2014 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic analysis

Looking at the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic, the race just prior to the run for all those roses.
WISE DAN, two time Horse Of The Year and defending champion of this race, is undoubtedly one of the classier horses of the field. Grade 1 wins in the BC Mile (twice), Makers (twice), Woodbine, etc. Undefeated underneath the twin spires: 3 for 3, Brisnet of 106. Also can win from the rail. Contender.
BRIGHT THOUGHT with 7th start off reclaim by Jorge Gutierrez, did his best running last spring, all on the West Coast. Has the best winning turf speed of the field, a 114 in the San Luis Rey last year ROI angle: Guiterrez has raced 4 shippers, with 2 wins, 3 in the money. Return of +7.80. Could bounce from his latest effort, a 3rd place finish in an ungraded stakes race at Santa Anita, with a 93 Brisnet, well above a poor 62 in the Citation Handicap. Good trip last time out helps his chances here somewhat. Dark horse.
GUYS REWARD shares best chef-de-race ranking of the field with one other. Sire is Grand Reward, a multiple turf stakes winner himself. Dam is Beach View, unplaced in 5 starts. Winner of the Tampa Bay and the Firecracker, the latter right here. Best work tab of the field: 4 works, 2 breezing at Churchill, both of them in the top 10% of the group running those days. Based on last number of races, he can also win from an inner post. Contender.

ADMIRAL KITTEN has won 2 Grade 1 races of his 4 lifetime wins. Ability to win from a middle post. Cannot rank him well among the others. Has solid low-90 Brisnet scores and a case of seconditis. Dark horse.

KAIGUN is the one horse who has shown positive pace progression, my term for speed figures that gently and gradually increase with as little bounce risk as possible. He actually might bounce from his 2nd place finish in the Makers Mile with lifetime best 99 from 85, but it’s a mild increase from last year’s best 93 which he achieved several times. Solid numbers to solid finishes, and did impress while moving up in class. Outside contender.
MORO TAP shares in the rank of best pedigree. Sire is the well-known Tapit. Dam is Ghost Dancing, who had 5 wins in 9 starts including one ungraded stakes. Another horse who is rather outclassed here; no wins since September, hardly contending at the Graded level and the Brisnet numbers are too low for these. Dark horse.

7 BOISTEROUS comes out of an allowance race used as a prep for today, scoring a 103 Brisnet at Keeneland last month. He’s contended at Graded level and won the Man O’ War at Grade 1. Given his age and late running style, he’s not likely to bounce from that 103 number but I cannot rank him at all per my variables. Throw out.

8 FINNEGANS WAKE is a similar story to Boisterous, running at age 5, and a deep closer, with a fast 6th place finish in the Clark Handicap, scoring a 98. 2 wins in 18 starts, the last win coming in 2012. Making first start of 2014, there’s too much to ask of him to even contend. Throw out.

9 SKYRING’s pedigree includes best average winning distance of this field. Sire is English Channel, multiple turf stakes winner, including the 2005 edition of this race. Damsire is Seattle Slew. Fastest win at 9 furlongs of the field, with a 106, achieved last year at Pimlico. ROI angle: Joe Rocco Jr has worked 2 races with D Wayne Lukas in the last 60 days, earning 1 win for a +6.70 return. This is Skyring’s 6th race under reclaim. and has only hit stride since layoff and 2 races at Fair Grounds to begin his 5YO campaign. I’ve rated this stalking horse as the pace commander here (last 3 Brisnet numbers at 2nd call are 111, 119, 115). Comes out of very good trip. Contender.

SEEK AGAIN I have little to go with, seeing he’s done nearly his racing in the UK, and he debuted in the US with a great win in the Grade 1 Hollywood Park Derby in December. I’ve seen international horses bounce down from a successful US debut, tho he’s proven to win right off layoff before. Too many unknowns for me. I call for the big bounce. Throw out.

