Enlightened Derby/Oaks Trail: Stakes analysis for 8/31/14

Today the Enlightened Derby and Oaks Trails take us to Monmouth Park, Saratoga Race Track, and to Albuquerque Downs. 

As mentioned in the prior post, Sunset Glow leads all fillies in the Filly Trail thanks to her win in the Del Mar Debutante, the first race on the trail at Graded status, offering more points. She has 250 points, followed by 6 others with 100 each.
In the Derby Trail, 6 horses are at 100 points each. Gotta Get Paid, 2nd in the Evangeline Downs Star joins 5 outright winners in the 6-way tie.

First we go to Monmouth. The Sorority has 8 2YOs going 6 furlongs, 75k purse.

1 SAVE ROCK AND ROLL won maiden debut here on 8/2, 87 Brisnet, fastest on this track of the field. Trevor McCarthy & Joseph Orseno have 2 wins and 3 placings in 8 starts together the last 60 days, for a 5.93 ROI. Was wide in the stretch run but otherwise a good trip in debut. Considering she’s on rail here, like her inner post previous, thinking she’ll like the post. ML odds: 4/1. My odds: 8/5. Contender, maybe overlay.
2 PERPETUAL NOVENA won maiden debut here in June, then was 2nd in the Colleen earlier in the month. Paco Lopez has a 29% win rate, and Ed Plesa Jr. is saddling 20% wins.  Track bias in her favor, the only sprinter from an inside post in the field. Sprinters at 6 furlongs are winning 44% during the meet, along with 15% wins generally from the first 3 posts.  ML odds: 5/2. My odds: 20-1. Dark horse.
4 COMFORTER with 2 runs at Delaware, improved while graduating in last start with a 9 length win, and an 89 Brisnet score. Concerned about a bounce here. ML odds: 9/2. My odds: 10-1. Contender at a price.  

6 CONCEALEDWITHAKISS won maiden debut by 11 lengths earlier in August here, 81 Brisnet. Best average winning distance from pedigree (Political Force/Bold Outlook, by Chief Seattle).  ML odds: 6/1. My odds: 20-1. Dark horse.
7 HEAVENLY PERFECT won debut narrowly here in August, 79 Brisnet. Linda Gaudet has trained 3 2YOs this year, with 2 wins and placing in all 3, for return of 3.67. ML odds: 8/1. My odds: 20-1. Dark horse.
8 COCO’S WILDCAT ships from Gulfstream Park, winning both maiden debut and the 75k Cassidy, nearly wiring the field in both.  On layoff for this race as with previous. I’ve rated him the speed of the field (under 22 seconds first quarter). 3 works at Monmouth as well. ML odds: 3/1. My odds: 8/5. Contender, chalky.
My top 4:
1 1 Save Rock And Roll
2 8 Coco’s Wildcat
3 4 Comforter
4 7 Heavenly Perfect
Overlays: 1
In a race with a ton of speed, I’m giving the nod to the lone closer in Save Rock and Roll.  Essentially this looks like a 2-horse race, not much value involved.

Next is the mile, 100k Sapling for 2YO colts. One horse of note here is Tapitsphere, who already has EDT points, finishing 4th in the Mountaineer Juvenile last time out.

1 WILD ZAMBEZI won 2nd maiden race 3 weeks back at the mile distance. Big score of 88 Brisnet for that one, best for distance and track of the field. Had the cleanest trip coming in as well.  Only stalking horse of the field, benefiting firmly from track bias. Stalking horses in mile races are 40% winners, and rail horses are 20%.   ML odds: 4/1. My odds: 8/5. Favorite, contender, maybe overlay. 
4 CHASE LANE won debut here earlier in the month with 77 Brisnet. Best AWD numbers of the field (Distorted Humor/Tejareb, by the mightly Sadler’s Wells). ML odds: 6/1. My odds: 20-1. Dark horse.
5 POSSE DREAMIN graduated in his 3rd try, here last month. 1st or 2nd in 3 lifetime. Forged lifetime best of 78 in that race. 3 local works since that July race.   ML odds: 10/1. My odds: 5/2. Contender, and overlay. 

