2019 Kentucky Oaks analysis

Here’s my take on the
Kentucky Oaks, horse-
for-horse. Do note that I’m forecasting for a wet track:
1 OUT FOR A SPIN: Winner
of the Grade 1 Ashland at
Keeneland last time out
with a gain from 88 to 97.
The 88 score in his prior
race, a 60k optional-
claimer, was also a new
top, set in March.
Pace requirement:
Backstretch runner, stays
close to average pace.
Outlook: Throw out.
Odds: Off the charts. No
$: Should be dead on the
board, no real movement
from morning-line of 15-1.
the Grade 3 Honeybee 2
races back. Backed this
race up with a 6th place
finish in the Grade 1
Honeybee last out. The
pace patterns suggests a
bounce, yet also could do
better, maybe in the 80s at
Pace: Backstretch, fast pace
all throughout. Biggest
threat on the backstretch.
Outlook: 7th.
Odds: 29-1.
$: Dead on the board.

3: LADY APPLE: As a 3YO,
she is much different than
at 2. All 3 races this year
were wins at Oaklawn Park,
all higher than her 2YO
best of 80. 2 of them were
her initial route races. Won
the Grade 3 Fantasy Stakes,
proving her full pace
recovery since her 2018
Pace: Backstretch, stays
close to average
Outlook: 5th
Odds: 29-1
$: 20-1 morning-line, and
should take even less
money on Friday, but not a
contender for value.

4: BELLAFINA: 6 wins in 8,
including Graded wins in
the Sorrento, Del Mar
Debutante, Chandelier,
Santa Ynez, Las Virgiennes,
and Santa Anita Oaks.
Never ran better than her
2nd lifetime race, a 101.
Best off-track race of this
field, a 96, on a good Santa
Anita track. I judge her to
be the best speed of the
field. Last 5 races are in the
90s, and a close pattern
Pace: Sprinter, needs
somewhat fast pace
throughout. Her debut win
in the Sorrento is the best
Outlook: 3rd.
Odds: 8-1, definitely not
the quality of a favorite.
$: She will undoubtedly
take on a lot of money, and
be more like even-money
than 2-1.

her maiden debut, then was
5th over a sloppy SA track
against 80k optional-
claimers. 2nd in the Santa
Anita Oaks last time out,
nearly matching pace of her
debut. I don’t like that she
is a bounce risk with no
positive support for a gain
Pace: Sprinter who can win
on a slow and slower pace.
Probably first to tire out if
the pace is anything but.

Outlook: Throw out.
Odds: No chance.
$: Dead on the board,
around her 20-1 morning-
line odds.

lifetime race as maiden at
CD, then won the G2
Demoiselle. 8th in the
Rachel Alexandra, then
surged to huge new top of
92, finishing 2nd in the G2
Gazelle at Aqueduct last
month. That was is the
fastest 9-furlong race of
this field.
Pace: Backstretch, requires
the pace to collapse from
average to slow. Best
example is her win in the
Outlook: 11th.
Odds: 62-1. Way outside
chance, if any at all.
$: Dead on the board;
should remain a big

7 JAYWALK won the Grade 1
Frizette and Breeders Cup
Juvenile Fillies, the latter
with a 103 score (best CD
speed of this field). 4th in
the Davona Dale to start
her 3YO campaign, 3rd in
the Ashland. Best tactical
speed of the field. Last 3
1st-call numbers: 111, 81,
Pace: Sprinter, fast pace
Outlook: 10th.
Odds: 62-1
$: Expectations are waning,
to explain why she is 8-1
morning line. But I feel that
her biggest fans will put
much more $ on her to
make her a top 3 choice by
post time.

8 MOTION EMOTION 2nd in the Fantasy and Honeybee Stakes, beaten favorite in each. Best score was just prior to these, a 96, first time at a route, vs 75k optional-claimers.
Pace: Sprinter; fast early, slowing to average late.

Outlook: Throw out.
Odds: Off the charts.
$: No impact.

