No official posting for a while.

Sorry to report that my PC died this week, without much warning, tho it had graphics card issues for a while.
I have to save for a laptop and for transferring files from ye old hard drive to a new system. I’m estimating it will cost $350.
I am saving for a device powered by Android, that will keep me from being off the Web but that device I do not believe will give me the power to record podcasts for my other project (Radio Crystal Blue) or do in-depth analysis on sports as you count on me for. I believe an Android device will be about $100 but even that is proving to be a chore to budget for, as my rent is way overdue and eviction a possibility without any reasonable method to pay.

Some better news:
I have just taken a 2 month temporary gig, and it starts August 4. My projected budget suggested that I might not have enough for a laptop and service until August 24 or so.  With that, I will not be doing any podcasts or updates on this site until I have a laptop and a reliable connection. If I find a better solution, you will be the first to know.    I’m certainly open to inquiries and suggestions.
Also you may donate to the cause via the PayPal button at the home tab, located at http://www.radiocrystalblue.net/home and idealisticstats.wordpress.com

Older podcasts are always available via the FeedPlayers at http://www.radiocrystalblue.net   http://www.archive.org and http://www.bigcontact.com/radiocrystalblu

2014 HR Derby analysis

 

Being a fan of this sport, I am obligated to give some attention to the All-Star Festivities, including the Futures Game and the Home Run Derby. With the introduction of interleague play as a constant, it actually cheapens the World Series and devalues the true worth of the leagues as we know them. We may as well do as with other sports leagues outside the Americas and have a promotion/relegation process…best teams stay up, cellar-dwellers in AAA. Why can’t we do this already? 
The All-Star Game should be like a fantasy team come to life, with the game’s best utilizing all their tools in every situation . And, yes, every single team should have representation along with having every starter and reserve see action. I’ll still watch, but will wonder why the Game 1 prize is a prize at all. 

As for the Home Run Derby, this is an event I can wrap my little brain around….taking the choice available homer hitters to tackle the barriers of the new Target Field. You have to love a game where, unlike other sports, the playing fields are all different and irregular. That’s America for you! 

Here I’ll give a capsule look at the 10 combatants and see what their experience has been at this park and how they may fare based on biorhythms:
For a primer on the stats I use, refer to 
https://idealisticstats.wordpress.com/fear-factor-baseball-stats/

JOSE BAUTISTA (Toronto) 
Target Field stats, career: 
11 HRs in 59 ABs (66 PA), .966 SLG
Using my own formula Fear Factor he ranks off the charts at 615
23.67 runs created
offensive value: 31%
Contact average: .757 
2.71 bases per hit 
Averaging 404 feet per HR,, long is 450 ft. 17 HRs total. All of them would leave Target Field. He actually hit 2 of them here, one 417, the other 375. 
Biorhythms: 
 
No real sense of power tonight, tho he might guess right in terms of timing. Average cycles at best. 

BRIAN DOZIER (Minnesota)
Fear Factor: 360
Runs created: 80.39
Offensive value:.475
Contact: .733
bases per hit: 1.64 
HR avg distance in 2014:378 ft average, long of 418, 18 HRs. total. 
HRs at Target in 2014: 9. Average distance here also 378, long of 393. All HRs would just clear LF, LCF at Target. 
Cycles: 

 On a downturn in general but still plenty of power. Low marks here.

ADAM JONES (Baltimore) 
Fear Factor 412
Runs created 8.85
Offensive value .538
Contact .800
bases per hit; 1.72
HR avg distance in 2014:399 ft average, long of 439 ft., 16 HRs total. 
HR at Target in 2014: 0. All of his HRs this except for 2 would easily clear Target 
Cycles: 

Cycles are low and getting lower. No real shot. 

YOENIS CESPEDES (Oakland) 
Fear Factor: 450 
Runs created: 13.42
Offensive value: .566
Contact: .85
bases per hit 1.765
HR avg distance in 2014: 383.5 ft. average, long of 427ft. 14 HRs total 
HR at Target in 2014: 0 All but 2 HRs would easily clear Target. 
Cycles:

Average cycles but at peak physical power for this generally contact hitter for the park. 