7 SOUPER COLOSSAL won both lifetime races, including the 60k Tyro here earlier in the month, forging an 84 standard figure. Has the Lopez/Plesa connection aboard (see Perpetual Novena above). This is the speed of the field. Can benefit from an outside post.  ML odds: 3/1. My odds agree. Contender.
My top 4:
1 1 Wild Zambezi
2 5 Posse Dreamin
3 7 Souper Colossal
4  4 Chase Lane
Overlays: 1,5
Each of the speed horses to prevail here, some mild value all around.
Next we go to Saratoga for the Spinaway Stakes, Grade 1, 7 furlongs for 2YO fillies.  It’s the 2nd race on the EFT that involves extra points for finishing in the top 4 for Graded events. 
Every horse here has some ability to win.
1 CONDO COMMANDO ran a huge debut, winning by 12 on August 3 here, 93 Brisnet. That number is best on track of this field. With his sprinting ability, I’ve named him the speed of the field. Track bias firmly in his favor, too. At 7 furlongs, sprinters are 31% winners, and best post is the rail, at 21%.  ML odds: 4/1. My odds: 2-1. Contender and favorite.
2 ANGELA RENEE won debut with 90 Brisnet at Belmont in June, then was 2nd in the Grade 2 Adirondack, improving to a 97 Brisnet.  John Velazquez has 16% riding wins, Todd Pletcher 21% wins. ML odds: 2/1. My odds: 7/2.  Contender
3 LADY ZUZU 3rd in debut here on 8/8, 83 Brisnet. Best AWD numbers in field (Dynaformer/Indy Pick, by AP Indy).  ML odds: 15/1. My odds: 20-1. Best to avoid. 
4 BY THE MOON won debut here in July in top maiden company of 83k, 86 Brisnet. No problem at all with her trip. ML odds: 6/1. My odds: Above 20-1. Avoid.
5 DARLING SKY Won debut by 7 lengths at Parx earlier in the month. Trainer Robert Reed has saddled 2 winners, 6 placings this year in Graded races, for return of 6.87. Best horse for pace relevant to post position, as she returns to a middle post.  ML odds: 8/1. My odds: 5/1.  Contender.
6 WINTER DAWN won her debut, also at 83k maiden level, 83 Brisnet. ML odds: 8/1. My odds: Above 20-1. Avoid.
8 RYABINKA ships from Gulfstream, 3 good maiden runs, and then a 7th in the Cassidy.  She has the one win of today’s field in ‘off’ conditions, and there is precip in the area. Trainer Dorochenko has 1 win and 6 placings this year in Graded stakes, for modest return of 2.80. ML odds: 30-1. My odds: 16-1. Dark horse, but an overlay, especially if we have less than a fast track by the time the race is run.
9 BONNIE K debut at Pennsylvania in July, winning with 76 Brisnet. Has turned in 4 works, 1 at the Spa, last 2 were bullets. ML odds: 20/1. My odds: 8/1. Outside contender, and overlay for sure.
My top 4:
1 1 Condo Commando
2 2 Angela Reese
3 5 Darling Sky
4 9 Bonnie K
Overlays: 8,9
Once again, not much value to play with here, and speed should sustain. 
Finally to The Downs at Albuquerque for their best race to represent the Trail, the Manzano Stakes, 6 furlongs for 2YO colts, 50k.
EDT fans, take note of 2 horses in particular who have placed in prior EDT races: Stratagem finished 2nd in the Gold Rush Futurity at Arapahoe Park, good for 50 points.  Winner of that race was Passed Due, nosing out his new rival for 100 points.  Both horses duel here again.
1 JUSTGIMMETENMINUTES has the top AWD numbers here (Temple City/Shezaharleygirl, by Harlan’s Holiday). Forged lifetime best of 62 Brisnet 2 races back in breaking maiden status. Disappointing 6th in the Gold Rush Futurity, so there’s reason to aim for a bounceback. Lone closer. ML odds: 12/1. My odds: 13-1. Dark horse.
2 STRATAGEM was reclaimed by Gary Barrow after maiden debut win, then reclaimed by Cole Jackson after narrow win in the Wyoming Thoroughbred Futurity. Then re-reclaimed by Barrow after being nosed out by the aforementioned Passed Due in the Gold Rush. Scored a 74 in the Gold Rush with good stalking trip. ML odds: 5/1. My odds: 10-1. Outsider.
3 Z SMOKING GUN broke maiden in 3rd try, looked good in late closing effort.  Scored lifetime best of 69 2 races back, tho trailed off to 59 in the win. I have to believe he’s better than his last this time around. ML odds: 8/1. My odds: 5-1. Contender, possible overlay.
4 DIRT MONSTER makes his debut in this stakes race. Last 4 works have been at Albuquerque, 2 of the last 3 were bullets.  Ry Eikleberry is 2 of 5 during the meet. Justin Evans has 26% wins. ML odds: 8/1. My odds: 9/2. Contender, overlay.
5 PASSED DUE’s win in the Gold Rush earned him a 74 Brisnet, strong above his maiden debut, which was a 63 Brisnet and a 10 length win.  The 74 score is the best for the distance of the field. 3rd straight in a middle post, which certainly may be his preferred place.  ML odds: 3/1. My odds fully agree.  Contender, favorite.
6 BOAST won his maiden debut with a 66 Brisnet in late June, put in 3 works since. One of a few with a good trip and may get some help from track bias given his post. ML odds: 10/1. My odds: Above 20-1. No chance.
7 TROPIC VISION yet to break maiden status, with 3 straight 2nd place finishes, all in the 60-70 Brisnet range. Inside post may be helpful but no evidence to suggest he breaks further here.   ML odds: 10-1. My odds: Well above 20-1. No chance.
8 YOU’VE BEEN DUPED may prove to be the best speed here. Won a 45k stakes race 2 races back with a 69 Brisnet, fell back to 48 with a 6th place finish in a 5k stakes effort  after. So I’m believing he will bounce upward from this. Coming off of 6 week layoff, noting he had won off of a 10 week layoff prior. ML odds: 12/1. My odds: 6/1. Contender, overlay.
9 ROUSANNE was 3rd in the Debutante at Churchill last time out then went on layoff and was claimed. Having won her maiden debut, contending would not be a surprise, but he lacks some evidence of doing so.  ML odds: 4/1. My odds: Well above 20-1. Stay away.
10 SKIM THE RAIL was 2nd in debut, then won last out by 2.5 lengths, pushing to a new top of 70.  The 70 score is the best performance from this field on the track. ML odds: 8/1. My odds: Well above 20-1. No chance.
My top 4:
1 5 Passed Due
2 4 Dirt Monster
3 3 Z Smoking Gun
4 8 You’ve Been Duped
Overlays: 3,4,8
Passed Due I think will be the first real star out of the EDT with a 2nd win. This may prove to be a good betting race as I don’t see it as one horse dominating.
Keep watch on Twitter at @idealisticstats as I’ll provide updates to picks and overlay selections, along with my Emerald Downs and Del Mar contest selections.
First a recap of yesterday’s picks and how I fared across the 20 races I was involved in yesterday.
I didn’t post my Emerald Downs selections here but I’m still in that contest. I started 20th overall, and finished 22nd, a full $110 from 3rd place, which is the lowest cash position. I managed 1 win and 2 shows. The win was on Top Lady, race 4, which was $8.80 to win.  I’ve really struggled as of late to put multiple win days together, especially for value. Several horses I wager seem to get bet down, and my luck here has changed for the much worse.
At Del Mar, I still play the daily contest race as offered by their handicapping challenge. I typically play across the board with my top 3 and also any overlays.  Here’s what I tweeted out:


9, Menertzhageni (what kind of a name is that?) was the horse I thought was taking too little money, for one who had great works coming in.  I thought she was better than her 29-1 odds, and put $2 across on her.  And, sure enough, he wins. 1, Tapping In The Rain, did finish 3rd, and I overbet the favored Sweet Marini, so I gained in the tourney by a good margin yesterday.   As of now, with 3 days left in the contest, I’m $312.20 in the black, with 3 contest days/races left, 654th out of 3528 players. Not terrible, but not enough for a prize, unless I score a few bombs like this one.   Today’s contest race there is Race 6, 735pm ET.
What took up a lot of my time was the 10 race challenge from The Racing Biz, focusing on MD-state racing. They included 6 races from Timonium, and 4 of the late races at Saratoga, 3 of which were Graded races. The contest was based on $ payouts for win/place on one horse.  Starting with the Spa picks, with the stakes activity predicted in a prior post:
Race 8, the Prioress: 8-2-7, 8 the overlay.  Result was 2-6-3, with 8 finishing next to last, never threatened. Typically Princess Violet is upfront, but started slow. Very impressed, but too surprised, by Stonetastic’s victory
Race 9: I figured this one to be a great betting race, using 3 overlays  11-4-13. Hot Squeeze looked for half the race but he himself got in traffic trouble late. None of my picks hit.
Race 10: In The Forego, I selected 8-10-9, and felt 8, Clearly Now, was a mortal lock.  I realized otherwise. My picks all finished at the bottom. The winner, Palace, I had figured to be an outsider, despite his class and his great speed at the Spa previously. I knew he had generally good inherent quality to win and figured he wouldn’t sustain pace. I was wrong, clearly.
Race 11, the Woodward: I chose 7-4-6.  4, Moreno, mild favorite, did finish 2nd. I never factored the winner, 2 Itsmyluckyday.
The Timonium picks and results (only my top selection counted in the contest):
Race 5: 5-7-1.  Result: 2-4-3, chalk prevailed.
Race 6: 4-6-1 Result: 4-6-1, again chalk win.
Race 7: 9-7-5 Result: 7-8-1
Race 8: 3-6-1 Result: 6-3-2, more chalk, and small payout for 2nd there.
Race 9:  4-5-3 Result: 4-5-2, nailing cold exacta, and win at 7-1. It put me temporarily 2nd in the contest but there would be more losing here and at the Spa.
Race 10:  4-1-8. Result: 6-1-5. Cyclone Warrior with a good payout for 2nd behind some value.
I didn’t make top 5 in the contest, which would give me a 2nd entry for the grand prize drawing in October, but I already have a 2nd place score from a prior leg in the contest. You get one for participating, and an extra if you finish top 5.   Next contest comes in late September.

Finally the Enlightened Derby and Oaks Trails were in focus, with 3 races yesterday. There will be 4 more today, and 1 on Monday.

