Black-Eyed Susans Stakes analysis

Got a little while before the Black-Eyed Susans at Pimlico. Here’s who I like in this Grade 2 event, fillies going 9 furlongs for $250k.

Top 3 are all prices: overlay Torrent, Dancing Rags, and other overlay Actress. Moana is a weak 4-1 morning-line selection, and I find her especially beatable. I do feel this is an excellent betting race.

Torrent is no sloucnh, getting her share of podium finishes. Was 4th last time out in the G3 Fantasy at Oaklawn. 83 Brisnet score with a gain on the leader, but got caught up with another horse and was pulled, along with being wide late. Improved turn time by a full second between last two races.

Dancing Rags won the G3 Alcibiad, then finished poorly in the BC Juvenile and the Beaumont. I consider her 78 in the Beaumont the tail end of a bounce ,and she should bounce back here. Gained a bit in turn time while losing speed. Increased from 88 to 109 at 2nd call, first time after layoff.
Deserving of her 8/1 odds.

Actress has 2 runs in the 80’s in Gulfstream Park sprints, both 2nds. 24-second turn time is best of the field.

My odds for comparison:
Tapa Tapa Tapa 7-1
Full House 59-1
Corporate Queen 16-1
Summer Luck 10-1
Shimmering Aspen 29-1
Lights Of Medina 12-1
Yorkiepoo Princess 12-1
Moana 9-1
Torrent 4-1
Dancing Rags 8-1
Actress 8-1

Preakness Stakes 2017 analysis

The Preakness Stakes post draw took place on Wednesday, with the past performances released soon after. Here’s my capsule look at each horse and their chances.

MULTIPLIER: Following his maiden win in 3rd try, he closed to win the Illinois Derby at Hawthorne on 4/22, with a sharp 104 score. With 3 straight big gains in speed figure, a bounce is bound to come. Despite this, he has the best tactical speed of the field. If this deep closer gets his proper trip, he may well surprise. Fastest turn time last out of the field at 24 seconds.
Odds: 18-1 Possible overlay, compared to morning-line of 30-1
Pace: Needs average to slower than average pace.
Projected to finish 6th on wet track, 4th if fast.

CLOUD COMPUTING: Stretching from 9 furlongs and 7 weeks off since his 3rd place finish in the Wood Memorial. Bounced to 94 from 100. Fastest trip of the field with some trouble (3 wide for a good deal of the race). Only early closer of the race. Best works of the field too: 4 at Belmont, all 4 very fast, 2 bullets.
Odds: 9-1. Possible overlay, compared to morning-line of 12-1.
Pace: Based on one win, he needs a fast pace throughout.
Projected to win.

HENCE disappointed with a bounce from 103 to 80 in the KY Derby. Best AWD numbers of the field (Street Boss/Floating Island, out of AP Indy). He can possibly bounce back from the 80 score. Not one of my contenders.
Pace: This deep closer needs a very fast pace early, slowing down to slightly faster than average late.
If we have a fast track, he’ll be 14-1 for me, possibly an overlay. Wet track, I will remove him from consideration.
Projected to finish 7th.

ALWAYS DREAMING as mentioned in my prior post, had some reason to win, no less than a recent fast turn time and the recovery angle following his post layoff period of races. With the KY Derby, he leads in distance speed for this field. Undoubtedly he’s basically the speed of the field. Should we have a wet track, he becomes a stronger contender.
Odds for wet track: 7-1, worse than the projection of 4/5 as morning-line. He’s one I may play with my top selections and overlays.
Fast track odds: 4-1.
Pace: Slow pace early, very slow late
Projection: 3rd

CLASSIC EMPIRE has 5 wins in 8, a respectable 4th in the KY Derby, with a good 91 score. Lost in the shuffle here as he does not rank at all in my variables.
Pace: Fast early, slightly faster than average later.
Finish: back of the pack.

GUNNEVARA had a tough trip in the Derby, finishing 7th, and a drop to 86. Another horse I have no confidence in.
Pace: Fast early, slows down to slower than average late. Basically this deep closer requires a meltdown in pace.

TERM OF ART comes out of a pair of 92s, finishing 3rd in the San Felipe and 7th in the Santa Anita Derby. A bit concerned he might bounce from his last 3 numbers. Only horse I’m throwing out on pace alone. Adds blinkers for this race. Waiting since 4/8 to stretch.
Odds: 18-1, possible overlay.

