Idealistic Stats podcast 4/1/18

This podcast was recorded on 5/1/18. I introduce my Enlightened Trails series (my version of the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks Trails), plus a horse-by-horse analysis of the 2018 Derby and Oaks.

I have since made a few different decisions of some horses. Please check my blog posts for the very lastest.

This program is available at the Internet Archive  https://archive.org/details/IdealisticStats050118

and primarily via Anchor.fm https://anchor.fm/dashboard/episode/e1dupd

This program created and hosted by Dan Herman

Co-produced with the assistance of DJ Flowerdove  http://www.soundcloud.com/flowerdove2168
Twitter: @flowerdove2168

2018 Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 4 wager

I had to wait upon the results of a few horses, along with the announcement of the Brisnet speed figures for the winners, to determine who now belongs in my top rankings, and who gets my wagers. The rankings went this way:  Bolt d’Oro, Good Magic, Enticed, Free Drop Billy, Justify, Solomini, Mendelssohn, Audible, Flameaway, Title Ready, Bravazo.  I was waiting to see if Mendelssohn would take less money and drop to 6-1, and for Solomini to possibly gain and be better than 24-1. Neither happened, nor did any serious movements by my top choices. I was concerned about having to drop down to using the 99-1 Title Ready, who should be in the Arkansas Derby. As things turn out, I will have to rely on Solomini instead

As planned, I wagered win bets on the horses I felt I could get worse odds on that still ranked high enough.
$2 win bets on
Flameaway 42-1
Solomini 25-1 (double dip; I have him at 19-1 in Pool 2)
Audible 7-1

$1 exactas:
box of Bolt d’Oro (9-1), Enticed (27-1). Good Magic (9-1) over and under field (17-1)

Derby/Oaks post-mortem, and first look at Preakness

The big takeaway from Derby weekend is that I continue to have great luck with either the Derby or Oaks. This year, my usual good luck with the race ran out, as Always Dreaming, a horse I really didn’t consider seriously, won the Run for All Those Roses. I did have that horse as a favorite over the race’s immediate overlays. Lookin At Lee, a horse I did like as one of 5 possibles in Future Wager Pool 1, did make for a nice exacta for a number of people, finishing 2nd.
I was saddened to see Thunder Snow have a horrible trip. I had hoped for a much better trip, a world-shocking trip. I had hoped for a number of horses to make good on their expectations. None panned out at all.
Always Dreaming probably couldn’t have been a bigger surprise. He ranked very low in my dosage profiles tho did have a respectable pace gain. There was a slight bounce risk too, but running to his speed suggested a much slower trip than figured. He did receive a good amount of changes from his connections…a prior shipping win, a similar gain in weight prior to a win, and one of the quicker turn times between his last 2 races. Nice workout profile too. I was scared away by his breaching of the CD track par, fully expecting a bounce from his number.

In the Oaks, I can say I scored my biggest financial win ever at a track. I wasn’t sure of the outcome until I saw Abel Tasman bounding home from last to first in a muddy stretch, and Daddy’s Lil Darling chasing her down. I was positively stunned, then shouted with glee, knowing I made my biggest score yet. It was a score I predicted back in February, an exacta where 3 horses were ranked 1st, 6th and 7th in Oaks points. With Unique Bella’s scratch, the exacta I did hit was $451.50. Add to that a $42.80 payoff for a straight win. This beats the $300 I won playing 2 longshots as exacta in a race at Dubai years ago.

This Future Wager continues to enthrall me. I wish it were around more often, and for other races.

The right horse certainly won the Derby, and I now look forward to how he may fare in the Preakness.

