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’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.

2017 Kentucky Derby analysis

You, as a handicapper,hate to make assumptions. No matter how much preparation went into the race, there would always have to be the possibility of also-eligible horses getting in, or a late equipment change, or bad weather, etc. etc.  Sometimes, though, for various reasons, known and unknown, you must take a hard guess and pray all goes according to your plan.
Such it is for the Kentucky Derby.  I will not have the opportunity to wager in the last hour before post time.  Instead, I will have more time to wager based on the public sentiment of advance wagering. My plan is to see what horses are getting bet down, and who are being ignored. With so much money on this race, the numbers won’t truly change that much until the last 15 minutes or thereabouts. I feel pretty confident as to how this race will go.  But, there are the obvious factors:
Rain is in the forecast for Oaks and Derby Day. The track does dry fast, but will the track get to be fast for the race? I do have a safeguard, tho it won’t impact my wagers all that much.
The also-eligible horses can’t be thrown out entirely, and should there be a scratch, I’d have to recalculate for those changes…and I might not have a proper analysis in place to adjust for this.
I can only hope that the field of 20 + 2 remains the 20 horses, and the track will be in off-track conditions, as that’s how I factored in everyone.
We go horse-for-horse:

1 LOOKIN AT LEE was 3rd in the Arkansas Derby and 4th in the Breeders Cup Juvenile, not an Enlightened Derby qualifier. Arkansas Derby score was 94, a new small top which finally improved on his 2YO best of 93 in the BC race. The 94 was quick for sure tho he had some trouble in that race. Noticeable pace pattern around 90.
Pace: This deep closer needs slightly faster than average speed early, slightly slower average speed late.

