Derby/Derby Sire Future Wager selections/analysis (Pool 1)

This year, the Future Wager pools have a new wrinkle; Derby Sire Future Wager, a single pool that runs this weekend, in which you must figure which sire of a current Derby hopeful will be lucky. I’ve decided to go for it and do 5 $2 win bets, ignoring the all-others and any exacta wagers. I really do like the idea; those that champion the breeding aspect and old-timers in general may well enjoy this aspect most.
I’ve decided to use the following angles to pick out the sires:
CLASS: I rank based on who had their best win; naturally the Grade 1 winners are best.
CHURCHILL DOWNS PACE: Fastest overall Brisnet score at this track.
AWD: Combined average winning distance from sire and dam-sire.
RUN-PACE: Average pace of last 3 starts using the binomial method.
PACE PROGRESS: # of horses who have started at least once before 9/1 at age 2, then raced after 9/1 with an improvement on his best pace since before 9/1.
LONG DISTANCE: Longest distance the horse has won at.
I rank the horses by how many times they appear in the top 5 here. Most appearances find their way into my top 5.
With this method, 8 horses found their way into the top 5, with 2 more that achieved more. So, onto the tiebreakers. Here were the ones I had to cut first: Curlin, Giant’s Causeway, Harlan’s Holiday, Scat Daddy, Tiznow, and War Front.
And here’s the 5 I’m going to roll with, in reverse order:
#5: KITTEN’S JOY: Top 5 in AWD Key horses: Oscar Nominated, winner last out at Churchill with 90 Brisnet, and at 8.5 furlongs in race prior; Smarty Kitten, winner at 8.5 furlongs; Camelot Kitten, likewise in his first start.
#4 BERNARDINI: Top 5 in AWD. Key horses: Greenpointcrusader, winner of the Grade 1 Champagne; Brisnet scores lifetime ranging from 86 to 97; Regalo, 2 starts in Japan, winning at 9 furlongs by a neck last time out; Rachel’s Valentina, winner of the Grade 1 Spinaway.
#3 HARD SPUN: Key horse: Young Brian, 100 Brisnet in his lone start. One Legend, wired field at 8.5 furlongs last time out. Positive pace progress from Donation, It’s All Relevant, Nana Looch, One Legend, San Dimas, Spin Cycle.
Clear 2nd choice in this field of 23 is TAPIT. Key horses: Mohaymen (Grade 2 Nashua); Synchrony, 89 Brisnet at Churchill; Tathqeef, winner of an 8.75 furlong maiden event in GB. Positive pace progress from Acoustic, Gray Sky, Hollywood Don, Rafting, Tarpon Bay Road, Tusk.
My top overall selection is UNCLE MO. Key horses: Nyquist (winner of 3 Grade 1 races, 2 of them at 8.5 furlongs), Brisnet scores from 94 to 102 lifetime; Uncle Walter, 2nd in a 75k optional claim race last time out, 89 Brisnet; Mo Tom won the 80k Street Sense at Churchill with an 89 Brisnet. Positive pace progress from Abiding Star, Forevamo, Junkers, Little Schmo, Uncle Brennie, Uncle Jerry, Uncle Jimmy, William Crofty.
I’m very likely to pass up Pool 1 of the standard Kentucky Derby Wager, as I did last year. Too much of a crapshoot at this juncture to make a serious pick. The only category that I add here is dosage, comparing the typical 2015 Churchill Downs chef-de-race numbers to the 23 in this wager. provides this information. Here’s the top 5:
GREENPOINTCRUSADER won the Champagne Stakes in his 3rd start, followed up by a disappointing 7th in the BC Juvenile. Ranked 3rd overall in AWD. Positive pace progress, with scores of 92, 97, 92 above his debut of 86.
GUN RUNNER won both of his races, 1 mile at 81 Brisnet at CD, 8.5 furlongs at 85. Ranked 2nd in AWD.
NYQUIST undefeated in 5, winning the BC Juvenile, Front Runner, Del Mar Futurity and Best pal, last 3 races at 8.5 furlongs. Brisnet scores lifetime range from 94 to 102.
EXAGGERATOR won the Delta Downs Jackpot (8.5 furlongs) and Saratoga Special. Ranked 5th in AWD.Top rank in Brisnet pace; last 3 races were 103, 94, 93.
BRODY’S CAUSE gets my top choice here. Winner of the Breeders Futurity (8.5 furlongs), and 3rd in the BC Juvenile. 81 Brisnet in his maiden-breaking race. Top AWD numbers in the field.

2015 Kentucky Derby analysis, selections

I sincerely hope that my work in the Enlightened Derby Trail has produced just the right horses.