****
Upon learning of Royal Mo’s demise during a workout Sunday, I took a further look at the advance PPs for Saturday’s Preakness. Here is my current analysis:
1st: Lookin At Lee set a small new top with 97 BRIS in the KY Derby. Best pace pattern in the field
2nd: Cloud Computing in bounceback mode after dropping from 100 to 94 in the Wood Memorial. 94 the fastest of those last out with troubled trip.
3rd: Senior Investment gained well in turn time between last 2 races. Shipping win plus prior win with stretch in distance.
4th: Always Dreaming does have best pace for distance, and still in pace recovery mode, 4 races after layoff.
5th: Hence with recent gain from 86 to 103 and bounce to 80 suggests a bounceback. Pedigree may be best of the field (Street Boss/Floating Island, out of AP Indy)
Suggested odds for the moment: Always Dreaming 4-1
Cloud Computing, Lookin At Lee 6-1
Senior Investment 7-1
Conquest Mo Money, Multiplier 10-1
Classic Empire, Gunnevara, Term Of Art 23-1
Throwing out Lancaster Bomber.

2017 Kentucky Oaks analysis

Here’s my horse-for-horse analysis of the Run for All Those Lillies:

1 EVER SO CLEVER technically earned the most points of all horses on either of my Enlightened Trails, with 1050, thanks to her win in the Fantasy Stakes at Oaklawn, and 3rd in the Golden Rod Stakes right here at Churchill.  Stock plummeted after finishing 5th with 2nd slowest lifetime score in the Martha Washington on 2/11. With the change to jockey Luis Contreras, plus lighter weight, she performed much better in her closing role.  Last-out turn time of 23.4 is best of this field, plus the fact she runs a tick slower in her BRIS speed figure, from 91 to 90.  One of 2 horses who recently posted a small new top in comparison to her 2YO campaign.

Required pace: somewhat slow to slower pace.
Projection: 8th.  The prominent factor is her paired-up speed figures of 91 and 90 plus the turn-time in the Fantasy (and gain on the leader in that race). This deep closer might (big might) be able to make her one big move assuming she gets her pace setup.
Odds: 29-1. Would need to be virtually forgotten by the public for me to wager on her…maybe 60-1 or worse.
2 LOCKDOWN got into my EDT picture and qualified with her 2nd place finish in the Gazelle Stakes. All 4 starts at Aqueduct. This sprinter has finished 1st or 2nd in each start. One of just 2 horses tested at today’s 9-furlong distance. Positive jockey switch to Jose L Ortiz, who rode her maiden-breaker on 12/17. Being the lone sprinter makes her a contender for me.  Further, there is a 6-race sample from the CD fall campaign at this distance, 3 of which were won by sprinters.  Only filly here to gain in 2nd call first race after layoff (94 in the Busanda, to a dazzling 119 in the Gazelle). 3 works since the Gazelle, all 3 very fast, 2 at CD. Eligible to bounce back in pace.
Pace: Somewhat faster all throughout.
Prediction: Winner. The track bias and lone run-style type, plus workout tab are all recent developments that suggest she is the ‘now’ horse.
Odds: 8-5.  Projected to be the lone overlay, as her ML odds are 20-1.
Would use in wins and exactas.

3 MOPOTISM scored too low for me in the EDT races, with a 4th place finish in the Santa Anita Oaks as her lone contribution.  Seems to be consistent with her speed figures, all in the 90s in her last 5 races, all racing in the top 4. and 4 of them being stakes/routes.  Best AWD numbers in the field (Uncle Mo/Peppy Rafaeala, out of Bernardini). Raced just once in the mud, but it was a winner, a 91 score v. maidens at the 54k level.
Pace: Sticks close to average pace throughout.

Prediction: 5th. I like her inherent variables, but there’s no real pattern in her pace that is outstanding. Not impressed with the inconsistent wins but I cannot rule out her finishing in the top 5 as she has done prevously.
Odds: 14-1.   She may well be the other overlay in the race, one I would use for wins/exactas. ML odds are 20-1.

4: PARADISE WOODS won the aforementioned Santa Anita Oaks with a strong 110, too strong compared to her 95 in her maiden win, and an 86 in her first start. All races at Santa Anita. What’s truly in her favor is that she has the fastest pace numbers of the field but is probably not the best true speed. Frankly I am expecting the worst and a bounce from that 110 number. Of course, she can win, and her being the ML favorite means she’ll likely go that way with the public. It means I’d have to include her with my overlays in exactas.
Qualified via EDT with her SA Oaks score.