SENIOR INVESTMENT won the Lexington last time out at Keeneland 4/15, following a 6th in the LA Derby. Both races he scored a 93 in. Possible bounce risk here. Meanwhile, he has the biggest turn time gain of the field from his last 2 starts, .8 seconds.
Odds: 18-1, possible overlay.
Pace: Average all throughout.
Prediction: 5th on wet track, 4th if dry.

LOOKIN AT LEE nearly stole the KY Derby, and would have scored me a sweet 37-1 payout from Pool 1 of the Future Wager. He remains a wiseguy pick and I’m sure the public will agree. Arkansas Derby was a small new top of 94. He’s still under influence of that score, so it’s a bonus that he scored a bit better in the KY Derby with 97. Best pace pattern of the field.
Odds: Fair, at 9-1.
Pace: Pretty average throughout the race for this deep closer.
Prediction: 2nd.

CONQUEST MO MONEY last ran in the Ark Derby, finishing a close 2nd and with a 95 score, paired with a 99 in the Sunland Derby. Only pure sprinter in the field, and can be dangerous among all the stamina-based horses here.
Odds: 18-1, a fair price here.
Pace: Very fast early, to slightly fast late.
Prediction: 5th on wet track, 6th if fast.

Top horses are
Fast track: Cloud Computing, Lookin At Lee, Always Dreaming, Multiplier, Senior Investment, Conquest Mo Money, Hence.
Wet track: Top 3 for fast, then Senior Investment, Conquest Mo Money, Multiplier and Hence.
Overlays: 5 in all, a nice amount for a 10 horse field.

It does seem like a one horse race for Cloud Computing, with Always Dreaming and Lookin At Lee strong solid choices otherwise.

Derby/Oaks post-mortem, and first look at Preakness

The big takeaway from Derby weekend is that I continue to have great luck with either the Derby or Oaks. This year, my usual good luck with the race ran out, as Always Dreaming, a horse I really didn’t consider seriously, won the Run for All Those Roses. I did have that horse as a favorite over the race’s immediate overlays. Lookin At Lee, a horse I did like as one of 5 possibles in Future Wager Pool 1, did make for a nice exacta for a number of people, finishing 2nd.
I was saddened to see Thunder Snow have a horrible trip. I had hoped for a much better trip, a world-shocking trip. I had hoped for a number of horses to make good on their expectations. None panned out at all.
Always Dreaming probably couldn’t have been a bigger surprise. He ranked very low in my dosage profiles tho did have a respectable pace gain. There was a slight bounce risk too, but running to his speed suggested a much slower trip than figured. He did receive a good amount of changes from his connections…a prior shipping win, a similar gain in weight prior to a win, and one of the quicker turn times between his last 2 races. Nice workout profile too. I was scared away by his breaching of the CD track par, fully expecting a bounce from his number.

In the Oaks, I can say I scored my biggest financial win ever at a track. I wasn’t sure of the outcome until I saw Abel Tasman bounding home from last to first in a muddy stretch, and Daddy’s Lil Darling chasing her down. I was positively stunned, then shouted with glee, knowing I made my biggest score yet. It was a score I predicted back in February, an exacta where 3 horses were ranked 1st, 6th and 7th in Oaks points. With Unique Bella’s scratch, the exacta I did hit was $451.50. Add to that a $42.80 payoff for a straight win. This beats the $300 I won playing 2 longshots as exacta in a race at Dubai years ago.

This Future Wager continues to enthrall me. I wish it were around more often, and for other races.

The right horse certainly won the Derby, and I now look forward to how he may fare in the Preakness.

Upon learning of Royal Mo’s demise during a workout Sunday, I took a further look at the advance PPs for Saturday’s Preakness. Here is my current analysis:
1st: Lookin At Lee set a small new top with 97 BRIS in the KY Derby. Best pace pattern in the field
2nd: Cloud Computing in bounceback mode after dropping from 100 to 94 in the Wood Memorial. 94 the fastest of those last out with troubled trip.
3rd: Senior Investment gained well in turn time between last 2 races. Shipping win plus prior win with stretch in distance.
4th: Always Dreaming does have best pace for distance, and still in pace recovery mode, 4 races after layoff.
5th: Hence with recent gain from 86 to 103 and bounce to 80 suggests a bounceback. Pedigree may be best of the field (Street Boss/Floating Island, out of AP Indy)
Suggested odds for the moment: Always Dreaming 4-1
Cloud Computing, Lookin At Lee 6-1
Senior Investment 7-1
Conquest Mo Money, Multiplier 10-1
Classic Empire, Gunnevara, Term Of Art 23-1
Throwing out Lancaster Bomber.