2 THUNDER SNOW is the big mystery horse to many, especially for me as there are no Brisnet numbers to evaluate fractions and pace. I did borrow statistic info from Trakus and The Racing Post to figure what those variables are, and I do have something to work with now.   Best AWD numbers in the field (Helmet/Eastern Joy, out of Dubai Destination).  Last race was his Dubai World Cup win on 3/25, stretching out from 1-3/16 miles.  Gets Lasix for the first time. Seems to be a bit of a bounce risk based on his 2 Dubai races, estimated gain of 7 points in BRIS, a bit much for me. Not an EDT qualifier.  The system in UAE does not have a truly Derby Trail in place, unlike most other countries.
Pace: Unknown.
Odds: 44-1. He’s in the mix, but barely, and probably not going to be an overlay.
 3 FAST AND ACCURATE won his last 3, including the Grade 3 Spiral, with 3rd straight score in the 80s, a plateau of numbers ahead of his prior races. Still, it’s slow compared to others. Waiting since 3/25 to stretch an extra furlong. Positive jockey change back to Channing Hill, who rode the maiden breaker win on 12/14.    Track bias is in his favor, if you judge from last fall’s meeting, where horses in routes who are early-pressers won at the rate of 29%. Combine that with the fact that the most wins in those races are in posts 1-3, at 14%.  Very good works: 4 at CD and CDT, 3 of the 4 very fast, one a bullet.
Odds: 4-1. Should be one of 4 overlays in this race.
Pace: Slightly better than average early, to average late.
Prediction: 1st
4 UNTRAPPED has yet to improve class beyond maiden, tho has run in the 90s since and has mainly kept in the money positions. Lone start at CD was a win, to break maiden last November.  Real question mark re pace, tho overall can hold his own. Quick troubled trip last time out in the Arkansas Derby, strong pace pattern in the low 90s. Positive jockey change to Ricardo Santana Jr, who rode that maiden winner. Blinkers come off too.  Not an EDT qualifier.
Pace: Based on one race, this closer needs a slightly fast pace throughout.
5 ALWAYS DREAMING 5-3-1-1 lifetime, including a win last out in the Florida Derby, scoring with a big gain in pace, 102. Recovery in pace is certainly an angle to watch for. He broke maiden with an 89 on 1/25, then dropped to an 84 in a 75k optional-claimer, then came the 102 number last time out. Bounce? I think so, especially as he spikes up to the track par, which is a red flag for me. FL Derby was won with a 4-lb gain from previous; he gains 4 more today. 24-second turn time in the FL Derby, matches best of this field.
Pace: Needs a very slow pace throughout, will be among the slowest of those who run fastest in the backstretch
6 STATE OF HONOR was 2nd in the Florida Derby. Not winning an EDT race keeps him from qualifying, compared to others in the Southern division who did.  Yet to improve from maiden status, but has run mainly in the 90s and either 2nd or 3rd since. In fact, he has 3 new small tops from his 3YO campaign coming in. Mid-90s pace pattern. From the first 20 horses, this is the lone sprinter of the field. Does this angle translate to a win?
Pace: Based on one win, this sprinter needs a slightly slow pace throughout.
7 GIRVIN has dazzled in his 4 races, with 3 wins, including the Grade 2 Risen Star and Louisiana Derby. Away from Fair Grounds for the first time, he won the LA Derby taking on 6 more lbs, and gains 4 today.  I say he’s lost in a pack of great horses here with better pace patterns and recent changes.
Pace:  This closer needs a somewhat fast pace that slows to average later.
8 HENCE’s win in the Sunland Derby last time out with a 103 was deemed a lesser race than others in his division who won out, and he lost a tiebreak to be an EDT qualifier.  Strong gain from 86 in the Southwest Stakes, suggesting this deep closer may well bounce. Slow 83 score in his lone CD appearance, not impressive on mud either. Won the Sunland Derby taking on 7 lbs, and gains 4 more today.  Despite the bounce risk, he gained some insurance by posting the best work tab of the field: 4 works at CD, 2 very fast, one a bullet.
Pace: Needs a meltdown in pace, very fast early, slower than average late.
Odds: 2-1.  Overlay.
9 IRAP broke maiden by winning last time out in the Blue Grass Stakes, and with a 100, better than his 93 in the Sunland, which was a small new top compared to his 2YO best of 91. Handled mud well in one such race.  Gained 1.4 seconds in turn time between his last 2 races, biggest such gain of the field.
Pace: Based on the Blue Grass win, seems like he needs an average pace throughout.
10 GUNNEVARA won the Saratoga Special, the Delta Downs Jackpot and the Fountain Of Youth, the latter with a 102 score. Dropped to 95 last out in the Florida Derby. Best pace figures of the field, and comes out of a quick troubled trip. 24 second turn time in the Florida Derby, matches best of this field. Doing so with a drop in speed figure suggests there is even more in the tank. Lacked points in his division to be an EDT qualifier.
Pace: Needs pace meltdown, fast early, to below average  late.
11 BATTLE OF MIDWAY has alternating wins and placings in 4 lifetime races. 2nd in the Santa Anita Derby last out gaining sharp to 98 from 92. No races at 2. Won maiden debut in off-track conditions. Positive jockey switch to Flavian Prat, winning in a 75k optional claimer on 3/9.
Pace: Needs average pace early, slower than average late.

12 SONNETEER still a maiden after 10 races, was 4th in the Arkansas Derby and 2nd in the Rebel, with small new tops of 94 and 93. I like his one mud appearance, and steady slow gains in pace, and had quick troubled trip last out, with pace pattern around 90. No real adjustments made by his connections, so it’s hard to lend confidence.

