Summary of my 2014 Future Wager selections plus stakes selections

For my sanity, I wanted to outline the horses I selected out of the 3 Kentucky Derby pools and the Kentucky Oaks pool including final fixed odds.

OAKS pool:
Please Explain 26-1
She’s A Tiger 15-1
Untapable 5-1
Field 5-1
I used win on these 3 horses. I put the field over and under these 3 in exactas.

DERBY POOL 1
Havana 26-1
Bobby’s Kitten 28-1
Rise Up 50-1
Strong Mandate 27-1
New Year’s Day 15-1
I placed win bets on each of these.

DERBY POOL 2
Tapiture 38-1
Bobby’s Kitten 46-1
Top Billing 13-1
I placed win bets on each of these.

DERBY POOL 3
Honor Code 11-1
Tamarando 53-1
Tapiture 17-1
I placed win bets on these 3 horses, and exactas to each other.
I also played the field (3-1) over and under these 3 horses
Looking at this, I realized I shouldn’t have played Tapiture a 2nd time with better odds.

Notably, as of today, Top Billing and New Year’s Day are off the Derby trail.
In pool 4, I will make the same sort of wager, using my top 3 in wins (assuming worse odds of the horse than before) and exactas to each other, plus involving the 2 best bettting interests by the public in exactas both over and under. Any horse that I previously bet that I can get worse odds on are worth playing a 2nd or even 3rd win bet.

In brief, here’s who I like in 4 stakes races at Santa Anita and 1 at Tampa Bay Downs:
San Felipe: 9-7-2 (Midnight Hawk, Kristo, Unstoppable Colby)
San Carlos: 10-7-5 (Shakin It Up, Ready For More, Cyclometer)
Kilroe Mile: 1-8-9 (Lochte, Tom’s Tribute, Silentio)
Santa Anita Handicap: Mucho Macho Man, Imperative, Game On Dude)
Tampa Bay Derby: 6-3-10  (Vinceremos, Matador, Tuscan Getaway)

2014 Kentucky Derby Pool 2 analysis

Pool 2 of the future wager begins on Thursday noon ET with 75 horses and 24 betting interests. This pool you’ll recognize as Pool 1 from previous years and reveals how some of the contenders are doing at age 3.
I wagered 5 $2 win bets, with Rise Up (50-1), Strong Mandate (27-1), Havana(26-1), New Year’s Day (15-1, now retired) and Bobby’s Kitten (28-1)

 

For my analysis, I use a system of different variables. Top dosage profile as correlated with chef-de-race.com’s racetrack profile for Churchill Downs in 2013; best combined AWD, top class win, best Brisnet speed for Churchill; best current pace based on runstyle, best fall 2013 2YO progression; longest distance win. I included 4 categories counted as one together: all horses exploding in pace form, forging lifetime best, horses subject to bounce back after bounce, and those who are possible bounce cases.I decided to profile the top 7 of 1 of the 23 standard, and any horses that seem competitive from the ‘field’ selections that seem outstanding on their own.
Just to get these out of the way, here’s the two best horses from the #24 field:
QUICK INDIAN is the best of the 2 out of the field. Winner in 4th lifetime start after 3 maiden efforts, and a win in a 50 Optional claimer at Fair Grounds on 1/24. Peaked in that with an 85, just past 2YO best. First 2 races at Churchill. This closer in the top 4 for all 4 races. 8.2 AWD from dam Quick Temper (AP Indy). At Churchill, 84 Brisnet in 8.5 furlongs on 11/16.

 

Other contender is IN TROUBLE, winner of the Grade 2 Futurity at Balmont last fall. Winner of both lifetime starts. Great 2nd call pace numbers (109, 91)
Now here are the best of the rest of the #24 field selection. Any of these horses can certainly break through in the next pools. Presented in no order:
CHELIOS broken maiden in January, 2nd try at 56k. 1st, 2nd in 2 lifetime. Great AWD from dam Grat of 8.2 (AP Indy). Exploding pace form with the 92 Brisnet in the win makes him dangerous for Pool 3 next time.
ENTERPRISING won the Eddie Logan at Santa Anita in December. LIke his AWD of 8.2 (Indy Blaze, out of AP Indy). Exploding form thanks to 92 lifetime Brisnet last time out in the California Derby, at Golden Gate.

