Breeders Cup Saturday 2014 analysis

Breeders Cup Saturday features 9 races involving top thoroughbred competition, and also includes 2 major races on the Enlightened Derby and Oaks Trails.  As with the Friday races, these selections are not my final ones until the day’s scratches and changes are released and proper update as noted.

First of these races does count toward the EOT. It is the BREEDERS CUP JUVENILE FILLIES, worth $2 million, at 8.5 furlongs.

5 CRISTINA’S JOURNEY wired the field in 2 lifetime starts, winning a 29k maiden race at ELP in July, then the Grade 2 Pocahontas at Churchill in September. Layoff since then since is no concern. Worked out considerably fast both at Churchill and Santa Anita since then include 1 bullet work. Sprinting 8.5 furlongs seemed easy in top company last out and I seek a repeat. ML odds are 6/1. I say she’s an overlay>
Top 3
5 Cristina’s Journey
4 Conquest Eclipse
3 Danette

The assorted EOT points for the race are 250-100-50-25 for the top 4 finishers. Here are the point totals for the starters:
Feathered 50
Angela Renee 50
Conquest Eclipse 50
Wonder Gal 100
By The Moon 350
BREEDERS CUP FILLY & MARE TURF is for horses 3YO+ going 10 furlongs, $2 million at stake.
4 DAYATTHESPA has 10 wins in 17 starts, including these at Grade 1 level: last 2 versions of the First Lady at Keeneland; two more wins in the  Matriarch at Betfair Hollywood Park, and the Queen Elizabeth Cup at Keeneland in 2012. Might be coming into a new form cycle; she achieved a 103 Brisnet last time out, shy of her lifetime best 107 last year. She might also bounce from that effort.  This stalking horse seems to be the speed of the field. He’s also won previously stretching out, and has a great work tab.
Top 3:
4 Dayatthespa
11 Rusty Slipper
2 Just The Judge
BREEDERS CUP FILLIES & MARES SPRINT is worth $1 million, 7 furlongs for 3YO+.
6 LEIGH COURT ships from Keeneland, has won 5 of his last 6, and is in fact 7 wins for 11 starts These include 3 wins at the Graded level.  Won her last race with a small new top of 100 Brisnet, slightly better than her best race last year. I rate this stalking horse the speed of the field. She has previously excelled while stretching out, and has 2 very good works from Woodbine in prep.   ML odds are 4/1. I think she’s slightly better than this as the favorite.
Top 3
6 Leigh Court
1 Sweet Reason
7 Judy The Beauty
First race of the BC series that looks like mostly chalk.

BREEDERS CUP TURF SPRINT has 16, 14 plus 2 also-eligible.   This race is 6.5 furlongs on the unique downhill turf course, for 3YO+.  $1 million at stake

14 NO NAY NEVER has 4 wins and 1 2nd lifetime, with wins in 3 countries.  including the Darley Prix Morny in France, the Norfolk Stakes  in England, and the Woodford Stakes at Keeneland.  Last time out in the Woodford he appeared to have his lifetime best race, a 96 Brisnet, first time on turf. Should respond positively to the gain to 124 pounds, along with the stretch to 6.5 furlongs. ML odds are 9/2. I think he’s somewhat better than this.
Top 3:
14 No Nay Never
10 Home Run Kitten
3 Sweet Swap

BREEDERS CUP JUVENILE is the top race for 2YO colts and geldings, 8.5 furlongs, $2 million.

This is also the big race on the Enlightened Derby Trial for this year’s 2YO colt crop, maybe our best look at next year’s Derby hopefuls for now.
Points are allocated as 250-100-50-25 for the top 4. Here the starters with points coming in:
Calculator 100
Private Prospect 200
Blue Dancer 200
Lucky Player 50
Souper Colossal 100
Daredevil 250
Upstart 100
8 SOUPER COLOSSAL is undefeated in 3, all with Paco Lopez, all at Monmouth. Winner of the Tyro and Sapling Stakes. Won the Tyro straight off layoff. Paired up Brisnet scores of 84 and 89 in his last 2. 7 workouts since the Sapling, 4 of them very fast, 1 a bullet.Should handle the stretch from a mile and class move with no problem, especially considering that he’s 2 months fresh.  ML odds are 12-1. I believe he’s an overlay.
Top 3
8 Souper Colossal
9 Carpe Diem
11 One Lucky Dame
BREEDERS CUP TURF is a whole 12 furlongs for horses 3YO+, $3 million.

