2015 Kentucky Oaks analysis, selections, wagering

And here we are with Derby and Oaks week upon us, the first week of another Churchill Downs meet, where the track bias is still up for grabs, the crowds are insanely large and overseen by an organization that is largely criticized these days over matters of takeout % and other financial matters.  It recalls a passage in Hunter S. Thompson’s “The Kentucky Derby is Decadent And Depraved”: ’Pink faces with stylish Southern sag, old Ivy styles, seersucker coats and buttondown collars. “Mayblossom Senility” … burnt out early or maybe just not much to burn in the first place…’
Maybe I’ll head to Louisville once just to say I’ve been to the grand old track, and for either the Oaks or Derby. Certainly those races are a pretty big deal, the representation of the best that thoroughbred racing has to offer, even if the format is skewed toward one coast or the other, and few tracks at that that have the impact on the field.    I know for certain that I do want to cover big races in person, and that may well be in the near future as I continue to roll out the next Derby/Oaks Trail campaign.
Putting aside the Derby for this post in favor of the Oaks, I wanted to see if the Oaks Trail matched up with mine.  The horses that I included in my Trail that didn’t make this year’s field were Don’t Leave Me, Maybellene, Sharla Rae, Luminence, and By The Moon.  So with 9 of 14 horses that I approve of, I say the actual Trail seems to be OK.  What about the horses that got in that I didn’t rank high enough? Those fillies are Eskenformoney, Forever Unbridled, Peace and War (also-eligible), Oceanwave, and Sarah Sis.

As for handicapping this week, I had done an experiment, by which I considered being in a $10 satellite to a Saturday contest, en route to a seat in Vegas for a major handicapping contest there.  I tried my own hand at 8 contest races used last week (measured by mythical $2 win/place bets) and measured the average results. Seems that, to advance to the Saturday final, for Wednesday contests I would need to generate $45.   I scored about $26 on my own.   It was enough for me to put off doing that contest.  Maybe I’ll consider it in June.
I do have these contests I play in:  Emerald Downs (Friday through Sunday, last 6 races each), Remington Park (3 races, quarter horses, Thursday through Sunday, elimination event).  Soon I’ll also take part in Meadowlands and the annual Survival At The Shore at Monmouth (3 races a day, I think 3 days a week, elimination event)

So let’s go horse-by-horse for the Kentucky Oaks!

FOREVER UNBRIDLED: 3rd in 2 Grade 3 events. Did not qualify for the Enlightened Oaks Trail. Placed in all 5 lifetime events, 4 at Fair Grounds, 1 at Churchill as maiden debut. 3 works since the Fair Grounds Oaks, 2 local, 1 fast. Holds an 87 Brisnet in the Silverbulletday, then up to lifetime best 93 in the Rachel Alexandra, down again to an 88 last time. Definitely a bounceback candidate. Once a winner while stretching out and as a shipper, and is one of 4 horses waiting since late March while stretching in distance from 8.5 furlongs.   Not in my top 10. Projected odds: 42-1 or worse.