UNKNOWN ROAD with 7.7 AWD from sire Bernardini (AP Indy again). Broke maiden at 45k with a 103 score at Fair Grounds in December.
BOND HOLDER was entered in 3 straight Grade 1, winning the Front Runner at Santa Anita, then 2 4th place finishes in the BC Juvenile and the Cash Call Futurity. The Front Runner victory was contested at 8.5 furlongs .
WE MISS ARTIE won the Grade 1 Breeders Futirity at Keeneland. Progressed well at 2YO owing to the pace numbers in the Futurity (88), and the BC Juvenile (80).

 

ALMOST FAMOUS 2 wins in 3 starts at Churchill, with an 87 in a 75k OC race, 2 races back, at 8.5 furlongs.

 

 

CLEBURNE winner of 2 lifetime in 2, including the Grade 3 Iroquois at Churchill back in September, contested at 8.5 furlongs.

 

 

COMMANDING CURVE 3-for-3 in the money at Churchill, breaking maiden at 41k level, this at 8.5 furlongs.

 

 

KENDALL’S BOY won and broke maiden in only Churchill state. Scored a 93 last out in an OC 50k, just past his 2YO best of 90, this in his pro debut.
*****Now for my top 5 out of the standard 23. What I did was simply ranked who are in the top third in each variable. Whichever horse had the most placings I would include for a potential wager. I would break ties by looking head-to-head (er, mane-to-mane) to each horse’s numbers. Ideal result for me would be 5 horses that I can confidently bet win on.l am not betting the field nor exactas. Also, if there is a horse that I liked in Pool 1 that are taking less money in Pool 2 (less than the depicted final Pool 1 odds above) and happens to be one of my five here, I’ll add an extra win bet.

I discovered there is one horse that proved outstanding, and 8 in a tie for second. Great. Off to the tiebreakers, keeping the best 4 of 8. Here’s how that went, starting with the 4 who missed the final cut:
Rank 9th: CONQUEST TITAN: Deep closer, winner of the Swynford at Woodbine in 2nd lifetime start last August. Dueling 7.4 AWD scores from sire Birdstone (Grindstone) and Miner’s Secret (Mineshaft) Dosage profile is one of the best in the field. Best Churchill performance is 2 races back, a 92 win in a 75k optional allowance, setting new lifetime best, since equaled last time in the Holy Bull (G2). Good 2YO progression with an 87 in the Swynford before Labor Day, then the 92 peak in November. Hasn’t yet won vs Graded company, pace overall rather slow compared to others. Has not won past 1 mile.
Rank 8th: NOBLE MOON, winner of maiden debut at 80k, 3rd in the G2 Nashua, winner last time out of the G2 Jerome. Dam side AWD of 8.5 (Mambo Bell by Kingmambo). 2nd call pace numbers are very good but a bit too slow even for this final group. On the border of greatness, needs to improve in distance and pace performance. In his favor is current pace progression: Exploding pace growth with the 95 in the Jerome, lifetime best effort, paired with prior effort of 91 in the Nashua, so could bounce right off of this, and maybe bounce back.Rank 7th: CAIRO PRINCE: Winner of the Nashua, 2nd in the Remsen by a nose, winner of the Holy Bull, all at Grade 2. The 8.5 furlong Nashua was his 2YO best score, a 95. Exploding form with the Holy Bull win, a 98 score, new lifetime mark. Could bounce from here. Current pace numbers for this closer are a bit slow. Doesn’t have the matching pedigree or AWD numbers for a win at Churchill.

Rank 6th: HONOR CODE won the 9-furlong Remsen last time, 2nd in the G1 Champagne. The 9-furlong win is the longest distance win of the Pool 2 horses. Among the last of AP Indy’s foals, gets the 8.2 AWD score. Has not improved in pace after his pair of 98s to begin his career and his 2nd call pace numbers are very low for someone stalking the pace. No pace progression to suggest further growth.So now we know that Honor Code is on the doorstep. Here are those I rank #5 through #2 whom I will bet on, pending the odds change:

#5: STRONG MANDATE already considered in Pool 1 by me, hasn’t raced since then. Good AWD on both sides (sire: Tiznow by Cee’s Tizzy; dam: Clear Mandate, by Deputy’s Minister). Winner of the G1 Hopeful, 3rd in the BC Juvenile. Excellent 2nd call pace numbers. Best 2YO score was the 97 win in the Hopefu, showing early development. Hasn’t won past 7 furlongs, and has yet to match that 97.