Prediction: 13th.  Pace is there, but choosing to throw out because of the bounce risk, at my peril
Odds: 29-1.
Pace: Average to slightly slower.

5th: JORDAN’S HENRY was 3rd in the Gulfstream Park Oaks, but not enough points to be an EDT qualifier.  One of several to be waiting since April 1 to stretch out. Seems lacking in most variables. Set new lifetime best 2 races back in the Davona Dale, but that was over 60 days ago. Does have 4 races at CD with little success, plus a decent mud race in history but slow pattern and too slow for this field.
Pace: Average to slightly fast, based on her lone victory, vs maidens 3 races back.

Prediction: 9th.
6 VEXATIOUS also hasn’t won beyond maiden status, but has 3 3rd-place scores since, with runs in the mid to high 80s. Also lacked EDT points to qualify, despite 3rds in the Santa Anita Oaks and Fantasy Stakes.  Honest pace scores, albeit not the fastest. Set small new top at 3 in the FG Oaks with an 88, paired exactly last time out. She can reliably increase off that number with a run in the 90s.  Gained 1.2 seconds in turn time between her last 2 races, which suggests there’s some hidden speed waiting.
Pace: Based on one race, she needs a slow pace all throughout.
Prediction: 4th.
Odds: 29-1.  Probably won’t use in wagers, but I would not be surprised at her contending here.
7 FARRELL won 5 of 7 lifetime coming in, plus her last 4, and definitely an EDT qualifier. Probably the horse-for-course, with 2 wins and a 3rd in 4 lifetime at CD, with a 92 in the Golden Rod the best speed figure of those who have raced here.  2 races in the mud with scores in the 80s. Good pattern of figures around 90. Owns shipping wins, prior win from stretchout, and is waiting since 4/1.  2 good works at CD too.
Pace: Slightly fast early, slightly slow late.
Prediction: 11th. Tough to throw out though she’s received good handling from trainer Wayne Catalano plus seems to like running here. But there are faster horses.
8 SAILOR’S VALENTINE was an EDT qualifier, through her win in the Ashland Stakes and a big longshot at that.  6-2-2-0 lifetime. Lifetime best was her maiden debut at Keeneland in October, a 91. Came close with a 90 in November at CD and her 88 last out. Still, that number is way ahead of her 72, that score coming first after layoff and her turf debut. Seems among the slowest in pace and likely bounce candidate.
Pace: Slightly slow throughout.
Prediction: Last
9 WICKED LICK one of the notable snubs from the EDT, barely so, with her 2nd place finish in the Fair Grounds Oaks. The others in her division had all won out.   No wins beyond her maiden, scored at CD last September. She’s run in an assortment of races since, coming close but not impressing many, even when she established 2 small new tops in her last 2 races, the FG Oaks and the Rachel Alexandra.  Upper 80s pace for this closer, somewhat slow for the field.
Pace: Needs a fast pace all throughout, figuring she’ll catch the leaders around the 2nd turn.
Prediction: 12th. I’m concerned about her slow pace, and dependency on others’ pace.
10 MISS SKY WARRIOR 5 of 6 wins lifetime, plus 5 straight. Easy qualifier in the EDT with her score in the Gazelle, with a fine 98 speed figure. This is ahead of her 90 while winning the Davona Dale in her 3YO debut. I am expecting her to bounce back to maybe about 90 here. Probably the best tactical speed of the field, so cannot truly throw her out. Last 3 2nd call numbers: 120, 99, 95.
Pace: Fast all throughout.
Prediction: 7th.  Middle of the pack among fellow fillies who do best in the backstretch. Lacks in supporting variables to suggest a 6th straight win.
Odds: 29-1.  Might have to use with overlays, as she’s granted 9/2 ML odds, second choice by track handicapper Mike Battaglia. The public will likely pounce on those odds.
11 TEQUILITA won 3 straight then was 2nd in the GP Oaks last time out. Lost out in tiebreak v. La Coronel and Wicked Lick to be an EDT qualifier, that one coming down to purse size.   Maiden win still her best look, a 92 at Keeneland. Not very impressed at her pace numbers. In her favor, her connections have her in a good spot, with prior stretchout wins and shipping wins, and also is waiting since 4/1 to stretchout.  3 works since the GP Oaks, 1 fast one at CD.
