)

Lost 29 points between aces and double faults, always at the disadvantage in the 4 matches leading up to the final
2nd service points won (averaging 39% across 3 matches)
break points conversion (38% from one match)
Here are Serena’s cycles:

This could be a very challenging day, seeing her possibly outburst, with weakening shot power and a number of unforced errors, probably more double faults. It’s never easy to run into a series of critical days as she has right now.


Her cycles aren’t all that great either….strengthening physically yet it will be at great effort…she will have to rely on her mental game…playing with a bit more finesse than power.and must keep her emotions in check, as her confidence level is rather low. Can she master her game today? Yes she can. Better than Serena? Possibly.

I’m giving this to Serena, in 3 demanding sets tho I will not be surprised to see Victoria win.

Friday Night Fights analysis 8/16/13 analysis

Boxing at US Cellular Field will be a first tonight. The stadium, home to the Chicago White Sox, is just west to the site of the former Comiskey Park (and USCF’s old namesake). On this hallowed ground, boxing takes precedence and the bouts are very good ones on paper.

Artur Szpilka vs Mike Mollo, 10 rounds, heavyweights. This is a rematch, the first bout held on February 1, with Szpilka scoring 3 knockdowns, and the KO in the 6th of 8 scheduled rounds.
Artur is 15-0-0, 11 KOs. The greater majority of his knockouts have come in the first 1/3 of bouts. He’s ranked 24th among all heavyweights, and #3 in his native Poland. Only 5 fights outside of Poland, he’s KO’d each opponent in the US
From www.facade.com
Terrible cycles for “The Pin”, terrible for any boxer, getting close to a triple-low. Potential for success is quite low, tho he might have his opponent miss a few times.

As for Mollo, who hails from nearby Oak Lawn, he’s 20-4-1, 12 KO’s. 1-3-1 in his last 5. Last KO win was in 2007.
From www.facade.com
Mollo has the opposite cycles, approaching a triple-high, and all should be right with the world.

Mollo should be able to pull out a late-fight KO.

Andrzej Fonfara vs Gabriel Campillo, 12 rounds, light heavyweights.
Andrzej is 23-2-0, 13 wins by KOs. Ranked #9 worldwide in his class, #1 in Poland. Residing in Chicago, the great majority of his recent fights have taken place in the nearby UIC Pavilion. Outside of one no contest, he’s got 10 straight wins, 9 by KOs. All of his KOs have come early or midway through a fight, the slight majority in the middle.
From www.facade.com
Great cycles in play today, tho physical might be feeling a bit more sluggish. Shouldn’t have much of an issue tonight.
Campillo is 22-5-1, 9 KO wins. #27 worldwide in his class, best of those in Spain.
“Chico Guapo” is 1-2-1 in his last 4 fights.
Has lost all 3 of his US fights. Great majority of his KOs come in the middle stages.
From www.facade.com
Mixed bag here, also good physically and feels rather passionate, but is prone to making more mental errors tonight.
Fonfara by decision. 

NASCAR @ Watkins Glen analysis

How about this name for a race? The Cheez-It 355 At The Glen? Says it all, doesn’t it?

I dig road racing, as it resembles more of what international drivers race on, and there should be 2-4 more of these in the NASCAR/Nationwide circuits (heck, even the trucks!). As I’ve typed here before, give me a versatile driver who has competed and won on different surfaces, competitions and car classes.

Winningest active driver of this track, Tony Stewart, is out indefinitely after a second surgical operation, this following a sprint-car race on 8/5, and I suspect he’ll miss part of the Chase.
Here are the stats I’m working with:
Jeff Gordon has won 4 times here in 20 races, Mark Martin with 3 wins, and Marcos Ambrose 2 (in 5 races!). Kevin Harvick, Juan Pablo Montoya and Kyle Busch have the other wins at this level. Among those driving who have a shot to get their first: Jeff Burton (0-19),Ron Fellows (0-14), Matt Kenseth, Dale Earnhardt, Jr (both 0-13)

Top5: Jeff Gordon has 6 top-5s, best of the drivers in the field. Also notable: Ambrose (perfect in 5 races), Jimmie Johnson (4-11), and Carl Edwards & Kyle Busch (3-8), plus Ron Fellows (3-14). Yet to crack the top 5 at Watkins Glen: Kenseth (0-13), Dave Blaney (0-11), Paul Menard & Kasey Kahne (0-9).

Top 10: Gordon leads with 9 times in the top 10 out of 20 races. Kyle Busch is 7 of 8 in that category. After those two, Harvick is 6-12, Jimmie is 6-11, and of course there’s Ambrose who is 5-5, along with JPM 4-6. Blaney, Menard and Kahne are yet to crack the top 10.
Most laps turned without victory: Among those in the field, Jeff Burton has logged 1537 laps w/o checkered flag. After, there’s Kenseth (1173), Dale Jr. (1080), Ron Fellows (1014), Ryan Newman (993)

Most laps led without win at the Glen: Kurt Busch (62), Burton (54), Dale Jr. (46), Brad Keselowski (who starts #8 in the race, and actually won here on the Nationwide circuit yesteday, 39
Average finish position, 3-start minimum:
Ambrose (2), Keselowski (8), Kyle Busch (9), AJ Allmendinger (9), Edwards (9.4)

Running at finish: Gordon is 17 of 20. Kenseth is perfect in 13, Harvick likewise in 12.
Lead lap finishes: Gordon, again 17 of 20, Kenseth 12-13, Burton 12-19. Kahne is perfect in 9 races.

My predicted top 10:
1 Ambrose
2 AJ Allmendinger
3 Truex
4 Bowyer
5 Keselowski
6 Menard
7 Kenseth
8 Kyle Busch
9 Jamie MacMurray
10 Joey Logano

Source: http://www.racing-reference.info

2013 Rogers Cup championship (tennis) analysis

The Rogers Cup in Toronto winds up today with 2 singles championship matches.
Rafael Nadal (world # 4) vs Canada’s Milos Raonic (world #13)
Theyve dueled 3 times…twice in Tokyo, and earlier this year in Barcelona, with Rafa winning straight sets each time. 37 to 20 in games. In Barcelona, Miles managed to score better in the area of break points saved and converted. Maybe it was the clay. In both matches in Tokyo, Raonic put up more aces, and also edged in 1st service points and 1st serve return points won.

Rafa is playing in very tough circumstances, in a triple-low period. Will not expect him to do well today.

It’s as different as night and day. Miles is at the top of his game and is on a triple high.
Dare I type it? I will. Straight-set victory (2 sets) for the Canadian on home soil.


World #1 Serena Williams takes on Romania’s Sorana Cirstea, world #27, who owns just one title to her name.
They’ve met twice prior, in last year’s Bank Of The West Classic in Stanford, and this year’s French, with Serena winning in straight sets each time, and winning 24 games to 5. In the French, Cirstea double-faulted 6 times, versus 0 aces, and did not win a single break point, very few winners (3) to unforced errors (19). In Stanford, the case was much the same, Serena dominating in each category.
Here are Serena’s cycles for today:

Serena’s firepower will be there but the passion is everage at best. Will have trouble figuring out her opponent and will make more unforced errors than usual.

She seems at a low physically, real sluggish, and is starting to get real down on herself. Mentally she’s pretty sharp even with a waning physical cycle on the positive side.

This will go 3 sets. I have Serena winning this one, with lots of errors on both sides.