9 LIORA won both of her races on dirt at CD, including her lifetime best in the G2 Goldenrod (89). 4th in the Silverbulletday to start at age 3, then 2nd in the Rachel Alexandra, and 2nd in the Fair Grounds Oaks (1st time blinkers). Best AWD numbers of the field (Candy Ride/Giant Mover, out of Giant’s Causeway).
Pace: Sprinter; needs slightly slow but consistent pace to win.
Outlook: 9th
Odds: 62-1
$: Will take less money than most, ensuring she’ll remain quite the longshot.

10 CHAMPAGNE ANYONE was 4th here last year in the Golden Rod. 3rd in the Forward Gal and Davona Dale, and won last time out in the Gulfstream Park Oaks, debuting with blinkers and acheiving small new top of 91. Fully recovered in pace since her 10 week layoff. Only late closer of the field. Best workout tab: 4 works at CD, 2 of them very fast.
Pace: Lone late closer, needs a somewhat average pace.
Outlook: 2nd.
Odds: 5-2. Borderline overlay.
$: Definitely will take less money than most, enough for it to be 9-1 to 10-1 and help light up the toteboard.

11 JELTRIN has raced only at GP and GPW. Won the G2 Davona Dale last time out with a sharp 92 BRIS, way ahead of her prior scores, first time at a mile. Off since 3/2, she’s waiting longest of these to stretch out.
Pace: Backstretch; Needs pace that is average early, somewhat slow late.
Outlook: 6th
Odds: 10-1. Overlay.
$: No impact…likely to remain an overlay.

12 STREET BAND: won the Fair Grounds Oaks last time out with a big 93 (small new top), and was 4th in the Rachel Alexandra. Has raced mainly against optional claimers beforehand. Only early closer of the field, tho that will change, should Point Of Honor draw into the field.
Pace: Lone early closer; Needs a fast pace throughout.
Outlook: 5th
Odds: 10-1. Overlay.
$: Will take less money than others, and should remain an overlay.

13 SERENGETI EMPRESS has 4 wins in 7 races, including the Ellis Park Debutante, the Pocahontas and the Rachel Alexandra. Was last of 7 last time out in the Fair Grounds Oaks after bleeding and barely finishing the race. She could potentially bounce back from this race.
Pace: Sprinter; needs a fast pace throughout.
Outlook: 8th
Odds: Off the charts.
$: No impact.. With 8-1 morning line, she’ll likely burn some money.

14: RESTLESS RIDER was 1st or 2nd in all 7 lifetime races. Wins in the Debutante at CD and the G1 Alcibiad at Keeneland. Comes out of a 97 2nd place finish in the Ashland, first after 4 month layoff, small new top. Only filly with this ‘exploding/forging’ pace factor (a Dave Litfin creation). Fastest troubled trip of the field, which wasn’t much trouble; she had to run 3 wide in the late stages. Still, she showed improvement at 1st and 2nd call in that first race off layoff, as well as modest gain vs leader, a combination of variables I always play.
Pace: Backstretch; needs fast pace early that slows to average later.
Outlook: Winner
Odds: 5-2. Borderline overlay.
$: Should become an overlay here; she’ll take on less money than others despite her stellar record. I have a feeling she will not get too favorable a look despite the impace of her last race compared to this field.

As for the also-eligibles:
DUNBAR ROAD and POINT OF HONOR left virtually no impact in my variables.
Dunbar Road has 2 races at age 3. That’s it. Winner of her maiden debut, then 2nd in the GP Oaks. Deserves to be in the field, but not in this field, with such lack of experience.
Point of Honor gives Street Band company as closer if we have 2 defections in the field of 14 (and if Street Band’s not one of them). She needs a very slow pace throughout to win. Winner of the 150k Suncoast with 94 BRIS, then 4th in the GP Oaks.

Top 3: 14-10-4: Restless Rider, Champagne Anyone, Bellafina.
Horses taking least money: Restless Rider, Champagne Anyone, Lady Apple, Liora, Street Band.
Horses taking most money: Bellafina, Jaywalk.
Projected overlays: Champagne Anyone, Jeltrin, Street Band.
If the odds were these at post time, I’d wager win bets on 10 and 14, and do exactas between these, as well as using 4 over them. I’d also play public top 2 over each of my overlays. Further, I’d play win bets on 14 and 10 plus those same overlays.

