Enlightened Trails update through 8/13/17

With my work schedule cutting into my usual bit of analysis on a weekly basis, I had taken a break from the Trails. I aim to get back onto the saddle (wait; into or onto?) with the next relevant races on 8/20.
Here’s the latest spreadsheets:


Song From Above is the first horse on either trail to finish in the top 4 in 2 such races. She won the Juan Gonzalez Memorial at Oak Tree last month, then ran 2nd in the Wine Country Debutante at Santa Rosa this past weekend.

Outside of the trails, I’ve done occasional wagering on these websites:
TVG: A strong player in the DAW market. I admit to really like their ‘winsurance’ wagers.
Del Mar has its own daily one-race contest, using $100 mythically between mutuel and exacta plays.
TwinSpires, still the gold standard, is where I check out all races running, plus replays, and it’s super-easy to wager within its system.
DerbyWars became legal for us WA residents. I did win that 5-race contest, and I can now enter more cash contests (and those small point contests) as well.
Still disappointed that 123bet gave up on providing free past performances for the Emerald Downs meet-long contest.  I haven’t played their pick-6 contests but I have a few dollars lying around for it, just in case.

Handicapping races 7-11 at Saratoga 7/29/17

I am in a 5-race contest on Derbywars.com, last 5 races at Saratoga, with the scoring being based on mythical $2 WPS wagers. Top 2 get paid.
Here’s my look at races 7 through 11 at the Spa!

7th at Saratoga is 8.5 furlongs on the turf course, non winners of 2 races, allowance, 85k purse for statebred fillies. There are allowances re age and distance. Truth gets a 7 lb break. My top 3 here include overlay Mom’s On Strike, favored Act Naughty, and Broken Border. No one else with a real definite shot.
Mom’s On Strike scored a 100 Brisnet last out, running very wide but competitive in her turf debut, the 200k Pebbles at Belmont last year. That score is best on turf of the field, and her early/backstretch runs suggest she’s the true speed here. 10 months away from the track,and stretching out, with good works, I’m playing her with confidence.
Broken Border I like mainly because of her recent run of Brisnet scores…the last 4 all in the 80s, plus wins in the last 3. She’s also the lone early closer of the field.

8th race is the Grade 1 Vanderbilt Handicap, for top 3YO+, 6 furlongs on dirt. Top 3 here are overlay/longshot Ready For Rye, Bird Song, and Awesome Banner. Another overlay here in Spartiatis.
Ready For Rye in his 5YO debut ran a 98 after 7 months away, improving at 1st call since his prior race, the Fall Highweight Handicap. Overall Brisnet of 98, down from 101. He took the head at 2nd call and won well as the favorite. Yes, a muddy track, and, yes, a deeper field here too, but I’m willing to back this overlay.
Bird Song 4 races removed from lifetime best 104 BRIS, took a bounce in the Stephen Foster last time out. This E/P type has a bunch of races running in triple digits at 2nd call. He also owns a prior win here.
Awesome Banner hit small new top 2 races back in a 150k stakes race. That was 2 months ago, and I say he’s still under influence of that number, and can run back to that number.
Spartiatis had a tough trip last out, but still posted a 91 score in the Diablo. Drops 9 lbs to 115. He’s won prior with similar move. 5 works at the Spa since as well.

9th race is the Bowling Green Stakes, 11 furlongs on the inner turf course. This Grade 2 event is for 4YO+. My top 3 are 2 of the favorites in Sadler’s Doy and Ascend, then lone overlay Closing Bell.
Closing Bell exploded to a 109 last out in the UN Stakes, a Grade 1 event at Monmouth 4 weeks ago. He rallied decently in this race but the fast pace left him wanting more. Can’t throw out given the pace potential.

10th is the featured Jim Dandy Stakes, a Grade 1 event at 600k for top 3YOs. Top 3 include overlay Good Samaritan, favored Always Dreaming and other overlay Giuseppe The Great.
Good Samaritan is a colt by Harlan’s Holiday with Pulpit as the damsire. Won first 2 lifetime, then placed between 2nd and 4th in 4 Graded events since. Peaked 3 races back in the American Turf at Churchill with a 98. Only colt in the field who has a distance cutback win. Turn time of 22.8 last out is also best of the field.
Giuseppe The Great loses blinkers for this race. After maiden win, was 2nd in the Woody Stephens, then 4th in the Dwyer. 4 straight races in the 90s. Had some trouble in the Dwyer but still matched lifetime best with a 98.

Finally in the 11th, there is an 83k maiden event, 8.5 furlongs on the turf. Top 3 here are Durable Goods, Magical Sky, and Freedom. No overlays in this race.
Magical Sky the best price play here. Just one start, vs 42k maidens at a mile on the Gulfstream Park turf on 6/22. 77 Brisnet in that debut with a 91 stretch pace. Turn time of 24.4 is best of the field.

Enlightened Trails update: Prairie Meadows

Enlightened Trails take us now from Texas to Iowa, and to Prairie Meadows Racetrack in Altoona. On the Oaks side of the Trails, tonight is the running of the Prairie Gold Lassie Stakes….6 furlongs, 65k. Top 3: Waki Patriot, Flat Out Gittin It, and Line Of Credit.
If you use an ABC grid (I don’t but some swear by it) it should look like this: A: 4. B: 1,3. C: 5,7,8
Lone overlay here is Flat Out Gittin It. How about the name, huh? Dazzled first after claim for John Tally, scoring a 77 over 5 furlongs at Lone Star on 7/9, running well late, winning by 8.5. Turn time of 23.6, an increase of .6 from her debut on 5/27 is the fastest of this field. I like that she won while increasing distance, and should do likewise tonight.
Line Of Credit on the rail won her debut with a modest 61 vs 31k fillies, here on 6/1. With the layoff, she added 3 works, 2 very fast, 1 a bullet.
I will have more coverage tomorrow and Saturday, with more Trail races involved.