3 Imagining has consistently run in Graded company, with wins at the different NY tracks. 2 races removed from his lifetime best of 108 Brisnet, finishing 2nd in the Sword Dancer. He followed that impressive effort with another at Belmont on 9/27, nearly wiring the field over 12 furlongs before finishing 3rd. Hoping the 6YO can continue the trend here. ML odds are 12/1. I see him as the favorite.
Top 3:
3 Imagining
5 Hangover Kid

8 Magician
BREEDERS CUP SPRINT will be 6 furlongs for 3YO+, 1.5 million.
10 BIG MACHER won the Bing Crosby at Del Mar and another Grade 2 event at Santa Anita in April. 5 wins, 2 2nds, 2 3rds in 12 lifetime, 1st or 2nd in 5 lifetime at SA. On 2 month layoff, tho won the Bing Crosby off layoff as well. Worked out extremely well at Santa Anita with with several bullet works in the process. Has previously won when switching from all-weather to dirt.  ML odds: 12/1.  Overlay.
Top 4:
10 Big Macher
15 Bahamian Squall (also-eligible)
9 Salutos Amigos
4 Secret Circle
BREEDERS CUP MILE pits the best at the distance, 3YO+, on the Santa Anita turf course, $2 million.

13 TOURIST was 2nd last out in the Secretariat Stakes at Arlington on August 16. Had previously won directly off layoff. His sprinting trip was excellent over the 10 furlong race last out, which was preceded by a 3 race win streak.  Those three races represented a plateau of Brisnet scores in the 90s. I have to believe he’ll bounce back in pace and remain consistent with his recent trips.  ML odds are 13/1. Overlay.

Top 3
13 Tourist
2 Obviously
8 Trade Storm
Finally, the major race of the weekend, the BREEDERS CUP CLASSIC is at the classic distance of 10 furlongs. $5 million up for grabs.
7 BAYERN won the Pennsylvania Derby with a great sprint over 9 furlongs last time out. He had also won the Haskell Invitational, the Woody Stephens and the Derby Trial. 9 starts, 5 wins, 1 2nd, 1 3rd, and is 2 for 2 at Santa Anita. Nice bounce back in pace after early summer layoff. The 109 score he achieved in the PA Derby represents a small new top. Great workout regimen: 4 works at SA, all 4 very fast, 1 a bullet. I’m certain he can handle the stretch back to 10 furlongs.
Top  3:
7 Bayern
8 Zivo
13 California Chrome
Again, watch for changes to this post as time for scratches/changes draw near.

Breeders Cup Friday 2014 selections

As promised, an updated Breeders Cup selection post

I am planning to attenrd a Breeders Cup event at Emerald Downs on Saturday. It depends on my financial situation, but I have a feeling I’ll get my first chance to see the track that I’ve seen on TV the last 2 years.
Meanwhile, whether or not I get to Auburn, WA, I have for you an early first look at the Breeders Cup races for the big weekend. In this long post I’ll give you analysis of the horsea I select to win plus the top 3. Obviously, with this much lead time, there will be a lot of cuts made, plus the inevitable scratches/changes to figure, so a few variables won’t be factored in.  By Thursday night, I’ll have the 4 BC races figured out in full, and likewise on Friday night for the remainder.
BREEDERS CUP JUVENILE TURF is a mile on the Santa Anita course for colts and geldings. $1 million at stake.
3 LUCK OF THE KITTEN has run 1st or 2nd in all 4 starts, at Saratoga, Arlington, Kentucky Downs and here at Santa Anita. His performance last time out in the Zuma Beach stakes, a 91 Brisnet win, is the fastest of this field on the track. That score present his forging of a lifetime best, and a possible bounce risk. Sprinting successfully at a route race is always a big plus with me and my hope is that he can repeat.   ML odds are 8/1. My odds are 4-1. I think he’ll be an overlay.
Top 3:
3 Luck Of The Kitten
6 Conquest Typhoon
5 Hootenanny
I think it will be all value for this race, very good race to handicap.

