Preakness Stakes 2017 analysis

The Preakness Stakes post draw took place on Wednesday, with the past performances released soon after. Here’s my capsule look at each horse and their chances.

MULTIPLIER: Following his maiden win in 3rd try, he closed to win the Illinois Derby at Hawthorne on 4/22, with a sharp 104 score. With 3 straight big gains in speed figure, a bounce is bound to come. Despite this, he has the best tactical speed of the field. If this deep closer gets his proper trip, he may well surprise. Fastest turn time last out of the field at 24 seconds.
Odds: 18-1 Possible overlay, compared to morning-line of 30-1
Pace: Needs average to slower than average pace.
Projected to finish 6th on wet track, 4th if fast.

CLOUD COMPUTING: Stretching from 9 furlongs and 7 weeks off since his 3rd place finish in the Wood Memorial. Bounced to 94 from 100. Fastest trip of the field with some trouble (3 wide for a good deal of the race). Only early closer of the race. Best works of the field too: 4 at Belmont, all 4 very fast, 2 bullets.
Odds: 9-1. Possible overlay, compared to morning-line of 12-1.
Pace: Based on one win, he needs a fast pace throughout.
Projected to win.

HENCE disappointed with a bounce from 103 to 80 in the KY Derby. Best AWD numbers of the field (Street Boss/Floating Island, out of AP Indy). He can possibly bounce back from the 80 score. Not one of my contenders.
Pace: This deep closer needs a very fast pace early, slowing down to slightly faster than average late.
If we have a fast track, he’ll be 14-1 for me, possibly an overlay. Wet track, I will remove him from consideration.
Projected to finish 7th.

ALWAYS DREAMING as mentioned in my prior post, had some reason to win, no less than a recent fast turn time and the recovery angle following his post layoff period of races. With the KY Derby, he leads in distance speed for this field. Undoubtedly he’s basically the speed of the field. Should we have a wet track, he becomes a stronger contender.
Odds for wet track: 7-1, worse than the projection of 4/5 as morning-line. He’s one I may play with my top selections and overlays.
Fast track odds: 4-1.
Pace: Slow pace early, very slow late
Projection: 3rd

CLASSIC EMPIRE has 5 wins in 8, a respectable 4th in the KY Derby, with a good 91 score. Lost in the shuffle here as he does not rank at all in my variables.
Pace: Fast early, slightly faster than average later.
Finish: back of the pack.

GUNNEVARA had a tough trip in the Derby, finishing 7th, and a drop to 86. Another horse I have no confidence in.
Pace: Fast early, slows down to slower than average late. Basically this deep closer requires a meltdown in pace.

TERM OF ART comes out of a pair of 92s, finishing 3rd in the San Felipe and 7th in the Santa Anita Derby. A bit concerned he might bounce from his last 3 numbers. Only horse I’m throwing out on pace alone. Adds blinkers for this race. Waiting since 4/8 to stretch.
Odds: 18-1, possible overlay.

SENIOR INVESTMENT won the Lexington last time out at Keeneland 4/15, following a 6th in the LA Derby. Both races he scored a 93 in. Possible bounce risk here. Meanwhile, he has the biggest turn time gain of the field from his last 2 starts, .8 seconds.
Odds: 18-1, possible overlay.
Pace: Average all throughout.
Prediction: 5th on wet track, 4th if dry.

LOOKIN AT LEE nearly stole the KY Derby, and would have scored me a sweet 37-1 payout from Pool 1 of the Future Wager. He remains a wiseguy pick and I’m sure the public will agree. Arkansas Derby was a small new top of 94. He’s still under influence of that score, so it’s a bonus that he scored a bit better in the KY Derby with 97. Best pace pattern of the field.
Odds: Fair, at 9-1.
Pace: Pretty average throughout the race for this deep closer.
Prediction: 2nd.

CONQUEST MO MONEY last ran in the Ark Derby, finishing a close 2nd and with a 95 score, paired with a 99 in the Sunland Derby. Only pure sprinter in the field, and can be dangerous among all the stamina-based horses here.
Odds: 18-1, a fair price here.
Pace: Very fast early, to slightly fast late.
Prediction: 5th on wet track, 6th if fast.

Summary:
Top horses are
Fast track: Cloud Computing, Lookin At Lee, Always Dreaming, Multiplier, Senior Investment, Conquest Mo Money, Hence.
Wet track: Top 3 for fast, then Senior Investment, Conquest Mo Money, Multiplier and Hence.
Overlays: 5 in all, a nice amount for a 10 horse field.