The ones that reached my mythical Derby that did not make the actual field: Conquest Typhoon, Metaboss, Ami’s Flatter, Bridget’s Big Luvy, Why Two, A Day In Paradise, One Lucky Dane, Bodhisattva. So that means I agree on 12 of the 20 horses. I can live with that.
Here’s the 9 horses that were in the opposite position, those that are in the show but not for me: Ocho Ocho Ocho, Mubtaahij, Itsaknockout, Keen Ice, Mr. Z, Far Right, Frammento, War Story, Bolo

Here’s my analysis of the 2015 Kentucky Derby, horse-for-horse:

OCHO OCHO OCHO won the Delta Downs Jackpot, and won his first 2 races at Santa Anita from an inner post. In fact it’s his 5 race of 6 with an inner post. Gained in Brisnet from 83 to 96 last time out in the Blue Grass Stakes, so a possible bounce risk here.   Not in my top 10.

CARPE DIEM won the Blue Grass, Tampa Bay Derby and Breeders Futurity. Only horse in the field to make a small improvement over his 2YO numbers that still can impact today. He scored 100 in the Breeders Futurity, and then a 102 last time out in the Blue Grass. It was also ahead of his 96 score  in the Tampa Bay Derby…one of three horses to show great pace progress, tho also might show a slight downturn as well.  Projected odds: 15-1.
MATERIALITY is undefeated in 3 at age 3, all at Gulfstream Park, winning the Florida Derby last out with a 105 Brisnet, plus a 100 in the Islamorada.  One of several with outstanding wor tabs…3 works, each very fast, one at Churchill.  Proven to handle extra weight, as he won with 122 in the Florida Derby, gain of 5 from previous. Good current numbers, but is outclassed in this field.  Not in my top 10.
TENCENDUR placed in 3 Graded events to get here. All 5 lifetime races at Aqueduct. Exploded to a 105 Brisnet running 2nd in the Wood Memorial last time out, ahead of a 90 Brisnet in the Gotham. Switches back to Manuel Franco. Certainly a bounce risk here. Not in my top 10.
DANZIG MOON placed in 2 Graded events. Owns a basic recovery angle here. After a pair of 92s (sandwiched by a 14-week layoff), he bounced to 81 in the Tampa Bay Derby then pushed forward to a 99 in the Blue Grass. Bounce risk but minimized by his good pace progress. Projected odds: 15-1. Overlay.
MUBTAAHIJ is the big wildcard, as I have no pace numbers to reference. I have seen him win twice with a middle post, and put up final times that would probably be worth 80 to 90 Brisnet.  Won the UAE Derby to qualify.  Top average winning distance numbers of the field (sire Dubawi, damsire Pennekamp, both of who were multiple stakes winners across Europe). Comes out of a good trip. Projected odds: 42-1.
EL KABEIR switches back to Calvin Borel for this race. Placed in all but 1 race of his 9 lifetime. Won the Kentucky Jockey Club here in the autumn. Several wins from a middle post. Gained in Brisnet from a 95 to  101 in the Wood Memorial last time out, matching his lifetime best. Not in my top 10, tho I’d have ranked him higher if there were an off track situation. He won the Gotham under such conditions.
DORTMUND is undefeated in 6,winning the Santa Anita Derby last time out with a dazzling 106 and totally on the front end. A great effort for this sprinter, tho I take him down a notch for some trouble at the start of that race. 2 wins from a middle post.Best Churchill performance of the field,a 98 winner in an optional-claimer race on 11/29. Inherent numbers in spades. Steady increase in high Brisnet numbers. Projected odds: 10-1. Rank: 6th.
BOLO placed in two Graded events to get here. Only reason to give attention to him is the fact he’s posted a triple of good Brisnet numbers ahead of previous, 98, 100, 102. He could go either way with this. Not enough supporting evidence for a further increase, therefore not in my top 10.  Finished better on turf and seems quicker against Graded rivals on dirt but I doubt this trend will translate in this unique event.
FIRING LINE briefly was my top choice and remains an elite. 1st or 2nd in all 5 races, including a win in the Sunland Derby.  Forged 4 consecutive lifetime bests, up to a 101 last out. Has the most positive trainer changes (Simon Callaghan) of the field. Stretching out from 9 furlongs and hasn’t run since 3/22. Took on 4 extra pounds, 122 in all to win the Sunland, which was also his lone shipper win. One of a few entering this big race with a good, generally trouble-free trip.  Projected odds: 10-1. Rank: 4th. Will include in wagers.
INTERNATIONAL STAR won his last 3, all Graded events (Louisiana Derby, Risen Star, LeComte) all at Fair Grounds, plus the Grey Stakes in Woodbine.  Forged small lifetime bests in his last 4 and each of his 3YO starts, peaking at 99 last time out with a good trip in the Louisiana Derby. His last 3 scores, all in the 90s, are just ahead  of his prior races. I have him ranked evenly with Firing Line, but rank him lower because he has less changes entering.   Projected odds: 10-1. Overlay. Rank: 5th.
ITSAKNOCKOUT placed in the Fountain of Youth and Florida Derby. Won 3 of 4 lifetime, all at Gulfstream.  Great work tab here, with 3 works, 2 fast ones, one at Churchill, one a bullet work. 2 wins from a middle post.  Seems ready to win today.  Projected odds: 8-1. Overlay. Rank: 3rd. Will include in wagers.
KEEN ICE scored in 3 Graded events to earn his ticket. All 3 works at Churchill, 2 of them very fast. No real evidence to support a win here.  Not in my top 10.
FROSTED won the Wood Memorial and placed in 3 other Graded events before that. Good recovery angle in play. Following layoff and matching his lifetime best of 98 in the Holy Bull, he bounced to an 89 in the Fountain of Youth, then exploded to 107 last time out.  Another who could go either way with pace.  Both lifetime wins from a middle post.Projected odds: 11-1. Possible overlay.
WAR STORY placed in all 5 lifetime races. Only horse with a blinker change reported (blinkers off for the first time). Despite the small gains in Brisnet scores and placings in Graded events at Fair Grounds, no other evidence to support a win.  Not in my top 10.
MR. Z has run in Graded company for a number of races, and has burned a lot of money in the process.  Needed his 3rd place finish in the Arkansas Derby to belong.  I was an early believer in him and I’m glad he’s in.  Top dosage profile befitting a winner at Churchill in this field (Malibu Moon/Stormy Bear by Storm Cat). One stat pops out to me: 5 races in the last 60 days for both Ramon Vazquez and  D Wayne Lukas, earning 2 wins and 4 placings, for a 6.04 ROI.  Sharp gain in Brisnet last time out, 76 to 92.  Projected odds: 5-1. Big overlay.  Rank: 2nd.
AMERICAN PHAROAH is the projected favorite, having 4 wins in 5 races including the Arkansas Derby, the Rebel, the Front Runner and the Del Mar Futurity.  Thing is, he’s yet to do any better than his 103 in the Del Mar just after Labor Day. Adds 4 lbs from his prior race; he won the Front Runner adding 6, so carrying 126 shouldn’t be an issue. I did like his trip in the Arkansas Derby but I just can’t find a place for him in the top 10.
UPSTART won the Fountain Of Youth, Holy Bull, and ungraded Funny Cide.  This stalker has the top pace numbers in the field. Last 3 2nd-call numbers are 114, 106, 98. 2 wins from an outer post. Gained in pace from a 95 to a 103 last time out, plus showed a good trip in the Florida Derby last time out. Adds 4 lbs here; added 6 in winning the FOY also.    This is my pick to win the Run for the Roses.  Projected odds: 4-1. Big overlay.
FAR RIGHT won the Southwest, adding 5 lbs for that race, and adds 4 more here. Also won the ungraded Smarty Jones. No evidence to support a win here today.  Out of the top 10.
FRAMMENTO gets in with the defection of Stanford (whom I did like a lot early on). Placed in the Blue Grass and FOY. Also has no evidence to support a win. Out of the Top 10.
My top 4 that I will use in wins and exactas to each other, with a few exceptions:
1 Upstart
2 Mr. Z
3 Firing Line