Pace: Unknown, as he hasn’t won, but he’s a deep closer.
13 J BOYS ECHO won the Gotham in March with a big 104, bounced to 93 last out in the Blue Grass. I like to play the bounceback angle with him. Slowest CD number of the field. Only other horse to drop in speed figure with gain in turn time.  Lacks evidence supporting a win here.
Pace: This closer needs a fast pace early that slows somewhat down later.
14 CLASSIC EMPIRE Too attractive not to like or leave off of multi-horse wagers, seeing he has 4 graded stakes wins. Peaked last year with a 108 in the Breeders Cup Juvenile. Since then, a 92 in the Holy Bull, and a winning 96 in the Arkansas Derby.  94 in the Bashford Manor matches for best CD speed. Having won here a year ago, as well as last summer, this should feel like very friendly confines to him.  One caveat..74 in his lone off-track race, tho that was his maiden debut.
Odds: 44-1 if fast track, 59-1 otherwise.
Prediction: 4th.
15 MCCRAKEN I have in multiple exacta wagers in the Future Wager pools. Won his first 4 races,then was 3rd in the Blue Grass. 99 in his prior race, the SF Davis. 94 score in the Street Sense at CD last fall matches the best CD speed of this field.  Very slight bounce risk. Own a mid-90s pace pattern. Only horse of the 20 who is coming in 2nd off layoff and a 2nd call speed figure gain from his 1st race back.  3 works at CD, all very fast.
Pace: Slightly fast early, average later.
Odds: 44-1 fast, 59-1 off-track.
16 TAPWRIT I had figured to win all those roses in the previous study.  Changing my tune here a bit.  Winner of the Pulpit under sloppy conditions with a 98, 2nd fastest mud score of the field. Best pace form of the field, with a small new top 2 races back in the Tampa Bay Derby at 101. Bounced to an 87 last time out in the Blue Grass with some trouble. Fastest pace pattern of the field: last 5 races were 87, 101, 97, 98, 87, suggesting an uptick here.
Odds: 3-1. Overlay
Pace: This closer needs a slow pace all throughout.
Prediction: 2nd.
17 IRISH WAR CRY is a bounce risk, having gone from 76 in the Fountain of Youth, to 102 in winning the Wood Memorial. Cannot deny his speed but seems inconsistent compared to others.  4 wins in 5 is hard to ignore but ignore I will. One of several horses whose number spikes too high for my liking.
Pace: Needs average speed early, slightly slower later on.
18 GORMLEY won the Front Runner at 2, and the Sham and Santa Anita Derby at 3, gaining 8 points to 99, following a bounce. Sham score was 102, the best off-track speed figure of the field. I have him measured also as having best tactical speed of the field as well. Last 3 2nd call numbers are all triple-digits. The question is whether his pace is suitable for this race and if it can see him through for 10 furlongs.
Pace: Needs fast pace all throughout.
19 PRACTICAL JOKE: LIked him considerably in the Future Wager early on, and actually have him via the Sire Future Wager.  6 lifetime races, all in the 90s, all in the money. Won his first 3, including the Champagne and the Hopeful.  The Champagne and the 3 stakes races he scored in afterward represent an upper 90s pace pattern, and 2 new tops in the process. Small new top last out in the Blue Grass.  Not much more supporting evidence against this superlative field to suggest he can win.
Pace: Fast early, slows to average later, likely can score as the closer in a meltdown.
20 PATCH 1 win and 2 seconds lifetime, with a 101 for his maiden win in February, then paired with a 98 in the LA Derby last out on April 1; waiting that long to stretch another furlong can only help.  The 98 score is best of those exiting a non-winning race with trouble, as he survived some bumps and a wide trip. 3 works, all fast, 1 at CD.
Pace: Based on one win, the pace has to be quick all throughout for him to close.
Odds: 9-1   Overlay
Prediction: 3rd.
I haven’t planned out the also-eligible horses, but here’s what I got:
ROYAL MO won 3rd try as maiden with a 91, then the RB Lewis with a 95. Surpassed this last time out with a 98, 3rd in the Santa Anita Derby. The 98 represents a pace recovery race, 3rd race following a good start upon layoff and subsequent bounce. Matches Patch for quickest non-winning race with trouble. In the SA Derby, he also had a wide trip, and Gary Stevens lost his whip late in the race. Could well bounce from the 98 score, however.  If Royal Mo is in the field, he becomes the only other pure sprinter.
Pace: Slightly faster than average throughout.

MASTER PLAN is the other horse with a run in Dubai. Seemed to handle mud pretty well, with a 96 in the Pulpit, then a 92 in the OBS Championship, and an estimated 93 in the UAE Derby. Connections have done rather well in adjustment here and is also waiting since 3/25 to stretch half a furlong.

Pace: This closer needs a slow pace throughout.

