2014 Alysheba Stakes/Kentucky Oaks analysis

In the prelude to the Run for the….uh…what is it for the Oaks? The Lillies? For the fillies? OK then. The Run for the Lillies. The prelude is the Alysheba Stakes, presumably with no floral arrangement thereafter. But there are horses, 4 of them, who participated in the Kentucky Derby in 2013. And that’s why I’m giving you some detail on each horse and what their chances appear to be.
6 horses of the 8 have some amount of ability to win. Let’s go horse-by-horse:

MOONSHINE MULLIN has spent his 6YO campaign at Oaklawn Park running claiming and optional claiming races from 40k to 8k. Approached triple digit Brisnet speed figures last 2 tho not setting a lifetime best. Winning 102 Brisnet at today’s distance was acheived in an optional claimer last time out. Since last layoff in late November, his best race following first off layoff was on February 13. I believe he’s still under influence of that race considering his age. . Ultimately I don’t see this stalker run fast enough.

WILL TAKE CHARGE has run in nothing but Grade 1 and 2 races for over a year, along with last year’s Triple Crown events. The speed figures are very consistent, running 103 to 109 since the Jim Dandy Stakes at Saratoga last year. I judge him as having some of the best breeding of the field. Unbridled’s Song and Take Charge Lady being multiple Graded stakes winners. He does have the inherent factors to contend but I give much more weight to those who have the ability to win today. Compared to this field, he’s rather unlikely.
MYLUTE makes 2nd start at age 4, and also returns to the site of his 5th place finish in last year’s Run for the Roses. Almost excusively runs in Graded events, tho a few times, including last time out, has run optional claiming events as prep. Last race was a commanding victory with a 97 Brisnet, above his 83 in the Jim Dandy. I suspect a bounce down. Not a contender in my book
COIN BROKER enters with very good breeding (sire Tapit, and prolific damsire Red Ransom). 5th lifetime start, has increased speed figure since maiden debut, pairing up with 94 and 97 in last two. All four races at Gulfstream Park. Both wins, from his last 2 races, were from a middle post. Contender.

GOLDEN SOUL ,despite running exclusively in Graded events since a dazzling 2nd place finish in last year’s Derby, has not run nearly as well since. He doesn’t appear in any of my variables, and hasn’t even appeared as close as 4th to any point of call since last year’s Belmont, going back 4 races.

GOLDEN TICKET has 6 races under the twin spires, with 1 win and 3 2nds. The 107 score he acheived in the Stephen Foster Handicap combined with a win over the surface, gives him something of an advantage. Also doesn’t appear to rank in my variables, and no indication that he can win today.
APPEALING TALE is an example of a horse I favor when it comes to trips. Any sprinter who is loose on the lead in a route, or a deep closer who is fairly close to the lead throughout during a route race, gets extra credit from me. This West Coast sprinter did likewise in an ungraded race at Santa Anita, on March 30. Tripled up in pace, too. Last 3 races scored 97 and two 101s. Even though there are too few races run in this meet to develop track bias, it’s worth noting that this horse is the lone speed of the field. Contender
BRADESTER is 3 of 4 in the money at Churchill, and has a Grade 3 win at Fair Grounds 2 races back. Best Brisnet for the distance is a 102 in the Indiana Derby in October. What I really like is the work tab, 3 since his last race, 2 fast ones at Churchill, one with a bullet. Plus: 2 wins from an outside post, where his today. Contender.

My selections are these:
1st 9 Bradester

2nd 4 Coin Broker
3rd 8 Appealing Tale
Next post examines, in like manner, the run for all those lillies.
After having written exhaustively on this Enlightened Derby Trail subject on the blog, you may have wondered why I haven’t attempted an Enlightened Oaks Trail. Frankly, I’m exhausted. I may examine ths after the fact, but I’m more than likely to wait for June to start looking at those ungraded 2YO filly races.

As for the Oaks, here’s what’s already play from the future wager:
$2 win bets on Please Explain (26-1) and Untapable (5-1). $1 Exacta bets between these and with field over and under these horses. For this race, the one horse from the ‘field’ selections of the future wager is Aurelia’s Belle (5-1). If either of my 2 horses are taking less money minutes before post time, I might make a second win wager on them.