BREEDERS CUP DIRT MILE is for 3YO+, $1 million.
Top 3:

GOLDENCENTS won the Pat O’Brien and last year’s version of this race here. Consistently running in the best races on the West Coast, with 6 starts, 3 wins and 2nds at SA. Top speed on this track of the field, a 107, achieved last year. Trainer Leandro Mora has 1 win and 3 placings in Graded stakes this year, for a return of 6.08. Mora’s overall record this year includes 12 wins and 21 placings, for a decent return of 2.56. His win rate is 26% at the meet, while Rafael Bejarano has 21% wins.   Projected has 6/5 favorite and deservedly so.
1 Goldencents
8 Fed Biz
10 Big Bane Theory

BREEDERS CUP JUVENILE FILLIES TURF is one mile, $1 million.

5 ISABELLA SINGS finished 2nd impressively in the Grade 2 Natalma Stakes up at Woodbine in September, her 2nd lifetime start. Won her maiden debut wiring a 75k maiden field at Belmont in July.  Her 95 in the Natalma is among the best on turf of this field. She was entered in her prior start as with today’s race under layoff. This sprinter is certainly the speed of the field and an impressive one at that who should have no problem matching her prior effort at one mile. Also: 4 works at Belmont, 3 on their turf course, all 3 works rather fast.
Top 3:
5 Isabella Sings
11 Conquest Harlanate

3 Sunset Glow
Another surprise winner here, with favorites out of the picture.

BREEDERS CUP DISTAFF hosts top fillies and mares, 3YO+ going 9 furlongs on dirt.

BELLE GALLANTEY ships from the NY tracks. Winner of the Beldame Invitational and the Delaware Handicap. Exploded in form last time out in the Beldame with a 104 Brisnet. With a very small sample, horses from posts 4 through 7 have done the best in dirt routes during the meet.
Top 3:
4 Belle Gallantey
2 Tiz Midnight
9 Ria Antonia
Another race that should shut out the favorite. Yes, the playing field is often quite level on Breeders Cup Day.

Canadian Juvenile Stakes analysis

With today’s running of the Canadian Juvenile Stakes at Northlands Park, Edmonton, BC, we are now into the latter half of the Enlightened Derby Trail.  This race, the 20th of 39 on the trail is for 2YOs, going a miile, for a 50k purse. It’s the final race that takes place north of the 48 states. None of these horses have raced at a route before, and none have raced beyond this track.  Here are the contenders as I see them:
4 LOGAN’S LILY won his last 2 races. Trainer Ron Grieves has 11 wins and 20 placings this year with horses debuting at a route, for a 2.96 ROI. Continually forged lifetime bests in each of 5 races lifetime, peaking at 66 last out, with a nice stalking trip. Odds: 12/1. My odds: 20-1. Dark horse.
6 CENTREFIRE won a 50k province-bred stakes event here last time out, breaking maiden status in the process, with a Brisnet score of 82. He has also forged new best scores in each of 4 races. Best average winning distance scores from pedigree (North Light/Golden Made, by Allen’s Prospect). Odds: 6/1. My odds agree completely.
7 CAPATALISM has 2 wins and 1 2nd, convincingly winning his last 2 at the 50k stakes level. Brisnet scores of 82 and 83 in those 2 races are the best at the track of this field. He also benefits from having top jockey and trainer in the field (Rico Walcott, 32% wins, and Greg Tracy, 39%).  He is the lone speed here. Class, distance, workout adjustment should be no issue. ML odds make him the 2/1 favorite. I think he’ll take even more money. Favorite.
11 REGAL ORCHID as also-eligible horse draws into the field with the scratch of 10 NEVER LOSE HOPE. REGAL ORCHID defeated state-bred maiden claimers last time. Paired up 2 Brisnet scores in the 60s in last 2 races.  Odds: 15/1. My odds: 20/1. Dark horse.
My top 4 are
7 Capatalism
6 Centrefire
4 Logan’s Lily
11 Regal Orchid
This is looking like a true one-horse race.