Recap of contenders:

Top 4…the only horses I have any confidence to win overall: Fast & Accurate, Tapwrit, Patch, Classic Empire.
Hence 2-1
Tapwrit 3-1
Fast & Accurate 4-1
Patch 20-1
These 4 are 44-1 on wet track, 59-1 otherwise: Thunder Snow, Classic Empire, McCraken, Gormley.
Projected overlays: Fast & Accurate, Hence, Tapwrit, Patch.
Future wager impact:
Pool 1:
Win: McCraken 12-1
Lookin at Lee 37-1
Classic Empire 6-1
Exacta: McCraken over/under field at 6/5: (Thunder Snow, Fast & Accurate, Untrapped, Always Dreaming, State Of Honor, Girvin, Hence, Irap, Battle Of Midway, Sonnetteer, J Boys Echo, Tapwrit, Patch, Royal Mo, Master Plan)
Sire Future Wager impact:
Practical Joke (via Into Mischief): 24-1
Royal Mo (via Uncle Mo): 9-1

Pool 2:

Win: Gunnevara 24-1
Exacta: McCraken at 9-1 over/under field  at 5/2 (Thunder Snow, Fast & Accurate, Always Dreaming, Girvin, Hence, Irap, Battle Of Midway, Sonnetteer, J Boys Echo, Tapwrit, Patch, Royal Mo, Master Plan)

Pool 3:
Win: Irish War Cry 7-1

Gormley 18-1
Exactas between Classic Empire (11-1) & McCraken (6-1), and both over/under field at 5/2 (Lookin At Lee, Thunder Snow, Fast & Accurate, Untrapped, Girvin, Hence, Irap, Battle Of Midway, Sonneteer, J Boys Echo, Patch, Master Plan)
Pool 4:
Win: Girvin 17-1
Thunder Snow 23-1
Exactas between Classic Empire at 10-1, Gunnevara at 9-1 and Thunder Snow, and these over/under field at 11-1:  Lookin At Lee, Fast & Accurate, Hence, Irap, Sonneteer, Patch, Royal Mo, Master Plan.

2016-2017 Enlightened Derby Trail final results

In watching a recap of the Arkansas Derby away from home, I caught a look at the final odds.  They proved to be rather consistent to the morning line odds. My plan was to use Untrapped over Lookin at Lee and Sonneteer in exactas, and those three horses plus Grandpa’s Dream and Rowdy The Warrior in win bets.  I used Classic Empire and Malagacy, the two clear favorites, over 4 of the 5 horses, except Untrapped.  9 horses seemed to have any shot at a win, totally throwing out Silver Dust, One Dreamy Dude, and Malagacy (tho, ,of course, him over overlays)
Result: Classic Empire redeemed himself with the win here. I did not seriously figure Conquest Mo Money, who did have the best speed for distance of the field, and a good run last out vs the leader.  Both ran ahead of my 2nd and 3rd picks, Lookin At Lee and Sonneteer.   A loss for me, but it may prove fruitful for me in the Future Wager.

Now to the results of the Enlightened Derby Trail:
Northeast: Practical Joke, Good Samaritan, Irish War Cry, Battalion Runner.
Cali: Zakaroff, Gormley, Battle Of Midway, More Power To Him
Heartland: Fast And Accurate and Irap lead here, then Blueridge Traveler and McCraken.  Practical Joke had enough points, but as explained in a prior post, eliminating him from this division would give a horse with less points more of an opportunity than in the Northeast.
Minor: Howdy Kingkowboy, Taco, Twisted Tom, O Dionysus.
As there will be no Japanese rep in the Derby, I decided to go back to giving 4 spots in this division instead of 3.
South: Easily the most contested of divisions.  The winners: Tapwrit, Classic Empire, Girvin, Always Dreaming, Hence.    First out, each with 1000 points, are State Of Honor and Conquest Mo Money. Both ran 2nd in their respective EDT races, never won one.