#4: TOP BILLING with very good AWD (7.5 from Curlin, 8.2 from Parade Queen). Deep closer has the best pace numbers of the field, a mighty stretch kick seeing him win 2 of 3, finishing 2nd by a neck otherwise. Best 2YO score was his maiden debut win, an 86, rather low compared to this field. Won last race at 8.5 furlongs, pairing up scores of 93 in last two, which shows promise of more in 2014. Hasn’t defeated Graded company yet#3 HAVANA (previously considered in Pool 1): Good dosage profile for this field. Winner of the G1 Champagne. 2nd best pace numbers of the Pool. Champagne win was a 98, strong for 2YOs.

#2 BOBBY’S KITTEN (previously considered in Pool 1). Winner of the G3 Pilgrim, 3rd in the BC Juvenile Turf. Dosage is strong for this field. Ranked 4th in overall pace for the Pool. Best 2YO score was a 97 in the Pilgrim at 8.5 furlongs.
And for my top choice out of the pool:TAPITURE: Competitive dosage score. Winner of the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) on 11/30 with a 95, best winning race at Churchill of the Pool. Good competive pace numbers, as well as the 95 at 2.

Kentucky Derby 2014 future wager Pool #1 analysis/selections

It’s my favorite wager in horse handicapping. The future wager! I don’t play the exotics,save the occasional exacta. I’m tempted to spread a superfecta at times but that’s so much $ going out, and I do know the payoff is really nice when you can hit. I do know a system that can work, from the folks at http://www.predictem.com But this post is about the wager I’ve done the best with and it’s enabled me to build upon my reputation as a visionary with handicapping.

The future wager, at www.kentuckyderby.com is being contested for the first time during the 2YO campaign of KY Derby contenders. This extra pool runs before the 3 pools that have been in place for years, along with the singular KY Oaks pool. The concept is simple, to wager a win or exacta bet on a horse well before the big race, most of the time at much higher odds than the horse will actually run at post time, if that horse manages to make it through a bunch of prep races and actually start the race. It’s been challenging to pick one out of the first pool in February in prior years, but I’ve done well in the 2nd (which is now the 3rd), taking place in March.

The approach for me is this: I’ll pick 5 horses to win, among the 23 entered in the pool. I might play the exacta using the field to win, and my 5 horses underneath. www.twinspires.com is offering an elite rewards point prize for those who pick the KY Derby winner out of this one pool, otherwise those who pick horse with the most Derby points on the trail gets the share of a million-point prize. 1000 points is equal to $1, and for wagering via Twinspires, you get 4 points for every dollar wagered at Churchill Downs.

Given my current financial status I’m NOT wagering this pool, but I’ll present picks in the manner in which I WOULD wager. The further approach for the later pools are these:
If one of the 5 horses I select gets into the 2nd pool and the odds are higher (worse) than his final Pool 1 result, I will double-down and wager on that horse again, if that horse is still a contender. Otherwise I’ll leave that horse be. Same with Pools 3 compared to 2 and 4 to 3.

Here are the variables I’m working with this year and their explanation:

DOSAGE: Which horses has the best chef-de-race/dosage profile befitting a horse that typically wins at Churchill? To accomplish this, I access two sources of data: www.chef-de-race.com lists the average chef-de-race score for each major race track in the prior year. Chef-de-race, expressed in 5 numbers measures the strength and focus of a horse’s particular run style, whether as a pure sprinter, a deep closer, or somewhere in the middle. There are 2 extra scores included that make a single number to translate the 5 numbers of this expression, plus an extra number that determines the balance of the 5 numbers. What I will do is check out www.pedigreequery.com and look up the numbers of all 23 horses, then rank each horse by the 3 sets of numbers, compare them to the average set by Churchill. Lower differential makes the difference.

AWD: Average winning distance measures just that from the horse’s sire and dam.
CLASS: Who has won at the highest level? Horses are ranked based on the level of race won. Graded stakes (specifically G1 races) get the top rank, down to ungraded stakes, and all other races following that, down to the maiden level at the bottom.

