The Racing Biz and TVG Super 8 contest picks 2/3/18

I decided late Friday night on entering 2 full handicapping contests, something
I hadn’t done in a while. What’s not to love about 2 free contests, 8 races each,
with similar rules and stakes?
I’ll post my top 3 selections for each of the 16 races across the Racing Biz and
TVG contests for Saturday (today), and capsule thoughts on each top selection.
Overlay picks I’ll save for the Twitter presence at @idealisticstats

The Racing Biz, as usual, does a monthly contest focusing on mid-Atlantic
state racing. Today, the focus is on 8 races at Laurel Park, races 2-9. There is
a cold snap going on with a slight chance of snow.
Race 2: 4-1-6. 2 logical favorites, one longshot. Lady Terp with 7 wins in 30
starts here. Best speed figures for distance and track, easily the speed threat
here and a good pattern of BRIS figures in the 80s.
Race 3. 5-3-6. No direct access to past performances. I usually side with the
combined win % by jockey and trainer in this circumstance. Love Doctor is
trained by Thomas Iannotti IV, who has a 33% strike rate at the meet so far (1
win in 3 starts)
Race 4: 6-5-8. 2 value horses sandwiching the big favorite. Adversary on
layoff since 1/18, 2 works here in prep, good pedigree via Tapit on dam side.
1st race on reclaim by Sanchez-Salamon, who has 1 win in 3 starts and 2 of 3
in the money in 2018 for these circumstances.
Race 5: 5-4-3..Logical mild favorite ahead of value and longshot. Off Road 1
fast workout since last race 1/14, a race that saw him gain 3 lengths between
calls and later close to win. With trainer chance and slight gain in class, I say
he’s best of these.
Race 6: 2-6-5. Slight value ahead of longshot. Shackle Me Good best pedigree
here (Shackleford/Lovegood, out of Albert The Great). Best speed for distance,
82, acheived last September; 2 of 2 at the distance. New small top of 85 last
time out here on 1/8. Lone sprinter of the field; sprinters are 40% for the 8.5 .
furlong distance thus far, and 19% from posts 1-3.
Race 7: chalky pick of 7-1-8. Demon Buster best in speed as evidenced from
most recent races, all in the 70s. Was 5th of 8 while running 4 wide, but still
posted a 77, running on a good track cutting back from 7 to 5.5 furlongs. Only
early closer in the field
Race 8 : 5-3-6 again, little value ahead of longshot. Joy Drive impressed first
after layoff, with increase of 5 points at 1st call, and closed to leader by 1
length between calls. I like this combo of variables in general.
Race 9: 3-10-8. Lone longshot pick here, ahead of favorite and some more
value. Rescue Cat only early closer in the field. 2 fast works since trainer
change to 18% winner Wayne Potts, plus drop in class.
Picks are scored by mythical payouts at win and place based on a mythical $2
wager. Highest total payout wins out. Just one prize handed out here.

At TVG, the Super 8 continues to be offered. Today, any players with 5 or more
wins will cash out.
Santa Anita race 2: 6-1-3 Chalk to begin the contest. Core Beliefs 2nd start,
1st with Lasix, waiting 3 weeks to stretch out.
Golden Gate race 2: 2-6-4. More chalk. Kung Pow Chick off 3rd straight small
new top of 72, definitely consistent in speed.
Santa Anita race 3, Palos Verdes Stakes: 1-4-2. Roy H big favorite over value.
Gelding, son of More Than Ready off of 4 out of 5 triple-digit races and 4 wins
including at the top Grade 1 level. Best speed for distance and Santa Anita,
truly the speed here. Owns prior shipping wins. Only early-pressing horse of
the field.
Gulfstream Park race 10, Forward Gal Stakes: 8-7-6 Good value to upset in
this race from My Miss Lilly. Won her debut vs 60k maidens on a sloppy
Aqueduct tarck at 6 furlongs. 104 2nd call. 4 works in prep, all very fast.
Santa Anita race 4: 1-8-4 Tizanillusion the chalk over value horses. 96 score in
2016 at Belmont on turf is best for the surface of these. Last 4 races all in the
80s. Several shipping wins. Off since 11/11, has a number of good works here
at SA since.
Gulfstream Park race 11: Dania Beach Stakes: 1-6-8. Speed Franco, winner of
last year’s Pulpit, is my value pick over a favorite and longshot, in a very tough
race to handicap. Best scores for distance, track and surface. Bounced from
102 in the Pulpit to an 89 in the Kitten’s Joy, 6th. The wide trip and mediocre
pace probably hurt his chances. Only early/pressing horse in the field.
Santa Anita race 5. Robert B Lewis Stakes: 5-2-1. Mild favorite over value.
Shivermetimbers 4th in the Sham last out. All 4 races in the 90s, with 3rd
consecutive small new top.
Golden Gate race 6: 4-1-6. Mild value and longshot ahead of favorite. Midvale
Magic 8-2-0-2 here. Good run 1st after layoff and 5YO debut, with an
improvement at each call and 1.5 length gain on leader

Changes to these picks will be updated during the day, upon announcement of
scratches and changes.