2017 Kentucky Derby analysis

You, as a handicapper,hate to make assumptions. No matter how much preparation went into the race, there would always have to be the possibility of also-eligible horses getting in, or a late equipment change, or bad weather, etc. etc.  Sometimes, though, for various reasons, known and unknown, you must take a hard guess and pray all goes according to your plan.
Such it is for the Kentucky Derby.  I will not have the opportunity to wager in the last hour before post time.  Instead, I will have more time to wager based on the public sentiment of advance wagering. My plan is to see what horses are getting bet down, and who are being ignored. With so much money on this race, the numbers won’t truly change that much until the last 15 minutes or thereabouts. I feel pretty confident as to how this race will go.  But, there are the obvious factors:
Rain is in the forecast for Oaks and Derby Day. The track does dry fast, but will the track get to be fast for the race? I do have a safeguard, tho it won’t impact my wagers all that much.
The also-eligible horses can’t be thrown out entirely, and should there be a scratch, I’d have to recalculate for those changes…and I might not have a proper analysis in place to adjust for this.
I can only hope that the field of 20 + 2 remains the 20 horses, and the track will be in off-track conditions, as that’s how I factored in everyone.
We go horse-for-horse:

1 LOOKIN AT LEE was 3rd in the Arkansas Derby and 4th in the Breeders Cup Juvenile, not an Enlightened Derby qualifier. Arkansas Derby score was 94, a new small top which finally improved on his 2YO best of 93 in the BC race. The 94 was quick for sure tho he had some trouble in that race. Noticeable pace pattern around 90.
Pace: This deep closer needs slightly faster than average speed early, slightly slower average speed late.