In the Del Mar Debutante, I chose 5-8-1, picking 1 and 8 as overlays based on the changing odds. Sure enough, 5 won like the big favorite she was, and 8, Conquest Eclipse did finish with value, depressed as it was with the favorite winning, for 3rd. 1, Seduire, and 3, Starlet O’Hara, my other choices, finished at the back. I never seriously factored #6, who was 2nd.
Sunset Glow earns 250 points for the win, Her Emmynency, 100, Conquest Eclipse 50, Dad’s Princess 25.   Sunset Glow takes the lead on the Oaks Trail ahead of 7 others who have 100 points.
On closing day at Evangeline Downs for the season, 2 races found my spotlight, the Starlet and the Star.
In the Starlet, I named 7 horses who had any chance, and settled on 10-11-1, and determined
3,6, and 11 to be overlays.  But soon after the race, I realized I missed one overlay. That was the winner, Forest Lake. I had her pegged at 11-1 odds.  I failed to notice closely that she was going off at much lower odds, at 32-1. I should have communicated that but I did not do so. So I failed to predict this winner. 1, Golden Barbara did take 3rd. Lady Emily Sage, who moved to 4th in my picks, did hit as an overlay, finishing 3rd at 49-1.
Forest Lake gets 100 points, Golden Barbara 50, Lady Emily Sage 25, Theyplayingoursong 10.
In the Star, I felt there were a lot of betting opportunities. I chose 4-11-8-3, with 4,8,10,11 as overlays. Only 3, Four Leaf Chief, got into the top 4. The top 3 finishers I had written off and felt they were not contenders. I was truly way off this time.   Waha Wild, the eventually winner at nearly 8-1, didn’t measure up in any of my variables. Chalk it up to racing luck.
Waha Wild, 100 points. Gotta Get Paid, 50, Temple of Glass 25, Four Leaf Chief 10.
For the Derby Trail, this makes 5 different winners, each leading with 100 points, and we have our first multiple entry in the top 4 of any race, as Gotta Get Paid, who was 2nd in the Mountaineer Juvenile, also totals 100 points.
Here’s the current Enlightened Trail standings.

Next post will cover 4 more races on the trail, at Albuquerque, Monmouth, and Saratoga.

Enlightened Derby/Oaks Trail update: Evangeline/Del Mar stakes analysis

Edited after later scratches/changes
For this post I focus on the Enlightened Derby and Oaks Trails, my attempt at determining the best horses that should run in those hallowed races in 2015. The setup is described in prior posts.  Here’s a look at the current standings. https://idealisticstats.files.wordpress.com/2014/08/2014-enlightened-derby-and-oaks-trails.xls
There are a total of 8 races on either trail that will be contested this long weekend.  Today, a focus on the Del Mar Debutante, and the Evangeline Downs Star and Starlet races.  The Debutante is the first Graded race for the colts on my trail, and therefore more points to be awarded.   Points are awarded to the top 4 finishers in these races.

EVANGELINE DOWNS STARLET is 100k for 2YO fillies, 6 furlongs.

1 GOLDEN BARBARA won her debut, then 3rd in standard company in last 2. Jockey Mitchell Murrill has 2 wins and 10 placings in the last 60 days with deep closers, for ROI of 2.15. Forged mild new top of 66 2 races back. ML odds: 10-1. My odds: 7-1. Contender, maybe overlay.

3 LADY EMILY SAGE enters picture after a few scratches. Won maiden debut, but hasn’t contended since. The 74 from that maiden is still the best score on this track of the field. Enters with 2 good works, one a bullet. ML odds: 20/1. My odds: 8-1. Outside contender, overlay.
4 THEYPLAYINGOURSONG set best mark of 81 2 races back, then trailed off to a 73 last out in the Lousiana Cup Juvenile, a distant 2nd. Trainer Karl Broberg has a 30% win rate.  ML odds: 3/1. My odds: Above 20-1. Stay away.
6 GAMPYS POKER MONEY debuted here 2 weeks ago, finished a neck behind for 2nd at 5 furlongs, 69 Brisnet, one of two horses here with a rather clean trip coming in. Track bias favoring sprinters from the 4 post out, 44% for sprinters in 6 furlong races alone.  ML odds: 15-1. My odds: 10-1. Outsider, but an overlay.
9 FOREST LAKE with 4 races, broke maiden status in last effort with new top of 71. Best average winning distance from pedigree (Forestry/Oval, by Kris S.). Didn’t show up at all in a stakes race prior to last, was last of 11 then. Has more inherent ability to win than others. ML odds: 12-1. My odds agree, 11-1.
10 JOY OF THE SAINTS is 3 of 3 lifetime, winning 2 ungraded stakes events. Set lifetime top of 83 last out, best of the distance.  Also won only race in ‘off’ conditions of the field.  Yes, there is precip forecast today.  This is the other horse with clean trip entering today. Another sprinter from outside post.  ML odds: 2-1.  My odds agree here too. Favorite, contender.
11 OUR BLOOMIN ROSE won debut with 72 Brisnet, was 6th in an ungraded stakes, trailed off to 56 there. Of all the speed in this field, she’s got the fastest early speed (22.2 first quarter last out). I’m guessing she’ll have best trip coming out of outside post. ML odds: 8/1. My odds: 4-1. Contender, overlay.

Top 4:
1 10 Joy Of The Saints
2 11 Our Bloomin Rose
3 1 Golden Barbara
4 3  Lady Emily Sage
Another race with chalk upfront, value right behind.

Overlays: 1,3,6,11
EVANGELINE DOWNS STAR is ungraded, 100k, for promising 2YOs.

1 PUREST PLEASURE was 5th in debut race. Only reason to factor him is that trainer Carol Constantine managed a 2.17 ROI in 30 races this year.  ML: 20-1. My odds: Above 20-1. Stay away.
2 GOTTA GET PAID 1st or 2nd in 3 lifetime. Surged from 75 to near best 84 in last race. I’ve rated this sprinter as the speed of the field. ML: 5/2. My odds: 8-1. Outside chance.
3 FOUR LEAF CHIEF , 2-for-2 lifetime, won the Louisiana Cup Juvenile last out with an 85 Brisnet, and is top class of the field. Best jockey/trainer combo too: Colby Hernandez with 23% wins, Steven Flint 21%. Very good trip in that LD race from the deep stretch. Solid pace numbers in both races, seems he might have an advantage with inside post. ML: 7/2. My odds: 7/1. Contender
4 NATHAN’S KISS graduated in 2nd race with 70 Brisnet, fell to 64 last time, and might bounce back here. 4 works at EVD, all very fast, last one a bullet.  Track bias is favoring all sprinters from post 4 and outward. ML: 12/1. My odds: 4/1. Favorite, contender overlay.

