Stakes/Race analysis (multiple tracks)

Today I cover for you 8 stakes races, the only Graded stakes races in the country,
First we go to Del Mar for 3 of them:
The Del Mar Oaks is 9 furlongs on the turf course for leading 3YO fillies.  My top 3 here are Cheekaboo, Lynne’s Legacy and Decked Out.
Cheekaboo is 8 of 9 in the money lifetime, with a win in the Honeymoon Stakes at Santa Anita 2 races, and the Campanile at Golden Gate in May.  Shares in best distance and turf speed figure (Honeymoon was 98, her best lifetime effort). Bounced to a 90 in the Sandy Blue last time out at Del Mar on 7/17. Had some traffic trouble early in that race; I feel she can bounce back from that figure and have a better run here.  Best works of the field too, with 3 fast local ones.
Overlay pick: Lynne’s Legacy 6 of 9 in the money, took 8 tries to break maiden, did so 2 races back at Santa Anita on 5/29, going at today’s distance. Followed up with a 65k allowance race win on 7/21.  Forged new top in that race, tho leaves her as a bounce risk. Also ran much better at 2nd call than in previous.

Next is the Del Mar Handicap, 9.5 furlongs on the turf course for 3YOs+.  My top 3 are Ashleyluvssugar, Flamboyant and Metaboss…which are also the top 3 per morning-line as well. Can’t expect this race to be all profitable.
Ashleyluvssugar has 6 wins in 15 races, including the Charlie Wittingham and the San Luis Rey.  Best speed figure for distance (103 in last year’s United Nations) and turf (108 in last year’s San Luis Rey). 97 last time out in the Eddie Read, finishing with a 4-wide move.  Solid high 90s numbers last 3 races.

No overlays in this race, which seems wise to avoid.

Next is the TVG Pacific Classic as Del Mar welcomes back champion horse and home-bred California Chrome.   Top 3 are Dortmund, Hoppertunity and Imperative.

Media is really focusing on Beholder vs Chrome, but I have Dortmund as that other favorite to prevail.  8 wins in 11 races, 2nd start of 2016, winner of the Los Alamitos Futurity, RB Lewis, San Felipe, Santa Anita Derby, the Big Bear, and the Native Diver 2 races back here on 11/28. Forged and set up new speed figure record of 108. Made the most of a game effort last out in the San Diego as he drifted in the stretch, losing to Chrome in the San DIego.  Turn time looks good compared to others.  Pattern of triple digits in last 3 races.
Overlays:  Win The Space hasn’t won yet in Graded company but his race pace numbers should cause serious looks.  103 lifetime best in the Gold Cup at Santa Anita, then 2nd here in the San Diego. Possibility of bounce from that number.  Turn time gain plus lower speed figure suggests he has more coming.
Imperative has poor 14 of 32 races in the money record, and no wins in the last 18 months.  I like that he gained 2.25 lengths on the leader last time out in the Gold Cup at Santa Anita, and also has the best works of the field, 6 works here, 2 bullets.
Now I shift to Monmouth for the Monmouth Oaks, Grade 3 100k event at 8.5 furlongs for top 3YO fillies.  Top 3 are pretty much the morning-line selections: Unbridled Mo, Mo d’Amour and Tejana.
Unbridled Mo broke maiden in 2nd start here on 5/29 (36k level), then won an 20k optional claimer race at same distance of 1 mile and 70 yards.  Waiting since early July to stretch out. Top AWD numbers in the field (sire Uncle Mo, dam Unbridled Waters, out of Unbridled).  Forged and matched lifetime best of 86 in both wins.  4 works at Monmouth since last, 3 of the 4 very fast.
Overlay: In a race with favorites up front, there’s a small chance that Hi Holiday might be overlooked. Best pace form of the field, setting small new top of 85 last time out in a 30k optional claimer on 7/23.
UPDATE: Hi Holiday a scratch, so no overlay in this race now, no change in the order. 
Up we go north of the 48 to Northlands and the Grade 3 Canadian Derby.  This race is for top 3YOs, 150k, 9.5 furlongs.  My top 3 are Hold That Giant, Access This, and Ruck.
Hold That Giant is one of 2 overlays I see here and a longshot pick for me.  Winner of the Edmonton Juvenile in 2nd start.  2016 campaign sees a positive change in speed figures, all in the 80s.   Might be fastest of these horses by run style if any of the also-eligibles don’t run.  Trainer Tim Rycroft (21 % winners here) has done the most of any trainer for his horse (class, distance change). Waiting since 7/16 to stretch from 8.5 furlongs.  Impresses with 1 second turn time gain between last 2 races. 2 bullet works since last race.
The other overlay here may be The Accuser. Set small new tops of 74, then 79, then big gain to 86 last time out in a 50k ungraded stakes event here 7/16. 3 works since then, all at NP, 1 very fast.
UPDATE: Scratches to two of the also-eligibles change my order a bit: Hold That Giant, Ruck, Access This my solid top 3, with an upset looming. 