How does this compare to the actual trail, as things stand on 4/15?
I ultimately agree with 14 of the 20.  As for the 6 (actually 7) I disagree on:
Gunnevara won the Delta Downs Jackpot at 2 but did not place in the top 4 at age 3 in my races.
J Boys Echo was 4th in the Jackpot, 4th in the Blue Grass.
Conquest Mo Money was 2nd in 2 races, but just not enough points or wins to earn a spot.
Malagacy was never in my top 4 of any EDT race. This is the reason I do the Trail. I circumvent the idea that a horse must race the biggest races at the biggest tracks only, in order to get into the big show.
Patch was 2nd in the Louisiana Derby, but no other scores.
Cloud Computing’s only score was 3rd in the Wood Memorial.
State Of Honor, like Conquest Mo Money had 2 strong 2nd place finishes but no wins on my trail.
Final Enlightened Derby Trail results here:
Now for the Future Wager impact:
From Pool 1:
Win: McCraken 12-1
Lookin at Lee 37-1.  He’s on the bubble, definitely at least an ‘also-eligible’ and could well back into the Derby with some defections.
Classic Empire 6-1. Got the points he needed from the ARK Derby to keep this going.
Exacta: McCraken over/under field (Girvin, Thunder Snow, Always Dreaming, J Boys Echo, State Of Honor, Tapwrit, Malagacy, Hence, Fast & Accurate, Battle Of Midway, Patch, Battalion Runner, Cloud Computing, plus a number of horses outside the top 20)
Sire Future Wager: Scat Daddy and Kitten’s Joy drew blanks.
Bernardini: Takaful had just 2 points.
Uncle Mo: Royal Mo is 24th with 30, another who may well be an AE horse if not outright into the field of 20.
Into Mischief:  Practical Joke is in the field, and can score for me at 24-1.
Pool 2:
Win bet on Gunnevara, 24-1
Exactas on McCraken and over/under field: Girvin, Irap, Thunder Snow, Always Dreaming, Tapwrit, J Boys Echo, Malagacy, Hence, Fast and Accurate, Battle Of Midway, Patch, Cloud Computing.
Pool 3:
win bets on Irish War Cry 7-1, and Gormley at 18-1.
Exactas between Classic Empire and McCraken, and both over/under field: Girvin, Irap, Thunder Snow, J Boys Echo, Hence, Fast and Accurate, Battle Of Midway, Patch, Cloud Computing.
Pool 4:
Win bets on Girvin 17-1 and Thunder Snow 23-1.
Exactas between Classic Empire, Gunnevara and Thunder Snow, plus these over/under field: Irap, Hence, Fast & Accurate, Patch,

Enlightened Trails update (4/10/17)

With the results of the penultimate Enlightened Trails races already in, there is still the two left at Oaklawn Park this weekend that will put the cap on the bottle.
I resolved both sets of divisions. Here’s the Oaks side first:
Minors: McKenzie Honey was already a winner. Tap It All, winner of the California Oaks, would normally be in, had there not been a Japanese entry. For the lone Japanese entry, I gave the spot to Reine Minoru, who won the top filly race there, the Oka Sho (Japanese 1000 Guineas). Also won the Kokura Nisai at age 2, and placed in 3 other stakes races at 2. Now 7-3-2-1 lifetime.

Northeast: Miss Sky Warrior and Lockdown, 1-2 in Saturday’s Gazelle, are in the show, plus the Frizette winner, Yellow Agate (just 250 points).

Cali: Paradise Woods and Abel Tasman finished 1-2 in the Santa Anita Oaks. They are in my mythical Oaks, along with Del Mar Debutante winner Union Strike (just 250 points). Union Strike wins tiebreak over It Tiz Well, who was 3rd in the Santa Anita Oaks.

South: With one race to go, Farrell is in for her win in the Fair Grounds Oaks. To this I add the winner of the Florida Oaks, Fifty Five.Also, Salty, winner of the Gulfstream Park Oaks.

Heartland: Purely A Dream, winner of the Bourbonette, and Sailor’s Valentine, winner of the Ashland, are in my Oaks race. I added Daddys Lil Darling, who finished 2nd in both races.

No real drama in this one, except that the Fantasy Stakes remains for those who can potentially knock off those in the South with points. Looking at the nominations, none of my 3 with top points are listed. Next on the list with some points is Vexatious, 250 points for her 3rd spot in the FG Oaks. If she won out, she’d be in my mythical Oaks. How then to resolve between my other 3?
The first tie-breaker is Graded rating. Farrell and Salty both won at Grade 2, ahead of Fifty Five’s Grade 3 win. After that, the next tie-breaker is purse. Farrell’s race was 400k, while Salty’s was 250k. The Fantasy is Grade 3 at 400k, so a new shooter with 0 points that wins out can get into my mythical Oaks. Obviously, any horse with points will have advantage.