PACE: Borrowing the main component of sabermetrician Bill James’ “Favorite Toy” method, and looking at run style, I determine who has the fastest pace numbers for the moment. For sprinters I use the 1st call of the last 3 races, 2nd call for early-stalkers, overall pace for closers, and stretch call for late runners. I use the Brisnet numbers, as I trust this info much more than I do for Daily Racing Form’s Beyers.

2YO PROGRESSION: This approach comes from Dave Litfin’s book “Expert Handicapping”. h I look for horses who have run at least one before Labor Day weekend at age 2. Then, I look to see if that horse has had an overall pace figure which improved at some point than his best effort before Labor Day. Between those horses, I rank who has won and then by the winning pace number.

DISTANCE: Which horses have won at the longest distance?

For all categories, the top 7 each get a checkmark. The most checkmarks for a horse brands him or her as a horse I’d select.

So, here are the results! I did identify my top 5, presented, Letterman-style:
#5: NEW YEAR’S DAY: Winner of the BC Juvenile with a 92 Brisnet. www.youtube.com/watch?v=RQyAseuQsLU This race is key as he outpaced Havana and Strong Mandate, 2 of my other 4 contenders. That number was his best effort, following 2 maiden races running in the 80s. Has a contending AWD score (Street Cry-Justwhistledixie, out of Dixie Union). The 8.5 furlong win makes him a contender overall. Pace numbers for this early stalker are somewhat low compared to others, and dosage is not quite a match. Also has not run at CD. 14-1 are his odds at the close of Thursday’s wagering.
#4: BOBBY’S KITTEN: Winner of the Grade 3 Pilgrim at Belmont. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XtyTslw8pMQ 3rd in the BC Juvenile Turf. One of the leading dosage scores here. (Kitten’s Joy-Celestial Woods, out of Forestry). The Pilgrim at 8.5 furlongs was won with a 97, one of the top contending post Labor Day wins in the field. 2nd call numbers in last 3 races ranged from 75 to 109. No races at Churchill yet, and AWD numbers a bit lower than the other contenders. Also, no KY Derby Trail points 21-1
#3: STRONG MANDATE: Winner of the Grade 1 Hopeful at Saratoga, 3rd in the BC Juvenile. Contender in AWD (Tiznow-Clear Mandate by Deputy Minister). Here’s the Hopeful win: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hs7StW6wt_c Winning at Grade 1 also ups his chances. Pace average is very high, with 2nd call numbers of last 3 ranging from 98 to 112. Progression number is contending, with the 97 Brisnet score in the Hopeful.. Hasn’t won beyond that 7-furlong distance tho, dosage profile doesn’t quite fit, and has not yet run at Churchill. 27-1

#2: RISE UP: Winner of 4 of 6 lifetime, including the Delta Downs Jackpot, a Grade 3 event. 6th in the Iroquois at CD, winner of both a 100k and 200k ungraded stakes event. Here’s the Jackpot race: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IsNdCtQlVSE The 78 score in the Iriquois doesn’t impress but at least he has the race on that track. One of the faster pace numbers (last 3 2nd call numbers are from 102 to 106). The 98 scores at Delta Downs was tied with a horse outside my top 5, and my #1 contender for best performance post-Labor Day. It helps that the Jackpot was run at 8.5 furlongs. Pedigree doesn’t quite match up to the others, and has not faced Grade 1 company yet. 68-1
#1 HAVANA: Leads this field in KY Derby points. Winner of the Grade 1 Champagne http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ORtQsL384wc 2nd in the BC Juvenile. Top dosage score from me in the field (Dunkirk-Missy Turtle, by Kyle’s Our Man). 3rd best pace numbers of the field (2nd call numbers run from 103 to 109). The 98 scored in the Champagne is among the most impressive of these colts post-Labor Day. That win came at a mile, with the BC race at 8.5. 20-1
At Thursday’s end of wager, with a mid-Saturday deadline, the ‘all others” are the huge favorite at even- money. with New Year’s Day and Honor Code the next most-favored by the public I don’t care for Honor Code at this moment, as he hasn’t defeated Graded company yet, and, despite his pair of 98 runs in two lifetime races, has not yet run past those numbers. Also, his one win was at the maiden level, for 7 furlongs.
I’ll keep you updated on my selections as we get to Pool #2 in February.