2017 Kentucky Oaks Future Wager, Derby Pool 3 selections

The major Derby/Oaks preps this past weekend (apart from my usual focused races in the Enlightened Trails series) had a direct impact on the Future pools.   The Rachel Alexandra Stakes saw Farrell, one of the favorites, win out, while the Risen Star saw an upset easily defeat those with actual Derby points.    For this I had to adjust the current/recent pace scores in both pools, and apply accordingly.
For the Oaks Pool, it was clear that Farrell was to be given more credence.  No other categories had an impact.  Here were my top 5 in the Oaks projections: Abel Tasman, Daddys Lil Darling, Unique Belle, Champagne Room, Miss Sky Warrior. The latter filly proved to be too slow with the new pace benchmark. Farrell definitely belonged in the mix now, but where?
I reranked the horses by win possibility. Here are the 3 I placed win bets on:
Daddys Lil Darling: 28-1
Abel Tasman 23-1
Farrell: 10-1
Unique Bella still ranked 3rd but at even-money, too cheap for me.
I used my top 3 horses: Daddys Lil Darling, Unique Bella and Abel Tasman in exactas to each other, and over and under the field (9-1).
Cheapest exacta payout: Unique Bella/Field: $28.20 on $2
Biggest: Daddys Lil Darling/Abel Tasman: 1372 on $2
There was no immediate word on the Brisnet score for Risen Star upset winner Girvin.   Therefore I had to take an educated guess, and apply accordingly (factoring in most recent pace, 2nd most, 3rd most).   I decided that the race would not have as much of an impact as previously figured, and stuck to my pre-Pool guns.  Here are the win bets I did make:
Mo Town 27-1 (double dip, as I have him at 12-1 also)
Irish War Cry 7-1 (barely qualified via odds)
Gormley 18-1
My top 3 horses overall I used in exactas to each other and over/under field of 5-1: Classic Empire, Mo Town, McCraken.  Yes, this a repeat of the exactas from the first pool, but it looks like these deserve to be in the top 3.
Cheapest exacta: Field/McCraken, $67 payout on $2 wager
Biggest payout: Mo Town/Classic Empire: $687 for $2

Risen Star,TX Heritage, Rachel Alexandra analysis

Enlightened Trails this weekend find their way to Sam Houston Park and the 50k Texas Heritage Stakes.  There are 2 major Derby preps that are not on my Trail, but significant nevertheless for the Future Wagers and the actual Trail. I’ll profile those races first.
The Risen Star Stakes at Fair Grounds carries at 400k purse for top 3YOs, going 8.5 furlongs.  Top 3 picks: Guest Suite, Local Hero, So Conflated. Predicted overlay: Guest Suite.
Fair amount of value in this race, as morning-line favorite Mo Town, whom I do not like here, is weak at 7-2.  Guest Suite is the barest of overlays, one I could definitely place a win bet on if he’s at his morning-line odds of 6-1 or worse.  Won here last out in the Grade 3 LeComte with a new small top of 93 on 1/21. That score is best of the track and for distance. Best tactical speed as well. Last 3 2nd-call numbers: 100, 87, 90. Small new tops in 4 of a possible 4 opportunities. 3 wins and 2 3rds lifetime. So Conflated lifetime is 3-2-0-1.  Won last out first time at route and on the all-weather in the California Derby. 24.4 turn time between last 2 races, and a full second gain from his last race are the best results from the field.

The Rachel Alexandra Stakes is 8.5 furlongs for top 3YO fillies, 200k purse.  Top 3 in this field of 7 are the top two morning-line selections in Valadorna and Farrell. I like Wicked Lick for 3rd.

