2017 Derby Future Wager/Sire Future Wager selections from Pool 1

What is one of the tougher aspects of dealing with the Future Wager isn’t just figuring out who ranks best among certain variables. It’s also about anticipating sudden change as well as the races run the very weekend of the wagers.  I’m not liking that aspect because the past performances won’t reflect that, of course.    Thankfully, due to Twinspires.com’s tweets about the winning horses in the races most pivotal to the Derby and Oaks Trails, plus making a general calculation to adjust for Brisnet speed (1 length behind = 1 point less than winner), I was able to make simple adjustments, ones that were enough to give an updated opinion.
Mo Tom and McCraken won their respective Graded races on Saturday, and definitely changed how I see Pool 1.  My initial 5 colts were, in order, best to worst: Hemsworth, Classic Empire, Practical Joke, McCraken, and Lookin At Lee.   After the Golden Rod and KY Jockey Club races took place, I changed the order within several variables.   Here are the horses I settled upon for win bets:
Classic Empire, who remained barely valuable at 6-1. Had he been 5-1 or better, I’d have placed a win bet on Practical Joke instead.
Hemsworth: 4th longest shot on the board…no one really believing he’ll improve further or sooner upon the surprise Nashua win after his maiden races.  I believe, however, as he continues to rank well among others.  80-1
Lookin At Lee finished at 37-1, thanks to his pedigree and CD history.
I also took the 2 winners on Saturday, Mo Town and McCraken, which finished Pool 1 at 12-1…very nice value for both. Both joined my list upon their Graded success plus adjusted run pace. In addition, Mo Town’s win was at 9 furlongs and he gained in the pace progress category.
Hemsworth would pay $162.40 for my straight $2 wager.
The exacta situation went like this:
$1 exactas in both directions involving my top 3 ranked horses and the field selection (#24).
Those top 3 are Hemsworth, Mo Tom and McCraken.   The cheapest payoff among the 12 possible exactas is field/Mo Tom, for $77 on a $2 bet (38.50 in my case).  The biggest payoff? Glad you asked: Hemsworth/McCraken, $2770 (1385 for me before taxes).
In the Sire Future Wager, I had to make the same adjustments. No exactas for me to be concerned with. It was a matter of reranking my top 5.  Here was my original list:  Into Mischief, Kitten’s Joy, PIoneer Of The Nile, Bernardini, and Curlin.
Here’s the 5 horses I settled on for $2 win bets:
Bernardini  14-1
Into Mischief 24-1
Kitten’s Joy 47-1
Scat Daddy 42-1
Uncle Mo 9-1
Pioneer Of The Nile dropped off my list, and he wouldn’t have been selected anyway, as he finished with 5-1.
Classic Empire and Hemsworth were, for me, bet upon twice as their sires are in my top 5.
What’s the deal with Scat Daddy? Grade 1 progeny in Caravaggio (winner at the Curragh in Ireland on 8/7…see that race here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EAeya2rugXo   ). Conquest Farenheit with 2 races lifetime, both on Woodbine’s turf course, won his maiden debut and was 2nd in the Summer (Grade 2), both with 94 pace rating.  6 colts with pace progress: Conquest Bandit, Daddy’s Placer, Nerinx, Scatoga, Ventry Bay, Wild Scat Blue.

Enlightened Trails update (stakes action at Churchill Downs)