4 Itsaknockout

Future wager impact:

To win:
Mr. Z 44-1
Dortmund 10-1
Upstart 18-1
I have exactas between Upstart over and under field from Pool 4: Tencendur, Danzig Moon, Ocho Ocho Ocho, Frammento.
Should any of my horses from here do worse in odds on Saturday, I’ll put up an extra win bet.  I will not wager extra if the odds are better.  As you know, I can afford to just keep things simple: $2 win bets, and $1 exactas.
In essence I have 9 horses to root for, 5 of them specifically in the win position.
Overlays based on most recent live odds (at the time of International Star’s scratch, Saturday morning): Mr. Z, Upstart, Itsaknockout, Firing Line. Yes, that’s 3 of my top 4.

I might place the top 2 post-time favorites over my top 4 as well.
Keep in touch on twitter at @idealisticstats

Enlightened Derby/Oaks Trail season wrapup

The work of the Enlightened Derby and Oaks Trails for the Derby prep season is just about over, all except for the shouting and publishing.   Here’s the final list
I don’t care how accurate I am with the actual Derby or Oaks Trails. I care that the proper horses are in the big show.  My Trails were borne from the idea of being inclusive, giving the ‘minor’ and smaller tracks more representation, and ending the top-heavy conditions that exists on both US coasts.  Also, as much as I want to give the Dubai races credence, I wanted the best of those racing here in North America. It will prove to be successful when we see less races on the actual Trail from Cali and NY, and more races in the Heartland itself, and more of the smaller tracks directly impacting the show. I want another All-American story like Mine That Bird to happen It’s good for the sport. Did you see “50 To 1” on the big screen?