Future wager impact:
I have win bets on these:
Jaywalk 7-1
Liora 65-1
Restless Rider 13-1
Exacta box between each of these and field (5-1). That field includes these: Out For A Spin, Chocolate Kisses, Lady Apple, Flor de La Mar, Positive Spirit and Street Band.

Final 2018-2019 Enlightened Derby Trails update

From the Arkansas Derby result, Improbable was already qualified via the California division. Omaha Beach qualifies with his 1000 points in the Heartland division. I had to pick the horse with the next-most division points between the two. The horse I landed on was Signalman, next in the Heartland with 425. Country House and Laughing Fox miss getting enough points here.
Full spreadsheet:

My final list of horses who are in my mythical Derby, before any real-life defections:
*Senor Friday
Game Winner
Win WIn Win
Omaha Beach
*Fog Of War
Cutting Humor
By My Standards
Maximum Security

*horses who did not qualify on the real Trail

Six Shooter from the Minors division: Winner of the Big Drama Stakes…11th in the Springboard Mile, 4th in the Southwest, 4th in the Smarty Jones, 3rd in the Gazebo, 10th in the Arkansas.
And these horses from the huge South division:
Outshine: 5th in the Tremont, 2nd in the Tampa Bay Derby, 9th in the Wood Memorial
Dynamic Racer: 2nd in the John Battaglia Memorial, 2nd in the Jeff Ruby Steaks
Spinoff: (In the KY Derby) 3rd in the Saratoga Special, 2nd in the Louisiana Derby
Weakest of those that I ranked is Instagrand…..Winner of the Best Pal, 3rd in the Gotham and Santa Anita Derby.

Turning to my Future Wager picks….here’s what left alive:
Pool 1:
Win bets
Game Winner 5-1
Improbable 17-1
Vekoma 36-1

Win bets in the Sire Future Wager:
Candy Ride: Game Winner, Vekoma 7-1
Into Mischief: Instagrand 7-1
Uncle Mo: Galilean 23-1
Pool 2:
$2 win bets on
War Of Will 17-1
Tax 63-1
$1 exactas between ‘field’ (5-2), Game Winner (5-1), Improbable (7-1), and War Of Will.
Field currently is Omaha Beach, Plus Que Parfait, Roadster, By My Standards, Maximum Security, Code Of Honor, Haikal, Long Range Toddy, Cutting Humor, Country House, Gray Magician, Spinoff, Master Fencer, Bodexpress, Anotherwistafate, Sueno, Outshine

Pool 3:
$1 exacta box: Game Winner 6-1/Tax 59-1 /War Of Will 12-1/field 9/2, over same.
$2 win bets: Code Of Honor 14-1, Signalman 70-1
Field: Tacitus, Omaha Beach, Plus Que Parfait, By My Standards, Maximum Security, Haikal, Long Range Toddy, Cutting Humor, Gray Magician, Bodexpress, Master Fencer, Sueno, Knicks Go, Owendale, Outshine

Pool 4
Win bets on
Plus Que Parfait 55-1
War Of Will 26-1 (double dip)
Improbable 8-1

Exacta box:
Game Winner 7-1
Plus Que Parfait 55-1
Improbable 8-1
field: 19-1
Field: Tax, Country House, Gray Magician, Master Fencer, Sueno, Mucho Gusto, Knicks Go, Owendale

Lexington Stakes analysis

The Lexington Stakes isn’t a race on the Enlightened Trails, but I share it for the sake of seeing how horses on the actual Trails will be impacted.
This race is a Grade 3 event. It is 8.5 furlongs on Keeneland’s main track, racing for a 200k purse.
Top 3: 7-4-2-8 (2 and 8 are hard to separate)….Knicks Go, Anothertwistafate, Hawaiian Noises, Owendale.
Overlays: Knicks Go, Hawaiian Noises, Owendale.
ABC chart: 7,4,2,8/9,10
Which way the money should be going: Less on Hawaiian Noises, Roiland, Harvey Wallbanger