2018 Baseball Hall Of Fame ballot analysis

This year’s HOFM class (never, ever forget this is a
museum too, folks) appears pretty strong, with a few
first-timers looking to become first-ballot entrats, and
there are none facing elimination from next year’s ballot.
Jack Morris and Alan Trammell got in via the Modern
Baseball group, to lower the bar somewhat overall. I felt
that Morris was somewhat marginal, and Trammell
reaching at best to be in the conversation. Hall of Fame?
I suppose. More like the Hall of Pretty Consistently
Good. For A While.
As with my previous rankings, I took the top 10 in
various categories, all listed in
Black Ink, Grey Ink, HOF Monitor, HOF Standards, JAWS,
JAWSpos, WAR, WAR/7, most similar players to careers
totals within top 10, most similar cumulative by age
within top 10. From these I counted who were top 10 in
the most categories, and broke ties simply using side-
by-side comparisons. Every position was considered
equal to another.
Results of the initial spreadsheet plus the alternate

Chipper and Thome are easily in among those appearing
for the first time. Johan, among pitchers, proved to be
best of the first-time pitchers. With the Black Ink, Grey
Ink, and WAR stats, he’s in the conversation, but he
lacks in all other areas. Notably he has no similar stats
to other pitchers by others per career and age. Lefty
Grove might have been the best match, but now more
like very good but not oustanding pitchers such as Cole
Hamels or David Price.
Andruw Jones also is best of the rest among batters. He
ranks well within his WAR and JAWS stats, and matches
up well historically to Reggie, Frank Robinson and Duke
Snider, including best match Dale Murphy. I have always
liked him; maybe with a weaker class he’ll move up

There was a tie for the last spot, between Vladimir,
Edgar Martinez and Sheffield. Here’s how they ranked
between them.
Black Ink: Edgar by a mile
Grey: Guerrero, comfortably
Monitor: Guerrero, easily
Standard: Guerrero, big
WAR: Here’s where there is a closer argument between
the three. Edgar with the narrow advantage.
WAR7: Edgar in another close shave.
JAWS: Edgar again, close.
JAWSPOS: Edgar, 11th at 3B, nicely over Vladimir and
Sheffield in RF.
Similar career in stats: Sheff ranks just ahead of Vladimir
here. Sheff compares to these HOF’ers: Ott, Reggie,
Griffey, Mickey, Billy Williams, Frank Robinson, Frank
Vladimir: Bagwell, Rice, Stargell, Billy Williams, Duke
Similarity, age: Guerrero, easily.
Edgar narrowly gets the edge over Vladimir for my
virtual vote over the others.
IN: Clemens, Bonds, Thome, Ramirez, Walker, Sosa,
Jones, Mussina, Schilling, Edgar.

As for my own, sabermetric version of the ballot, there
were 19 batters, 10 starters, and 4 relief pitchers. Kerry
Wood I count as both starter and reliever, as he switched
mid-careeer from his starter role.
I decided on creating a vote by taking the top 6 batters,
3 starters, and the one best reliever.
From the total amount of batters, Bonds, Chipper,
Ramirez, Sheffield, Thome are in…there is a tiebreaker
between Guerrero, Sosa and Andruw Jones. Let’s see how
they compare:
Games played: Sosa by about 200 over others
WPA/LI: Guerrero narrowly over Sosa
MVP Shares: Guerrero slightly over Sosa
Franchises played for: A bit of a tie. Sosa with the edge,
playing for just 4.
HR/PA: Sosa wins here, a few PAs ahead of the others
Postseason games: Andruw Jones leads here with 76,
dwarfing Vladimir’s 44.
Zen factor: Vladimir slight edge over the others at 416.
Sosa and Guerrero in a tie after these. Using them
head-to-head, here’s who matches up better:

