Enlightened Trails update (stakes action at Churchill Downs)

A good renewal of the Golden Rod is ahead today at Churchill Downs…with implications in the Derby Trail, and my own Enlightened Trail series, not to mention the Derby and Derby Sire Future Wagers.   Top horse in the morning-line is a lukewarm 7/2 and I see some isolated overlays, not falling into my top 3.
Before mentioning the races, do note that my Enlightened Trails spreadsheets are up to date for today.
Also, I forgot to mention that I will not wager win bets on horses in the Future Wager for anything better than 5-1. I’ll go down my rankings to find the next best horses who fit.
Golden Rod Stakes , a Grade 2, 200k event, is for top 2YO fillies going 8.5 furlongs.
Top 3: Daddy’s Lil Darling, Fun, Dream Dancing.  Logical favorite with some mild value.
Overlays: Someday Soon, My Sweet Stella
Daddy’s Lil Darling has much to live up to. Winner in route debut and 2nd maiden race, then won the Grade 2 Pocahontas here, then 2nd in the Grade 1 Alcibiad, then 4th in the Breeders Cup Juvenile Fillies. Forward pace numbers, with new tops in the 80s in each of her 4 previous races, along with best pace pattern. Difficult trip in the BC Juvenile Fillies despite increase to lifetime best of 89..I’m willing to forgive that one.
Fun won her maiden debut at the 47k level here in June…then was 2nd in the Schuylerville, 4th in the Spinaway, 3rd in the Alcibiad…the latter 3 all Graded races. Best AWD numbers of the field (Harlan’s Holiday/Home Run, out of Empire Maker).  A winner from her debut, coming off layoff, there should be no rust. Improved a length on leader at 2nd call in the Alcibiad. A bunch of local works, 2 of them very fast.
Dream Dancing won in her 2nd maiden race at the 83k level, then was 4th in the Pocohontas, then 5th in the Alcibiad, the latter two were first races on dirt.  Turn time gain between her last 2 races is best of the field, 1.6 seconds.  Gained 2.25 lengths on leader at 2nd call last out.  Also has a series of local works since last, a few very fast ones, including a bullet.
Someday Soon makes her Graded debut. Won an OH-bred maiden race at the 21k level in debut, then 5th in the Miss Ohio, 2nd in the Tah Dah, 2nd in a 15k allowance race, and winner of the John W Galbreith last time out. Best pace numbers of the field, ranging from 82 to 91. Track bias likes early/mid-pace horses in route races here this meet..39% wins at 8.5 furlongs in fact. Also 13% wins from posts 4-7
My Sweet Stella took 5 tries to graduate and did so last out on 10/20 at Keeneland.  Best tactical speed of the field, this sprinter with great 1st call numbers. 4 works at Churchill, last one a bullet.

Onto the Kentucky Jockey Club stakes, Grade 2, 8.5 furlongs, 200k races for top 2YOs.
Top 3: Total Tap, Wild Shot, Warrior’s Club

Overlays: Total Tap, Silent Decree, Shareholder Value, Jocker Justice.
An exciting value-filled race on tap, with Total Tap leading the way. Won impressively vs 43k maidens in debut, right here, tho on the turf course. Followed up with a 4th in a 62k allowance race a month ago.  Best AWD numbers (Candy Ride/Easy Tap, out of Tapit). Improved in 2nd place to close from .5 lengths to a head last out. 4 works, one very fast.
Wild Shot graduated from maiden in 2nd start, here at CD, 81 Brisnet. Followed up with 89, running 3rd in the Breeders Futurity tiring late. Nice gain in pace from 81. Prior stretchout win and shipping win. A bunch of local works, a few fast ones, 1 a bullet.
Warrior’s Club broke maiden in 4th try, doing so with a nice 95 Brisnet rating, then matched that umber in the Spendthrift on 10/30 here. Best track speed and turn speed of the field.
Silent Decree took 4 tries to graduate…afterward was 4th in the Street Sense.  Best recent pattern of pace numbers…last 3 range from 83 to 86, all taking place here at CD and in routes.
Shareholder Value graduated maiden status in 3rd start, last one a small new top to 86, first time on dirt. Best tactical speed here…2nd call numbers lifetime: 117, 104, 82. Track bias favoritism too (see above re Someday Soon).
Uncontested was a 6-length wire-to-wire victory at Keeneland vs fellow 60k maidens. 95 Brisnet very sharp. Waiting 5 weeks to stretch from the sprint

Enlightened Trils update

Enlightened Trails return in focus this week along with the Derby and Derby sire Future Wager opportunities. Churchill Downs itself takes a turn in the spotlight as it hosts the Golden Rod for top fillies and the KY Jockey Club for top colts. Gulfstream Park West, a new track to the Enlightened Trails has the Hut Hut for colts and the Smooth Air for fillies.

For Churchill, this is the 3rd of 4 Heartland division races for colts and fillies,last ones until Keeneland in April.
We’ll start with the Golden Rod, 8.5 furlong race for 2YO fillies, a Grade 2 event, 200k at stake, along with EOT points. My top 3 are these:
Stageplay is undefeated in 2, winning against 56k maidens at nearby Keeneland in October, stretching to a mile in the 80k Rags to Riches on 11/1, and survived a bumpy start to win this. 91 Brisnet score in the latter race is the best CD performance of this field. Track bias for this distance is favoring the inside posts. Matching 91 Brisnets make her a good threat.
Susies Yankee Girl won both of her lifetime starts on this track and both with big late closing moves. First was a win v. 38k maidens, then a 75k optional claimer. Brisnet scores in the 80s not as fast as Stageplay, but reveals she cannot be used out of the top 2.
Dothraki Queen won her maiden debut, and the Grade 2 Pocahontas here in September, then was 2nd in the Alcibiad, and 3rd in the BC Juvenile Fillies. Fully recovered in pace 3 races after layoff for much of this summer. Fastest horse as measured by run style.One of several with shipping wins. Her 94 in the BC Juvenile Fillies easily could have been more had she not been bumped around at the start.
Suggested odds: Sugar Cone 8-1. Dothraki Queen 2-1. Charlotte Marie 14-1. Stageplay 6-1. Carina Mia 3-1. Susies Yankee Girl 11-1.