SHOOK UP Alternating 2nd place finishes, lone win at maiden level. Was a replacement qualifier in the EOT for her 2nd place finish in the Fair Grounds Oaks last out. No rain in the forecast for Friday, otherwise she’d rank a bit better for her good off-track performances as maiden.  Prior win gaining in distance, as shipper and also has waited since late March to stretch out. 3 works, 1 bullet at Churchill. Not in my top 10.  Projected odds: 42-1 or worse.
INCLUDE BETTY won the Fantasy Stakes (Grade 3) last time, along with the Suncoast at Tampa Bay. Qualified in the EOT as replacement candidate. ROI angle: Rosemary Homeister Jr and Thomas Proctor have combined for 6 races, winning 1, for 4.60 return. Small new top in pace achieved at 3 with an 83 to break maiden, later succeeded by an 86 in the Florida Oaks and a 91 in the Fantasy. I’ve ranked this closer as fastest of the field, should she get the proper trip, like she did in the Fantasy.  Owns a win as a shipper.  I rank her 3rd in the field of 14 and the best of the few overlays in the field. Projected odds: 6-1.
ESKENFORMONEY 2nd in the Gulfstream Park Oaks last out, 3rd in the Davona Dale before that with lifetime best 104 Brisnet. 2 works, 1 fast one at Churchill, one bullet. One shipping win. Also stretching from 8.5 furlongs since 3/28. Not in my top 10.  Projected odds: 42-1.
CONDO COMMANDO: Winner of 5 of 6 including the Gazelle, the Busher, the Demoiselle, and the Grade 1 Spinaway. Highest score in the EOT overall. Fastest for the 9-furlong distance with wins at 97 and 102 Brisnet. 2 of his 5 wins are from a similar middle post. She’s also the lone pure speed in the race (last 3 first-call numbers range from 92 to 110). Last 3 races have seen a triple-up in pace, 97 to 102, strongly above her previous.  Has the best trip coming in of any horse in the field.  This sprinter won gate-to-wire in the Gazelle last time out over 9 furlongs at Aqueduct.. One of 4 horses to run 9 furlongs lifetime but the only horse to win.  I rank her as my favorite    Projected odds: 7-5.
ANGELA RENEE Winner of the Grade 1 Chandelier, lifetime 8-2-2-2, running mainly in Graded events.  Qualified for the EOT. Top average-winning-distance numbers of the field (sire Bernardini and damsire Deputy Minister). Prior win stretching out. 2 works, 2 fast, 1 at Churchill.  Definitely has the inherent factors but little other evidence for winning.  Projected odds 40-1.
LOVELY MARIA: Winner of the Grade 1 Ashland Stakes. Qualified for the EOT. First or 2nd in all but 1 of 7 lifetime. Last 3 races racing over 89 Brisnet, new lifetime best beyond her 2YO best of 89.  1 fast work at Churchill. One win while stretching out.  Outside contender. Projected odds: 25-1.
I’M A CHATTERBOX Winner of 4 of 6 including the Silverbulletday, the Rachel Alexandra and the Fair Grounds Oaks, all since layoff and claim by Ken McPeek. Those 3 races represented new lifetime best scores, all close together in the 90s.  Owns a stretchout win (maiden), and 2 shipping wins.  EOT qualifier. Also waiting since 3/28 for this one. While waiting, posted 2 fast works, one at Churchill.  Not ranked in my top 10, as her numbers are dwarfed by others. Projected odds: 40-1. I do think she’s a huge underlay.
MONEY’S ON CHARLOTTE won an ungraded stakes event at Gulfstream Park West last autumn. Not an EOT qualifier. Has a strong recovery pace angle: Since that stakes win she was on layoff until January, scoring an 87 in the Silverbulletday, bouncing to a 58 in the Davona Dale, then matched her 2YO best score of 91 last out in the Gazelle. Might bounce here but I’m doubtful. Both lifetime wins come from a middle post. Projected odds 12-1 and likely overlay.
OCEANWAVE has placed in all 5 lifetime events, including 2nd in the Fantasy and Honeybee Stakes. Not an EOT qualifier, only because Shook Up scored in a higher Graded race. Forged new lifetime tops of 84, 85, 90 last 3 races. Both lifetime wins from a middle post position. Slight possibility of a bounce from these numbers. Projected odds: 12-1, and another overlay.
SARAH SIS won the Grade 3 Honeybee. Not an EOT qualifier. First or 2nd in all but 1 of 7 races. Did not rank in any one category of my variables. Does own one prior shipper and stretchout win. Not in my top 10.   Projected odds: 42-1 or worse.