Next is the Spa, and the Fourstardave Handicap, a race rescheduled from last week.

My top 3 here are Grand Arch, Tourist and Ring Weekend. I’m reversing my top 2 in so doing, going with a value horse over 2 favorites.
Grand Arch has an impressive 21 of 26 in the money, with wins in last year’s version of this race as well as the Shadwell. Drops 6 lbs for this race. Won the last 2 times he’s dropped significant pounds. First race after reclaim by Bryan Lynch. Best workouts of the field, with 6 in all, 2 very fast.
King Kressa remains the overlay of the field.  108 Brisnet is lifetime best as well as best for the Spa, the distance and turf course.  Moved from 93 to 100 last time out wining the Forbidden Apple at Belmont, hanging on to win by a nose.
UPDATE: With scratches to 3 horses, my new top 3 are Tourist, then Grand Arch (back to my original top two then), and A Lot.   King Kressa still an overlay.   Tourist is an early-presser type, whose style has won 5 of 10 races during the meet at the mile, and 11% for the range of posts starting from the 4th out. Fastest overall speed figures and rather consistent ones too 
Also at the Spa is the Grade 1 Alabama Stakes, 10 furlongs for top 3YOs, 600k.  Songbird is the big lone favorite, and I’m taking a firm stand against her. My top 3 are Go Maggie Go, Going For Broke, and Weep No More. It’s a logical 3 that might not be much value but plenty for sure between them.
Go Maggie Go comes off layoff for the first time…don’t expect any rust here; after all, she did win her first career start….then wins in the Gulfstream Park Oaks and the Black Eyed Susans. Ships from Belmont, following layoff and a 4th place finish in the Acorn. Best works in the field, 4 in all, 3 at Saratoga, 1 bullet. Turn time is easily the best of the field.
Overlays: Weep No More bounced to 87 last time out in the Coaching Club American Oaks here in July. Only deep closer threat in the field, generally on a somewhat quickening pace as the race takes shape. Did gain a bit on the leader and winner Songbird last out by the 2nd call. It was also her first race since layoff, and she improved slightly at the 2nd call as measured by speed figure.
Flora Dora recovers in pace, with a 93 last time out in the CCAO, setting slight new top in the process. Took a 3-wide path while finishing a distant 3rd. The recovery angle suggests she can improve even more from the 93. Just after layoff to start her 3YO campaign, she had an 88 but did not improve on that since then.
Finally we go back north to Woodbine and the Play the King Stakes, a Grade 2 event for 3YOs+ going 7 furlongs on the turf.  My top 3 are Tower of Texas, a longshot play, over 2 pre-favorites, Ami’s Flatter and Green Mask.
Tower Of Texas, in fact is my lone overlay.
13 of 17 in the money, with his last win in the King Edward Stakes (grade 2) here in June 2015. Was nosed out of a win in last year’s version of the Play The King.  99 speed figure is best for the distance and Woodbine of this field. 21.8 turn time from his last 2 races and .6 second gain is the best mark of the field.
UPDATE: Green Mask a morning scratch. I’m inserting Dimension as 3rd choice in a race with a fair amount of value attached. 

Enlightened Trails stakes selections (Monmouth, Assiniboia)

Monmouth Park: Sapling Stakes: 5-6-2: Full Salute, Pinnacle Peak, Grecian Prince. Top 2 in the morning-line are also my top 2.
Full Salute deserves favored status, 1st or 2nd in 3 races. Forged an 87 Brisnet in a winning maiden 36k race, then bounced to a 76 in the Tyro. Best pace among these.
Sorority Stakes: 6-3-7: Aerolite, Tight Weave, Indian Saint.
Not much value to be had for Areolite but seems much the best here. This Tapit filly has 2 races at today’s 6  furlong distance, and forged lifetime best 78 while running 5th in the Schuylerville. 5 decent works at Belmont since then.  Consistent speed, and should be a bit of a price
Assiniboia Downs’ Winnipeg Futurity: 6-3-4: Nolan The Great, Heber, English Town.
Nolan The Great was 2nd in a 12k maiden race, then 4th in the Graduation, tho improved from 39 to 63 Brisnet; lone closer in field of early runners. Also waiting longest of these; last race was 8/1.
Overlays:  Nolan The Great, English Town.