Next is the KY Jockey Club, 8.5 furlongs for 2YOs, a Grade 2 event, worth $200k. Here’s my top 3:
Airoforce won his maiden debut,a 120k race at Kentucky Downs on firm turf in September, 95 Brisnet. Then won the Grade 3 Bourbon at Keeneland with 92 score,then was 2nd by a neck in the BC Juvenile Turf, another race with yielding conditions, 96. This closer is the absolute speed of the field,and proved to win once while stretching out, and adds blinkers while trying dirt for first time.
Annual Report ships from Belmont,winning the Grade 2 Futurity with 86 Brisnet, twinned with an 81 score in his maiden debut. Waiting since October to stretch from sprint. Best turn time and progress of the field.
Force It took 5 races to break maiden, as well as switch from turf to dirt and route to sprint, then backed it up with a 75k optional claimer win here on 11/1, with a dazzling 94 score. That score is best at CD of this field, along with the ‘good’ track condition, so he bears watching should there be enough precip on Saturday as forecast. Track bias likes the inner posts.
Suggested odds: Force It 7-1; Airoforce 5-2; My Majestic Flight 9-1; Gun Runner 14-1; Annual Report 4-1; Mo Tom 14-1; Derby Express 14-1

Off to GPW now, another track in the big Minors division of the Trails, and the Hut Hut, 75k ungraded race at a mile for 2YO fillies. 2 horses stand out, far among 3rd place.
Andreya’s Reward won her maiden debut at 47k, slumped to 5th in the Kentucky Downs Juvenile Fillies then won a 75k stakes event, then was last in the BC Juvenile Fillies Turf. Too easy for me to assume she’ll hold trend and win this time around. Her 80 Brisnet in the 75k stakes was her peak, bounced to a 74; she would seem likely to bounce back. Only filly here to win after gain in class; also owns lone shipping victory in the field.
Baby I’m Worth It is the other choice here. 4th in her debut vs 60k maidens, then a win at 50k in October, off since then. She’s made good use of the time,with 3 works at GPW, last one 3rd of 9 at 5 furlongs.
Suggested odds: Virgin Morena 14-1; Little Priscilla 7-5; Raisedtobeawarrior 14-1; Andreya’s Reward 7-2; Chief Attraction 14-1; Baby I’m Worth It 5-1
The Smooth Air is a 75k stakes event for 2YOs, also 1 mile. Top 3
Fellowship is an overwhelming first choice. Runs exclusively between here and GP. Won her maiden debut at 48k,2nd in a 75k stakesevent, then 5th, 7th, 1st and 2nd in restricted and state-bred stakes events. Peaked 2 races back with a 91 Brisnet, his first time at a route. Best track and off-track condition speed, an 89, achieved last time out. Fully recovered in pace form since his spring layoff and 5 races in. Fastest figures of the field for certain. On top of that, he’s waiting 3 weeks to stretch from a sprint distance. As for the best of the rest:
El Charro has alternating wins in 4 starts, including a 75k optional claimer win here last time out, 86 speed figure, best mile score of this field. 3 works since that race, one particularly fast. 3 of his 4 races with speed figures in the 80s.
American Phantom is the lone sprinter of the 8-horse field. Broke maiden last out in her 3rd try, 25k, first time at a route and on turf, sharp gain with 85 speed figure. Best turn time of this field alongsides.
Suggested odds: Rafting 29-1; Fellowship 8-5; El Charro 9-2; American Phantom 6-1; Sumpter 10-1; Asterisk 8-1.

Enlightened Derby/Oaks Trail update: Churchill Downs

Today, Churchill Downs hosts my Enlightened Trails…where, 5 months from now, we’ll crown storied champion horses and connections.  The story has its importance under the TwinSpires today with the runnings of the Golden Rod Stakes for fillies, and the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes for colts/geldings. Both races are of the Graded category and offer points to the top 4,, 250-100-50-25 the breakdown.
These races are the 2nd in my Heartland division. 4 horses from each Trail are projected by me to start the hallowed Derby and Oaks races.  Recount, the top ranked horse among the colts in the Heartland, is reportedly taking off the rest of 2014 and will begin again at 3 around the Illinois area.
Here’s how the Golden Rod looks to me…
This race is at the Grade 2 level, 8.5 furlongs, 200k at stake for these fillies. My top 3:
4 SIMPLY CONFECTION has 2 ROI angles in play: Jockey Jon Court has worked with trainer William Fires 18 times in the last 60 days, with 4 wins, 5 placings in all, for a 5.30 ROI.  Fires himself has 2 wins and 4 placings in Graded Stakes this year, for a 7.27 return. Strong pace progress in play. Set lifetime best marks in last 2 races, with scores of 82 and 88. Both of his lifetime wins have come from an inside post. Morning line are 6-1; I think she should take more $ and be the favorite.
2  NO FAULT BUT MINE  won her maiden debut with a wide but strong closing trip in the stretch at Arlington Park in September. That, of course was on the poly and it was at 7 furlongs.  Based on that one race, she may prove to be the fastest filly here.  Best work tab too; 5 such works, 3 at CD, most very fast, 1 a bullet. With the layoff and workout regiment, she’s one to include. ML odds are 9/2 which seem legit.
5 CRISTINA’S JOURNEY won the Grade 2 Pocahontas on this track in September. After going 2-for-2, she was 11th of 12 in the Breeders Cup Juvenile Fillies. She returns here with track bias in favor: Sprinters going 8.5 furlongs on the dirt have won 16 races during the meet, 33%. Plus, posts 4-7 are winning 15%. 3-1 ML odds. I’m not sure she’s that good but one to leave in.
My top 3 cover what may be 3 of the top 4 in wagering later, so I’m not sure this is a wagerable race.
In terms of EOT points: Heart’s Song comes in with 50 points. She was 2nd in the Mountaineer Juvenile.  All others are new to the Heartland division and the Trail.

Now for the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes, 11 colts going 8.5 furlongs on the dirt. This Grade 2 race is also worth $200k.