STELLAR WIND Winner of the Grade 1 Santa Anita Oaks and Grade 3 Santa Ysabel, both after layoff and reclaim by trainer John Sadler. Jockey Victor Espinoza has run with Sadler 15 times in the last 60 days, earning 6 wins, 9 total placings, for an ROI of 2.31. EOT qualifier. Set short new lifetime bests of 95 and 98 last 2 races, tho the 95 in the Santa Ysabel was more than 8 weeks ago. 2 of his 3 lifetime wins come from an outside post. Paired up Brisnet scores just ahead of her prior best of 90 suggests a possible bounce in some cases but actually may be an asset here. Prior win stretching out and as shipper. I’ve ranked her virtually tied with Include Betty, but I broke the tie giving Stellar Wind the advantage (narrowly so) for having the Grade 1 victory.  Ranked 3rd on my list.  Projected odds: 6-1.
BIRDATTHEWIRE won the Gulfstream Park Oaks and the Forward Gal, and was 2nd in the Davona Dale, all Grade 2 races.  EOT qualifier. Best Churchill Downs showing of this field, breaking maiden here with a 93 score in November. Last 3 races represented new lifetime tops of 94, 104, and 97, all ahead of her 2YO best of 93.  Definite bounceback in pace here. Best works of the field: 3 works at Churchill, 2 very fast. One of four horses who last rode on 3/28 and is stretching out. Prior wins stretching out and as shipper too.  No question she has more numbers that point to her winning now, but is outranked among better. Projected odds: 25-1.
PUCA shares some of the best pedigree of the field (Big Brown-Boat’s Ghost, out of supersire Silver Ghost). Top pedigree measured by differential among those who win at Churchill, using 2014 numbers.  Only win came at maiden. 2nd in the Gazelle last time out. Only horse in field to switch back to jockey she won prior with, that jock being Junior Alvarado. Here’s how she broke her maiden:
No other evidence to support her winning on Friday.  Projected odds: 40-1.
PEACE AND WAR is the lone also-eligible filly with 3 races in England before winning the Grade 1 Alcibiad right off the boat at 23-1, then a 7th in the Grade 1 Ashland. Despite her shipping win, and 2 quick works at Keeneland, she doesn’t rank at all with this top quality field.  Projected odds: 40-1.
Here’s my top 3:
1st: Condo Commando
2nd: Stellar Wind
3rd: Include Betty
I you know me, you know I don’t do anything more risky than simple $2 win bets and $1 exactas. I will typically wager win bets on horses in my top 3 that are worse than 5-1 in the wagering. I include my top 3 in exactas to each other tho I will not play favorite with favorite (essentially, any horse at 7-2 or better).
Future wager has to be factored in here as well.  In that lone pool, I played win bets on Birdatthewire (12-1), Take Charge Brandi (7-1) and Cristina’s Journey (80-1) and also exactas to each other plus exactas over and under the field horses.    SInce then, we’ve seen that Birdatthewire is the lone horse to make the show and is 6-1 at the morning-line. Should she fall to worse than 12-1 in the wagering I will place another win bet on her and exactas using whoever is the public favorites over her. If her odds are still strong I’ll leave her be.
The field selections I already have at 7-2.  As mentioned, I have them hooked up in exactas with Birdatthewire.   The fillies represented as the field choices are Include Betty, Money’soncharlotte, Stellar Wind. Interesting that my top 3 are 2 of the field wagers.   If any of these 3 should be worse than 7-2 in wagering by the public, I might use them in wins and exactas over and under public faves. I’m strongly believe Stellar Wind will be the exception to include here, as the other two have much worse morning-line odds.
As mentioned the most likely overlays are Include Betty, Money’soncharlotte and Oceanwave.  It may be a case of using overlays to win and under my top 3 in exactas (total of 8 exactas I think).  This is all subject to change.
Honestly I’m torn between using my top 3 and the public top choices when it comes to playing exacta values. I’ll keep ruminating on this.
So that’s how I’m planning to wager. Best of luck!