7 ASSORTED HUMOUR won debut with 67 Brisnet, gained with 4th place finish last out in a 100k stakes race, with a 78. Possible bounce here, tho being off layoff could help his chances. Another sprinter assisted by track bias. ML odds: 5/1. My odds: 10-1. Outsider.
8 STRONG CURRENCY broke maiden 2 starts back with 76 Brisnet, fell to 63 last out. The 76 is best performance on track of the field. Jockey Joseph Patin and trainer Pat Devereux have combined for 2 wins and 4-4 in the money in 4 starts the last 60 days, for ROI of 15.85. Predicting bounce back, plus track bias favoritism.  ML odds: 8/1. My odds agree, at 7/1.  Contender at a price.
10 WASHBOARD WILLIE just a 58 in tough debut. Pedigree is promising (Stroll/Swingtime Music, by Woodman). Trainer Jeffrey Jones has several ROI angles: 23% wins and 46% placings this year (including all dirt starts)  for 2.83 return. 17% wins and 33% placings in sprints for 4.47 return.  ML odds: 30-1. My odds: 11-1. Outsider and overlay.
11 QUIETA TIZ broke maiden in 3rd start with new top of 74. That score is best for 6 furlongs of this field. Possible bounce risk.  ML: 10/1. My odds: 7-1. Outsider, maybe an overlay.
Top 4:
1 4 Nathan’s Kiss
2 11 Quieta Tiz
3 8 Strong Currency
4 3 Four Leaf Chief.
Nice value up front, good betting race. Overlays: 4, 10, 11.

DEL MAR DEBUTANTE is the first class test for fillies on my Enlightened Oaks Trail. Each horse is going 7 furlongs for the first time.

1 SEDUIRE won maiden debut and the Wine Country Distaff last out. This sprinter is the speed of the field. 2 wins, 1 second, lovely trip last time, nearly wiring field over 6 furlongs. ML: 8/1. My odds agree completely. Contender at a price.
3 STARLET O’HARA graduated last out with new top of 86, first time on the all-weather and at Del Mar. ML: 5/1. My odds: 10-1. Outside contender.
4 DAD’S PRINCESS with a 3rd place to start career, 81 Brisnet here 2 weeks ago. Mike Smith has 25% wins, James Cassidy 18%. ML odds: 12/1. My odds: 20-1. Dark horse.
5 SUNSET GLOW won the Grade 2 Sorrento here 3 weeks ago, 2nd in the Albany in England. 1st or 2nd in 4 lifetime races. Holds just about every edge on this field including pedigree, class and track speed (96 in the Sorrento). Track bias favoring sprinters from middle post. ML odds: 5/2. My odds: Better than even-money. Favorite, contender.
8 CONQUEST ECLIPSE: won debut with 82 Brisnet at 6 furlongs at Churchill, in late June. 4 workouts since, all at Del Mar, 3 of them very fast.   ML: 6/1. My odds: 8-1. Contender at a price.
9 WINDY FORECAST 2nd in debut with 75 Brisnet earlier here this month. She looked very good, running mostly 2nd through the 6.5 furlong race. Simon Callaghas has 18% winners and 36% in money for horses making 2nd career start, return of 2.45. ML odds: 12/1. My odds: 20-1. Dark horse.
My top 4:
1 5 Sunset Glow
2 8 Conquest Eclipse
3 1 Seduire
4 3 Starlet O’Hara
Big favorite upfront will depress prices somewhat. Truly a one-horse race.

Saratoga stakes analysis for 8/30/14

This post was edited Saturday morning after initial scratches were reported.
In this post I’ll go through the 3 major stakes races taking place at Saratoga on the final Saturday of the meet. These races are part of The Racing Biz’s  monthly handicapping challenge, which I’ve several entries in, including a 2nd place finish early on, giving me an extra entry.   www.theracingbiz.com
8 stalking-type horses battle in the 6-furlong Grade 2 Prioress Stakes, race 8.
2 STONETASTIC won a 20k optional claimer last time out. Never out of top 4 in 6 lifetime. Top jockey/trainer combo in ithe field, Paco Lopez with 15% wins, and Kelly Breen 2-for-6. Matched lifetime best Brisnet of 91 in the Grade 2 Goldenrod at Churchill last fall, then surpassed last time out with a 95, just her 2nd start at age 4. Only horse with serious pace progression in the field. Won that previous race, her first start in a sprint since her maiden debut, and she won both races rather easily, nearly wiring the field, in fact.  Morning line 6-1.  My odds: 2-1. Contender, a favorite, and certainly an overlay.

3 SOUTHERN HONEY had  won 3 straight including the Winning Colors at Churchill 2 races back. That race was a 101 Brisnet score, lifetime best, and also best of today’s field for the distance  Last time out was a poor 9th in The Test here at the Spa. Bounce back? Not sure.  Morning line: 10-1. My odds: Beyond 20-1. Dark horse, best to avoid.

4 WHO’S IN TOWN always in top 4 in 8 lifetime including a first in the Grade 2 Adirondack here last year. I type ‘first’ because she actually was replaced to 4 due to disqualification. Last time out was a slight downturn from 94 to 88 in an ungraded stakes effort. Not sure she’ll bounce up from this. M/L: 20/1. I agree with these odds, and is likely worse.

5 SWEET WHISKEY was in top 4 for first 7 races, then a close 5th in The Test earlier in the month. Still managed a 95 Brisnet, part of a 5 race run with similar numbers. Also won the Old Hat (Grade 3) at Gulfstream. Won her maiden debut at the Spa with a a dazzling 91 over 5.5 furlongs, best performance on track of this field. I do want to like this field for her consistency, but doesn’t measure up to the others.
ML: 2/1. My odds: Worse than 20-1. Stay away.

6 MISS BEHAVIOUR won the Matron at Belmont last year, plus the Miss Preakness in May. 8 of 9 in top 4 lifetime. Was 2nd in the Victory Ride (G3) with an 89 Brisnet, then 2nd in The Test with a 96. Could bounce from this effort. 2 wins from a middle post. Also lacks evidence to win today compared to rest. ML: 5/2. My odds: Beyond 20-1. Avoid.

7 TEA TIME Won 3 ungraded stakes efforts in 9 lifetime, 4 wins and 1 3rd overall. Pedigree is impressive (Pulpit/Asian Empress, by Empire Maker). 2 wins in 3 races at the distance, with top score of 101 2 races back in the Beautiful Day. Was 7th in the Test, dropping to 86. Gambling on a bounceback here.  ML: 12/1. My odds: 14-1.Outsider

8 PRINCESS VIOLET was 1st or 2nd in 4 lifetime, including 2nd in the Mother Goose, dropping in Brisnet from 99 to 90, 9 lengths behind winner. It was her first route race. Among the 8 stalker-types in the field, she has the fastest speed. 4 works since the Mother Goose, 3 at the Spa. Both wins came from an outside post. ML: 5/1. My odds: Better than 1/1. Favorite, contender, possible overlay.
My top 4:
1 8 Princess Violet
2 2 Stonetastic
3 7 Tea Time
4 6 Miss Behaviour.