Biggest snubs currently are the fillies with 500 points: Jenda’s Agenda, Ghalia, Tap It All, La Coronel, Wicked Lick, Tequilita, and Awesome Boss. I am thinking that the 2nd place finisher in the Fantasy Stakes might have to join this list. Between all these fillies, Lockdown has the tiebreak edge over Tequilita for qualifying.

Comparing to the actual Oaks trail, how are my Future Wager picks holding up?

Daddy’s Lil Darling: 28-1
Abel Tasman 23-1
Farrell 10-1.
These fillies are definitely in the show, currently ranked as 1st, 6th and 7th in actual Oaks points.

I used Daddy’s Lil Darling, Unique Bella and Abel Tasman in exactas to each other, and over/under the field. Since Unique Bella is out, it takes away some possibilities, but a Daddy’s/Abel exacta hit would be amazing, and rather realistic in scoring. Field horses from the future wager right now would be these: Sailors Valentine, Paradise Woods, Salty, Nomorerichblondes, Yorkiepoo Princess, Purely A Dream, Wicked Lick, Jordan’s Henny, Benner Island, Someday Soon, Vexatious, Tapped, Summer Luck, then all horses 10 points and under in the Oaks trail. Of those that are nominated in the Fantasy, these include Elate, Spooky Woods, Nonna Bella, Ever So Clever, Tapa Tapa Tapa, My Sweet Stella, Gris Gris, Torrent, and Princess Karen.
Now to the Derby side, where the divisions look this way:
Northeast: Irish War Cry, Wood Memorial winner, is in, with Practical Joke (Hopeful, Champagne), then Good Samaritan (Summer).
Cali: Gormley, winner of the Santa Anita Derby, is in, then Zakaroff (El Camino Real Derby), followed by Battle Of Midway (2nd in the SA Derby), and More Power To Him (2nd in the El Camino Real)
Heartland: Irap won the Blue Grass Stakes to win this division as well. Fast And Accurate is 2nd for his win in the Spiral. Then I have McCraken who won the KY Jockey Club, then Practical Joke for his 2nd place finish in the Blue Grass. Since I can’t have the same horse rep 2 divisions, I kept him in the Northeast, because to eliminate him from there would bring up a much worse horse than if I were to eliminate him from the Heartland.
Next in the Northeast pecking order would be Good Samaritan, at 250 points and a Grade 1 win. For the Heartland, the next horse would be Blueridge Traveler, 500 points, 2nd in the Spiral. I decided to go with the horse with more points.

South: With the AR Derby still left, here’s what I have: Tapwrit, Hence, Always Dreaming and Girvin, winners of the Tampa Bay Derby, Sunland Derby, Florida Derby and Louisiana Derby, all get in with equal 1000 point totals. Always Dreaming wins the tiebreak, if there were one, because his was a Grade 1 win. The AR Derby winner will be in a flat tie with Always Dreaming because of the same grade, purse and distance. Then it’s a matter of who has points after the big race and who to eliminate.

Minors: Reportedly, none of the Japan entrants for the Derby Trail will want to be part of the show. That’s rather sad, as they do have a good Trail set up there.It’s comparable to other countries, and especially to UAE, who have just the UAE Derby to represent. So I’d go back to having top 4 horses out of this division. The horses for me are Howdy Kingkowboy (Turf Paradise Derby winner), Taco (Texas Heritage Stakes), Twisted Tom (Private Terms Stakes), and O Dionysus (2nd in the Private Terms)

Snubs: Conquest Mo Money, Gunnevara, Patch, all in the highly competitive South division, all with 500.