2 THUNDER SNOW is the big mystery horse to many, especially for me as there are no Brisnet numbers to evaluate fractions and pace. I did borrow statistic info from Trakus and The Racing Post to figure what those variables are, and I do have something to work with now.   Best AWD numbers in the field (Helmet/Eastern Joy, out of Dubai Destination).  Last race was his Dubai World Cup win on 3/25, stretching out from 1-3/16 miles.  Gets Lasix for the first time. Seems to be a bit of a bounce risk based on his 2 Dubai races, estimated gain of 7 points in BRIS, a bit much for me. Not an EDT qualifier.  The system in UAE does not have a truly Derby Trail in place, unlike most other countries.
Pace: Unknown.
Odds: 44-1. He’s in the mix, but barely, and probably not going to be an overlay.
 3 FAST AND ACCURATE won his last 3, including the Grade 3 Spiral, with 3rd straight score in the 80s, a plateau of numbers ahead of his prior races. Still, it’s slow compared to others. Waiting since 3/25 to stretch an extra furlong. Positive jockey change back to Channing Hill, who rode the maiden breaker win on 12/14.    Track bias is in his favor, if you judge from last fall’s meeting, where horses in routes who are early-pressers won at the rate of 29%. Combine that with the fact that the most wins in those races are in posts 1-3, at 14%.  Very good works: 4 at CD and CDT, 3 of the 4 very fast, one a bullet.
Odds: 4-1. Should be one of 4 overlays in this race.
Pace: Slightly better than average early, to average late.
Prediction: 1st
4 UNTRAPPED has yet to improve class beyond maiden, tho has run in the 90s since and has mainly kept in the money positions. Lone start at CD was a win, to break maiden last November.  Real question mark re pace, tho overall can hold his own. Quick troubled trip last time out in the Arkansas Derby, strong pace pattern in the low 90s. Positive jockey change to Ricardo Santana Jr, who rode that maiden winner. Blinkers come off too.  Not an EDT qualifier.
Pace: Based on one race, this closer needs a slightly fast pace throughout.
5 ALWAYS DREAMING 5-3-1-1 lifetime, including a win last out in the Florida Derby, scoring with a big gain in pace, 102. Recovery in pace is certainly an angle to watch for. He broke maiden with an 89 on 1/25, then dropped to an 84 in a 75k optional-claimer, then came the 102 number last time out. Bounce? I think so, especially as he spikes up to the track par, which is a red flag for me. FL Derby was won with a 4-lb gain from previous; he gains 4 more today. 24-second turn time in the FL Derby, matches best of this field.
Pace: Needs a very slow pace throughout, will be among the slowest of those who run fastest in the backstretch
6 STATE OF HONOR was 2nd in the Florida Derby. Not winning an EDT race keeps him from qualifying, compared to others in the Southern division who did.  Yet to improve from maiden status, but has run mainly in the 90s and either 2nd or 3rd since. In fact, he has 3 new small tops from his 3YO campaign coming in. Mid-90s pace pattern. From the first 20 horses, this is the lone sprinter of the field. Does this angle translate to a win?
Pace: Based on one win, this sprinter needs a slightly slow pace throughout.
7 GIRVIN has dazzled in his 4 races, with 3 wins, including the Grade 2 Risen Star and Louisiana Derby. Away from Fair Grounds for the first time, he won the LA Derby taking on 6 more lbs, and gains 4 today.  I say he’s lost in a pack of great horses here with better pace patterns and recent changes.
Pace:  This closer needs a somewhat fast pace that slows to average later.
8 HENCE’s win in the Sunland Derby last time out with a 103 was deemed a lesser race than others in his division who won out, and he lost a tiebreak to be an EDT qualifier.  Strong gain from 86 in the Southwest Stakes, suggesting this deep closer may well bounce. Slow 83 score in his lone CD appearance, not impressive on mud either. Won the Sunland Derby taking on 7 lbs, and gains 4 more today.  Despite the bounce risk, he gained some insurance by posting the best work tab of the field: 4 works at CD, 2 very fast, one a bullet.
Pace: Needs a meltdown in pace, very fast early, slower than average late.
Odds: 2-1.  Overlay.
9 IRAP broke maiden by winning last time out in the Blue Grass Stakes, and with a 100, better than his 93 in the Sunland, which was a small new top compared to his 2YO best of 91. Handled mud well in one such race.  Gained 1.4 seconds in turn time between his last 2 races, biggest such gain of the field.
Pace: Based on the Blue Grass win, seems like he needs an average pace throughout.
10 GUNNEVARA won the Saratoga Special, the Delta Downs Jackpot and the Fountain Of Youth, the latter with a 102 score. Dropped to 95 last out in the Florida Derby. Best pace figures of the field, and comes out of a quick troubled trip. 24 second turn time in the Florida Derby, matches best of this field. Doing so with a drop in speed figure suggests there is even more in the tank. Lacked points in his division to be an EDT qualifier.
Pace: Needs pace meltdown, fast early, to below average  late.
11 BATTLE OF MIDWAY has alternating wins and placings in 4 lifetime races. 2nd in the Santa Anita Derby last out gaining sharp to 98 from 92. No races at 2. Won maiden debut in off-track conditions. Positive jockey switch to Flavian Prat, winning in a 75k optional claimer on 3/9.
Pace: Needs average pace early, slower than average late.

12 SONNETEER still a maiden after 10 races, was 4th in the Arkansas Derby and 2nd in the Rebel, with small new tops of 94 and 93. I like his one mud appearance, and steady slow gains in pace, and had quick troubled trip last out, with pace pattern around 90. No real adjustments made by his connections, so it’s hard to lend confidence.