Overlays: None to be found.
Best chance for value comes from Wicked Lick. He was in the Silverbulletday, contested here on 1/21. He started slow, but this early closer wasn’t fazed. Matched lifetime best 85 in that race. 6-1-3-0 lifetime, 2 straight 2nds.
As for the Enlightened Trails, a quick explanation re the filly side in the Minor division. Ever since the announcement of the Japan entry into the actual Derby Trail,  I adapted my rules for the Minor division.  I decided to keep the top 3 for each of the major division, just 1 from the Minor division, and the 1 Japanese representative in my version of the Japan Trail.
On the Derby Trail side, right now, Howdy Kingkowboy, winner of the Turf Paradise Derby, and He’s Munnie are the top 2 from the US minors.
Texas Heritage Stakes is a 50k event, 8.5 furlongs on the Sam Houston turf course. My top 3 here are Witt’s Town, Taco, and Fast Talkin  Man. Witt’s Town, Fast Talkin Man are overlays. Good value between the leading morning-line horse.
Witt’s Town, after his 3rd maiden race, finished 7th in a 30k allowance race, then won at the 20k level, her first try on turf and at a route, also 1st under reclaim by Amanda Barton (22% at the meet).  Carries lowest weight, 110 lbs. Track bias angle:  Closers at this distance are winning 28%. Posts 4-7 are winning 18%.
Fast Talkin Man, out of his debut at a route and beyond maiden status, won a 20k allowance race with an 81 BRIS. Best speed figure for track and distance. Improved 2nd call number since layoff, and gained 5 lengths on the leader .Also benefits from similar track bias to Fast Talkin Man. Need slow pace to win.

Oaks Future Wager, Pool 3 Derby Wager analysis

In profiling the sole Kentucky Oaks Future Wager pool, I repeat the same variables as I used in last year’s version: dosage (lowest differential in chef-de-race numbers between 2016 Churchill Downs winners and these 23 contenders), combined AWD numbers, longest distance won, overall pace, fastest CD speed figure, positive 2YO progress, and best class won. I took the top 7 in each category and kept all ties.  Ultimately 2 horses proved to be much the best, and I had to split a 3 way tie for the 3rd position.
The benchmarks created by the 23 horses were these:
Top 7 in dosage; combined AWD of at least 14.7, at least one Grade 2 victory, any races at CD, any 2YO progress, 8.5 furlong win, overall pace with projected 91 speed rating or better.
I’ll start with the horses in the tiebreak and who I rank, worst to best:
5th overall is MISS SKY WARRIOR. 4th in her maiden debut at Belmont  in September with 88 Brisnet. Won last 3 races, including maiden win at Parx with 91, then the Grade 3 Tempted and the Grade 2 Demoiselle, both at Aqueduct and with similar scores. Dosage is in the top 7 (First Samurai/Sky Minister, out of Conquistador Cielo). Only filly here with a 9-furlong win.
4th is CHAMPAGNE ROOM. 2nd in maiden debut, winner of the Grade 1 Sorrento, 3rd in the Del Mar Debutante, 4th in the Chandelier, winner of the Breeders Cup Juvenile Fillies, and 3rd last out in the Las Virgiennes. Last 2 races presented a forged new pair of lifetime bests of 94, the latter race coming out of a 3 month layoff and debut at 3. The BC win gives her strong creedence. Positive 2YO pace, improving on her pre Labor-Day best with 94, plus the distance of 8.5 furlongs make her a strong candidate.
3rd is the highly regarded UNIQUE BELLA. 2nd in maiden debut, winner at 2nd try with 99 BRIS. Winner of the Grade 2 Santa Ynez and Las Virgiennes, both at Santa Anita. Good AWD numbers (Tapit/Unrivaled Belle, out of Unbridled’s Song). Thanks to the 106 score last out, she’s got the best overall pace of the field. Positive 2YO pace progress between her maiden races.   Not my top pick despite her success and odds-on favorite status.
In my top 2:
DADDYS LIL DARLING won maiden race in 2nd try at Ellis Park last July. Won the Grade 2 Pocahontas at CD (exceeded past pre-Labor Day score of 81 with 84), then 2nd in the Alcibiad, 4th in the BC Juvenile Fillies, 2nd in the Golden Rod back at CD. All 4 races at the 8.5 furlong distance. Dosage is in top 7 (Scat Daddy/Miss Hot Salsa, out of Houston).
Top pick in the Future Wager pick is ABEL TASMAN. 5th in maiden debut, won 2nd effort, then won a 59k allowance race, and the Grade 1 Starlet in December (8.5 furlongs). Last 2 races over 90 Brisnet. Top 7 AWD numbers (Quality Road/Vargas Girl by Deputy Minister). Top 7 in overall pace. Positive 2YO pace progress (moved from 70 to 79)
The plan for wagering:
Win bets on my top 3 here if the odds are worse than 5-1. 4th and 5th horses get priority if a horse is at 5-1 or better.
Exacta bets between my top 3, plus over and under the ‘field’ selection.
Two races this weekend undoubtedly will change how the odds will appear for Sunday. That would be the Rachel Alexandra Stakes and Aqu Stakes on 2/25.  If need be, I’ll provide an update.  I am working on 2/26, so my wager might take place early Sunday.   The one issue I do not know is whether the Future is simply open throughout the weekend or if it closes daily on each day.