Overlays: 8, 2
Decent value here, maybe even sneaky value with overlays on top.
Race 10 is the 7 furlong Forego Stakes, Grade 1.
1 CAPO BASTONE won the Grade 1 King’s Bishop last year at the Spa. Since that race he’s largely been a disappointment with only 1 race in the money. Went from 89 to 95 to 88 in speed last 3 races, so I’m thinking there’s a possible bounceback.  ML: 15-1. My odds: 20-1. Dark horse.
2 BIG BUSINESS is fairly consistent with 22 of 28 lifetime in the money, and 10 wins, last 5 finishing 1st or 2nd. Has not won any stakes races in at least 2 years. 2 of his last 3 wins have come from an inside post. ML: 15-1. My odds: 20-1. Dark horse.
4 ZEE BROS ran several races in UAE before returning here earlier this month with a good optional claimer as prep.  My best guess is that he did run competitively in his last race on the Meydan poly despite being 6th, that race the Grade 1 Golden Shaheen. Moved to an 89 Brisnet last time out. Maybe a bounceback but not sure. He is the lone speed tho.  ML: 20-1. My odds agree with this.
6 PALACE won the AG Vanderbilt (Grade 1) here last month and is a multiple Graded winner. 104 Brisnet in the Vanderbilt is best of the track of this field. Inherent quality to win is quite evident.  Even tho he’s making closest approach to lifetime best 109 from last fall, I’m not sure he’ll sustain today. ML: 3-1. My odds: 10-1. Outsider.

8 CLEARLY NOW won the Grade 3 Bold Ruler and Belmont Sprint on that track, the latter being his most recent race in a huge 109 score. The 109 is among those for the distance. I like the pedigree here: Horse Greeley/Bend, by Arch.  Consistently in Graded company. Trainer Brian Lynch reclaimed over a year ago and the prices are likely to be rather short for the ML favorite at 7/5. One of 2 horses with positive pace progression here. The 109 score was just past his effort in the Bold Ruler, a 106. He’s truly the speed of the field and should close well. 5 works since last race, 4 of those 5 very fast, 1 a bullet. My odds put him at even-money. Favorite, contender.
9 WEEKEND HIDEAWAY has several ungraded stakes wins. In the money for last 5 races. Trainer Philip Serge has 2 wins, 3 in money in 9 Graded stakes this year, for a 5.38 ROI. Had the best trip coming into this race, nearly wiring the field earlier this month here in an ungraded stakes race. ML: 10-1. My odds: 8-1.
10 CONFRONTATION in the money all 7 lifetime races, makes his stakes debut here. 3 wins in 3 races at Saratoga. He’s the other horse with strong pace progression. Surpassed lifetime best with a 100 last time out, better than his 98 in 2nd lifetime race. 2 wins from an outside post.  ML: 10-1. My odds: 6-1. Contender and overlay.
My top 4:
1 8 Clearly Now
2 10 Confrontation
3 9 Weekend Hideaway.
Overlays: 10

Chalk should reign ahead of value, decent for exactas.
Race 11 is the Grade 1 Woodward Stakes, at 9 furlongs.
1 LONG RIVER won several ungraded stakes, has had poor luck in Graded tho.  Irad Ortiz Jr has worked with Kieran McLaughin 19 races in last 60 days, earning 8 wins, 12 in the money, for ROI of 3.42. ML: 8/1. My odds: 20-1. Dark horse.

4 MORENO Won the Grade 1 Whitney earlier in the month, and the Grade 2 Dwyer last year. Easily the class of the field, 3 for 3 in the money at the Spa, with a best effort of 109 in last year’s Travers. The Alvarado/Guilliot connection have 1 win and 4 placings in the last 60 days for a serviceable 2.40 ROI. Was a 107 Brisnet in the Whitney, up from 100 in the Suburban. Very good trip coming in, as the sprinter wired the field for 9 furlongs. Also is the lone speed here. ML 2/1. My odds: 6-1. Contender.
6 ZIVO won the Suburban last time with new top of 104. On the bench since that race, and has won before from layoff. 6 works since then, 4 here. Never out of the money in 15 lifetime, and winner of last 6 races. ML: 5/1. My odds: 15-1. Dark horse.
7 NORUMBEGA won the Brooklyn Handicap in June with lifetime best 112, bounced to a 95 in the Suburban. Top jockey/trainer combo here: Javier Castellano with 25% wins, and Shug McGaughey with 21%. Also can win off layoff. This deep closer I’ve rated fastest of the field. 5 works to prep for today, 3 very fast, 2 bullet works.  Makes his best runs from an outside post. Predicting a bounceback here. ML: 10/1. My odds: Better than even-money. Favorite, contender, overlay.
9 STEPHANOATSEE hasn’t won in over 2 years. Great pedigree here (AP Indy/Oatsee, by Unbridled). 3 works at Saratoga, generally very fast, last one a bullet.  ML: 30-1. My odds are similar. Stay away.

My top 4:

1 7 Norumbega
2 4 Moreno
3 6 Zivo
4 9 Stephanoatsee
This is the one stakes race where I predict an upset.
This afternoon, coverage of the Enlightened Derby and Oaks Trails, with races at Evangeline Downs and Del Mar involved.


Del Mar & Emerald Downs stakes analysis

It’s been a generally good meet at Del Mar for me. I have played their daily contest race, and I’ve  been shut out just 3 times.  The idea is to play win or place or show on any horses, totaling up to $100 per race for the selected race, usually the feature.  I generally play my top 3 horses across-the-board, along with any overlays.    Last I scored the cold trifecta, tho I couldn’t pliay it that way. On Friday I had an across-the-board bet on one of my top 3 horses at 28-1. You have to be willing to overbet favorites and take a deep breath when putting some on the longshot.
So today I’m giving you my analysis of the 3 big races at Del Mar, plus the Longacres Mile at Remington, the only Graded stakes event in the Northwest.  Does that last sentence seem strange to you? It sure does to me. Yet it’s true.

#1 OBVIOUSLY is consistent in class. This 6YO gelding is 3-3 lifetime on the track, and had won the last 2 Shoemaker Miles and American Derbies, along with being the defending champion of this very race. This sprinter has amazing record for the distance: 11 races, 8 wins, 1 third. A sprinter! He has won before off layoff, and he’s been on the bench about 10 weeks. He is the true speed of the race, and he should echo his effort last time out in the Shoemaker, where he wired the field,and was up by 5 in the stretch, winning by 1.5. Morning line: 7-5. My odds: 3/4. Contender and favorite.
#2 TOM’S TRIBUTE won a Grade 1 race last time out on this track. 3 starts, 1 win and 2 seconds, so another horse-for-course here. Forged a 104 lifetime best Brisnet speed figure in that Grade 1 effort, paired with a 101 in the Shoemaker. Great worktab: 4 works at Del Mar, last one the best in small company. Morning line: 2-1. My odds: 8-1. Outside contender.
#3 TIGAH won the San Franciso (Grade 3) at Golden Gate. Since then, just a 40k claimer victory in July at Del Mar. His immediate is Irish (Dalakhani/Macina) with outstanding average winning distance. Outside of that, no real chance. Morning line and my odds agree on 20-1. No chance.
#5 ALPHA BULLET hasn’t run a stakes race yet, though has finished 1st or 2nd in all 6 races. He was laid off from March to June, then ran rather consistently since. Last time out he went against his stalking style on the all-weather track here, having to come from last to finish 2nd. He matched his lifetime best Brisnet last out with a 90. Won 2 races from a middle post.  Morning line: 20-1. My odds 15-1. Dark horse, possible overlay.
#6 ROCK ME BABY won the California Dreaming Handicap last out on this track.  Surpassed his prior lifetime best Brisnet with a 100 in that race. He had been running from 89 to 97 in the races prior to that.   Morning line: 6-1. My odds: 15-1. Dark horse.
#8: HE BE FIRE N ICE won last year’s California Dreamin. Generally consisten career but  was 8th last out, in last year’s Breeders Cup Mile.  Kent Desormeaux has 20% wins in the meet at Del Mar, while trainer Clifford Sise Jr is 1-4. Morning line: 10-1. My odds: 6-1. Contender, possible overlay.
Here’s my top 4:
1 1 Obviously
2 8 He Be Fire N Ice
3 2 Tom’s Tribute
4 5 Alpha Bullet

