Pacific Classic 2017 thoughts

Everyone’s handicapping the Pacific Classic, maybe riding Arrogate’s strong numbers and playing with the percentages…otherwise trying to beat him. Naturally, I fall into the latter category. Here’s how I see this race, which is 10 furlongs on the Del Mar dirt track, a Grade 1 event with $1 million at stake.
My top 3 are Hard Aces, Collected, and Donworth. Overlays are Hard Aces and Donworth.

Hard Aces had last won in April at Santa Anita in the Tokyo City, then last year’s Cougar II Handicap. I focus strongly on his run last out, the 2017 Cougar II. He had the lead for half of the 12 furlong race, nosed out in the finish. In the process he had to run wide, and also bumped a few rivals.With 3 runs in the 90s, he has the most consistent run of BRIS ratings. I like that he improved a bit at the 2nd call first after layoff, and assumed the lead at that point also.

Donworth hasn’t won since the 2015 Stanton, 3 races ahead of his maiden breaker. My focus is on the fact that he’s the lone early speed of the field. Also, he has the best fit for track bias. In 34 races at 10 furlongs during the Del Mar meet, early sprinters have won 14 of them, a 41% clip. Also, the range of horses in posts 4-7 in those races have the best scoring ability, at 16%. He does post a bounce risk, but I like the timing of his running here to overlook that fact.

I am likely to bet to win on those 2 horses, mixing in Collected, Accelerate and, yes, Arrogate to play over in exactas.

Enlightened Trails update through 8/13/17

With my work schedule cutting into my usual bit of analysis on a weekly basis, I had taken a break from the Trails. I aim to get back onto the saddle (wait; into or onto?) with the next relevant races on 8/20.
Here’s the latest spreadsheets:
OAKS:
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/10AeZ-2-yf2GW701zpzt-r62pzXQsxea4Km57h4sEunc/edit?usp=sharing

DERBY:
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1ZMfIOPgnbXXmYUKlxStJ0K6sOwWPlPhsRNLyjeb5PMs/edit?usp=sharing

Song From Above is the first horse on either trail to finish in the top 4 in 2 such races. She won the Juan Gonzalez Memorial at Oak Tree last month, then ran 2nd in the Wine Country Debutante at Santa Rosa this past weekend.

Outside of the trails, I’ve done occasional wagering on these websites:
TVG: A strong player in the DAW market. I admit to really like their ‘winsurance’ wagers.
Del Mar has its own daily one-race contest, using $100 mythically between mutuel and exacta plays.
TwinSpires, still the gold standard, is where I check out all races running, plus replays, and it’s super-easy to wager within its system.
DerbyWars became legal for us WA residents. I did win that 5-race contest, and I can now enter more cash contests (and those small point contests) as well.
Still disappointed that 123bet gave up on providing free past performances for the Emerald Downs meet-long contest.  I haven’t played their pick-6 contests but I have a few dollars lying around for it, just in case.

Enlightened Trails update: Lone Star @ Texas Prairie

Lone Star Park @Texas Prairie is the site for the initial Enlightened Derby Trail race of this campaign, twinned with the 2nd Oaks Trail race earlier on the card.

The Texas Futurity for fillies is 5 furlongs, with a 100k purse. My top 3 here are Silver In The City, then overlays Rockin’ Royalty and Western Maid. I also like first-time starter Golden Cat Tate as an overlay.

Silver In The City is consistent with 3 runs in the 70s, peaking at 72 on 6/10. Gained half-length on the leader at the 2nd call.
Rockin’ Royalty enters with good track bias: 40% of early-presser types running this distance have won (12 wins in 30). 16% of the winners have come from posts 4-7. Wears blinkers for the first time, and gets favorable jockey switch to Ernesto Valdez-Jiminez.
Western Maid also peaked 2 races back, running a 70 on 6/10, paired with 68 last out. Was close in contention all throughout her last race, a 21k statebred filly maiden event, and briefly led in the stretch.
Golden Cat Tate I will give benefit of the doubt as she does come in with great works.