 As with Pool 2 on the Derby, I use the same categories to determine who is best in each. I kept the top 7, breaking ties as seen fit.
My scheme for wagering will be this:
Win bets on my top 3 horses, excluding those that I’ve been on in prior pools. If I have a prior bet on them that is possibly paying out $10 more than in a prior pool, then I can make a 2nd wager. Otherwise, I go down the line to others.
I will use exactas between my top 3, plus above/below field selection.  If in the event I repeat an exacta from a prior pool, the payout must be higher than in prior; if lower, I will ignore.

Here are the benchmarks created by my top 23:
Dosage: Top 7

AWD: Combined 14.6
Class: At least a Grade 2 victory
CD: Any CD runs
Pace: 96 or better in the last 3 races.
2YO pace progress
Longest distance. 8.5 furlongs is ideal.
Now for the top 6:

Ranked 6th is GORMLEY. Won his maiden debut at 60k level at Del Mar in September.  Won the Grade 1 Front Runner at Santa Anita after that (route debut, 8.5 furlongs) with a strong 97. 7th in the Breeders Cup Juvenile. Won the Grade 3 Sham with new small top of 102, starting his 3YO campaign.   Top 7 Dosage profile (Malibu Moon/Race To Urga, out of Bernstein.  Top 7 in pace. 15-1 ML.  His next race is the San Felipe on 3/11.

Ranked 5th is EL AREEB. Winner of last 4 including the Jerome, the Withers and the JF Lewis. Top AWD numbers (Exchange Rate/Feathered Diamond, out of AP Indy). High ranking pace numbers; last 3: 99, 102, 100. Positive pace progression. The Withers win was at 8.5 furlongs.  20-1 at ML. I already have him in exactas with Guest Strike, McCraken and the Pool 2 field, plus win at 32-1. Probably no win bet here if his odds remain at 20-1.  Not sure when he races next.
Ranked 4th is IRISH WAR CRY. Undefeated in 3, with pace scores of 99, 100, 102, plus wins in the Marylander and the Grade 2 Holy Bull at 8.5 furlongs. Top 7 in AWD (Curlin/Irish Sovereign, out of Polish Numbers).   ML is 12/1, hopefully around this number to use as a win, maybe even in exactas. He will be in the Fountain Of Youth, 3/4.
Ranked 3rd is MCCRAKEN. Undefeated in 4, with wins in the Street Sense, the KY Jockey Club (Grade 2), and the Sam F Davis (Grade 3), the latter 2 at 8.5 furlongs. 3 races at Churchill, best run was 94.  Top 7 in dosage (Ghostzapper/Ivory Empress, out of Seeking The Gold). I have him as 12-1 from Pool 1, and exactas with Hemsworth and Mo Town, Guest Suite and El Areeb, and under/over field selections in the prior pools.  It will be interesting to see how he fares in exacta pools.  I do not expect to wager win bets on him here considering the 12-1 standard.  Next for him is the Tampa Bay Derby on 3/11.
Ranked 2nd is MO TOWN: Winner of the 9 furlong, Grade 2 Remsen Stakes, this after his 2nd maiden race. Top 7 AWD numbers (Uncle Mo/Grazile Mille, out of Bernardini). Remsen score was 101, an improvement over his 89 debut.  Only other horse to win at 9 furlongs.  15/1 at ML. I have him at 12-1. Might be wagering win on him…definite for exactas.  Next race is coming up Saturday in the Risen Star. A lot will hinge on that race.