Pace: Unknown, as he hasn’t won, but he’s a deep closer.
13 J BOYS ECHO won the Gotham in March with a big 104, bounced to 93 last out in the Blue Grass. I like to play the bounceback angle with him. Slowest CD number of the field. Only other horse to drop in speed figure with gain in turn time.  Lacks evidence supporting a win here.
Pace: This closer needs a fast pace early that slows somewhat down later.
14 CLASSIC EMPIRE Too attractive not to like or leave off of multi-horse wagers, seeing he has 4 graded stakes wins. Peaked last year with a 108 in the Breeders Cup Juvenile. Since then, a 92 in the Holy Bull, and a winning 96 in the Arkansas Derby.  94 in the Bashford Manor matches for best CD speed. Having won here a year ago, as well as last summer, this should feel like very friendly confines to him.  One caveat..74 in his lone off-track race, tho that was his maiden debut.
Odds: 44-1 if fast track, 59-1 otherwise.
Prediction: 4th.
15 MCCRAKEN I have in multiple exacta wagers in the Future Wager pools. Won his first 4 races,then was 3rd in the Blue Grass. 99 in his prior race, the SF Davis. 94 score in the Street Sense at CD last fall matches the best CD speed of this field.  Very slight bounce risk. Own a mid-90s pace pattern. Only horse of the 20 who is coming in 2nd off layoff and a 2nd call speed figure gain from his 1st race back.  3 works at CD, all very fast.
Pace: Slightly fast early, average later.
Odds: 44-1 fast, 59-1 off-track.
16 TAPWRIT I had figured to win all those roses in the previous study.  Changing my tune here a bit.  Winner of the Pulpit under sloppy conditions with a 98, 2nd fastest mud score of the field. Best pace form of the field, with a small new top 2 races back in the Tampa Bay Derby at 101. Bounced to an 87 last time out in the Blue Grass with some trouble. Fastest pace pattern of the field: last 5 races were 87, 101, 97, 98, 87, suggesting an uptick here.
Odds: 3-1. Overlay
Pace: This closer needs a slow pace all throughout.
Prediction: 2nd.
17 IRISH WAR CRY is a bounce risk, having gone from 76 in the Fountain of Youth, to 102 in winning the Wood Memorial. Cannot deny his speed but seems inconsistent compared to others.  4 wins in 5 is hard to ignore but ignore I will. One of several horses whose number spikes too high for my liking.
Pace: Needs average speed early, slightly slower later on.
18 GORMLEY won the Front Runner at 2, and the Sham and Santa Anita Derby at 3, gaining 8 points to 99, following a bounce. Sham score was 102, the best off-track speed figure of the field. I have him measured also as having best tactical speed of the field as well. Last 3 2nd call numbers are all triple-digits. The question is whether his pace is suitable for this race and if it can see him through for 10 furlongs.
Pace: Needs fast pace all throughout.
19 PRACTICAL JOKE: LIked him considerably in the Future Wager early on, and actually have him via the Sire Future Wager.  6 lifetime races, all in the 90s, all in the money. Won his first 3, including the Champagne and the Hopeful.  The Champagne and the 3 stakes races he scored in afterward represent an upper 90s pace pattern, and 2 new tops in the process. Small new top last out in the Blue Grass.  Not much more supporting evidence against this superlative field to suggest he can win.
Pace: Fast early, slows to average later, likely can score as the closer in a meltdown.
20 PATCH 1 win and 2 seconds lifetime, with a 101 for his maiden win in February, then paired with a 98 in the LA Derby last out on April 1; waiting that long to stretch another furlong can only help.  The 98 score is best of those exiting a non-winning race with trouble, as he survived some bumps and a wide trip. 3 works, all fast, 1 at CD.
Pace: Based on one win, the pace has to be quick all throughout for him to close.
Odds: 9-1   Overlay
Prediction: 3rd.
I haven’t planned out the also-eligible horses, but here’s what I got:
ROYAL MO won 3rd try as maiden with a 91, then the RB Lewis with a 95. Surpassed this last time out with a 98, 3rd in the Santa Anita Derby. The 98 represents a pace recovery race, 3rd race following a good start upon layoff and subsequent bounce. Matches Patch for quickest non-winning race with trouble. In the SA Derby, he also had a wide trip, and Gary Stevens lost his whip late in the race. Could well bounce from the 98 score, however.  If Royal Mo is in the field, he becomes the only other pure sprinter.
Pace: Slightly faster than average throughout.

MASTER PLAN is the other horse with a run in Dubai. Seemed to handle mud pretty well, with a 96 in the Pulpit, then a 92 in the OBS Championship, and an estimated 93 in the UAE Derby. Connections have done rather well in adjustment here and is also waiting since 3/25 to stretch half a furlong.

Pace: This closer needs a slow pace throughout.

Recap of contenders:

Top 4…the only horses I have any confidence to win overall: Fast & Accurate, Tapwrit, Patch, Classic Empire.
Hence 2-1
Tapwrit 3-1
Fast & Accurate 4-1
Patch 20-1
These 4 are 44-1 on wet track, 59-1 otherwise: Thunder Snow, Classic Empire, McCraken, Gormley.
Projected overlays: Fast & Accurate, Hence, Tapwrit, Patch.
Future wager impact:
Pool 1:
Win: McCraken 12-1
Lookin at Lee 37-1
Classic Empire 6-1
Exacta: McCraken over/under field at 6/5: (Thunder Snow, Fast & Accurate, Untrapped, Always Dreaming, State Of Honor, Girvin, Hence, Irap, Battle Of Midway, Sonnetteer, J Boys Echo, Tapwrit, Patch, Royal Mo, Master Plan)
Sire Future Wager impact:
Practical Joke (via Into Mischief): 24-1
Royal Mo (via Uncle Mo): 9-1