Now the capsule view, where 9 of the 13 fillies have any shot:
PLEASE EXPLAIN I ranked as having among the best fitting pedigrees for horses winning at Churchill. Yes, I’ll explain. I take the chef-de-race points of each horse, and compare it with the average winning number for the track from www.chef-de-race.com The lowest differential earns the lead in that variable. Actually the variable is shared with the horse whose pedigree has the highest average winning distance. In this case, Please Explain has the better chef-de-race number (Sire is the world-class Curlin, dam is Lizzy’s Bluff, unraced). 3rd in the Grade 3 Honeybee Stakes. Lot of talk on Twitter re her true eligibility. Nevertheless she’s a contender and a good one. Both lifetime wins have come from an outside post, and she’s on the rail here. I’m playing the bounceback angle too: Scored an 82 Brisnet in the Suncoast at Tampa Bay in February, then 91 in the Honeybee, suggesting a bounce. And she did bounce in the Fantasy Stakes with an 81. Only can move up in this race.

RIA ANTONIA was second in the Breeders Cup Juvenile Fillies, arguably the most important race for 2YO fillies, and 2nd in the Santa Anita Oaks. Surged from an 83 Brisnet in the Rachael Alexandra Stakes at Fair Grounds to a 91 at Santa Anita last time out. Could bounce from that number. Very good work tab, with 3 works since that race, 2 with a bullet, 2 works held at Churchill. Dark horse at best.

SUGAR SHOCK is winner of 4 of 6 lifetime, which are her last 4 starts. These include starts in the Fantasy and the Honeybee. ROI angle: +2.10 return for trainer Doug Anderson considering the 2 Graded starts (15-1 in the Honeybee, 6-1 in the Fantasy). Pace recovery angle. After layoff to start her 3YO campaign, scored a winning 90 in a 55k maiden race. Then slight drop to 88 in an allowance race, then the paired up forged figures in the Graded races, scoring in the early 90’s. The Fantasy Stakes shows recovery in pace, and there’s promise of more. Likely contender.
ROSALIND: Here’s the filly with the best average winning distance from pedigree.
Sire is Broken Vow, great son of Unbridled, going 9-2-2 in 14 starts and multiple stakes winner at 4.
Damsire is the Irish-bred Theatrical, a champion older horse in Ireland, along with multiple graded stakes wins over turf in the US, ages 4 and 5. Also had won 10 of 22 lifetime. Rosalind herself has never been out of the top 4. Won her maiden debut, then has ran almost nothing but Graded events with a win in the Ashland at Keeneland last time out. The 100 Brisnet in that race forged herself a new lifetime best. Could bounce from that race, as her allowance race prior to that was an 87. Contender.
THANK YOU MARYLOU has 2 wins and 2 shows lifetime, with wins in the Tippett Stakes for fillies as her maiden debut at Gulfstream (!), then the Any Limit ungraded stakes at Gulfstream. Lifetime best acheived 2 races back in that event with a 98, then down to a 92 in the Ashland. I’m predicting a bounce back in pace but should not be a factor at all in this race.
KISS MOON hasn’t won since her debut at 3, doing a 2nd place finish in the Fantasy Stakes her best effort, pairing up a 92 with a 90 in the Honeybee. Probably will bounce. Unlikely.
FASHION PLATE is the class of the field, invading from the West Coast with wins in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Oaks (Brisnet of 92) and the Las Virgenes Stakes (91), both stakes for fillies. ROI angle: Gary Stevens with Simon Callaghan retuned $4.20 to win in the Oaks. Combined with her maiden win 3 races back, scoring a 97, that is a triple-up, which can work in either direction for her. This pure sprinter held off 6 other challengers in the 8.5 furlong Oaks, an excellent trip as compared to this field. Despite the effort, given the competition in the field, she’s unlikely to contend.

AURELIA’S BELLE has won both times Channing Hill has been aboard, and he does so again today. Won her maiden debut, then in the money in Graded races since, including a win in the Bourbonette Oaks last time out. Forged lifetime best Brisnet of 91. This is one of three horses I reject completely to contend today, never mind that I have $ on her as a field selection from the future wager.

