Handicapping weekend in review, and a look to Belmont

How to do a post-mortem after all that took place on the weekend? There’s a lot to get to…and we’ll start with the Enlightened Derby Trail at Emerald Downs:
My selections of 5-3-1, Trackattacker to lead, was figuring to be solid. He took so much money that the show pools were a joke. If you had any other horse for show, you cleaned up!   The result was 1-6-2…so it would have been nice if I could involve more than my top selection for the contest. In real life, if I was wagering, I certainly would have used 1 undearneath, but I normally don’t wager place and show in real life….except for possible parlays, for results like 29.80 to show. Is that amazing or what?  Trackattacker proved mortal and scores 0 for the Trail.  Instead, Prime Engine gets 100, Private Boss 50, Val de Saire 25, Bolshoi’s Bluff 10.
On the final Emerald Downs weekend of the meet I was already tanking…had a rank of 24th I think, and was 34th by Sunday. I knew before this weekend that my goal of being in the top 3 and cashing was just about hopeless.  I never wavered from my system, the same one that got me to cash $1000 last year in ThoroEnduro at Remington, and briefly at the #1 position in this year’s Emerald Downs contest.  I just can’t pinpoint what happened.   Over the 73 days, 6 races a contest card, with short fields for the most part (just about the smallest in the nation), I was averaging $33 a day, $5.50 a race.  The contest was based on what mutuels I’d collect: a mythical $2 win/place/show would determine everyone’s fate.   So if you made $36 a day, you’d break even.  But…that’s not real life.  The best players actually averaged a $6 return per race!  I hadn’t even broke $36 in a day 3 times in the last 11 days.   So I finish 50th, with $2416 in mythical earnings.  Southern Solution won me 11.80 on Saturday; that was the best payoff in the last 3 days.
As reported, I’ll be living near Emerald Downs shortly, tho the timing is not good, as the season doesn’t pick up until April.  Don’t know how I’ll be there but I hope for the long-term.
On Saturday, the 7th leg of the Maryland Handicapping Series was in focus, with 11 total races between Belmont and Laurel. I had to pick my one leading horse for mythical win/place wagers.   Of course, you know I like to focus on my top 3 for the blog.  My results? Top picks managed 2 win, along with 4 shows. 3 of my picks became beaten favorites.    At least I have about 7 entries to the grand prize drawing. I scored an extra one after a top-5 finish back in leg 1. I still contend that the track analyst should not be eligible to win outright.  Grand prize is a VIP experience at Maryland Millions Day at Pimlico, while 2 runners up receive $50 wagering vouchers. That big day is the 18th.  The crazy thing is, I’m pretty sure I have to be at the track to receive the prize, and my absolute drop dead date to stay in my apartment is the 19th.    The date for the drawing hasn’t been announced yet.     I’ve already planned to leave Philly via Greyhound, tho I do not know just what date because I have a bunch of boxes here and I am seeking a good deal on shipping them cross country.  I might go broke in the process and I can’t afford to do that. Best case would be to somehow win one of the vouchers and score pretty well on the 18th, and be able to get a good ticket cross country that evening.  Yes, it’s crazy, but such is my karma.
But how did I really do with those selections I provided?   Laurel race 3:  shut out.  Race 4: top pick finished 3rd. Race 5: 2nd pick finished 2nd. Race 6: top pick finished 3rd, 2nd pick finished 3rd. Race 7: shut out.  Race 8 was a good hit tho I totally missed on the winner in the Jameela Stakes; 2nd and 3rd picks were on the mark (Monster Sleeping, Tizgale). But it doesn’t count in the contest.  Race 9: Nasa, my top pick, won. Race 10, the Laurel Turf Cup, was another hit… Top pick St. Albans Boy was 3rd, and 3rd pick Manchurian High won.  Race 11 I had to be lucky as I didn’t have past performances for it. I did indeed enjoy some luck. Once again, my 3rd pick won out,  and my 2nd pick finished 3rd.  The Jockey Club Gold Cup was a minor hit as Tonalist did win out.   The Joe Hirsch Turf Classic was another hit of sorts..as my 1st and 3rd selections finished 3rd and 1st.   So I managed streaks of 3 and 5 races.  Makes me want to consider place and show parlays at least.
Remington Park’s ThoroEnduro contest continues to build. I’m still in it, and survived through the 28th, which means I have 2 lives now. With $206 I’m just in the lower 25%, which is not at all where I want to be.  There have been 66 races..3 a day, plus 6 for OK Derby Day yesterday, so I’m averaging $3.12 per race. The top handicappers have over $500, which is about $8+ per race.  My best day was on 9/25 with $54 (thank you Ocean Ahumin and Hollywood Ice) over 3 races. I’m shocked that I managed just $13.20 over 6 races yesterday.  The only hit I had was the one lock I figured, Shannon Nicole.  December 14th is the final contest date..so, yes there’s plenty of time to catch up but I oughta score some longshot hits considering there are only 3 races per day normally.  I wasn’t all that terrible yesterday, tho. In the OK Derby, my 2nd choice and top overlay, Tonito M won the race as an upset. Hardly an upset to me if you had read my analysis.
Random thought: Wouldn’t it be fun if handicapping contests allowed 2 selections per race, and scored by exactas?  Someone has to put that together.
Here’s how the Enlightened Derby Trails look now
Briefly ahead to the big races at Belmont this weekend,    Here are the horses with points from prior EDT races who are nominated to the Champagne Stakes:
American Pharoah 250. Winner of the Del Mar Futurity
I Spent It  100. 2nd in the Hopeful Stakes.
Lucky Player 50. 2nd in the Prairie Meadows Juvenile Mile.
Pride of Stride  25  3rd in the Sapling Stakes.
Requite  25   4th in the Hopeful.
Angela Renee 50  3rd in the Spinaway
By The Moon 100 2nd in the Spinaway
Condo Commando 250 Winner of the Spinaway
Darling Sky   25   4th in the Spinaway