1 SKY HERO broke maiden in 2nd try, then won a 75k optional claimer last time here 3 weeks ago. Only horse in the field coming out of a convincing trouble-free trip. Top AWD numbers from pedigree (Sky Mesa/Vision of Beauty, by Danzig). Having the track win, plus a 92 Brisnet to go along with it makes him the real target. Big move up in class here obviously, but has a nice work since that race. Morning line says 6-1. Would be nice if he retains some value at post time. He just might be an overlay.
5 EL KABEIR, Florida-bred horse ships from the NY tracks, winning maiden race 2nd time out, was 4th in the Champagne, 2nd in the Nashua. I rate this stalking horse fastest of the field. Already proven to win stretching out, adding .5 furlong today, plus one good work since the Nashua. Also removes blinkers. ML odds are 7/2 which are about right.
9 LORD NELSON won his maiden debut, was 4th in the Front Runner at Santa Anita, then won the ungraded Speakeasy later during the SA meet. This is the pace progress horse, extending Brisnet rank in his last 2 (82, to 91, to 95 last out). Last race was October 13,and stretches by 3.5 furlongs. I have to believe he’s ready. ML odds are 5/2. I think he’ll be around that number.
Sky Hero may prove to be the one overlay of the field.
For your Enlightened Derby Trail concern, here’s who have points going in:
El Kabeir 25
Lucky Player 50
A number of horses active in the Derby Future Wager are also live in this race too. If you read my prior post, I’m very keen to see how Lucky Player and Imperia fare. Naturally my $2 win bets for the future wager will be placed after this race.  Also, if you read the post prior to that one, I do not rank anyone of this field in my first projected field for the Derby.

Turning briefly to my favorite first-crop sire Tale Of Ekati: He has 3 progeny in action today, 2 of whom race at Churchill. Ekati’s Phaeton is the ML favorite and the rail post in the House Party Stakes at Gulfstream Park West. This is the latest opportunity for TOE have a stakes winner.

I’ll update the EDT/EOT and Future Wager matters after all is said and done.  Keep watch on @idealisticstats for all breaking updates.

2014 Alysheba Stakes/Kentucky Oaks analysis

In the prelude to the Run for the….uh…what is it for the Oaks? The Lillies? For the fillies? OK then. The Run for the Lillies. The prelude is the Alysheba Stakes, presumably with no floral arrangement thereafter. But there are horses, 4 of them, who participated in the Kentucky Derby in 2013. And that’s why I’m giving you some detail on each horse and what their chances appear to be.
6 horses of the 8 have some amount of ability to win. Let’s go horse-by-horse:

MOONSHINE MULLIN has spent his 6YO campaign at Oaklawn Park running claiming and optional claiming races from 40k to 8k. Approached triple digit Brisnet speed figures last 2 tho not setting a lifetime best. Winning 102 Brisnet at today’s distance was acheived in an optional claimer last time out. Since last layoff in late November, his best race following first off layoff was on February 13. I believe he’s still under influence of that race considering his age. . Ultimately I don’t see this stalker run fast enough.

WILL TAKE CHARGE has run in nothing but Grade 1 and 2 races for over a year, along with last year’s Triple Crown events. The speed figures are very consistent, running 103 to 109 since the Jim Dandy Stakes at Saratoga last year. I judge him as having some of the best breeding of the field. Unbridled’s Song and Take Charge Lady being multiple Graded stakes winners. He does have the inherent factors to contend but I give much more weight to those who have the ability to win today. Compared to this field, he’s rather unlikely.
MYLUTE makes 2nd start at age 4, and also returns to the site of his 5th place finish in last year’s Run for the Roses. Almost excusively runs in Graded events, tho a few times, including last time out, has run optional claiming events as prep. Last race was a commanding victory with a 97 Brisnet, above his 83 in the Jim Dandy. I suspect a bounce down. Not a contender in my book
COIN BROKER enters with very good breeding (sire Tapit, and prolific damsire Red Ransom). 5th lifetime start, has increased speed figure since maiden debut, pairing up with 94 and 97 in last two. All four races at Gulfstream Park. Both wins, from his last 2 races, were from a middle post. Contender.

GOLDEN SOUL ,despite running exclusively in Graded events since a dazzling 2nd place finish in last year’s Derby, has not run nearly as well since. He doesn’t appear in any of my variables, and hasn’t even appeared as close as 4th to any point of call since last year’s Belmont, going back 4 races.

GOLDEN TICKET has 6 races under the twin spires, with 1 win and 3 2nds. The 107 score he acheived in the Stephen Foster Handicap combined with a win over the surface, gives him something of an advantage. Also doesn’t appear to rank in my variables, and no indication that he can win today.
APPEALING TALE is an example of a horse I favor when it comes to trips. Any sprinter who is loose on the lead in a route, or a deep closer who is fairly close to the lead throughout during a route race, gets extra credit from me. This West Coast sprinter did likewise in an ungraded race at Santa Anita, on March 30. Tripled up in pace, too. Last 3 races scored 97 and two 101s. Even though there are too few races run in this meet to develop track bias, it’s worth noting that this horse is the lone speed of the field. Contender
BRADESTER is 3 of 4 in the money at Churchill, and has a Grade 3 win at Fair Grounds 2 races back. Best Brisnet for the distance is a 102 in the Indiana Derby in October. What I really like is the work tab, 3 since his last race, 2 fast ones at Churchill, one with a bullet. Plus: 2 wins from an outside post, where his today. Contender.

My selections are these:
1st 9 Bradester

2nd 4 Coin Broker
3rd 8 Appealing Tale
***
Next post examines, in like manner, the run for all those lillies.
After having written exhaustively on this Enlightened Derby Trail subject on the blog, you may have wondered why I haven’t attempted an Enlightened Oaks Trail. Frankly, I’m exhausted. I may examine ths after the fact, but I’m more than likely to wait for June to start looking at those ungraded 2YO filly races.

As for the Oaks, here’s what’s already play from the future wager:
$2 win bets on Please Explain (26-1) and Untapable (5-1). $1 Exacta bets between these and with field over and under these horses. For this race, the one horse from the ‘field’ selections of the future wager is Aurelia’s Belle (5-1). If either of my 2 horses are taking less money minutes before post time, I might make a second win wager on them.