It does seem like a one horse race for Cloud Computing, with Always Dreaming and Lookin At Lee strong solid choices otherwise.

Preakness Stakes analysis and selections

Here’s my capsule look on this year’s Preakness Stakes, horse-for-horse:
CHERRY WINE won maiden in 5th try, was 4th in the Rebel and 3rd last out in the Blue Grass. 2 works at Churchill since, 1 very fast. Gained in turn time despite small downturn in figures. Closer who needs moderate to slowing fractions. My odds: 6-1. Predicted finish: 4th.
UNCLE LINO 7-2-2-2 lifetime, 2nd in the Robert B Lewish, 4th in the San Felipe, 3rd in the SA Derby, winner last out of the California Chrome. Forged a strong new top of 109 last out, way ahead of prior best 97, so a bounce may be coming. Gained nicely in turn time compared to prior but very wary of that triple digit Brisnet number. Would require a slightly slow and slowing pace.
NYQUIST, KY Derby winner, undefeated in 8. Best speed for the distance, considering that Derby win, good for new top of 104. I sense a bounce here, as his prior win in the Florida Derby was 97, itself a bounce from 103 in the San Vicente. Another horse who exceeds track par for the distance, and one I must play against today. Sprinter who needs moderate to slow numbers.  My odds: 24-1.
AWESOME SPEED won the Mucho Macho Man and the James F Lewis, and was nosed out last time in the Federico Tesio. Moved from  87 to 97 Brisnet last out, might bounce. Best work tab here, with 3 works. He actually was awarded the Tesio win after being bumped  lightly by unofficial winner Governor Malibu. Maybe he could have ran faster. My odds: 6-1.  Needs moderate to slow fractions.  Overlay.  Should finish 5th.
EXAGGERATOR enters with triple digit Brisnet figures in last 5, with wins in the Saratoga Special, the Delta Downs Jackpot, and an exciting Santa Anita Derby. Closer who will rely on a pace collapse to win.  One of two horses who shares best mud speed figure of 103 (Delta Downs), with rain in the forecast. Measured as the absolute speed of the field, he’s the only early closer here. I love the consistency of his figures.  My odds: 2-1. This is your Preakness winner, which I’ll try to use over value.
LANI remains an enigma despite wins on two continents and a 9th in the Run for all those Roses. Looks outclassed compared to these.
COLLECTED 6-4-1-0 lifetime, with wins in the Lexington, the Sunland Festival of Racing and the Sham plus his maiden debut.  Despite this resume, he also appears outclassed. Doesn’t rank with this field in any variable. Requires fast fractions to have any chance.
LAOBAN still a maiden, 4th in the Blue Grass, 2nd in the Gotham, 3rd in the Sham, removing blinkers for the Preakness.  Best AWD numbers (Uncle Mo/Chattertown by Speightstown). Likely deserving of his 30-1 morning line odds. Predicting him to finish 6th.
ABIDING STAR won his last 4, including the Parx Derby and the Private Terms. This is the other horse with a 103 on a sloppy course. Bounced from that in the Parx Derby with a 93 on a good track yet produced another win. I am prefering the bounceback angle (and I often do). My odds are 6-1, suggesting a sneaky overlay. Predicted to be 2nd. Needs moderate to slow numbers here.
FELLOWSHIP 12-2-3-3 lifetime, hasn’t found winner’s circle since October. Best turn time since last race, 23.8 seconds. Slight possibility of bounce, as his last 3 races were in the 90s, ahead of an 89 before that.
STRADIVARI has a maiden win and a 62k allowance win, both by double-digit lengths. Forged big gains in pace in each, 101 last out, 92 prior .3 works since last, most recent was a bullet. Only horse to improve at 2nd call first race after layoff. I think he’s worth 4-1, better than morning line 8-1, and might be the most affordable of overlays here.
Prediction: 3rd.

