First look at 2016-17 Enlightened Derby/Oaks Trails

At last, and not too soon after a failed PC update and subsequent PC crash, I was able to rescue my precious data and present the first fruits of the next season of Enlightened Trails.  This series, 3rd in the making, is my attempt at building the ideal Kentucky Derby contender and starter.  See my highlighted post for more about how this project has come together.

My source for info is strictly’s Stakes Calendar, which displays every single stakes race from every track as reported by the tracks themselves.  There is hardly any 3YO races drawn up in stone, but that will certainly be revealed by the end of the Breeders Cup weekend in November.

I will highlight all of the races in this year’s Trails, provide analysis and predictions of each race days in advance.   First up will be 3 races on July 2, the Bashford Manor for colts, and then the Churchill Downs Debutante and the Juan Gonzalez Memorial for fillies.

Yes, I have yet to fill in the division and points totals. Much of that info will come together once many of the 3YO races are announced.  The divisions will really be based on where the Graded stakes races are.

Belmont Day stakes predictions

 Easy Goer: Cupid, Rally Cry, Economic Model
Acorn: Off The Tracks, Carina Mia, Forever Darling
Brooklyn Invitational: Doyouknowsomething, Neck ‘n Neck, Catholic Cowboy
Odgen Phipps: Forever Unbridled, Curalina, Stopchargingmaria
Jaipur: Ready For Rye, Mosler, Hothersal

Woody Stephens: Dig Deep, Justin Squared, Fish Trappe Road

Just A Game: My Miss Sophia, Strike Charmer, Recepta

Mohegan Sun Metropolitan:Calculator, Stanford, Noble Bird
Woodford Reserve Manhattan: Slumber, World Approval, Flintshire

Belmont Stakes 2016 analysis

Here’s my capsule, horse-by-horse view of the Belmont Stakes:

1 GOVERNOR MALIBU in the money all 7 races lifetime, including wins in the Federico Tesio (a big win among minor tracks) and the Gander. 2nd in the Peter Pan last time out, in his first Graded race. Best speed figure at Belmont of this field with a 94 in the Peter Pan.  A quick 23.6 turn time from that race, and a slower speed figure at that from prior suggests he’s got more in the tank today. Might require a slow, dead pace to win. Track bias should help him out (see Destin)

2 DESTIN won the Tampa Bay Derby and SF Davis along with his maiden debut. 6th in the Run for All Those Roses. As with Governor Malibu, Track bias is favoring early/presser types in routes this meet: 37% have won of his type, and 17% from first 3 posts. Only horse to improve on 2nd call first race after a layoff. 3 works at Belmont since then, 2 very fast. Needs a slow/slowing pace to win.
CHERRY WINE is yet to prove successful at top company, tho he did finish 2nd in the Preakness, 3rd in the Blue Grass and 4th in the Rebel, so he does belong here. With his 100 in the Preakness, he’s likely recovered in full from his winter layoff. Hit gate as he left the track, a miscue which may have cost him the Preakness. Deep closer, great stretch kick is best of this field.
Needs moderate to slow fractions to win.
SUDDENBREAKINGNEWS won the Southwest stakes. 5th in the KY Derby. Full pace recovery, while posting scores in the 90s last 4 races since his 2 months off. Owns 1 prior shipping win and has waited since the KY Derby to stretch from 10 furlongs. Generally needs above average pace for a win.
STRADIVARI won maiden level in 2nd try, then a 62k allowance. Both were won by double digit lengths. 4th in the Preakness.  Very hard to rank him at all, as he is outclassed in all of the variables I use.
6 GETTYSBURG won his 3rd shot at maiden and hasn’t done much since. Todd Pletcher claimed him for this race. Only pure sprinter of the field, and a 2.2 second turn time gain between his last 2 races, leading field in those categories.

7 SEEKING THE SOUL broke maiden last out in his 3rd try. Only early closer of the field. Might bounce, as he increased speed figure by 9 points in both of his last 2 races.