JOSH DONALDSON (Oakland) 
Fear Factor: 305
Runs created 6.5
Offensive value .530
Contact: .636
bases per hit 1.60
HR avg distance in 2014: 394 ft, long 448 (twice!). 20 HRs total.
HRs at Target in 2014: 1, 412 ft. All but 1 HR would easily clear Target. 
Cycles 


Excellent outlook…physical and emotional lines strong and growing…tho might guess wrong on a few. 

TROY TULOWITZKI (Denver) 
Fear Factor: 598
Runs created: 2.9
Offensive value .310
Contact:.75
bases per hit: 2.66
HR avg distance in 2014: 398, long of 447. 21 HRs total. 
HRs at Target in 2014: 0 All but 1 HR would easily clear the fences
Cycles: 


Average cycles overall, not much power but his psyche is well-intact. 

GIANCARLO STANTON (Miami) 
Fear Factor: 300
Runs created: 1.12
Offensive value .510 
Contact: .666
bases per hit: 1.50
HR avg distance in 2014: 423 ft, long of 484. 21 HRs total. 
HRs at Target in 2014: 0. All HRs would have cleared the fences. 
Cycles: 

Cycles are pretty much on the uphill climb so some power will be lacking today but generally good cycles overall, all are pointed up. 

YASIEL PUIG
Fear Factor: 238
Runs created: 5.82
Offensive value .785
Contact: .705
bases per hit: 1.126 
HR avg distance in 2014: 417, long of 452. 12 HRs total. 
HRs at Target in 2014: 0 All but 1 HR would easily clear the fences 
Cycles:

 
Fair-to-middlin’ cycles. Passion is rather low. Physical cycle at nadir. With low marks overall in these stats, and no experience at Target, don’t expect much.

TODD FRAZIER (Cincinnati) 
Fear Factor: 0
Runs created: 0
Offensive value 0
Contact:. 0
bases per hit: 0 
HR avg distance in 2014: 398ft, long of 446. 19 HRs total. 
HRs at Target in 2014: 0 All but 3 HRs hit in 2014 would easily clear the fences 
Cycles: 


Physical cycle at peak, the rest of the cycles are very weak. With no experience at Target, can’t give him high scores 

JUSTIN MORNEAU (Denver) 
Fear Factor: 340
Runs created: 116.32
Offensive value .513
Contact: .728
bases per hit: 1.56 
HR avg distance in 2014: 402ft , long of 428. 13 HRs total. 
HRs at Target in 2014: 0
All HRs would leave Target Field.
Cycles:

 
 
Here’s how I rank the top 10:
1: Bautista
2: Tulowitzki
3: Dozier
4: Cespedes
5: Donaldson
6: Stanton
7: Jones
8: Morneau
9: Puig
10: Frazier

 Stats sourced from ESPN Home Run Tracker and the venerable www.baseball-reference.com 

Emerald Downs selections 7/13/14

After my worst day of the meet yet, cashing 1 show ticket in 6 contest races at Emerald Downs, I figure a bounceback for yours truly is in the stars. Almost literally. Tracking my bad days, I actually had my worst days during and just prior to days where there’s a full moon. Sometimes even the day after. Make of that what you will…
I type this after just scoring in the final of 3 races at Monmouth. I had to rely on a podium finish by Aquinnah..and she came bounding from 4th the stretch to close wide and finish a strong 3rd. The placing keeps me alive in the Survival At The Shore contest for at least one more day. Next contest date is Friday.

On to Emerald Downs….
I start tonight in the #2 position, some $17 behind the contest leader and $6 ahead of 3rd. Here’s what I have for contest races 5 through 10. Only my top selection counts but you get my top 3:
Race 5: 6-8-4 RULER OF THE TRIBE has 4 placings in 8 races at the 6 furlong distance including a Brisnet of 82, 5 races back in December. Best jockey/trainer combo aboard…Rocco Bowen with 23% wins, Jeffrey Metz 25% wins. This sprinter is easily the fastest of the field. Also: Track bias goes to sprinters and middle post this meet for 6 furlong races. I think the favorites will sweep here.

Race 6: 4-1-6 WIND a FLYIN carries some value for this one. Best average winning distance from pedigree in field. The statebred filly’s sire is Blazonry (Hennessy), damsire is Quiet American). Ran lifetime best of 80 2 races back, then paired with 77 last time out stretching out again to 6 furlongs and up to $7500 tag. This sprinter has best pace numbers of the field. Good trip last time as well in wiring the field, tho a bit wide. Again, track bias favoring sprinters and middle post.