Obviously a big deserving favorite up front. The race is really for 2nd.
#2 FED BIZ won the San Diego and San Fernando along with being the defending champ of this race. Pedigree has best average winning distance of field (Giant’s Causeway/Spunoutacontrol, by Wild Again). Owns best track, all-weather and distance speed figures of field. 3 for 3 at Del Mar, with a 105 last time out in the San Diego, wiring the field and winning by 5. In last year’s version of this race he set a 104 mark.  Bounce is possible, as his prior effort was a poor 89 in the Breeders Cup Dirt Mile. As a major stalking horse, he’s the speed of the field.   Morning line: 2/1. My odds: also 2-1. Contender and favorite.
#3 SILENTIO won last year Citation, and the 2012 Sir Beaufort. Gary Mandella has trained 50 horses this year with a 46 to 90 day layoff. He managed 9 wins and 25 races in the money for an ROI of 2.96.  Strong work tab at Del Mar and a few at Santa Anita, 4 of the last 5 are very fast, one a bullet. Morning line and my odds agree on 8-1.  Contender with value.
#4 SYNDICATED hasn’t fared well in stakes races. But that’s not why I like him. Trainer Michael Pender has 9 wins and 19 in the money from 41 stakes races in 2014, with a decent ROI of 2.23.  He also has 17% wins, and also has Desormeaux, with his aforementioned 20% win record. A mild bounceback effort, tho the top part of the bounce, a 93, is very close to his bottom of 89.   Morning line: 15-1. My odds: 6-1. Contender and big overlay.
5 GOLDENCENTS consistently races in Grade 1 company, and was 2nd in the Pat O’Brien last year. Wins at Grade 1 include last year’s BC Dirt Mile and the Santa Anita Derby. Possible bounceback at play. Was a 96 in the Cigar Mile, then started age 4 with a 103 in the Metropolitan, then back down to a 99 in the Bing Crosby here in July. He runs fastest in a middle post.    Morning line: 5/2 and my odds agree on this. Contender.
6 COLOR OF COURAGE was claimed and subsequently laid off then finished in the money for both his last 2 out. No stakes triumphs yet. He won his debut race as well as a win right off layoff. He’s the other late speed who could benefit from track bias.  Morning line and my odds agree on his 15-1 price. Dark horse.
8  INDEXICAL is also yet to win a stakes race. Paired up 95 scores in two Graded events in last 2 races. Looked very goo in the Bing Crosby last month, leading at 2nd call, then trailed to 4th but remaining close to the lead. Morning line: 10-1. My odds: 15-1.  Dark horse.

My top 4:
1 2 Fed Biz

2 5 Goldencents
3 4 Syndicated
4 3 Silentio
Should play out as a 2-horse race between the favorites. Not the best to wager on, but a pretty good one to watch.


#2 IRISH SURF won the Cougar here on July 25. Love the pedigree (Giant’s Causeway/Surfside by Seattle Slew). Exploded from his 100 Brisnet at age 3 to a 105 last out in the Cougar. That was a sharp increase from 95 in the Charlie Whittingham Stakes.  His trip in the 12-furlong Cougar is the best of any horse coming into the field, wiring that field and winning by 8. Morning line: 8-1. My odds: 5-1. Contender, possible overlay.

#3 IMPERATIVE won the Charles Town Classic, only race he’s managed to win within a year’s time. Trainer George Papaprodromou has 1 win and 4 placings in 7 races this year in Graded stakes, for a return of 5.86.  Morning line: 20-1. My odds: 35-1. No chance.

#4 ICE CREAM TRUCK is yet to win a Stakes race. Jockey Tiago Pereira has 10 wins and 29 placings in 63 races this year while riding a stalker horse like this one. ROI: 2.27. Forged a 95 lifetime best in the Cougar last out, above an 88 in a handicap race prior to that. Morning line: 30-1. My odds: 35-1.  No chance.

#5 GAME ON DUDE is pretty much a West Coast racing legend these days. Always in a Graded stakes event. Won the Santa Anita Handicap last 2 years, along with last year’s Pacific Classic, the Hollywood Gold Cup and Charles Town Classic. Martin Garcia aboard instead of Mike Smith.  1 win and 1 2nd in 3 starts at Del Mar, tho he has a 108 in last year’s version of this race, best performance from this field on this track. Lifetime best 111 for the distance is also best of this field.  Worked a bunch of times since the Gold Cup in late June, all at Del Mar, last one being 6th of 40. He was a disappointing 4th, 12 lengths back in the Gold Cup, and managed just a 90, his worst race in over a year. I have to think he’ll bounce back from this. Runs his best from a middle post.   Morning line: 3-1. My odds: 8-5. Contender and favorite. 

7 MAJESTIC HARBOR has wins in the Gold Cup and the Tokyo City.  Jockey Tyler Baze has 1 win in 6 starts in the last 60 days working with trainer Sean McCarthy, for return of 3.13. McCarthy has 2 wins and 5 placings in 9 stakes races this year, ROI of 2.93. Coming off of 2 month layoff but has won off layoff before. This closer I’ve rated the speed of the field. Nice workout line too: 5 works at Del Mar, 3 of them very fast.   Morning line: 9/2. My odds agree at 3-1. Contender.

#11 SHARED BELIEF is 5-5 lifetime, with wins in the Hollywood Prevue, the CashCall Futurity, and the Los Alamitos Derby. Always leads in the stretch too. Mike Smith leaves Game On Dude for Shared Belief, owns 23% win record here. Jerry Hollendorfer has 20% win record. Last race produced his best Brisnet to date, a 105. Also a very good trip there, consistently at the front, winning by 4.25.

My top 4:
1 5 Game On Dude
2  7 Majestic Harbor
3 3 Irish Surf
4 11 Shared Belief

Finally the Longacres Mile, housed at Emerald Downs, where I’m still in the top 1% of handicappers for their meet-long contest.   This Grade 2 event has attracted 12 of the best in the region.