Is there another Mine That Bird story here? Maybe so. Here’s my general takeaway:
It’s no huge surprise that the major races at the end have most of the horses that do make my list.  19 of the 38 races on my Derby Trail have at least one in my mythical field. A nice mix too: All 5 Cali and South races make that list each, and 3 from the others each also.  Top prep race had to be the Wood Memorial, with the top 4 all in my mythical field of 20.
Conquest Typhoon it seems won’t be in the show despite my own inclusion. All he did was win at Woodbine and place at Turfway Park and Golden Gate. Metaboss won’t be there either. His score was at Golden Gate. Nor will Ami’s Flatter who placed in Tampa Bay and at Gulfstream.  Yet they are in my 20.
The actual Derby field includes one horse that scored points from off the continent. It’s fine but I’m keeping my field American until it’s time for such a change.
The biggest snub for me, the best horse from my field that won’t make my mythical field but will make the actual Derby is Upstart. 3rd in the Breeders Cup Juvenile, 2nd in the Champagne, 2nd in the Florida Derby.  Someone has to be first out.  Far Right is not far behind, finishing 2nd in the Arkansas Derby, 3rd in the Delta Downs Jackpot. But he will be in Louisville.

Due to Dubai Sky prematurely leaving the Trail, and Carpe Diem’s edge in 2 divisions, I had to bring in 2 horses with best points overall not in the show.  Those 2 are Firing Line (won the Sunland Park Derby) and Ami’s Flatter. Both horses did very well in the Southern division and get the nod from me.
Bodhisattva, with just 250 points, has the fewest of anyone getting into my field. He finished 2nd in the Private Terms at Laurel.
Finishing up with the actual Derby Trail comparisons: Itsaknockout,Bolo, Ocho and War Story didn’t score enough to warrant a spot, and Mr. Z again failed to win a competitive race despite placing again.

Fun fact: 1 Derby point was equal to $8233 in non-restricted stakes earnings. Make of that what you will. Stanford earned less than half that rate to make the actual field. The Truth Or Else earned double the rate and likely is not getting in. Nor will Metaboss despite his win in the El Camino Real at Golden Gate.

Fun fact 2: Mr Z makes the actual Derby field. This means I have 1 more active chance to score and profit on the race itself.  The horses I have win wagers on are these, among those with enough points: El Kabeir, Mr. Z, Dortmund, International Star, Upstart.  Bold Conquest might back in if there are further defections but there are 3 ahead of him right now.   With that in place, I only have active exacta possibilities using International Star over and under the field from Pool 3, and the same with Upstart from Pool 4.   Tell you what, if Bold Conquest makes the show and somehow scores for me…

My plan is to make further wagers on those 5 in the Derby if I can get worse odds that what I used in the pools. This wager will be separate from how I actually analyze the Derby and whom I target as contenders for the day of.
The field horses from Pool 3 I imagine are these: Frosted, Mubtaahij, Tencendur, One Lucky Dane, Stanford. If we include the top 24,we can add Madefromlucky, Frammento and Bold Conquest.
Field horses in Pool 4 appear to be these: Danzig Moon, Tencendur, One Lucky Dane, Stanford, Ocho Ocho Ocho. If we go to the top 24, we can just add Frammento.
Next Saturday I return with another contest opportunity from The Racing Biz.Maybe I can make it two months in a row?