Aqueduct 4/24/15 full card selections

I’m participating in the free Multicapper contest again. This website has 1  free track along with several paid tracks Thursday through Saturday each week.Given my schedule I’m playing just the Friday free card whereever it is. Here are my top 3 picks, sans analysis for each race. Be aware that I had to submit my picks by midnight Pacific so I’m subject to scratches and changes.
* = horse with ML value worse than 5-1:
Race 1 3-4-1
Race 2 4-3-8
Race 3 6*-5-4
Race 4 1-3*-7
Race 5 5-2-6
Race 6 8-1*-2
Race 7 5-4-3*
Race 8 8*-1-6
Race 9 7-4-1a*

Lots of chalk represented in the 9 races. I don’t see anything lucrative in terms of multi-race wagers. The closest I can come to is races 3-5 for the rolling pick 3.

Latest 2015 Kentucky Derby insight

With the latest works at different tracks now included, and more defections occurring amidst the Derby contenders, I have a new list for you in this update. Here are my top 9 contenders in reverse order:
9th: DANZIG MOON (down from 6th) gathered a strong Brisnet number of 99 last out while finishing 2nd in the Blue Grass Stakes. The race was also a true recovery race, his 3rd after layoff to start his 3YO campaign. There is the chance that this late closer could bounce from that number.
8th: CARPE DIEM (down from 3rd0 won that Blue Grass Stakes and the Breeders Cup Futurity, both at Grade 1. I like that he set a small new top of 102 in the Blue Grass as well as a nice gain in Brisnet up from 96  winning the Tampa Bay Derby
7th: FROSTED (down from 4th) won the Grade 1 Wood Memorial and is one of a few with the pace recovery angle…layoff to start the year, a solid run in the Holy Bull, a bounce in the Fountain of Youth, and a sharp gain from 89 to 107 last time out. I have to think he’ll bounce from that.
6th: INTERNATIONAL STAR (new), winner of 3 straight, won those with a slight rise in Brisnet, 94 to 99 range, ahead of an 89 before that. I like him for that as well as coming out of a good trip last out, winning the Louisiana Derby; closer taking the outside post yet riding the rail to victory.
5th: DORTMUND (down from 2nd) not only winner of the Santa Anita and the Los Alamitos Futurity but a winner at Churchill. 98 is tops among the field among winners there. Forged small new tops last 3 races, including 106 at Santa Anita.
Top 4 on Derby Day would be the ones I’d include in wagers:
4th: STANFORD (up from 5th)I favor mainly due to pace progress; forged tops of 95 against claimers in February, a 94 in the Islamorada at Gulfstream, then a 99, 2nd in the Louisiana Derby. His runs are also a mild recovery pattern following a year-end layoff. Mild bounce risk, out of great trip in the LA Derby.
3rd: MR Z. (new) I like mainly for an ROI angle that just appeared; jockey Ramon Vazquez has worked with trainer D Wayne Lukas 5 times in the last 60 days, with 2 wins, 4 placings, and an ROI of 8.40. Only real concerns are that he’s only defeated maidens and has no trainer changes reported reflective of that lone victory.
2nd: UPSTART (down from 1st) I continue to rate fastest of the 20 horses.  Gained from 95 to 103 for 2nd in the FLA Derby in a good trip.  Previous wins while stretching out, and posted a bullet work since the FLA Derby. He’s one of several who have proven to win well despite gain or loss in weight (I usually look at those changing by 4 lbs or more; Upstart will carry 126, up from 122.   Shipping from Gulstream; has prior win shipping from Santa Anita to Gulfstream
1st: FIRING LINE (new) forged small new tops in all 4 succeeding races of his career beyond debut, peaking at 101 last time, in a track record performance in the Sunland Derby.  Owns best work tab currently: 3 works at Santa Anita, 2 of them very fast.  Has most active trainer changes of the field too: Prior wins while stretching out (maiden-breaker, as well as at Sunland). Gained 4 lbs in the Sunland Park Derby, and will add 4 more at Churchill.   Also will be freshest among those stretching out….it will be 7 weeks since that race.

First look at the 2015-2016 Enlightened Derby/Oaks Trails

To begin with:
In response to Steven Crist’s opinion for the DRF re the Derby Trail point system, I agree with much of what the columnist says about the failures of the system.   There is, indeed, an ignorance based on financial politics by CDI to protect its own interest.  The Illinois Derby, won by War Emblem in 2002 and a Graded very late into the common Derby Trail, was given short shrift by CDI, whereas the Coolmore Lexington Stakes at Keeneland and the Arkansas Derby, at Oaklawn, are the current final stops on the Trail.   Truly, it shouldn’t hurt to add the Illinois Derby, run at Hawthorne and a week after those 2 races, to be the last ditch opportunity, eschewing what was once the penultimate race, the Kentucky Derby Trail. It is, after all,l a Graded event and it is the best race at that track befitting the Trail.

My version of the Trail, for those of you familiar with my study, takes into account several divisive variables:

  • Geography (tracks grouped in several geographic division), plus a ‘minor’ category for tracks where their best race is ungraded
  • Age (differing point system based on 2YO and 3YO races, along with whether the class of the race is graded or ungraded)

One best race per track (single best race that would fit on the actual Trail, counting all 2YO races from July to December, excluding statebred and restricted races, and 3YO races from January 1 to the week of the Blue Grass Stakes.  In light of recognizing the Illinois Derby, I just might extend my own version of the Trail another week.
These steps eliminate the top-heaviness of reliance of winning at mainly California or NY tracks, and encourages the ‘minor’ tracks to have more of an impact on the Kentucky Derby itself. Guaranteed representation from tracks by size and finances makes for a more fair and historical impact than what is presently constructed.