2015 Preakness Stakes analysis

In preparation for the Preakness, I’ve shrugged off the remnants of a handicapping system that has served me pretty decently the last several years. I built it after seeing Mine That Bird win the Derby, and mainly after reading Dave Litfin’s book on expert handicapping.  To it, I now add info from a book written in 1996 by James Quinn, “On Track/Off Track”.  The book contains a different order to the spectrum of variables I use. The biggest takeaway for me is the use of pace and turn time, and less so on post position and trips. I also am paying attention to par figures and how they relate.  I am finding many more things to look at in terms of pace in relation to class and form.   With that in mind, I have to devote another 10-15 minutes to the 20 minutes or so per race I devote to each race each day of handicapping.  These days, I examine 6 races a day at Emerald Downs, and am completing (and surviving!) the High Q Test, a quarter horse contest at Remington Park, site of my 2013 $1000 victory.   I’ve had precious little time this week to test drive the new system but I’m devoting part of Friday to immersing in it as I take in the Emerald experience.

As for the Preakness, I really should start with the Kentucky Derby.  It’s the first year in five that I failed to score in the Future Wager of either the Oaks or Derby. I’m kinda embarrassed about it as I put a ton of work in either race, and certainly a fair amount of money, to make this profit for the 5th straight year.    There is certainly reason to second-guess and third-guess my selections and thought process. But I was working against some extraordinary luck, seeing several of my future wager selections being removed from the Trail for either lack of points or injury. It’s a soul-crusher. But I persevere and count the days until November, maybe, to get into the game again.
And, tho I had considered playing the overlays under favorites, which is really a losing battle when you think of it (another tip by Quinn), I would have scored…yet it still would have been a loss overall compared to what I have spent.  Yes I did play the overlays to win, and that didn’t work out. I didn’t rank American Pharoah as he hadn’t run fully to his 2YO numbers yet.   Will the 9.75 furlong journey at Pimlico be a different story?  Let’s find out, as we go horse-for-horse:

AMERICAN PHAROAH comes in with the best speed ratings for the distance, thanks to his 100 speed rating in the run for all those roses.   Should we have an off track, he is a bigger factor, seeing that he has a 99 win in the Rebel. Winner of 5 of 6 lifetime, all wins at at the Graded level.  A small ROI angle to play here: Victor Espinoza and Bob Baffert have 7 races together in the last 60 days, with 5 wins, 6 in the money for a 2.26 return.  One of two winners at the Grade 1 level. Top speed figures in the field, also best of the Grade 1 winners. Continuing a pattern of high Brisnet numbers ranking from 99 to 103 and this has to be respected. Fastest 2nd-turn speed of the field. I have him in my top 3.  Odds: 3-1.

DORTMUND is 6 of 7 lifetime, a winner at each post, and is the other Grade 1 winner here. Forged a lifetime best 106 Brisnet in the Santa Anita Derby two races back.  Should bounce back in pace after posting 3 Brisnet figures over 100, dropping to 96 in the KY Derby.  Odds: 10-1.

MR. Z I gave up on for good.  One of several who should bounce back after a somewhat troubled trip in the Derby. He did get checked repeatedly but still managed a quick enough speed to stay relevant for at least half the race…and didn’t lose all that much energy for a pure sprinter. Best Dosage profile matching Pimlico winners.  Not much else to root for. Possible bounceback angle  in play here, taking the big downturn to 83 Brisnet from 92.  On the uptick of an up/down pattern, so there’s that.  Odds:   58-1 No chance.
DANZIG MOON won at the maiden level and was 2nd in the Blue Grass. That win in the Blue Grass represents completion of the recovery line in his pace figures. Since that race is just 6 weeks ago, he’s still under influence of that lifetime best he scored a 99. I consider him in top form pace-wise. Notice, too, he’s coming to the upside of an up-down pace pattern. One of two horses that also should benefit from the pace shape; there’s a ton of early and middle speed here, setting up nicely for the deep closers.  Odds: 7-2.
TALE OF VERVE is that other deep closer, just breaking maiden at the 58k level, at this exact distance, and takes the biggest of possible class jumps. Sentimentally I like him because his daddy is one of my favorite horses ever, Tale Of Ekati, who has a fine first- and second-year crop thus far. Trainer Dallas Stewart has done a lot..getting him 2 works at Churchill, one very fast. This is the big pace horse, should he get just the right trip; he just might do so. Might is a big word though, as the class move is too ambitious. Also might be headed for a bounce, considering his spike from 85 to lifetime best 95 in winning last out. Odds: 9-1, and probably will be worse than that.
BODHISATTVA mainly raced at the minor Laurel Park, and is your horse for course of sorts, winning the Federico Tesio last out in his lone Pimlico appearance.  Only jockey/trainer combo with any presence during the meet, in Trevor McCarthy and Jose Corrales (20% and 23% respectively for win %). Still under influence of his first 3YO score to push past his 2YO lifetime best, since bettered by one notch last time out.  Decent form, tho dwarfed by others.  He might bounce, considering the paired up high numbers in pace.  Prior win taking on much more weight.  Odds: 38-1.