Pace: Sticks to an average pace at best…won’t be last or first amidst all the other early-presser types.
Prediction: 7th. The trainer moves and good work tab give me reason to rank her higher, but probably not enough for me  to wager on.
12 DADDYS LIL DARLING was an early EDT qualifier, with a 4th in the Breeders Cup Juvenile Fillies, 2nd in the Golden Rod (truly the best key race for this year’s EDT), and 2nd in the Ashland. Hasn’t won since the Pocahontas here in September. Best score at age 2 and ever since was an 89 in the BC race. Running in the 80s ever since with alternating 2nd/out of money finishes. No real opinion on her pace but somewhat slow overall.
Pace: This deep closer might be running differently in mud than on a fast track. She maintained her fastest pace in the mud, and was more like her plodder type in her other win.  I suggest she needs a slightly fast beginning, and slows to average toward the end.
Prediction: 10th   A question mark with pace, but some savvy ‘cappers may notice that muddy win in the Pocahontas.  As for me, I already have this filly in win and exactas in the Future Wager.
13 ABEL TASMAN qualified from the EDT  with her 2nd place finish in the Santa Anita Oaks.   Won the Starlet Stakes with small new top to finish her 2YO campaign, then gained nicely in her 2nd place finish in the Santa Ysabel, and posted a good middle figure of 97 in the SA Oaks. Truly among the faster horses, and has the fastest pace pattern in the field.  Along with this, she actually had some trouble last out, having to run wide much of the race and a slow start. That slow start can be somewhat forgiven as she is a deep closer.
Prior wins with stretchout, as well as shipper win.  Adds blinkers for this race.
Pace: Fast, slowing a bit later in the race to slightly faster than average, another who might need a pace meltdown.
Prediction: 2nd.
Odds: 4-1, fair odds comparing to ML of 5-1.  Probably not a price horse but truly could go either way. If she’s 8-1 or worse near post time, I’ll consider her an overlay.
14 SALTY 2 wins in 3 lifetime, all at GP, winning last out in the GP Oaks despite a lowering speed figure of 90. I rank her much more on recent developments. Waiting since 4/1 to stretch from 8.5 furlongs. One of two fillies to gain in turn time despite a lower speed figure, suggesting she’s got more speed saved for today. Great work tab: 3 at CD, all very fast. Qualified out of the EDT.
Pace: See Abel Tasman, basically the same requirements.
Prediction: 3rd.
Odds:  5-1, also fair odds, as her ML odds are 6-1. Same scenario, may or may not be an overlay but might also be too good to ignore by most people. Likely the wiseguy filly in this field.
15 (also-eligible) SUMMER LUCK broke maiden at CD last year, ran as good contender since then but no wins, all with races in the 80s.   Also has very good AWD numbers (Lookin At Lucky/Seasonal, out of Deputy Minister). 5th in the Ashland last time out, bounced to 82 from an 89 in the Davona Dale; I’d play the mild bounceback angle here should she get into the field. Good works in prep: 2 fast ones here at CD.  Not an EDT qualifier.
Pace: Based on one race, this closer needs a fast pace that slows to slightly fast.
Prediction: If she is in the field, I like her for 7th, knocking down all others I’ve mentioned below that ranking to one peg below.
Recap of contenders in order:
Lockdown, Abel Tasman, Salty, Vexatious, Mopotism.
Odds of horses I generally consider to have any chance:
Lockdown 8-5
Abel Tasman 4-1
Salty 5-1
Mopotism 14-1
Ever So Clever, Pacific Woods, Vexatious, Miss Sky Warrior: 29-1.
Future Wager impact:
$2 win bets on:
Farrell 10-1
Abel Tasman 23-1
Daddys Little Darling 28-1
$1 exactas:
Daddy’s Lil Darling/Abel Tasman
Abel/Daddy’s
Daddy’s/field
field/Daddy’s
Abel/field
Field/Abel
Field horses for this wager are: Paradise Woods, Ever So Clever, Salty, Vexatious, Sailor’s Valentine, Wicked Lick, Jordan’s Henny, and Summer Luck if she gets in
Back later with the big KY Derby selections and analysis.