Race 7: 2-3-4 IT’S GUINESS TIME is my big value of the day. Graduated from maiden status with dominating win last out at 6.5 furlongs. Prior effort at distance was 75, still best of this field. Speed per post position also favors him greatly. Oh and he’s lone closer as well in race with a ton of speed.


Race 8 (Seattle Slew Handicap): 3-2-1 DEL RIO HARBOR has a most impressive of placings…8 consecutive in fact, including 6 wins, all at Emerald. Wins include the prestigious Gottstein Futurity back in September, also at today’s 8.5 furlong distance. Comes out of an 88 Brisnet from an ungraded stakes event last month, in control for most of the mile. Since layoff preceding his 3YO campaign, he had an 85, then an off race of 77, then the 88. I have to feel he’s into a stronger form cycle today. I’ve rated the stalker fastest of these. Middle post will help too. Another race dominant by faves among the 4 horse field.

Race 9: 5-4-1 ROCKY’S QUEST has a fair amount of class, winning a 32k effort last year. 11 placings in 12 races at the mile distance, with 5 wins. Comes out of a 86 2nd place finish..preceded by a rather lackuster 74, so a possible bounce for the sprinter here.Still, in sprinting a mile win last time out, he looked the best of all in the field in comparing trips. Outside post will be helpful too.

Race 10: 1-3-2. WAR WIZARD is an absolute lock and deserving favorite, leading in nearly all of my variables. Dam is Chilean-bred Vamos Nina, sired by Jaded Dancer. Scored an 83 after winter layoff, equaled late May 3 races back, and nearly so last time out with an 82. The sprinter is definitely fastest of the field, and a real threat today who might even wire the field, which he almost did last time. And, track bias favoring sprinters and rail horses as he is here.

Again, races 6 and 7 contain horses who are not likely to be favorites at post time.

Survival At The Shore contest picks & analysis 7/13/14

11-2-3 are my picks in the Survival At The Shore contest today. I have to get one podium finish or I’m out of the contest.

Race 4: TEETH OF THE TIGER has the best jockey/trainer combo of the field in Trevor McCarthy (18% wins) and Jorge Navarro (22% wins). Both have worked together 3 times in the last 60 days, all wins, for an ROI of 4.87. Set lifetime top of 75 2 races back, then a 73 afterward in best maiden race finish in 6 lifetime at 24k. The trip for this closer was quite steady, held back from nearly 7 lengths out early and made one big move. Best work tab of field too,a steady bunch of works at Monmouth since April layoff, last one particularly fast. Post relevant to speed is favorable for her.

Race 7: SMOOTH SAILING I only really like for this reason: Track bias is favoring pure sprinters at 5.5 furlongs during the meet, and also posts 1 through 3. There’s also a slight drop out of form cycle as I see the pattern of Brisnet scores..from a 71 5 races back, then a plateau running 77 to 83 since, then a 63 going from sprint to route. Haven’t figured why the bad trip but I’m giving benefit of doubt to this big longshot.

Race 10: AQUINNAH in favorable form ever since winter layoff, running 84 to 90 Brisnet, plus new top of 90 last out, and a 3 race win streak, in the money last 5 races. In fact, 10 wins of 28 lifetime, 18 of 28 in money. Acheiving small new top should indicate even better success forward. Looked good last out, wiring the field narrowly. Inside post helps chances. 

Delaware Handicap analysis

Only Grade 1 race on the calendar, ahead of all the stakes action at Arlington Park, is the Delaware Handicap at Delaware Park, fillies/mares 3YO+. 750k. 451pm ET post time.
Here’s my look at each of the 6 horses:

BELLE GALLANTEY, 5YO, had won 3 straight before a close 5th in the Ogden Phipps, also Grade 1, at Belmont last month. I’m suspecting that she runs better on an ‘off’ track that fast, what with wins in an optional claimer for $62.5 and $12.5 on such conditions, part of a 3 race win streak. The one thing I see that I do like is that she created a new top with a 96 Brisnet back in February, tho is out of that form cycle for sure. In the Ogden Phipps she set a new best with a 100. Yes, she could bounce from that. No other variable presents her as a viable candidate, tho I do note she is the only likely early speed, if there is much speed to her. Morning line: 10-1. My odds: 20-1. Dark horse, stay away.

