Saturday recap of Graded stakes, Enlightened Trails, Future Wager

So much to get to here. We’ll start with the updated Enlightened Derby and Oaks Trail charts. Following a number of races in the South division these 2 weekends, there are some changes at the top and bottom overall to determine who gets into the big shows.
I’ve enclosed an updated list of my mythical Derby and Oaks fields. Looking at the Derby field first, I’ve updated this with 3 new names to replace last week.  International Star and Stanford each get a spot thanks to their 1-2 finish in the Louisiana Derby.  Materiality’s win in the Florida Derby all but punches his ticket to the Run for those Roses.  With 3 wild-card spots to fill because of multiple winners in divisions and the removal of Texas Red from the trail, the top 3 of the best of the rest are these: Ami’s Flatter (2nd, Tampa Bay Derby; 3rd, Florida Derby) Stanford, and American Pharoah, who broke a tie with 7 horses. I simply had to go as far as as his Grade 1 victory at age 2 in the Del Mar Futurity.
In the Oaks Trail, 2 new entries replace the older. The winners of the Fair Grounds and Gulfstream Oaks, I’m A Chatterbox and Birdatthewire, take the top 2 positions in the South for the time being.  No changes until 4/4, as we witness the running of the Fantasy Stakes at Oaklawn. A top 3 finish here will seal a place in my Oaks field.
On this super Saturday, I kept watch on the major action at both Gulfstream Park and Fair Grounds, plus Dubai. I woke up too late to get picks in for the Derby Dollars Contest race involving the UAE Derby but did enter 2 of the races based in the South.   My Dubai World Cup pick was pretty accurate, as my top 3 finished in 3-2-1 order! Prince Bishop was an upset winner of the world’s richest race. If only I had been up, I’d have wagered a few exactas.   Also on that Saturday, for the Public Handicapper contest, I managed one win (International Star) against 3 losses. PH is pretty demanding in that way…you score based on the win payout of your wins and you take losses otherwise.
How was my accuracy in the predictions mentioned for Saturday?
Honeyfox Stakes: I did nail Coffee Clique’s 3rd place finish.
Orchid Stakes: Kitten’s Point was 3rd instead of my predicted 2nd.
Fair Grounds Oaks: Shook Up finished 2nd, not 3rd.
Gulfstream Park Oaks:  Birdatthewire did win this, instead of 2nd.
Louisiana Derby:  War Story finished 3nd instead of my predicted 2rd; likewise International Star won instead of being 3rd. So this was a somewhat more accurate read.
Florida Derby: Upstart was in the mixing, finishing 2nd but I had him to win.
3 divisions will close up on the truly super of Saturdays for April 4. For the fillies, it will be the Gazelle in the East Coast (Aqueduct), the Ashland in Heartland (Keeneland) and the Fantasy in the South (Oaklawn).  For the Derby runners, it’s the Wood Memorial for the East Coast (Aqueduct), the Santa Anita Derby in Cali and the Blue Grass Stakes for the Heartland (Keeneland)
We’ll look at the nominations for the horses in these major races to see who may have the best opportunity to finish in the top 4 of the divisions.  For each race on the real trail, a top 3 finish would be enough for a Derby opportunity. On my trail, it’s pretty much the same at this juncture.
Derby:  Top 4 horses already with 1000, the equivalent of a win.  I do not have info on Arkansas Derby nominations yet. This race will run on 4/11. suggests 4 horses that are probable for that race, but only Far Right has any points in the division and just 50 at that.  If it’s all horses from outside the division, that horse would have to win outright for any chance to be in my mythical field.
Heartland: Blue Grass Stakes has a lot of possibilities. Top 4 bottom out with 250 points, so a win or 2nd will make an impact, and maybe 3rd or 4th from those with points already.  Those to watch who have points: International Star (25), El Kabeir (250), Firespike (250).
East Coast: Also needing 250 to crack the current top 4, tho Upstart does have 100. Horses to watch: Daredevil, Upstart, El Kabeir (25). HRN says Daredevil and El Kabeir are probable.
Cali: 250 to make the show. Look for these to be entered in the SA Derby:: Dortmund (250), American Pharoah (250), Conquest Typhoon (250), Harmonic (125), Firing Line (100). HRN believes Dortmund is probable.
For the fillies:
South: Top 3 already have 1000, so a win by someone with no points in the Fantasy Stakes could be enough. If not for the top 4 then perhaps a wild-card entry, as I’d take the horse with the most points outside of a top 4 position, compensating for those who are off the actual Trail, or who have high scores in more than 1 division. Forever Unbridled is the one filly from the noms with EOT points, 250 at that. Not listed by HRN as probable.
Heartland: Top 3 bottom out with 250 points.  Look for these from the nominations to the Ashland: Sweet Success (500), West Coast Belle (250), Sarah Sis (100).
East Coast: Top 3 also round out at 250. Here are horses with EOT points nominated to the Gazelle: Condo Commando (275), Wonder Gal (100), Feathered (50), Angela Renee (50)
Cali: Top 3 have as little as 125 and really goes lower with Take Charge Brandi being off the trail yet leading with 500.  So possibly even a 4th place finish can get a horse into my mythical Oaks field. I’ve not seen noms for this race yet, but HRN doesn’t list any fillies that have EOT points.
I did some last minute research to figure out if several of my top choices might still be on the actual Derby Trail.  I got fixated on my eventual top 3 and forgot to place another series of exacta wagers. That mistake I hope will not come back to haunt me.
To remind you, I had conditional wagers on my top 3: International Star, Daredevil, Dortmund.  International Star predictable took more $ in the pool after his win and so I eliminated him. Daredevil is not getting any love and he was an easy 1st choice.  I have to hope he scores well in the Blue Grass or Wood, whichever he gets eligible to.  Dortmund also took more $ and I skipped him. So I had to find 2 more to put win bets on. Mr Z was next in my rankings, but his poor effort Saturday steered me away from taking a chance on him again, despite very low odds.  Upstart was next, and he was easy to snap up as a 2nd choice.  I then ranked Bold Conquest below him.  Bold Conquest needs points, and he’s in better shape than Mr. Z, next likely running in the Blue Grass Stakes. I think he’ll need a top 3 finish to have a chance.    I had to go 7-deep to pick 3 available horses for a win bet.
The wager:
Win $2 on Daredevil, Upstart, Bold Conquest.
Exacta ($1) between these horses, and also field above and below these.  Total wagered: $18.
I had ranked International Star with Daredevil and Dortmund, and had intended to wager $1 exactas between these and likewise field and under, for another $12 but time ran out on me.
Wednesday I’ll provide a first look at all of the stakes action as entries are set.

