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Beyers, Lexington fractions
SteveT and Vicstu,
I believe that Sig. Move Bled or Flipped his palate in the LA Derby. Thats what I read somewhere. Don';t know what his excuse was in the last race.
I just finished updating the Disabled List located on the right hand side of the Blog. Signature Move has recently been sidelined with lung problems, and probably won't be back until the summer at the earliest. This is his second stint on the List this year as he had a lung infection, and bled after the Louisiana Derby.
What does a trainer do with a colt/filly that hangs a bit in terms of persevering to persevere, class of the next out race, equipment, distance, surface etc.?
If a horse truly lacks the will to win, then nothing a trainer does will put him/her over the top. In Atoned's case, I do believe he hangs, but I'm hoping that blinkers will be the answer for him down the road. Actually, I'm kinda surprised that Mr. Pletcher hasn't tried the blinkers experiment already.
What kind of sick person would be that crule to a horse? Blows my mind away. Something does need to be done. The same thing happend to a Darley horse i believe this winter at Gulfstream Park.
The Darley filly that was sponged at Gulfstream was Golden Velvet, and it was extremely sweet to see her win the Sixty Sails Handicap at Hawthorne last week with a big 105 Beyer.
This blog had me laughing my head off but it does bring up a serious point. How do you handle it when people solicit your advice at seminars or when friends ask you and your opinion is wrong on a race? I have a few people that ask me for Derby advice but I hate giving my opinion because I'm no expert (but knowlegable) and I would be crushed if I caused someone to lose alot of cabbage.
This is a great question. I feel terrible when someone asks my opinion, then bet money on the opinion, and the opinion stinks up the joint.
I think some of it is selfish. I feel awful because I bet each horse that I give out, and my wallet suffers when they don't do well. Most of it is because I feel like my advice caused that person to lose his/her money, and while it's embarrassing and a blow to my ego, it's also a blow to that person's pocketbook.
In this line of work, though, you have to keep giving opinions, and hope that you're right a few times.
But, I do feel really awful when the picks I give out to the public do poorly.
I also feel bad for skipping the "Handicapper(s) of the Week" segment as well as this week's Past Champions retrospective, but I am way behind in a lot of my work.
Tomorrow, I'll get to most, if not all, of your questions, comments, and pp requests from when I was out of town.
Thanks so much for the great commentary. You guys/gals are the best.
I had a dream last night. I was watching the 2008 Kentucky Derby by Yum Brands, while sitting on a pony. The track was real sloppy. Kind of like the BC @ Monmouth. In any event, all the California colts had two jockeys on them. The front Jockey had a squeegee and a towel and was wiping mud splatter off the runner during the race. The infield tote board posted the results before the race was over. Rather than numbers next to 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place, it said California, California, California, in gold lettering against a red background. Fourth place had some kind of Chinese or Japanese character next to it. I wouldn't think too much about it, but I have had some premonitions or at least part of it come true. ----------------------------- I was thinking, that to raise its daily handle and lure big bettors, Keeneland could offer two win horses for the price of one. In other words you could pick your winning horse and then you would indicate or select another horse to go along with it; kind of like a field horse. Thus, you would get two horses for the price of one. Perhaps you could increase the amount of this bet this kind of wager slightly above the standard $2.00 win bet.
I have been working on assigning all the Derby entrants a Quirin style rating for all of their graded stakes preps as a three year old. For anyone that is not familiar with the Quirin style ratings they consist of a pace rating and a final time rating. A rating of 100-100 is equal to a $10k older male claimer. Par for the Derby is 115-115. I will post the link to the file I created sometime tomorrow after I finalize it. As of now only six horses have run within 6 points of par or better. They are Adriano (Lane's End), Big Brown (Allowance & Florida Derby), Denis of Cork (Southwest), Gayego (Arkansas Derby), Smooth Air (Florida Derby) and Z Fortune (Arkansas Derby). The only dual qualifiers (have also earned a BSF within 6 points of par) are Big Brown (106 & 106) and Gayego (103). Z Fortune misses by one point (102). All three of my longshot trifecta horses qualify on the Quirin scale (Adriano, Smooth Air & Z Fortune) which makes me feel a little more sane. What I take from this study is that the six mentioned above have demonstrated that they can run fast early and fast late and that one of them should be wearing the roses on May 3rd. Lenny
Steve, Alan, Jim, anyone, FYI, Beyer will host an online Derby chat on Tuesday. Perhaps you can raise some of your questions to him directly. BTW, Dan follows on Wednesday. JohnnyZ, There are some trainers (Tagg comes to mind) who prefer to ship to CD right before the Derby, without even working their horse(s) over the surface. Acclimation is not essential. There is no rule that says you should get to Churchill as early as possible and have a few workouts over the surface. Perhaps you have a good point about Big Brown being a nervous type that would benefit from early exposure to his surroundings. On the flip side, maybe sending him too early will just stress him out for a few weeks and take away from his routine or workouts. Don't forget, the media doesn't stroll in that morning. None of these runners have really experienced a crowded infield like they will in the Derby, but being at CD a week or 2 earlier won't give them that experience. I usually don't mind horses shipping to CD "cold".