Now the capsule view, where 9 of the 13 fillies have any shot:
PLEASE EXPLAIN I ranked as having among the best fitting pedigrees for horses winning at Churchill. Yes, I’ll explain. I take the chef-de-race points of each horse, and compare it with the average winning number for the track from www.chef-de-race.com The lowest differential earns the lead in that variable. Actually the variable is shared with the horse whose pedigree has the highest average winning distance. In this case, Please Explain has the better chef-de-race number (Sire is the world-class Curlin, dam is Lizzy’s Bluff, unraced). 3rd in the Grade 3 Honeybee Stakes. Lot of talk on Twitter re her true eligibility. Nevertheless she’s a contender and a good one. Both lifetime wins have come from an outside post, and she’s on the rail here. I’m playing the bounceback angle too: Scored an 82 Brisnet in the Suncoast at Tampa Bay in February, then 91 in the Honeybee, suggesting a bounce. And she did bounce in the Fantasy Stakes with an 81. Only can move up in this race.

RIA ANTONIA was second in the Breeders Cup Juvenile Fillies, arguably the most important race for 2YO fillies, and 2nd in the Santa Anita Oaks. Surged from an 83 Brisnet in the Rachael Alexandra Stakes at Fair Grounds to a 91 at Santa Anita last time out. Could bounce from that number. Very good work tab, with 3 works since that race, 2 with a bullet, 2 works held at Churchill. Dark horse at best.

SUGAR SHOCK is winner of 4 of 6 lifetime, which are her last 4 starts. These include starts in the Fantasy and the Honeybee. ROI angle: +2.10 return for trainer Doug Anderson considering the 2 Graded starts (15-1 in the Honeybee, 6-1 in the Fantasy). Pace recovery angle. After layoff to start her 3YO campaign, scored a winning 90 in a 55k maiden race. Then slight drop to 88 in an allowance race, then the paired up forged figures in the Graded races, scoring in the early 90’s. The Fantasy Stakes shows recovery in pace, and there’s promise of more. Likely contender.
ROSALIND: Here’s the filly with the best average winning distance from pedigree.
Sire is Broken Vow, great son of Unbridled, going 9-2-2 in 14 starts and multiple stakes winner at 4.
Damsire is the Irish-bred Theatrical, a champion older horse in Ireland, along with multiple graded stakes wins over turf in the US, ages 4 and 5. Also had won 10 of 22 lifetime. Rosalind herself has never been out of the top 4. Won her maiden debut, then has ran almost nothing but Graded events with a win in the Ashland at Keeneland last time out. The 100 Brisnet in that race forged herself a new lifetime best. Could bounce from that race, as her allowance race prior to that was an 87. Contender.
THANK YOU MARYLOU has 2 wins and 2 shows lifetime, with wins in the Tippett Stakes for fillies as her maiden debut at Gulfstream (!), then the Any Limit ungraded stakes at Gulfstream. Lifetime best acheived 2 races back in that event with a 98, then down to a 92 in the Ashland. I’m predicting a bounce back in pace but should not be a factor at all in this race.
KISS MOON hasn’t won since her debut at 3, doing a 2nd place finish in the Fantasy Stakes her best effort, pairing up a 92 with a 90 in the Honeybee. Probably will bounce. Unlikely.
FASHION PLATE is the class of the field, invading from the West Coast with wins in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Oaks (Brisnet of 92) and the Las Virgenes Stakes (91), both stakes for fillies. ROI angle: Gary Stevens with Simon Callaghan retuned $4.20 to win in the Oaks. Combined with her maiden win 3 races back, scoring a 97, that is a triple-up, which can work in either direction for her. This pure sprinter held off 6 other challengers in the 8.5 furlong Oaks, an excellent trip as compared to this field. Despite the effort, given the competition in the field, she’s unlikely to contend.

AURELIA’S BELLE has won both times Channing Hill has been aboard, and he does so again today. Won her maiden debut, then in the money in Graded races since, including a win in the Bourbonette Oaks last time out. Forged lifetime best Brisnet of 91. This is one of three horses I reject completely to contend today, never mind that I have $ on her as a field selection from the future wager.

UNBRIDLED FOREVER has the name, might have the same game, but not today. A win in the Silverbulletday in January, then 3rd in teh Fair Grounds Oaks, increasing Brisnet scores from 85 to 96. Posted the best winning track speed at Churchill of the field, with a 100 in her maiden win. Both wins came from a middle post. Should bounce from the 96 score last out and should not be a contender at all here.
EMPRESS OF MIDWAY, broke maiden in 2nd start, then was 2nd in the Sunland Park Oaks, acheiving an 84, above a 78 prior to that. Likely to bounce, and unlikely to contend.
MY MISS SOPHIA won the Grade 2 Gazelle Stakes last out after 2 maiden races, scoring a 97 Brisnet. That score is the fastest in this field who have run 9 furlongs. This sprinter has 1st call Brisnet numbers of 104, 94 and 95. The Gazelle was another excellent trip in comparison to the field. Outside chance.
GOT LUCKY is another throwout. Broke maiden in her 3YO debut, then 2nd by a wide distance to the winner in the Gazelle and the Rachel Alexandra. Doesn’t measure up in any of my variables.
UNTAPABLE is the deserving morning-line favorite. Won 4 of 6 lifetime including the Pocahontas, the Rachel Alexandra, and the Fair Grounds Oaks. The concern: Forged lifetime tops of 100 and 107 in last 2 races. . On the plus side, a very good work tab, with 3 works since the FG Oaks, all at Churchill, last 2 very fast. Contender.

And here’s how I rank ’em :
1: #1 Please Explain
2: #4 Rosalind
3rd: #13 Untapable

Yes I envision a strong value finish, and it’s total coincidence that I pegged 2 of my top 3 just as I did in the Oaks future wager. With this I’ll have at least 4 horses in actual $ in play.
In both races, I will wager the top favorites over my 3 horses, and straight win bets on horses worse than 5-1.
Next 2 posts, coming overnight, will be my take on the Woodford Reserve, and the Kentucky Derby,

 