Saturday recap of Graded stakes, Enlightened Trails, Future Wager

So much to get to here. We’ll start with the updated Enlightened Derby and Oaks Trail charts. Following a number of races in the South division these 2 weekends, there are some changes at the top and bottom overall to determine who gets into the big shows.
I’ve enclosed an updated list of my mythical Derby and Oaks fields. Looking at the Derby field first, I’ve updated this with 3 new names to replace last week.  International Star and Stanford each get a spot thanks to their 1-2 finish in the Louisiana Derby.  Materiality’s win in the Florida Derby all but punches his ticket to the Run for those Roses.  With 3 wild-card spots to fill because of multiple winners in divisions and the removal of Texas Red from the trail, the top 3 of the best of the rest are these: Ami’s Flatter (2nd, Tampa Bay Derby; 3rd, Florida Derby) Stanford, and American Pharoah, who broke a tie with 7 horses. I simply had to go as far as as his Grade 1 victory at age 2 in the Del Mar Futurity.
In the Oaks Trail, 2 new entries replace the older. The winners of the Fair Grounds and Gulfstream Oaks, I’m A Chatterbox and Birdatthewire, take the top 2 positions in the South for the time being.  No changes until 4/4, as we witness the running of the Fantasy Stakes at Oaklawn. A top 3 finish here will seal a place in my Oaks field.
On this super Saturday, I kept watch on the major action at both Gulfstream Park and Fair Grounds, plus Dubai. I woke up too late to get picks in for the Derby Dollars Contest race involving the UAE Derby but did enter 2 of the races based in the South.   My Dubai World Cup pick was pretty accurate, as my top 3 finished in 3-2-1 order! Prince Bishop was an upset winner of the world’s richest race. If only I had been up, I’d have wagered a few exactas.   Also on that Saturday, for the Public Handicapper contest, I managed one win (International Star) against 3 losses. PH is pretty demanding in that way…you score based on the win payout of your wins and you take losses otherwise.
How was my accuracy in the predictions mentioned for Saturday?
Honeyfox Stakes: I did nail Coffee Clique’s 3rd place finish.
Orchid Stakes: Kitten’s Point was 3rd instead of my predicted 2nd.
Fair Grounds Oaks: Shook Up finished 2nd, not 3rd.
Gulfstream Park Oaks:  Birdatthewire did win this, instead of 2nd.
Louisiana Derby:  War Story finished 3nd instead of my predicted 2rd; likewise International Star won instead of being 3rd. So this was a somewhat more accurate read.
Florida Derby: Upstart was in the mixing, finishing 2nd but I had him to win.
3 divisions will close up on the truly super of Saturdays for April 4. For the fillies, it will be the Gazelle in the East Coast (Aqueduct), the Ashland in Heartland (Keeneland) and the Fantasy in the South (Oaklawn).  For the Derby runners, it’s the Wood Memorial for the East Coast (Aqueduct), the Santa Anita Derby in Cali and the Blue Grass Stakes for the Heartland (Keeneland)
We’ll look at the nominations for the horses in these major races to see who may have the best opportunity to finish in the top 4 of the divisions.  For each race on the real trail, a top 3 finish would be enough for a Derby opportunity. On my trail, it’s pretty much the same at this juncture.
Derby:  Top 4 horses already with 1000, the equivalent of a win.  I do not have info on Arkansas Derby nominations yet. This race will run on 4/11. suggests 4 horses that are probable for that race, but only Far Right has any points in the division and just 50 at that.  If it’s all horses from outside the division, that horse would have to win outright for any chance to be in my mythical field.
Heartland: Blue Grass Stakes has a lot of possibilities. Top 4 bottom out with 250 points, so a win or 2nd will make an impact, and maybe 3rd or 4th from those with points already.  Those to watch who have points: International Star (25), El Kabeir (250), Firespike (250).
East Coast: Also needing 250 to crack the current top 4, tho Upstart does have 100. Horses to watch: Daredevil, Upstart, El Kabeir (25). HRN says Daredevil and El Kabeir are probable.
Cali: 250 to make the show. Look for these to be entered in the SA Derby:: Dortmund (250), American Pharoah (250), Conquest Typhoon (250), Harmonic (125), Firing Line (100). HRN believes Dortmund is probable.
For the fillies:
South: Top 3 already have 1000, so a win by someone with no points in the Fantasy Stakes could be enough. If not for the top 4 then perhaps a wild-card entry, as I’d take the horse with the most points outside of a top 4 position, compensating for those who are off the actual Trail, or who have high scores in more than 1 division. Forever Unbridled is the one filly from the noms with EOT points, 250 at that. Not listed by HRN as probable.
Heartland: Top 3 bottom out with 250 points.  Look for these from the nominations to the Ashland: Sweet Success (500), West Coast Belle (250), Sarah Sis (100).
East Coast: Top 3 also round out at 250. Here are horses with EOT points nominated to the Gazelle: Condo Commando (275), Wonder Gal (100), Feathered (50), Angela Renee (50)
Cali: Top 3 have as little as 125 and really goes lower with Take Charge Brandi being off the trail yet leading with 500.  So possibly even a 4th place finish can get a horse into my mythical Oaks field. I’ve not seen noms for this race yet, but HRN doesn’t list any fillies that have EOT points.
I did some last minute research to figure out if several of my top choices might still be on the actual Derby Trail.  I got fixated on my eventual top 3 and forgot to place another series of exacta wagers. That mistake I hope will not come back to haunt me.
To remind you, I had conditional wagers on my top 3: International Star, Daredevil, Dortmund.  International Star predictable took more $ in the pool after his win and so I eliminated him. Daredevil is not getting any love and he was an easy 1st choice.  I have to hope he scores well in the Blue Grass or Wood, whichever he gets eligible to.  Dortmund also took more $ and I skipped him. So I had to find 2 more to put win bets on. Mr Z was next in my rankings, but his poor effort Saturday steered me away from taking a chance on him again, despite very low odds.  Upstart was next, and he was easy to snap up as a 2nd choice.  I then ranked Bold Conquest below him.  Bold Conquest needs points, and he’s in better shape than Mr. Z, next likely running in the Blue Grass Stakes. I think he’ll need a top 3 finish to have a chance.    I had to go 7-deep to pick 3 available horses for a win bet.
The wager:
Win $2 on Daredevil, Upstart, Bold Conquest.
Exacta ($1) between these horses, and also field above and below these.  Total wagered: $18.
I had ranked International Star with Daredevil and Dortmund, and had intended to wager $1 exactas between these and likewise field and under, for another $12 but time ran out on me.
Wednesday I’ll provide a first look at all of the stakes action as entries are set.