My selections are:
1st: 3 Guys Reward
2nd: 9 Skyring
3rd: 1 Wise Dan

I’d use whoever is at value, worse than 5-1, to win, plus exactas to each other along with any other top favorite.

Next post is the Kentucky Derby analysis.

2012 Breeders Cup day 2 selections

Firstly the recap of yesterday. If this looks typed in a rush, it is. I gave myself little time to prep for 12 races for today. I did take a bit of a loss but I also scored 3 wins and 2 exactas across the 10 races.
Race 4 was the biggest, with a win and exacta that nearly got overturned via DQ.
Race 5 was a win
Race 8 was another win
Race 9 was an exacta score.

Here’s how I will be wager. I WILL be wagering actual $ this time:

*Wins on horses going off worse than 5-1 in my top 4.
*Exactas between the horses in my top 3.
*If my 4th selection goes off worse than 9-1, place win bet on that horse, then place my top 3 PLUS any horses under 4-1 over my 4th selection in exacta.
Plus/minus will measure the horses that fall outside my top 4 selections to suggest the horses that may be worth a few more $ to play. The most sensitive areas are these: If the 4th selection is involved in the strong side of the plus/minus, I may use that in exactas more so with other strong horses and favorites, regardless of odds.
Also: Any horses who are strong and outside of the top 4 and better than 5-1 will definitely be used as win. I might combine strong horses with each other for exactas, and also under favorites if they come at large price.

Trend ranks are a bit different. The only real change is that I’m removing horses in recovery form from the ‘plus’ category, and inserting horses who had no works since last race (tho there are just 4 such horses in the 12 races). On the minus side, I’m adding the horses who are of ‘exploding’ form type, and removing the top turf specialists from this list.
On yesterday’s card, only one variable shone; that was the horses who benefited from track bias. 7 of 12 horses in exacta positions actually finished in the top 2. No other variable broke 50%.

Plus: 4,1
Minus: 1,3,5
#4: UNUSUAL WAY has lone track bias edge: Sprinters going 7 furlongs on dirt won 2 of 5 such races this meet, and also the 1 scheduled this week. Increased speed from 57 to 90 in last race, so bounce risk.

plus: 1,4,10,12
minus: 6
Yes, I’m actually downgrading #6, ONE FIRM CAT only because it’s rated in one of the lower-performing variables, that being ‘forging’ a lifetime best speed figure in the last 60 days. Outside of that, he comes off the best turf performance on this track of this field, breaking his maiden just 3 weeks ago, scoring an 83. Might bounce a bit, as he increased from 75 in prior race.
For extra value, consider #1: SCHERER MAGIC has some track bias value. Horses with early-pace types, running 6.5 furlongs on turf have won 32% of the races during the meet, and 3 of 5 this week.

Race 3: Damascus Stakes
4,2, (then 5 or 7, whoever has worse odds will be my 4th).
plus: 2,4,5,7
minus: 2,3,5
Will include #7 in the mix.
I actually have #4 and #2 even, but give it to #4 for having track bias edge and no real downside.
#4:MILE HIGH MAGIC ‘s best on this track is a 101, breaking maiden on 3/3. He and #5 Private Zone are the lone speed (see race 1 for track bias). Both of these come out of losing speed duel. Mile High Magic lost by a length, being outkicked in last race, 6.5 furlongs on 9/9. Best jockey/trainer combo in Rafael Bejarano (22% wins) and Bob Baffert (31%)

4-8-9 4th will be between 3,6,14. I’ll take the worst odds of these three.
Plus: 3,6,8,14
minus: 7,8,10,11,12,13
Whoever drops out of my 4th selection choices (3,6,14) will likely be included as extra bets for wins and exactas to either each other or to public favorite. These horses each are moving from sprint to route, the highest performing variable within the 9 racecards I’ve studied. Meanwhile… #4 GERVINHO is 2 of 2 lifetime. Comes out of an 88 score from 10/8, best track performance of the field. Best jockey/trainer combo in Bejarano, and Carla Gaines (26%)

Plus: 2
Minus: 2,5 
Not much confidence in this race, really. #2 BELLE OF THE HALL comes off lifetime best, a 103 run at Belmont last month. She is the fastest horse of this field, and also slightly moved past her prior best mark, a 98 scored during Belmont’s spring meet.