Pool 2:

Win: Gunnevara 24-1
Exacta: McCraken at 9-1 over/under field  at 5/2 (Thunder Snow, Fast & Accurate, Always Dreaming, Girvin, Hence, Irap, Battle Of Midway, Sonnetteer, J Boys Echo, Tapwrit, Patch, Royal Mo, Master Plan)

Pool 3:
Win: Irish War Cry 7-1

Gormley 18-1
Exactas between Classic Empire (11-1) & McCraken (6-1), and both over/under field at 5/2 (Lookin At Lee, Thunder Snow, Fast & Accurate, Untrapped, Girvin, Hence, Irap, Battle Of Midway, Sonneteer, J Boys Echo, Patch, Master Plan)
Pool 4:
Win: Girvin 17-1
Thunder Snow 23-1
Exactas between Classic Empire at 10-1, Gunnevara at 9-1 and Thunder Snow, and these over/under field at 11-1:  Lookin At Lee, Fast & Accurate, Hence, Irap, Sonneteer, Patch, Royal Mo, Master Plan.

2017 Kentucky Oaks analysis

Here’s my horse-for-horse analysis of the Run for All Those Lillies:

1 EVER SO CLEVER technically earned the most points of all horses on either of my Enlightened Trails, with 1050, thanks to her win in the Fantasy Stakes at Oaklawn, and 3rd in the Golden Rod Stakes right here at Churchill.  Stock plummeted after finishing 5th with 2nd slowest lifetime score in the Martha Washington on 2/11. With the change to jockey Luis Contreras, plus lighter weight, she performed much better in her closing role.  Last-out turn time of 23.4 is best of this field, plus the fact she runs a tick slower in her BRIS speed figure, from 91 to 90.  One of 2 horses who recently posted a small new top in comparison to her 2YO campaign.

Required pace: somewhat slow to slower pace.
Projection: 8th.  The prominent factor is her paired-up speed figures of 91 and 90 plus the turn-time in the Fantasy (and gain on the leader in that race). This deep closer might (big might) be able to make her one big move assuming she gets her pace setup.
Odds: 29-1. Would need to be virtually forgotten by the public for me to wager on her…maybe 60-1 or worse.
2 LOCKDOWN got into my EDT picture and qualified with her 2nd place finish in the Gazelle Stakes. All 4 starts at Aqueduct. This sprinter has finished 1st or 2nd in each start. One of just 2 horses tested at today’s 9-furlong distance. Positive jockey switch to Jose L Ortiz, who rode her maiden-breaker on 12/17. Being the lone sprinter makes her a contender for me.  Further, there is a 6-race sample from the CD fall campaign at this distance, 3 of which were won by sprinters.  Only filly here to gain in 2nd call first race after layoff (94 in the Busanda, to a dazzling 119 in the Gazelle). 3 works since the Gazelle, all 3 very fast, 2 at CD. Eligible to bounce back in pace.
Pace: Somewhat faster all throughout.
Prediction: Winner. The track bias and lone run-style type, plus workout tab are all recent developments that suggest she is the ‘now’ horse.
Odds: 8-5.  Projected to be the lone overlay, as her ML odds are 20-1.
Would use in wins and exactas.

3 MOPOTISM scored too low for me in the EDT races, with a 4th place finish in the Santa Anita Oaks as her lone contribution.  Seems to be consistent with her speed figures, all in the 90s in her last 5 races, all racing in the top 4. and 4 of them being stakes/routes.  Best AWD numbers in the field (Uncle Mo/Peppy Rafaeala, out of Bernardini). Raced just once in the mud, but it was a winner, a 91 score v. maidens at the 54k level.
Pace: Sticks close to average pace throughout.

Prediction: 5th. I like her inherent variables, but there’s no real pattern in her pace that is outstanding. Not impressed with the inconsistent wins but I cannot rule out her finishing in the top 5 as she has done prevously.
Odds: 14-1.   She may well be the other overlay in the race, one I would use for wins/exactas. ML odds are 20-1.

