Enlightened Trails update (Lone Star Park)

Lone Star Park is in focus on July 15, for the Texas Futurity, both the colt and filly versions. The colt’s version opens up the 10 month-long Enlightened Derby Trail. The filly version is the 2nd such race in their Trail.
Here’s how I see the colts and geldings… This race is all of 5 furlongs, racing for a 100k purse. Top 3 here are the favored Wakefield, then longshot/overlays Moro Charlie and Silver Aces.
Moro Charlie adds blinkers after his maiden race….73 Brisnet speed in anothr 5 furlong race just a month prior. He had gone 3 wide on the turn, and was even wider in the stretch. The 73 score was the fastest of those who hadn’t won prior coming in.
Silver and Aces is a first time starter, I’m banking on his work tab. 4 races to prepare for this debut; all 4 happened at Lone Star, and the last 2 were rather fast.

As for the fillies, their version of the Texas Futurity is of a duplicate nature, 100k purse, 5 furlongs. My top 3 here are 2 favorites in Silver Moon Rising and Silvercents, then Pick N Run. I also like overlay Here’s The Deal.
Pick N Run had 2 races at 4.5 furlongs here..and won vs fellow Texas fillies with a 72 Brisnet. She had ran close to the lead early, assuming it in the stretch. The 72 score was 20 points higher than her debut.
Here’s The Deal is the one filly here with any pattern. Usually fillies are fickle in their patterns, so seeing 2 races in the 60s and the others with no such pattern makes me want to take a flyer on her.

Enlightened Trails update (Oak Tree @ Pleasanton)

And so it begins…
The 2018-2019 season of Enlightened Derby and Oaks Trails starts, as it has in prevous years, at Oak Tree/Pleasanton, on the EOT side. The Juan Gonzalez Memorial is for 2YO fillies, 50k purse, 5.5 furlongs.
In this 5 horse field, I like 5-2-3….Lippy. Quaint Savant, and Papaya.
I have to believe that Lippy is a big favorite in this race. Her variables rank her far and away the best of this short field. 2nd in her maiden debut on 5/28 at Santa Anita, 78 Brisnet. Repeated as favorite in a 59k maiden race on 6/14 at Santa Anita, winning that race with an 82. Only early/presser-styled horse of the field. She owns the best speed for the distance and owns the best AWD numbers.
If there is any to consider for pairing up, I suggest Quaint Savant. Winner of her maiden debut as a favorite, against fellow 54k maiden fillies at Santa Anita on 5/4. She’s waiting the longest of these 5 to stretch out. She’s also got the best workout regimen, 6 works in all.
Papaya might be the only other one to play. Won her debut on this track as favorite vs 25k maiden fillies, 61 Brisnet. Listed as a sprinter, she was 2nd at first call, and gained to be as close as a head behind at 2nd call before winning a driving finish, 5 lengths.

Both the EOT and EDT charts are adjusted daily to reveal which tracks are in play for their part of the Trails.

First look at the Enlightened Derby and Oaks Trails for 2018-2019

What I’ve linked in this post is my first attempt at the next season’s Trails.  The races listed are the ones for 2YOs that represent the best race for each track that would normally fit on the actual Trails.  I’ve yet to figure out the 3YO portion, as most of the tracks with such high profile races have not published their 2019 calendar yet.

Here’s the Derby version.

And here’s the Oaks version.

My source for this is the stakes calendar at Bloodhorse.com


Stephen Foster Handicap analysis

The Stephen Foster Handicap at Churchill Downs is a race for 3YO+, 9 furlongs, with a 500k purse, at the Grade 1 level.
My top 3 horses here are 6-2-9…Backyard Heaven, Patch and Pavel.
Overlays: Patch, Lookin At Lee.
Patch won his 2nd maiden race with a 101 score, was 2nd in the Louisiana Derby with a 98, then bounced in the KY Derby. He would finish 3rd in the Belmont, then 4th in the WV Derby, then won an allowance race last month debuting as a 4YO. He is the only early closer in this race.
Lookin At Lee comes out of a 62.5k optional claimer win here at CD, scoring a 98, a small new top that was just better than his runs in the Triple Crown races.Slight possibility of a bounce, as he paired his 98 with a 95 in the Oaklawn, ahead of an 88 in another allowance race. 4 works here at Churchill in prep.