FLASHY AMERICAN has run in Graded company much of the last year, and won such a race at Hawthorne in April setting a lifetime best of 108. That score was just ahead of her prior best last year at 105. Tht came in an ungraded restricted stakes event at the Spa. Outside of that, 3 of her last 5 wins have come from an inside post. Today she’s in post 2 out of 6. Morning line: 7/2. My odds: 6-1. Contender. Might be an underlay.

MOLLY MORGAN, ships from the Heartland tracks. Generally reliable in terms of cashing, 14 of 21 lifetime. After a winter layoff, started with a 96 at Gulfstream, then 95 at Churchill, then a 99 in a Grade 2 race, with an impressive late run to win by 4.. Certainly she is running at her peak form cycle, running these 3 new tops in her last 3 races. No other evidence tho, to support her ability to win. Morning line: 3/1. My odds: 6-1. Contender, maybe underlay.

GAMAY NOIR has mainly run at Gulfstream among other tracks across the US, and is the lone closer of this field. One start at Delaware, last out in the Obeah, and won with a 6-wide move. Considering her late closing ability, have to give her high marks for that. Sire is Harlan’s Holiday, dam is Uncork out of Unbridled. Strong average winning distance numbers from pedigree. The 100 score from the Obeah is the best performance on this track of the field and a very good trip on its own. Possibly trainer Martin Wolfson can capture lightning in a bottle in his 2nd try in this meet, especially while combined with jockey Daniel Centeno, a 22% win rate. Forging the triple digit Brisnet numbers last 2 out are impressive all on its own. Should she get her race as a closer she will be unstoppable in the stretch. Morning line: 10/1. My odds: 6/5. Contender, and big time overlay.

BRYAN’S JEWEL is the race’s horse-for-course: 4 wins, 12 in the money out of 14 lifetime here. 22-32 in the money lifetime itself. Only real reason to consider her is the fact that she had 2 great works here since last race, 1 a bullet, 1 nearly so. Hasn’t won in a year. Morning line: 15-1. My odds: 8-1. Outside contender, probable overlay.

The much heralded PRINCESS OF SYLMAR was 2nd in the Ogden Phipps, and has consistently run at the Grade 1 level for over a year. Inherently, she has the ability to win, considering her Brisnet figures. She’s definitely the class of the field, with a string of 4 Grade 1 wins last year. And she even put up her lifetime best of 107 at the 10 furlong distance in the Alabama Stakes, most impressive. After that, there’s no real evidence that she’s ready to win today. Morning line: 1/1. My odds: 10/1. Outside contender, overlay.

My order of finish:
4-2-5-6-3-1 (Gamay Noir, Flashy American, Bryan’s Jewel, Princess Of Sylmar, Molly Morgan, Belle Gallantey)

Here’s how I generally wager, if you haven’t committed this to memory:
Wins on any horse in my top worse than 5-1, exactas between my top 3, and this partial exacta wheel: any favorites over my top 3 and overlays determined by me and the public without duplicating bets. I play $2 wins, $1 exactas.

Weekly handicapping contest update

This would have been the next week in the Enlightened Derby and Oaks Trails…if only Colonial Downs kept their 2014 thoroughbred season. There is always next year….or is there? Read on http://www.tidewaterreview.com/news/va-tr-colonial-downs-appeals-racing-commission-order-20140701,0,962335.story
The next races for the Enlightened Trails are:
Fillies: Prairie Gold Lassie at Prairie Downs, 7/19
Colts: Mountaineer Stakes at Mountaineer, 8/2
Emerald Downs http://www.emerald123.com
I start this weekend’s handicapping once again in the number 1 position at Emerald Downs, with $1442.30 (virtual $, people!). Coming out of 4 days of racing Thursday through Sunday, I had some nice surprises Thursday, 7/3: ….Stolen Forum paying $48 in mutuels, 1 win, 2 2nds, 2 3rds.
Here’s what I posted on the emerald123.com board: “Stolen Forum ships from Turf Paradise, slight drop in class, plus layoff, gets Richard who is 3.24 ROI in last 60 with trainer Joe Toye. 2 good works, one a bullet since last race. Handled 4.5 furlongs great last time out in win. Seems to run best with inside post as well.”