Top rank is CLASSIC EMPIRE. Winner of the Bashford Manor, the Breeders Futurity and the BC Juvenile. Unfinished in the Hopeful, 3rd in the Holy Bull, bouncing from 108 to 92.  Debuted his career with 2 races at CD, 94 his best effort. Positive pace progress. Last 2 wins came at 8.5 furlongs.  ML odds are 8-1. I have him at 6-1 from Pool 1. If he somehow takes less money, maybe 12-1 or worse, I will place another win bet. Definite for exactas.  Either races in the San Felipe or Tampa Bay Derby.

Enlightened Trails update: Turf Paradise, Golden Gate Fields

3 of the next Enlightened Trails races take place today.  I have info on 2 of those races here, the El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate, and the Turf Paradise Derby.
At Turf Paradise, this is the 3rd last race of the Minor division.  It is 8.5 furlongs for top 3YOs with a 50k purse. My top 3 horses here are Most Determined, Mr Larson and Chelokee’s Legacy.  1st and 3rd choices are both longshots and overlays, surrounding Mr Larson, the narrow morning-line favorite.
Most Determined has raced here 3 times at the maiden-optional-claimer 30k level, twice on the turf course, tho this will be his first time at a route. Winning last out following a 7 week layoff, he exploded in pace from 64 to 79. 24.6 turn time between both races is best of this field. Only horse to race first after layoff and improve at 2nd call; also gained in leader by 2 lengths between 1st and 2nd call.
Chelokee’s Legacy also has raced sprints exclusively here, with a win following a layoff 2 races back, then 3rd in a 20k claiming race on 1/18. Increased in speed from 63 to 71. Only horse with good run last out despite any trouble in trip. Gained 1.5 lengths last race against leader.
All horses in this race come in with 0 EDT points.
The El Camino Real Derby is the first major race for 3YOs in my Trail series and 3rd of 4 races in the Cali division.
Top 3 here are favorite Sheer Flattery, More Power To Him, and overlay Kona Dreams.
More Power To Him is the local horse, with 6 races on GG’s AW course, last 4 as route, placing in each of those 4. All 4 had present jockey Alejandro Gomez aboard.  Best AW and track score of the field, an 89, achieved last out, finishing 2nd in the 100k California Derby. That race, his first at age 3, represents a small new top.
Kona Dreams is running consistently in the 80s but is 0-for-4 at the 50-55k maiden level. Makes his debut on AW. Waiting the longest to stretch out of this field as he returns from a route. Adds blinkers. Best works of the field; 3 at Santa Anita, last one was 2nd of 21, 1:11:2 handily over 6 furlongs.
0 points for all horses thus far on the Trail here also.

Enlightened Trails update and recap of 2/11/17 predictions

I was away from the computer this past weekend, and did not get the opportunity to review my Saturday selections or update the Trails until just now.
California Oaks: This Enlightened Oaks Trail race went to my 2nd choice, the 2nd public choice in Tap It All. Tapped, the public favorite, finished 2nd. Shari, a longshot ,finished 3rd. My top choice, Simmy’s Temple, was public 3rd choice and finished 4th.  Solar Wind, my overlay pick here, was never in it, finished last of 9.   It would have been a losing race in handicapping, as there was no value between my picks besides Solana Wind. Top 4 finishers all get points in the Minor category. Tap It All seizes the lead in that category, and would be the single representative for my mythical Oaks if the field had to be drawn up now.  Still 3 more races left in this category: the Arizona Oaks coming up this weekend, and next months’ Caesar’s Wish and Sunland Park Oaks.

Sam F Davis went to McCraken, my consistent choice for the Kentucky Derby in 2 future wagers. Now undefeated in 4, McCraken was my 3rd choice here. I picked No Dozing for 2nd. He was the only other horse taking much money, and proved to be a money-burner, always in the latter half of the field. My top pick, overlay State Of Honor, did lead much of the race, and had enough stamina to finish 3rd.   The 2nd place horse was a bit of a surprise in Tapwrit.  I didn’t like him that much going in; the only reason for liking him at all might have been the trainer influence. He had a prior distance cutback win, a shipping win, and was waiting the longest to stretch out. I missed out on a $20.80 exacta from $1 wager.