Enlightened Trails update: Lone Star @ Texas Prairie

Lone Star Park @Texas Prairie is the site for the initial Enlightened Derby Trail race of this campaign, twinned with the 2nd Oaks Trail race earlier on the card.

The Texas Futurity for fillies is 5 furlongs, with a 100k purse. My top 3 here are Silver In The City, then overlays Rockin’ Royalty and Western Maid. I also like first-time starter Golden Cat Tate as an overlay.

Silver In The City is consistent with 3 runs in the 70s, peaking at 72 on 6/10. Gained half-length on the leader at the 2nd call.
Rockin’ Royalty enters with good track bias: 40% of early-presser types running this distance have won (12 wins in 30). 16% of the winners have come from posts 4-7. Wears blinkers for the first time, and gets favorable jockey switch to Ernesto Valdez-Jiminez.
Western Maid also peaked 2 races back, running a 70 on 6/10, paired with 68 last out. Was close in contention all throughout her last race, a 21k statebred filly maiden event, and briefly led in the stretch.
Golden Cat Tate I will give benefit of the doubt as she does come in with great works.


2 races later, the colts take their turn in the similarly named Texas Futurity. It is open to colts and geldings for a 100k, going 5 furlongs.
My top 3 here are 2nd favored Almeria, Swift Shock, and longshot/overlay My Golden Tate. Other overlays: Solar Effect, Ramblin Fever, Toledo Pache
My Golden Tate just after claim, had runs in the 60s, breaking maiden with 65 lat out. Prior to that, ran a 69 in an open maiden race. Looked good in his progression vs leader last time.
Solar Effect broke maiden in 2nd start with gain from 64 to 72.
Ramblin Fever showed some gain vs leader in his 4th place debut start on 6/23
Toledo Pache with small new top to 72 in 3rd lifetime start, first time at 5 furlongs and on muddy track. I give respect to the pattern here.

2017 Queen’s Plate analysis

Quickly looking at the Queen’s Plate past performances, here’s my top 3 for this Grade 1 event, 3YO fillies, going 10 furlongs on Woodbine’s Tapeta track.
STATE OF HONOR was a highly regarded horse coming into the KY Derby, after setting a few new tops in the 90s and promptly finished 19th of 20. In the Plate Trial last out, in his return to Woodbine he was outkicked at the finish, but had led all the way for much of the race. He is the lone sprinter of the field and has the best turn time from his last 2 races. The KY Derby race makes him the only horse in the field to have gone the 10 furlong distance.
MEGAGRAY has 4 starts, all at Woodbine, winning his 2nd maiden race, 3rd in the Wando, 4th in the G3 Marine. One of several coming out of the Marine, all who are stretching out from 8.5 furlongs. 3 works, 2 fast, both at Woodbine. Last 3 races were in the 80s BRIS rating, ahead of his debut at 77.
CHANNEL MAKER on the rail has the best AW and track score here, a 93, running 2nd in the Marine. Even with that number, he still had something of a wide trip. I’m banking on these numbers to be a good influence.
Suggested odds:
Channel Maker 8-1 Overlay
Holy Helena 14-1
King and His Court 14-1
Tiz A Slam 9-1
State Of Honor 4-1 Overlay
Malibu Secret and Megagray 5-1 Overlays

First look at the 2017-2018 Enlightened Derby Trail

The countdown begins again, 11 months and many races
before we get to the Run for the Roses and Lillies.
With this, I unveil the very first draft of the 2017-18
Enlightened Trails.
The Trails determine the best possible Derby/Oaks fields
based on the best race a track can offer that naturally
fits into the actual Trails. Where I differ from the real
thing is the introduction of minor tracks. I call them
such because of how their best races measure up. My
focus for ranking are by age, purse, class, and distance.
This is how I break ties as well. All horses are
divided into 4 geographic divisions involving the
‘majors’, and a separate category for the smaller
representatives, which I call ‘minors. The minors, such
as my home track of Emerald Downs, do not have a Graded
race that is their best representative race for the Trail
for 2YOs from July to December, or 3YOs through the
weekend of the Arkansas Derby. One race per track, with
the kind exception of whoever hosts the Breeders Cup
(you’re welcome, Del Mar). 4 horses from each get into
the Derby. 3 from each major division plus 2 from the
minors are in the Oaks.
The big idea is to have a number of geographic and
socioeconomic areas have a chance to be in the field of
20, and get away from the top-heavy focus of races in
Cali, NY, Florida and so forth.

The spreadsheet is filled with info based on
Bloodhorse.com’s Stakes Calendar, listing the best
available races by track and age.
Horses earn points for their finish based on this scheme:
2Yos, ungraded: 100-50-25-10
2YOs, Graded: 250-100-50-25
3YOs, ungraded: 500-250-125-50
3YOs, Graded: 100-500-250-125

Ties are broken first using the higher class of race, then the purse amount, then the distance.
When one horses qualifies in more than 1 division, I keep it in the division that has less potential qualifiers in it. This is due to the fact that some divisions have more races than others.
I’ve yet to construct the divisions, but this will get fleshed out in due time, as will the 3YO version of the Trails. For now, this is what I have. Enjoy!

Oaks Trail will be published in the next few days.