UNBRIDLED FOREVER has the name, might have the same game, but not today. A win in the Silverbulletday in January, then 3rd in teh Fair Grounds Oaks, increasing Brisnet scores from 85 to 96. Posted the best winning track speed at Churchill of the field, with a 100 in her maiden win. Both wins came from a middle post. Should bounce from the 96 score last out and should not be a contender at all here.
EMPRESS OF MIDWAY, broke maiden in 2nd start, then was 2nd in the Sunland Park Oaks, acheiving an 84, above a 78 prior to that. Likely to bounce, and unlikely to contend.
MY MISS SOPHIA won the Grade 2 Gazelle Stakes last out after 2 maiden races, scoring a 97 Brisnet. That score is the fastest in this field who have run 9 furlongs. This sprinter has 1st call Brisnet numbers of 104, 94 and 95. The Gazelle was another excellent trip in comparison to the field. Outside chance.
GOT LUCKY is another throwout. Broke maiden in her 3YO debut, then 2nd by a wide distance to the winner in the Gazelle and the Rachel Alexandra. Doesn’t measure up in any of my variables.
UNTAPABLE is the deserving morning-line favorite. Won 4 of 6 lifetime including the Pocahontas, the Rachel Alexandra, and the Fair Grounds Oaks. The concern: Forged lifetime tops of 100 and 107 in last 2 races. . On the plus side, a very good work tab, with 3 works since the FG Oaks, all at Churchill, last 2 very fast. Contender.

And here’s how I rank ’em :
1: #1 Please Explain
2: #4 Rosalind
3rd: #13 Untapable

Yes I envision a strong value finish, and it’s total coincidence that I pegged 2 of my top 3 just as I did in the Oaks future wager. With this I’ll have at least 4 horses in actual $ in play.
In both races, I will wager the top favorites over my 3 horses, and straight win bets on horses worse than 5-1.
Next 2 posts, coming overnight, will be my take on the Woodford Reserve, and the Kentucky Derby,


2014 Kentucky Oaks/Kentucky Derby future wager analysis

One race. One shot to get it right ahead of time. One shot the day of the race too. But bragging rights truly belong to those who can forecast a race with great odds to back it up. That’s why the future wager rocks as a wager. Again I call for this wager to be part of other major racing events.

This week, the one and only Kentucky Oaks pool gets going. I am taking the same approach to wagering as I do for the 3YO colts in the Run for the Roses, using the same variables. Here are the variables themselves:
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.
For the Oaks and the Derby:
I rank the top 7 or close to this in each variable, and also a select amount from the field selection. I aim to rank the top 3, which will determine who I bet.
Here’s the scheme of the actual wager. Top 3 will be exacta bets to each other, win bets on each, and placing the top 2 choices by public based on odds over my top 3 in exactas. This approach is exactly what I took in winning the future wager at this time last year.

First we’ll look at the horses in…..

Here’s the benchmarks established by how the ranking turned out. Horses with top consideration went to those who ranked in the top 7 in dosage profile to each other; combined AWD of 14.5 +, at least 1 Grade 1 or 2 victory; an appearance on Churchill Downs dirt track; a competitive pace score based on runstyle, a competitive pace score based on 2YO progression (a win with at least a 91 Brisnet between Labor Day and New Year’s Eve 2013); a win at 8.5 or 9 furlongs, and a good combo of pace progression (forging and/or exploding pace) plus the threat to bounce or bounce back next time out.
Firstly here’s the very best horse out of the field, the only one that really compares well to the 23 betting interests:
UNSTOPPABLE COLBY: Just breaking maiden in a 57k effort on 2/20 at Oaklawn, in 5th lifetime race, 8.5 furlongs. Racing with an 85 Brisnet lifetime there pushed just past his 2YO best, of 83 right at Churchill. Triple-up in pace ratings in the 80’s, so could either move up or down from here. 7th in the Smarty Jones prior to that, in his only non-maiden race. AWD combined: 14.7 (led by sire Pulpit’s 7.6). I like that he already has a run under the Twin Spires, which was 3 races back, finishing 2nd at 7 furlongs. Next race: Unknown. Zayat Stables says on Twitter (@JustinZayat): Unstoppable Colby came out of his race in good shape. He’ll run in a stake next. Coach was very happy with his race. Missed a lot of..training up to the race because of the weather. This race under his belt he should be ready to fire another big one. Lots of options to run

Here are the best of the rest from the field selections, these in no particular order :