Hawaiian Noises, indeed, might be ignored more than the other horses here. Harvey Wallbanger is 2nd choice in the morning-line at 7-2, and I feel his stock will drop (and therefore more value). Hawaiian Noises won his 2nd maiden race, lone appearance on dirt, 84 BRIS. Followed this up with a win in a 50k optional claimer, 85 score. Then won the Animal Kingdom, a 50k event on 3/9, with an 87. I like the expression of forging and exploding pace. Also, his run in the Animal Kingdom was first off layoff, showing a strong increase in 2nd call speed.
Knicks Go is a sentimental choice as much as a pick here; I have several win bets on him in the Future Wager pools. I had such high hopes for him since his Breeders Futurity win at Churchill. His stock really dropped since the Breeders Cup Juvenile, and he hasn’t even taken the lead in his last 3 races. He still, tho, has the best distance and track speed of this field, and switches back to regular rider Albin Jimenez. Only pure sprinter of the field.
Owendale took 3 tries to win his maiden effort, then was competitive in several optional claimer races between Fair Grounds and Churchill. Lifetime best of 96 set 2 races back on 1/19, then bounced to an 84 in the Grade 2 Risen Star. Best pedigree of the field (Into Mischief/Aspen Light, out of Bernardini). 5 works in prep, all very fast, 2 bullet works.

Enlightened Trails update (Oaklawn Park)

Arkansas Derby entries have been announced, and it all but cinches who are in my mythical Kentucky Derby. This final race on the Enlightened Derby Trail includes horses with no points in the Heartland division, yet some have points in others.
Improbable has 250 from the Cali division, enough to qualify.
Six Shooter has 500 points from the Minors but is on the outside following tiebreakers.
Country House has 125 from the South division, and needs points here.
Long Range Toddy managed 100 points from the Minors as well.

Seems that, regardless of the outcome, the top 4 horses from the Heartland will definitely include Vekoma and Win Win Win. I’ve therefore included them into my mythical Derby.

Here’s how I see the Arkansas Derby, a race for leading 3YOs, going 9 furlongs at Oaklawn Park, for a $1,000,000 purse.
Top 3: 1-8-5…Improbable, Country House, Laughing Fox.
Overlays: Country House, Laughing Fox, Six Shooter, One Flew South
ABC chart: 1/8,5,2/9
Improbable, was 2nd by a neck last out in the Rebel, his only blemish in 4 lifetime races. He’s considered the speed of the field here. Last 3 BRIS scores: 97, 100, 99. As with prior races, he ran rather wide on the turns, and this time with a slow pace, and his first outside post position, he probably had to make up more ground than prior. He easily could have won this race. Considering the trip and fast pace, consistent with his prior runs, he should be the favorite. To add to all this, he adds blinkers for the first time, and has had 2 bullet works in prep.

Country House was 2nd in the Grade 2 Risen Star, and 4th in the Grade 2 LA Derby, both races taking place at Fair Grounds. Best pedigree of the field (Lookin At Lucky/Quake Lake, out of War Chant). His 95 score in the LA Derby is a 3rd consecutive small new top and is best of this field at 9 furlongs. He appears to have the fastest tactical speed of the field (last 3 late pace numbers: 93, 87, 123). This deep closer probably needs a very slow pace to win.

Laughing Fox has won 2 of 3 races here, all at routes. 7th last time out in the Rebel with a bouncing 83 number. Defeated optional claimers at the 75k level prior to this with a career best 93. Only horse coming out of a bounce in his last start. 3 works in prep, all at OP, last 2 very fast, 1 a bullet.

Six Shooter has both exploding and forging pace, as evidenced by his 92 small new top last out in the Gazebo, here at Oaklawn 3 weeks ago.  It was a route to sprint move, and he returns, of course, back to a route.

One Flew South won his maiden debut with an 85, then, after layoff, finished 5th in the Mine That Bird Derby, scoring an 82.  He’s been off since that 2/24 race, and adds blinkers for the first time.

Updating you on the Fantasy Stakes info: My top 2 choices, Oxy Lady and Cosmic Code, would be considered overlays, based on the morning-line, published 4/10.