Oaklawn Park picks 3/29 and more..

I’m playing today’s full card contest at  where I’d like to build back some ‘reputation’ by scoring well in contests. Those contests are 4 times a week, Thursday through Sunday.  Today  I have time to monitor the card, with first post at 1130am PT.   Deadline for picks was midnight so I’m helpless against changes and such. Not sure if I get the post-time favorite as with some contests when a pick is scratched. The points are allocated based on my accuracy of the top 3 in each.  Basically, you have to flex your psychic muscle. Yesterday, the consensus that forms the official tip sheet picked several pick-3s and 1 pick-4, no exactas, across 3 races.  So I’m posting my picks below in hopes you’ll find winners here. Horses with morning-line worse than 5-1 have a *:
Race 1: 2x-3-6
Race 2: 5-6*-7
Race 3: 3-4-2 (3 has since scratched)
Race 4: 8*-7*-1*
Race 5: 4-2*-5*
Race 6: 11*-10-7*
Race 7: 1*-7-10*
Race 8: 1-4-6
Race 9: 9-7-4

I’m turning to Remington Park today to work on 3 daily contest races…then around noon I put nearly all emphasis watching the Future Wager to see just which horses will get my $.  A lot has shifted, and I may have to use lower-ranked horses because of the better odds some are getting, and the fact that some horses may actually be off the actual Derby Trail.
Keep watch on Twitter at @idealisticstats for more.

I’ll save the Saturday recap for Monday…but did you see my trifecta pick for the UAE Derby? If only I was around to wager the exacta….