Monmouth contest races analysis

Getting back into the swing of things as a new handicapping contest begins. Survival At The Shore is an elimination contest, based on 3 races per day at Monmouth. To survive, I have to pick a top-3 horse in one of the 3 races. I get 2 free ‘horseshoes’ in case I strike out.   Here’s my take on today’s contest races:
Monmouth 9th:  9-8-6 (My Uncle Sam, Social Network, Fake Dreams). My Uncle Sam in bounceback position after bouncing to 63 from 75 last time out, which was on turf in October. Won last June her on his only other turf to dirt surface switch. That same prior win also was off of a rise in class and slight cut back in distance.  Gained 4 lengths at 2nd call (8.5 furlongs) last time out. Provided fastest turn time of this field.

Monmouth 10th: 6-4-5 (Creaky Cricket, Here’s To Mike, Hot To Seek Her).  Creaky Cricket is the lone speed here in 12 horses; could win off layoff, considering he won his very first start.  Should bounce back after losing irons last time out early in his most recent effort.

Monmouth 11th (Majestic Light Stakes): 9-10-12 (Red Vine, Souper Lucky, Valid). Red Vine stands out here in a field of 5 that was 11 until a myriad of scratches came in.  Triple digit speed figures last 3 races, forging a 104 last time out, above the par speed here, so a possible bounce risk.   Only early closer of the field. Best works of the field, too; 4 in all, last 2 near-bullets. Only concerned that Joe Bravo has 1 win in 13 races so far.
Will post Emerald selections here later.

Survival At The Shore contest picks & analysis 7/13/14

11-2-3 are my picks in the Survival At The Shore contest today. I have to get one podium finish or I’m out of the contest.

Race 4: TEETH OF THE TIGER has the best jockey/trainer combo of the field in Trevor McCarthy (18% wins) and Jorge Navarro (22% wins). Both have worked together 3 times in the last 60 days, all wins, for an ROI of 4.87. Set lifetime top of 75 2 races back, then a 73 afterward in best maiden race finish in 6 lifetime at 24k. The trip for this closer was quite steady, held back from nearly 7 lengths out early and made one big move. Best work tab of field too,a steady bunch of works at Monmouth since April layoff, last one particularly fast. Post relevant to speed is favorable for her.

Race 7: SMOOTH SAILING I only really like for this reason: Track bias is favoring pure sprinters at 5.5 furlongs during the meet, and also posts 1 through 3. There’s also a slight drop out of form cycle as I see the pattern of Brisnet scores..from a 71 5 races back, then a plateau running 77 to 83 since, then a 63 going from sprint to route. Haven’t figured why the bad trip but I’m giving benefit of doubt to this big longshot.

Race 10: AQUINNAH in favorable form ever since winter layoff, running 84 to 90 Brisnet, plus new top of 90 last out, and a 3 race win streak, in the money last 5 races. In fact, 10 wins of 28 lifetime, 18 of 28 in money. Acheiving small new top should indicate even better success forward. Looked good last out, wiring the field narrowly. Inside post helps chances. 

Weekly handicapping contest update

This would have been the next week in the Enlightened Derby and Oaks Trails…if only Colonial Downs kept their 2014 thoroughbred season. There is always next year….or is there? Read on http://www.tidewaterreview.com/news/va-tr-colonial-downs-appeals-racing-commission-order-20140701,0,962335.story
The next races for the Enlightened Trails are:
Fillies: Prairie Gold Lassie at Prairie Downs, 7/19
Colts: Mountaineer Stakes at Mountaineer, 8/2
Emerald Downs http://www.emerald123.com
I start this weekend’s handicapping once again in the number 1 position at Emerald Downs, with $1442.30 (virtual $, people!). Coming out of 4 days of racing Thursday through Sunday, I had some nice surprises Thursday, 7/3: ….Stolen Forum paying $48 in mutuels, 1 win, 2 2nds, 2 3rds.
Here’s what I posted on the emerald123.com board: “Stolen Forum ships from Turf Paradise, slight drop in class, plus layoff, gets Richard who is 3.24 ROI in last 60 with trainer Joe Toye. 2 good works, one a bullet since last race. Handled 4.5 furlongs great last time out in win. Seems to run best with inside post as well.”

I believe he was helped by riderless horse flanking my winner along the rail.

Friday 7/4: 1 show and then 3 straight wins to round out the 6 race contest card, including $22 on Mister Breeze in the feature, gate to wire.. Saturday 7/5: 2 value picks, one of whom scratched at gate….earned 3 more wins, 1 2nd, 1 3rd. Best showing was $10 on Miss Fast Eddie. Sunday 7/6: I picked all chalk except for Madame Pele who didn’t place. I didn’t mind seeing Stopshoppingdebbie go 8 for 8 lifetime, best such record on the continent. As for me… how about 3 more wins….and 1 2nd. Earned double digits on all cashes, including Tsarina Haven for $28.80, 8-1 odds with one big single run.
Currently I have $18 on the 2nd place player, and $9 more over 3rd. From there, there’s a gap of $29 out of cash position to 4th.

