Stakes action/Enlightened Trails update for today.

The penultimate week for my Enlightened Trails has come upon us. This week, 3 of 4 divisions on the Oaks and Derby portions will be resolved, with just the Arkansas Derby left to contend with on 4/16.  It’s the biggest day for the Trails, which will largely set up my mythical Derby and Oaks fields.  With little time to get this post in, I’m just posting the top 3 selections, and analysis of my chosen pick, and any overlays based on morning-line.
Points are 1000-500-250-125 for each race.  More about these Trails in a separate page on my website, which includes the updated spreadsheet.
This post will be edited upon scratches/changes.
KEENELAND
ASHLAND STAKES: Weep No More, Banree, Carina Mia, as I attempt to get 2 longshots ahead of the highly favored in this 5-horse field.  Weep No More is the one filly with improving pace form coming in….68 in her debut in November, then 77 spike in January, then 89 last out in the Suncoast at Tampa Bay in February.  Only late closer in the field. Lots of speed in this field, a situation which can help her chances. Possible bounce in this race, tho also owns a shipping win. Best turn time of the field.
Overlays: Weep No More (my odds 1-1), and Banree (8-1).  The rest: Rachel’s Valentina 14-1; Carina Mia 3-1.
BLUE GRASS STAKES: Zapperini, Cherry Wine, Crescent Drive, another race I see longshots succeeding.
Zapperini with speed ratings in the 80s, is waiting the longest to stretch out. 5th in the Risen Star at 8.5 furlongs on 2/20. Gained slightly on leader from the back in that race, and ran one second faster in turn time, best of today’s field.
Overlays: Zapperini (8-5), Crescent Drive (5-1)
The rest: Brody’s Cause 9-1, Zulu 29-1, Donegal Moon 7-1, Cherry Wine and Laoban 14-1,
AQUEDUCT:
GAZELLE STAKES:  Behrnik’s Bank, Lewis Bay, Clair de Lune
Behrnik’s Bank has the bounceback angle going….running an 88 last time in the NY Stallions Stakes, prior was a 103 in the Blue Mountain Juvenile, which was a spike up. I’ve ranked this sprinter as having the best speed of the field. Good series of Aqueduct works, 2 of them were bullets. Edwin Gonzalez, with whom she’s got both lifetime wins with, returns to ride here.  Waiting since 12/20 to stretch from a sprint.
Overlays: Behrnik’s Bank 3-1.
The rest: Lewis Bay 4-1, Dreams To Reality 14-1, Royal Obsession 14-1, Mo d’Amour 3-1.
WOOD MEMORIAL: Flexibility, Matt King Coal, Trojan Nation, Adventist.
Flexibility won the Grade 3 Jerome, and was 2nd in the Remsen and Nashua to Mohaymen. 4th last time out in the Withers.  Best speed rating for Aqueduct and the 9 furlong distance (100 in the Remsen). Laid off since 1/30, but no rust here;  has worked out frequently at Belmont with fast fractions.  Won his debut with Manuel Franco, who returns to ride him here.  Best turn time gain of the field last time out.
Overlays:  Flexibility (1-1), Trojan Nation 9-1.  The rest: Matt King Coal 4-1, Shagaf and Tale of S’Avail 14-1, Adventist 29-1.

SANTA ANITA:
SA OAKS: Forever Darling, Mokat, Songbird, as I pull for the upset
Forever Darling with 2 lifetime wins coming off layoff, including the Santa Ynez 2 races back. Bounced from 92 to 67 last out, running 9th in the Rachel Alexandra. Horses with her early/pressing style are winning 8.5  furlong races at a 37% clip, with posts 4-7 taking 19%. 1st-time blinkers. Only horse with shipping win.  Approaching uptick, with her upside in the mid90s.

