2019 Kentucky Derby Sire Future Wager analysis

As with prior versions of the Sire Future Wager, I take the following approach: I create a composite horse, rating the best performance per variable of a sire’s offspring. I stick to these variables to determine my top 5: Best class win, fastest Churchill Downs pace, longest win for distance, number of offspring with positive pace progress, best AWD numbers, and best binomial pace. I count horses with the most Top 7 positions between them.
Out of the 23 sires, I was able to rank 10, splitting hairs between positions 4 throught 10. As with the standard Future Wager, I’ll play win bets on the top 5. Also, I’ll stick to win bets instead of playing exactas, saving $ for the time being.

#10: TAPIT. Tight Ten scored a 91 at Churchill in a 2nd place finish in the Iroquois. 7.6 AWD is among the better numbers here. Magic On Tap scored a 95 in his maiden debut at Del Mar on 9/1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LWmRV6Wq7_c

#9 SCAT DADDY Van Beethoven’s speed figures in GB and Ireland seem to hold their own against others. Grade 2 victory in the GAIN Railway Stakes at Curragh, 6/30. http://www.attheraces.com/atrplayer/VOD/1047909
Federal Law earned an 8.5 furlong win in a 75k allowance at Woodbine earlier this month. Junkanoo won at the same distance in his maiden debut, and on turf and Lasix, at Belmont Park. 7 horses with pace progress.

#8 MORE THAN READY: Sir Truebadour won the Grade 3 Bashford Manor at Churchill with a 76 speed figure; it was the slowest of his 4 lifetime races. 6 horses with pace progress.
https://www.bloodhorse.com/horse-racing/articles/228310/dominant-performances-in-bashford-manor-debutante

#7 PIONEER OF THE NILE: Amino was a winner at 8.5 furlongs, 87 BRIS just 3 days ago at Laurel.
5 horses with pace progress. Good AWD number of 7.5.

#6: CURLIN: Current won the Grade 3 Bourbon at Keeneland last month with a lifetime best of 87. https://preview.msn.com/en-us/sports/ncaafbvideos/2018-dixiana-bourbon-stakes-current/vi-BBPh7qn
Curlin’s other winner at 8.5 furlongs is Washington Tesoro, who won a stakes race in Japan earlier this month by 9 lengths.

#5 GIANT’S CAUSEWAY: Aster Pegasus was a multiple graded stakes winner in Japan.
https://www.bloodhorse.com/horse-racing/articles/228664/aster-pegasus-emerges-victorious-in-hakodate-nisai

Global Access won at 8.5 furlongs at Woodbine on Halloween, 81 BRIS. Best AWDs of the sires, at 8.10.
https://www.bloodhorse.com/horse-racing/race/can/wo/2018/10/31/2/race-2-msw-at-wo-on-10-31-18
#4 INTO MISCHIEF: Instagrand owns 2 wins in 2 races, both at 10 lengths. Won the Grade 2 Best Pal last time out at Del Mar back in August.
9 offspring with pace progress, tying

Cairo Prince for the most of any sire. Maximus Mischief also is 2-for-2, and won a 43k allowance race at Parx last month with a 104 speed figure.
Top 3 here are a cut above the rest:

#3: CAIRO PRINCE: Cairo Cat won the 8.5 furlong Grade 3 Iroquois last time out, at Churchill, with a 92 BRIS. 9 off spring with pace progress.

#2 UNCLE MO: Forty Under won the 8.5 furlong Grade 3 Pilgrim at Belmont on 8/29, with a nice 93 speed figure. King For A Day also won at the same distance in a 75k maiden race 10/4, also at Belmont. Speed figure of 96 certainly impresses. And another: Moon Colony won at 8.5 furlongs in his maiden breaker, 10/5 at Keeneland, 83 speed figure. 5 horses with pace progress. Galilean might be Uncle Mo’s fastest Won his debut in the Barnetts Juvenile at LRC, 87 BRIS. Followed it up with a 2nd place 97 in the Golden State Juvenile at Santa Anita.

#1 is CANDY RIDE. Undoubtedly earns the mark thanks to being the sire of multiple Grade-1 winner Game Winner. 103 last time out at Churchill, in the Breeders Cup. Juvenile.