BOND HOLDER, Cali bred, comes out of 2 4th-place finishes, both at the Grade 1 level, the Cash Call Futurity, and the BC Juvenile. This follows the Grade 1 win in the FrontRunner. All three races at 8.5 furlongs. Combined AWD 14.6 (led by Mineshaft, 7.4). He is pointed to the San Felipe on 3/8 if he heals from his air travel transport injury.
COMMISSIONER joins the field after a disappointing 6th place finish in the Fountain Of Youth on 2/22. Prior to that, a 75k allowance win an 9 furlongs and maiden-breaking 85k win. Combined AWD of 15.2 (led by AP Indy, 8.2). Despite the bad race, it represented a triple-up of races with pace of 88-93, and hit lifetime best in prior race in the allowance effort. This suggests promise of a greater effort next. Next race: Unknown.

RIDE ON CURLIN already with 7 races, never out of top 4. Last and best win was a 56k allowance 2 races back, followed by distant 3rd place in the Southwest stakes. Combined AWD of 14.6 (Curlin, 7.5). Already 3 races at Churchill; best effort just 3 races back, 3rd at a mile distance, 88 Brisnet. 2nd call pace numbers rather competitive to other pool entrants. Next race is likely the Rebel Stakes on 3/15.

RING WEEKEND: Broke maiden in 5th attempt last time at Gulfstream, at 8.5 furlongs, pace score of 91. Combined AWD of 14.9 (dam Free the Magic with 7.5). One race at CD, a 76 score at 8.5 furlongs on a race meant for turf. Next: Unknown

WE MISS ARTIE has run since last July 4, 7 races in all. Winner of the Grade 1 Breeders Futurity in October (8.5 furlongs) , 2nd in the Kittens Joy 2 races back. Mixed blessing of results all throughout, but the pace numbers are very strong. Next: Unknown.

IN TROUBLE: Undefeated in 2 races, both in sprints. Comes out of the Grade 2 win in the Futurity at Belmont last fall. improved well from maiden debut Pace numbers very good so far. Next race seems to be the Gotham Stakes back at Belmont this weekend.

BOBBY’S KITTEN in the field? Sheesh. I suppose being inactive a few months will get you this fate. All he’s done was a win in the Pilgrim at 8.5 furlongs, 3rd in the BC Juvenile Turf. Pace numbers very strong for this early stalkers. The 2 Graded wins show classic improvement and high expectation realized for age 3. Next: Unknown.

Now from the standard betting interests, here are the horses I rank in the top 6, which I present Letterman-style:

Ranked 6th: WILDCAT RED moves onto the like list after wins in the Grade 3 Hutcheson and the Grade 2 Fountain Of Youth. 1st or 2nd in 6 lifetime. Good pace numbers from last 3 races, especially the FOY over 8.5 furlongs, and the 100 Brisnet. That score is just past his maiden race of 99, and puts up a triple-up of race running 96 to 100 in last 3. Next race appears to be the Florda Derby on 3/29.

Ranked 5th: INTENSE HOLIDAY on the radar after nosing out a victory in the 8.5 furlong Risen Star, winning after 5 straight Graded entries. Great 2YO progression, whose best race prior came on Labor Day weekend, breaking maiden with a 94. The Risen Star was a 99, and a possible bounce candidate next time out, but in long term should be a threat in the TC races. He leads the point total for the KY Derby trail. Next race: Louisiana Derby, 3/29.

Ranked 4th: CONQUEST TITAN has run at 5 different tracks in 2 countries, including Churchill twice since debut last June. Competitive dosage profile (Birdstone-Miner’s Secret, by Mineshaft. Birdstone of course the sire of Mine That Bird and also himself winner of the Champagne and Travers; Mineshaft won a ton of stakes races at age 4 enroute to Horse of Year honors). AWD is 7.4 on both sides. Won a race at CD with 92 in an allowance race 2 races back, proving his 2YO progression is quite valid. Paired up that 92 last time out, running 2nd in the Holy Bull. Next races appear to be the Tampa Bay Derby on 3/8 and ideally the Florida Derby on 3/29 to follow.
Top 3:

Ranked 3rd: HONOR CODE, Won maiden debut, then 2nd in the Champagne, then won the Grade 2 Remsen at 9 furlongs.Love the pedigree here (AP Indy-Serena’s Cat, by Storm Cat). Combined AWD of 15.3 (AP Indy 8.2). Not much else to add really; this is a superstar horse in the making who only really lacks experience. Next: Rebel Stakes, 3/15 is possible as of this typing.
2nd: TAMARANDO never out of the money save his maiden debut 10 starts ago last June. Winner of the Del Mar Futurity, 3rd in the Front Runner, winner of the Real Quiet and the G3 El Camino Real Derby. Pace numbers for this very late closer are quite competitive. Surely had his best career race in the El Camino Real with the good closing kick over 9 furlongs at Golden Gate. Great 2YO progression, with best effort a 94 in the Real Quiet. Next race: Spiral Stakes on 3/22.

Ranked #1, as previous: TAPITURE. If you weren’t convinced before, you surely were last time, as he took over the pace in a win in the Southwest Stakes last time. This follows a win in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes. Never out of the money in 5 lifetime. 3 races at Churchill can’t hurt, the best being the KYJC race on 11/30 at Grade 2 over 8.5 furlongs, a 95 Brisnet. The 99 scored in the Southwest indicates the beginning of larger pace moves, even if he does toss in an off race next time. Really no flaw I can find in him. Next: Rebel Stakes, 3/15.


Ranked 9th and best out of the field is MILAM: 3 wins in 6 stars. Won a 75k sprint at Churchill with a 95 Brisnet. 2nd call pace numbers for this filly are very competitive. Broke maiden in first race with 91 score, peaked with the 95 at Churchill, matching it last time out at Calder on 2/22. Next race: Unknown
Ranked 8th: ARETHUSA: Running on the West Coast circuit, 4 of 7 in the money. Combined AWD of 15.0 (sire AP Indy 8.2). First race was a 70 Brisnet, finishing 7th of 8, then peaked with a 90 in November, winning the 100k Sharp Call. at 8.5 furlongs. Next race: un known

7th: AWESOME BABY: also from the West Coast tracks, filly by Awesome Again and Miss Attractive out of Running Stag. Winner of the G2 Santa Ynez last time out, and out of the money in 2 G1 races. Competitive pace numbers for this sprinter. Next race: Unknown
6th: DAME DOROTHY is undefeated in 2. Filly by Bernardini-VoleVole Monamour out of Woodman. Combined AWD of 15.8. Won a 75k allowance race at 8.5 furlongs by 12 lengths last time out to start her 3YO campaign. Next: Unknown

5th: JOINT RETURN, 3rd in maiden debut at Parx, then 3 consecutive wins at 4 lengths, 2 at Parx, one at Aqueduct (100k Busher), all at route distances. Pedigree: Include-Brunswick Star, out of Brunswick. Excellent pace numbers for this deep closer. Next: Unknown
4th: ROSALIND: In the top 4 all 5 starts. 2nd in the Alcibiad, 3rd in the Pocahontas and the BC Juvenlie Fillies. Combined AWD of 16.2 (dam is Critics Acclaim, 9.1). Strong pace numbers for this deep closer. Next race possibly is an allowance race on 2/27.

Now for the top 3, the first ones I will consider wagering:

3rd: SHE’S A TIGER. Winner of the BC Juvenile Fillies last time out in November. First or 2nd in all 6 starts going back to June, including the Chandler (G1) and the Del Mar Debutante (G1) and the Sorrento (G2) plus the Landaluce (150k). Best pace numbers of the field for this sprinter. Progressed well at 2 whose best was a 91 in the Sorrento, peaking in the BC event with a 94.
Next race appears to be the Oaks itself.

2nd is PLEASE EXPLAIN, breaking maiden in 4th try, then winning the Suncoast last time out, a 100k ungraded stakes.Daughter of Curlin and Lizzy’s Bluff out of Pine Bluff. Combined AWD of 14.8. Broke maiden with 8.5 furlong win 2 races back. Also managed scores of 77 and 82, both 2nd place finishes, here at Churchill. Next race: unknown.

Top choice for the Oaks Pool is UNTAPABLE. Daughter of Tapit and Fun House by Prized, combined AWD of 14.8. Won the G2 Pocahontas back in September, 2nd lifetime start right at Churchill (after breaking maiden first start on same track), scoring a 93 in the process. Upstaged that with a 100, winning the 8.5 furlong, G3 Rachel Alexandra last time out on 2/22.