Enlightened Trails update: Stakes action at Gulfstream, Fair Grounds

Lots to cover today, so let’s jump into action first with the lower of the stakes races.
HONEY FOX Stakes at Gulfstream is a Grade 2 event for fillies/mares 4YO+, going a mile on the GP turf.  300k at stake.
Top 3: #6 Baffle Me, #7 Istanford, #8 Coffee Cliqure.
Baffle Me had finished off her 4YO campaign well with 3 straight wins in sprints. Has placed only once, her most recent race, a 2nd in the South Beach here on December 13.  6-2-2-1 record at GP in fact. Has proven to win off layoff. Best work tab of the field: 5 works at GP, 3 very fast, all at 4 furlongs. Has won before with middle post. Increased Brisnet speed rating from 81 to 89 last time.  Proven to win with increase in class, and is freshest of those stretching out here.  Looks like big value to succeed here.The ORCHID Stakes is also for filles/mares 4YO+, 150k for this Grade 3 race. 12 furlongs on the turf.
Top 3: #7 Riposte. #4 Kitten’s Point. #2 White Rose.
RIPOSTE is the morning-line fave. 12-4-4-1 record, with the first half of his career racing across Europe. Grade 2 wins include the Ribblesdale at Ascot, the Sheepshead Bay and New York Stakes at Belmont last year.  Runaway favorite for this stalking type. Best AWD numbers (Dansili/Rainbow Lake by Rainbow Quest). Best connections: Javier Castellano 25% wins, William Mott 16%. Went through a triple increase in pace before a bounce last time out in The Very One stakes here last month.  May want to hope for some value using my other picks underneath..
We’ll go from here to the 2 pairs of races in the South division as part of my Enlightened Trail series.   After today, one race will remain in this division, to determine which horses get to the Run for all those Roses.
As the Oaks Trail stands, 250 points is enough for the division, with 500 for any wild-card entrants.
The Fair Grounds Oaks is a Grade 2 event for the fillies, 8.5 furlongs. Each horse has failed to register to score in this division.  Point scheme: 1000-500-250-125.
Top 3: #3 Jugni. #4 Audrey’s Double, #7 Shook Up.  Value to shake things up in this event.
Jugni has raced all but one of her 6 lifetime at 6 furlongs, scoring a 50k maiden claiming win and a similar win last out.   2 races ago she was all but eased in her lone 5.5 furlong race, on a yielding turf course. It’s such an anomaly that I will throw out that effort.  James Graham aboard with 20% wins, and Bernard Flint with 22% training wins.  Nice progression in pace, just peaking past her 2YO best of 82 with an 87 last time out.  Best works too: 4 at Fair Grounds, all very fast, one a bullet. Did I mention she’s the lone sprinter of the field?  Having a win moving up in class and in distance, plus not running since 2/14, she’s my top fave, despite 20/1 M-L odds.
GULFSTREAM PARK OAKS is an 8.5 furlong race for 3YO fillies on the Trail.
Top 3:
#3 Ekati’s Phaeton. #8Birdatthewire, #5 Cristina’s Jouney.
Ekati’s Phaeton, best of the first crop  from one of my favorite stallions, Tale of Ekati.  Phaeton won the mile-long Davona Dale gate to wire with a sparkling 104 last time here, also won the Grade 3 Old Hat in January.  4 of 5 lifetime at GP in fact. This sprinter appears to be the speed of the field.
I love this horse, but the odds are not attractive with the top 3 factored in.


Onto the Enlightened Derby Trail now. 500 points is required at this time to advance to my mythical Derby field, while 250 may be enough to hang on.  Top 3 in either major stakes event for the boys will put those horses in the conversation.
LOUISIANA DERBY is a Grade 2 event, 9 furlongs, 750k at stake.
Top 3:
#5 A Day in Paradise
#6 War Story
#9 International Star
A Day In Paradise is in my Enlightened Derby field. Winner of the Texas Heritage Stakes, 5-2-1-1 lifetime, this sprinter has only run routes.  Best connections coming in: Kerwin Clark riding 14% winners, Larry Jones saddling 25%. New tops of 83 and 85 in last 2, the 85 his debut at 3. Prior winner moving up in class and stretchout, as well as winning as shipper.
FLORIDA DERBY is a major 9 furlong race, Grade 1, $1 million:
Top 3:
#9 Upstart, #8 Dekabrist, #6 My Point Exactly
Upstart is another of my overall favorites in action.  Winner of the Grade 2 Fountain Of Youth and the Holy Bull at GP to begin his 3YO campaign. In the money all of his 6 starts. 2nd call pace numbers outrank the competiton. May have advantage with outside draw. 95 win in the FOY was down from 105 in the Holy Bull….sky is the limit.