2019 Kentucky Derby Future Wage Pool 1 analysis

I’m happy to present my
findings for the first Future Wager
pool. Owing to budgetary and time
concerns, I’m sticking to win bets for
this pool only. In the later future
pools, I’ll get the exactas in as well.
Here are the variables I’m using for
the standard Derby wager: Best class
win, best speed figure (per Brisnet) at
Churchill Downs, longest distance
won at, pace progress based on
speed figures before and after
September 1, average winning
distance of sire (AWD), and binomial
pace numbers. All except 2 horses
(Preamble, Roadster) reached a top 7
score in any one category. 7
managed 3 placings in the top 7 and
that’s where we begin.
I will wager my top 5 horses, tho will
sink downward if any of that top 5
happen to be better than 6-1 around
closing time for the pool.

Here’s the 2 that finished outside my
top 5:
#7: DUNPH. Winner of both lifetime
races by large margins, both times
leading in the stretch. Last race was
the 300k Spendthrift Juvenile Stallion Stakes at Churchill
itself, posting a 95 score. More from Bloodhorse.com here: https://www.bloodhorse.com/horse-racing/articles/230372/dunph-powers-home-in-spendthrift-stallion-stakes
#6 UNCLE BENNY Won his maiden debut, switched to turf at Belmont and won the Belmont Futurity with an 88 BRIS (a fantastic late move), then was 2nd on yielding turf in the Breeders Cup Juvenile Turf. at Churchill. Proven pace progress. Great AWD of 8.6 (Declaration of War/Celebrity Cat, out of Storm Cat).
Not for nothing, he’s the only late closer of the 23 here

Now for the 5 I’m considering primarily:
#5: VEKOMA. Winner of both lifetime starts, a 75k maiden event at 6 furlongs at Belmont, 96 BRIS, then the Grade 3 Nashua at Aqueduct, going 1 mile, 101 BRIS.

#4: CAIRO CAT: Winner in 2nd maiden start, first time on dirt, 85k level. Longshot winner of the Grade 3 Iriquois at Churchill, while debuting on Lasix. 92 BRIS score there. Positive pace progress.

#3 IMPROBABLE won both of his lifetime races…a 50k maiden debut, then the 100k ungraded Street Sense Staes at Churchill, 99 Bris. Another AP Indy grandcolt providng good AWD numbers.
https://www.bloodhorse.com/horse-racing/articles/230483/improbable-scores-in-street-sense-stakes-for-baffert

#2: KNICKS GO won his maiden debut…was 5th in the Sanford, 3rd in the Arlington Washington Futurity, then won the Breeders Futurity debut at a route and with Lasix. Followed up that 92 score with a 100 while running 2nd to Game Winner in the Breeders Cup Juvenile. Great pace progress. A bit lacking with AWD and overall pace.

Speaking of GAME WINNER, the Breeders Cup Juvenile winner is a no doubter for my selections here. Won his maiden debut with a 92, then won the Del Mar Futurity with a 97. Won his route debut in the American Pharaoh, then the Juvenile with a 103.
No flaw to be found in this horse.

Given that Game Winner is best in the morning line at 8-1, he might not get bet upon by yours truly, maybe not Knicks Go either. As always, a fun wager to play, and my favorite in the sport.

Coming up, my thoughts and picks in the Sire Future Wager.

Enlightened Trails update: Zia Park Juvenile/Princess

Following the madness of Breeders Cup weekend, I’ve decided to make a slight return to the Enlightened Trails. As mentioned on Twitter, the spreadsheets are updated, save the announcement of 3YO races by 3 tracks. Once those are in, I will create the divisions and formally set up the scoresheet to see who may qualify.

Zia Park takes its turn to host the next ET races. First there’s the Zia Park Princess, for open 3YO filly company. Top 3 are heavily favored Adventurous Lady, then longshot overlay Peaceoutyourhonor, then Elusive Rose. McWend can also be considered an overlay.
Peaceoutyourhonor is the lone late closer of the field and only filly here stretching out. All 3 lifetime races have taken place here, all at the maiden level, finally breaking maiden status with 6.5 length win vs 25k claimers. That race was won with a downturn in pace. I’m thinking the move up in class will actually help and she could surprise late.
Elusive Rose won her lone start vs 28k maidens here last month, with a 78 BRIS. That score ties for fastest at this track with Peaceoutyourhonor.
For the Zia Park Juvenile, I like the heavily favored Stupify, then Sidney’s Hope, then Oil Money.
Lone overlay here is the longshot Celestial Cowboy. Making his 4th start, he debuted on dirt last time vs 25k claimers, and matched lifetime best of 70 while finishing a wide 5th place out of 6. He had cut back in distance for that one. He seems to prefer the sprints, as his lone route race was just a 52. The sloppy surface might have had something to do with it also.

MLB’s #7 game of the year: TBR/OAK, 5/28/18

#7: Tampa Bay Rays 1, Oakland A’s 0, in 13. 10,881 attending, 3: 55 in time. Another game at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.

