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
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:
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 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
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.

Kentucky Derby Future Wager 2017 Pool 2 projected picks

A lot to get to in the next few days, what with the Pegasus World Cup, and the latest handicapping contest from The Racing Biz, which will involve the PWC, plus 9 other races at Gulfstream and Laurel Parks. But, this post focuses on Kentucky Derby Future Wager 2017, Pool 2. This on the heels of the Triple Crown nominations. Here are my findings:
Below I am listing the progeny of the 5 sires I have placed win bets on for this year’s Derby. The ‘in’ reference are horses I cited as key horses for making the sire wagers in the first places. “out” refers to those initial key horses that were not nominated.
BERNARDINI (13 horses, 14-1): Haul Anchor (in), Reedini, Shamsaan, Takaful (in), Texican, Third Day, Insurgent, Curate, Newman (in), Fuel The Bern, Outplay, Balandeen (in), Hemsworth (in). Out: Altito, Souper Catch. Hemsworth was 80-1 in Pool 1

INTO MISCHIEF (16, 24-1): Sheer Mayhem, Practical Joke (in), Into Belief, Pure Heart, One Liner, Excitations, Oxford Lane, Menace The Dennis, Westmont (in), Into Kings, Twisted Road, Spicoli, Marco Mischief, Cool Arrow (in), Troublewithatee, Dangerfield (in). Out: Bold Prophet, Calculated Risker, Candy Snatcher, Conquest Prankster, Cooked Are Good, Dab, Huevos Rancheros, KY Colonel, South Sea, The All Buttonm, Theoryintopractice.
Practical Joke is in KDFW Pool 2, and was 26-1 in Pool 1

KITTEN’S JOY: (4, 47-1) Gorgeous Kitten, Mistake Present, King Caymus, Kitten’s Royal. Out: Oscar Performance, Kitten’s Cat, Miracle Mountain, Unspoiled Moments, Kayla’s Kitten.

SCAT DADDY (6, 42-1): Wazzup Chuck, Daddy’s Placer (in), Papa Jazz, Conquest Farenheit (in), Conquest Bandit (in), Soglio. Out: Caravaggio, Nerinx, Scatoga, Ventry Bay, Wild Scat Blue.

UNCLE MO (15, 9-1) : Basha, Sakab, Monaco, Uncle Billy, Uncle Mojo, Mo Town, The Hardest Way, Letsgoidaho, Shareholder Value, Mo’s Mojo, Adorned, I Can Do Anything, Royal Mo, Absolutely Stylish, One Mo Chance
Mo Town is in KDWF Pool 2, and was 12-1 in Pool 1

The sires I selected have 54 nominations, the same total  I  garnered in 2016!
As for the future wager itself, I am taking the same approach as with Pool 1: Win bets on my top 5 horses, and exactas between top 3 regardless of odds, plus the field between each.
Should any of my top 5 horse be any worse odds than I may have selected in the first pool, with a higher payout of at least $10, I will put an extra win bet on that horse. For example, a horse who is 10-1 from Pool 1 has become 16-1in Pool 2 I would pay extra for, but not if he’s 14-1 or anything better than that.
The categories: Dosage, AWD, top class defeated, longest distance win, pace progress at age 2, Churchill Downs best BRIS speed figure, best general pace numbers based on BRIS numbers.
I kept the top 7 scores in each category for all 23 horses, including ties. The most placings in the top 7 would earn that horse a win bet from me, keeping the top 5. I ultimately found 6 horses, and it came down to logistics.
The #6 horse, and first out is very likely to become my #5: SONIC MULE joins initially at 50-1. Winner of his maiden start at Monmouth and 4th in the Saratoga Special, he’d finish 3r din the Sapling in his route debut, 2nd in the Armed Forces (turf debut), then won his last 3….a 75k allowance race, the Buffalo Man with a sharp 103 score, and the Mucho Macho Man. Appears to have the best pedigree overall. He is a son of Distorted Humor, who percentage-wise, has the best black-type score for all sires in North America. Dam side is Globe Trot, out of the great AP Indy. Combined AWD is 7.1 on the sire side, 8.2 for dam-sire, best combo here. His recent score prove him to be fast enough among the 23 (94 in the Mucho Macho Man, 88 in the OC race). On the downside, he hasn’t defeated Graded company yet, has not yet run at Churchill, and has not even been entered in a distance beyond a mile.
#5 and last in, is CLASSIC EMPIRE. I already have odds of 6-1 on him. If he were to be worse than 11-1, I’d play another win wager on him. By most accounts, he’s the big favorite for the Run for the Roses, having the most Derby Trail points. Chances are very good I will skip betting win on him and proceed to Sonic Mule. Besides, I will not bet win on any horse better than 6-1.
Winner of 4 of 5 lifetime, including his maiden start, then the Bashford Manor, the Breeders Futurity and the Breeders Cup Juvenile. Failed to finish in the Hopeful. His BC Juvenile score was an amazing 108. One of 4 horses to win at the Grade 1 level. His Bashford Manor score took place at Churchill, with a 94 rating. Factoring in his non-finish, I am slightly hesitating on giving more confidence to him. With his BC Juvenile score, he proved positive pace progress. One of 6 horses to win at 8.5 furlongs. Pedigree does not rank at all with this group.