I plan to use Lookin At Lee and Patch for wins, and use under Backyard Heaven for exactas. Lots of ways to score, as I’d likely use Pavel with some exactas here as well, assuming the ML odds.

2018 Belmont Day stakes races analysis

Lots to get to for this 10-stake Belmont Stakes Day…so, as scratches/changes get posted, I’ll update this post. Let’s get started! For brevity’s sake I’ll just post thoughts on my top valued choice, as well as mention overlays.

Race 2 is the Easy Goer, 8.5 furlongs, 150k purse for leading 3YOs. Top 3 are 5-8-4…..Prince Lucky, High North and Soutache. Overlays: Prince Lucky, Soutache. One of 2 races today where I expect any favorite to finish no better than 3rd, if at all. Prince Lucky won 3 of his first 4 races lifetime, then had some trouble in classier races. Last race was 5/19 in the Sir Barton at Pimlico, running 3rd with an 87, and a wide, shifting trip. It was an improvement on his prior race, 2 months following layoff, with a faster 2nd call time, and a slight gain on the leader. Hopefully something to build upon today.
UPDATE: Mask is now my 2nd choice here.

Race 3 is the Ogden Phipps, Grade 1 event worth 750k, fillies/mares 4YO+ going 8.5 furlongs. Top 3 are 5-1-2…American Gal, Unbridled Mo, and Ivy Bell. Overlays are Ivy Bell and Unchained Melody. Ivy Bell has been 1st or 2nd in 12 of 14 lifetime. Comes out of 2 stellar efforts since claim by Todd Pletcher, a 98 in the Humana Distaff, and a 100 in winning the Inside Information. One of several with recent new tops in pace. Only horse here who is improving after first run after layoff. Gained very well at 2nd call speed and slightly better vs leader.
UPDATE: Following changes, top 3 are now 1-4-2….Unbridled Mo, Pacific Wind and Ivy Bell.

Race 4 is the Acorn, for top 3YO fillies going 1 mile, 700k. Top 3 are the favored Monomoy Girl and Caledonia Road, then the overlay Starcloud.3-5-6. In a race that otherwise might be worth passing, Starcloud is the worst per odds of this 7 horse field. But I happen to like her. Winner of 4 of 5 lifetime, including the Game Face last out at Gulfstream, with a strong 96. Off for 7 weeks, she’s freshest among those stretching out. Switching jockeys back to regular rider Albin Jiminez.

Race 5 is the Brooklyn Invitational, for 4YOs +, going 12 furlongs in this Grade 2 event. Top 3 are 9-4-5….War Story, Take Your Guns, and Mills. Overlays are Mills and Giant Payday. My reason for liking the big longshot is his 3 local works, plus a strong 4 length gain on leaders in his last race, the Mr Sinatra on 3/31.

Race 6 is the Jaipur for 4YOs +, a 6 furlong turf race at Grade 2, worth 400k. I have confidence in just 2…Disco Partner and Pure Sensation, 5-2. Probably the weakest of today’s races, I like Pure Sensation for value. 17 of 26 races in the money, the 7 year old is 2 races removed from his lifetime best of 102, in the Breeders Cup Turf Sprint. He’s the only horse who could bounce back in pace. Jockey switch back to Kendrick Carmouche, his regular rider.