DIVINING ROD has received a lot of positive direction from trainer Amnaud Delacour. Forged a lifetime best of 95 in his first 3YO race, and scored a 96 last time out in winning the Grade 3 Lexington.  Improved on both turn time fractions last time out. Waiting the longest to get back on the track  while stretching out, an angle I really like.  Also 3 works at Fair Grounds, 1 very fast.  I like him best among those who begin the morning-line odds at a price.  Odds: 3-1.

FIRING LINE may take a fair amount of money considering his finish in the Kentucky Derby, but  the only thing notable is that he continues a pattern of high Brisnet numbers, ranging from 97 to 101.  Not much other evidence supporting any success. I predict he will finish a disappointing last. Odds: none worth printing.
Top 3:
7 Divining Rod
1 American Pharoah
2 Dortmund

I’d be willing to play Divining Rod to win and over any favorites.  Danzig Moon and Divining Rod are both  worthy a win bet and overlay pick.

2014 Preakness Stakes selections

Not much time to cover the Preakness in full as I like. I have to handicap 11 races at Pimlico including the big race itself, plus contest races at Remington Park and Emerald Downs. Here’s who I like in the Preakness in capsule form:

DYNAMIC IMPACT skipped the Kentucky Derby, and won the Grade 3 Illinois Derby, lone start after graduating from maiden status. Forged lifetime top in that maiden win with a 96, pairing with a 95 in the stakes race. Jockey Miguel Mena has worked with trainer Mark Casse 4 times in the last 60 days, with 1 win (aboard this horse), and 2 in the money, for a 3.30 ROI. Both lifetime wins from an inside post, where he is today. Dark horse at best.

GENERAL A ROD finished mid-pack in the Run For The Roses, this beyond being in the money in all 5 prior races lifetime. Best average winning distance in pedigree (Roman Ruler + Dynaformer). Dark horse.

CALIFORNIA CHROME is winner of 5 straight, including the Kentucky and Santa Anita Derbies, plus the San Felipe. Scored a 103 Brisnet in the Kentucky Derby, best of this field for today’s distance. Forged a lifetime top in the SA Derby with a 106. Combined with the 102 in the San Felipe, while previously running just a 94 in a Cal-bred stakes event, you’d wonder if he’d bounce from triple-digits. It’s certainly possible today. Outside contender.

RING WEEKEND in the money after first lifetime start, including a win in the Tampa Bay Derby. Good pedigree (Tapit, plus Cryptoclearance damsire). Jockey Alan Garcia has worked with trainer Graham Motion 20 times in the last 60 days, getting 6 wins, 10 times in the money, for return of 2.59. Likely bounceback today. Scored a 97 at Tampa Bay, falling to an 84 finished a distant 2nd in the Calder Derby. Dark horse.

BAYERN has impressed, never out of the top 3 in any call-point in 4 races lifetime. Narrowly outpointed his rival in the Derby Trial last time, tho was DQ’d to 2nd. I like the mile effort from this sprinter, proving to have had the best trip of this field. He’s the lone benefit of track bias in the field. Horses on dirt routes during the meet are winning 30% of the time, as are those from posts 4 through 7 (19%). Contender.

RIA ANTONIA is the one horse I’d absolutely throw out. She doesn’t compete on any of my variables.

KID CRUZ won the Federico Tesio here last time out, and the Private Terms at Laurel. Only horse with a run at Pimlico in this field. This deep closer has a great stretch kick(stretch numbers per Brisnet from last 3 races range from 108 to 121). Scored a 90 in the Tesio, down from paired up numbers beforehand: 98 in the Private Terms, and a 99 in an allowance race at Aqueduct. Bounceback is more than likely. Contender.

SOCIAL INCLUSION has also hardly been out of the top 3 in any call-point. 3rd in the Wood Memorial after peaking with a 106 previous to that in an allowance race. Best work tab of this field, 4 works, 3 at Gulfstream, 1 at Pimlico, last one with a bullet. Can benefit from the sprint-favoring track bias. Outside contender.