#2 DONTMESSWITHKITTEN hasn’t fared well in stakes company just yet. Pedigree is undeniably good tho (Kitten’s Joy-Trio, by Lemon Drop Kid). Scored a lifetime best 95 last out in the Mt. Rainier at Emerald, paired with a 91 in the Budweiser prior to that.. Very good trip for the sprinter, in front for much of the Mt. Rainier, finishing 2nd by just a length. Cut back in distance may help.  Morning line: 20-1. My odds are in full agreement. No chance.
#3 PROHIBITION also somewhat new to stakes company. Just claimed and laid off in prep for this race. 4 works during the layoff, last 2 were bullets. Does it translate well? Morning line 3-1. My odds: 8-1. Outside chance at best.
5 DISRUPTION was 3rd in the Mt. Rainier, 2nd in the Auburn at same track. Eliska Kubinova has 3 wins and 4 placings with trainer Monique Snowden in last 60 days, decent ROI of 2.50. Snowden herself has 5 wins and 9 placings in 14 races total in 2014, for return of of 2.26. Off lifetime best of 93 in the Mt. Rainier, plus an 88 prior to that. Morning line: 12-1. My odds: 7-2. Contender, and big overlay.
7 TITLE CONTENDER is a multiple stakes winner, including the Breeders Cup Derby at his home track of Hastings last year, and the Ohio Derby at Thistledown. Trainer Anita Bolton has  1 win and 2 placings in 3 stakes races this year, an ROI of 5.33. One prior run at  the distance, a win with a 100 Brisnet, best of these horses. His 99 last out is 2nd best lifetime, and represents a return to top form since layoff to begin 2014. Certainly the risk of bounce is here. Multiple wins from middle post. Morning line: 9-2. My odds disagree, more like 19-1.  Dark horse.
8 SCAT DADDYBABY on a nice run of races: 1st or 2nd in 6 non-stakes events, all done since claim. This sprinter is the speed of the field (last 3 first quarter speeds have ranged from 21.4 to 23, 95 to 104 Brisnet). Multiple wins from middle post as well. Morning line: 15-1. My odds: 8-1. Contender at a nice price, certain overlay.
#9 STRYKER PHD is true horse for course. 11 starts at Emerald, 3 wins, 4 places, 4 shows. His best effort of 100 was reached 2 races back in winning the Budweiser, following it up with a 96 in winning the Mt. Rainier. Was 2nd in this race last year. 1 win and 2 2nds lifetime at the distance. Has Leslie Mawing aboard, with 24% win rate, and trainer Larry Ross and his 15% win rate. Won last 2 races from the outside post. Morning line: 5/2. My odds: 11-1. Dark horse.
#10 MYSTERIOUS SOUL has factored but has not won in stakes company. Here’s the reason I like him. His last race, a 21500 allowance effort, gave him an 85 Brisnet. This sprinter was trading strides with the leader through much of the race, and eventually took slight edge in stretch to win at 8.5 furlongs. The score was a downturn after scores of 93, 91 and 96. I have to believe he’ll bounce back here. Morning line: 15-1. My odds: 5/2. Contender and overlay.
11 MR BOWLING won a 50k ungraded stakes 2 races back. 2nd race under reclaim by Michael Puhich, himself a 21% winner on the track. 6th in the Mt. Rainier, and yet a high Brisnet of 89, so he could bounce.  Morning line: 8-1. My odds: 28-1  No chance.  

My top 4:

1 10 Mysterious Soul
2 5 Disruption
3 8 Scat Daddybaby
4 3 Prohibition
Speed will triumph here and will sustain.

2014 Travers Stakes analysis

Very big handicapping day here, I have to study 6 races at Emerald Downs, where I’m 14th in the competition. That contest ends in a month. I’ll need every price play I can figure. Missed a 13-1 shot on Friday, and managed 2 wins, 2 places in 6 races, nothing of any real value.
Also for Saturday I attempt to retain my 2nd place finish in ThoroEnduro at Oklahoma City’s Remington Park.  3 contest races later today.
Also there’s the daily contest race at DelMar today, 8th race.

Here I was going to post about 4 major stakes races at Saratoga, but I have recently learned that I’m working much of this morning and afternoon, so I’ll give you just analysis of the big one, the Travers. I only included contenders that you should know about.

#2 BAYERN won the Haskell, the Woody Stephens, and the Derby Trial. 4 of 7 lifetime,one out of the money.  Stretching to longest distance yet at 10 furlongs. Paired up speed figures representing new tops,106 and 108, so there’s a likely bounce here.  Easily has the best trip coming in, as the sprinter handled 9 furlongs in the Haskell very gamely. He won the race gate-to-wire, finishing by 7 lengths.   Morning line 2-1. My odds: 6-1. Contender.

#3: CHARGE NOW has gotten as far as 2nd in the Curlin on this track a month ago, in terms of classy races. Pedigree is very strong. Dam is Supercharger, an AP Indy colt. 8.2 average winning distance from that side of Charge Now’s family. Just no real evidence of winning today. Morning line 15-1. My odds: 20-1. Dark horse.

4: VE DAY won the aforementioned Curlin Stakes at 9 furlongs, pairing up new tops of 92 in last 2 races. Gets top jockey Javier Castellano (26% wins) and Jimmy Jerkens (38%).  On a 3-race winning streak, 2 of these from a middle post. Morning line: 15-1. My odds: 20-1. Dark horse.

#6 TONALIST won the Peter Pan and the Belmont, with paired lifetime best numbers of 107, then 108, dropped to 95 running 2nd in the Jim Dandy.Likely to see a bounceback here. With his stalking speed, I’ve rated him as the speed threat of the field. Morning line 3-1. My odds: 8-1. Outside contender. 

#7 WICKED STRONG won the Jim Dandy and the Wood Memorial. Lifetime best of 106 Ii n the Belmont, trailed off to 97 while winning the Jim Dandy, also can expect a bounceback from him today. The 97 Brisnet is the best winning  score on this track from this field. Rajiv Maragh has worked with Jerkens 6 times in 60 days, with 4 wins, 5 in the money, for return of 3.18.   Morning line: 7/2. My odds: 6-1. Contender.

#8 KID CRUZ: Winner of the Dwyer, Easy Goer, Federico Tesio and Private Terms events.  3rd in the Jim Dandy with 91, this after a 94 in the Dwyer and 98 in the Easy Goer, and that after an 87 in the Preakness. I see a bounceback for him as well. 2 of his 5 lifetime wins have come from an outside post. Morning line: 12-1. My odds: 6-1. Contender, and overlay.

#10: MR SPEAKER won the Belmont Derby last out, also the Coolmore Lexington Stakes and the Dania Beach.  Forged big lifetime best of 101 in the Belmont Derby, above an 86 in the Pennington Ridge before that, so a bounce could happen. On the bench for 7 weeks, with 5 works all at Saratoga, 2 of the last 3 were very fast. Won both his stakes efforts straight off layoff. 2 of 4 lifetime wins from an outside post.  Morning line 10-1. My odds: 9-5, favorite, contender, and overlay.
Here’s how I rank the top 4  horses:
1 #10 Mr. Speaker
2 #2 Bayern
3 #8 Kid Cruz

4 #7 Wicked Strong
I actually have 2,8 and 7 very close together.

As usual I’d use any in my top 3 or 4 for win if worse than 5-1 near post time, then also my top 3 in exactas to each other, and I’d play favorites over my top 3 picks plus any overlays, and also overlays to win.