Game was mainly at 50% and slightly on Oakland’s side until the end of the game.

All pitchers faced above average aLI situations. All but 2 hitters did likewise. Trevor Cahill again, 4 hits over 8 innings, 6 Ks, for a game score of 80. Chris Archer went 6 IPs, 4 hits, 2 walks, 7 strikeouts, for a GS of 69.

After Cahill, the Rays would not get another hit until the 12th.
Jonny Venters, who earned the save, had the highest aLI among pitchers. Mark Canha, pinch hitting for Dustin Fowler and playing CF, had the high aLI for hitters.

A’s went 0-6 in RISP and left 10 on base.
Top 3rd: Following a 2 out rally with single and double, CJ Cron struck out vs Cahill.
Bottom 4th: Chad Pinker grounded out with RISP chance vs Chris Archer.
Top 6th: Matt Duffy grounded out after another 2 out single/double rally.
Bottom 6th: Lucroy singled, Marcus Semien and Jed Lowrie walked. Matt Olson GDP’d
Drama was heightened bottom 9th: Jed Lowrie led off with double, Matt Olson walked. Matt Andreise replaced Jose Alvarado on the mound. Chad Pinder bunted out to 3rd. The force play was challenged by Oakland manager Bob Melvin. The call was upheld
Chapman would foul out to 1B, and Stephen Piscotty K’d looking.
Top 10th: Following a BB and SB, Johnny Field struck out vs Lou Trivino to end that half.
Bottom 10th: Mark Canha reached on 3b error but got involved in a GDP started by Matthew Joyce.
Bottom 12th. Ryan Stanek on the mount for the As. Another 2 out rally….Piscotty doubled, Canha IW’d, but Lucroy fouls out.
Top 13th: Johnny Field and Jesus Sucre single, as does Mallex Smith, which pushes a run home.
Bottom 13th: Ryne Stanek stays aboard to close it out, allowing a walk besides 2 more outs. Johnny Venters gets the final K.
Matthew Joyce for Oakland in the leadoff DH role, would go 0-for-6 and strike out twice.
Box score: https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/OAK/OAK201805280.shtml

Condensed game: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=igo4hPTbDnU

MLB’s #8 game of the year: OAK/BAL, 5/5/18

5/5/18: Athletics 2, Orioles 0, in 12 innings.
Game was at Oakland, 3: 32 in time, 24612 attended.

This game’s pattern was dead on even until the very end. Kevin Gausman for the O’s would go the first 9, allowing 2 hits, with 2 BBs and 6Ks, for a stellar 87 Game Score. Trevor Cahill for the A’s struck out 12 batters over his 6 IPs, allowing 4 hits and walking one. GS: 75. One of the best pitching duels of the year. Each pitcher on both sides had to deal with above average drama.
The A’s never had an RISP opportunity in the game, while the O’s went 0-for-7.
Trey Mancini for Baltimore would hardly make contact…3 BB and 2 Ks during the game. Both Chris Davis and Chance Sisco would go 0-for-5 and strike out 3 times. Orioles were strikeout victims 20 times in this game.
Bottom 3rd: a forceout play 2nd resulted in an out, unsuccessfully challenged by Orioles manager Buck Showalter.
Athletics never got a runner to 3rd base until the very end of the game.
As you’ll see in the video, the moment made for some neat franchise history…

Bottom 12th: Jed Lowrie single and Khris Davis walkoff HR, both off Pedro Araujo.

Box score: https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/OAK/OAK201805050.shtml

Condensed game:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NsXHRWnIBgw

MLB’s #9 top played game of 2018: DET/TOR, 7/2/18

7/2/18 #9: Tigers 3, Blue Jays 2, 10 innings.
29575 in attendance at Toronto’s Rogers Center, 2: 44 in time.
A game that was pretty even until the 6th…and slowly
it went Detroit’s way, tho halted its progress
temporarily in the bottom of the 9th.
Victor Martinez’s line-drive single with the bases
loaded in the first inning got their momentum started.
Mike Fiers would leave the Blue Jays hitless until the
4th. Both sides were turned away once aeah with RSP
situations. The bottom of the 9th was the true drama.
with a single, double, walk, IW and a flyout plus K, the
stage was set for Justin Smoak. The situation set up an
aLI of over 10 (!). Justin would draw a walk against Joe
Jiminez. Detroit’s Niko Goodrum would triple off
Senghuwan Oh, then Jose Iglesias managed a SF to
score Goodrum for what proved to be the winning run.
Blue Jays did get a single out of Lourdes Gurriel and a
sac bunt by Curtis Granderson but could not get
further damage out of reliever Blaine Hardy.
Fiers went 8 IP, 3 H, 1 B, 5 Ks, for a game score of 76.
He dueled well with rookie Ryan Borucki for
Toronto….7 IP, 6 Hs, 2 Rs, 8Ks, good for a 65.
Detroit proved rather economical, leaving just 3 on
base the whole game.
Teoscar Hernandez was invisible in left for Toronto but
did have the only 2 hit game on the game, single and
double. Jeimer Candelario for Detroit had 3 singles.
Each batter for Toronto had considerable aLI for the
game (all over 1). Detroit’s lineup 4 through 9 did
likewise.
Box score: https://www.baseball-
reference.com/boxes/TOR/TOR201807020.shtml
Condensed game: https://www.youtube.com/watch?
v=85hcmTpFCVs