Enlightened Derby Trail update, analysis of stakes at Emerald, Remington

The Enlightened Derby Trail continues it’s trek toward next year’s Run For All Those Roses with today’s Gottstein Futurity at Auburn, WA’s Emerald Downs.   This will be my home track as I’m moving, somehow, to the Seattle metro area in the next few weeks. Great timing on my part as it’s actually closing day.
Here’s my look at the contenders:

1 PRIME ENGINE won his maiden debut at the 18k level in pure cruise control in the stretch.  Best average winning distance from pedigree (Northern Afleet/Gravy Train’s Song, by Unbridled’s Song).  ML odds: 8/5. My odds: 20/1 Dark horse.

2 VAL DE SAIRE is the one horse who was a steady increase in pace. Ater his 2nd place finish in his maiden debut in August, he increased Brisnet speed to 66 in another ungraded stakes race. Finally he breaks maiden status in his most recent race at the 18k level, pairing up the 66 with a 69. It could be a sign of better things. He’s the best of the 3 late threats should there be a pace duel. ML odds: 15-1. My odds: 9/2. Contender, overlay.

3 OLD FASHIONED GRIT won his maiden debut with a good stalking effort. 3 works since, then, 1 rather fast, best work tab of the field. He’s the x factor here. Will he keep pace with Trackattacker? ML odds: 10/1.  My odds: 7/1   Contender, possibly an overlay.

5 TRACKATTACKER is the other ML fave at 8/5 and deservedly so.  He leads in nearly every variable I track.  After winning his maiden debut, he was on layoff, then won 3 straight ungraded stakes also at Emerald, all at 50k, and wiring the field, winning each race with ease.  This is a superbly exciting horse to see.  I am declaring the race the Trackattacker Invitational, and he easily should pick up the 100 points for the EDT race.

Top 4
5 Trackattacker
3 Old Fashioned Gift
2 Val de Saire
1 Prime Engine
Now the capsule view..just the top 3 contenders profiled…for the 6 ThoroEnduro contest races at Remington Park.

Race 2 is the a 5.5 furlong claiming race for fillies and mares who are non-winners of 2 races.

5 DELIGHTFUL DELILAH graduated from maiden status in his 4th try last time out, his first race at RP. He wired the field with a 69 Brisnet score. This, paired up with  65 in previous may indicate better things today.  Best jockey/trainer combo: Jareth Loveberry (21% wins), JR Caldwell (30%). ML odds: 4/1. My odds: 2/1. Favorite,.
4 DAKAMO DENIA broke maiden in 2nd start nearly 2 years ago, and has had trouble in higher class ever since. 89 Brisnet score from 2 years ago is best speed on RP surface of this field. Off a year long layoff, she’s worked out steadily since, with 1 recent work being rather fast, and having run 4 furlongs in those works in the last 3. Respective to post position, she runs the fastest of these.  ML odds 2/1. My odds: 6/1.
10 ETASONG graduated last year at Lone Star, and also had trouble against better fillies since, even with recent switch to route and turf. She switches back to dirt and sprint here.  This sprinter has the best early and consistent speed for her style in her class.  Looking for a bounceback, after scores of 47, 57 and 47 in the last 3 races.  ML odds: 30/1. My odds: 6/1. Overlay.