A good renewal of the Golden Rod is ahead today at Churchill Downs…with implications in the Derby Trail, and my own Enlightened Trail series, not to mention the Derby and Derby Sire Future Wagers.   Top horse in the morning-line is a lukewarm 7/2 and I see some isolated overlays, not falling into my top 3.
Before mentioning the races, do note that my Enlightened Trails spreadsheets are up to date for today.
Also, I forgot to mention that I will not wager win bets on horses in the Future Wager for anything better than 5-1. I’ll go down my rankings to find the next best horses who fit.
Golden Rod Stakes , a Grade 2, 200k event, is for top 2YO fillies going 8.5 furlongs.
Top 3: Daddy’s Lil Darling, Fun, Dream Dancing.  Logical favorite with some mild value.
Overlays: Someday Soon, My Sweet Stella
Daddy’s Lil Darling has much to live up to. Winner in route debut and 2nd maiden race, then won the Grade 2 Pocahontas here, then 2nd in the Grade 1 Alcibiad, then 4th in the Breeders Cup Juvenile Fillies. Forward pace numbers, with new tops in the 80s in each of her 4 previous races, along with best pace pattern. Difficult trip in the BC Juvenile Fillies despite increase to lifetime best of 89..I’m willing to forgive that one.
Fun won her maiden debut at the 47k level here in June…then was 2nd in the Schuylerville, 4th in the Spinaway, 3rd in the Alcibiad…the latter 3 all Graded races. Best AWD numbers of the field (Harlan’s Holiday/Home Run, out of Empire Maker).  A winner from her debut, coming off layoff, there should be no rust. Improved a length on leader at 2nd call in the Alcibiad. A bunch of local works, 2 of them very fast.
Dream Dancing won in her 2nd maiden race at the 83k level, then was 4th in the Pocohontas, then 5th in the Alcibiad, the latter two were first races on dirt.  Turn time gain between her last 2 races is best of the field, 1.6 seconds.  Gained 2.25 lengths on leader at 2nd call last out.  Also has a series of local works since last, a few very fast ones, including a bullet.
Someday Soon makes her Graded debut. Won an OH-bred maiden race at the 21k level in debut, then 5th in the Miss Ohio, 2nd in the Tah Dah, 2nd in a 15k allowance race, and winner of the John W Galbreith last time out. Best pace numbers of the field, ranging from 82 to 91. Track bias likes early/mid-pace horses in route races here this meet..39% wins at 8.5 furlongs in fact. Also 13% wins from posts 4-7
My Sweet Stella took 5 tries to graduate and did so last out on 10/20 at Keeneland.  Best tactical speed of the field, this sprinter with great 1st call numbers. 4 works at Churchill, last one a bullet.

Onto the Kentucky Jockey Club stakes, Grade 2, 8.5 furlongs, 200k races for top 2YOs.
Top 3: Total Tap, Wild Shot, Warrior’s Club

Overlays: Total Tap, Silent Decree, Shareholder Value, Jocker Justice.
An exciting value-filled race on tap, with Total Tap leading the way. Won impressively vs 43k maidens in debut, right here, tho on the turf course. Followed up with a 4th in a 62k allowance race a month ago.  Best AWD numbers (Candy Ride/Easy Tap, out of Tapit). Improved in 2nd place to close from .5 lengths to a head last out. 4 works, one very fast.
Wild Shot graduated from maiden in 2nd start, here at CD, 81 Brisnet. Followed up with 89, running 3rd in the Breeders Futurity tiring late. Nice gain in pace from 81. Prior stretchout win and shipping win. A bunch of local works, a few fast ones, 1 a bullet.
Warrior’s Club broke maiden in 4th try, doing so with a nice 95 Brisnet rating, then matched that umber in the Spendthrift on 10/30 here. Best track speed and turn speed of the field.
Silent Decree took 4 tries to graduate…afterward was 4th in the Street Sense.  Best recent pattern of pace numbers…last 3 range from 83 to 86, all taking place here at CD and in routes.
Shareholder Value graduated maiden status in 3rd start, last one a small new top to 86, first time on dirt. Best tactical speed here…2nd call numbers lifetime: 117, 104, 82. Track bias favoritism too (see above re Someday Soon).
Uncontested was a 6-length wire-to-wire victory at Keeneland vs fellow 60k maidens. 95 Brisnet very sharp. Waiting 5 weeks to stretch from the sprint

2017 Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 1 selections and thoughts.