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:
EDT: http://bit.ly/2nPTZYs
EOT: http://bit.ly/2fSGzJG
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.

Oaks Future Wager, Pool 3 Derby Wager analysis

In profiling the sole Kentucky Oaks Future Wager pool, I repeat the same variables as I used in last year’s version: dosage (lowest differential in chef-de-race numbers between 2016 Churchill Downs winners and these 23 contenders), combined AWD numbers, longest distance won, overall pace, fastest CD speed figure, positive 2YO progress, and best class won. I took the top 7 in each category and kept all ties.  Ultimately 2 horses proved to be much the best, and I had to split a 3 way tie for the 3rd position.
The benchmarks created by the 23 horses were these:
Top 7 in dosage; combined AWD of at least 14.7, at least one Grade 2 victory, any races at CD, any 2YO progress, 8.5 furlong win, overall pace with projected 91 speed rating or better.
I’ll start with the horses in the tiebreak and who I rank, worst to best:
5th overall is MISS SKY WARRIOR. 4th in her maiden debut at Belmont  in September with 88 Brisnet. Won last 3 races, including maiden win at Parx with 91, then the Grade 3 Tempted and the Grade 2 Demoiselle, both at Aqueduct and with similar scores. Dosage is in the top 7 (First Samurai/Sky Minister, out of Conquistador Cielo). Only filly here with a 9-furlong win.
4th is CHAMPAGNE ROOM. 2nd in maiden debut, winner of the Grade 1 Sorrento, 3rd in the Del Mar Debutante, 4th in the Chandelier, winner of the Breeders Cup Juvenile Fillies, and 3rd last out in the Las Virgiennes. Last 2 races presented a forged new pair of lifetime bests of 94, the latter race coming out of a 3 month layoff and debut at 3. The BC win gives her strong creedence. Positive 2YO pace, improving on her pre Labor-Day best with 94, plus the distance of 8.5 furlongs make her a strong candidate.
3rd is the highly regarded UNIQUE BELLA. 2nd in maiden debut, winner at 2nd try with 99 BRIS. Winner of the Grade 2 Santa Ynez and Las Virgiennes, both at Santa Anita. Good AWD numbers (Tapit/Unrivaled Belle, out of Unbridled’s Song). Thanks to the 106 score last out, she’s got the best overall pace of the field. Positive 2YO pace progress between her maiden races.   Not my top pick despite her success and odds-on favorite status.
In my top 2:
DADDYS LIL DARLING won maiden race in 2nd try at Ellis Park last July. Won the Grade 2 Pocahontas at CD (exceeded past pre-Labor Day score of 81 with 84), then 2nd in the Alcibiad, 4th in the BC Juvenile Fillies, 2nd in the Golden Rod back at CD. All 4 races at the 8.5 furlong distance. Dosage is in top 7 (Scat Daddy/Miss Hot Salsa, out of Houston).
Top pick in the Future Wager pick is ABEL TASMAN. 5th in maiden debut, won 2nd effort, then won a 59k allowance race, and the Grade 1 Starlet in December (8.5 furlongs). Last 2 races over 90 Brisnet. Top 7 AWD numbers (Quality Road/Vargas Girl by Deputy Minister). Top 7 in overall pace. Positive 2YO pace progress (moved from 70 to 79)
The plan for wagering:
Win bets on my top 3 here if the odds are worse than 5-1. 4th and 5th horses get priority if a horse is at 5-1 or better.
Exacta bets between my top 3, plus over and under the ‘field’ selection.
Two races this weekend undoubtedly will change how the odds will appear for Sunday. That would be the Rachel Alexandra Stakes and Aqu Stakes on 2/25.  If need be, I’ll provide an update.  I am working on 2/26, so my wager might take place early Sunday.   The one issue I do not know is whether the Future is simply open throughout the weekend or if it closes daily on each day.