Not much value for this race. Frankly I think it’s a one horse race, with the real race being for 2nd.
Race 5 is the Remington Green Stakes, 9 furlongs on turf, for 3YO+., 100k.
5 HOLIDAY MISCHIEF comes out of a 6th place finish in the Unbridled at Lousiana Downs, and prior to that, 2 dazzling Brisnet scores of 105 and 107, the John Bullit and a 35k allowance race respectively.  Top jockey/trainer here: CM Berry is 20% Joe Offolter 10%. Nice pace overall from a middle post. I’m expecting a bounce back up considering the 85 he posted in his last race.  Track bias in his favor also: Sprinters in turf routes are winning 36%, and posts 4 through 7 are 13% winners. ML odds: 20/1. My odds: Better than 2/1. Favorite, overlay.
6 GENTLEMAN’S KITTEN won a 50k ungraded stakes last time out, matching his lifetime best with a 102 score. 5 wins in 12 lifetime on the turf. That 102 score is the best of the field on turf. 95 for the distance, achieved in Fair Grounds this winter, is also tops of the field.  Only hose in the field with good pace progression considering the 102 and the gain from his previous start. I rank this stalker as fastest of the field. Another horse who can benefit from the middle post. ML odds: 8/5. My odds: 2/1.
4 GREENGRASSOFWYOMING last won in February in a 50k allowance race. On a 2 month layoff, posted 4 works at Churchill, with 2 works very fast. Also prefers a middle post.  ML odds: 6/1. My odds: 8/1.
Challenging contest race here, which is really between 5 and 6, calling for a major upset by 5.
Race 6 is the Flashy Lady Stakes, 50k, fillies and mares 3YO+ going 6 furlongs.
4 SNAPPY GIRL is 12 of 18 in the money lifetime, 7 wnis, and a streak of 7 in the money, and won 2 ungraded stakes in the process. Switches from turf to dirt and back up from 5 furlongs, a frequented switch in her career as of late. Best class win was a 100k stakes win at Evangeline Downs earlier this year. Comes out of 2 races posting her lifetime best Brisnet scores of 99 each. 3 workke s since last at RP, 2 of them very fast. Very good trip last time out, wiring the field. ML odds: 9/5. My odds: 2/1. Favorite
7 LASTING BUBBLES ships from TX, has 6 wins and 2 2nds at the distance, plus a 102 lifetime best for the distance, best of this field. Trainer Kevin Peek has 7 wins and 13 placings with horses shipping in, for a decent return of 2.37.  On the bench since mid-July, she has proven to win without rust previously. Gained from 84 to 100 in last race, with a great stalking trip in the Valor Farms. She is definitely the speed of the field.  ML odds: 2/1. My odds: 9/2.
8 AMERICAN SUGAR is the lone closer. Best AWD numbers here (Harlan’s Holiday/I Love America, by Quiet American). 2 wins in 4 here at RP, with a 95 Brisnet, which is best of this field. That score was achieved last November. Posted scores of 82 in a 6 furlong sprint on dirt, then 90 in a turf sprint, then 82 in a turf route.  With the distance and surface switch, this may aid in a bounceback.  ML odds: 30/1. Me: 8/1. Overlay.
Another tough race to figure but the chalk should bear out.
Race 9 is the marquee race, the Oklahoma Derby, a Grade 3 race for 3YOs, going 9 furlongs. 14 horses going at it. This to me was the toughest race I’ve had to study in a long time.
3 STREET PRANCER in the money 4 times of last 5 races, including 3 wins.  Posted a lifetime best 87 2 races back in a 75k stakes win, then trailed off to 74 in a distant 2nd place finish in a 50k stakes event. Best works of the field, with all 3 at RP, 1 very fast. Won 2 races from an inner post. Aiming for a bounceback in this effort today.  ML odds: 30/1  Me: 3/1. Favorite and overlay.
7 TONITO M started his career south of the 48 in Puerto Rico, then has had alternating mixed results in the US, but all in sharp company. Best horse in pace progression of the field.  In studying the generally blank races he ran at Canonero Race Track, he’s definitely improved overall with the stateside runs, including a 95 Brisnet last time out in a 200k stakes race. It can be surmised it’s his lifetime best.  ML odds: 8/1. My odds: 9/2. Overlay.
10 IBAKA has 6 wins in 8 lifetime, and a 5 race win streak.  Also has 2 wins and a show with a 94 best score at RP, best score of this field. That was his graduation out of maiden status in November 2013. Outside post should not be an issue.  Looked good in his stalking effort last time out in a 44k statebred allowance race here in August.  ML odds: 15/1. My odds: 5/1. Overlay.
Yes, 3 overlays per morning-line, in what should be an exciting event.  This is one to savor.

Race 9 is the Remington Park Oaks for 3YO fillies going 8.5 furlongs, 200k at stake.

4 SHANNON NICOLE is a runaway fave here. The closer had won a 200k race at Indiana Downs last time out after mixed blessings in other races of lesser class. She’s also unaffected by rust, having won off layoff in that prior race. Gained from 88 to 94 Brisnet, which is her lifetime best, and a short new top at that. That is a good sign.   She’s also the speed of the field with a great stretch kick, has 4 works since last race, 3 very fast, one a bullet. More? Also likes a middle post. and is one of 2 horses with a relatively clean trip coming in. ML odds: 3/1. I fully agree, and probably better than that.
6 LADY FIFTY TWO won the Washington Oaks last time out at Emerald in August, then headed to the bench. Pace progression is her best feature. Gained a new top going from 82 to 90 in the race at Emerald.   Has to be considered to get a piece.  ML odds: 12/1. My odds: 9/2. Overlay.
3 HAVEYOUGONEAWAY won a 40k allowance race last time out in her only start at Remington, with an 86 Brisnet. That’s best for the track in this field.  Best jockey/trainer combo here: Jareth Loveberry has 21% wins, and Allen Milligan has 9%.  ML odds: 12/1. My odds: 9/1. Possible overlay.
One horse race here, as Shannon Nicole is my lock between all 6 races.

Race 10 is the Remington Park Sprint Cup Stakes, 3YO+ going 6 furlongs for 150k.