Sosa leads in G, franchises, HR/PA. Guerrero leads in all
others. I will give him the edge here.
SP: Between the 9, I chose the top 3 for each variable and
collected the details. Clemens and Schilling are an easy
1-2. Then there’s a tie between Wood and Johan for the
last spot. Here’s how they match up:
Johan leads in these categories: WPA/LI, MVP, CYA,
franchises. Wood leads in G, K/BF, postseason G, Zen
Gee, flatfooted tie. Do I put them both in? I could. Maybe
it’s just easier to leave them in and go with a 5-4-1
framework….5 batters, 4 starters, 1 RP.
If we do this, then here’s how my ballot would work:
Bonds, Chipper, Thome, Ramirez, Sheffield
Clemens, Schilling, Johan, Wood

Combining both lists, here’s my bona fides:
Clemens, Bonds, Thome, Ramirez, Schilling

On the doorstep….these are on either one of the other
Sheffield, Chipper, Johan, Wood, Hoffman, Walker, Jones,
Mussina, Sosa, Edgar.
Everyone else is out, including McGriff,
Kent, Wagner, and all the other first-time ballot

2018 Kentucky Derby Pool 1 analysis


In studying the Future Wager, I kept to last year’s procedure for handicapping, duplicated from my previous post. Class, Churchill Downs pace, longest win, pace progress, AWD, run pace.
I kept the top 7 in each category, and added up the ranks in variables. Here first I’m listing the best of the rest, in the event one of my horses has too good of the odds.
8th: COPPER BULLET: Grade 2 winner of the Saratoga Special, following a 2nd in the Bashford Manor at CD, and his maiden win there with a 93 Bris.
The 93 score ties for best CD effort of the 23 horses here. Lifetime runs: 94, 88, 93, 88.
7th: TIZ MISCHIEF: Won at maiden level in 3rd try at Keeneland 10/7, 8.5 furlongs, 90 BrIs.

Prior race was 93 at CD, matching Copper Bullet’s best here. Maiden debut was 79, so the progress is hopeful.
6th: SPORTING CHANCE. Winner of the Grade 1 Hopeful after winning vs 83k maidens. Lifetime pace numbers: 98, 89, 79. Making good pace progress.
And here’s the top 5:
AVERY ISLAND Winner of the Grade 2 Nashua at Aqueduct on 11/5. Good AWD numbers (Street Sense/Kinda Spicy by AP Indy) Won maiden race at 8.5 furlongs.

UNTAMED DOMAIN: Won the Grade 2 Summer Stakes, 2nd last out in the BC Juvenile Turf with 89 Bris; 3rd in the G3 8.5 furlong With Anticipation. Good AWD numbers (Animal Kingdom/Ciao, out of Lear Fan). Progressing nicely in pace; 4 gains out of a possible race in each lifetime effort.

FREE DROP BILLY Winner of the Grade 1 8.5 furlongs Breeders Futurity, 2nd in the Hopeful (98 Bris) and Sanford. 9th last time out in the Breeders Cup Juvenile. Union Rags/Trensa, out of Giant’s Causeway. Positive pace progress, with best at 98 coming in early September.

GOOD MAGIC: Already a superstar, winning the BC Juvenile while still a maiden. 2nd in the Champagne. Curlin/Glinda The Good, out of Hard Spun. Lifetime numbers: 105, 96, 92. Ideal pace progress, Grade 1 wins and 8.5 furlong victory
BOLT D’ORO is my most highly favored pick. 3 wins and a 3rd: Won his maiden debut vs 60k at Del Mar in August, then the Bashford Manor Futurity, and the Front Runner, then third in the BC Juvenile Medaglia D’Oro/Globe Trot, out of AP Indy. Lifetime numbers: 99, 105, 94, 91. Also with good pace progress and 8.5 furlong victory.

The plan is to wager on my top 5 for wins, and top 3 to each other in exactas, along with the field selections.


Breeders Cup 2017 Saturday picks (minus the Classic)

Continuing now with the Saturday Breeders Cup card…
furlongs, 2YO fillies, $2 million.
Top 3 are 7-13-9.. Moonshine Memories,
Separationofpowers, and Alluring Star. Overlays:
Caledonia Road, Blonde Bomber, Stainless. I figure
this race is more about the favored horses, and less
about value..but here’s what I am seeing:
Caledonia Road was 2nd in the Frizette with a 100, this
ahead of maiden debut of 89 over a sloppy track. Those
numbers are fastest of these. The Frizette trip was
slightly to very wide out late. This early closer had
very quick trips to rely upon to close.
Blonde Bomber took 5 tries to break maiden, then won a
75k stakes event with a nice 94. 5 straight gains in
pace. Waiting since 9/30 to stretch from 8 furlongs.
:24 turn time from last race.
Stainless was 3rd in the Schuylerville, then 4th in the
Adirondack, then 2nd in the Jessamin, debuting on turf
Most likely race thus far to produce favorites.