Enlightened Trails update (Oaklawn Park)

The Fantasy Stakes at Oaklawn Park this coming Friday wraps up the Enightened Oaks Trail for the 2018-2019 campaign. With the announcement of Chasing Yesterday being off the actual Trail, I recalculated and produced a new list.
Here’s how the spreadsheet looks as of this typing:
In the Minors division, I needed just 2 horses, and the two who remain with 1000 points are locked in: Naughty Joker, and Las Setas.
Chasing Yesterday’s defection opens up a slot in the California divison. Bellafina closed easily with 1500, with Flor de la Mar earning 2nd with 500, and Mother Mother, 3rd in the Starlet, 2nd in the Del Mar Debutante, getting 3rd.
Northeast division wrapped up with the win/place horses in the Gazelle Stakes getting in. Jaywalk won the tiebreak for having the Grade 1 victories within the division. She will represent here as I have no room in the Heartland division.
South division was done in the previous weekend.
Heartland division gives Out For A Spin, upset winner of the Ashland, a spot in my mythical Oaks. Restless Rider, once again a bridesmaid, has enough points here as well. WIth no horses from the Fantasy Stakes with division points coming in, this means only the winning horse will also get into my version of the Oaks.
I can agree on 8 of the top 14 on the actual Trail. The ones I do not like per my system are Liora, Serengeti Empress, Chocolate Kisses, Jeltrin, Cookie Dough and Dunbar Road. Maybe one of those outside the top 14 will win the Fantasy Stakes and narrow the gap to 5. The thing with Liora, I like this filly enough for the Future Wager, but she simply didn’t get enough points or win out in the South division of my Trail. I am happy to note that she, Jaywalk and Restless Rider are all selections for wins and exactas, plus the field, out of that Future Wager pool.
The ‘field’ selection’, 5-1 from that pool, would currently include Street Band, Out For A Spin, Chocolate Kisses, Positive Spirit, Flor de la Mar and Cookie Dough.
The Fantasy Stakes is a Grade 3 event for leading 3YO fillies, going 8.5 furlongs, for a 500k purse.
Top 3: 1-12-10…Cosmic Code, Oxy Lady, Orra Moor.
Overlays to be determined.
ABC chart: 1, 12/10,8.
My odds: Cosmic Code 2-1; Oxy Lady 8-5; Motion Emotion 4-1; Orra Moor 9-1.
Cosmic Code has steadily raced in the South and Midwest. She has placed 2nd three times vs 50k optional claimers, and won her 2nd maiden race prior to that. Bounced to a 78 last time out with a modest pace, first after layoff. Since that 3/5 effort she posted 3 works, 2 at OP, all very fast, one being a bullet work.

Oxy Lady won the Grade 3 Tempted (set lifetime best mark of 93), was 4th in the Grade 1 Starlet, 6th in the Grade 2 Rachel Alexandra (first after layoff), and 2nd in the Busher last time out. Best AWD numbers of the field (Oxbow/Renaissance Lady, out of AP Indy). Declan Cannon, who powered her to the Tempted win, is back aboard, tho he and trainer Jack Sisterson have not yet run during the Oaklawn meet. Oxy Lady was checked early into the Busher, yet still finished with an 89 and 2nd place. Waiting the longest of these to stretch out. She’s also the lone early closer of the field.
Orra Moor won her maiden debut vs 60k level with an 87. Following layoff, she won a 75k optional claimer event. Moving up from Gulfstream to Aqueduct, she was 3rd in the Busher with an 88. I have to respect the consistency of her pace.

Enlightened Derby Trail update

Firstly, here’s the updated Enlightened Derby Trail chart:


Here’s an explanation of the tiebreaks: The ideal result is that the top 4 horses of each division on points get into my ideal mythical KY Derby. Often, this will not be the case, as a handful of horses each year will place in more than one division. From here, I go to tiebreaks and one important rule: No horse can possibly represent more than one division. I take the next horse within the divisions the ties exist (just those divisions only) and select the horse with the most points overall that would not have qualified otherwise. That way, the best horses still represent.
Between horses when there is a tie for points, I use this ranking system:
Best class race
Longest distance
Highest purse

Pending the Arkansas Derby results, I can safely rank about 15 of 20 horses. Somelikeithotbrown has enough for 4th in the Heartland, but with the top 2 finishers getting at least 500, that would knock him out. He already has 1000 points and 5th place in the crowded South division, so he gets the last spot. Tacitus has 1000 in the South and the Northeast. I let Somelikeithotbrown get the temporary nod for his 1000 point total. Tacitus is 5th in the South, as he did not win a Grade 1 race. The one such race available in his division was the Florida Derby.