7 ALSVID won ungraded stakes at Prairie Meadows and Zia in the last year. 4 wins and a 2nd lifetime at RP. 107 Brisnet is best of those who have raced at RP. 7 wins and 6 2nds in 15 lifetime for the distance with a lifetime best of 113; clearly he’s master of the distance of the field.  Jockey/trainer combo advantage is this: CM Berry with 20% and Chris Hartman with 13%. No rust for this gelding, having won off layoff prior. I have the stalking horse rated as fastest of the field. Nice works too: 6 in all, 5 at RP, 2 very fast, last one a bullet.  ML odds: 5/1. My odds: better than 2/1. Favorite.
8 CASTLETOWN won a 40k restricted stakes effort at Cantebury last time out, surging in Brisnet from 93 to a lifetime best 104.  That new top is slightly better than a 101 she ran 2 years hence.  Good sprinting effort last time too.  ML odds: 9/2. My odds fully agree.
6 HEITAI is the only other sprinter here. Switches from turf and gains a furlong after a 3 month layoff and a great sprinting effort in a 300k stakes race.  4 works in the layoff at RP, last one a bullet. Middle post should help chances.
Very good betting race here tho I have 7 the clear choice at mild value.

Laurel Park, Belmont Stakes handicapping contest entries, Enlightened Trail recap

Today a look at the Jockey Club Gold Cup at Beautiful Belmont, and a full look at my top 3 for Leg 7 in The Racing Biz’s Maryland Handicapping Series.
For the Enlightened Derby Trail tomorrow I’ll analyze the Gottstein Futurity for my new home track of Emerald Downs, right on time for closing day. I’m actually moving to Tacoma WA at some point in October.  Beyond this race, Belmont will have their opportunity to shine on both Trails, with the Champagne and Frizette Stakes on 10/4.
Here are my top 3 for the contest races at Laurel:
Race 3: 9-2-11
Race 4: 2-7-6
Race 5: 1-10-2
Race 6: 3-5-2
Race 7: 4-2-5
Race 8: 10-1-7
Race 9: 6-5-3
Race 10: 5-8-13
Race 11: 11-8-10
I selected a value horse per morning line in races 5, 7,8, 10, and 11. 7,8, and 10 I have rated very close.   The one race that’s closest to a lock is race 4.
I used jockey/trainer standings alone to judge the finale, and I used my full arsenal of variables for the others.
Race 9 at Belmont: 3-1a-5
Race 10 (see below…)
Only my top horse counts for the contest, for a mythical $2 Win-Place wager. Top money earned wins a bag of swag, top 5 win an extra entry for the grand prize of the series.
In a recap of the prior EDT race at Presque Isle, 2 of the 3 horses with prior Trails were a factor.  Less Than Perfect gets 100 points for first place and now has 125. Bourbon Cowboy adds 50 to his total, which is now 75.  Draw Night joins the trail with 25, and Breakin The Fever 10 for his 4th place finish.
TALE OF EKATI: Pleasant Tales makes her racing debut in Race 5 at Churchill, an MSW race, 37k, 7 furlongs for fillies. Already she is listed at 15-1 morning line.   Does she have a chance?  Not at all. She doesn’t measure up at all in any of the variables I use, especially considering the poor record of trainer Dallas Stewart.  I see the race run as 3-11-10  Another first-timer, False Positive, will be at Belmont in an MSW race, 60k, 1 mile.
Later today I’ll take to Twitter to present picks for Emerald and Remington.
Now for the Jockey Club Gold Cup:
Just 5 of the 12 horses seem to have any real chance. This race is 10 furlongs, 3YO+, Grade 1, $1 million:
1 MICROMANAGE won the Grade 3 Skip Away and the ungraded Birdstone. Cuts back 2 furlongs tho moves up in class, along with a rider switch to Luis Saez, Track bias in his favor: In dirt routes here, stalking horses are winning at a 39% rate. Rail horses are winning 22%.  Ping-pong movement in Brisnet speed figures: A 111 in the Brooklyn, a 96 in the Suburban, a 105 in the Birdstone, then a 98 in the Garland Cup at Parx last time out.  I’m predicting a bounceback here. ML: 20/1. My odds: 5/2. Contender at a price, and overlay.
8 TONALIST is the Belmont Stakes winner as well as the Peter Pan. Christophe Clement removes blinkers for this race. Best track performance of the field, a 108 in the Belmont. Best jockey/trainer aboard: Joel Rosario 30% wins, Clement 25%. I’ve rated this stalker as fastest of the field.  Also 3 great works here since the Travers, 2 of them were bullets, and those were on soft ground at that. My suspicion is that he’s more of a true mudder but we’re fast and firm today.  ML odds: 4/1. My odds: 8/5. Favorite, contender. Might end up being an overlay, a cheap one at that.
9 STEPHANOATSEE stretches from 9 to 10 furlongs. Hasn’t won since 2012. Best average winning distance from pedigree here (AP Indy/Oatsee, by Unbridled). Progressed in pace to score a 101 last time out in the Woodward, just ahead of his 2013 best.  ML odds: 20/1. My odds: 6/1. Outside contender, and overlay.
10 VE DAY won the Travers and the Curlin, part of a 4 race streak where he emerged from top maiden company. Keeps Javier Castellano for this race. He and Jimmy Jerkens have 2 wins and placings in the last 60 days, for an ROI of 9.13 in a small sample.  Sharp increase in speed from 92 to 102 Brisnet. 3 works at Belmont since, 1 very fast. Seems acclimated to dirt after running turf in first four. ML odds: 5/1. My odds: 6/1. Contender.
11 MORENO won the Whitney 2 races back. Junior Alvarado has 1 win and 3 placing riding for Eric Guillot in last 60 days, for 3.50 ROI.  ML odds: 7/2, listed as the lukewarm favorite.  My odds: 20/1.  Dark horse.
Top 4:
8 Tonalist
1 Micromanage
10 VE Day
9 Stephanoatsee
Overlays: 8,1
Predicting strong value upfront for this one.

