Enlightened Trails update

Enlightened Trails are updated to about 99% strength. I have filled in much of the remaining details about the races that make up the Derby and Oaks Trails, but am missing info from a few tracks about dates, purse, and graded status.   Despite the small lack of information, I am proceeding with building the divisions.  To remind you, here’s how it works:
Horses are scored points based on a top-4 position in these races by division.  The top 4 horses in points within each of the 5 divisions will be in my Derby Trail. In the Oaks Trail, it’s top 3 for the divisions, and top-2 for the minor division.  Once the last race is finished, when there are defections and injuries, I choose horses based on overall points to fill out the fields.
I will incorporate the 2016-2017 Japan Racing Authority leading graded races into this, along with the UAE Derby (truly, the only legitimate race in their meet that would fit the Trails). I will award one spot in the field to the leading point getter of either series. This means I must take away a spot elsewhere. I probably will take 2 spots from the minors away on the Derby side.  I will likely keep the Oaks Trail intact, tho what I could do is simply award the Japan and UAE winners a slot, then take away the bottom 2 horses from all divisional qualifiers on the Oaks side.
Next update should be next week with Trails action at Presque Isle Downs and beautiful Belmont Park.

Enlightened Trails update

Trails are updated at these links
Derby:  https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/13Jb4lEUn–ZEaYja-cv7TGnvnEjOCvCnDtfe1KMhxXs/edit#gid=0
Oaks: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/17Jysm6YIt5uh49cgmgVTYhLjq9Qd75vhiogGLx8Y2Ao/edit#gid=0
We’re in a rest period, as the next Trails races aren’t for 2 more weeks yet.
There was a private DRF tournament contest. I finished in the upper 25% of that one. They’ve added me to a few contests, and it’s been a seamless experience, even if I don’t use DRF products.
I am putting more work hours in, and often coinciding with weekend dates, so I’m generally unable to monitor race action on Twitter or here on race days.

I have filled the spreadsheets with the most reliable info re races that would fit on the Trails.  Divisional info remains to be figured out between the Graded events.

No idea if I will be working during the Breeders Cup or Future Wager events coming up in November.

Enlightened Trails selections (Canterbury, Woodbine)

Woodbine is the setting for the most 2YO stakes races in North America, year after year. The big showcase is this weeekend, featuring the Woodbine Mile.  For this blog, I focus on the Enlightened Trails, with 2 races, plus a race at Canterbury Park.
There is so much to get to as I’ll be away working both Saturday and Sunday, which sees me in a free private DRF contest on Sunday, and another freebie via 123bet.com at Woodbine. Lots to type, not much time to get the words in!

At Canterbury, there is the Shakopee Juvenile, a race for 2YOs going 6 furlongs, in a 75k purse.  Top 3 horses are Irish Beauty, Warrior’s Kid and Even Thunder.
Irish Beauty broke maiden status in 3rd try, then was 4th in a 40k ungraded stakes event here last time out on 8/27. Last 3 races represent a pace plateau of 70.  Competitive turn time compared to others, she won her only race via stretchout.

Warrior’s Kid has prior points from his run in the Prairie Gold Juvenile

Now to Woodbine, and the Natalma Stakes, a Grade 1 event for 2YO fillies going 1 mile on Woodbine’s turf course, with a 250k purse. Top 3 here for me are Tapa Tapa Tapa, Victory to VIctory, and Stormy Perfection.
Tapa won in 2nd try vs 56k maidens, then won a 74.5 allowance race in turf debut.  All races in mid-80s, best speed figures in general for this field, as well as for surface and track.

Finally in the Summer Stakes on Sunday, for 2YO colts going 1 mile on the turf, 400k purse, my top 3 are Conquest Sure Shot, Harlan’s Harmony and Conquest Farenheit.
Conquest Sure Shot won in 2nd attempt vs 83k maidens, then exploded in pace in a 74.5k allowance effort last month here. Track bias is favoring early closers and rail position based on 33 turf mile races thus far here.

Update to the Enlightened Trails..

This update now includes the unofficial list of races for 3YOs with known projected dates. This information is borrowed directly from this week’s announcement of the actual Derby and Oaks Trails.  I will fill in details as they are announced further.
What remains besides this is the alignment of divisions of each race in relation to the Enlightened Trails.

Watch for an update from me about the next races on the list, Woodbine’s Summer and Natalma Stakes, and Canterbury’s Shakopee Juvenile.

