03/19/2014 4:00PM

Evolution of a Sprinter


SOCIAL INCLUSION received most of last week's headlines, and deservedly so, following a 111-Beyer romp over top Derby prospect Honor Code at Gulfstream Park. Two races earlier, however, another gate-to-wire winner gave a noteworthy performance.

EVOLUTION ROCKS, claimed for $6,000 on June 16, 2013, earned his third consecutive triple-digit Beyer Speed Figure when annihilating a field of 'n2x' runners at six furlongs. The 4-year-old gelding was ridden by Edgard Zayas and immediately asserted his dominance, grabbing the lead and the rail in the opening fifty yards. Evolution Rocks set fractions of 21.93 and 44.23 before powering clear turning for home. He finished 7 1/2 lengths better than runner-up Border Song, polished off the distance in 1:08.50, and received a career-best 107 Beyer, the co-fastest number earned by a sprinter this year (he's tied with the now-sidelined Mean Season).

How has this horse evolved from ordinary plater to the swiftest sprinter in the country in a span of nine months?

It's not as if he's a blue blood that has finally figured out the game. Evolution Rocks sold for $14,000 as a yearling and doesn't have much blacktype in his female family.

A cursory glance at his past performances (listed at the bottom of this blog post) indicates that trainer Jorge Navarro is the probable answer to the above question.

Evolution Rocks was a useful horse when he raced for trainers Manuel Criollo, Michael McDonald, and Don Swick, compiling a record of 16-4-1-1 with a lifetime Beyer top of 72.

Since being claimed by owner Jennifer Harries and re-adding Lasix, Evolution Rocks, racing for Navarro (and trainer Alexander Martinez at Parx when Navarro was serving a suspension), sports a mark of 8-5-3-0 with Beyers ranging from 77 to 107. That's right. Evolution Rocks' WORST Beyer for Navarro is better than anything he ever recorded for his previous three trainers.

Perhaps the combination of fast dirt and Lasix is the key to the gelding's success (Evolution Rocks raced seven times with Lasix earlier in his career. Six of those starts came on polytrack, turf, or slop. The lone win came on fast dirt). Perhaps Navarro simply found an underachiver, and turned him around by paying attention to detail and placing him in the right spots. Perhaps it's something else entirely. While there is no evidence of unfair play with Evolution Rocks, Navarro is currently barred from competing at Tampa Bay Downs after six post-race drug positives were found during the 2011-2012 Tampa meet.


Whatever the reason for the sudden improvement, handicappers have found another angle to consider. The Navarro Factor must loom in our minds when we skim the past performances. Clicking through Formulator, we find that Navarro was 113-343 (33%, $1.98 ROI, 64% ITM) over the past year. Off the claim during that time period, he is whacking out a phenomenal 52%, (27-52, 81% ITM, $2.64 ROI). Ignore Navarro-trained horses at your own peril. It's not whether he improves horses, it's how much.

As for Evolution Rocks, who knows where he fits on the class ladder right now?  But, would you ignore him if he showed up next time in a graded stakes race?


This week's 3-year-old spotlight features two horses with standout pedigrees.
THE ADMIRAL (Giant's Causeway - Sassy Pants, by Saratoga Six)

*FOAL DATE, STATE: February 17, 2011, Kentucky
*TRAINER: Bob Baffert
*BREEDER: Sassy Pants Syndicate
*OWNER: Mrs. John Magnier, Derrick Smith and Michael Tabor
*LAST RACE:  1st "A1x" allowance, 1 1/16 Miles, Oaklawn, March 16, 90 Beyer
*DP = 4-1-26-1-0 (32) DI = 1.29   CD = 0.25

Another from Bob Baffert's seemingly never-ending conveyor belt of solid sophomores is The Admiral, a late-blooming son of Giant's Causeway that has won two straight races in gate-to-wire fashion at Santa Anita.

Third in his career debut on December 7 over the Betfair Hollywood cushion track, The Admiral disappointed in his next two starts. He failed to stay a mile as the 9-10 favorite in his second appearance, then disappointed with blinkers off at 1 1/16 miles.

Baffert put the hood back on for a seven-furlong maiden race at Santa Anita on February 15, and The Admiral responded with a 90-Beyer victory. It must be noted, however, that speed ruled the roost at "The Great Race Place" that afternoon and The Admiral was loose on an uncontested lead.

