Parx stakes races analysis, selections 9/20/2014

Here’s how I see the 4 big stakes races at Parx:
The ungraded Alphabet Soup Stakes is for PA-bred 3YOs, going 8.5 furlongs on the Parx turf, 100k.

2 TRAFFIC LIGHT won the Roanoke last time out on this track along with another stakes race at similar class 1.5 years ago. His 101 Brisnet in the Roanoke was well past his 88 in another stakes race at Saratoga. The Roanoke trip was the cleanest of all horses coming in, giving extra weight here for the sprinter wiring the field for the 8.5 furlong distance.  Morning-line: 6-1. My odds: 12-1.  Dark horse.
3 LIGHTNING ELECTRIC won the Smarty Jones at Penn in 2013. Outside of the fact that this 7YO has won before from a middle post, he lacks evidence to win today. ML: 10/1. Me: 24-1.  Avoid.
4 PAGE MCKENNEY won the Robellino for state-bred horses at Penn National last month.Scored best speed figure at Parx of today’s field, with a lifetime best 99. Has best jockey/trainer available, with Frankie Pennington at 24% wins, an Mary Eppler with 30%.  ML: 7/2. Me: 3-1. Contender.
5 EDGE OF REALITY won a stakes event at 75k 3 races back, and another race named for Smarty Jones in 2013 right here. Scores from last 3 races are 81, 95, 88, all in ungraded stakes company. I have to believe he’ll bounce back here but unsure.  ML: 5-1. Me: 24-1. Avoid.
6 ROADHOG won a stakes event at Laurel last year, as well as being the defending champ of this race in 2013. Nice record of 24-8-5-3 lifetime on turf, with top lifetime speed of 104 for this 7YO, tho that score came years ago. Seems to be favored running from an inside post. ML: 3/1. Me: 8-1.
Outside contender, maybe at a price.
7: SS SKITTLES had no reported rider as of this typing.  Forged lifetime best 97 3 races back. ML: 20-1. Me: Ditto. Avoid.
8 EL CAPITAN had run amongst top horses in Mexico for all 6 lifetime races before making his US debut at Parx last month. Best average winning distance from his pedigree (Elusive Quality-Isadora, by the mighty Sadler’s Wells). Won the Mexican Derby and the Gran Premio Nacional, both at Grade 1 level. 2 works since his US debut, one pretty fast.  ML odds: 20-1. Me: 5-1. Contender, overlay.
9 DANCING LOUNGE Despite him being the lone deep closer, I can’t take seriously at all, tho he has won from an outside post before.  ML: 12/1. Me: 24-1. Avoid

10 ATLANTIC SEABOARD as a sprinter is the true speed of the field, and returns to turf routes, after 3 sprints. Also has won from an outer post before. ML odds: 8-1. Me: 6-1. Contender at a price.
11: STARRY MOON surged from a 77 to an 89 in 2 ungraded races at the 75k level….so a bounce is possible. Or not.  ML: 10/1. Me: 20-1. Best to avoid.
Top 4:
4 Page McKenney
8 El Capitan
10 Atlantic Seaboard
6 Roadhog.
Overlay: 8
Decently competitive race.

Next is the Gallant Bob Stakes, Grade 3, 3YOs going 6 furlongs.

1 FAVORITE TALE won the Gold Fever, ungraded, at Belmont this spring.  3-for-3 lifetime at Parx with top winning speed of 101 in March. Also 1st or 2nd in 4 lifetime at 6 furlongs. Track bias in his favor: Sprinters going 6 furlongs are winning 38% during the meet, and rail horses are 18%.  ML: 5/2. Me: 20-1. Avoid.
2 CAMDEN STREET has the AWD edge (Elusive Quality/Empress Of India, by Dancing Brave). On the bench since May, has won right off layoff previously, plus won his maiden debut.  Has a lot of works during the layoff here at Parx.  ML: 12-1. Me: 5-1. Contender, overlay.
3 BUMP START progressed nicely in pace the last 2 starts, with paired-up Brisnet scores of 90 and 91, winning the Danzig at Penn in June as well. No other evidence to support.  ML odds: 20-1. My odds: 15-1. Dark horse, possible overlay.
4 PRUDHOE BAY won the Grade 3 Jersey Shore at Monmouth (where else?) last time out, plus 2 ungraded stakes in the past. 2 wins and a 3rd in 3 lifetime races at the distance, including a lifetime best 97 in the Jersey Shore. Great connections here, with Paco Lopez at 24% wins, and Ed Plesa Jr who is 1-for-3 in the meet. Pace progession is rather slow and positive, generally a good sign. Also had the best trip last out of this field win the Jersey Shore win, and should have no problem with a middle post.  ML: 6/1. Me: Better than 2/1.  Contender, favorite, overlay.
5 PURE SENSATION won the Quick Call at Saratoga. 8 of 9 lifetime in the $. This stalking horse is the speed of the field.  ML: 4-1. Me: 8-1.  Contender at a price.
6 FAST ANNA indeed relies on his sprinting ability. Almost always on or near the lead in 3 lifetime starts. 2nd in the Grade 1 KIng’s Bishop at Saratoga last time, surging to a 102 Brisnet. Big favorite by the ML at 8/5. I’m skeptical, thinking he’s 15-1. Dark horse.
Top 4:
4 Prudhoe Bay
2 Camden Street
5 Pure Sensation
3 Bump Start
Overlays: 2,3,4.
I have this as a one-horse race, with nice value alongsides.