4: PARADISE WOODS won the aforementioned Santa Anita Oaks with a strong 110, too strong compared to her 95 in her maiden win, and an 86 in her first start. All races at Santa Anita. What’s truly in her favor is that she has the fastest pace numbers of the field but is probably not the best true speed. Frankly I am expecting the worst and a bounce from that 110 number. Of course, she can win, and her being the ML favorite means she’ll likely go that way with the public. It means I’d have to include her with my overlays in exactas.
Qualified via EDT with her SA Oaks score.

Prediction: 13th.  Pace is there, but choosing to throw out because of the bounce risk, at my peril
Odds: 29-1.
Pace: Average to slightly slower.

5th: JORDAN’S HENRY was 3rd in the Gulfstream Park Oaks, but not enough points to be an EDT qualifier.  One of several to be waiting since April 1 to stretch out. Seems lacking in most variables. Set new lifetime best 2 races back in the Davona Dale, but that was over 60 days ago. Does have 4 races at CD with little success, plus a decent mud race in history but slow pattern and too slow for this field.
Pace: Average to slightly fast, based on her lone victory, vs maidens 3 races back.

Prediction: 9th.
6 VEXATIOUS also hasn’t won beyond maiden status, but has 3 3rd-place scores since, with runs in the mid to high 80s. Also lacked EDT points to qualify, despite 3rds in the Santa Anita Oaks and Fantasy Stakes.  Honest pace scores, albeit not the fastest. Set small new top at 3 in the FG Oaks with an 88, paired exactly last time out. She can reliably increase off that number with a run in the 90s.  Gained 1.2 seconds in turn time between her last 2 races, which suggests there’s some hidden speed waiting.
Pace: Based on one race, she needs a slow pace all throughout.
Prediction: 4th.
Odds: 29-1.  Probably won’t use in wagers, but I would not be surprised at her contending here.
7 FARRELL won 5 of 7 lifetime coming in, plus her last 4, and definitely an EDT qualifier. Probably the horse-for-course, with 2 wins and a 3rd in 4 lifetime at CD, with a 92 in the Golden Rod the best speed figure of those who have raced here.  2 races in the mud with scores in the 80s. Good pattern of figures around 90. Owns shipping wins, prior win from stretchout, and is waiting since 4/1.  2 good works at CD too.
Pace: Slightly fast early, slightly slow late.
Prediction: 11th. Tough to throw out though she’s received good handling from trainer Wayne Catalano plus seems to like running here. But there are faster horses.
8 SAILOR’S VALENTINE was an EDT qualifier, through her win in the Ashland Stakes and a big longshot at that.  6-2-2-0 lifetime. Lifetime best was her maiden debut at Keeneland in October, a 91. Came close with a 90 in November at CD and her 88 last out. Still, that number is way ahead of her 72, that score coming first after layoff and her turf debut. Seems among the slowest in pace and likely bounce candidate.
Pace: Slightly slow throughout.
Prediction: Last
9 WICKED LICK one of the notable snubs from the EDT, barely so, with her 2nd place finish in the Fair Grounds Oaks. The others in her division had all won out.   No wins beyond her maiden, scored at CD last September. She’s run in an assortment of races since, coming close but not impressing many, even when she established 2 small new tops in her last 2 races, the FG Oaks and the Rachel Alexandra.  Upper 80s pace for this closer, somewhat slow for the field.
Pace: Needs a fast pace all throughout, figuring she’ll catch the leaders around the 2nd turn.
Prediction: 12th. I’m concerned about her slow pace, and dependency on others’ pace.
10 MISS SKY WARRIOR 5 of 6 wins lifetime, plus 5 straight. Easy qualifier in the EDT with her score in the Gazelle, with a fine 98 speed figure. This is ahead of her 90 while winning the Davona Dale in her 3YO debut. I am expecting her to bounce back to maybe about 90 here. Probably the best tactical speed of the field, so cannot truly throw her out. Last 3 2nd call numbers: 120, 99, 95.
Pace: Fast all throughout.
Prediction: 7th.  Middle of the pack among fellow fillies who do best in the backstretch. Lacks in supporting variables to suggest a 6th straight win.
Odds: 29-1.  Might have to use with overlays, as she’s granted 9/2 ML odds, second choice by track handicapper Mike Battaglia. The public will likely pounce on those odds.