Stakes analysis for several races today

This post contains my analysis on 6 graded events listed for today.
While waiting for Belmont Stakes Day, I’ve started long-term analysis on exactas and how I can possibly spot a triple-digit payoff on them in advance. Having hit a couple of them before, I want to be ahead of this curve if I can.
What exactly am I doing? I am looking at the results of most major and some minor tracks, spotting the top several $2-rate payouts on exactas, then reverse-engineering by handicapping the race to see if I could spot the proper contenders and also see what variables might have contributed to a particular 1-2 finish. I plan to examine a total of 90 races. I’m up to 12 through Friday. By mid-July I expect to complete the analysis.
Now for those stakes races:
at Woodbine: Nassau Stakes
Forest Uproar has the best winning Brisnet # at Woodbine, a 98, which she earned in a G2 race last summer. Fantastic Cousin is a lifetime sprinter moving up to this route distance of a mile. Woodbine is not kind to horses making this move. Her jockey GL Olguin aligned with trainer Reade Baker just once in the last 60 days, and winning that race for an ROI of +20.60. Roxy Gap is also hindered by the sprint-to-route move here. She does get the best winning jockey trainer combo in P Husbands (21%) and Mark Casse (21%). Last race was a G2 stakes win just 3 weeks ago here.
Inglorious has won at 12 furlongs, tied with Marketing Mix for longest distance win of the field. Inglorious is the lone closing horse of the bunch; that fact alone may give her an edge. She’s already the fastest horse to her style, with 2 triple-digit Brisnet scores in the stretch last two races.
Marketing Mix also won at the Grade 2 level, a race at CD last autumn, and threatens to bounce off her 100 Brisnet number (G2 race last month also at CD). She also has best lifetime Brisnet on turf, a 101
Selections: Inglorious, Marketing Mix, Forest Uproar. The morning-line odds do not look promising with value in this race.
at Belmont:
Vagrancy Handicap
This is really a 2-horse race amongst the 6 entered. Belle Of The Hall should be a good surprise. She and the other major contender, Nicole H. own best winning Brisnet # for Belmont at 102. Belle Of The Hall gets the rail position, which has won 24% of the time during the meet, and 33% during the week. Also has the best speed figures on an ‘off’ track such as today’s race will be, a 102. Further she gets the best jockey/trainer combo in JJ Castellano and Tom Albertrani. Nicole H.’s edge comes from winning at the G2 level previous (last year’s Distaff Handicap at Aqueduct), and has the fastest current pace of all horses here (109 and 106 2nd call numbers in last 2 races).
CC’s Pal is the only other who might rate; she has won at 9 furlongs, longer than the other horses have, tho this race is just 6.5 furlongs. Neither CC’s Pal nor Nicole H. worked out before this race. Nicole H. went from a 91 to a 100 score in her last race on 5/26, likely to bounce.
Selections : Belle Of The Hall (early morning line value of 8-1), Nicole H, CC’s Pal.

at Betfair Hollywood Park (I haven’t gotten used to typing Betfair yet): Californian Stakes

Game On Dude comes out of a terrible 12th place finish in the G1 Dubai World Cup 3/31. Well suited to the 9 furlong distance, and has won at 10 furlongs (2010 Santa Anita Handicap). Multiple G1 victories. Morning Line won last year’s Carter Handicap, also G1. Shares the best winning Brisnet at BHP with a 104 win, which was in her last race, a Grade 2 race, 5/5. Prayer For Relief finished in that race to him. Both also earned best all-weather Brisnet numbers of this field, a 103. Both horses could bounce from these efforts, having gained sharply in Brisnet from their prior races. Yet Prayer For Relief just pushed through his 3YO best (100) and he might actually be improving, suggesting great form. He also has best jockey/trainer combo of Bejarano (29%) and Baffert (42%). Kettle Corn, the lone dead closer seems to have the fastest pace of these, in the money last 5 races.
Selections: Prayer For Relief, Kettle Corn, Morning Line. No value here.
Last 3 are at Churchill Downs, under the lights.
Winning Colors Stakes
Good Deed forged lifetime top in her last effort, the 8 Belles Stakes, last month. Still lunder influence of prior effort to that, a 98, Both races pushed past her 2YO best of 97. She led in the 8 Belles until the stretch, finished 2nd. Gleaming is the best in class, winning a 118k statebred race for fillies last year. Beat The Blues could bounce from her last race, moving from an 86 to a 98 (Carousel Stakes win last time out). 2nd in last year’s version of this race, losing by a neck, and posting best Brisnet on this track of this field, a 102. Honey Chile is easily best in form: This sprinter was caught in deep stretch last 2 races. Jockey CJ Lanerie has worked with trainer Wayne Catalano twice in last 60 days, and has won 1, in the money both times. ROI: +2.30. Page Springs is another sprinter who lost speed duels in her last 2 races. She might bounce down from an 85 Brisnet in her last race. Lifetime 5 wins in 7 races, winning first 5 races. Island Bound also with good ROI angle: jockey Leandro Goncalves has worked 10 races with trainer Ian Wilkes, winning 4, while being in the money 6 times. ROI: +7.26 Has won at 7 furlongs. Also winning at 7 furlongs is Fortune Play. She appears to have the fastest speed numbers to her run style in this field.
Track bias for 6 furlongs on dirt here at CD favore pure speed, winning 51% during the meet, and 44% this week. This gives an advantage to Good Deed, Honey Chile, and Page Springs.
Selections: Fortune Play, Honey Chile, Beat the Blues. Pretty good value in this race.

Aristides Stakes:
Global Power has the only route wins of the field, which may help in regard to running 6 furlongs. Noble’s Promise is the defending stakes winner, and owns the only Graded stakes victory of the field. Also gets best jockey/trainer combo of CJ Lanerie (24%) and Ken McPeek (18%).