I believe he was helped by riderless horse flanking my winner along the rail.

Friday 7/4: 1 show and then 3 straight wins to round out the 6 race contest card, including $22 on Mister Breeze in the feature, gate to wire.. Saturday 7/5: 2 value picks, one of whom scratched at gate….earned 3 more wins, 1 2nd, 1 3rd. Best showing was $10 on Miss Fast Eddie. Sunday 7/6: I picked all chalk except for Madame Pele who didn’t place. I didn’t mind seeing Stopshoppingdebbie go 8 for 8 lifetime, best such record on the continent. As for me… how about 3 more wins….and 1 2nd. Earned double digits on all cashes, including Tsarina Haven for $28.80, 8-1 odds with one big single run.
Currently I have $18 on the 2nd place player, and $9 more over 3rd. From there, there’s a gap of $29 out of cash position to 4th.

Survival At The Shore (Monmouth) http://www.survivalattheshore.com
Lost my 2nd of 3 lifelines as I got thoroughly shut out of Monmouth picks. 2 horses didn’t bother to keep up to speed, and one just had a bad trip and slow start. Good ol’ racing luck. Need to stay afloat and have at least one horse on podium tomorrow.

**
The Racing Biz, representing all that’s good of racing in the Mid-Atlantic states, has the 5th leg of their monthly handicapping contest on Saturday. I have to register best score using win/place in 10 races. Delaware and Parx are the traks involved. Care to take me on? http://www.theracingbiz.com/racing/maryland-handicapping-series-picks/
I have 5 entries out to the grand prize drawing in October, 4 for entering, plus one for getting a 2nd place finish in one monthly contest.
**
Not to be outdone, there is the Del Mar online contest which runs Wednesday-Sunday every week starting next week. http://www.dmtc.com/contest/21

Thoughts on NASCAR changes

 

Reading up on a few NASCAR-oriented articles on the ESPN.COM website re possible schedule moves along with other changes. Here are the articles:
http://espn.go.com/racing/nascar/story/_/id/11180057/nascar-chairman-brian-france-says-2015-schedule-changes-discussed

Cutting through the tedious politicking by France, here’s my reaction:

I’ve long believed that are too many races in each series, and changing dates will certainly affect preparation time for every other track.

And…drivers in the Sprint Cup series should stay in their own lane, stay in the Sprint Cup and not double-dip, running in the Nationwide Series alongsides. Or vice-versa.

 
I’m pretty confident that the Chase is now in the best system of its history and I hope there are no fewer tweaks to it.

And you can’t copy the World Cup thing in NASCAR. As stated here previously ,the best thing to do is intro drivers from other classes and disciplines such as IndyCar and Formula 1. I love drivers that succeed across these different types, just like the legends did. Just like what Kurt Busch did. It’s ultimately great for the sport overall.

 
 
 
I like the effort NASCAR made, and it’s the approach I would have taken. Still, was the authority shared by anyone besides Sicking? Why was all the pressure on him to get the tracks protected.

I’m of the belief that all tracks should be as safe as possible, along with driver safety, at the risk of lower speed. If it means more on-track rules and such, fine. But the cars should be made to run slower if they keep finding the places where barriers are not.
Maybe there’s some alternative form of the SAFER barrier that can be supplied? NASCAR can’t be reactive. They must take a proactive measure.

 
Isn’t there technology of some sort that can give the engineers what they want…to do extra paving in front of the barrier. Surely there must be a way to have the walls there and allow safety vehicles too…maybe a wider gap that allows vehicular passage. Does it shorten the width of the track? Yeah, but it’s gotta be done.

This issue of covering tracks fully may be impractical to some, but when more injuries occur, the tune will change quickly. Lots of tracks would have to adjust.

Sure the race is driver vs driver. But on some tracks, the racing can be rather difficult with the high banking of Daytona or the miniature Daytona that is Charlotte, or the road courses. You do have to combat the track at the same time.

 
What will bring down the cost of SAFER from $500 a foot?