Firstly a not so happy recap of yesterday.
6 races at Emerald to handicap, starting the day 6th in the tournament which runs until late September. I picked out 3 horses of value, then 3 favorites. In this tourney, you get one horse per race, earning what ever straight tickets are there to be earned. I usually average $35 per day.  The top 3 players are averaging $36 to $38. I am $41 out of the top 3, one day’s effort.  I’ll need to hit my share of longshots to have a shot, but I always play my top pick regardless of value.
 Races 4-9 picks were 1-1-2-3-2-1. Results were 3-5-7-4-2-7, earning 1 win with the largely bet Trackattacker (looked like it, too), a place with Grand Destination, also heavily bet, and a show with He’s Zuberrific.  Contest consensus picks found two surprises, 5-1 Hey Little Missy, and 15-1 Lake Piru. I’ve had a run of bad luck, not finding many multiple win days outside of a $55 day on August 10.  It’s been about a month since I picked a winner with at little as 11% of the other contestants doing likewise. When I pick with 13% share or less, the prices tend to be a lot better than heavily bet faves at, say, upwards of 25%.  I’ll post Emerald Downs picks on Twitter and communicate overlays before each of the contest races, which today are races 5 through 10. I begin tonight in 11th place.
I’m looking forward to Remington Park and the ThoroEnduro competition. I won $1000 in this contest.  The rules are a bit complex. You get 3 fixed races to play most days and you must have 1 horse in the top 4 on any of the races to survive. You get 3 strikes along the way, plus you get bonus lifelines for surviving at various points.  There is also ‘the barn’ where if you’ve used up all your lifelines you get a ‘reset’ and one life to work with. The resets go on until a certain point in the competition.  Care to take me on? Join up at http://thoroenduro.com/
As for my analysis of stakes action at Arlington…here’s how my top 3 and overlays fared:
Race 5: 1-5-2 finished 6th, 3rd, 5th.
Race 6: 7-8-4 finished 4th, 7th, 5th.
Race 7: 8-3-11 finished 6th, 10th, 9th.
Race 8: 6-7-1 finished 1st, 6th, 4th. Overlays 5 and 7 finished 3rd and 6th.
Race 9: 7-8-5 finished 4th, 6th, 2nd. Overlays 3,7, and 8 finished 7th, 4th and 6th.
Arlington Million 1-4-6 finished 1st, 5th and 7th. 1 was the lone overlay.
Race 11: 7-6-8 finished 6th, 3rd and 9th.
I had the worst time accessing any streaming audio so I could not accurately report overlays in real-time or witness any races.  Today I expect better results on all fronts.
Two stakes in focus here, one is part of my Enlightened Derby Trail, the other is the lone Grade 1 race on the continent.  
First we go to Colorado and Arapahoe Park, for the Gold Rush Futurity. Top 4 horses receive points on my version of the actual Kentucky Derby Trail.  Very difficult to give an edge to any one horse thus far.
#1 Red Carpet Runner won the Silver Cup Futurity, $35k last time out, strong new lifetime best  speed figure of 75 Brisnet. He was close early, and led by the 2nd call, extending lead to 9.5 furlongs at the line. Jockey Travis Wales has 25% win rate in the meet, trainer Kenneth Gleason 15%. Morning line: 8-1. My odds: 14-1.  Outsider.
#2 Social Request won an $80k maiden race last time out at Del Mar, surged to an 80 speed rating with that win. One of a bunch here who also comes out of a strong pace gain. No other evidence to support this horse’s chances.  Morning line: 7/2. My odds: 31-1. No chance.  
#3 Bessie’s Boy ships from the East Coast. He won the Tremont at Belmont 2 races back. Has best early fractions of any of the horses in this field, which is loaded with speed.  Was a disappointing 7th in the Grade 3 Sanford, so I think a bounce back is likely. Morning line 3-1. My odds: 8-1. Contender. 
#4 Ms. Battlefield has 3 wins and a show lifetime, all at Arapahoe. Surged from a 57 to a 73 in winning the filly version of the Silver Cup Futurity by 7 lengths.  Morning line: 10-1. My odds: 31-1. No chance.
#5 Grand Bierstadt only graduated last month in a 10k maiden race. Also put up lifetime best score last time out, moving from a 49 to a 71. He comes back in a middle post, same general area where he won from. Morning line  12-1. My odds: 5-1. Contender, overlay.
#6 Passed Due impressed on 5/31 here with a 10 length win in a 10k maiden effort, and has been on the bench since. Nice looking pedigree here (Pass Rush-Swift Empress out of Empire Maker). This sprinter has had 5 works during the layoff here. Track bias also in the colt’s favor: Sprinters are winning 43% of the time in 6 furlong races, and posts 4 through 7 are winning 15%. Morning line: 15-1. My odds: 5-2. Contender, and overlay.
#7 Justgimmetenminutes is the lone closer and only late threat. Gained from 54 to 62 last time out, winning a $10k maiden race. He’ll have to race a lot faster to pull off the same trick. Morning line: 15-1. My odds: 31-1. No chance.
#8 Ed N Fred was 3rd in the Silver Cup last time out, and has a pair of speed figures in the high 50’s ahead of his debut race. Trainer Monk Hall has 2 wins and 4 total placings in 7 races racing horses who are on Lasix for the 2nd time, a payout of $5.09. Morning line: 20-1. My odds:  14-1. A dark horse and possibly an overlay.
#9 Stratagem is 2-for-2, won the Wyoming Thoroughbred Futurity by a neck last time out. He was claimed by Gary Barrow after a 5 length win in debut, then reclaimed by Cole Jackson after the Futurity win. That has to be a positive. Morning line 9/2. My odds: 28-1.  No chance.
#10: Sky T is also 2-for-2. Winner of the CTBA Futurity last time by 9.5 lengths.  Best track and distance speed by a winner at Arapahoe, an 83. Certainly has the inherent capability to win.  Morning line: 6-1. My odds: 7-1.

My predicted top 4:
1 #6 Passed Due
2 #5 Grand Bierstadt
3 #10 Sky T

4 #3 Bessie’s Boy
Overlays: 5,6,8

At Saratoga, the Sword Dancer Invitational is part of the Fantasy Capping contest that I’m playing in.  Here’s how I size up the field.

#1 O’Prado Ole won a maiden and allowance race at 3, but has done little since at age 4 outside of improving on his pace, which no other horse here is doing. He’s run in the 90’s in 3 of 4 races including a lifetime-best 96 last time out in a Grade 3 event at Arlington. He was 2nd all throughout that race.   Morning line: 15-1. My odds: 9-2. Contender and overlay.
#3 Amira’s Prince won 2 Grade 2 events last year. Proven to win off layoff. After running an 89 in the Gulfstream Park Turf in February, he improved to 100 in a Grade 2 event at Fair Grounds, then down to a 93 in the Grade 1 Man O’ War, finishing 6th. I’m betting on a bounceback here. Also has 2 recent wins from a middle post. Morning line: 6-1. My odds: 2-1. Contender and overlay.
#4 Main Sequence has run in Europe until her last start, winning the Grade 1 United Nations Stakes at Monmouth last month.  This deep closer set an amazing pace in the stretch in that race. A lot to hope for, and I can’t agree on the morning-line 2-1 odds at all. I think he’s more like 5-1. Contender.
#5 Imagining won the Man O’War earlier in the year. 1 win, 1 2nd at the Spa, with a field-best score of 99 among winners here. Joel Rosario has 16% wins, Shug McGaughey 23%. Another who has won off layoff. Has a whole bunch of works, most at Fair Grounds, the last 2 at Saratoga, and very good times between them all. Morning line 7-2. My odds: 3-1.  Contender
#7 Twilight Eclipse already with Grade 2 & 3 wins. Best lifetime turf and distance speed of the field, 111. Looked great last time out running 2nd to Main Sequence in the UN Stakes.  Morning line: 5-2. My odds: 10-1. Dark horse.
My top 4:
#3 Amira’s Prince
#5 Imagining
#1 O’Prado Ole
#4 Main Sequence.

Overlays: 1,3