Introducing this year’s version of the Trail, I borrow from the Bloodhorse website, which generates all stakes races as listed in the National Stakes Conditions Book.  I have included just the 2YO races I have found events for. I have left out certain tracks that I’m confident would have their best representative race in the 3YO campaign instead of 2YO. Belmont is one contentious example, as I do leave out the Tremont and Astoria Stakes, the best races measured by purse until the post-Labor Day period.   Woodbine has a ton of 2YO races.  Japan has several as well; one wonders why Japan or even any European track outside of Dubai gives the actual Derby Trail some representation. As much as I wish to keep the Kentucky Derby Trail to North American runners, I have to consider this as a long-term trend

One tactic I haven’t taken is adding a 2nd race for each track, one for each at 2YO and 3YO if appropo. I already do this for the Breeders Cup track. I’m not yet sure if this is the right solution, but it would resolve the matter of leaving out some lesser races.

Here are some other races that I’m overlooking:
Churchill Downs: Bashford Manor (G3), Debutante
Del Mar: Best Pal (G2), Sorrento (G2),
Santa Anita: Landaluce, Santa Anita Juvenile
Woodbine: Grey (G3), Mazarine

I stand by my decision to skip these races and keep the top 3YO events in its place.

As more races for this year and for next get revealed, I’ll change my Trail up a bit to reflect how it should look for all participants.
Here are the trails as of this typing:
2015-6 ENLIGHTENED DERBY-OAKS TRAILS

My first look at the 2015 Kentucky Derby field

If the Derby were today…missing certain variables that would really color in the possibilities, some horses would appear to stand out.  The missing variables include works, shape of race (tho it likely will include all types), dosage info (related to pedigree, a blip on my radar), any strong angles relevant to ROI, and any notable trainer angles coming in that goes beyond what I’m able to examine 2 weeks out.  In this capsule view, I’ll tell you who seems strongest, plus my odds on the horses for the moment..

As there is no defined list of contenders on one page, I used the available Brisnet Ultimate Past Performances page to look at the top 24 in points on the official trail, and compared them as if they were all running today. Categories are listed from least to most important.

Pedigree: Even though I haven’t done the extra step re determining fit along the lines of  chef-de-race numbers, I do trust the AWD category.  Best fit here is Carpe Diem. Sire is Giant’s Causeway, multiple graded stakes winner in Europe.   Damsire is Unbridled’s Song, who won the Breeders Cup Juvenile, Florida Derby, Wood Memorial in his Derby campaign.
Inherent factors: Just 5 of the 24 have Grade 1 victories.Best performance at Churchill of the field belongs to Dortmund.  2nd lifetime was an optional claimer, non winners of 2, 1 mile. He won that race with an 98 Brisnet. You can watch that race here.  His other races have been on the West Coast.  Should we see an off track, factor in El Kabeir.  This FL-bred horse has run such races, with wins in the Gotham and Jerome under inclement conditions, not to mention a place in the Nashua.
Connections: Incomplete mark here. ROI patterns as determined by Brisnet are to be determined as jockey announcement haven’t been finalized. I never pay attention to jockey/trainer stats within the first 2 weeks of a racing meeting.  Some trainer ROI stats are already out but we know they will fluctuate.
Pace progress: 5 horses are of note here: Carpe Diem exploded in pace from 100 in last year’s Breeders Futurity to 102 last out in the Blue Grass.  Frosted forged a new top last out in the Wood Memorial, a 107 score. He began his 3YO campaign after layoff with a 98 in the Holy Bull, then went down to an 89 in the Fountain Of Youth.  Danzig Moon also forged a new top of 99 last out in the Blue Grass.  Similar pattern of layoff score, then recovery between his maiden win in February, then 4th in the Tampa Bay Derby.  One Lucky Dane exploded in pace with a 96 in an 80k optional claimer, then matched with a 101 last out in the Santa Anita Derby. Stanford has a very slight recovery line, running in the 90s  all the while at 3: 95 in an 75k OC race, then 94 in the Isamorada at Gulfstream, then 99 last out in the Louisiana Derby.
Pace: Top rated horse here is Upstart. Last 3 Brisnet 2nd-call numbers for this stalker-type are 114, 106, 98.  Workout info will be finalized in 2 weeks. Track bias info I’m likely to ignore as the meet will be a week old at the time of the race. Post draw will have some significance too which I’ll focus on  when the time comes.
Latest trends: The majority of horses are coming out of a race where they had a surge in pace. All these are bounce risks, tho some can duplicate or improve. 7 horses also come out of a good trip. One in particular had an excellent trip; American Pharoah’s performance up front in winning the Arkansas Derby, going 9 furlongs, is tops in my book, as he is a sprinter.
Putting it all together, I rank Upstart best of these. Being that he actually leads by himself in one of the higher scoring categories, and the others have many who share in the lead in others, Upstart is my first choice for winning the Run for the Roses.  I’m ranking Dortmund 2nd for his lead in the inherent factor category. 3rd goes to Carpe Diem, who has a share in 3 categories.  Frosted breaks a tie for 4th, giving his pace numbers the edge here.
Here’s how I rank my top 7:
1 Upstart
2 Dortmund
3 Carpe Diem
4 Frosted
5 Stanford
6 Danzig Moon
7 One Lucky Dane

