11 races to handicap today across 5 tracks, many at the Graded level. 8 of the races are part of a free handicapping contest run by the folks at Equibase. Last time I tried it out, I finished in roughly at the top-third of all players.
I’ll be actually wagering just two races, the two big ones: Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland, and the Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn.
Very typically I’ll wager to win on any of my top 3 selections who may run worse than 5-1, and also add to exactas underneath favorites and/or with each other. For sake of the handicapping contest, they want my top selection; I would score based on a mythical $2 win and place ticket.
These three races are not part of the tournament nor am I wagering, but will be tracking these:
8-1-5: Number One Dancer (longshot), E B Ryder, Street Girl
Number One Dancer after races in Puerto Rico, has run at Gulfstream and Calder prior. She has the fastest Brisnet number of those who have run and won here (75, in her US mainland debut). Also has the best winning Brisnet of those who have won on off-track conditions (68 on a sloppy Gulfstream track last time out; her 75 score was at Camarero in PR on a muddy track). Today’s race here is off the turf and on a sloppy surface. 2nd consecutive race running on layoff. Would give benefit of doubt here, seeing that she won her debut race, also at Camerero, last August. Further, has relatively best class in field. All other horses’s best wins were at the maiden level. ROI angle: Trainer Saul Matos has slight positive +2.21 return combining all races between 2012 and 2013 (10% wins, 22% in the money).
Las Cienegas Stakes:
6-4-2: Mizdirection, Givine (longshot), Schiaparelli
Can’t go against the ‘jungle karma’! Jim Rome partly owns Mizdirection, who is undefeated on the downhill turf course. This horse has already defeated top class mares in the Breeders Cup last year, and really there’s no more hills to run. Shares best Brisnet winning speed on this track (100) with Schiaparelli (won 2012 Monrovia). 8 wins and 3 seconds in 11 races on this particular course, including the 100 win. Proven to have won off layoff before.
4-6-3: Cluster Of Stars, Miss d’Oro, (longshot), Nakano
Cluster of Stars is a morning-line 1-1 fave. Must I explain why? All 4 lifetime runs at this track, and undefeated, always at the lead by the 2nd call. Classiest horse of the field (won a 100k event 2 races back). 3rd race back won with a 100 score in the mud, high off-track number of the field, and the track is muddy again today. This early pace type filly has the fastest pace numbers to her style in the field, and already a master at 6 furlongs. Forged lifetime best score of 110 in last race, and could bounce down from that effort. . Miss d’Oro is the one value pick here. She has best Average Winning Distance totals from sire Medaglia d’Oro and dam-sire Saint Ballardo. Also best winning jockey/trainer combo (Lezcano 16%, Servis 26%). Good workouts too, last two were strongly ranked at Belmont.
Now for the races that count!
1-5-3 Gantry, Bernie the Maestro, Bind.
Chalky prediction, but that’s how it should go with this short field. Gantry is best in class (winner of a Grade 2 event last year). Fastest pace numbers to his style in the field (last 3 second-call numbers all in triple-digits). Explosive/forging form, scoring a 106 in a 150k 6f effort at Fair Grounds last race, just past his lifetime best of 104 in the aforementioned Grade 2 event).
8-9-6 Perfect Officer, China (longshot), Next Question
The 7YO late-running Perfect Officer won this race last year by a nose, scoring a lifetime best 111 (also best score of this field on Keeneland, for turf, and 5.5 furlongs,). Winning this race on layoff last year and hasn’t raced since August 15th, so hoping the trend continues here. As for value, China has the fastest pace numbers in the field , and was reclaimed by trainer John Good 2 years ago with fairly good results. Track bias is favoring early-pace horses from the 8 post position and deeper. China is the only horse fitting this description.
Jenny Wiley Stakes:
4-2-6: Ausus (longshot), Old Tune, Samitar
Calling for an upset in this one. Ausus has explosive/forging form currently. Scored a lifetime best of 96 2 races back in a 75k event on 1/26. This number is just past his best number at age 3, a 91 on 9/28. Then put in a 92 effort in the Bayou Handicap on 2/23, and comes off 7 week layoff. Best workout tab of the field: 4 works, last one a bullet at Keenelend.
BLUE GRASS STAKES:
3-1-6 3 longshots: Undrafted, Dynamic Sky, Channel Isle. Yes I dare. Here’s how:
Undrafted won his only start on this track with a 100 score in his maiden debut, fastest of this field on this track. Ran 2 7-furlong sprints last 2 races, and should be well set to run the 9 furlongs here.
It was hard to separate this horse from the other two, and I can even give one of the favorites, #7 Uncaptured a very fair look here.
Northern Spur Stakes:
5-3-4 Get Happy Mister, Bemata, Western Sadler (longshot)
Get Happy Mister was undefeated in 4 lifetime races at Arlington Park, then was 7th in last race, on this track. Won a 100k event last August, best race win of this field. This sprinter has fastest pace numbers of the field (first call Brisnet numbers are all in the 90’s). With that 65 effort on this track last time, he looks primed to bounce back. Good work tab too: 4 works, all on this track, and 3 bullets.
9-1-6 Fort Larned, Cyber Secret, Golden Ron (longshot)
Multiple Graded stakes winner comes out of race at Gulfstream where he stumbled at start, and lost his jockey. Best of field at this distance (109 his best score, gaining this in the Whitney at Saratoga). No reason to think why he shouldn’t return to his triple-digit Brisnet winning ways here.
Count Fleet Sprint Handicap:
3-5-2 Justin Phillip, Flashpoint, Apprehender.
Not a bettable race by any stretch. Justin Phillip shares best winning Brisnet number on this track, 103, with Apprehender, and Outta Tune. His 103 came last time out in an optional-claim 50k race on 3/21. Fastest horse in the field (consistent triple-digit Brisnet numbers at second call). Great AWD numbers from sire First Samurai and dam-sire Cryptoclearance. Best jockey/trainer win % combo (Ricardo Santana Jr 25%, Steve Asmussen 22%). Seems to be in recovery mode; Ran a 103 on 1/19 after 10 week layoff, then dropped to 100, then the 103 effort last time out. This suggests he’s poised to rise even further. Good competitive workouts; last 2 were on this track and strong compared to others.
9-7-6 Overanalyze, Texas Bling, Heaven’s Runway (favorite over 2 longshots)
Overanalyze won the Grade 2 Remsen two races back with lifetime best 104. That score is best at 9 furlongs of this field. Threw in a 94 in the Gotham last time out; I suspect he will bounce back up from that number. 4 works since last race.