Overlays: Jade Princess 6-1, Forever Darling 5-2, Mokat 3-1. The rest: Songbird 7-2, Bellamentary 11-1.
SA DERBY: Exaggerator, Diplodocus, Rare Candy, 3rd choice in morning line over the 2 longshots. I liked Exaggerator in the Future Wager. Dominant speed of the field, this early-presser has triple digit Brisnets in last 3…3rd in the San Felipe, 2nd in the San Vincente, winner of the Delta Jackpot.  Best AWD numbers coming in (sired by Curlin; damsire Vindication).
Overlays: Diplodocus (3-1), Danzing Candy 14-1, Rare Candy 8-1, Uncle Lino 3-1).
OAKLAWN PARK:
FANTASY STAKES: Ready To Confess, Florida Bird, Terra Promessa, choose big value over favorites.
Ready To Confess is the only filly to win first after layoff. Bounced from 94 to 82 in a 100k race on 2/6. Waiting since then to stretch out from a mile. She ran wide for much of that race, and it’s a race I can toss.  Only early speed in the race. 4 local works, 2 early ones very fast.
No Clammrs today, given the large workload.  I will give you thoughts on the Aintree Grand National in the next post.

Enlightened Trails update: Stakes analysis for Aqueduct, Santa Anita, Oaklawn, Keeneland

The Enlightened Oaks Trail wraps up on Saturday with 4 divisions to be decided, racing at Aqueduct, Keeneland, Oaklawn and Santa Anita.   The colts in the Enlightened Derby Trail have 3 divisions being decided in the same tracks, save Oaklawn Park (the Fantasy Stakes will be contested 4/11).
On this major day, I’ll post my top 3 in the 7 races and explain my reason for choosing the particular top pick.
Following this I’ll give you the possible scenarios for those who may qualify for my Enlightened Derby and Oaks fields.   A lot will be happening over a series of hours; Twitter is the best place to stay abreast, at @idealisticstats

Santa Anita Oaks:
Top 4: #6 Stellar Wind. #4 Singing Kitty  #2 Glory, #7 Wild At Heart
Stellar Wind is the class of the field, winning the Grade 3 San Ysabel last out here 5 weeks ago.That race came just after layoff and claim, and at today’s 8.5 furlong distance. Broke maiden with a 90 Brisnet, and followed it up to begin her 3YO campaign with a 95 in the San Ysabel. Track bias is favoring stalking-type horses in 8.5 furlong races at a 41% win rate. Posts through 4 through 7 are winning at 16% at that distance. Only possible bounce risk in the field.