2015 Kentucky Derby Pool 4 wager musings

To begin with, here are my picks from each pool of the Derby Future Wager:
Pool 1 is where I chose 5 but ultimately didn’t feel confident enough to make the $2 win bets on:
Texas Red (14-1), Mr.Z (47-1), Imperia (27-1), Lucky Player (99), Ocho Ocho Ocho (29)
Pool 2 where I placed $2 win tickets on:
Texas Red (9)  El Kabeir (39), Imperia (24), Mr. Z (44), Dortmund (10)
Pool 3 I have win tickets of 3 horses, along with exactas to each other and the field (4):
Lord Nelson (39), Texas Red (14), International Star (22).  I had ranked Dortmund (9) and Upstart (15) below these.
Texas Red has since bowed out of the Derby Trail so that’s some $ burned right there. There are still 6 horses I directly have interest in, 4 of which are available in Pool 4 directly  The trick here is to buy with lower odds, enough to allow the reality principle to be in play (does the horse have enough points or earning on the real trail to get in the show?). Using the same mix of variables as with the prior pools, I’ll give you my top 8, in reverse order.    A range of horses scored very closely. I had to use several different head-to-head matchups to rank them all in such a way that made sense.
Ranked 8th: Materiality, who scored with great pedigree and AWD numbers (Afleet Alex sired), a combo no other horse here has. Winner at 9 furlongs (Islamorada Handicap at Gulfstream). 2 for 2 lifetime.  Next race for him will be the Florida Derby on Saturday.
Ranked 7th: Firing Line, who averages a 102 Brisnet if measured strictly by his running style. Winner at 9 furlongs, a 14 length victory and new track record in the Sunland Derby. Pace progressed from maiden debut of 92 to 101. Next: Unsure.
Ranked 6th: Bold Conquest. Sired by Curlin. 2nd in the Iriquois at Churchill with an 89 Brisnet. The 89 score represents good pace progression through his 2YO season.  Next:
I will consider my top 3 of 5 for any wagers, tho I will ignore a horse if he’s already been wagered on and I cannot get a better deal than previous pools.  In those cases I’ll use the 4th or 5th pick.  The field is always in play.

5th: UPSTART again is on the outside looking in.  Grade 2 victories in the Fountain of Youth and the Holy Bull, plus the ungraded Funny Cide.  Top pace numbers currently using his run style (2nd call numbers are around 103). Has one of the better dosage profiles. Sire is Flatter, out of AP Indy. Next race: 3/28, Florida Derby.
4th: MR Z again factors here. Another good dosage profile (AP Indy and Storm Cat his grandsires). In the mix thanks to a run over CD, a slow 81 in his maiden debut.  2nd best pace progress at 2YO of the field, peaking at 100. Next race: 3/28 LA Derby

3rd: DORTMUND graduates to favored status.  Arguably the top undefeated horse on the continent.  Winner of the Los Alamitos Futurity, the Robert B Lewis and the San Felipe.   Best Brisnet at Churchill, a 98 in an optional claimer worth 75k. Very good pace form, as he’s made 2 triple-digit small tops at age 3.  Next race: Santa Anita Derby,  4/4.
2nd: DAREDEVIL also shines here, with alternate good and decent efforts pace-wise. Winner of the Champagne Stakes.  2nd call numbers average a 102 score. Great dosage numbers (More Than Ready sire out of Southern Halo). A 106 Brisnet to begin his 3YO campaign is a small new top, and it’s a good time to have one.  Next: Wood Memorial on 4/4
1st: INTERNATIONAL STAR. Grade 2 winner of the Risen Star. Raced just about everywhere plus Canada. Brisnet of 89 at Churchill’s KY Jockey Club Gold Cup.Good 2YO progression leading up to that race.  Small tops up to 97 make him rather attractive. Next race: LA Derby, 3/28.
Here’s how I have to look at this: Should International Star threaten to be worse than, say, 27-1, I’ll place more bets his way.  Ditto with Dortmund at 15-1. If I do have to slip down to 4th to get Mr. Z, I have to see him worse than 49-1, which is certainly possible. If not, then I must  use Upstart.
Here’s the accompanying spreadsheet
I won’t be around to monitor the action live except for Saturday evening and all of Sunday.  Updates will come at @idealisticstats

Due to the weekend schedule being so soon, I’m posting my picks for 6 races overnight, 4 at Gulfstream, 2 at Fair Grounds.