Survival At The Shore (Monmouth) http://www.survivalattheshore.com
Lost my 2nd of 3 lifelines as I got thoroughly shut out of Monmouth picks. 2 horses didn’t bother to keep up to speed, and one just had a bad trip and slow start. Good ol’ racing luck. Need to stay afloat and have at least one horse on podium tomorrow.

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The Racing Biz, representing all that’s good of racing in the Mid-Atlantic states, has the 5th leg of their monthly handicapping contest on Saturday. I have to register best score using win/place in 10 races. Delaware and Parx are the traks involved. Care to take me on? http://www.theracingbiz.com/racing/maryland-handicapping-series-picks/
I have 5 entries out to the grand prize drawing in October, 4 for entering, plus one for getting a 2nd place finish in one monthly contest.
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Not to be outdone, there is the Del Mar online contest which runs Wednesday-Sunday every week starting next week. http://www.dmtc.com/contest/21

future plans for handicapping

hinking of going back to ‘capping (going back to ‘capping..going back to ‘capping. Hm. There’s a song in there). Actually I have been handicapping since a self-imposed ban on posting about it. I’ve taken in a couple of free (that means no-cost to me) online challenges run by 123 racing. One is elimination-style at Monmouth Park..where you get to pick 1 horse per race in 3 chosen races. If you fail to hit the $ you get 2 more chances to avoid being shutout again. And if you last long into the competition, you get another ‘horseshoe’. I’m on my last free horseshoe with a few more weekends to go. Haven’t picked a lot of winners, but the favorites have come in when needed.
At Emerald Downs, a small track in Aurora, WA, the challenge is simply to earn the most based on the mutuel prices, using a $2 win/place/show bet, one hrose per race, in the last 6 races of each card, no elims. I’m in the upper third of all players, consistently getting my shares of wins and placings.
Even tho some major races are ahead this weekend, I have no temptation of gambling, being that I really can’t afford it.
Nevertheless I am redoing my system just a bit to give certain variables more weight, and also include something called trip handicapping. This involves, for me, watching the replay of the last race of each horse entered. It adds maybe another 15 minutes on top of my usual 10-15 minutes per race, but I feel it’s worthy. On my own, I had already felt like I knew how to watch a race, seeing when a jockey calls upon a horse, when horses travel wide, or when they make a move. I think sometimes I fail to see how a horse could have done when hemmed in in the stretch, or similar. And sometimes, having to watch online, you can’t always see how a horse gallops out after the race, seeing who is still full of run after the race.
While that is happening, I found a great instructional video on the almighty YouTube from the folks at HorsePlayerNow, giving equal time to thoroughbred and standardbred (yes, the one’s with the ‘drivers’ in the ‘sulkies’). Both systems can be looked at equally. Hmmm. Maybe I can wean myself away from my difference in understanding past performances in the latter. Meanwhile, I will concentrate on the thoroughbreds. In the video, there are nuggets of wisdom about the type of horse that is either compromised or aided along with the sequences of action in the race.

I paired this with an informative document that looks at a horse’s run style, be it sprinter, closer or somewhere in between. The stress is on pace, positioning and the race shape based on who’s in the field and the collection of styles. Add to this the prevailing track bias, and you have angles that some horseplayers don’t take into account. This is why I absolutely adore Brisnet and their BRIS ratings for including this in their ‘ultimate’ past performances.

So here’s what I have to look forward to this weekend:

Friday I handicap 3 races at Monmouth for Friday, and also the prescribed 6 for Emerald. Total of 9.
Saturday a new challenge, elim style, starts up at Remington Park, and I’m sure that’s 3 races worth. There is 3 more at Monmouth (IF I’m not shut out), 6 at Emerald, and 8 more with a one-day challenge from the folks at Equibase, with a focus on picking 1 horse to win 8 races, using $2 win and place only. The races include 5 major races at Saratoga (including the Travers) and 3 at Del Mar (including the Pacific Classic)
20 races in all.
Sunday? No idea what will be running those days.

I will devote the next handicapping post to  Saturday’s Travers and Pacific Classic, plus pick out a race on Friday for you all. 

Again, I share this info with no intent to gamble, and I do not have any temptation to do so. Frankly, I don’t care whether you do or not. If you do, hopefully you’ll feel armed with good knowledge.