Enlightened Trail impact: Doesn’t get much simpler: First 2 finishers are in the mythical Oaks field. 3rd place finisher here may outrank the others.
Santa Anita Derby:
Top 4: #1 Dortmund. #2 One Lucky Dane #4 Bolo. #5 Prospect Park
No stopping the top 3YO in the country. Dortmund won the Los Alamitos Futurity in December, then raced at SA, winning the San Felipe and Robert B. Lewis in triple-digit Brisnets. Forging small new tops of that height at 3 makes him a very strong candidate.  From 6 races contested on this track, stalking horses won 2 of them, plus a win from an inside post.
EDT impact: Metaboss is locked in with 1000, as is Cross The Line with 500. There are just a few scenarios that would knock Dortmund out of the picture…4th place finish, with Cross the Line 3rd or out of the top 4; or finishes 5th or 6th and Cross The Line finishes worse than 2nd. Top 2 or 3 finishers may well get into my Derby field here. American Pharaoh and Conquest Typhoon remain alive with 250 but need help.
Gazelle Stakes:
Top 4: #5 Condo Commando #2 Sweet Corine #7 Noble and a Beauty #3 Money’s oncharlotte
Condo has a nice advantage against this field. Winner of the Spinaway (Grade 1) at Saratoga and Demoiselle (Grade 2) here with a 102 Brisnet. 4 works in prep here, 2 very fast, 1 a bullet. Track bias is favoring sprinters with an 8 race sample of races at 9 furlongs; 6 winners in those 8, in fact! Last out winner of the Busher here on 2/21 with a 97 Brisnet. Already a winner moving up in class and stretch out. Also switches back to Joel Rosario, with whom he won the Demoiselle.
EOT impact: Dortmund is very close to being a lock. Only finishing out of 4th will eliminate her.  Wonder Gal has 12 scenarios that favor here out of a possible. By The Moon sitting with 350 has 10 scenarios. Outside of that, it will likely go to whomever finishes 1-2.
Wood Memorial
Top 4:  #4 Frosted  #2 Toasting Master #6 Daredevil #3 Lieutenant Colonel
So far this is a rather competitive race.  Frosted broke maiden here in 3rd start with 94 Brisnet. Following a 2nd in the Remsen (at today’s 9 furlong distance) and layoff he was shipped to Florida, placing 2nd in the Holy Bull (matching 98 Brisnet lifetime best), and 4th last out in the Fountain Of Youth.  This stalker is the speed of the field; last 3 2nd call figures are 111, 93 and 98. 4 works at Palm Meadow, all 4 very fast with 2 bullets.
EDT impact:  Daredevil is locked into the mythical Derby field.  Even if he finishes out of the money, he wins a tiebreaker based on longer distance entered. 12 scenarios see El Kabeir win, all of which mean placing in the top 3. Top 2 in this race get in regardless.  Competitive Edge wins all tiebreakers against Conquest Typhoon for getting points in a Grade 1 race prior but must finish in the money for that to take place.
Fantasy Stakes at Oaklawn:
Top 4: #5 Lady Tapit #2 Sweet Opportunity #9 Super Saks #4 Feathered
Looks like another strongly competitive race, and an upset pick this time, including the first 3 spots.  With a name like Lady Tapit, being sired by Tapit, you’d have to be really good, right?  She was 5th in her maiden debut, 56k level, going 6.5 furlongs at Santa Anita. 5 weeks later, she defeated 42k maiden company at Los Alamitos. Tapit gives her 7.4 average winning distance. Damsire Kingmambo grants 8.5 AWD.  Best works of the field. Laid off since the 12/12 race at Santa Anita, John Sadler has worked her 10 times, 7 of them very fast, last one a bullet. Freshest among those stretching out too.
EOT impact: All new shooters to the EDT here. This means the current top 2, I’m A Chatterbox and Birdatthewire, are locked in to the Oaks field with their 1000 points.  Winner today joins them. Nothing simpler than that.  Quality Rocks, also with 1000, is reportedly off the real Trail so that disqualifies her from my list.
And off to Keeneland for the last two:
Ashland Stakes: Top 4:
#3 Peace and War  #5 Silverpocketsfull #6 Lovely Maria #4 Angela Renee
This race looks rather dominant in favoring Peace and War. On the bench 6 months, she made her US debut here in the Grade 1 Alcibiad, posting an 86 Brisnet paying off at 23-1. Her prior 3 races were in GB, which doesn’t provide Brisnet numbers but I gathered that she’s actually peaking here, as she ran slower mph in her prior 2 races.  Very hard to discern easily but that’s what I had to do to figure this out.  Best track performance of this field. She won her prior race off layoff so don’t expect rust. In a relative sense this closer had the best trip coming into today’s race.
EOT impact: West Coast Belle is the only filly with points in the division running today. If she finishes in the money, she’s in the mythical Oaks field. Don’t Leave Me is already locked in with 1000 points, which means Sweet Success is out at 500 points. Winner of this race is in the show, and all circumstances save one will allow the 2nd place finisher advancement to the Oaks field.

Finally the Blue Grass Stakes:
Top 4:  #5 Carpe Diem #2 Gorgeous Bird #3 Pepper Roani #4 Unrivaled

Carpe Diem is the odds-on choice in the morning line but he barely ranks ahead of my contenders.  The inherent influence is prominent. Sire is Giant’s Causeway (8.3 AWD), dam-sire Unbridled’s Song (7.2). Won the Grade 1 Breeders Cup Futurity on this track in October, 100 Brisnet. This stalker I’ve rated fastest of all. One of 2 horses coming out of very good trip.
EDT impact: None of this field have points in the Heartland division.  Dubai Sky will advance with 1000 points, and so too Conquest Typhoon with 500.  Top 2 finishers in this race will join them
Keep watch for all the madness with updates as fast as I can churn them out, as the Enlightened Trails reach the near-end point.  Twitter: @idealisticstats
Refer to the main page to read how the Trails work.