Underpressure was a surprise winner in the LA Bred Premier Night Prince at Delta Downs. Also unexpected was Magic Vow for 2nd.  Saint’s Fan, the true lone favorite, and my top pick was upset and finished 3rd.  Freakonthelead, and Tip Tap Tapizar, never seriously factored.  Underpressure did have best average-winning-distance numbers from pedigree, and was one of 2 that had recently exploded/forged through in pace compared to his 2YO season. He also seemed to benefit from the prevailing track bias. Magic Vow had best distance and track speed ratings at Delta from this field; he also had an impressive turn time gain from his last race.    Nearly a 2-longshot exacta, $66 payoff with $1 wagered, which I did not foresee.

Next up this weekend are 3 Enlightened Trails races. On the Derby side, it’s the El Camino Real at Golden Gate (Cali division), and the Turf Paradise Derby (Minors). On the Oaks side, it’s the aforementioned Arizona Oaks.

Enlightened Trails update (Golden Gate Fields) and other Derby races 2/11/17

Lest you have forgotten, the Enlightened Trails are still around, and return for the first 3YO races of the season on Saturday. The race involving the Enlightened Oaks Trail is the California Oaks at Golden Gate Fields.
This race is one of 3 I examine in today’s post.   First, a look at 2 other races involving some actual Derby prep races.
The Samuel F Davis is being contested at Tampa Bay Downs, 8.5 furlongs, for leading 3YOs, 250k purse, Grade 3 class.  My top 3 are lone overlay State Of Honor, No Dozing, and the favored McCraken (a leading horse in my Future Wager selections)
State Of Honor a worthy overlay, placing 2nd in 2 stakes races after winning at the 56k level last year at Woodbine. After that maiden win with an 86 speed rating, he finished 2nd stretching to 9 furlongs in a 250k restricted stakes event, tho a downturn to 81 speed. Forged a new top with a strong 94 in the Mucho Macho Man. This race came after a 7 week layoff and a cut back in distance to a mile, first time on dirt and away from Woodbine.  Not only does he have the best pace progress overall, he fits in well with the current track bias; in 15 races at the distance, 20% have been won from the rail position, best percentage against other posts.  Only horse to improve first after layoff at 2nd call. Also gained lead at 2nd call in the Mucho Macho Man.

Next, the California Oaks, a 50k race for top 3YO fillies, 8.5 furlongs over the Golden Gate Fields dirt. My top 3 here are Simmy’s Temple, Tap It All, and longshot/overlay Solana Wind.
Simmy’s Temple is 3rd-ranked in the morning-line at 5-1.  2 wins and 1 2nd in 8 races. Winner of her 2nd maiden race at 63k last summer at Del Mar, and the Park Place Dancer here at Golden Gate in the autumn. Both wins were above 80 speed rating.   Debuted in England, after a 3 month delay has raced exclusively in California, all races at 1 mile and vs fillies. British pedigree presents best AWD numbers of this field (Royal Applause/Samasana, out of Redback; sire a multiple Graded stakes winner in GB). Her 80 score 3 races back is the best GG speed figure in the field. Fastest last-out trip that had any trouble; a 75 in the Blue Northern saw her start rather slowly, and remained in back much of the race.  Her prior move from turf to dirt was her win in the Park Place Dancer. Prior shipping win; also waiting longest to stretch out, 7 weeks.

Solana Wind took 3 tries to break maiden, last 2 at Golden Gate, with a small new top of 72 in her first 3YO race. Maintained pace after claim with 70 last out to win. My serious reason for liking this one is that she has the best turn time (23.8) and best turn time gain from last race (1.4 seconds) from this field.
Finally the LA Bred Premier Night Prince, in a series of state-bred races going on at Delta Downs today. This one is a mile, 100k, for top 3YOs.   Top 3 are Saint’s Fan, longshot/overlay Freakonthelead, and Tip Tap Tapizar.
Saint’s Fan is a worthy 6/5 ML favorite, so we’ll turn to Freakonthelead. Out of the money once in 7 lifetime, he makes his route debut following both a state-bred maiden win and a score in the Pelican, both at Delta Downs. Last race saw him improve strongly with an 85 pace number. Of course, there is always the possibility of a bounce.  Turn time gain of 1.8 seconds between last 2 races is best of the field.  One of 3 early/presser horses who fit the track bias. Posts 4-7 with this running style have the best win % for races at a mile.