Enligtened Derby trail update

This post was edited following scratches/changes.

Today’s Enlightened Trail race is at Presque Isle Downs in Erie PA. It’s the Fitz Dixon Jr. Memorial Juvenile Stakes. It’s an ungraded stakes event, 6.5 furlongs, worth 100k in purse money for these 2YO colts. Several horses with prior EDT points are in the field.
1 LESS THAN PERFECT is one of those horses. 4th in the Summer Stakes at Woodbine 2 weeks prior.  Top average winning distance numbers from pedigree (Pleasantly Perfect/Special Date, by the Irish-bred Aragorn). Just 2 races of 6 in the money, and is reunited with the jockey that earned him the maiden debut win on this track in Willie Martinez. Trainer Kevin Rice  has 1 win and 4 placings in 9 non-graded stakes events this year, for a 4.20 ROI.  Strong gain in Brisnet speed figure last time with an 85, so a bounce from this sprinter could happen.  ML odds: 8/1. Me: 4/1. Contender at a price.
3 DRAW NIGH has 1 win and 3 placings in 6 races. Really lost in the shuffle in this field.  Trainer Jim Rankin has 3 wins and 6 placings this year with horses doing the sprint-route-sprint shift, for ROI of 2.32.  ML: 20/1. Me: Worse. Avoid.
4 BOURBON COWBOY was 4th in the Arlington-Washington Futurity. Slight gain from 83 to 88 Brisnet speed in that race. The 88 score is the best of this field on the all-weather surface. ML: 7/2. Me: worse than 20/1.  Avoid.
5 DUFF won an ungraded stakes event last time out on this track, and also was 3rd in the Mountaineer Juvenile. 2 wins and a 2nd in 3 PID races. Nice effort compared to his prior races at the maiden level, and might bounce back after winning with a 78 last time out. That score is the best on this track of the field.  ML: 5/1. Me: 7/1   Outside contender.
6 COURT’S RULING won both lifetime races rather convincingly. Big gain in his last race, with a dazzling 96 Brisnet in a state-bred 4 furlong race. Considering he returns in a middle post as he was for previous, that may be an advantage.  ML: 5/1. Me: 5/2. Contender.
8 SERAPH, who was 6th in the Arlington-Washingon Futurity in his 2nd lifetime start, produced one sharp work since that race. Outside of that, no real evidence to support a win. ML: 9/2. My odds: 16/1. Dark horse.
9 MACHINATION graduated from maiden in 3rd try. Ranking him for his pace progression, a solid 80 in that final maiden race, ahead of 2 races in the 70s. I’ve rated this sprinter the early speed of the field.   ML: 4/1.  Me: 7/1  Outsider.
12 COOPER’S CRESCENT graduated after his 7th and most recent star at the 29k level. For 6.5 furlong races, track bias is favoring both stalking-type horses (34%) and outside posts (17%); this horse is the one to fit both qualities.  ML: 12/1. My odds: 3/1. Contender, overlay.
My top 4:
12 Cooper’s Crescent
1 Less Than Perfect
6 Court’s Ruling
5 Duff
Overlays: 1, 12.
Expecting value to surprise in this race and to add 2 new faces on the point-total list for the Trail.
I secured one past performance set for one race of TOE’s progeny, it’s the 4th race at Delaware Park, maidens, 30k level, 5.5 furlongs.   Rain has turned this into just a 3-horse race of first-time starters.  It is the debut of Jane Says.  Dam is Judy B, out of Marquetry. She’s done all her workouts here, and the last 4 have been very last.  I actually think she’ll run 2nd to Divine Excitement, who not only has great works, but the last 2 have been bullets, and has Kerwin Clark aboard (22% wins) plus trainer Larry Jones (36%).

PS: Going to try again for The Racing Biz’s next 10-race contest, which includes 7 races at Laurel and 3 of the big stakes races at Belmont.  Also that day, races to follow at Remington (if I survive today and Friday,) and the last weekend of contest action at Emerald, which, rumors have it, could be my next home track.

Enlightened Trail update, and, adoption time

Here I examine this week’s Enlightened Derby Trail races, and thoughts about adopting a trainer and horse as official favorites, and how it’s become rather necessary for me.