Looking forward to next weekend which is Breeders Cup weekend. On the Saturday I am planning to cover events at Emerald Downs, as there will be something of a party there, plus simulcasting of the BC races. I am not sure I will be available on the Friday half of the weekend to cover the featured races that day.

Watch for a geographic divisional update of the EOT/EDT races after BC coverage as well.

Today’s quick stakes analysis at Woodbine

Today, a quick look at 4 major stakes at Woodbine International. Being the first of these 4 are running in less than an hour, I’ll give you just analysis for the top selection, and capsule top 3 selections.

First is the strongest event of  the day, the Grade 1 Canadian International, 12 furlongs on the Woodbine turf, for 3YO+.
10 REPORTING STAR has been a mainstay at Woodbine since May. 4 lifetime wins, had a 3 race streak here, and never out of the money in over 18 months. 17 starts, 4 wins, 4 2nds, 7 thirds lifetime.  Comes out of a lifetime best Brisnet of 105 in the Grade 1 Northern Dancer…preceded by a prior lifetime best equaling 100 in the Sky Classic. The 105 score is the best for the track of this field as well as for an off track (track is labeled good at this moment)2 great works here at 5 furlongs since the Northern Dancer.  Considering pace shape he appears to be the lone early speed threat. Excellent trip last time out sprinting over 12 furlongs, and returns to an outside post where he’s won before. Overlay.
Top 3 are
10 Reporting Star
2 The Pizza Man

4 Brown Panther

Next is the Grade 2 Nearctic Stakes, for 3YO+, 6 furlongs on the turf.
4 PASO DOBLE comes out of 2 straight ungraded stakes wins at the 125k level. In the money for 5 straight.  Sheds 5 lbs for this race, and shows some good promise from his 2 works at 4 furlongs since last. Gained 7 points in Brisnet speed last race to near lifetime best of 97, and a good trip at that. This 8YO gelding is the lone speed. Track bias in his favor: In 17 turf sprints, sprinters have won 9 of the races. 3 wins have come between posts 4 and 7.  Overlay.
4 Paso Doble

8 Black Hornet
5 Excaper
More value in front in this one, which I think is the closest finish of the 4 races.
Next here is  the Grade 3 Ontario Fashion Stakes, fillies/mares going 6 furlongs on the all-weather surface.
1 GOLDSTRYKE GLORY ships back from Saratoga. Winner of 2 ungraded stakes at the 100k level. 3 wins at Woodbine, including a winning  effort in one such 100k race a year ago. The 99 Brisnet there is best at Woodbine of this field. This sprinter is definitely the top speed of the field, and almost always leads by the top of the stretch. Great work tab; 4 since her last race, 3 very fast, one a bullet.  Sprinters on the all-weather in sprints are winning 39% of the time, and 16% from a rail post during the meet. Deserving favorite.
Top 3:
1 Goldstryke Glory
8 Cryptic Message
3 Silent Treat

FInally there is the EP Taylor Stakes, Grade 1 race for fillies/mares at 3YO+, going 10 furlongs on the turf.

6 DECEPTIVE VISION won the Canadian Stakes here last year, and has placed in all 7 lifetime races between here and Fair Grounds.  His run in the Canadian was an outstanding 107 Brisnet over 9 furlongs, best on this track of the field.  Top jockey/trainer combo in the field (Da Silva 20% wins, Malcolm Pierce 29%) . Early-presser type that appears to be the speed of the field.  Track bias may be in her favor: 5 of 9  turf races at 10 furlongs here have been won by her style.  Also might be best suited at her middle post.
Top 3:
6 Deceptive Vision
8 Meri Shika
3 Just The Judge

Keep up with me on twitter at @idealisticstats for any updates.

Enlightened Derby/Oaks Trail update: Stakes action at Zia Park

Across gorgeous cloudy periwinkle blue Oho skies I travel Greyhound for the next levels of my journeying.    And, likewise the Enlightened Derby and Oaks Trails are in Zia Park in NM.