#4: MO TOWN. I have him at 12-1. He is 20-1 morning-line. Indeed, if he’s worse than 17-1, I will play a win bet on him. 2nd in his first maiden race, winner in his 2nd as he ran his first route race, then won the Remsen Stakes with a 101 Brisnet while extending to 9 furlongs. Good AWD numbers here (Uncle Mo/Grazie Mille, by Bernardini). The Remsen Stakes win proved his pace progress at 2. Longest distance win of this group at 9 furlongs. Meanwhile he has not run at CD yet, and his current pace of speed figures is just a shade lower than the best.

#3 EL AHEED: 50-1 at ML. 4th in his maiden debut, then 2nd while dropping to 40k maidens, then broke through in 3rd start. Followed this with a win in the JF Lewis III 100k race at Laurel on 11/19, with a 102 BRIS score. Then posted a 100, winning the Grade 3 Jerome at Aqueduct, 1/2/17. AWD numbers are very good (Exchange Rate/Feathered Diamond, out of AP Indy). Currently among the fastest pace horses of the 23. Jerome Stakes was 1 mile-70 yards, shorter than the benchmark 8.5 furlongs for the 23. No runs at Churchill yet. Will most likely involve him in exactas.

#2 GUEST SUITE: Opens at 50-1 also. 3rd in his maiden debut, winner of his 2nd maiden score at 60k, in his route debut. 3rd in the Street Sense, winner of a 75k optional claimer (these 2 races at CD), then winner of the Grade 3 LeComte last week at 8.5 furlongs. 4 straight small new tops in pace, ranging from 85 to 93. 2 races at CD make him legit. Pedigree is weak compared to others. Despite being consistent in pace, his numbers are rather slow. Definite for win/exactas.

#1 pick is another repeat in MCCRAKEN. All races at CD..all wins. 43k maiden debut, then the Street Sense at a mile, then the KY Jockey Club at 8.5 furlongs, with a 93 Brisnet, pairing up with a 94 prior. Dosage figures are among the better ones here. He did not run prior to Labor Day, so I’m unsure if he’s progressing well. Also with a 94 at best, his pace numbers need to improve. He was 12-1 win bet that also got used in exactas. I will use him only if he is worse than 17-1. Somehow I don’t see that happening. If that’s the case, I’ll leave him for exactas, but I’d have to go to my 7th ranked horse. That horse would be MASTERY. Also undefeated in 3 races…52k maiden, G3 Bob Hope, G1 Los Alamitos Futurity. Pace scores range from 93 to 99, so the class and pace numbers are there, as well as the requisite distance. Meanwhile, he’s lacking in pedigree and has yet to run at CD.

Mastery is opening at 6-1. Should he better than 6-1, I’ll drop down to the 8th ranked horse, GUNNEVARA. 2nd in his maiden debut last June, 4th in the Birdonre, winner of his 2nd maiden event, winner of the Saratoga Special, 5th in the Breeders Futurity, winner of the Delta Downs Jackpot with lifetime best 96. The class is certainly there as well as the distance and pace progress. On the downside, the pedigree doesn’t measure up, and neither does his current pace overall, and he has no CD appearances.



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