First look: Santa Anita Derby, Fantasy Stakes

As the true Super Saturday draws nearer, here’s my thoughts on the Fantasy Stakes, being run at Oaklawn Park, 8.5 furlongs, for top 3YO fillies.   309pm PT post time.
Pedigree: Lady Tapit owns the best AWD numbers from her pedigree. Tapit had won the Wood Memorial. Damsire Kingmambo was a major stakes winner in France.
Inherent qualities: Sarah Sis won the Grade 3 Honeybee on this track last time out 4 weeks ago, at the same 8.5 furlong distance.
Pace progress: Sweet Opportunity posted lifetime best 81 at 2, then topped that with an 83 2 races back in February, and an 81 last time out.
Recent indicators: Super Saks is the speed, and lone speed at that. Triple digit 1st-call numbers in last 4 races. Sprinters are winning 29% at 8.5 furlongs, and 12% from the 8 post and beyond.  Bounced to a 68 in the Honeybee last time out; before that she set 2nd straight new top of 94. I’m certainly playing the bounceback angle. Blinkers off for this race too.
This race is the final one for the South division.   No horses entered have EOT points. With that, here’s the scenario: Winner of this race gets into the mythical Oaks field with 1000 points and both the Grade 2 status and purse tiebreaker. Quality Rocks gets the short end of it, as her win in the Florida Oaks was the lower grade and also lower purse money.  That means I can add I’m A Chatterbox (Fair Grounds Oaks winner) and Birdatthewire (Gulfstream Park Oaks winner) to the Oaks field. Quality Rocks with 1000 points might the first filly to replace anyone else who falls off the real Trail for whatever reason, or when there are duplicate qualifiers in divisions.
Here’s my take on the Santa Anita Derby. This is a 9 furlong for outstanding 3YOs, a Grade 1 event.
Pedigree: Bad Read Sanchez leads here. Sire is Warrior’s Reward, winner of a few Graded events at 3 but nothing on the Derby Trail. Damsire is Pulpit, winner of the Blue Grass and Fountain Of Youth.
Inherent: Dortmund is arguably the top undefeated horse in North America with 5 wins, 3 at the Graded level as well as 3 at Santa Anita.
Connections: One Lucky Dane’s jockey Rafael Bejarano has a 25% win rate. Bob Baffert has 24% win rate.
Pace progress: 2 small new tops for Dortmund is how he starts the 2015 campaign, with a 102 best last out in the San Felipe on 3/7.   One Lucky Dane peaked at 94 when graduating from maiden status, followed up by a 96 in an optional-claimer 80k win.
Recent changes: Dortmund again. One of 4 stalking horses that have the edge, along with first closers in a small sample of 9 furlong races during the meet. Alongside this, 17% are winners from an inner post.
Latest changes: One Lucky Dane comes out of a 96 Brisnet, ahead of a 90, so a slight bounce risk here. This sprinter won gate to wire by 9.75 lengths in an 80k event, fresh off layoff here on 3/19. Bolo posted a 102 and 100 beyond a 92, so he could bounce as well. Only horse making a switch back to a jockey he’s won with (Mike Smith, in this case). Prospect Park also a bounce risk with his scores of 100 ( good trip in the San Felipe) and 95 ahead of an 87.
There are 21 possible scenarios with regard to how the EDT points will be spread out, as Dortmund comes in with 250 and Cross The Line with 500.  Metaboss, in all situations, is in my Derby field with 1000 points. American Pharoah can get in via tiebreak through the Grade 1 advantage (Del Mar Futurity) tho might lose out to anyone here because his win was 7 furlongs, and the SA Derby is 9.
I was planning to cover more of Saturday’s events in advance but I currently have contest races today and tomorrow, so I’ll try again next week when there’s likely more time.