BREEDERS CUP TURF SPRINT, 3YO+, $1 million, 5 furlongs
on turf. Top 3: 3-6-10 Morning-line top 2 in Lady
Aurelia and Marsha. For 3rd I like Hogy. Overlays:
Stormy Liberal, Cotai Glory, Paquita Coqueta (AE).
Stormy Liberal twice has won first after layoff. Gained
a length on leader by 2nd call last time out.
Cotai Glory comes out of a pair of presumably lifetime
best speed figures.
Paquita Coqueta has shipping wins, a prior win on the
track, and gained a bit on the leader in her last

FILLY & MARE SPRINT, 7 furlongs, fillies/mares 3YO+,
for purse of $1000000, ”Top 3 are 4-1-11….Finest
City,Carina Mia, and heavily favored Unique Bella.
Overlays: Finest
City, Carina Mia, Highway Star, and Constellation.
Finest City has 15 placings in 19 races including the
Santa Monica and last years’ BC Filly/Mare Sprint. 102
in that BC race is fastest of this field for Del Mar.
Best turn time and turn time gain of the field too.
Carina Mia has wins in the Acorn and the Shine Again.
Was 2nd in a stakes race at Belmont 9/24, running a 96,
somewhat wide throughout.
Highway Star has 8 wins in 13 lifetime, including the
Gallant Bloom, the Ruffian, the Distaff and the Go For
Wand. Has several shipping wins, and switches back to
Angel Arroyo, regular rider.
Constellation has placed 11 of 12 races, won the La
Brea, the Phoenix, Ruthless and Furlough. Gained half
length on leader last time out, and worked out quite
well in prep; 5 works since last, 1 bullet.


FILLY & MARE TURF, 9 furlongs fillies/mares 3YO+, $2
million. Top 3: 10-5-13 Queen’s Trust (overlay),
Wuheida, Goodyearforroses (overlay)

Queen’s Trust has a decent record, but 2 wins in 13
lifetime, is the defending champion of this race. She
ran last year’s version at Santa Anita, nosing out a
win with a 109 Bris score. Frankie Dettori rode her to
victory, and is back in the saddle today. Has a prior
win while dropping 4 lbs in weight carried.
Wuheida makes her US debut after competing well across
Europe. Won her first 2 races, one a Grade 1 event in
France. Could be recovering well in pace, ever since a
nice showing first after layoff in July. Only filly to
be under influence of new small top (possibly a Bris
near 100 last two races). First time Lasix doesn’t hurt
Goodyearforroses had a 3 win streak going through
March, then mixed results thereafter. Great AWD numbers
(Azamour/Guilia, by Galileo….notable Irish pedigree).
Proved best turn time of this field.4 works at sA, all
very fast, one a bullet.

SPRINT, 6 furlongs, 3YO+, $1.5 million. Top 3: 1-3-10
Calculator (overlay), American Pastime (overlay),
Imperial Hint. Totally going against favorites here.
Calculator was 2nd here last out in the Pat O Brien
with a lifetime-best matching 103. Owns prior win first
after layoff. Best turn time of this field.
American Pastime gained big in speed figure, 99 to 107,
coming out of older claiming company and into a Grade 3
event. Ran a bit slow at the beginning and was somewhat
wide in the Gallant Bob, but was fast enough to close
for 2nd. 2 bullet works.
Imperial Hint has 6 wins in his last 7, all convincing.
Good AWD numbers (Imperialism/Royal Hint, out of
Lahint). 111 last out is a new small top from his 2016
best mark.Definitely the speed of the field.

MILE, 3YO+, $2 million.
Top 3: 5-10-3 World Approval, Ribchester, Mr. Roary
(overlay). Om also an overlay here. Favorites likely
to win out here, so probably skipping this race.
Mr. Roary 0-5 at Del Mar. 4 works in prep, 1 at Del
Mar, 1 a bullet.
Om 16-19 lifetime in the money, and all 6 of his runs
at Del Mar. Hasn’t won since December of 2015. I am
banking on his works too…4 in prep, 2 bullets.