Race 7 is the Woody Stephens, for 3YOs going 7 furlongs and a 400k purse. Top 3 are 12-11-2…Strike Power, World Of Trouble, and overlay Pure Shot. Pure Shot I am playing strictly from a track bias point of view….in 16 races at this distance during the meet, 6 were won by pure sprinters, and 3 by posts 1-3. Adds blinkers for the first time. Also jockey switch back to Ricardo Santana Jr. The other overlay here is Beautiful Shot.

Race 8 is the Longines Just A Game…turf mile for fillies/mares 4YO+, Grade 1. Top 3 are Off Limits, Dream Dancing (overlay), and Proctor’s Ledge (3-2-5). Dream Dancing is the big longshot at 20-1 in this field of 8. She is one of 2 who have posted a recent small new top as her year’s best…96 and 4th last out in the Distaff Turf Mile at Churchill on Derby Day. It was a nice improvement after being off for 12 weeks, with an 11 point gain in speed figure by 2nd call, and 1.5 lengths on the leader.

Race 9 is the Met Mile, Grade 1 event for 3YO+. Top 3 are 10-4-9….Bee Jersey, McCraken and Warrior’s Club. This is the other race to eliminate favorites out of in the top 2. Bee Jersey began his career running at Dubai in 2016, then found much better success here in the US….103 lifetime best 2 races ago in an optional claimer 62k race, then a 106 while winning a Grade 3 event at Lone Star on 5/6. He’s the lone sprinter of the field. Also, 11 of 39 races run as dirt miles during the meet have been won by pure sprinters, and 7 from posts 8 and out. Warrior’s Club is the overlay in this race.

Race 10 is the $1 million Manhattan, Grade 1 event for top 4YOs+, going 10 furlongs on the inner turf. Another great handicapping race, with lots of contenders and ways oto score. Top 3 are longshot/overlay Fashion Business, Beach Patrol and Channel Maker (overlay too, along with One Go All Go and Hello Don Julio). 7-10-9. Fashion Business I like most based on her 40k optional claimer last out, a 92 run after an 8 month layoff..it was a slight improvement at 2nd call plus a few lengths against the leader at that point, en route to winning that race.

Race 11 is the big Belmont Stakes itself, and the opportunity for Justify to be a truly immortal horse. I do like him outright, followed by Vino Rosso and Gronkowski. Overlays are those latter two plus Restoring Hope. Vino Rosso bounced from his Wood Memorial win to 9th in the KY Derby. One of several who should bounce back in pace. I like his pattern of recent speed figures: 91, 102, 91, 100. Triple digit run today? Despite the bounce, he did make some ground at 2nd call vs Justify. 1-8-6

Idealistic Stats podcast 6/7/18

Idealistic Stats podcast for 6/7/18 was published on 6/8.
This program focuses on my analysis of the Acorn and Belmont Stakes, plus thoughts on top players for the FedEx St Jude Classic on the PGA Tour.

Download/stream/share this program through the following platforms:
Internet Archive: https://archive.org/details/IdealisticStats060718

Anchor.fm: https://anchor.fm/dashboard/episode/e1jvvg
iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/dan-herman/id1381116867
Castbox: https://castbox.fm/channel/id1278776
Pocket Casts: https://pca.st/BYU5
Radio Public: https://play.radiopublic.com/dan-herman-60nMdy

2018 Preakness Stakes analysis/selections

Now for the boys’ turn, as I give you a capsule, horse-by-horse look at the Preakness.

QUIP won his maiden debut in September, then also in a 67k allowance race. Finished 7th in the Kentucky Jockey Club (Grade 2). Broke through in pace with a 98 following a 14-week layoff, debuting at 3 in the Tampa Bay Derby. Last out, was 2nd in the Arkansas Derby, scoring a 95. 4/14 is the longest wait for any of this 8-horse field to stretch further to 9.5 furlongs. 2 fast works at Keeneland in prep. Was 2nd at nearly each call in his last 2, both running at a snail’s pace.
Prediction: Winner.
Odds prediction: 8-5. Overlay.