*************

 As with Pool 2 on the Derby, I use the same categories to determine who is best in each. I kept the top 7, breaking ties as seen fit.
My scheme for wagering will be this:
Win bets on my top 3 horses, excluding those that I’ve been on in prior pools. If I have a prior bet on them that is possibly paying out $10 more than in a prior pool, then I can make a 2nd wager. Otherwise, I go down the line to others.
I will use exactas between my top 3, plus above/below field selection.  If in the event I repeat an exacta from a prior pool, the payout must be higher than in prior; if lower, I will ignore.

Here are the benchmarks created by my top 23:
Dosage: Top 7

AWD: Combined 14.6
Class: At least a Grade 2 victory
CD: Any CD runs
Pace: 96 or better in the last 3 races.
2YO pace progress
Longest distance. 8.5 furlongs is ideal.
Now for the top 6:

Ranked 6th is GORMLEY. Won his maiden debut at 60k level at Del Mar in September.  Won the Grade 1 Front Runner at Santa Anita after that (route debut, 8.5 furlongs) with a strong 97. 7th in the Breeders Cup Juvenile. Won the Grade 3 Sham with new small top of 102, starting his 3YO campaign.   Top 7 Dosage profile (Malibu Moon/Race To Urga, out of Bernstein.  Top 7 in pace. 15-1 ML.  His next race is the San Felipe on 3/11.

Ranked 5th is EL AREEB. Winner of last 4 including the Jerome, the Withers and the JF Lewis. Top AWD numbers (Exchange Rate/Feathered Diamond, out of AP Indy). High ranking pace numbers; last 3: 99, 102, 100. Positive pace progression. The Withers win was at 8.5 furlongs.  20-1 at ML. I already have him in exactas with Guest Strike, McCraken and the Pool 2 field, plus win at 32-1. Probably no win bet here if his odds remain at 20-1.  Not sure when he races next.
Ranked 4th is IRISH WAR CRY. Undefeated in 3, with pace scores of 99, 100, 102, plus wins in the Marylander and the Grade 2 Holy Bull at 8.5 furlongs. Top 7 in AWD (Curlin/Irish Sovereign, out of Polish Numbers).   ML is 12/1, hopefully around this number to use as a win, maybe even in exactas. He will be in the Fountain Of Youth, 3/4.
Ranked 3rd is MCCRAKEN. Undefeated in 4, with wins in the Street Sense, the KY Jockey Club (Grade 2), and the Sam F Davis (Grade 3), the latter 2 at 8.5 furlongs. 3 races at Churchill, best run was 94.  Top 7 in dosage (Ghostzapper/Ivory Empress, out of Seeking The Gold). I have him as 12-1 from Pool 1, and exactas with Hemsworth and Mo Town, Guest Suite and El Areeb, and under/over field selections in the prior pools.  It will be interesting to see how he fares in exacta pools.  I do not expect to wager win bets on him here considering the 12-1 standard.  Next for him is the Tampa Bay Derby on 3/11.
Ranked 2nd is MO TOWN: Winner of the 9 furlong, Grade 2 Remsen Stakes, this after his 2nd maiden race. Top 7 AWD numbers (Uncle Mo/Grazile Mille, out of Bernardini). Remsen score was 101, an improvement over his 89 debut.  Only other horse to win at 9 furlongs.  15/1 at ML. I have him at 12-1. Might be wagering win on him…definite for exactas.  Next race is coming up Saturday in the Risen Star. A lot will hinge on that race.