2015 Kentucky Derby Pool 4 wager musings

To begin with, here are my picks from each pool of the Derby Future Wager:
Pool 1 is where I chose 5 but ultimately didn’t feel confident enough to make the $2 win bets on:
Texas Red (14-1), Mr.Z (47-1), Imperia (27-1), Lucky Player (99), Ocho Ocho Ocho (29)
Pool 2 where I placed $2 win tickets on:
Texas Red (9)  El Kabeir (39), Imperia (24), Mr. Z (44), Dortmund (10)
Pool 3 I have win tickets of 3 horses, along with exactas to each other and the field (4):
Lord Nelson (39), Texas Red (14), International Star (22).  I had ranked Dortmund (9) and Upstart (15) below these.
Texas Red has since bowed out of the Derby Trail so that’s some $ burned right there. There are still 6 horses I directly have interest in, 4 of which are available in Pool 4 directly  The trick here is to buy with lower odds, enough to allow the reality principle to be in play (does the horse have enough points or earning on the real trail to get in the show?). Using the same mix of variables as with the prior pools, I’ll give you my top 8, in reverse order.    A range of horses scored very closely. I had to use several different head-to-head matchups to rank them all in such a way that made sense.
Ranked 8th: Materiality, who scored with great pedigree and AWD numbers (Afleet Alex sired), a combo no other horse here has. Winner at 9 furlongs (Islamorada Handicap at Gulfstream). 2 for 2 lifetime.  Next race for him will be the Florida Derby on Saturday.
Ranked 7th: Firing Line, who averages a 102 Brisnet if measured strictly by his running style. Winner at 9 furlongs, a 14 length victory and new track record in the Sunland Derby. Pace progressed from maiden debut of 92 to 101. Next: Unsure.
Ranked 6th: Bold Conquest. Sired by Curlin. 2nd in the Iriquois at Churchill with an 89 Brisnet. The 89 score represents good pace progression through his 2YO season.  Next:
I will consider my top 3 of 5 for any wagers, tho I will ignore a horse if he’s already been wagered on and I cannot get a better deal than previous pools.  In those cases I’ll use the 4th or 5th pick.  The field is always in play.

5th: UPSTART again is on the outside looking in.  Grade 2 victories in the Fountain of Youth and the Holy Bull, plus the ungraded Funny Cide.  Top pace numbers currently using his run style (2nd call numbers are around 103). Has one of the better dosage profiles. Sire is Flatter, out of AP Indy. Next race: 3/28, Florida Derby.
4th: MR Z again factors here. Another good dosage profile (AP Indy and Storm Cat his grandsires). In the mix thanks to a run over CD, a slow 81 in his maiden debut.  2nd best pace progress at 2YO of the field, peaking at 100. Next race: 3/28 LA Derby

3rd: DORTMUND graduates to favored status.  Arguably the top undefeated horse on the continent.  Winner of the Los Alamitos Futurity, the Robert B Lewis and the San Felipe.   Best Brisnet at Churchill, a 98 in an optional claimer worth 75k. Very good pace form, as he’s made 2 triple-digit small tops at age 3.  Next race: Santa Anita Derby,  4/4.
2nd: DAREDEVIL also shines here, with alternate good and decent efforts pace-wise. Winner of the Champagne Stakes.  2nd call numbers average a 102 score. Great dosage numbers (More Than Ready sire out of Southern Halo). A 106 Brisnet to begin his 3YO campaign is a small new top, and it’s a good time to have one.  Next: Wood Memorial on 4/4
1st: INTERNATIONAL STAR. Grade 2 winner of the Risen Star. Raced just about everywhere plus Canada. Brisnet of 89 at Churchill’s KY Jockey Club Gold Cup.Good 2YO progression leading up to that race.  Small tops up to 97 make him rather attractive. Next race: LA Derby, 3/28.
Here’s how I have to look at this: Should International Star threaten to be worse than, say, 27-1, I’ll place more bets his way.  Ditto with Dortmund at 15-1. If I do have to slip down to 4th to get Mr. Z, I have to see him worse than 49-1, which is certainly possible. If not, then I must  use Upstart.
Here’s the accompanying spreadsheet
I won’t be around to monitor the action live except for Saturday evening and all of Sunday.  Updates will come at @idealisticstats

Due to the weekend schedule being so soon, I’m posting my picks for 6 races overnight, 4 at Gulfstream, 2 at Fair Grounds.