PABLO DEL MONTE has contended but hasn’t won since an allowance race in October. Here’s what I’m banking on. Wesley Ward and Jeffrey Sanchez are each 2 for 4 at Pimlico. Lightning striking twice? I don’t know but it can happen again, or at least come close. There’s more tho. The 95 3rd place finish in the Blue Grass was narrowly his new top, beyond several scores of 91. That has to be a positive, if not this race, then next. Contender.

RIDE ON CURLIN I also totally threw out…just nothing matched up except in the pedigree department, which I do rank low compared to others.

Selections are 5-9-7 (Bayern, Pablo del Monte, Kid Cruz).
@idealisticstats still locked as I type this.

Preakness Stakes analysis

In the throes of the Triple Crown season, while not engrossed each weekend
evening (Friday through Sunday) in the Emerald Downs handicapping challenge,
I’ve further worked on results and tracked variables for races run at
Pimlico Race Track. My mission is to understand which variables produce more
winners than others.
I have tracked the majority, but not all, of the racing at Old Hilltop since
May 3.  What I’m pointing out are the best performing variables I use for my own handicapping, and will certainly wager accordingly, taking or giving weight
to/from those who register or rank in these:
BEST:
Top Brisnet speed of those who’ve run and won at the prescribed distance or less
Horses who have forged new lifetime top in past 8 weeks (horses 4YO+,12 weeks)
Horses benefiting from track bias based on run-style and post position
Horses who possibly could bounce down in speed next race..horses who have sharp gain between last 2 races, especially those who have forged lifetime best effort in last 2-3 races.
(Small sample: Horses who returning to route races after a few sprints)
Horses with multiple wins in range of post positions.

Now we’ll go horse-for-horse in the Preakness:

Your Kentucky Derby winner ORB has to be considered. After a deserving win in the mud, forging a new lifetime best effort, he may well bounce down from that race. (111 in the Derby, up from 97 in the FL Derby). Has the best average winning distance from sire/dam-sire in the field (Malibu Moon, Unbridled). ROI angle: Jockey Joel Rosario has teamed with trainer Shug McGaughey in 5 races in the last 60 days, winning 2, placing in 3 for an even return of +2.00
GOLDENCENTS is the only other horse defeating Grade 1 fields, 2 races back in the Santa Anita Derby. Fastest pace numbers to his style in the race (last 3 second call numbers are all triple-digits). Only horse with exploding form, as his 106 from the Santa Anita is just better than his prior best at 2, a 101 in his maiden effort. Tossing a 58 in the Kentucky Derby, I say he is primed for a major bounce back.

TITLETOWN FIVE was competitive in the Gazebo but not so in 2 Graded events. Track bias tho is favoring sprinters: 31% of dirt routers in the meet thus far are pure sprinters. He went from a 96 in the LA Derby to an 88 in the Derby Trial. I am considering him also for a bounce back.

DEPARTING forged a lifetime top in the LA Derby two races back with a 102, paired with a 100 in the IL Derby. Both races are ahead of a 96 in the Texas Heritage stakes .I’m suggesting he will bounce down from triple-digits. Multiple wins from a middle post.

MYLUTE had forged lifetime best numbers of 107 in the KY Derby, and 105 in the LA Derby..both were ahead of a 95 score in teh Risen Star. He too will bounce downward.

OXBOW is the other pure sprinter here. Ran a 101 in the Rebel, 90 in the AK Derby, 101 again in the KY Derby. Pattern suggests a downturn today.

WILL TAKE CHARGE could bounce here also. Was a 98 in the KY Derby, a 101 in the Rebel, both numbers ahead of his 80 in the Southwest Stakes. ROI angle: Jockey Mike Smith has won 31% of his route races this year, 59% in the money, return of +2.78. Multiple wins from an outside post.

GOVERNOR CHARLIE shines as the horse with the best workout tab: 5 races, the last 3 at Churchill Downs, 4 were very fast, the last 2 with bullets. Paired up 2 fast races…a 99 in the Sunland Derby, and a 94 to break his maiden. Bounce potential should be high. Both lifetime wins came from an outside post, where he is today.
ITSMYLUCKYDAY has the best dosage profile in the field, based on the average Pimlico winner’s chef-de-race numbers, measured by differential number and then rank. Nothing else suggests a real positive for him.

My top 3:
2-1-3: Goldencents, Orb, Titletown Five.