Will’s Wildcat won last year’s Jimmy V Stakes on this track with a 111 score, best of the field at CD. Comes out of the G2 Churchill Downs Stakes as well. Whiskey Rebellion is fresh off reclaim by Akiko Gothard, very positive angle re form. While under Gothard’s initial care, he was 1st, then 4th, then claimed by Amalio Garcia, winning 3 straight after an initial 7th place effort. Also..a risk at bouncing, going from 96 to lifetime best 104 in last 2 races, actually 3rd straight increase in Brisnet, all done at Mountaineer. No works since that 104 effort 4/24. Cash Refund was 2nd for much of his last race but didn’t kick in the stretch. He does own great speed figures for his mid-race style, usually in the triple-digits.
Selections: Cash Refund, Whiskey Rebellion, Noble’s Promise, as I call for 2 huge value horse to finish ahead of a favorite.
Early Times Mint Julep Handicap:
Bizzy Caroline should have no problem handling 8.5 furlongs; this late pace runner had won at 9.5 furlongs previous, while the rest of the field hasn’t. Winner of last year’s G3 Regret Stakes. True horse-for-course, 2 wins in 3 life races at CD, best Brisnet of 101 here in the aforementioned Regret. Artemus Kitten scored a 100 2 races back in the Bayou Handicap at Fair Grounds…just past her 3YO best of 95. Bounced off that effort with a 79 in an optional claim 80k race at Keeneland. I am suspecting she’s still in the influence of exploding to 100 and should bounce up again. Heavenly Landing won a G3 race earlier this year at Gulfstream, running in Graded company last 4 races. Best jockey/trainer combo in CJ Lanerie (again!) and Ed Kenneally (29 win %). Might bounce from her 97 effort in a G2 race last month. Hard Seven comes out of a G2 race in April, finishing 3rd. Ravi’s Song has 2 different ROI angles worth looking at: Jockey Mena has worked with trainer Carl Bowman on 3 races in last 60 days, with 1 win. ROI: +6.73. Also, Bowman has run 23 horses this year, winning 17%, in the money 26% for a barely break-even score of +2.01. Snow Top Mountain won a G3 event in February at Gulfstream 2 races back. She has best turf Brisnet number of the field, a 105 in that G3 at Gulfstream. She has the best pace numbers for her dead closer style of the field.
Selections: Snow Top Mountain, Bizzy Caroline, Heavenly Landing. Decent race to play.
Not wagering $ on these races!

Next week I’ll give you my analysis of the entire Belmont card for Belmont Stakes Day. I’ll also reveal some early trends, should any pop up, in my hunt for triple-digit exactas.  

2012 Kentucky Derby undercard analysis

This post focuses on the Derby Day stakes races before the big race itself.
I won’t be considering track bias or post position.

TWINSPIRES TURF SPRINT

Top dosage belongs to Great Mills (multi-stakes winner War Front and Oriental Glitter). Even those this is a 5 furlong race, I’m favoring 4 horses who have won at a mile: Santo Gato, Cactus Son, Stormy Going, and Amanecer De Oro. All those wins came at 2YO tho. Amanecer De Oro has the best class of the field. She won a 150k statebred event at Louisiana Downs last fall, and has run with mixed results since. Chamberlain Bridge has the best win at Churchill, a 102 going back years ago; 4 wins in 8 races here, 6 times in the money. Back to Amanecer De Oro, he has the best fastest speed to his early-pressing style, good competitive races in his last three and must be considered.
Form: Great Attack in the explosive category with his 103 score in a G3 race last time out,and improving on his 102 in last year’s Breeders Cup Turf Sprint. The 103 is a new lifetime best. No workouts for him since this race. Trainer Wesley Ward, in 59 graded stakes races this year, has won 8, in the money in 21, for an ROI of +2.08. Could go either way but not impressive. Great Mills is a similar case. He is likely to bounce after his lifetime best 111 from the G3 race last time out, which improved on his prior high 100 previous to that. He finished 2nd in the race but was just barely outfinished. Santo Gato is a throwout re form. In February he got the explosive line, a 95 lifetime best, improving on his 2YO high of 91. He had dueled well in this race, weakening in the stretch. Also earned the ‘recovery’ form line, reaching a new pace high since his prior layoff. Even tho he did come back last time out with a 92 in his 3rd straight optional claim race at Fair Grounds, I say he is due to fall below the 90s on this one. Best in form is Bridgetown, who makes his 5YO debut here. Off the reclaim by Todd Pletcher, he was outperformed in a stakes race in Ascot (UK), then shipped back home, won the Troy Stakes at Saratoga quite easily. There is the likelihood that he will bounce down from the 102 score here. Admittedly I don’t full performance stats for how he actually did at Ascot, but seeing that he ran 12th and 3 seconds slower for 5 furlongs than his prior race, it must have been a truly off race for him.

Selections right now are longshot Amanecer De Oro, Bridgetown (M/L fave), Chamberlain Bridge
CHURCHILL DOWNS STAKES
Leading in dosage profile is Amazombie (multi-stakes winner Northern Afleet-Wilshe Amaze). Last year’s Preakness winner Shackeford factors re distance and stamina. These 2 horses, along with Smiling Tiger, have all won at the Grade 1 level. Will’s Wildcat has 3 wins in 4 races at CD, winning last year’s Jimmy V stakes with a 111 Brisnet number, best of this field. Best pace numbers belong to Hamazing Destiny. His early-press type led him to finish in the money last 2 races; it all depends on how he handles the traffic.
Form: No one impresses tho one horse I will throw out. Alma D’Oro was 2nd in the Skipaway in his last race, scoring a 108, a new lifetime best and broke through his 5YO best number as well. This was his 3rd race off layoff He improved on a 95 score in another Grade 3 beforehand. Just after the layoff he scored a 101 in a 100k race. With the classic ‘recovery’ line combined with the forged top, I will take a stand against him.
Selections: Hamazing Destiny, Will’s Wildcat, Shackleford. Good value in here.

CHURCHILL DISTAFF DIRT MILE

La Reine Lionne has best pedigree, a filly by Leroidesanimaux (sire of last year’s KY Derby winner Animal Kingdom) and an unraced daughter of Unbridled, Unbridled Lover. Marketing Mix has the longest distance win of the field, a 9 furlong race last fall in a Grade 3 race. Daisy Devine (Jenny Wiley) and Aruna (Spinster) both have Grade 1 victories. Aruna has the best Brisnet score at CD, a 104 for a 2nd place effort in a Grade 2 race a year ago. Her lone win at CD was the race prior to that. Hungry Island, dead closer, has the best pace numbers;out of the money just once in 11 races. She won 4 races, and then 4th and then 2 3rds for her last two.
Form: The longshot sprinter Annabel Lee has an edge here. She ran a 66 in a 150k race 2 races ago, then an 88 in a 58k allowance race. No workouts since that race. In that allowance race she was listed as 2nd but had actually led between calls. She could certainly bounce from the effort but the choice to not work her is interesting, and I have to like the effort she put in last race. Also:trainer David Schwartz has run 67 horses on turf, with 7 wins, and 20 in the money, for an ROI of +2.86. For route races, he has 74 starts, 6 wins, 22 in the money. ROI: +2.29.
Selections: Annabel Lee, Hungry Island, Aruna. Expect very good value here.
UPDATE 1115AM Saturday: With 3 scratches announced, here are revised selections: Marketing Mix, Hungry Island, La Reine Lionne. Not much value promised at this time. 