Pool 1 of the 2017 Kentucky Derby Future Wager begins in earnest right alongside American Thanksgiving (Turkey) Day. As in prior years I have put together a short list of those I will use in win bets. Following last year’s cue, I will also place exacta bets on some of those horses.  It was cool to have the winner from last year’s pool.  But I truly would have been the smartest one of all had I played the exacta. And I had both Nyquist and Exaggerator in the top 5 as well.
The variables I use are the same as for the Sire Future Wager, tho here I will also apply dosage…the measure of chef-de-race points, which determine whether a horse is speed favoring or stamina oriented, according to pedigree.  I measured the points for each horse against the typical score for all winners at Churchill Downs in 2015.  This info comes from http://www.pedigreequery.com and http://www.chef-de-race.com, the latter website which is no longer being maintained.
Here are the top 5 horses, all of whom I’ll be targeting
Ranked 5th: LOOKIN AT LEE: Top 7 in average winning distance from pedigree (Lookin At Lucky/Langara Lass, by Langfuhr). Top 7 in dosage profile. Top class win was 75k stakes level (Ellis Park Juvenile, 8/6). Entered in 3 Graded level routes since, finished 2nd twice, and 4th once. 2 races at Churchill, the better race was an 85 Brisnet speed rating in the Iriquois.  Current run-pace level puts him around 90, a bit slow compared to others. Positive pace progress: Before 9/1 his best score was 85; improved to 90 in the Breeders Futurity at Keeneland.
Ranked 4th: MCRAKEN, winner at 6.5 furlongs vs 43k maidens, and the 80k Street Sense at 1 mile, both at Churchill. Top 7 in AWD and dosage (Ghostzapper/Ivory Engineer, by Seeking The Gold). 94 speed figure in the Street Sense was at lower class, yet matches fastest speed at CD of this field. Run pace measures currently at 90. Qualifies here for having the mile victory.
Ranked 3rd: PRACTICAL JOKE. Undefeated in 4, winning vs 83k maidens at Saratoga, then the Grade 1 Hopeful there, then the Champagne at Belmont, and 3rd in the Breeders Cup Juvenile. Run pace currently measured at 96. Pace progress: 90 in his debut was bettered in the Champagne with a 97. Met standard for distance with the mile victory.
Ranked 2nd: CLASSIC EMPIRE. 4 wins in 5…44k maidens at Churchill on 5/4 (there’s the other 94 score here), then the Grade 3 Bashford Manor, the Grade 1 Breeders Futurity, and the Breeders Cup Juvenile. In the Hopeful, he lost the rider at the start.  Factoring in that race, his run pace is much lower than others with an 85. BC Juvenile represented good pace progress with a dazzling 108. One of 4 horses with a win at 8.5 furlongs.
Top pick in Pool 1 is HEMSWORTH.  Top 7 in AWD and dosage (Bernardini/In Step, out of Unbridled’s Song). 4th in his 2 maiden races, both scores in the 70s then surprised winning the mile Grade 2 Nashua with an 89 Brisnet number. Run pace still lower than others with an 83.

My plan this year is to play these 5 horses in win bets, and then play Hemsworth, Classic Empire and Practical Joke plus the field selections in exactas to each others. This will be a $36 investment.

In so doing, sires Bernardini, Pioneer of the Nile and Into Mischief are getting extra action for my involving them in my Sire Future Wager.