Last Sunday, The Admiral stretched back out in distance for an entry-level allowance at 1 1/16 miles. Sent away the 2-1 second choice in the field of six, The Admiral broke sweetly from the inside post position and immediately made the lead. He took mild pressure from the outside by Papa Turf through splits of 23.25, 47.25 and 1:11.52 and spurted clear turning for home. While Papa Turf couldn't stay with The Admiral, Friendswith K Mill, the longest shot on the board, rallied stoutly along the rail. The Admiral held him at bay, though, to score by a half-length in 1:43.14.

The Admiral is by the wonderfully classy Giant's Causeway. Horse of the Year in Europe as a 3-year-old of 2000, Giant's Causeway won five consecutive Group 1 races that season at distances between a flat mile and 1 5/16 miles, all over the span of 81 days. In his lone dirt appearance, Giant's Causeway finished a neck behind Tiznow in the Breeders' Cup Classic, earning a 116 Beyer under the Twin Spires at Churchill Downs.

Champion sire by earnings in 2009, 2010 and 2012, Giant's Causeway is a versatile stallion with North American Grade 1 winners on turf (Aragorn, My Typhoon, Red Giant, Internallyflawless), synthetic (Heatseeker, Carriage Trail), and dirt (Giant Oak, Swift Temper, Creative Cause, First Samurai, Book Review, Eskendereya, Frost Giant).

While Giant's Causeway imparts stamina, the bottom half of The Admiral's pedigree is full of speed influences. He is a half-brother to Madcap Escapade, a winner in 7 of 9 starts at distances between six furlongs and 1 1/16 miles. Madcap Escapade's big win came in the Grade 1 Ashland Stakes at 1 1/16 miles, but she faltered to third in her only start at nine furlongs, and is remembered more for her big sprint scores (107 Beyer in both the Grade 2 Princess Rooney Handicap and Grade 3 Madison Stakes, 106 Beyer in the Grade 2 Shirley Jones Handicap, 108 Beyer in the Old Hat Stakes). Madcap Escapade is the dam of the precocious Mi Sueno, who grabbed the Grade 1 Darley Debutante at seven furlongs over Del Mar's polytrack.

The Admiral is also a half-brother to Dubai Escapade, the winner of the Grade 1 Ballerina Stakes traveling seven furlongs at Saratoga with a 115 Beyer. Another half-sibling, Real Estate, took the $100,000 James B. Moseley Sprint Handicap at Suffolk Downs.

Their dam, Sassy Pants (by Saratoga Six), won two sprint stakes races, but was beaten 23 lengths in her lone attempt past a mile. She is a half-sister to Delicatessa, who won the Claire Marine Stakes going 12 furlongs on turf at Arlington Park, stakes-winner Apalachee Special (Sportsman's Park Handicap at 1 1/16 miles) and stakes-placed sprinter Greetings.

The third dam, Generous Portion, won the Del Mar Debutante at two, the California Oaks at three, and a division of the Golden Poppy Stakes at five. This is the family of the very good fillies Fleet Treat and Impressive Style.

Although in excellent form, the jury should still be out as to The Admiral's quality and distance ability. He looked fatigued on the gallop-out last time with Friendswith K Mill roaring past him after the wire, and his pedigree indicates he might be more of a middle-distance performer than a nine-furlong horse, let alone a classic contender. It might be wise to take a wait-and-see approach before anointing The Admiral a future stakes-winner, but he looks promising as a sprinter and middle-distance performer.

CLASS LEADER (Smart Strike - Class Kris, by Kris S.)

*FOAL DATE, STATE:  March 25, 2011, Kentucky
*TRAINER: Neil Howard
*BREEDER: W. S. Farish
*OWNER: Lane's End Racing
*AUCTION HISTORY: $185,000 (RNA) Keeneland September Yearling,
*Last Race:  1st 'N1X' optional claimer, 1 Mile 70 Yards, Fair Grounds, March 13, 86 Beyer
*DP = 8-11-21-1-1 (42) DI = 2.36   CD = 0.57

While The Admiral may end up better at shorter distances, Class Leader acts like he wants to run all day long. Perfect from two starts this winter around two turns, Class Leader will likely make his next start in a Kentucky Derby points race.