HUMANA DISTAFF STAKES
Best pedigree is to Salty Strike (renowned Canadian bred Smart Strike-Lake Huron). Sassy Image has the longest route win, 8.5 furlongs on this track in 2009. 4 horses have Grade 1 victories: Sassy Image, Groupie Doll, Switch, and Musical Romance. Musical Romance won last year’s BC Fillies/Mares Sprint on this track with a 106 score, best of the winning Brisnet numbers in this field. Top pace scores belong to Groupie Doll, a dead closing type.
Form: Hot Summer in positive form here; she carries the ‘bounce’ and ‘explosive’ pattern, running 2nd in a Grade 2 race last time out, improving from 79 to a 100 Brisnet. That score edges out her 3YO best of 99. Further, she led in the stretch in her last race, yielding late. The one horse I see in outright negative form is Magical Feeling, with, curiously, no workout since December, still under influence of a 105 Brisnet number she posted 3 races back in February. She does run consistently 90+ tho. Trainer Allen Iwinski has a great record with Graded stakes horses….winning 3 of 6, ROI of +18.13. Not going to extend benefit of doubt tho.
Selections: Hot Summer, Groupie Doll, Musical Romance.

WOODFORD RESERVE TURF CLASSIC
Data Link with best pedigree (stakes winner War Front, and Database). Slim Shadey has the long route win of this field, 2 10 furlong wins back-to-back and a month apart, both at Santa Anita, following up with a 2nd place finish in a 12 furlong race on that track last time out. 4 horses have Grade 1 victories: Turallure, Get Stormy (3 in the last year), Data Link, and last year’s Blue Grass Stakes winner Brilliant Speed. Turallure is a dead closer who has 5 races here, all in the money. Her last race here, in the BC Mile, a 2nd place finish, earned her a 108, best of those who have raced at CD prior. Doubles Partner has the best pace numbers. He is also a dead closer, finding the money in his last 5 races. 2 races back he actually found most of his power halfway through a mile race and prevailed.

Form: Three horses have great form coming in. Turallure, entering his 6th consecutive Graded event, scored a lifetime best in the BC Mile, a 108, 2 races back. He briefly led in a G1 race last time out, only to lose by a neck to Data Link. Further: trainer Charles Lopresti has a good record with Graded stakes entries. He’s entered 32 horese, with 10 wins, 16 times in the money. ROI: +2.27.
Doubles Partner was 3rd in that race. Since that effort, he did not get a workout. He’s within the influence still of a victory at Gulfstream Park in March, with a 102 lifetime best, slightly outpointing his 4YO best of 101 one race (and 10 months!) prior. Papaw Bodie could possible bounce from his effort last time out, a 102 at Fair Grounds running 9 furlongs in a G2 race. That race is one he led in the stretch and then lost by a half-length. Prior race was a win at the same distance, tho that was 93; before that, another 102. Winner of 4 races before turning a 2nd place last time out. Jockey Rosario along with trainer Michael Maker have combined for 2 races in the last 60 days, winning 1, in the money in both. ROI: +3.00.
Negative form to dead closer Data Link. Even though he has some of the inherent ability to win, his pair of races in his last 3 without bouncing prior suggest he’s already plateaued and might not score fast numbers this race. Last 2 races were runs of 99 and 101, then there was the layoff before that, and then his 96 to end his 3YO year. All before this he was running in the 80s. Something to consider: Jockey Solis and trainer McGaughey have combined for 3 races in the last 60 days, winning 1. ROI: +7.07.
Selections are my 3 form horses: Doubles Partner, Turallure, and Papaw Bodie, whom edges out Slim Shadey here.

The selections here reflect my top 3 choices to win, not necessarily the running order of finish. I plan to use each horse in exactas with each other, and win bets on any horse who may go off at worse than 5-1.

KY Derby analysis in the next post.

2012 Kentucky Oaks anaylsis

Going horse-by-horse with analysis of the Oaks. Wagering info follows at the end.

ON FIRE BABY comes out of 2 straight races with individual layoffs, both races at Oaklawn. First of those 2 were the Smarty Jones 100k, hitting a new lifetime top of 95 on Brisnet, along with the ‘explosive’ factor, as she bettered her 2YO best score of 90, which she got in his first start. From there, she ran in the Honeybee (Grade 3) for fillies, extended half a furlong, and won that race with a wide trip. That race saw her forge another new lifetime best of 103. She will still be on the influence of that number for this race. She also may well bounce off that number too.

GRACE HALL is the only horse to win at today’s distance of 9 furlongs; this came in her last start, the Gulfstream Park Oaks. Also she has a Grade 1 race win on her resume, last year’s Spinaway Stakes. Comes out of a pair of strong races. Besides the GP Oaks (101) she scored a lifetime best of 104 in the G2 Davona Dale (also at GP), finishing a well placed 2nd. That race actually see her power up in the stretch, against her style, tho this may have something to do with her running an inside post. It gave her the explosive category at the time but she’s now more influenced by the GP Oaks race. She definitely has some of the inherent qualities to win this race.