Wood Memorial, Santa Anita Derby 2014 selections

Here’s who I like in the major Derby prep races for today:
Wood Memorial:
KRISTO: In the money in all 5 starts, 4 of those starts at Santa Anita. Wonder why he’s not in the Santa Anita Derby, then? I think he’s the horse that is set to win today. He had his ‘off’ race last time, a distant 3rd in the San Felipe, after running Brisnet speed figures in the 90s for 3 straight. In 9 races at Aqueduct during the long meet, the majority of winners have come from sprinters in posts 1 through 7. Kristo is the one horse fitting this category. SCHIVARELLI switches jockeys to leading rider Javier Castellano (31%), combined with trainer Eddie Kenneally, make the top win% combo of the field. Schivarelli is undefeated in two, and wired a small field in a mile-long optional-claimer last time. Also appears to be able to win today. Pace numbers at 2nd call for both races: 113, 86. He’s also worked 4 times, all at Belmont, 3 with a bullet. WICKED STRONG after graduating from maiden was 3rd in the Remsen, last in the Holy Bull, and 4th in an optional claimer won by Constitution last time out at Gulfstream. Only horse in the field to go 9 furlongs. Pace progression is strong, spiking to a new lifetime high of 89 last time, just past his 2YO best.
6-7-2 are my selections.

Santa Anita Derby:

CALIFORNIA CHROME, who wired the field here in the grade 2 San Felipe a month ago, winner of 3 straight races, active since last April, is likely the favorite, and certainly is my favorite. The 102 score in that Grade 2 event is ahead of his prior best of 101 in a 200k stakes event in December at this track. That 101 was right off a 7 week layoff, so he’s ready to accelerate further. Last 3 2nd-call numbers: 107, 87, 93. CANDY BOY appears to be the only clear competition. Winner of the Robert B Lewis here (Grade 2), 2nd in the CashCall Futurity at Betfair Hollywood Park (RIP), always involved in the mix. 97 and 94 in those graded races are a small pair up of numbers ahead of his prior lifetime best numbers and he could go either way from there. My hunch is he’ll improve. Nice work tab: 5 workouts, all at The Great Race Place, the last 3 very fast and ‘handily’. The only other class in the race is HOPPERTUNITY, winner of Oaklawn Park’s Rebel Stakes last month. Mike Smith aboard (23%), trained by Bob Baffert (27%). Tripled up in pace figures with a 99 in the Rebel after two other scores in the 90s. Seems to be running best in a middle post which is where he is today.

5-6-3 for me, which appears a bit chalky.

A postmortem, and a look to Saturday

A thrilling ride through the first 2 rounds, only to see it crash and burn like your worst roller coaster nightmare. OK, someone’s worst.
From the ESPN (composite, official) bracket:
http://games.espn.go.com/tournament-challenge-bracket/2014/en/entry?entryID=24567
27 wins in the Round of 64
10 wins in the round of 32
3 wins in the Sweet Sixteen
1 win in the Elite Eight.
Total of 41 wins, with 1 more to come if Wisconsin wins in the Final 4.
You’ll notice the perfect West division I predicted. Maybe Warren Buffett can spare $5,000?
From CBS Sports I went 24/8/2/1 for a total of 33 wins, plus 2 if Wisconsin wins out.
http://freebracketchallenge.1.mayhem.cbssports.com/brackets/1/cblue456

From .FOX Sports I went 25/9/3/1, 38 wins, and this is busted.
http://msn.foxsports.com/fantasy/collegebasketball/tourney/entry/?entry=956539

And for Sports Illustated: 23/10/4/0 = 37 wins, busted
http://sportsillustrated.collegehoops.upickem.net/collegebasketball/brackets/printbracket.asp?userid={28F9D17D-0AEA-47F4-A880-B76D72D02770}&affiliateguid={24864C91-D513-4858-98B4-0E62CC56A5A3
****
Also in horses: I did wager on these 3 horses as I surmised from Friday in the future wager: California Chrome, Ring Weekend, We Miss Artie, in wins and exactas. I also involved the field selections.

So much happening between all horses on the trail that it’s challenging to figure who has the best chance of getting enough points to be in the big show.