2017 Derby Sire Future Wager picks.

With the 2nd edition of the Sire Future Wager, here at long last, having worked on the past performances and constructing a mythical representation of each sire, I have my results.  I use the same parameters as last year:
CLASS: Best class won by a sire’s offspring.
CHURCHILL DOWNS PACE: What was the fastest run by a horse at Churchill thus far? I use Brisnet speed ratings for the answer.
AWD: Average Winning Distance for each sire.
RUN-PACE: Best average pace for each sire’s offspring, using a binomial method (more weight to recent races, less to older)
PACE PROGRESS: Dave Litfin’s creation as published his “Advanced Secrets of Handicapping” Pick 2YO horses who have run at least once before Labor Day (I use 9/1), and since then who have exceeded their pace numbers since, but before 12/31. Here, I pick the number of offspring per horse that have qualified.
LONG DISTANCE: Simply noting the longest distance win by the offspring.
Here were the benchmarks that were set based on my findings, while ranking the top 5 for each variable:
Class: At least a Grade 1 win
CD: 89 Brisnet at Churchill
AWD: 7.60 or more
RUN-PACE: 96 was the lowest acceptable.
PACE PROGRESS: Sires with 6 offspring or more qualified.
LONG DISTANCE: 8.5 furlongs.
With this method I was able to highlight 7 of the 23 sires. I broke ties easily between those that ranked in 3 categories.  The two I eliminated from the tiebreakers were Scat Daddy and Malibu Moon.
Now for the 5, the ones I’ll put win wagers on:
5th overall: CURLIN. Class: 43k maiden level (Society Beau, 9/17, at Churchill, see here). CD Pace: 90 (Society Beau, 75k optional claimer 11/10…watch here  http://www.bloodhorse.com/horse-racing/race/USA/CD/2016/11/10/9/race-9-aoc-at-cd-on-11-10-16). AWD: 7.60. Run pace: 99 (Irish War Cry, 11/16 at Laurel vs 40k maidens ). Pace progress horses: Cu Rahy, Kody’s Pursuit, Society Beau, Undulated). Longest distance win: mile (Society Beau, Cu Rahy). 3 key horses for this sire.
Ranked 4th: BERNARDINI (same as last year): Class: Grade 2 (Hemsworth in the Nashua). CD Pace: Balandeen (89 Brisnet, in the Street Sense). top 5 in AWD.  Top run-pace: Takaful, 99 in a 75k maiden event 10/29 at Belmont….watch here http://www.bloodhorse.com/horse-racing/race/USA/BEL/2016/10/29/7/race-7-msw-at-bel-on-10-29-16.   Pace progress horses: Altito, Haul Anchor, Hemsworth, Newman, Souper Catch). Longest distance win: 1 mile (Hemsworth),  3 key horses as well to watch.
3rd overall: PIONEER OF THE NILE: Class: Grade 1 (Classic Empire in Breeders Futurity and Breeders Cup Juvenile). CD Pace: 94 (top 5) (Classic Empire in Bashford Manor)  AWD: 7.40. Run pace: 85 (First Degree Burn, finishing 3rd in a maiden event 11/6 at Santa Anita…watch here http://www.bloodhorse.com/horse-racing/race/USA/SA/2016/11/6/7/race-7-msw-at-sa-on-11-6-16). Pace progress horses: Classic Empire, Mohican, Seanile. Longest distance win: 8.5 furlongs (see above) I figure this sire will be trendy because of the Triple Crown factor.
My top 2:
#2 would be KITTEN’S JOY (up from 5th). Class: Grade 1 (Oscar Performance in the BC Juvenile Turf. CD Pace: 71 (Kayla’s Kitten, 11/10, 7th v. 58k maidens). AWD of 7.80 is in top 5. Run pace: 94 (Oscar Performance). Pace progress: Kitten’s Cat, Miracle Mountain, Oscar Performance, Unspoiled Moments).

INTO MISCHIEF is my top sire choice. Class: Grade 1 (Practical Joke in the BC Juvenile and Champagne). CD Pace: 91 (Cool Arrow, in the Spendthrift, 10/30). AWD: 6.60. Run pace: 96 (Practical Joke). Pace progress from 14 horses (1st overall): Bold Prophet, Calculated Risker, Candy Snatcher, Conquest Prankster, Cookies Are Good, Dab, Dangerfield, Huevos Rancheros, KY Colonel, Practical Joke, South Sea, The All Button, Theoryintopractice, Westmont.

Coming up by Turkey Day, my Pool 1 picks and wagering strategy.

Delta Downs post-mortem from 11/19

Following a loss of data and some time at work, I have this post-mortem of the Delta Downs 11/19/16.  No full recap this time.
Race 1: Taylor was a late 3rd pick for me following changes. I singled it as a pick for value with favorite, and he won outright.
Race 2: Same story here, as 3rd choice Ruston Vow won as longshot upset over favorites.
Race 3: And yet again as Sashimi Blaster made it 3 longshots, all within my publicized top 3 choices or overlays.
Race 4: Hesinfront surprised me and some folks in this race.
Race 5: Wildcat Wish another mild value upset here, unseen by yours truly. Black Bear was solid 2nd pick.
Race 6: Delta Downs Princess goes to public 2nd choice Shane’s Girlfriend, and 2nd to my overall top pick Cajun Delta Dawn. Not a bad exacta there. Flatter Up and Chanel’s Legacy also get Enlightened Oaks Trail points.
Race 7: Delta Downs Jackpot is won by fave and my top choice, Gunnevara. Hot Sean, Dangerfield and J Boys Echo followed, earning EDT points.
Race 8 swung and missed with my picks, Magic Vow the longshot upset. odds-on fave Jack Snipe’s did match my 3rd place prediction.
Race 9 My 2nd and 3rd choices finish 1st and 3rd, Kathballu the big fave winning easy. Not a great value race, as Time Share, 2nd in wagering, filled out the exacta.
Race 10: Totally didn’t’ go my way, Savings Account over longshot Vieja Luna.
Race 11: Perfect set up for late closing Tickatee Tickatay, my top value pick here.