Future Wager bets took a hit with Mo Town failing to score in the Wood Memorial. Here are the remaining bets still active:
Pool 1:
Wins on
McCraken 12-1
Lookin At Lee 37-1 (needs AR Derby points)
Classic Empire 6-1 (ditto)
Exactas of McCraken over/under field selections
Sire Future Wager:
Bernardini: Takaful nominated to AR Derby, has 2 points, so needs to win out.
Into Mischief, Practical Joke is in the show, a 24-1 opportunity.
Uncle Mo: Royal Mo 10 points, also nominiated, needs 1st or 2nd in the race)

Pool 2:
Win bet on Gunnevara, 24-1 play.
Exacta on McCraken and over/under field.

Pool 3:
Irish Way Cry at 7-1
Gormley at 18-1
Exactas between Classic Empire (32 points, needs a top 3 finish), and McCraken, and both over/under field.

Pool 4:
Wins on
Girvin 17-1
Thunder Snow 23-1
Exactas between Classic Empire/Thunder, plus these over/under field.

Recap of stakes races and Enlightened Trails, 4/8/17

Catching up now to the big races of the weekend, this after watching my Twinspires account dwindle a bit more. The Grand National was won by #22, over one of my top 5 choices in #14. One of the field horses came in 3rd. I was close this year, but didn’t make it. Initially I thought it was a field selection (horses 24-40) but I reacted too swiftly to the news. I haven’t watched the replay yet; frankly I don’t feel like watching it just yet.

Onto the thoroughbreds! You’ve seen my picks and projected overlays. Now here’s how I would have played and invested in them. If I were home to wager on them, I’d have wagered on them.

BLUE GRASS: My top 3 remained as public favorites. So did my 2 overlay considerations. I used Irap and It’s Your Nickel for wins, and under top 3 for exactas. $10 wagered.
Results: Irap with the big 31-1 upset! I didn’t mention he had best tactical speed for nothin’. Payout: $64.60

ASHLAND: Total chalk for my picks here too, and no overlays to rescue me. Not truly a race I’d play. But if I had to… I’d go with 2-6, 6-3, 3-6 and 6-2 as exacta plays, basically keying #6, Daddys Lil Darling,my top choice, to be the necessary score
Result: 7-6-1-8. Totally ignored Saints Valentine in my handicapping. Sometimes you find longshots, sometimes….

SANTA ANITA OAKS: I felt this was the big race, with value totally planning to surprise the mutuels. I had 1,5,6 for wins, and to play under top 2 favorites 2 and 4
Paradise Woods, 3, shocked me and some folks at 8-1, winning by a dozen lengths. Did not give her any serious consideration.

The latter 3 races I had felt were somewhat logical, with a favorite, a middle price horse and a longshot in my top 3.
SANTA ANITA DERBY: This was the race I would have put $20 on…1,4,5,10 as overlays, with top 2 public choices 2 and 9 over these in exacta. I’d also have played 9 and 2 over #7 with 7 to win also.

Result: Fantastic race, as the result was 8-3-13-2. Gormley definitely factored somewhat, as he had a good turn time and was the only pure sprinter of the field. Swung and missed on this one.

WOOD MEMORIAL: I chose longshot 6 and overlay 5 for wins, and went with 3-6, 2-6, 3-5, 7-5 for exactas. $8 invested. I rooted in my heart for Mo Town, who factors big for me in the Future Wager pools.
Result: 8-3-7-5, a chalky finish. I never gave Irish War Cry much thought to win this one. A race I naturally should have avoided but I saw some value in general.

GAZELLE: I took 4,3 for wins, and played 5-4, 4-3, 5-3 and 8-3 as exactas, $8 invested.
Result: Nailed the exacta. It was close, as Lockdown was tiring in the stretch.
Payout: $15.10 for the $1 exacta

Result from the 6 races: $15 profit.
Later, I will provide thoughts on the Derby Trail, an update to my Enlightened Trails and how my Future Wager bets look in comparison.

Enlightened Trails update (Aqueduct, Keeneland, Santa Anita)

6 big races this Saturday, all with Enlightened Trail implications as 3 divisions close on both the EDT and EOT sides. They are also actual Derby and Oaks trail races, of course. I largely see chalk winning out, with one notable exception.