Haikal is out of the picture despite a tie for 3rd place with Fog Of War and Complexity with 250 in the Northeast. His 3rd place finish in the Grade 2 pales in comparison to the Grade 1 2YO wins by the other 2 horses. In this example, I give not only class the edge, but the winning result as the factor.

Six Shooter loses out in the Minors despite the 500 total. He won the Big Drama at Delta Downs, but this race was a sprint, 7.5 furlongs, compared to Broka’s mile win at Portland Meadows.

Vekoma and Win Win Win are the top 2 in the Heartland. They should remain in the top 4 of the division after the Arkansas Derby, tho this does depend on nominations and eventual starters. Among those with points in the division that is not already locked in for the KY Derby, the only one with points is King For A Day, at 25.

2019 Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 4 picks

My final pool picks are in…here’s how I came to the decisions:

I reranked horses in 3 variables after I read the Brisnet repots, specifically #5037, which allows you to look at a horse’s last speed rating. Calculating 1 length behind=1 point, I was able to construct speed figures and binomial pace for horses in the pool that were racing yesterday. I had to adjust for 9 horses re pace, keeping the top 7. WIth a total of 7 horses who now have won at least at 9 furlongs, this took down a step all those whose fastest run was at 8.5. Vekoma went up in class win (Grade 2), as did Roadster (Grade 1). I drew up a new list, ranking 9 horses who were in my top 7 in at least 3 variables:
9th:BY MY STANDARDS took a slight drop from 8th, and is the actual Derby anyway. FInished Pool 4 at 32-1

8th: VEKOMA won the Santa Anita Derby with a 101, putting him inside my top 7 for pace. And his Grade 2 victory kept him at pace with the slight majority of horses in this field of 23 who also have at least a Grade 2 win. Further, that race was at 9 furlongs, enough to be in the show. He went from off my original list to this 8th place showing, which is rather positive. A bonus: I already have him at 36-1 from pool 1. I figured he won’t be near that low point again. He did finish Pool 4 at 15-1. No double-dip here. I like my chances with him.

7th: TACITUS also made this list via his Grade 2 wins, his overall pace, and 9-furlong win in the Wood Memorial. Finished pool 4 at 8-1. Ranked a bit low for me to consider.

6th: MAXIMUM SECURITY moves up from 6th. Already ranked in class, pace and distance without racing again, he’s already in the Derby too. 7-1 his final price.
5th: SIGNALMAN I had already wagered in prior pools at 28-1 and 38-1, tho not considered for exactas. Moved from 6th in my rankings. Ranked in class and pace, plus pace progress at age 2. Also posted a 99 BRIS at Churchill. Final pool 4 odds: 70-1! I was shocked, but elated, to consider these odds in a triple-scoop move. WIth 38 points on the actual Trail, it’s a matter of watching the scoreboard following this coming weekend’s preps.
4th: WAR OF WILL: Ranked in all categories except for pace and distance. Dropped in rank from 3rd, meaning I would not need to put him in exactas again. As mentioned in a prior post, Mark Casse has the intention of keeping him on the road to the Derby. FInal pool odds: 23-1.
3rd: IMPROBABLE is also on the Derby bubble. He drops from 2nd to 3rd, so he’s still a major hope for me. Final pool 4 odds: 8-1. Ranked in all except for distance and 2YO pace progress. Arkansas Derby next.
2nd: PLUS QUE PARFAIT moves from 4th to 2nd here, meaning he’s now an exacta factor. Already ranked in all areas except for pace. Final odds: 55-1.
1st: GAME WINNER. Finishing a narrow 2nd yesterday didn’t really hurt his chances. Final odds: 7-1.

The wagers:
Win bets on
Plus Que Parfait 55-1
War Of Will 26-1 (double dip)
Signalman 70-1 (triple dip)
In my haste to get wagers in on time, I accidentally put an extra $2 on Improbable, 8-1. I already have him at 17-1 from a prior pool.

Exacta box:
Game Winner 7-1
Plus Que Parfait
Improbable 8-1
field: 19-1