Finally, all is said and done. I have the results for this season’s Enlightened Trails all together. The only drama that now remains are which horse’s connections defect from the Derby and Oaks. Already, Runaway Light, one who was solid for me, is out. Quip’s owner has remained noncommital to appearing. Let’s get to the final list for my mythical Derby and see who I snubbed and who got snubbed when comparing to the actual Trail.
Here’s the Derby spreadsheet with the final totals:
Placings were determined first within the division, with 4 places assigned to each. No horse can represent 2 or more divisions. Real-life defections and injuries take the horse off my Trail and replace with those with less points or otherwse same or lower class races in the division. If determining tiebreaks, I factor division points, then class, then purse of races involved, then distance of race. I then look at overall points for the horses involved if need be.
The minor categories are those tracks whose best representative race that would fit on the real Trail are ungraded. This is the balance I present, against the real Trail which continues to focus on races in the same places, yet there is no love for the smaller tracks where some of the same horses got their start at.
From the 20 horses I chose, the most important race I found to be the Champagne for the 2YOs. At 3, there were the Tampa Bay Derby, the Blue Grass, the Santa Anita Derby and the Wood Memorial. 3 of the top 4 in those races are horses I’d choose for my mythical Derby.
Here are some of my own snubs:
I first looked at Solomini…who ran 2nd to Good Magic in the Breeders Cup Juvenile, 3rd in the CashCall Futurity, and 3rd i n the Arkansas Derby. 400 total points just isn’t enough.
Free Drop Billy had 350 total. He was 3rd in the Blue Grass, and 2nd in the Hopeful. Pony Up, Lone Sailor and Dream Baby Dream finish with 500 but failed to score further. Should Quip truly defect, Lone Sailor would get in because he finished in a better class race than the others.
As for the 8 snubs the real-life Trails handed me….here’s how I see them:
Mendelssohn/Gronkowski: the casual North American bettor doesn’t have much info on these….the horses ran in Europe where small info on races as we know them doesn’t come very easily. It remains a sticking point for me re involving horses outside the continent to race here. It ceases to be fair to the North American handicapper to try to bet on Euro racing, let alone Japan, Australian or other areas that lack the numbers. I do know that a Trail was constructed for horses in Europe, and it may well be a good one if it’s a true representation of the best per track in each area. In the UAE, only one race measures up, the UAE Derby. One race does not a Trail make. Moreover, I’ve failed to do a study on Euro races and my own version of their Trail. It might change my mind, but I won’t bet, or handicap, on it.
I will take what info I did get about horses running outside of North America…the AWDs, the class of race, maybe a few replays, conversion of The Racing Post numbers to Brisnet numbers. Hey, if either of these win…or better, if a series of North American races are won by Euro horses or elsewhere, will that finally change the game for good? Won’t Brisnet or other services finally figure out how to properly list details on past performances for such? I almost wish for it to happen. Mendelssohn, as it turns out, was very close for me to pick in the Future Wager, but I wouldn’t bet win at 5-1. I had fewer variables to work but at least they translated somewhat. Race for race, however, there is a serious gap that needs to be closed.
Solomini probably belongs here for sure, but he didn’t win any races in my Trail, and 2 of the 3 races where he contended in were at age 2…meaning less points up for grabs. Aside, I do have him for 2 Future Wager bets, so he did rank for me a while, and my heart and wallet will root for him. He just doesn’t add up in my own Trail.
Bravazo placed 10th in the Kentucky Jockey Club and 8th in the Louisiana Derby. He’s in the show because of his success in the Breeders Futurity (at Keeneland, whose best race is The Blue Grass Stakes) and the Risen Star (half a furlong and less of a purse than the Louisiana Derby).
My Boy Jack was 3rd in the Louisiana Derby. He also raced for wins in the Southwest at Oaklawn, and the Lexington at Keeneland. Also was 3rd in the Sham. All races are graced are on the real Trail. I only used the Louisiana Derby. Too many races on the Trail are used in the same areas to produce a candidate.
Promises Fulfilled was 3rd in the KY Jockey Club. He would finish 9th in the Grade 1 Florida Derby. Also was 3rd in the Fountain of Youth, also at Gulfstream. There’s question about his stamina and class.
Free Drop Billy may have forged a true rivalry with Sporting Chance, yet he is in the show for sure. And, in fact, I have 2 Future Wager bets on him. I’d be elated if he were to win or be 2nd. Does he truly belong tho? He was 3rd in the Gothm, 2nd in the Holy Bull, 9th in the BC Juvenile, 3rd in the Blue Gass (my Trail), won the Breeders Futurity. He just happened to be in races where I don’t offer points.
As mentioned, Lone Sailor is in, should Quip defect. Points from me for being 2nd in the Louisiana Derby. Otherwise, he’s a serious question mark. 5th in the KY Jockey Club, 9th in the LeComte, 3rd in the Breeders Futurity.
Who did the real Trail snub for me? Reride is one such horse. He did win in my Minor division, the Big Drama at Delta Downs. Sporting Chance deserves better, winning the Grade 1 Hopeful at age 2, 4th in the Blue Grass at 3.