Super Bowl LI prediction

In keeping with an old tradition of figuring the Super Bowl championship, I decided to see how the NE/ATL matchup might turn out. Before this, I figured I’d apply a basic set of variables that I used with the college bowl games.
COACH: Belicheck has the advantage with those 4 Super Bowl titles.
TEAM: NE big advantage here, as ATL has no Super Bowl appearances.
W at  Denver 23-16
L at Seattle 24-26
W vs Seattle 36-20
W vs Arizona 38-19
W at Los Angeles 42-14
W at Denver 16-3
L vs Seattle 24-31
W at Arizona 23-21
W vs Los Angeles 26-10
Atlanta not only has the edge 4-1 to 3-1, but the average margin of the games ahead in scoring is 13 to 6.
Ryan 9.3   Brady 8.2
TRAVEL: Kinda irrelevant, tho I suppose ATL would have the advantage, as the distance to NRG Stadium in TX is much shorter than NE’s travel.

I didn’t give myself enough time to study the prop bets for the Big Game but I do have the mean and binomial results of both sides, and how they interact. I am attempting to predict momentum more than the actual score.

In taking the mean average score per quarter of points allowed/scored, I can construct a pattern.
NE: 1st: 8.5 points scored. 2nd: 6.7. 3rd: 7.1. 4th: 5.8
points allowed: 1st: 1.9.  2nd: 5.3    3rd: 3.3   4th: 5.0

Binomial difference:
NE points scored:  1st: 8.6 (up)  2nd: 7.4 (up)  3rd: 7.3 (up) 4th: 6.4 (up)
points allowed: 1st: 1.7 (up) 2nd: 5.5 (down)  3rd: 3 (up)  4th: 4.6 (up)
NE is exuding positive momentum on 7 of 8 periods. Only weakness is 2nd quarter defense.

Now for Atlanta.

ATL points scored:
1st: 6.2  2nd: 10.5   3rd: 8.6   4th: 7.0
1st: 4.1  2nd: 7.2    3rd: 3.8   4th: 9.3

Binomial results:
points scored:
1st: 8.7 (up)  2nd: 11.6 (up)  3rd: 8.2 (down)   4th: 6.7 (down)

1st: 4.2 (down)  2nd: 5.8 (up)  3rd 3.8 (even)  4th: 8.8 (up)
ATL is very strong in 2nd quarter, leading with their offense, but start to wither in the third, and have to rely on defense more in the 2nd half

Now we put this together. I watch for when one team’s offense is on the rise and opponent’s defense is declining, and vice versa.

First quarter: When NE has the ball, they have the absolute advantage. When ATL has it, they can do no better than match strides.
2nd quarter: Both sides going at it strongly, no change
3rd quarter: NE slight advantage when they have the ball. ATL’s fortunes change for the worse as they are on a downward trend and NE’s D has the best opportunity to change the game.
4th: Both sides on offense are equally strong as in 2nd quarter, but NE’s defense who continues their best strides and should have a strong foothold.

Ultimately I expect NE to take the lead and hold it early on, and let their defense do the rest, especially in the 3rd quarter.

The mean scores, when added up, give NE a 26-25 win.  On the binomial side, they lose a full point, and ATL loses .3, so it’s a bit close.
I will give NE the narrow 26-25 win

Looking at the prop bets, I’m wondering about the missed extra point kick angle.  +330 for NO is mighty interesting.

Either kicker initial kick results in no touchback.. +190. I like this.
No FG in 2nd quarter looks like that might work   +230 for NO.
No TD for ATL in the 4th is +165.

Successful 2 point conversion. +270 !

TDs by Brady over 3   +270

No Brady TD in 2nd quarter +160.  Kinda interesting, that one.

Ryan Allen punt touchback, yes is 280+
Bosher touchback punt: +270

No NE rushing TDs   250+

Ryan to throw INT before TD: +220

No Ryan TD pass in 2Q: +140
No Ryan TD pass in 4Q: +125

ATL rushing TD 1st half: +120 for YES

ATL punts before score..+115