Enlightened Derby Trail chart update 3/1/15

With the scratch of The Great War out of the Derby, it does not make much of an impact at all in my ratings. Within the future wager itself, I actually ranked it ahead of Keen Ice in terms of better average winning distance numbers, but it doesn’t make Keen Ice a finalist to consider for wagers.

Here’s the updated Trail list based on the results of yesterday’s Texas Heritage Stakes:

California division:
Metaboss 1000
Cross The Line 500
Dortmund 250
Texas Red 250

East Coast:
Competitive Edge 250
Conquest Typhoon 250
Daredevil 250


Ocho Ocho Ocho 200
Mr. Z 100
Far Right 50
Saratoga Healer 25

Recount 250
El Kabeir 250
Private Prospect 100
Imperia 100

Why Too 1000
A Day In Paradise 500(new)
Ride Hard Kowboy 250
Academy Bay 250

Final race in the Minor division comes on 3/14, the Private Terms Stakes at Laurel. Top 4 in that division get to go to the Derby.  Next race on The Trail overall is the Tampa Bay Derby on 3/7, involving the South divison.

Kentucky Derby 2015 future wager Pool 3 selections/thoughts

All of a sudden, the Kentucky Derby Future Wager, Pool 3 version, is upon us, along with the single Kentucky Oaks future wager pool.  Lots to digest, so I’ll give you the Derby selections as I see them. Refer to my prior post for how I’ve constructed the Derby field, based on my EDT system.
Here’s the spreadsheet reflecting my picks out of Pool 3.
Here are the benchmarks that were set based on the strength of the 23 individual horses:
Average winning distance of combined pedigree of at least 14.9
Class: At least one Grade 2 win.
CD Brisnet: A speed of at least an 86 rating at Churchill Downs.
Pace per runstyle: A projected score of at least 99, based on the horse’s run style.
Distance: A win at 8.5 furlongs
2YO progression: 2YO runs better from Labor Day to end of year than beforehand. Lowest peak score: 89
Pace progression: At least 3 marks here is enough for consideration.
As I refer to the system, myself, I see 9 horses with no EDT points that made the pool list.  Among those of the field selections, here’s who got the big snubs:
ANOTHER LEMON DROP is a deep closer who broke maiden in 2nd try at 9 furlongs, then finished 3rd in his dirt debut right at Churchill. Won his 2nd dirt effort going down from 75k level to 50k, tho that was his first try on a sloppy track. He set a new top and 2YO best of 96. Last time out he stretched to 1 mile 70 yards continuing to work hard at Fair Grounds. He would bounce and finish 4th in his 3YO debut, the Grade 3 LeComte. Strong pedigree compared to others (Lemon Drop Kid-Shytoe Lafeet, by King Of Kings). His 87 Brisnet at Churchill in his 3rd lifetime start is right at the benchmark for horses racing there.  Next race: Unknown.
FRAMMENTO has been entered in routes outside of maiden debut. 2nd race was his first win vs 56k maidens at 8.5 furlongs, and has alternated placings in last 4 races. 3rd in the Fountain Of Youth Stakes last time out. Pace progression is positive: fInished 2014 with 97 Brisnet vs optional claimers at 75k level. 3 bullet works in his history. 89 Brisnet in his first non-maiden race at Churchill is competitive enough for the field.  Next: Blue Grass Stakes, 4/4.
FROSTED was 2nd in 4 races, won his 3rd try at the maiden level, then 4th last time out in the Fountain Of Youth. Started to apply Lasix, then was 2nd in the Remsen and Holy Bull, both at Grade 2, both with scores of 98 Brisnet. The 98 score represent good 2YO pace progression.  Pedigree is competitive (Tapit-Fast Cookie, by Deputy Minister). Last 3 2nd-call numbers for this stalking-type horse are 111, 93, 98. Next race:  Unsure. Didn’t look too good last time out. Possibly FL Derby?
IMPERIA, one of my Pool 2 choices, drops here. 2nd vs 98k maidens in debut, then won the G3 Pilgrim, then bounced in the Breeders Cup Juvenile. Switching from turf to dirt, he bounced back to win with small new top of 96 in the KY Jockey Club at Churchill, then another bounce in the Risen Star last time out, that after layoff.  The score of 96 represents a good 2YO campaign wind-down, not to mention the requisite 8.5 furlong win.  Next race: Spiral Stakes 3/21.