JUVENILE, 8.5 furlongs, 2YO colts/geldings, $2 million.
Top 3: 12-7-1 Hollywood Star, The Tabulator, US
Navy Flag. All 3 are overlays.
Hollywood Star won his debut vs maidens, 2nd in the
Saratoga Special, 2nd in the Iroquois, all with solid
pace numbers to each other. Gained nicely on the leader
last time out. 5 works, most of them very fast
including one local.
The Tabulator is undefeated in 3, including the
aforementioned Iroquois and the Prairie Gold Juvenile
(one of my Enlightened Trail races). Like Hollywood
Star, owns prior victory first after layoff. 5 works,
one local.
US Navy Flag is the lone European entry, with scores in
Ireland and England, 3 win race streak. Best AWD
numbers (War Front/Misty For Me, out of Galileo).
Appears to have the fastest speed figures. First time
Lasix for his US debut.

TURF, 12 furlongs, $4 million, 3YO+. Top 3: 3-2-10
Highland Reel, Bullards Alley, Fanciful Angel. Latter 2
are overlays, along with Cliffs Of Moher and Bigger
Picture. Could be a very tasty wagering opportunity,
with the ML favorite Ulysses scratched.
Bullards Alley comes out of an amazing 120 in his
Canadian International win; easily best numbers for
surface and distance. By default he must be the speed
of the field. Does he bounce?
Fanciful Angel began his career in Europe and Dubai,
with wins in both those continents. 3rd US race, having
finished 2nd in the Arlington Million and another Grade
1 event last out at Belmont 5 weeks ago. His run last
out was 107, but somewhat wide in his closing process.
Being that he gained well at 1st and 2nd call first off
layoff and claim, I must rank him high.
Cliffs of Moher makes his US debut, first time Lasix, a
win at GB and Ireland already. Best AWD numbers
(Galileo/Wave, out of Dansili). Only horse having to
recover from a bounce, and I think he will. One of 2
horses carries 122 lbs instead of the standard 126,
being a 3YO.
Bigger Picture 10 wins in 27 lifetime, runs pretty consistently overall. Won the United Nations in July with a 111, and the JB Conley with a 95 earlier this year. 6 works to prepare, 3 fast ones, 1 bullet.

Next post goes horse-for-horse in the Classic!

Saturday prep race analysis

Lot of races to get to in the next 24 hours, including one today north of the border in Northlands Park, and the rest happening tomorrow on Saturday 9/2 at other tracks. This weekend is considered the first major one to determine which horses will be best considered for the Kentucky Derby and Oaks races. My Trail spreadsheets are updated with the sum total of prep races thus far.

I won out in the DRF $3k credit builder earlier in August. The next tourney in sequence is on 9/16.  Here was the tweet I did the day of the tourney..


Onto the preps!


First on the list is the lone race for today, the Bird Of Pay Stakes at Northland. 6.5 furlongs, 2YO fillies, 50k purse. Top 3 here in this field of 6 are no surprise: Suzette (ML favorite), Dazzling Chic, and Red Bomber.
No real value in this race, as the 1st,3rd and 4th selections per morning line are who I have. No overlays to be found either.

Next is the Evangeline Downs Prince Stakes, for 2YOs going 6 furlongs, 50k purse. top 3 here are Cajun Creed, I Want A Picture (both 5-1) and favored Hardworkcleanlivin. No overlays. Not much value here either. Cajun Creed is a 6-1 choice though and I can take the favorite out of the top 2 positions. Cajun Creed won his debut, then increased slightly in BRIS speed last time out, under wet fast conditions gaining nicely by the 2nd call. 2 works since, 1 a bullet.

Next is the Fasig-Tipton Turf Showcase Juvenile Stakes, for 2YOs going 7 furlongs, 200k purse. Top 3 depends on the AE horses that are 13-16, and the possibility of rain that may take out some horses. Top 3 will come later on but I do see two horses that stand out at this time:
Sky Promise (8-1) took 4 tries to break maiden, the latter 2 on turf. Gained 8.5 lengths on leader between first 2 calls in last race. Best turn time of the field. He may become the lone deep closer based on scratches.
Pont Du Gard (10-1) won his maiden debut, 1 mile on the Arlington Park turf with 72 BRIS. 6 works in prep, 2 very fast, 1 bullet.
I will update choices tonight.

Next at Monmouth is the Sapling, 1 mile for 2YOs, 75k. Top 3 here are Admiral Jimmy, Coltandmississippi, and favored Kowboy Karma. None of these are of any great value between them. No overlays in this one.

Finally, the Spinaway at Saratoga, a Grade 1 race for leading 2YO fillies, going 7 furlongs. I have confidence in the 2 favorites, Pure Silver and Separationofpowers. No one else is definite for 3rd in this small field. The one overlay might be Obvious Two. 3 tries to break maiden and succeeding, sparking up to a 75, going 6 furlongs first time. Stretches out to 7 here and has a new barn.

Tonight I’ll update with 4 more Saturday races.


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:


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.