11 TEQUILITA won 3 straight then was 2nd in the GP Oaks last time out. Lost out in tiebreak v. La Coronel and Wicked Lick to be an EDT qualifier, that one coming down to purse size.   Maiden win still her best look, a 92 at Keeneland. Not very impressed at her pace numbers. In her favor, her connections have her in a good spot, with prior stretchout wins and shipping wins, and also is waiting since 4/1 to stretchout.  3 works since the GP Oaks, 1 fast one at CD.
Pace: Sticks to an average pace at best…won’t be last or first amidst all the other early-presser types.
Prediction: 7th. The trainer moves and good work tab give me reason to rank her higher, but probably not enough for me  to wager on.
12 DADDYS LIL DARLING was an early EDT qualifier, with a 4th in the Breeders Cup Juvenile Fillies, 2nd in the Golden Rod (truly the best key race for this year’s EDT), and 2nd in the Ashland. Hasn’t won since the Pocahontas here in September. Best score at age 2 and ever since was an 89 in the BC race. Running in the 80s ever since with alternating 2nd/out of money finishes. No real opinion on her pace but somewhat slow overall.
Pace: This deep closer might be running differently in mud than on a fast track. She maintained her fastest pace in the mud, and was more like her plodder type in her other win.  I suggest she needs a slightly fast beginning, and slows to average toward the end.
Prediction: 10th   A question mark with pace, but some savvy ‘cappers may notice that muddy win in the Pocahontas.  As for me, I already have this filly in win and exactas in the Future Wager.
13 ABEL TASMAN qualified from the EDT  with her 2nd place finish in the Santa Anita Oaks.   Won the Starlet Stakes with small new top to finish her 2YO campaign, then gained nicely in her 2nd place finish in the Santa Ysabel, and posted a good middle figure of 97 in the SA Oaks. Truly among the faster horses, and has the fastest pace pattern in the field.  Along with this, she actually had some trouble last out, having to run wide much of the race and a slow start. That slow start can be somewhat forgiven as she is a deep closer.
Prior wins with stretchout, as well as shipper win.  Adds blinkers for this race.
Pace: Fast, slowing a bit later in the race to slightly faster than average, another who might need a pace meltdown.
Prediction: 2nd.
Odds: 4-1, fair odds comparing to ML of 5-1.  Probably not a price horse but truly could go either way. If she’s 8-1 or worse near post time, I’ll consider her an overlay.
14 SALTY 2 wins in 3 lifetime, all at GP, winning last out in the GP Oaks despite a lowering speed figure of 90. I rank her much more on recent developments. Waiting since 4/1 to stretch from 8.5 furlongs. One of two fillies to gain in turn time despite a lower speed figure, suggesting she’s got more speed saved for today. Great work tab: 3 at CD, all very fast. Qualified out of the EDT.
Pace: See Abel Tasman, basically the same requirements.
Prediction: 3rd.
Odds:  5-1, also fair odds, as her ML odds are 6-1. Same scenario, may or may not be an overlay but might also be too good to ignore by most people. Likely the wiseguy filly in this field.
15 (also-eligible) SUMMER LUCK broke maiden at CD last year, ran as good contender since then but no wins, all with races in the 80s.   Also has very good AWD numbers (Lookin At Lucky/Seasonal, out of Deputy Minister). 5th in the Ashland last time out, bounced to 82 from an 89 in the Davona Dale; I’d play the mild bounceback angle here should she get into the field. Good works in prep: 2 fast ones here at CD.  Not an EDT qualifier.
Pace: Based on one race, this closer needs a fast pace that slows to slightly fast.
Prediction: If she is in the field, I like her for 7th, knocking down all others I’ve mentioned below that ranking to one peg below.
Recap of contenders in order:
Lockdown, Abel Tasman, Salty, Vexatious, Mopotism.
Odds of horses I generally consider to have any chance:
Lockdown 8-5
Abel Tasman 4-1
Salty 5-1
Mopotism 14-1
Ever So Clever, Pacific Woods, Vexatious, Miss Sky Warrior: 29-1.
Future Wager impact:
$2 win bets on:
Farrell 10-1
Abel Tasman 23-1
Daddys Little Darling 28-1
$1 exactas:
Daddy’s Lil Darling/Abel Tasman
Field horses for this wager are: Paradise Woods, Ever So Clever, Salty, Vexatious, Sailor’s Valentine, Wicked Lick, Jordan’s Henny, and Summer Luck if she gets in
Back later with the big KY Derby selections and analysis.