Taking you back to 2007, when I began the matter of attending the local tracks in NYC, I fondly recall the day as July 7, and there was certainly enough people wanting to bet on #7 in the 7th race. First race I ever wagered, I hit a few straight tickets, and I became hooked. In race 2, one of the horses I may or may not have wagered on was Charles Fipke’s Tale Of Ekati, making his fateful debut…which you can see here

Here is the page on Bloodhorse  http://www.bloodhorse.com/stallion-register/stallions/136014/tale-of-ekati

Something about his workouts must have been attractive enough for the public to bet the first-time starter down to even money. I only recalled the horse later when he was entered in the Breeders Cup Juvenile, which he managed a 4th place finish. His career would continue to 2 of the Triple Crown races, and was entered in Graded races for his entire career outside of the maiden race I and 13,000-plus bore witness to. He showed some trouble in a number of trips but for the majority of those races managed to survive those, and even win some. How can one not love a classy horse who often finds his/her way into the money even if he, or she, doesn’t win, at the top level?
So why the adoption? I guess it’s because it’s a kinda personal connection, even though I have nothing but my first live race visit to go on. You tend to remember the first horses you see that win, and especially those that win by 7 lengths.
I’m tracking all the progeny of TOE, and will report on notable workouts and upcoming entries….maybe even fill you in with analysis of races his 2YOs are in. I’m happy because this is his first crop, and he’s ranked #13th by Bloodhorse in that category He’s got 6 winners, and one with 2 wins named Ekati’s Phaeton. 2 of TOE’s fillies are in action on the 25th, one on the 27th.
As for trainers, I’m going to adopt KIaran McLaughlin, who has a long history of racing winners in several countries. I believe he trains many horses for the NY tracks, as he’s based very close to NYC. I chose him for study in part because he helped to inspire the Enlightened Derby and Oaks Trails. You can read the quote that started it all in the EDT/EOT page of the website. I wanted to choose a NY-based trainer because I figure to access more free past performances from those running there.
I still have my copy of Dave Litfin’s book “Expert Handicapping: Winning Insights Into Betting”. He advocates clipping past performances of horses that were to win races of the trainers I’m tailing, and note certain variables besides. So this will be, from hereon in, my task…and we’ll see what tendencies present themselves!

EDT update:
4 of 42 horses who scored on my Trail were nominated for this week’s EDT race, the Fitz Dixon Jr. Memorial, run at Presque Isle Downs, 6.5 furlongs for 2YOs. 3 of the horses made the show, based on lifetime earnings:
Duff, 3rd in the Mountaineer Juvenile,
Bourbon Cowboy, 4th in the Arlington-Washington Futurity, and
Less Than Perfect, 4th in the Summer Stakes
The one that didn’t make the cut was Gotta Get Paid, who was 2nd in the Evangeline Downs Star and likewise in the Mountaineer Juvenile.
For the next post I’ll give you my analysis of contender for the Fitz Dixon, and, if possible, the TOE fillies in their races for Thursday.

Arlington International selections 9/21/14

I’m back it with multicapper.com to provide some selections in their daily contest.    Yesterday at Belmont I had 3 winners to start the card, then matters trailed badly, as I finished somewhere back in the pack. I’m aiming for a stronger showing today.
The challenge with multicapper is that I have to be psychic…to get my top 3 in as exact order as possible.  I don’t know how some people manage to get pretty close race in and out.
Here are my top 3 for the 9 races at Arlington. I had factored in all-weather, rain, no also-eligibles, and all main track only selections in this mix as I am anticipating an off track, always dangerous to assume in advance when you can’t change picks later:
Race 1: 2-3-6. 5 was my third choice, but is scratched. I actually am not allowed to get the post-time favorite for a scratched horse, so only my top 2 count.
Race 2: 5-4-6
Race 3: 7-3-6  7 is a scratch. I’d play 1 after 3 and 6.
Race 4: 6-3-2 2 is a scratch. 7 should replace.
Race 5: 4-9-6  With 9 as the scratch, make it 4-6-3
Race 6: 6-5-7
Race 7: 2-1-8
Race 8: 3-1-6  3 is a scratch, so I’d go with 1-6 -4. This might keep Scat N’ Go, the 1, as a value pick on top, the only I have on this card.
Race 9: 3-11-9

Follow me at @idealisticstats on that Twitter thing as I have picks later for Emerald and Remington.  There are just 4 more days at Emerald for me to reach the cash position but I’m $100 away from that mark. Here’s hoping I can score a few bombs, which have  been absent from me a while.  At Remington, I’m just happy to survive in their contest.

Parx stakes races analysis, selections 9/20/2014

Here’s how I see the 4 big stakes races at Parx:
The ungraded Alphabet Soup Stakes is for PA-bred 3YOs, going 8.5 furlongs on the Parx turf, 100k.