Latest Derby Trail

Latest Oaks Trail 

Introducing the Japan Enlightened Derby/Oaks Trails

With the addition of 2 major races by the Japan Racing Authority into the official Derby Trail, international racing (the world outside North America) is now truly a part of American racing’s greater scope. I have given some attention to tracks outside North America, but grudgingly so only because there is precious little info to go on with past performances. It’s challenging and time-consuming to work on races. Why must the absence of details hurt a horseplayer more so, especially when that ‘unknown’ horse upsets the North American horse in a major race? Karkontie was one such surprise, in taking the 2014 Breeders Cup Mile. He had raced competitively in top races in France before invading Santa Anita.  With no details on how those races looked on paper (never mind video, which is sometimes challenging at best to find), many horseplayers are left wondering how to play with unknown factors.   My desire is to see and use better (read: complete) stats on how horses racing outside North America have fared.  This industry of thoroughbred racing is introducing more international horses into top American racing, and the millions of horseplayers, amateur to pro, must have a better system with which to play, profit, and, most of all, to enjoy through education.
I’m warming up more to the idea of International runners in the great American race, but there’s still the part of me that wants to keep things at home. Japan has a good representation of races, but so do does the UK and Australia. Why not add the top horses from those jurisdictions, create their own Roads? What of the other European countries, who should band together to create such a Road themselves? The folks at UAE, based on last year’s condition book, have no support for 2YOs, and have just one such race for colts and fillies alike. The UAE Derby and UAE Oaks are the only legitimate races that horses racing in UAE should factor in the Derby/Oaks qualification process.
In response to the addition of Japanese races to the official Trails, I have set up my own Enlightened Japanese Trails. In the spreadsheets linked below, you will see representative Graded races from 9 of the 10 major tracks in Japan. I have not yet examined output from the smaller racetracks there, but it will be helpful, and fun, to put together.   I set up the points for the colts similar to the US version. The fillies side has just 1 2YO race; I elected to give one uniform score system to keep the 4 races there relevant to each other.
My stance on how the tracks will impact my standard Trails are these:
I will add 2 horses from Japan to my mythical Derby, and 1 filly to my mythical Oaks.  Recall that I have already elected to take the top 4 horses within my ‘divisions’, and 4 within ‘minor’ tracks. In adding 2 from Japan, I must make room. For this, I now change the number of minor qualifiers from 5 to 3.
Again, once I have established which races are in which divisions, and what minor Japanese races should be on the Trail, I will update their Enlightened Roads.
The 2016-17 Trails for Japan will be posted later, and eventually get sandwiched into my standard Enlightened Trails.

Enlightened Trails update, and weekend stakes analysis

It’s another busy handicapping Saturday for yours truly:
Free private contest from DRF Tournaments, with races at Kentucky Downs, Belmont, Arlington in the mix (5 of 7 yet to cover)
ThoroEnduro elim contest day two at Remington (3 races)
The Racing Biz monthly contest with Mid-Atlantic tracks involved (10 races)
Enlightened Trails races in 3 locales this weekend, which I have already done for you here (2 are part of the DRF contest)
For the Trails, we start with the Arlington-Washington Lassie, a race for 2YO fillies, going 7 furlongs, and for a 75k purse. My top 3 are R Naja, Sister Kan and Diadura
In terms of EOT points, all horses here are fresh on the trail, none having run beyond maiden status previously.
R Naja had the fastest run of all non-winners coming in out of a trouble trip.  His 2nd place finish in a 26k maiden event was good for a 76 Brisnet number at 5.5 furlongs. This deep closer had to run rather wide around the AP far turn  to be and to stay competitive. Has one of the better turn-times of the field.
Overlays: Hidenseek Sally, Sister Kan.  Seeking big prices in this race.

Next is the Arlington Washington Futurity, for 2YO colts going 7 furlongs for a 100k purse in this Grade 3 event.  In my top 3 are 2 overlays, Brave Benny and Stand and Cheer, followed by favored Wellabled.
Brave Benny won his maiden debut here in June at 4.5 furlongs with a nice 81 score, then was 5th in the Prairie Gold Juvenile at Prairie Meadows.  No Bute for this horse this time around, plus he’s been off since July 29.  Great workouts, 3 at AP, 2 bullets. Despite 5th last time out, this sprinter improved a bit on the leader.

Now to Louisiana Downs:
The Happy Ticket is for top 2YO fillies, running 1 mile on the LaD turf course, for a 75k purse. Top 3: Long Legged Model, Chases Dixie Belle and High Fashion Diva.  Chases Dixie Belle enters with 50 EOT points.   Overlays: longshot Careless Whisper.
Long Legged Model won her maiden debut with 58 Brisnet at 5 furlongs, then 2nd in the Louisiana Cup Juvenile on 8/6 with a nice 76 score.  Best turn time of the field, 22.8 in last race and 24.2 in previous, a gain of 1.4 seconds.
Last one for Saturday is the Sunday Silence, a 75k race for top 2YOs, going 1 mile on the turf.  Top 3 for me are Gentlemengentlemen, My Golden Aura, and Paddy O’Lionel.  N overlays here but I don’t see the favorite at all in this one showing up.
Gentlemengentlemen won both of his lifetime events, a 24k maiden race at 5 furlongs and 79 speed figure, and the LA Cup Juvenile with a 79 score. Never behind at any point of call, this sprinter managed a 96 1st call last time, and should benefit from track bias. Horses in the first 3 posts in turf routes are winning 14%, better trend than other posts.

On Sunday, it’s closing day at my home track of Emerald Downs. Their most important race that would fit on the Derby Trail is the Gottstein Futurity. It’s a race for top 2YOs foaled in 2014, for a 65k purse, running 8.5 furlongs.   Top 3 are Blazinbeauty, So Lucky, Mysterious Man.  Blazinbeauty and Sharkzilla are overlays.
Blazinbeauty was 2nd in her maiden debut, then 2nd in the Angie C, then won the Barbara Shinpoch (earlier race on the Enlightened Oaks Trail side), setting 2 small new tops, with 74 her best score.  Only filly in the bunch, getting 3 lb allowance; waiting a month to stretch from a sprint. Only early closer in the race. Track bias favoring early closers in dirt routes during the meet (42% winners), and 19% in posts 1-3. 3 works at Emerald, 1 fast.

Next, I’ll give brief summary of  my contest picks. With so many races, I must do a shortcut method, sticking to my most important variables, to find winners.