Enlightened Derby/Oaks Trail season wrapup

The work of the Enlightened Derby and Oaks Trails for the Derby prep season is just about over, all except for the shouting and publishing.   Here’s the final list
I don’t care how accurate I am with the actual Derby or Oaks Trails. I care that the proper horses are in the big show.  My Trails were borne from the idea of being inclusive, giving the ‘minor’ and smaller tracks more representation, and ending the top-heavy conditions that exists on both US coasts.  Also, as much as I want to give the Dubai races credence, I wanted the best of those racing here in North America. It will prove to be successful when we see less races on the actual Trail from Cali and NY, and more races in the Heartland itself, and more of the smaller tracks directly impacting the show. I want another All-American story like Mine That Bird to happen It’s good for the sport. Did you see “50 To 1” on the big screen?

Is there another Mine That Bird story here? Maybe so. Here’s my general takeaway:
It’s no huge surprise that the major races at the end have most of the horses that do make my list.  19 of the 38 races on my Derby Trail have at least one in my mythical field. A nice mix too: All 5 Cali and South races make that list each, and 3 from the others each also.  Top prep race had to be the Wood Memorial, with the top 4 all in my mythical field of 20.
Conquest Typhoon it seems won’t be in the show despite my own inclusion. All he did was win at Woodbine and place at Turfway Park and Golden Gate. Metaboss won’t be there either. His score was at Golden Gate. Nor will Ami’s Flatter who placed in Tampa Bay and at Gulfstream.  Yet they are in my 20.
The actual Derby field includes one horse that scored points from off the continent. It’s fine but I’m keeping my field American until it’s time for such a change.
The biggest snub for me, the best horse from my field that won’t make my mythical field but will make the actual Derby is Upstart. 3rd in the Breeders Cup Juvenile, 2nd in the Champagne, 2nd in the Florida Derby.  Someone has to be first out.  Far Right is not far behind, finishing 2nd in the Arkansas Derby, 3rd in the Delta Downs Jackpot. But he will be in Louisville.

Due to Dubai Sky prematurely leaving the Trail, and Carpe Diem’s edge in 2 divisions, I had to bring in 2 horses with best points overall not in the show.  Those 2 are Firing Line (won the Sunland Park Derby) and Ami’s Flatter. Both horses did very well in the Southern division and get the nod from me.
Bodhisattva, with just 250 points, has the fewest of anyone getting into my field. He finished 2nd in the Private Terms at Laurel.
Finishing up with the actual Derby Trail comparisons: Itsaknockout,Bolo, Ocho and War Story didn’t score enough to warrant a spot, and Mr. Z again failed to win a competitive race despite placing again.

Fun fact: 1 Derby point was equal to $8233 in non-restricted stakes earnings. Make of that what you will. Stanford earned less than half that rate to make the actual field. The Truth Or Else earned double the rate and likely is not getting in. Nor will Metaboss despite his win in the El Camino Real at Golden Gate.

Fun fact 2: Mr Z makes the actual Derby field. This means I have 1 more active chance to score and profit on the race itself.  The horses I have win wagers on are these, among those with enough points: El Kabeir, Mr. Z, Dortmund, International Star, Upstart.  Bold Conquest might back in if there are further defections but there are 3 ahead of him right now.   With that in place, I only have active exacta possibilities using International Star over and under the field from Pool 3, and the same with Upstart from Pool 4.   Tell you what, if Bold Conquest makes the show and somehow scores for me…

My plan is to make further wagers on those 5 in the Derby if I can get worse odds that what I used in the pools. This wager will be separate from how I actually analyze the Derby and whom I target as contenders for the day of.
The field horses from Pool 3 I imagine are these: Frosted, Mubtaahij, Tencendur, One Lucky Dane, Stanford. If we include the top 24,we can add Madefromlucky, Frammento and Bold Conquest.
Field horses in Pool 4 appear to be these: Danzig Moon, Tencendur, One Lucky Dane, Stanford, Ocho Ocho Ocho. If we go to the top 24, we can just add Frammento.
Next Saturday I return with another contest opportunity from The Racing Biz.Maybe I can make it two months in a row?