I have come to the conclusion that with regard to this years Derby, Beyer numbers must be emphasized less in one’s handicapping. The style of racing on synthetic tracks and resultant low Beyers, if the DRF blogs are any indication, are driving handicappers mad. The Beyers for this year’s preps on synthetic tracks have been unusually low, topping out in the mid to high 90’s and rarely cracking triple digits. We have been used, in years past, to seeing most of the Derby entrants at least threaten triple digits and I for one have always tried to find a horse that could produce a Beyer of 106+ (Giacomo being my only exception). So what to do this year? Only 7 of this years runners have cracked a 100 Beyer in their lives: Pyro did it last year but as a three-year old has a high of 95, Bob Black Jack (109) did it on the SA track for Sunshine Millions Day when the track was scraped lightening fast (He set the world record for 6f and nobody can truly believe he’s capable of that on an honest surface), Recapture the Glory has a 102 on a speed-favoring Hawthorne track and Eight Belles has a 100, so she barely meets the minimum of this requirement. One might say, where are all the talented horses? Well, they’ve been running on synthetic. I’ve read all the blogs about synthetic races needing to be adjusted by anywhere from 4-10 points and I have to say I agree. I look at it this way. We now have 3 different surface as handicappers to deal with—dirt, turf and synthetic whereas two years ago we had only two—dirt and turf. As someone who always loved the turf to dirt angle,I always wondered why there were several horses each year capable of producing enormous figs(115+) on dirt but we rarely if ever see the same from our turf runners. Honestly, when have you ever seen a 115+ fig on the turf? Obviously turf races are run differently and scored differently than dirt races. And most handicappers would agree that synthetic races are not only run more like turf races(slow early, fast late) than dirt races but turf horses take more quickly to the surface than do dirt horses. So, in conclusion, if synthetic surfaces play more like turf and turf horses do not produce the kind of Beyers dirt horses do, we can’t expect synthetic races to produce the kind of Beyers dirt races do. So I plan to upgrade the Beyers of all synthetic races by at least 6-7 points. Nobody seems to be in agreement on this number so I’m going with the average. Another theory I’m working on is the second-dirt-after-synthetic angle. IMO, I’ve seen many horses produce top efforts on the dirt after several races on the turf only to regress the following race. Can the same apply for horses who make the move from synthetic and produce a peak performance on dirt? Will they bounce second time on dirt? I am going to assume it does apply and throw Gayego out.
Vicstu, My comment was only intended as light hearted, fun ball busting...nothing more... I do appreciate you lending the further context to the topic. I certainly can appreciate an evaluation of "come home" times but I'm surprised that so many handicappers focus on tight rules with fixed numbers without considering pace and relative track speed...
I think I figured out what bet I'd really like to make on Derby Day. Anybody care to wager that Pyro breaking dead last? I don't think he's going to and I'll be happy to take the action if you think he will. I've read so many people here assuming that Pyro is going to have to close from the heavens through all 19 (or 18 if 8bells WD's, I know that's the rules, but it's BS)in the Derby. I'm not so sure. I really think the Louisiana Derby was what you're going to get from Pyro, a stalking trip in the second flight of horses. I think Assmussen and Bridgmohan know that the golden rail trip SS got last year isn't going to happen again this year. I joked with one person that I wouldn't be surprised to see all 20 (or 19, Rick Porter won't be getting a Christmas card from me) single file along the rail at one point. We'll see come May 3rd, but I just don't expect to see Pyro dead last at the break.
Mathieu- Assuming the original cause of the quarter crack is fixed it will take about a year (give or take a month) for the whole thing to grow out. An equine hoof grows about 1/4 to 3/8 of and inch per month and an average hoof on a TB is maybe 4 inches. I'm not really sure about the time line in BBs case- Does anyone else know? He started late so maybe they were mostly grown out and they are just worried about recurrence. Horses do train and run with them patched though. The concern about recurrence depends on if the primary cause was fixed- usually poor hoof balance with an under run heel. Here's a link to a website put up by a well respected vet with some pictures that may make things clearer: http://www.equipodiatry.com/qtrcrka.htm
Alan, thanks, Hope the Warrior can get back to his 2 year old form
C, Good horses make good trips. A perfect trip in the Derby by Barbaro(which it was) was b/c he was a superior horse to his competition. Barbaro and other dominant horses that are "push button" make everything look so easy- that you can place them wherever you want. Don't get me wrong some horses can look dominant b/c they "trip out", but if you notice this happening over and over again for a certain horse- it is b/c they make their own breaks(they're not lucky). In Big Brown's case - I do agree, we need to see more. I probably will not be betting him on May 3rd, I am leaning towards Pyro & would be happy w/ about 5 or 6-1, but some feel he may be as high as 10 or 12-1, which would be a gift.
Laura is amazing somebody should hire her for Big Trucks, sorry I mean big bucks.