On Saturday I plan to give you my analysis of the Wood Memorial (Samraat, Social Inclusion, Uncle Sigh) and the Santa Anita Derby (California Chrome, Bayern, Hoppertunity, Candy Boy, The Admiral are contenders), along with the historic Grand National at Aintree. Mind you, I don’t know much about ‘chasers, and I haven’t scored yet in wagering on this event but I’m excited to see this one. While I have it in mind, I truly would like the fences at Aintree, which average 4’10” in height, higher than its companion National Hunt fences, to be at the same level, for the sake of safety of all concerned. Aintree has seen it’s share of tragedy at the track, and this has to be curtailed.

A word about golf, in noting the new standards set by the World Golf Hall of Fame: The sport really should be co-ed. The HOF is co-ed, so why not the competition? I’m all for women playing at private clubs. Let’s take it a step or 3 further, and let’s engulf the LPGA into the PGA or vice versa, so there’s a large rota of courses and championships.

Graded stakes analysis for today

Wagering on 10 races today across 3 tracks, 2 of the races being Kentucky Derby preps. 
Aqueduct:
Race 4: Ruffian Stakes 
6-2-4 are my selections.  #6 MY WANDY’S GIRL already a morning line favorite.  Brisnet score of 98 is fastest of those who have won here in this field.  Scored that number twice last 2 races, also Graded events.  Has won at 9 furlongs at Cananero Race Track. Comes off of 6 week layoff and has won off layoff before.  Lost by .75 lengths for 2nd after being rather competitive much of the race. Also best workout tab of the field 

Race 8: Gazelle Stakes
5-4-6
#5 WATRUGONNADOROSIE  has best Average Winning Distance numbers from sire Curlin and dam-sire Chester House. Forged lifetime best of 84 last time out. Early-pressing style and middle posts have been helpful to runners at Aqueduct this meet.  A risk of bouncing off the 84 and run slower.   Best workout tab of the field with 4 works, last 1 with bullet. 

Race 9: Bay Shore Stakes
6-9-1
HONORABLE DILLON with best class, won the G2 Hutcheson Stakes at Gulfstream Park.   Best AWD numbers in field from sire Tapit, and dam-sire Shy Tom.  Top jockey/trainer winning combo in Joel Rosario (24%) and Eddie Kenneally (21%). Ran 78 last time out after 3 scores in the 90s, possible bounce back. 

Race 10: Carter Handicap
3-7-4
#3 CONSORTIUM has best track performance on Aqueduct dirt, a 96; followed up with a 101 winning score on inner track.  Best AWD numbers in field (sire Bernardini, dam-sire Machiavellian). Pace progress shows he’s just past his 3YO best , and should put forth a great effort now or in short term

Race 11: Wood Memorial
2-9-5
NORMANDY INVASION has best pace numbers of field, running as absolute closer. Nosed out in the Remsen, scoring a 104, best of this field. Broke maiden on this track prior to that race.  Best dosage profile of the field (Tapit-Boston Lady). 4 works since last race, 3 with bullet.  Comes out of a 97 race, and should bounce back. 

****
Santa Anita:

Race 5: Santa Anita Oaks
6-2-4
BEHOLDER is heavy favorite. Already tops in class, track performance, jockey/trainer combo, and overall pace. 

Race 7: Potrero Grande Stakes
8-4-3
JIMMY CREED is one of the favorites. Shares top billing for best class, track performance, also has won off layoff before. Best jockey/trainer combo in race, and has fastest overall pace. Also with great works 

Race 8: Providencia Stakes
4-9-1
#4 SWEET RED CAT was one of four that were very tough to split with.  This filly has improved in pace and form recently, all scores in the 80’s. Comes out of a game effort last time out, finishing 2nd after briefly leading in stretch. 

Rrac 9: Santa Anita Derby: 
3-1-6
#3 POWER BROKER already with a Grade 1 victory, has best AWD numbers from sire Pulpit and dam-sire Wild Again. Best jockey/trainer combo in Bejarano and Baffert (25%, 23%). Good workouts, 4 since last race, all at SA, last 2 very sharp.

Calder

Calder Derby:
1-8-4
SR. QUISQUEYANO has best track performance here, a 100 while breaking maiden a year ago. Best off-track numbers with that 100 score also, and 3 for 3 on such conditions. Track is listed as ‘good’.  Rated by me as the fastest of the field