BLUE GRASS: Practical Joke, Tapwrit, McCraken. Favorites to sweep the mutuels. 2 overlays here, in It’s Your Nickel and Irap.
It’s Your Nickel with 2 small tops in both of his 3YO starts, peaking at 86 last time in the John Battaglia Memorial. Track bias in his favor: Measured based on last year’s stats, early/presser types like this horse won half of the 9 furlong races, along with posts 1-3 at 22%.
Irap has best AWD numbers (Tiznow/Silken Cat, out of Storm Cat). Fastest for the distance too: 93, acheived last time out, running 4th in the Sunland Derby. Best tactical speed, as measured by recent 2nd call numbers.

ASHLAND: Daddy’s Lil Darling, Elate, Pretty City Dancer. Favorites sweep here too, and no overlays. A race I regard as totally passable.

SANTA ANITA OAKS: Here’s the race with value front to back. Mopotism, Majestic Quality, Bernina Star. No overlays here.
Mopotism top 3 in 5 of 6 lifetime, winning the Island Fashion, 2nd in the Las Virgiennes, 3rd in the Starlet. Best tactical speed of the field (2nd call numbers recently are 96, 108, 84). Unraced since 2/26, stretching from a mile. 4 good works at SA, 1 bullet.

SA DERBY: Iliad, Reach the World, Kimbear. Overlays: So Conflated, Kimbear, Milton Freewater.
Kimbear broke maiden last out in 6th try, with small new top of 95, better than 2YO best of 91. Unraced since 2/25, stretching out 2 furlongs. 4 works during layoff here, 1 a bullet.

WOOD MEMORIAL: Battalion Runner, Mo Town, then Stretch’s Stone, the lone overlay here.
Stretch’s Stone raced 3 times at AQU, with runs of 84, 96 and 95, finishing 1st, 2nd, 3rd. Placed 1st last out in a state-bred 75k OC race upon resolution of DQ. 4 works since last, 3 of them very fast.

GAZELLE: Miss Sky Warrior, Lockdown, then overlay Rimanisempreforte.
Rimanisempreforte with 2 wins in 3 lifetime, 81 her best score last November in breaking maiden. Only filly in field with win first off layoff. Best turn time of the field. In a small sample of 9-furlong races, the majority have been won by her early-pressing style, along with posts 1-3.

Enlightened Trails update, 2017 Derby Pool 4 Future Wager selections

I can finally update you all re the Future Wager selections. With the late addition of Brisnet numbers, I was able to recalculate pace numbers and rerank my selections. Having to make my final picks about 5 hours before the close (I like to wait for the final 15 minutes), I decided to go with the following:
$2 Win bets on
Girvin 17-1
Mo Town 38-1 (3rd bet on this horse)
Thunder Snow 23-1

$1 exactas:
Box of Classic Empire/Thunder Snow/ Gunnevera, plus exactas over and under field (11-1)
Total investment: $18

How are my 5 Sire Future Wager picks doing?
Bernardini: Takaful has 2 points.
Kitten’s Joy: 0 points.
Into Mischief (24-1) : Practical Joke 34, One Liner 10
Scat Daddy: 0 points
Uncle Mo: Mo Town 10, Royal Mo 10.
Any horse who finishes in the top 3 of the actual Derby trails can virtually get into the actual Derby, but practically is a guarantee with a 1st or 2nd place finish. Remaining races with such impact are all on Saturday: Wood Memorial, the Blue Grass, and the Santa Anita Derby. Arkansas Derby will be a last gasp effort for a few extra points the week after.

My Enlightened Derby and Oaks Trails are updated at these links:
The South division was busy with last week’s races for both colts and fillies. It will wrap up on 4/15 with the Arkansas (Fantasy Stakes on 4/14 for fillies), while the other divisions conclude on 4/8

On the Derby side, Girvin and Always Dreaming move into my mythical field. For the Oaks side, American Cleopatra replaces the injured Valadorna, and Farrell now leads the South, just ahead of Fifty Five, with Wicked Lick 3rd. Because of Farrell’s dual point scores in the Heartland division, I had to take the best overall score remaining. I gave the tiebreaker to Tap It All.

Later, a look at who are nominated for the big stakes races this weekend, and a projection as to how the Trails should end up.