SUMMER APPLAUSE has finished first or 2nd in each race except her first start. Her last 3 starts have seen her run 3 wide and come up with a late rally. Definitely strongest as an early/pressing type. Paired up 97’s in her last 2 races, G2 and G3 events at Fair Grounds. The G3 race set her lifetime best as well as pushing through her 2YO best effort, a 92 at Fair Grounds also. Changes jockeys to Garrett Gomez and extends half a furlong for this. I’m guessing with the inside post she’ll run better.
EDEN’S MOON, shipping from Cali, was 3rd in the Santa Anita Oaks (G1) and won the Las Virgennes (also G1). She’s run in the money at every call in her four lifetime starts. In the Las Virgennes she set a new lifetime best Brisnet of 100, was at risk of bouncing in the SA Oaks, and did just that with a 93 but still quite respectable. Looks like she’s quite the handful to ride, either drifting or bumping in those last 2.
HARD NOT TO LIKE went off at good value in her last 2 races, the Ashland (G1) and the BC Juvenile Turf for fillies on this track (G2) .Finishing 5th in the Ashland, she gets the explosive form category (101 Brisnet), slightly above her two prior races (98’s in the BC race, and last year’s Cup & Saucer, 250k). Racing mainly under the influence of the Ashland victory, she’s a late running type. Like Eden’s Moon, also has some issues running with traffic.
BROADWAY’S ALIBI doesn’t have much for me to root for. She doesn’t lead in any variable I’ve studied, and no form angle to consider either. Wired the field last 2 races, both Graded stakes victories. 2nd of those 2 was a Grade 2 race where she forged a 108 lifetime best number. After a 2 month layoff she did bounce down slightly to a 102 in the Comely (G3).Winner of 4 of 5 lifetime starts, gets JR Velazquez back in the saddle. Has never run a middle post, and never in a large field of 14 such as today’s race is.
SACRISTY has one of the better pedigrees of the field. Sire is Pulpit, a multiple Graded stakes winner; dam is Canadian bred Christies Treasure, who had broke her 2YO maiden going 9 furlongs on turf. Sacristy is in the money in all 6 of her starts. She goes past 7 furlongs for the first time in this race. She’s at risk for a bounce from her last race, scoring a 90 in a 2nd place finish in the Grade 2 Beaumont. Prior to that, and an 8 week layoff, she got an 81 in a Grade 2 race at Gulfstream Park
She’s not yet matched her lifetime best of 96, breaking her maiden in a 46k maiden race on this track, which is the best CD run of this field. She’s a closing type who tends to run quite wide.
JEMIMA’S PEARL all of last year has run in Ireland, then won an 80k claiming race at Santa Anita, and is just out of a 3rd place win in the Fantasy Stakes at Oaklawn. Here I had to borrow from Daily Racing Form stats and examine their sense of pace. Brisnet doesn’t have such numbers. This horse is a dead closer, Before her layoff, her pace high was in her final race overseas, then got the explosive pace category in her first race in the US on 3/9. In the Fantasy on 4/11 she surged from a 79 to a 91. She’s at some risk of bouncing but still able to forge a new lifetime best in the Oaks. Her form is very good here.
BELIEVE YOU CAN appeared to be a different horse using jockey Saez for her entire 2YO career, with a top of 86, reached several times. Since switching to Rosie Napravnik, and racing at Fair Grounds, her fortune is much better. Forged lifetime best of 94 in the Silverbulletday in her 3YO debut on 1/21, then bounced to an 89 in a Grade 3 race, then forged a new top in her Fair Ground Oaks win last time out. She’s at certain risk for bouncing off that race and is not in good form. Bonus: In the last 60 days, Napravnik has combined with trainer Larry Jones in 10 races in 2012, winning 4, in-the-money in 8, for an ROI of +2.72.
AND WHY NOT has the best pedigree in the field. Sire is the Irish bred Street Cry, whose male line includes Mr. Prospector. Dam is Alchemist, offspring of AP Indy. And Why Not won her debut race, 54k maiden, then has run in 4 Graded races, and hasn’t fared nearly as well since. She made very slow progress from 83 to 88 in her 2YO races, and has raced once at three, with an 82 Brisnet number in the GP Oaks. Nothing very impressive here. She’s a dead closer who will likely won’t fire or be quick enough.

KARLOVY VARY has had different jockeys in each race, tho sticks to Graham here, whom she won the Ashland Stakes (G1) last time out with. Exploded in pace in her 3YO debut, with an 89 in a 75k race, then forged another top, a 102, in the Ashland. Not recommended for a win, as she’s likely to bounce off that 102 score. She’s an early/pressing type of horse. Bonus: Graham, along with trainer George Arnold III have combined for 14 races in the last 60 days, winning 4, and in the money in 6. ROI: +3.40.

COLONIAL EMPRESS also has very good pedigree in this field. Sire is the renowned Empire Maker (multiple Graded stakes winner). Dam is Colonella, offspring of Pleasant Colony. Has run all 4 lifetime starts at high price; best finish was 3rd in the G3 Honeybee at Oaklawn 2 races back. Never raced at 2. Last race was a 5th place finish in the Fair Grounds Oaks. 4th different jockey in 4 races as well. A closer who is still on the influence of the 89 she posted in the Honeybee. No factor here.

AMIE’S DINI is in the money in all 7 lifetime starts. 3YO career has 4 runs at Oaklawn, increasing in class, showing a lot of strength with her early/pressing style. Forged a lifetime best 100 2 races out in the Honeybee, then a 96 in the Fantasy. Her Brisnet numbers have never been lower than 87, with scores in the 90s elsewhere. She has the best pace scores of the Oaks field.

YARA has alternated wins with finishes out of the money in all of her 7 races. She would appear due for a win today, having run 5th in the GP Oaks. In this 9 furlong race this sprinter led all the way until the stretch. So she can tire out in 9 furlongs, but she may well learn from this effort. Also, she scored a 104 in her Davona Dale (G2) win (an upset over Grace Hall). From this forged lifetime best she was expected to bounce, and bounce she did in the GP Oaks. She’s not done well with an outside post, so I wonder if this will help her at all. ROI angle: trainre Jose Garoffalo has 5 graded stakes entries this year, winning just 1 (the aforementioned Davona Dale), for an ROI of +24.20. I believe she will rebound in form here.

The also-eligible horse of the field is Oaks Lily (appropo!), a late running filly who broke her maiden in her last race, 8 races into her career. She forged lifetime best Brisnet number of 83 in her 3YO debut, bounced to a 72 running at 9 furlongs, then did an 85 in a 100k race on 3/12.

For me, horses that recently recovered in pace a few races after a layoff are not great value plays once they recover. She might run in the 80’s this race, too slow for this field. Also, the pair up of runs in the 80s are higher than her ‘off’ race of 72 3 races back, so it doesn’t look promising for this one if she runs.

Now let’s put this all together:
My top 4 contenders which I plan to use in exactas and win bets are Amie’s Dini, Sacristy, Jemima’s Pearl and Yara. The win bets I do will be in effect should any of these horse run at worse than 5-1 at post time. I normally won’t do exactas with more than 3 but for this prestigious race I’ll add an extra spot.
Also in the mix are my Future Wager picks. I had already invested win bets in these:
Dixie Strike, who is now not in the field,

Grace Hall at 8-1, and
On Fire Baby at 13-1.
So if either of the latter two are running at worse odds at post time than the above odds, I’ll put an extra win bet on them.