Thoughts on 2015 UAE Derby & Dubai World Cup

I want to get this post out of the way as there’s a lot to type about. For this post specifically you’ll see my approach in picking horses in the UAE Derby and Dubai World Cup.
Honestly this was very difficult because the non-North American horses do not get Brisnet numbers.  What I decided was to approximate the winning time with the distance, then subtract a bit based on lengths back. It was painstaking, to go over every PP for 2 races, but I got it done. I was able to create this makeshift pace form to determine what appear to be fast/slow trends.
Here’s my top 3 for the UAE Derby, a race for 10 3YOs going 9.5 furlongs.
#7 Kentucky-bred GOLDEN BAROWS has 4 lifetime races, all at 1 mile, in Tokyo. Won the Hyacinth, 287k ungraded race, last time.  3 wins and a 2nd lifetime, all wins as the top choice by the public.  The best I can guess is that he’s reached small new tops to start his 3YO campaign, and seems to have the fastest pace overall. 2 wins from a middle post.
#9 MAFTOOL has 7 lifetime races, 3 wins, 2 secons, 1 3rd. At Meydan: 1 win and 1 3rd, coming during this meet. Seems to have the best connections coming in (Saaed bin Suroor, Paul Hanagan). Winner of Graded stakes events on grass and turf. First 5 races in England, last 2 here at Meydan, with a win in the UAE 2000 Guineas.
#10 DEAR DOMUS, like Golden Barows, has Asian connections. All races in Japan, with 2 ungraded stakes wins. Only reason I consider him is a noticeable gain in pace in his last few races.
The world’s richest race, the Dubai World Cup involves 9 of the best thoroughbreds anywhere, going 10 furlongs.
#5 LEA, racing in Gulfstream for the last 4 races, has 2 Graded victories. Can win right off layoff. Reported 4 works since his last race (Donn Handicap, 2/7), all very fast, including one bullet.  Slight bounce risk. Previously won after gaining a handful of pounds as he does here.
#9 CALIFORNIA CHROME, since his Triple Crown attempt, has mixed results, though does have a win in the Hollywood Derby on 11/29, then 2nd in the Santa Anita Invitational. Only horse in the field who appears to have forward pace progression
The oddsmakers seems to agree on Lea and Chrome are the top 2 for certain.  My 3rd choice might not be as popular: #1 PRINCE BISHOP arrives with multiple wins on the Meydan course, and was 9th in the World Cup last year. Best connections here (Saaed bin Suroor, William Buick). Several wins from an inner post.
2 races, probably not very exciting in terms of turning a profit, but the competition is worth watching. Go
Next post, as soon as I’m able to publish it, will focus on this weekend’s Derby Future Wager, Pool 4.  Beyond that, I should have to post about Saturday’s major stakes races, including the Enlightened Trails events.

Enlightened Trail, Derby/Oaks field update

So for starters, here’s what earned me the win in the contest run by  I correctly surmised that Balto More was the benefit of track bias: From 210 races run at Laurel during the meet, 32% were won by a pure sprinter, with decreasing percentages for all other types. Also, posts 4 through 7 were winning at a rate of 15%.  Balto More was the only horse matching either trend.  This 7YO was the only horse of the 12 running with a pace pattern that normally suggested a bounce, going from 62 to 74 Brisnet in his last effort, a race similar to this one. I wasn’t sure what to attribute the gain to outside of the fact he was splitting time between Laurel and Charles Town races. But he wasn’t getting any love from the public based on the odds. And here he was Saturday at 30-1.    I somehow miscalculated in thinking he was the only sprinter..and I actually gave him more weight than I should have. But it worked out, amazingly enough.   The spoils? Some swag and merch from the Maryland Horse Breeders Association, and from Laurel Park.  My 2nd ever contest win.  It feels darn good, I’ll say that much.