 

2 races later, the colts take their turn in the similarly named Texas Futurity. It is open to colts and geldings for a 100k, going 5 furlongs.
My top 3 here are 2nd favored Almeria, Swift Shock, and longshot/overlay My Golden Tate. Other overlays: Solar Effect, Ramblin Fever, Toledo Pache
My Golden Tate just after claim, had runs in the 60s, breaking maiden with 65 lat out. Prior to that, ran a 69 in an open maiden race. Looked good in his progression vs leader last time.
Solar Effect broke maiden in 2nd start with gain from 64 to 72.
Ramblin Fever showed some gain vs leader in his 4th place debut start on 6/23
Toledo Pache with small new top to 72 in 3rd lifetime start, first time at 5 furlongs and on muddy track. I give respect to the pattern here.

2017 Queen’s Plate analysis

Quickly looking at the Queen’s Plate past performances, here’s my top 3 for this Grade 1 event, 3YO fillies, going 10 furlongs on Woodbine’s Tapeta track.
STATE OF HONOR was a highly regarded horse coming into the KY Derby, after setting a few new tops in the 90s and promptly finished 19th of 20. In the Plate Trial last out, in his return to Woodbine he was outkicked at the finish, but had led all the way for much of the race. He is the lone sprinter of the field and has the best turn time from his last 2 races. The KY Derby race makes him the only horse in the field to have gone the 10 furlong distance.
MEGAGRAY has 4 starts, all at Woodbine, winning his 2nd maiden race, 3rd in the Wando, 4th in the G3 Marine. One of several coming out of the Marine, all who are stretching out from 8.5 furlongs. 3 works, 2 fast, both at Woodbine. Last 3 races were in the 80s BRIS rating, ahead of his debut at 77.
CHANNEL MAKER on the rail has the best AW and track score here, a 93, running 2nd in the Marine. Even with that number, he still had something of a wide trip. I’m banking on these numbers to be a good influence.
Suggested odds:
Channel Maker 8-1 Overlay
Holy Helena 14-1
King and His Court 14-1
Tiz A Slam 9-1
State Of Honor 4-1 Overlay
Malibu Secret and Megagray 5-1 Overlays

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
Bloodhorse.com’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.

Royal Ascot 3-race analysis 6/21/17

Taking time to look at Royal Ascot for this morning, I have just enough time to tell you about 3 of the 6 races for day 4 of the current 5-day meeting, starting with Race 2.
That 2nd race is the King Edward Stakes, 12 furlongs on Ascot’s turf course for 3YO colts/geldings. It’s a Group 3 event for 277000. My top 3 are Best Of Days, favored Crystal Oceans, and Permian. Overlays per morning-line: Permian and Frankuus.
Best Of Days has 2 wins and a 3rd lifetime, including a win in his debut, so being first after layoff should not produce rust. Using the TS racings by the Racing Post, he seems to be bouncing back in pace. I like that he’s waiting longest to stretch out, 9 months in all.
Permian 9 of 11 in money lifetime, comes out of a disappointing 10th in the Investec Derby at Epsom. Best turf speed of the field, also in pace recovery mode, 6 races since layoff, high pace, and subsequent downturn.
Frankuus has a checkered career total but I like that he’s got 2 runs at Ascot and a slow but steady pattern of pace scores, unlike his competition here.

Next is the featured Commenwealth Cup, a Group 1 event for open 3YOs, going 6 furlongs on turf. My top 3 here are longshot/overlays Intelligence Cross and Victory Angel, followed by the favored Harry Angel. Also consider Mr Scarlet as an overlay too.

Intelligence Cross 6 of 9 in the money, adds blinkers for this race. Also switches positively to jockey Heffernan.

Victory Angel 3 of 5 lifetime, fastest horse of those coming in with a somewhat troubled trip.

Mr Scarlet had recently produced a forward pace in his last 2 races. Despite the bounce risk, I am expecting him to at least come close to his prior numbers.

 

Race 4 is the Group 1 Coronation Stakes, for top rank 3YO fillies, going 1 mile on Ascot’s turf course. Top 3 here are Dabyah, the highly favored Winter, and longshot/overlay La Coronel.
La Coronel I mainly like because she has a win following a cutback in distance. 4 wins in 8, and must be considered.

Without run styles or Brisnet pace numbers to go on, this is the best I can offer.