MLB’s #10 top played game of the year, and an intro to this list (PHI/ARI, 8/6/18)

This study was a few days in the making, but well worth the effort. I took 2 sets of data and paid for the monthly subscription to baseball-reference.com to get the skinny on how these data sets interact.
First I went looking for combined Game Score stats. To set a low benchmark, I focused first on games where both SPs finished with at least a 60 Game Score. I took each result and added both scores. 298 such games occured.
Using this as the basis, I looked up the batting aLI stats and combined the team results. aLI puts the onus on the batter in the situation. Game Score measures the quality of the starting pitcher’s outing. Where I am going with this is finding the best played games, eschewing milestone games, one-sided affairs, low-scoring snoozers (with some exceptions) and slugfests with no pitcher continuity.
You can see that the best games, on paper at least, would have to be low-scoring pitcher duels, very typically an extra-inning affair.

From the 298 games I compiled the aLI stats, then I set out to get a short list of 30 games that appear on both lists. From here I was able to rank my top 10. Here’s the long list of 298 games: https://www.baseball-reference.com/tiny/ZLtJu

#10 : 8/6/18: Diamondbacks 3, Phillies 2, in 14 innings.

https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/ARI/ARI201808060.shtml

The Win Probability Chart revealed the game being around 50% until from the 7th to the 9th innings.
Diamondbacks were hitless until the 4th.
Only until the top of the 7th did either team get a runner to 3rd…courtesy of Odubel Herrera’s triple that set up the game’s first 2 runs.
Phillies bullpen would surrender 9 hits, after Jake Arrieta went through a sparkling 8 innings with 3 hits, 2 BB. Diamondbacks’s Matt Andriese would allow just 2 hits on behalf of their bullpen over their 6.2 IP, this following Zack Godfrey respectable 7.1 IP effort. Even tho I don’t look at aLI for the pitcher side of the ledger, Matt Andriese’s own number of 0.45 for the game was the lowest of all pitchers that day. The highest was for Luis Garcia, who walked 2 and had to pick up from Seranthony Dominguez’s BS in the bottom of the 9th. He had the high aLI on the pitching side at 4.14.
Diamondbacks managed the only safe RISP of the game.
David Peralta for Arizona went 4-for-7, 2 HRs, 1 1B, 1 2B. Interestingly, he began his potential cycle run in the 9th, and one would suppose he would have had a 3B in the pivotal 14th if the ball wasn’t hit in the trajectory it was. Also of interest, he would hit a triple 2 nights later off Vince Velasquez. 12 of his lifetime triples have come in tied games.
Has a cycle ever actually occured that began in the 9th inning of a game?
Scott Kingery, entering the game for Cabrera in the 8th, would produce a 2.92 aLI, and went 0-2. He left 2 on base in the top of the 10th grounding to the left side.
Without having watched the video, I suppose it was wise not to issue an IW to Peralta, as Eduardo Escobar already had a 2-5 game.
21131 in attendance at Chase Field, 4:38 time. Night game, on grass.
AJ Pollock would face Luis Garcia with the bases loaded and 2 out, 6.39 aLI for the situation, and promptly grounded out.
Diamondbacks CF John Jay would go 0-7. Cesar Hernandez for the Phillies was 1-6 with 4 Ks. Nick Williams for Philly would go 0-5.
Phillies manager Gabe Kapler challenged a fielder’s choice call at 2nd base, bottom 3rd. Zack Godley’s bunt got in front of catcher Jorge Alfaro, who threw a strike to 2nd to attempt to get speedy Alex Avila. Original call was safe, and, frankly a good call. Umpire overturned it. The call went for naught as Jon Jay and Paul Goldschmidt made contact outs.
Condensed game: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FTIMC5EHHiI