Top rank is CLASSIC EMPIRE. Winner of the Bashford Manor, the Breeders Futurity and the BC Juvenile. Unfinished in the Hopeful, 3rd in the Holy Bull, bouncing from 108 to 92.  Debuted his career with 2 races at CD, 94 his best effort. Positive pace progress. Last 2 wins came at 8.5 furlongs.  ML odds are 8-1. I have him at 6-1 from Pool 1. If he somehow takes less money, maybe 12-1 or worse, I will place another win bet. Definite for exactas.  Either races in the San Felipe or Tampa Bay Derby.

1/31/17 handicapping post mortem; Derby Future Wager Pool 2 selections

Saturday was a tough day for my handicapping.  I actually did somewhat OK with my top 3 choices in the stakes races, but was not consistent at all with the Laurel Park plays.  Most variables I worked with didn’t pan out well. The ones that did work were the pace-oriented ones. Also, each horse that had both best recent overall speed and tactical (based on run style) won out, including Arrogate.  I judged against pace because I continue to put recent changes such as trainer adjustments and last race run instead.  My theory tends toward what happened since the last race instead of going too much further in the past.  Shaman Ghost was a wise pick, but as an overlay I did not pick him under the co-favorite…I just didn’t want to spread myself too thin with favorites/overlays in exactas. I frankly liked Chrome more than Arrogate, so I used the latter in a few exacta plays, not all.  I therefore could have hit the exacta of 16.90. It would have been at a loss, as I put in $26 for the Pegasus alone! I’d never put in so much on one race unless there were a number of overlays. And there were, in fact.
I did score a win with Pretty Perfection in the Ladies Turf Sprint; she was the best overlay with a chance of an upset. The difference in weight and the pace history was a perfect set up.
One other nice trend that definitely worked were those horses that matched track bias.  In 3 of the 4 races were a horse stood out in track bias, I had the winner.  Race 3 at Laurel was the only blemish. Turbin finished 3rd in that race.  Race 5 I had figured Rosie McGuire and Important…but hardly anyone figured My Girl Tricksy. She definitely fit track bias but lacked more evidence from me to pick as a winner.  Race 7 at Laurel was won by Crazy Bernice, who had best AWD numbers and track bias favored as well.
A modest loss on the 15 races, but I got more $ back as I was playing with a promo code from Xpressbet. This makes 3 companies I’m now wagering with, in addition to 123bet.com and my standby of Twin Spires.
For the 2nd pool, I first had to consider who I took in Pool 1 and compare with my original rankings in Pool 2 as in my earlier post.   Here were my Pool 1 selections:
Wins on these:
Classic Empire 6-1
Hemsworth: 80-1
Lookin at Lee 37-1
Mo Town 12-1
McCraken 12-1
Exactas:
Hemsworth/Mo Tom/McCraken $6 box
Hemsworth, Mo Tom, McCraken over and under field (6/5), $1 each way
In Pool 2, here’s what I did
McCraken was taking more $, at 9-1, and that meant a PASS. I was hoping for 17-1 or worse
Guest Suite was a definite BET at 31-1
EL Areeb was a BET at 32-1
Mo Town was slightly worse at 15-1 but not any more value so that was a PASS
Classic Empire I also took a PASS as he was the big favorite at 5-1.
With 2 bets out of the top 5, I had to go 3 places down in my ranks to get 3 win bets. Here’s who I settled on:
Sonic Mule (as predicted, first out, to replace Classic Empire) 80-1
Mastery 9-1 (stayed below his opening price of 6-1, making him legit)
Gunnevara 24-1.

The exactas went like this:
El Areeb/Guest Suite/McCraken exacta box $6

El Areeb, Guest Suite, McCraken over and under field (5/2), $1 each way.
Cheapest exacta from my selections: Field/McCraken, $93 (46.50 for me)
Imagine an El Areeb/Guest Suite finish. It would pay $3726! ($1863 to me)
I now have 8 horses with win bets in the Derby, and some nice exactas going on (most of them with McCraken) as the Trail begins to take further shape.

My Enlightened Trails resume with the California Oaks at Golden Gate Fields  on 2/11.  I will definitely cover some of the races involving leading Derby Trail horses that are running Saturday 2/4. I figure the Holy Bull, Swale, Gotham and Withers Stakes are the most important races.