First is the Governor’s Cup, for 2YOs, going 6 furlongs, 55k purse.
Here are the contenders:
1 FORGE AHEAD FRANKI broke maiden 2 races back in August stretching to 5.5 furlongs. The single horse in the field who can repeat a win from such a move. Also it’s been 6 weeks since his last race…so he’s probably the freshest of those stretching out.  Considering race shape he is one of several stalker types that can succeed. Odds: 7/2. My odds: 6-1. Contender.
2 SKY T won the province-bred CTBA Futurity, 40k 2 races back, then was 5th in the Gold Rush Futurity. Appears to be the class of the field.  On the bench since mid-August, but that should not be concern, since he did win his maiden debut.  4 works at Zia since last race, 2 fast, one a bullet, all breezing. Odds: 4-1.  My odds: 12-1.  Dark horse.

3 SMUDGE was 2nd and 3rd in 2 ungraded stakes events last time out. This stalker is truly the speed of the field, especially with the way the race shape looks…2 sprinters, 4 stalkers.  Odds: 3/1. Me: 12-1. Dark horse.
4 PLASKA won his maiden debut, then was 7th in 20k allowance company in late August. That last race and today’s race are being run on layoff.  With a middle post, I’d hope he’d run with a comfortable spot and score like that 78 Brisnet today.  Working out at Retama with 2 bullet works.
Odds: 6-1. My odds: 10-1.  Outsider.
5 PAIN AND MISERY  graduated at 24k maiden level last out, here a few weeks ago. Best AWD numbers from his pedigree (Bob and John/Singing Doe, by Running Stag). His lone race here was a good trip, and a 77 Brisnet effort, best on Zia of this field as well as for the distance.  Odds: 5/2. My odds: 7/2.  Contender:
6 TRIBAL ECHO finally broke maiden in 6th try, here at Zia and first time off claim. Also posted a 77 Brisnet here at Zia last time out, decidedly his best effort.  Has best jockey/trainer combo of the field (Enrique Gomez 21% wins, Bart Hone 39%). Forging the 77 score after much lesser scores in his career suggests he is truly in much better hands.  Odds: 5-1. My odds: Better than 2-1. Favorite, possibly the one overlay here.
Top 3:
6 Tribal Echo
5 Pain and Misery
1 Forge Ahead Franki
Following this is the EOT Trail representative race at Zia, that being the Permian Basin Stakes. 2YO fillies going 6 furlongs.
1 COLINDA DAWN impressed in graduating last time out, wiring a field by 10 lengths over 5 furlongs at Albuquerque.   Trainer Ty Garrett has 3 wins and 10 placings this year with horses who are making their  2nd start off layoff, for a 7.12 ROI.  Forged an 82 Brisnet in that big race.  Track bias in her favor: Sprinters going 6 furlongs this meet are winning at the rate of 41%. Horses on the rail, 23%. Odds: 6/1. My odds: 9/2.  Outsider.
2 SKIM THE RAIL is the lone closer of the field.  Winner of the Manzano Stakes at Albuquerque last time out, good for 100 EOT points.  72 Brisnet from that race is best for the distance of the field.   Top jockey/trainer combo aboard: Elvin Gonzalez (22%) and Justin Evans (21%). Forged pair of better races with a 70 and 72 in last two.  Considering race shape,  he has a certain advantage, given all the speed upfront. Switches back to regular jockey  Elvin Gonzalez).  Odds: 5-1. My odds: 7/2. Contender.
3 EXIT WEST has wired fields of 5.5 and 5 furlong races in her 2 lifetime races.  Last out, 6 weeks ago,  scored an 83 ahead of her debut at 74.  Great work tab at Remington Park, 4 in all, one very fast. Up in class from the 30k allowance race last out, and stretching out again from 5.5 to 6. Ships from Remington as well.  Might repeat her 83 Brisnet victory here. Steve Assmussen certainly has strong intentions for her. Odds: 7/2. My odds are in agreement. Contender.
4 BROKEANLOVINGIT has best AWD numbers in this field. Wired field in her maiden debut race here with an 80, best of the track of this field.  Odds: 10/1. My odds: 20-1. Best to avvoid.
5 ROUSANNE won her maiden effort, and has not done all that well in stakes company. Forged lifetime best of 70 last time out in a 25k allowance race for fillies.  Possible bounce risk here. Odds: 8-1. My odds: 7/2. Contender, maybe overlay
Top 3 I have very close together but I see it like this:
3 Exit West.
2 Skim The Rail
5 Rousanne

Enlightened Derby/Oaks Trail update: Stakes analysis at Hastings

As I type this, I’m preparing  to move cross country. I’ll be in transit, literally for 3 days.  I should be able to obtain Web access, assuming proper power outlets on the buses.   3 boxes, 2 carryons, and this old self.  Should be fun. The hard part is getting those boxes transported myself. I’ll be taking Greyhound for the journey.