I think I’d have done well with wins in the first 3 races and the Race 9 exacta.

Back later this week with thoughts on the Future Wager and Sire Future Wager. Can’t wait!

Delta Downs 11/19/16 full card analysis

Lots to get to for this Delta Downs card, 11 races in all, with the Delta Downs Jackpot the featured race.  See my prior post for thoughts on the Princess and Jackpot races.
Race 1: Statebred maidens, 38k level, 7 furlongs.
Top 5: Kool Yankee, Florencio, Mob Posse.
Overlay: Mob Posse.
Should Kool Yankee or Mob Posse not appear, as they are ‘also-eligible, I have these ranked 4th and 5th: Coffee Cup and Freakonthelead.
Mob Posse ran 5th in his debut here 3 weeks ago, 54 pace figure.  Only horse in the field coming out of some trouble in his last race.  I like to play horses who are fastest with some trouble last time out.
Update:  New top 3 following changes: Kool Yankee, Florencio, Taylor
Race 2: 30k allowance, 1 mile, 3YO +.
I have no access to free past performances for this race, so I went with the top 3 based on jockey and trainer win percentage stats:  Kinker, Broberg entry of Fryers Well and Masculino, and Ruston Vow.

Race 3: Louisiana Jewel Stakes: 150k, statebred 2YOs, 1 mile.
Top 3: Big Game Baby, Naughty Little Nun, Sashimi Blaster
Overlays: Ivana’s Wish, Ourgoldshalaylee
Sashimi Blaster really a narrow 3rd over the overlays. Peaked sharply graduating from maiden status last time out, 72 Brisnet as favorite, 4th in 4 lifetime races with that distinction. Has to be considered with the pace threat. As for the overlays: Ivana’s Wish last race was important: 1st after layoff and 2nd lifetime race improved nicely at 2nd call, and gained quarter-length on leader. Ourgoldshalaylee might not go as she’s an AE horse. Improved 1 length from 1st to 2nd call last time out and 2nd lifetime race. One fast work since then here.

Race 4: Delta Mile. 250k, for 3YO+.

Top 3: Fear The Cowboy, Great Minds, Excessive.
Overlay: Excessive.
Only real longshot of the field, Excessive nevertheless must get consideration. Shares in having competitive turn time of 23.6 seconds. Only horse whose best run is on the backstreatch.
Race 5: Sam’s Town Stakes, 7 furlongs, 75k purse, 3YOs non-stakes winners.
Top 3: I Came To Party, Black Bear, Si Familia.
Overlays: So Sorry Ruston, I Came To Party, Si Familia.
I Came To Party first race under reclaim by Gerald Brooks, coming out of best races since the spring, best pattern of speed figures overall.  Longshot So Sorry Ruston has raced competitively enough for much of his career as well. Bounced from lifetime best 93 to 72 last time out upgrading to 34k and 2 furlongs plus jockey switch.  Did improve at 1st call, first race since 7 week layoff.   Si Familia is AE, switching back to prior winner Luis Batista, with whom he won a race here last year. Carrying just 116 as he is a non-winner for over 90 days.
New top 3 following changes: I Came To Party, Aces High, Black Bear.
Race 8: Louisiana Legacy Stakes, 1 mile, 150k purse, statebred 2YO colts/geldings.
Top 3: Jack Snipe’s, Tooth, Dixieland Native.
Overlays: Tooth, Drewmisterio.
Tooth won maiden debut vs statebred 38k level, 5 furlongs here on 10/19, 73 Brisnet, by 1.5 lengths. Gained 2.5 lengths on leader by 2nd call. Only early closer in the field in a race with a lot of speed on the backstretch.
New top 3 following changes reverses this order, Dixieland Native, Tooth, Jack Snipe’s.
Race 9: Orleans Stakes, 7 furlongs, 75k purse, fillies/mares 3YO+, non-stakes winners.
Top 3:  Manille, Kathballu, Strike Pleasure.
Overlay: Manille. Barely an overlay really as he’s 5-1 morning line and I like him to be at even-money.  Best tactical speed of the field, and best pattern of speed figures, he comes out of a bounced 82 speed figure vs 40k optional claimers, finishing last of 8, ‘hooked from inside’ after leading much of the 5.5 furlong race. I am certain it can be thrown out and he should take more money.  Prior winner doing the turf to dirt switch. Fastest turn-time as well.