Now to the Enlightened Trails.   With 5 races this prior weekend, a lot has changed.  For the Derby Trail, top 4 in each division becomes part of my mythical Derby starting field. Ties are broken first by seeing who won a higher Graded stakes race, then I go with longer distance run, then purse money.  When there are defections or injuries to the horses from the Trail, along with those who are scoring in the top 4 in multiple divisions, I use a wild-card method and take the top horse in overall points involved in the tie, crossing all divisions.   For the Oaks Trail, it’s top 3 in each division, top 2 from the Minor tracks, to reach a field of 14.
The Minor track division concluded with the running of the Private Terms Stakes at Laurel Park.  Bridget’s Big Luvy and Bodhisattva take the top 2 spots here and also make it to the top 4 of the division. Joining them are Why Two and A Day In Paradise, winners of the Turf Paradise Derby and Texas Heritage Stakes.  Those 4 horses are locked into my Derby field.   3 others just miss out tho they may have an edge in tiebreakers should others leave the Trail: Ride Hard Kowboy (2nd in the TP Derby), and Academy Bay (2nd in the Texas Heritage).
The Southern division picture is a bit clearer now, as Firing Line won the Sunland Park Derby, with Where’s the Moon 2nd, Pain & Misery 3rd.  Still 3 more races to go, Saturday’s Louisiana and Florida Derbies, and the Arkansas Derby on 4/11.  To make my Derby field, 500 points would be the benchmark, which means a win or 2nd place could be enough.

In the Heartland division, upon the running of the Spiral Stakes, 3 of the top 4 slots come from the top 3 finishers in that race with El Kabeir still hanging on. Top 4 have at least 250. Recount I imagine is off the Trail. Last race of the division is the Blue Grass Stakes on 4/4.  Looking at the nominations, El Kabeir, Firespike, Task Force Glory, Private Prospect, Imperia, and International Star are on the list. These horses each have some points in the division.
East Coast: This division has been dormant since October. The reason for that is there are so many actual races done there with points toward the actual Trail, and I can’t count any of them because I select just the top race that would logically fit. It’s why I created the system in the first place. So we hold our breath until 4/4, the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct.  Among those with points in the division, Upstart, Daredevil and El Kabeir are on the list.
California: Last race here is the Santa Anita Derby on 4/4.  From 118 nominations, here are those with division points: Texas Red, Dortmund, American Pharaoh, Conquest Typhoon, Harmonic, Firing Line, Calculator, and Bench Warrant.
Turning to the EOT: 6 races remain across 4 divisions.  In the Minor division, 2 fillies are locked into the mythical Oaks field: Maybellene and Sharla Rae.  Maybellene’s 550 points leads all. She scored via a DQ in the Sunland Park Oaks. By The Moon, SUM Racer and Sharla Rae all tied for 2nd with 500. By The Moon already has the lead in the East Coast division. Sharla Rae gets in because of her longer distance win (8.5 furlongs in the California Oaks).
South: This division heats up with 2 races this weekend, the Fair Grounds and Gulfstream Park Oaks, along with the Fantasy Stakes on 4/4 to close it out. With all this action ahead, it’s hard to figure who will be the 3 fillies who will advance.   Nevertheless we’ll try based on available info.
GP Oaks has just one filly from this division nominated who has points, Danessa Deluxe.
In the FG Oaks, no such horses with EOT points are in the nominations…so it will come down to who finishes In the top 2.  250, realistically 500, will be enough for the Oaks field.
The Bourbonette Oaks cleared up the picture more, as Don’t Leave Me (my top pick) and Sweet Success go 1-2 in that race and in this division. West Coast Belle’s win in the Golden Rod holds up here.  The big race is the Ashland at Keeneland on 4/4, a Grade 1 race that should lock It up for the top 2 finishers there. Nominations include Sweet Success, West Coast Belle, and Sarah Sis.

East Coast: Next and last race is the Gazelle at Aqueduct on 4/4. Nominations including horses with points in this division: Wonder Gal, Condo Commando, Feathered, Angela Renee.

Cali: Santa Anita Oaks on 4/4 wraps up the EOT. From the nominations, only Maybellene has points coming in. Of course, she already is locked into the Oaks field, so there may be room for another filly to step up.
Outside of the horses I mentioned, anyone can just up and snag a spot in either mythical field with a win or 2nd in the upcoming races.

A lot to look forward to: 4 races total in either trail on 3/28, 7 on 4/4, and 1 on 4/11.  Lest we forget there is the huge Dubai World Cup Card, and the final Derby Future Wager, both this weekend.

As a bit of a postscript, I compared my current 20 (italicized in the accompanying spreadsheet) to the actual 20 leading the actual Derby Trail.  About half of the  top 24 (20 plus top 4 not nominated) are also on my list.