I have just enough time to tell you about the Enlightened Trail races for today.   I can’t guarantee I’ll update you about tomorrow’s Trail races at Zia but I’ll do my best.  At the least, I’ll provide selections via @idealisticstats.

At Hastings Racecourse, Vancouver BC, 2 such races are in play.  Firstly there is the Fantasy Stakes, 75k races at 8.5 furlongs for the fillies.

1 ZIP ONE took 4 tries to break maiden, and first time with new trainer, just 8 days ago. Sure she has to turn it around and stretch from 3.5 to 8.5.  Can it happen? Don’t. know. The only thing for sure is that she’s true to her name, and is the early speed of the field.  Trainer Francisco Ma hoping to catch more lightning in the bottle in his second start of the year.  Odds: 20/1. Me: Same.  Avoid.
3 QUATRE CAT, after a maiden win here, was competitive in 3 consecutive ungraded stakes race, all at at 6.5 furlongs. Best track speed of the field, with an 84 achieved in his first start.  One race from an inside post at 74 Brisnet. Odds: 5/2. Me: 9/2. Contender
5 AMBLESIDE PARK yet to graduate in 3 races. Best AWD numbers from her pedigree (Fusaichi Pegasus/Capliano, by Demons Begone). 3 works since last race. 38 days since last effort, freshest horse among those stretching out. Odds: 9/2. Me: 20-1. Avoid
6 SEEDLE SURPRISE won in her 3rd start, a 50k filly stake sprint. Track bias in her favor: Early-pressing horses are winning 33% of races at the distance. Horses in posts 4 through 7 are winning 19% at the distance.  Odds: 8/1. Me: 10-1. Outsider.
8 THE TENANT comes from a successful maiden debut, 3.5 furlongs wiring the field in a 70 Brisnet figure.  Trainer Pat Jarvis has 3 wins and placings with horses debuting at a route, for a 4.26 ROI.  Also he has 5 wins and 8 placings with horses in non-graded stakes event, for a 5.00 ROI.  Also with 3 works since that debut. Had the best trip from last race coming in.  Odds: 8/1. Me: 6-1
9 SPLENDID SCAT has the most experience of these. Did not fare well in the mud 3 races back, but is the only one with ‘off’ track experience. Jockey Richard Hamel has 31% wins, Craig MacPherson has saddled 29%. Forged new lifetime best of 74 last time out on 9/21 in a province-bred stakes effort.  Considering race shape, her early-pressing style may prove best.22 days removed from last race, she was just 11 days fresh in her maiden win.  No works for that win, none for this race in prep.  Odds: 7/2. Me: Better than 2/1.  Favorite.
Top 3:
9 Splendid Scat
3 Quatre Cat
8 The Tenant
Favorites ahead of value in this one, probably not a wagerable one for value.
For the colts, Hastings hosts the Ascot Graduation, also 75k, also an 8.5 furlong race.
1 PRINCE HOTEL graduated maiden status in 3rd start, last out, with a 70 Brisnet score. Jockey/trainer Marti and VanOverschot have 1 win and 4 placings together in the last 60 days, for an ROI of 4.96. One of several entering this race with a good trip. Odds: 20/1. My odds: 15-1.  Dark horse.
2 BLUE DANCER won the Winnpeg Futirity as Assiniboia las time out, and was 2nd in the Edmonton Juvenile beforehand. Only horse in the field with EDT points, 100 in all. Top AWD numbers in this field.  (Bluegrass Cat/Two Halos, by Saint Ballado).  Won the race in Edmonton on a muddy track, a 73 Brisnet, best of the off-track scores of this field.  Winnipeg Futurity earned him an 87 Brisnet. He’s the clear speed of the field with his particular stalking style.  2 works, 1 a bullet. Has successfully won upon shipping from another track. Is 37 days fresh; won the Winnipeg with 6 weeks notice. Switching to original jockey Rico Walcott, with whom he won debut.  Odds: 9/2. My odds: Better than 2/1. Favorite.
4 FIX BAYONETS yet to graduate after 4 races. Slight new top of 58 achieved stretching out to 6.5 furlongs last time out. 2 fast works since last. Odds: 20-1. My odds: 15-1.
7 OH DEREK won maiden race in 2nd start, was 2nd in a 50k stakes races after, and won a 20k allowance race. Those 3 most recent represent a pace plateau around 80 Brisnet. The 81 Brisnet from his maiden win here is the best at the track of the field. Good trip from last out. Track bias in favor: See my note re the Fantasy Stakes. Finds himself in a middle post where he has both lifetime wins.  Odds: 7/2. My odds: 2/1. Contender.
9 LORD ROSBERG is undefeated at 3, all at Hastings, winning at 6 and 6.5, wiring the field in all 3. Won a province-bred 100k stakes race and the CTH Sales stakes before that, worth 50k. Top jockey Richard Hamel is with trainer Pat Jarvis here (17%). Together they are 4 for 4 in wins in the last 60 days, 3.25 ROI.  Also: Jarvis has 2 wins, 2 placings this year with horses stretching to a route for first time, 4.26 ROI.  Also, 5 wins and 8 placings in non-graded events, for 5.00 ROI.  Odds: 5/2. My odds: 5/1. Contender.
Top 3:
2 Blue Dancer
7 Oh Derek
9 Lord Rosberg
Looks like a chalky result here too, with Blue Dancer picking up another 100 points.