Race 10 is the Treasure Chest Stakes, 1 mile, 200k purse for fillies/mares 3YO+.
Top 3 in this 5-horse field:  Favorites Danatrice, Savings Account, then longshot Brooke’s A Bookin.
Brooke’s A Bookin hasn’t won since January, has remained somewhat competitive since. Bounced from lifetime matching 85 to 74 moving up to 34k level and 7.5 furlongs, finishing 2nd for 2nd consecutive race.  Did win here a year ago at home track. Waiting since 10/22 to stretch to the mile. One bullet work since.

Race 11 is a 10k optional claimer, 1 mile, 20k purse for 3YO+.
Top 3: Coteau Kid,  Tickatee Tickatay, Disturbingbehavior.
Overlays: None.
Tickatee Tickatay best of these with any value won at the 5k claiming level, then 4th in last 2 at 10k. best track speed of field with 92, only deep closer in the field.

Enlightened Trails update: Delta Downs stakes predictions 11/19

I am actually in the midst of handicapping 10 of the 11 races for Saturday at Delta Downs. For purposes of this blog, I am highlighting the two that are in my Trails. These are the first Southern Division races for the Trails.

DELTA DOWNS PRINCESS: Top 2YO fillies, Grade 1, mile, 400k.
Top 3: Cajun Delta Dawn, Golden Mischief and Jilly.
Overlays: None.
Cajun Delta Dawn has raced exclusively at Gulfstream, winning her first 4, including a restricted 300k stakes event in September. Followed this up with a 90 speed figure in a 500k restricted stakes event on 10/1.  90 is a new small top, coming out of a series of high 80s runs. Shares in having best turn time of the field.  4 works in prep, 3 very fast, 1 a bullet.

Golden Mischief winner of 3 straight, including a 100k stakes event last time out here on 10/21.  Best track speed for the field, an 82, achieved last time.  Forged lifetime best prior to that, a 91, winning a 75k optional claimer at Churchill, 9/22

JIlly took 3 tries to break maiden, moving from 76 Brisnet figure to 89 last out.  Track bias in her favor: Early-presser type runners are winning 36% in milers, while posts 1-3 are 15%.

DELTA DOWNS JACKPOT: Top 2YO colts, Grade 1, 8.5 furlongs, $1 million purse.
Top 3: Gunnevera, Balandeen, Pat On The Back.
Overlays: Balandeen, Pat On The Back

Gunnevara won the Grade 2 Saratoga Special with lifetime best 91, then was 5th in the Grade 1 Breeders Futurity after 7 week layoff, pace of 86.  Only deep closer in a field with a good deal of early and tactical speed, needs pace slowdown to win.  This is an example of horse with enough changes since last race to prove being a winner. One of two horses to improve on 2nd call first race after layoff; also worked out very well at Gulfstream Park West with 2 bullets out of 4 very fast works.
Balandeen 2nd last out in debut route race, the 80k Street Sense at Churchill, running wide at the 2nd turn and might have won. This sprinter can be measured as having best tactical speed of field with great 1st and 2nd call pace numbers in the 90s.
Despite being ML longshot at 15-1, Pat On The Back still can surprise. 3 of 5 wins lifetime, including the statebred Aspirant at Finger Lakes and the Sleepy Hollow at Belmont, the latter in small new top of 90. Best overall speed figures of the field and best close pattern of pace numbers.