SOUPER COLOSSAL may arguably be the biggest snub of all. 4 wins in 5 races, include the Tyro, the Sapling and the Texas Glitter in his turf debut (first race without regular rider Paco Lopez) Only blemish was his lone race against Graded company in the  BC Juvenile.  Good-looking pedigree (War Front-Soaring Emotions, by Kingmambo). Last 3 2nd-call numbers are 97, 108, 91.  Peaked at 89 Brisnet, yet to improve on this. Next race: Swale Stakes, tomorrow, 2/28
Now for my top 5 for consideration, presented Letterman-style:
#5 UPSTART starts with good breeding (Flatter-Party Silks, by Belmont winner Touch Gold). Off layoff, he won the Holy Bull and Fountain Of Youth Stakes in last 2, both at  Grade 2 and at 8.5 furlongs. Last 3 2nd-call numbers are 106,98,105.  Yet to surpass his 2nd race success, a 106 Brisnet win in the Funny Cide at Saratoga tho came close 2 races ago in the Holy Bull. 4 wins, never out of the money in 6.  Starts the future wager at 15-1. Next race:   Either the Wood Memorial on 4/4/ or the FL Derby on 3/28.
#4: DORTMUND moves up from my #5 spot in the 2nd pool.  Now undefeated in 4 races, won the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Futurity at 8.5 furlongs, then the Robert B. Lewis after layoff, peaking with a 101 Brisnet and capping a triple pairing of Brisnet scores. Gotta love the 98 score at Churchill in 2nd lifetime race, first chance at a route. Forged small new top of 101 last time out, a good sign for the immediate future.  8-1.  Next: San Felipe Stakes on 3/7, then the Santa Anita Derby on 4/4.
#3 INTERNATIONAL STAR won the Grey at Woodbine, and comes off wins in the LeComte and the Grade 2 Risen Star, those seeing him with new tops of 94 and 97. Great way to start his 3YO campaign.   Achieved an 89 Brisnet score in his only Churchill appearance, 4th in the KY Jockey Club. The 89 represents good 2YO progression. Surprising to see him at 20-1 at the beginning of the wager. Next race: Louisiana Derby, 3/28.
#2 is TEXAS RED, who drops from the #1 position in Pool 2. Winner of the BC Juvenile, then took 3 months off, and would cut back to 7 furlongs, winning the Grade 2 San Vincente. Those 2 races represent a pair up of new tops (101, 98). Strong AWD numbers from pedigree (Afleet Alex-Ramatuelle, out of Jeune Homme). Last 3 stretch run numbers for this deep closer: 113, 99, 107. Very good pace progression at 2YO, capped by the BC win.  12-1 to start. Next race: Either the Santa Anita Derby or the Arkansas Derby on 4/11.
Top pick in this pool is LORD NELSON who ranked in 6 of the possible 8 variables. Alternating hits and misses in races, with wins in the  Grade 2 San Vincente and ungraded Speakeasy, both at Santa Anita. 5th in the KY Jockey Club, with a competitive 88 Brisnet.  Very good pedigree in place: Pulpit-African Jade, out of multiple stakes winner (none being Triple Crown races) Seeking The Gold. These also give him competitive AWD numbers. Only things to be concerned with: No wins beyond 7 furlongs. Pace is currently rather slow for his run style compared to others. But he has shown exploding and forging pace structure with a slight bounce risk for future. It’s understandable why he might be 30-1 to begin the wager but my hopes are very high for future success.  Next race is the San Felipe on 3/7
The wager structure:
Win bets on Lord Nelson, Texas Red, International Star.   Should Texas Red be worse than 9-1 in the wagering during Pool 3, I’ll make that 2nd wager on him here. If he’s close to 9-1 or better, which is certainly expected, I’ll ignore him and replace with Dortmund. Then again, if Dortmund should take more money than the 10-1 he showed in Pool 2, I’ll drop him for Upstart.
I’ll also take my top 3 and place above and below the ‘field’ selections in exactas, and include exactas to each other between the same top 3 (in this instance, I’ll keep Texas Red in).
This should be an $18 wager overall, doing $1 exacta and $2 win bets.
Here’s how I wagered Pool 2:
$2 win bets on Dortmund (10-1) Mr. Z (44-1), Imperia (24-1), El Kabeir (39-1), Texas Red (9-1)
Time to breathe.  Next post will focus on the Kentucky Oaks future wager. Beyond that, I’ll have thoughts on 4 stakes races for Saturday and a word on the next Enlightened Trail race.