LONE SAILOR came out of the Kentucky Derby with something of a setback from his lifetime best of 100 to 92. Given that his 100 score in the Lousiana Derby was 7 weeks ago, that still allows him time to run to that effort. He’s the lone closer of the field, too. He should require a fast pace early that slows down to average. Thomas Amoss, his trainer, did not make any notable adjustments for this horse in prep.
Prediction: 5th.
Odds prediction: 10-1. Overlay.

SPORTING CHANCE has shown a mixed bag of results in his 7 lifetime races. His 2 wins came early in his career: Maiden score at Saratoga with a strong 89, followed by a 98 in the Grade 1 Hopeful. Took in a lot of money since those races, and notably was DQ’d to 4th in the Blue Grass. Last outing was in the Pat Day Mile on Derby Day, with a troubled trip and a drop to 79 while finishing 4th. I can never trust a horse labeled as a sprinter who doesn’t have some share of the lead at any point.
Prediction: 8th.

DIAMOND KING has had a rather interesting 6 races under most folks’ radars…unless your radar was watching Laurel and Parx. Worst race of the bunch was the Kentucky Jockey Club, as he lost his rider. Of the races he’s finished, his worst was in his debut, finishing with an 87. Since the debacle at CD, he’s scored with 91, 93 and 95. Wins include the Heft and the Federico Tesio. Thing is, this is a big jump in class for him, and the speed figures aren’t quite up to par with those who ran in the Derby.
Prediction: 6th.

GOOD MAGIC I really liked in the Derby, running close to Justify all throughout. A fine career in 6 starts: 2nd in his maiden debut, 2nd in the Champagne, winner of the Breeders Cup Juvenile (105 Brisnet, his best), 3rd in the Fountain Of Youth, wins the Blue Grass, and 2nd in the Run for all those Roses. Best pattern of speed figures of this field (last 3 numbers were 99, 98, 98). Only early closer in the field. Requires an average pace throughout to get his pace set up.
Prediction: 2nd. If rain, drop to 3rd.
Odds prediction: 9-2.

TENFOLD was a maiden debut winner with a 92 as he wired a field of 10 at 8.5 furlongs. Won an optional claimer race of 75k, same distance and track. 5th in the Arkansas Derby. Lifetime speed figures are 92, 93, 94. Best AWD numbers of the field…pedigree is Curlin/Temptress, out of Tapit. Had a stalking trip in the AR Derby, made a wide move at the turn as well. The 94 score was fastest of those with a troubled trip coming in.
Prediction: 4th.
Odds prediction: 7-1. Overlay.

JUSTIFY is still a justified freak to me. Or…is he truly one of the greats, the immortals? What else does he need to do to justify how excellent of a career he’s had, after all the naysaying and questioning? His 102 in the Derby suggests he will certainly get this distance easily enough. Also, with the slight promise of an off-track, that 104 from his 2nd lifetime race makes him a bigger threat. In fact, the 102 score is actually a bounce from his 114 in the Santa Anita Derby. No question he’s the true speed. Is it enough? It might be
Prediction: 3rd. If there’s rain, 2nd.
Odds prediction: About 5-1.

BRAVAZO has wins from his 2nd maiden race, then a 62k optional claimer, then the Grade 2 Risen Star (lifetime best 98 Brisnet). Bounced to a 76 in the Louisiana Derby, and then back to 96 while finishing 6th in the KY Derby. He’s subject to a bounce this time around.
Prediction: 7th.

Top 3 in summary: 1-5-7….. Quip, Good Magic, Justify. Overlays are Quip, Lone Sailor, Tenfold.

Even with 2 ML favorites in my top 3, it’s an even more inviting sort of race to wager in. I can see using 1, 6, and 2 for wins, and under 5 and 7 for exactas. Also exactas using 5-1 and 7-1.

In terms of odds movement, the only trend I’m seeing is the money that Tenfold will take. People may overlook his pedigree, his fast troubled trip plus his slight gain on the leaders last time out.