Hopefully see you in transit and some predictions for the 2 big stakes event relevant to the Enlightened Trials at Zia Park tomorrow. @idealisticstats for updates.

Knickerbocker Stakes analysis, plus a further change in my game

A relatively quiet weekend for handicapping, tho the action heats up on Monday and Tuesday with 2 pairs of races for the Enlightened Derby and Oaks Trails.  Being that I’ll be in transit, I will do all my reporting for those 4 races early on Monday.   Not sure what my situation with WiFi will be like on the Greyhound buses.
I’m eliminating working with Multicapper. Too much work to do with each race nowadays to consistently assist in building a winning profile there. I know I’d like to, but apparently one has to be both psychic and finish in the top 5 across different tracks to have any ‘reputation’. I’ll pass.
Besides I’ve made my first changes to my handicapping in months, an answer to what’s become a tough road lately, including fading to 50th in the Emerald Downs contest, and languishing near the very back of the pack at the current Remington Park contest.
To be specific about changes, I’m including my projection as to race shape for each race I work on, and giving it more weight than other variables.  I’m also lessening the value of one variable and putting it in one whole group.  When I make references to ‘pace progress’, I’m grouping variable that suggest a forward move in the near future.  Some of the variables depend on activity off layoff, lifetime best Brisnet scores, horses at bounce risk. I also now include those who have bounced and are likely to bounce back from low speed races or a plateau of races if appropo.
The biggest, and most time-consuming change is what I call a ‘snapshot’ view of the last races a horse won, and run through a dozen factors to see how many factors contributed to those wins, and to judge how many are in play for each horse.   This work is doubling the amount of time I work on each race.   I was inspired, yet again, by the Dave Litfin book “Secrets Of Expert Handicapping”.
The book continues to be an influence as I study trainer angles. What I’ve yet to do is take all the data I’ve compiled in studies of one particular trainer (Kiaran McLaughlin) and all the races of one track’s short meet (Keeneland).   So far, I’m simply gathering data.   I aim to see patterns that are repeating in whatever race I’m focusing on.  I know I’ve a lot to learn but I’m sure it’s worth it.
I’m currently 4 days behind with Keeneland, looking at the past performances from each card, a card a day, and tracking just winners and beaten faves, and organizing each by trainer.