2 TRAFFIC LIGHT won the Roanoke last time out on this track along with another stakes race at similar class 1.5 years ago. His 101 Brisnet in the Roanoke was well past his 88 in another stakes race at Saratoga. The Roanoke trip was the cleanest of all horses coming in, giving extra weight here for the sprinter wiring the field for the 8.5 furlong distance.  Morning-line: 6-1. My odds: 12-1.  Dark horse.
3 LIGHTNING ELECTRIC won the Smarty Jones at Penn in 2013. Outside of the fact that this 7YO has won before from a middle post, he lacks evidence to win today. ML: 10/1. Me: 24-1.  Avoid.
4 PAGE MCKENNEY won the Robellino for state-bred horses at Penn National last month.Scored best speed figure at Parx of today’s field, with a lifetime best 99. Has best jockey/trainer available, with Frankie Pennington at 24% wins, an Mary Eppler with 30%.  ML: 7/2. Me: 3-1. Contender.
5 EDGE OF REALITY won a stakes event at 75k 3 races back, and another race named for Smarty Jones in 2013 right here. Scores from last 3 races are 81, 95, 88, all in ungraded stakes company. I have to believe he’ll bounce back here but unsure.  ML: 5-1. Me: 24-1. Avoid.
6 ROADHOG won a stakes event at Laurel last year, as well as being the defending champ of this race in 2013. Nice record of 24-8-5-3 lifetime on turf, with top lifetime speed of 104 for this 7YO, tho that score came years ago. Seems to be favored running from an inside post. ML: 3/1. Me: 8-1.
Outside contender, maybe at a price.
7: SS SKITTLES had no reported rider as of this typing.  Forged lifetime best 97 3 races back. ML: 20-1. Me: Ditto. Avoid.
8 EL CAPITAN had run amongst top horses in Mexico for all 6 lifetime races before making his US debut at Parx last month. Best average winning distance from his pedigree (Elusive Quality-Isadora, by the mighty Sadler’s Wells). Won the Mexican Derby and the Gran Premio Nacional, both at Grade 1 level. 2 works since his US debut, one pretty fast.  ML odds: 20-1. Me: 5-1. Contender, overlay.
9 DANCING LOUNGE Despite him being the lone deep closer, I can’t take seriously at all, tho he has won from an outside post before.  ML: 12/1. Me: 24-1. Avoid

10 ATLANTIC SEABOARD as a sprinter is the true speed of the field, and returns to turf routes, after 3 sprints. Also has won from an outer post before. ML odds: 8-1. Me: 6-1. Contender at a price.
11: STARRY MOON surged from a 77 to an 89 in 2 ungraded races at the 75k level….so a bounce is possible. Or not.  ML: 10/1. Me: 20-1. Best to avoid.
Top 4:
4 Page McKenney
8 El Capitan
10 Atlantic Seaboard
6 Roadhog.
Overlay: 8
Decently competitive race.

Next is the Gallant Bob Stakes, Grade 3, 3YOs going 6 furlongs.

1 FAVORITE TALE won the Gold Fever, ungraded, at Belmont this spring.  3-for-3 lifetime at Parx with top winning speed of 101 in March. Also 1st or 2nd in 4 lifetime at 6 furlongs. Track bias in his favor: Sprinters going 6 furlongs are winning 38% during the meet, and rail horses are 18%.  ML: 5/2. Me: 20-1. Avoid.
2 CAMDEN STREET has the AWD edge (Elusive Quality/Empress Of India, by Dancing Brave). On the bench since May, has won right off layoff previously, plus won his maiden debut.  Has a lot of works during the layoff here at Parx.  ML: 12-1. Me: 5-1. Contender, overlay.
3 BUMP START progressed nicely in pace the last 2 starts, with paired-up Brisnet scores of 90 and 91, winning the Danzig at Penn in June as well. No other evidence to support.  ML odds: 20-1. My odds: 15-1. Dark horse, possible overlay.
4 PRUDHOE BAY won the Grade 3 Jersey Shore at Monmouth (where else?) last time out, plus 2 ungraded stakes in the past. 2 wins and a 3rd in 3 lifetime races at the distance, including a lifetime best 97 in the Jersey Shore. Great connections here, with Paco Lopez at 24% wins, and Ed Plesa Jr who is 1-for-3 in the meet. Pace progession is rather slow and positive, generally a good sign. Also had the best trip last out of this field win the Jersey Shore win, and should have no problem with a middle post.  ML: 6/1. Me: Better than 2/1.  Contender, favorite, overlay.
5 PURE SENSATION won the Quick Call at Saratoga. 8 of 9 lifetime in the $. This stalking horse is the speed of the field.  ML: 4-1. Me: 8-1.  Contender at a price.
6 FAST ANNA indeed relies on his sprinting ability. Almost always on or near the lead in 3 lifetime starts. 2nd in the Grade 1 KIng’s Bishop at Saratoga last time, surging to a 102 Brisnet. Big favorite by the ML at 8/5. I’m skeptical, thinking he’s 15-1. Dark horse.
Top 4:
4 Prudhoe Bay
2 Camden Street
5 Pure Sensation
3 Bump Start
Overlays: 2,3,4.
I have this as a one-horse race, with nice value alongsides.

The Grade 1 Cotillion Stakes is for 3YO fillies, 8.5 furlongs.