8 FOREVER d’ORO also broke maiden in 3rd try. Has rather tight pattern of Brisnet figures, around 90 for all 3 lifetime races. Still, he seems outclassed here.
9 TROJAN NATION still technically a maiden, was 2nd in the Wood Memorial, 16th in the KY Derby. Only horse attempting to recover from a speed bounce.
10 LANI still a mystery horse tho he did post Brisnets in both of his North American races. 9th in the KY Derby, 5th in the Preakness. Best AWD numbers in the field (Tapit/Heavenly Romance, out of Sunday Silence). 3 Belmont works in prep, last one was very fast.
EXAGGERATOR, your Preakness winner as predicted here, is a classic deep closer, waiting for a pace collapse. Only horse here with small gain past his best at age 2. Winner also of the Santa Anita Derby,Delta Downs Jackpot and the Saratoga Special.  Fastest by pace of this field. Good reliable figure patterns.
BRODY’S CAUSE won the Breeders Futurity and the Blue Grass Stakes. 7th in the KY Derby.  Generally requires a fast pace. 3 shipping wins, and is also stretching out from his KY Derby effort.
CREATOR won the Arkansas Derby and then finished 13th in the KY Derby. Only thing I see in his favor is the fact that he put in 4 works, 1 at Belmont.
Suggested odds for selected horses:  Lani 29-1. Governor Malibu 5-1. Cherry Wine 22-1. Suddenbreakingnews 22-1. Exaggerator 3-1. Gettysburg 7-1. Destin 2-1.  Overlays: Destin, Gettysburg, Governor Malibu.

Top 4: Destin, Exaggerator, Gettysburg, Governor Malibu.

Grade 1 stakes analysis at Santa Anita

For today, the only Grade 1 races going on are taking place at the Great Race Place, Santa Anita Park. Below I’ve listed my top 3 and reasons for contending.

First there is the Shoemaker Mile, 1 mile, on a fast dirt track, for 3YO+ at the Grade 1 level.  My top 3 are 2-3-5, Twentytwentyvision, Tourist, Cape Wolfe
Twentytwentyvision. 3rd last out in the American, 2nd in the Thunder Road before that, both earlier at this meet, tho had switched from regular rider Flavien Prat to Rafael Bejarano.  Plat returns to ride today. Only general closer in the field. Gained nicely on leader in the American, with turn time gain between last 2 races. 1st or 2nd in 4 lifetime races here, never out of the money in 10 lifetime overall.

Tourist hasn’t won since September, only placing in a G1 race in April. 102 speed figure in the Shadwell Turf Mile at Keeneland is best for distance and surface of this field. Solid figures over the last 2 years.
Cape Wolfe after racing in Ireland has raced exclusively at Santa Anita, running competitively yet no stateside wins yet.  Owns wins from prior adjustments in class and distance, and is waiting 4 weeks to stretch out.  May prove to be the lone overlay here.
Following that race is the Vanity Mile for fillies/mares 3YO+. also at the Grade 1 level.   My top 3 are 1-3-7: Stellar Wind,
Divina Comedia and Finest City. Top 2 for me are the morning-line 2nd and 3rd choices, followed by outright longshot.
5 wins out of 8 for Stellar Wind lifetime, undefeated here at Santa Anita, (SA and Santa Ysabel and Summer Oaks). 100 figure 2 races back in the Torrey Pine is fastest for the mile in this field. Only horse to win first off layoff. Owns fastest overall fractions  Owns shipping wins and is returning to a track she likes. Some real trouble in her last race, the Breeders Cup Distaff, but still posted a 101 Brisnet and 2nd place.
Divina Comedia has mainly raced in narrow optional claimer company in the West Coast. Good work tab, 2 fast ones out of 4 here. Gained at 2nd call last out first race after layoff. A product of European stock, she has best AWD numbers of the field.
Finest City has generally good consistency, winning the Great Lady at Los Alamitos last out. My main reason for liking her is her turn time; 23.4 seconds from her last race, a gain of .6 from her last.
I’ll return in a few days with Belmont Stakes thoughts, once the past performances are released.