******
Today, aside from my continual contest work with Remington (3 races a day, Wednesday through Saturday), I have time to focus on just one major race, the Grade 3 Knickerbocker at Beautiful Belmont.    It’s the only turf race on the card, and is in yielding condition.  6 horses remain out of the original 9, going 9 furlongs.  Here are the contenders:

1 PLAINVIEW won an 80k optional claimer here back in July, and is rather competitive, yet not winning out, in better class. In 10 races at Belmont, he has 4 wins and 7 placings, and his best Brisnet here is 98, achieved  in ast year’s Knickerbocker. He’s since reached that ceiling twice. As the lone speed, the race should likely be in his hooves. Key stat: 3 works since the Grade 3 Cliffhanger at Monmouth in August, all at Belmont, last 2 very fast. The Cliffhanger was an excellent competitive effort for the sprinter going 9 furlongs.  Running on the rail should suit him.  Track bias: In 6 races at 9 furlongs on dirt, 3 winners have been sprinters, and 2 from the rail position. ML odds 6/1. Me: 5/2  Contender.

2 WINNING CAUSE won the Cliffhanger, his only win in a year’s time. Top AWD numbers from pedigree (Giant’s Causeway/Raffishing Look, by Kingmambo). Comes in with best off track numbers of the field, one start worth an 88 Brisnet. Consistent high-90s Brisnet scores all of 2014, peaking at 100 in the Cliffhanger. He won that race increasing in class from a 100k restricted event at Saratoga.  Today he up from a 200k stakes event at Parx last month.  ML odds: 6/1. Me: 20/1. Dark horse
4 SPEAKING OF WHICH won the Monmouth last out in June, also a Grade event at Calder in December.  2 races back he was 4th in the Fort Marcy here, with a 104 Brisnet, best of the distance as well as turf for this field.  Off layoff of 4 months, has no rust risk here. 5 works at Belmont which is impressive by itself, but no pattern developing amidst those works, not even speed.  An off turf condition should not be much trouble.  ML: 4-1.Me: 10-1. Dark horse.
6 LEGENDARY has 3 wins in 4 races. 5 wins, 12 placings in 18 lifetime, and 2-for-2 here. Since a 2 month layoff for the winter, he’s run very consistent Brisnet numbers, all in the 90’s.  Some of his recent races were in the UK and it would appear, based on distance and final time that he’s running the fastest races of his career now.  This stalker appears to have the best speed of the field, hopefully enough to overcome the lone speed in Plainview. A lot to like from the snapshot view: 3 works including a bullet work which preceded a previous win; a successful shipping to Belmont in the past, no problem with prior move up in class, also has won on yielding turf.  Middle post suits him well. ML odds: 8/1. I agree completely.
7 UP WITH THE BIRDS  is top class here, winning the Nijinsky 2 races back at Woodbine, also the Jamaica here a year ago. Pace progression is best of this field: In the Nijinsky improved to a small new top, from 98 to 100. Bounced last time out, running 4th in the Arlington Million. Should be primed to bounce back here with the outside post. Snapshot: Successful ship here from Woodbine winning the Jamaica, cuts back from 10 furlongs, has a win over poor turf, and Cornelio Velasquez is back aboard, with whom he won the Jamaica. ML odds: 3/1. My odds for him about the same.   Contender, favorite.

9 MSHAWISH had run in 4 countries before debuting stateside in the Oceanport at Monmouth, 2 months ago. Nosed out a win in an 80k race after.  Mixed results in his racing overseas with a Grade 1 win at Meydan this winter. Best jockey/trainer combo here: Javier Castellano with 19% wins, Todd Pletcher 27%. The foreign races make it hard for me to gauge pace but I can surmise he’s running his best lifetime races now also.  Possible bounce risk, coming off a 93 Brisnet ahead of an 96 in his last pair of races.   Up in class here, stretching from a mile, also can handle turf, winning scenarios for this horse in the past.  ML odds: 10/1. I think he’s a contender at 6-1.

Top 4:
7 Up With The Birds
1 Plainview
9 Mshawish
6 Legendary

I’m hearing mention of a Breeders Cup party at Emerald Downs party on either 10/31 or 11/1. Looks like I’ll be going.  I’ll be all settled in by then, as I’m making the big cross-country move in 2 days.
Follow me at @idealisticstats for contest picks at Remington, and any updates for this stakes race.