1 CASSATT won the Monmouth Oaks last time out. 3 wins and a 3rd lifetime. Has the AWD edge (Tapit/Justenufftime by Giant’s Causeway). Paired-up Brisnet scores of 92 and 93 last 2 races.  Inside posts will favor horses 1,2 and 3 for the distance, winning at 18%.  ML: 12/1. Me: 10-1.  Dark horse.
2 SWEET REASON won the Test, the Acorn and the Spinaway, each at Grade 1. 5 wins, 7 in the money lifetime. Last 3 wins straight off layoff. 4 works since the Test, all very fast, one a bullet.  ML: 4/1. I agree, at 5-1. Contender.
3 HOUSE RULES has yet to win a stakes race. in 3 races in the last 60 days, Javier Castellano has 2 wins and 3 placings with James Jerkens, for a 12.83 ROI. Progressed in pace to a lifetime best 95 last timeout, tho might bounce from that. ML: 20/1. My odds: 6-1. Contender, overlay.
4 JOINT RETURN won several ungraded stakes. FInished 2nd last time out in the Alabama with a lifetime best 95 Brisnet, but also one who could bounce. His deep closing trip in the Alabama is the best coming into this field.  ML: 8/1. My odds: 6-1. Contender
5 VERO AMORE has no stakes wins. 2 wins and a 3rd here at Parx, with a top score of 90 at this track, achieved in March.  Trainer Robert Reid Jr has 2 wins and 6 placings in Graded stakes this year, for a return of 6.41. Also he has saddled 23% at the Parx meet, with Frankie Pennington riding at a 24% clip.  ML: 20/1. My odds: 6-1. Not a contender but an overlay.
7 JOJO WARRIOR won the Torrey Pines and Summer Oaks on the West Coast her last 2 races, both at Graded level.  Set lifetime best Brisnet of 95 in the Summer Oaks, then trailed to 88 after.  I’m predicting a bounceback into the 90s here. ML: 6/1. My odds: 20-1. Avoid.
8 UNTAPABLE, the Kentucky Oaks winner, added a win in the Mother Goose to her resume , then was 5th in the Haskell Invitational. 4 wins and one 3rd in 6 races at the distance with top score of 107, achieved in the Fair Grounds Oaks. This stalking filly is the fastest of the field. Outside post may be her strong suit.  ML odds: 7/5. Me: 3/1. Contender, favorite.
Top 4:
8 Untapable
2 Sweet Reason
3 House Rules
4 Joint Return
Overlays: 3, 5 (Vero Amore)
Looks like a good betting race all around, top 4 all have reasonable chance.
FInally the Pennsylvania Derby, with top 3YOs going 9 furlongs.

1 CALIFORNIA CHROME we last saw finish a tough 4th attempting the Triple Crown, that after a 6 race win streak.  Part of the streak includes a dominating victory in the Santa Anita Derby, at today’s distance, with a 106 Brisnet. Layoff should not be a concern. I’ve rated him fastest of the field alongside Bayern.  ML odds: Even money. My odds: 2-1. Contender.
2 CANDY BOY won the RB Lewis in February at Santa Anita, has placed in most Graded stakes since but no wins. Lifetime best of 106 in the WV Derby surpassed prior best of 100 in prior race, also at Grade 2. Strong surge in Brisnet scores could predict a bounce her. Good series of works since the WV Derby, training on the West Coast. Inner post should be helpful.  ML: 10/1. My odds: 17-1. Dark horse.
3 PROTONICO with 1 win in 1 start here, winning the Smarty Jones earlier this month with a new top of 97. The 97 score is best of the track from this field. Best AWD numbers of the field (Giant’s Causeway/Alpha Spirit, by the great AP Indy). ML odds 8-1. My odds: 20-1. Avoid.
4 BAYERN won the Haskell, the Woody Stephens, the KY Derby Trial and the Arkansas Derby.  1 win and 1 3rd at the distance, with a 106 best score for distance in the Haskell.  Finished last of 10 in the Travers, bouncing down to an 80 Brisnet. Predicting a bounceback here. ML odds: 7/2. Me: 9-1.  Contender at a price.
6 CLASSIC GIACNROLL has the best Parx-based experience of the field. Kendrick Carmouche has 22% wins with Lisa Guerrero at 18%.  After layoff for much of the spring he posted a 92 in a stakes race at Delaware, an 88 in an optional claimer here, a 98 in the WV Derby, setting a new lifetime best, paired with a 96 In the Smarty Jones back here.  This deep closer appears to be in a good pace form cycle. Very good trip coming out of the Smarty Jones as well.  ML odds: 15/1. My odds: Better than 2/1. Favorite, contender, overlay.
8 CJs AWESOME makes his stakes debut after a series of maiden and allowance races. Surged to a lifetime best 100 in last race, with an excellent wire-to-wire victory for the sprinter going 9 furlongs. This 100 score came after an 89 in his first non-maiden effort. ML: 12/1. My odds: 17-1. Outside contender.
Top 4:
6 Classic Giacnroll

1 California Chrome
4 Bayern
2 Candy Boy.
Overlay: 6
Yes, picking the upset in what what I think will be a great 2 horse race.