The Grade 1 Cotillion Stakes is for 3YO fillies, 8.5 furlongs.

1 CASSATT won the Monmouth Oaks last time out. 3 wins and a 3rd lifetime. Has the AWD edge (Tapit/Justenufftime by Giant’s Causeway). Paired-up Brisnet scores of 92 and 93 last 2 races.  Inside posts will favor horses 1,2 and 3 for the distance, winning at 18%.  ML: 12/1. Me: 10-1.  Dark horse.
2 SWEET REASON won the Test, the Acorn and the Spinaway, each at Grade 1. 5 wins, 7 in the money lifetime. Last 3 wins straight off layoff. 4 works since the Test, all very fast, one a bullet.  ML: 4/1. I agree, at 5-1. Contender.
3 HOUSE RULES has yet to win a stakes race. in 3 races in the last 60 days, Javier Castellano has 2 wins and 3 placings with James Jerkens, for a 12.83 ROI. Progressed in pace to a lifetime best 95 last timeout, tho might bounce from that. ML: 20/1. My odds: 6-1. Contender, overlay.
4 JOINT RETURN won several ungraded stakes. FInished 2nd last time out in the Alabama with a lifetime best 95 Brisnet, but also one who could bounce. His deep closing trip in the Alabama is the best coming into this field.  ML: 8/1. My odds: 6-1. Contender
5 VERO AMORE has no stakes wins. 2 wins and a 3rd here at Parx, with a top score of 90 at this track, achieved in March.  Trainer Robert Reid Jr has 2 wins and 6 placings in Graded stakes this year, for a return of 6.41. Also he has saddled 23% at the Parx meet, with Frankie Pennington riding at a 24% clip.  ML: 20/1. My odds: 6-1. Not a contender but an overlay.
7 JOJO WARRIOR won the Torrey Pines and Summer Oaks on the West Coast her last 2 races, both at Graded level.  Set lifetime best Brisnet of 95 in the Summer Oaks, then trailed to 88 after.  I’m predicting a bounceback into the 90s here. ML: 6/1. My odds: 20-1. Avoid.
8 UNTAPABLE, the Kentucky Oaks winner, added a win in the Mother Goose to her resume , then was 5th in the Haskell Invitational. 4 wins and one 3rd in 6 races at the distance with top score of 107, achieved in the Fair Grounds Oaks. This stalking filly is the fastest of the field. Outside post may be her strong suit.  ML odds: 7/5. Me: 3/1. Contender, favorite.
Top 4:
8 Untapable
2 Sweet Reason
3 House Rules
4 Joint Return
Overlays: 3, 5 (Vero Amore)
Looks like a good betting race all around, top 4 all have reasonable chance.
FInally the Pennsylvania Derby, with top 3YOs going 9 furlongs.

1 CALIFORNIA CHROME we last saw finish a tough 4th attempting the Triple Crown, that after a 6 race win streak.  Part of the streak includes a dominating victory in the Santa Anita Derby, at today’s distance, with a 106 Brisnet. Layoff should not be a concern. I’ve rated him fastest of the field alongside Bayern.  ML odds: Even money. My odds: 2-1. Contender.
2 CANDY BOY won the RB Lewis in February at Santa Anita, has placed in most Graded stakes since but no wins. Lifetime best of 106 in the WV Derby surpassed prior best of 100 in prior race, also at Grade 2. Strong surge in Brisnet scores could predict a bounce her. Good series of works since the WV Derby, training on the West Coast. Inner post should be helpful.  ML: 10/1. My odds: 17-1. Dark horse.
3 PROTONICO with 1 win in 1 start here, winning the Smarty Jones earlier this month with a new top of 97. The 97 score is best of the track from this field. Best AWD numbers of the field (Giant’s Causeway/Alpha Spirit, by the great AP Indy). ML odds 8-1. My odds: 20-1. Avoid.
4 BAYERN won the Haskell, the Woody Stephens, the KY Derby Trial and the Arkansas Derby.  1 win and 1 3rd at the distance, with a 106 best score for distance in the Haskell.  Finished last of 10 in the Travers, bouncing down to an 80 Brisnet. Predicting a bounceback here. ML odds: 7/2. Me: 9-1.  Contender at a price.
6 CLASSIC GIACNROLL has the best Parx-based experience of the field. Kendrick Carmouche has 22% wins with Lisa Guerrero at 18%.  After layoff for much of the spring he posted a 92 in a stakes race at Delaware, an 88 in an optional claimer here, a 98 in the WV Derby, setting a new lifetime best, paired with a 96 In the Smarty Jones back here.  This deep closer appears to be in a good pace form cycle. Very good trip coming out of the Smarty Jones as well.  ML odds: 15/1. My odds: Better than 2/1. Favorite, contender, overlay.
8 CJs AWESOME makes his stakes debut after a series of maiden and allowance races. Surged to a lifetime best 100 in last race, with an excellent wire-to-wire victory for the sprinter going 9 furlongs. This 100 score came after an 89 in his first non-maiden effort. ML: 12/1. My odds: 17-1. Outside contender.
Top 4:
6 Classic Giacnroll

1 California Chrome
4 Bayern
2 Candy Boy.
Overlay: 6
Yes, picking the upset in what what I think will be a great 2 horse race.

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’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 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.