Stakes action at Keeneland, Oaklawn; final Enlightened Trails race for season

With a lot of ground to cover after spending hours on 2 UK races (one being the Grand National at Aintree, surely  you’ve heard of it), I turn to contest races I am participating in; 4 at Keeneland, 1 at Oaklawn.
We’ll start with the Arkansas Derby, final major Derby prep, and also the final race of the Enlightened Trails as a whole.  As mentioned prior, top 2 are pretty much a lock for the offical Trail. As for my trail, a lot depends on those who have points coming in.   Mr. Z with 100 and Far Right with 50 can surpass the others with 1000 within the division and I believe those left out in the cold might still get in, as I have to replace Dubai Sky from the top 20 and a possible duplicate in Carpe Diem should he still have enough points. I might have to add a 3rd if Bridget’s Big Luvy wins out, as he is one of the co-leaders from the Minors division.

Here’s the top 3:
#6 American Pharoah, #1 The Truth Or Else, #3 Bridget’s Big Luvy.
#6 AMERICAN PHAROAH is an insane 1/2 morning line fave. I’m not so sure about those odds but I like him for the win. Sprinting sinner of the 8.5 furlong Rebel Stakes (Grade 2) here a month ago with 99 Brisnet. 2 of his 3 wins have come from a middle post.  This sprinter comes in with one of the 2 best trips from this field. The Rebel Stakes win is the 3rd of 3 straight, and all with similar Brisnet numbers.

As much as I’d like to see it, I’m not sure Mr Z or Bold Conquest will make it to Louisville. I have them both in future wager bets.

*****
Giant’s Causeway Stakes carries a 100k purse, ungraded, 5.5 furlongs on Keeneland’s turf course.
Top 3: #1 Richie’s Party Girl #2 Jewel Of A Cat #3 Henny Jenney
I thoroughly like the value in this race. Richie’s Party Girl has won several stakes events at the level, mainly racing in the Heartland. Best AWD numbers coming in (Sire is Any Given Saturday, damsire is Majestic Light). Today is his 3rd straight start coming right off layoff, a situation he’s won previously in. Lots of local works since his last race in September. Gained in Brisnet from 72 to 93, winning the Kentucky Downs Ladies Sprint,  so a slight bounce risk here.

Jenny Wiley Stakes is a Grade 1 turf route for fillies and mares, also on Keeneland’s turf course.

Top 3:

#4 Ball Dancing #1 Personal Diary #5 Hard Not To Like.
Ball Dancing was my original 2nd choice, moves up with the scratch of Samiam. Started career in France, winning top events there, then made very smooth transition to the US, placing in 3 Graded events at Belmont, Keeneland and Tampa Bay, all turf routes, all with Brisnet numbers in the 90s. Only horse in field to respond positively from noticeable weight drop (loses 4 to 118 today). Also scored previously in cut back in distance and shipping. Lifetime 8 races, 3 wins, 3 seconds.
Oaklawn Handicap is a Grade 2 event for older horses, going 9 furlongs on dirt.
Top 3:
#1 Race Day
#7 Hard Aces
#3 Tapiture.

Race Day is the morning-line 5/2 fave for good reason.  Last race was his only other appearance here, a neck victory in the Grade 3 Razorback He showed a good trip, being first or 2nd at each point of call. He has great stalking speed; last 3 2nd-call numbers

run from 108 to 112 Brisnet. Those 3 races run in triple-digit Brisnet finishes might indicate a bounce, or he may as well continue.
Finally there is the Coolmore Lexington Stakes, final stop of the actual Derby Trail, tho has no effect on my list .
Top 3:
#5 Henry Jones
#2 Comfort
#3 Quimet
Henry Jones broke maiden in 3rd attempt, was 3rd in a 58k allowance race then won an optional claimer at the 50k level just 10 days ago at Oaklawn.  Top class of this relatively weak field. Track performance of 81 2 races back is the best of this field. Also excels in pace progression. His 92 last out with a good tripwas actually a small top from his 88 best at 2YO last year. Should be able to run to his sprinting style and match his score of 92.

Keep in touch by reading updates at @idealisticstats