Plus: 2 through 8
Minus: 2,3 
Will bring in #4 and #6 and #8 for value
Six horses in the field have track bias edge: Horses #2, 6, 8 are pure sprinters. Sprinters going a mile on the dirt this meet have won 58% of the races, along with going 2 of 4 this week. Further, horses in post positions 4 through 7 are winning 22% during the meet at this surface’s distance, and 23% this week. Along with the track bias, EMCEE, #7, moves from sprint to route, a big plus in my book here. #4, JOHN SCOTT and #6 SHACKLEFORD also get the track bias, but I have even more love for Shackleford: He led much of the G2 Kelso on 9/29 at Belmont, lost in the stretch and finished 2nd. Moved from 91 to 102 in that race, so a bounce risk.

9-3 or 6-1 
Plus: 1,5,6,8,9,11
Minus: 4,5,7,10,14
Will bring in #1, #8 and #11 for value, mainly on track bias basis.
#9 BRIDGETOWN is one of 5 horses with track bias edge (see race 2 info). Fastest pace of the field (last 3 2nd-call numbers are all over 100). Also has recovery angle: After 9 month layoff, scored 100 in 5f Turf Sprint at Churchill back on 5/5, then ran races of 98, 96, and then circled back fully with a 101 in the Troy Stakes at Saratoga 3 months ago. Pushed forward in the Woodward Stakes last time out 3 weeks ago with a 103.

Plus: 4,8,9
Minus: 2,3 and 5 through 9
#4 SHANGHAI BOBBY is fastest of these colts and geldings (last 3 2nd call numbers are 96, 98, 108). Despite a very small sample, he has best jockey/trainer combo in Rosie Napravnik (1 of 4 races won this meet) and Todd Pletcher (1 of 2)

Race 9: BC TURF
Plus: 1,8,9
Minus: 1,5,11 
#11 SLIM SHADEY has best track performance here among winners here, a 100 scored in a 2nd place finish earlier this year. Increased speed from 92 to 98 in last race on 9/30. Best jockey/trainer combo in Garrett Gomez (22% wins), and Simon Callaghan (29%). ROI angle: Gomez and Callaghan have worked one other race together, winning that race, for return of 6.40 (this is probably referencing the horse’s last race).
#9: DULLAHAN for value. Fastest pace of the field (last 3 stretch numbers are 117, 93, 82).

Race 10: BC SPRINT
plus: 4 through 7 and 13
minus: 1,7,9,13,14 
Bringing in 4,5,6 for value. Each of these horses have track bias edge. In 6 furlong races on the dirt this meet, posts 4 through 7 are winning 16%, along with going 1 for 4 this week.
#13: Poseidon’s Warrior has the fastest pace numbers (last 3 2nd call numbers all over 105). Finished 3rd in the Vosburgh last time out after nearly wiring the field. ROI angle: Trainer Robert Reid has saddled 20 horses at the Graded stakes level. He has 15% wins, 40% in money, for return of 8.54.

Race 11: BC MILE:
plus: 2
minus: 2,3,4,6 
#2 WISE DAN (love the name) is just about a lock here. 4 for 5 lifetime on turf, with highest score a lifetime best 110, run 3 races back at Saratoga. Easily the fastest of this field (overall pace numbers in last 3 range from 103 to 110). ROI angle: Trainer Charles Lopresti has had 22 shipping horses this year, with 27% wins and 45% in money, for an even return of 2.00.

plus: 1,2
minus: 1,2,7 
#5 GAME ON DUDE is ideal horse for course, 5-for-5 lifetime here with top score of 109 achieved in last start 5 weeks ago. Increased in speed from 103 in prior start, so slight bounce risk. Has Bejarano/Baffert connection (see race 3)