Enlightened Trails update: Sunland Park

So much to catch up on from Saturday! I won The Racing Biz’s monthly contest, thanks to Balto More’s 30-1 score in the final race, and 5 placings out of 6 in Remington’s High Q Test.  Here was the announcement:

This morning I wake up rather late to do much analysis for the RP selections for today’s part of the contest.   But I do have thoughts about the big races at Sunland, with both races in focus for the Enlightened Trails.
With yesterday’s races I have updated the standings tho I will print the latest chart after Sunday’s action.  Essentially, the Minor division for the colts has closed.  Bridget’s Big Luvy (Private Terms winner), Why Two (Turf Paradise Derby) , A Day In Paradise (Texas Heritage Stakes), with 500 points are locked into my Derby field, along with Bodhisattva with his 250 points, finishing 2nd in the Private Terms.  From the Heartland division, with Dubai Sky’s win in the Spiral, he leads with 1000 points. Conquest Typhoon (2nd in the Spiral) is 2nd with 500. El Kabeir and Firespike (3rd in the Spiral) have 250. These 4 are in but not locked in as there is one race left in that division, the Blue Grass Stakes.    Top two in the Bourbonette Oaks, Don’t Leave Me and Sweet Success, have the lead in their Heartland division with 1000 and 500 respectively. West Coast Belle is 3rd with 250 points.   Then in the filly Minor division, By The Moon now assumes the lead in tiebreakers with 500 points, over SUM Racer and Sharla Rae.   I’ll update the charts and outline who is in and out by Sunday evening.

SUNLAND OAKS involves leading 3YO fillies going 8.5 furlongs, 200k purse.  Top 4 earn 1000-500-250-125. Essentially the winner gets locked into my mythical KY Oaks field, and the 2nd place finisher should be in that mix as well. Only room for the top 2 in the Minor division to get into that one.
Top 3 :
(2) CALLBACK makes her EDT debut in this race. Winner of the Las Virgiennes last time out at Santa Anita in January, 2nd in the Santa Ynez there as well. 4 works at SA during the layoff, so you know she’s been thoroughly prepared for this particular race.  This sprinter has the best early fractions of the field, a race with no closers to be found in.  With 4 lifetime races, only her maiden debut was uneventful.  Deserving pre-race favorite.
(7)ROUSANNE seems best of the rest. Already with 8 lifetime starts, placed in several ungraded stakes here at good prices. Only win came in her maiden debut last May. She has the best connections in the field (Ry Eikleberry riding 27% wins, trainer Justin Evans 26%). She was laid off from October to January, responding well and improved from initial 2015 race with a new top of 79 in the Island Fashion here last time. Probably not fast enough to defeat Callback tho.
(3) FANCY & FLASHY after being claimed from poor maiden debut, shipped to Sunland, turned in some good works, and broke maiden 2 starts later. Big stretch out here from 5.5 furlongs. I like the paired tops of 77 and the fact that she comes out of a good trip compared to others.
A good race to have value horses under the big fave in exactas, which is how I would play this, maybe even 2 or 3 to win outright between these 3 sprinters.
The SUNLAND DERBY is a Grade 3 event for top 3YO colts, 800k purse. This race is part of the Southern division of the EDT. Points are 1000-500-250-125.  Top 2 will be major players for the KY Derby within the EDT, tho there still 3 more races in that division to determine who will belong.    Lord Nelson, whom I liked in the Pool 3 future wager, is an early scratch. Reports are he will head to Aqueduct for the Bay Shore Stakes next month.
Top 3:
(1) FIRING LINE finished first or 2nd in all four lifetime races. 2nd in the Robert B. Lewis at Santa Anita last month, 2nd in the Los Alamitos Futurity prior to that. All 4 races saw small increases in his Brisnet speed ratings from 92 to 100.  He is clearly the speed of the field. 4 very fast works at SA in prep for today. Also deserving his morning-line favorite status.
(4) WHY TWO is very easy to like: 4th in his maiden debut at 56k, then won at the same level 22 days later with lifetime best of 96, then wired the Turf Paradise Derby field last month at a slower 85.  Switches back to Victor Espinoza for this. 3 works at SA, all fast, include a bullet work. I like that he won shipping to Turf Paradise as well. Best of the rest. Already in my EDT KY Derby field.
(3)  WHERE’S THE MOON after claim by Henry Dominguez posted new tops of 77 and a big 94 last time out here, winning the 100k Mine That Bird Derby. Horse-for-course; 2 wins in 3 starts at Sunland. Stretch to 9 furlongs should not be an issue.
SImilar to the Sunload Oaks, we have a clear favorite, and equally clear contending value underneath.