Trained by Neil Howard, the Will Farish homebred made his career debut last October in a six-furlong maiden special weight at Churchill Downs. Class Leader was outrun early and passed tired ones after a wide bid. The second- and third-place finishers from that race, Be Well and Albano, returned to finish two-one in the $48,000 Sugar Bowl Stakes at Fair Grounds. Albano then went on to place second in both the Grade 3 LeComte Stakes and Grade 2 Risen Star Stakes.

Class Leader stretched out for his first try this year and rewarded his backers with a 6-1 maiden victory on February 17. Last week, he made his initial attempt against winners and came through once again. Ridden by James Graham, Class Leader settled along the inside as Interchange and favored Candy Dandy brawled through splits of 23.19, 46.46 and 1:11.81. Class Leader moved up in behind horses on the final turn and split rivals while racing in the three-path in upper stretch. From there, he engaged in battle with Divine View before edging clear in the final hundred yards. Class Leader hopped back to his left lead at the wire but, all in all, it was a professional performance for such a lightly-raced colt.

Class Leader is by Smart Strike, winner of the Grade 1 Phillip H. Iselin Handicap at 1 1/16 miles. The leading stallion by progeny earnings in 2007 and 2008, Smart Strike is the sire of Eclipse Award winners Curlin, English Channel, Lookin At Lucky and My Miss Aurelia.

Class Leader's dam, five-time graded winner Class Kris, has also produced multiple Grade 1-winning millionaire Student Council and Grade 3 route winner Gradepoint. The former excelled at 1 1/4 miles, winning the Pacific Classic over polytrack and the Hawthorne Gold Cup on dirt. Student Council also won the Pimlico Special at 1 3/16 miles. Gradepoint, meanwhile, received a 96 Beyer for winning the Risen Star Stakes at 1 1/16 miles.

Class Kris's big races came on turf at distances up to nine furlongs, but she handled dirt just fine.

Class Leader lacks experience and will get a true test against tougher horses next time out. While the Derby seems like a longshot, he looks like a horse that will improve with distance and maturity.


Here are the top 25 WINNING Beyer Speed Figures (3/10/14 - 3/16/14):

1. SOCIAL INCLUSION - 111 - Alw 61500NC - 1 1/16 Miles - Gulfstream
2. EVOLUTION ROCKS - 107 - OC 62k/N2X -N - 6 Furlongs - Gulfstream
3. ALI'S BIRTHDAY - 102 - Alw 61000N$Y - 6 Furlongs - Oaklawn
3. ANAHAUC - 102 - OC 40k/N2X -N - 5 1/2 Furlongs - Fair Grounds
3. GOLDEN LAD - 102 - Razorback Handicap (G3) - 1 1/16 Miles - Oaklawn
6. ACTION ANDY - 100 -  OC 100k/N3X - 6 1/2 Furlongs - Gulfstream
6. HOPPERTUNITY - 100 - Rebel Stakes (G2) - 1 1/16 Miles - Oaklawn
8. LET FAITH ARISE - 99 - Santa Margarita (G1) - 1 1/8 Miles - Santa Anita
9. JOY BOY - 98 - Alw 62000C - 1 1/16 Miles - Oaklawn
10. VIRAMUNDO - 97 - OC25k/SAL20k - 1 Mile - Gulfstream
11. CLOSE HATCHES - 96 - Azeri Stakes (G2) - 1 1/16 Miles - Oaklawn
11. GANTRY - 96 - Colonel Power Stakes - 5 1/2 Furlongs (Turf) - Fair Grounds
11. HORIZONTALYSPEAKIN - 96 - Alw 63500C - 1 1/8 Miles (Turf) - Santa Anita
14. COIN BROKER - 95 - OC 25k/N1X -N - 1 1/16 Miles - Gulfstream
15. AUSSI AUSTIN - 94 - Clm c-50000 - 1 1/16 Miles (Inner Dirt) - Aqueduct
15. SMASH AND GRAB - 94 - OC 40k/C -N - 7 Furlongs - Laurel
17. BIORYTHM - 93 - OC 62k/N2X -N - 6 1/2 Furlongs (Turf) - Santa Anita
17. CENTRE COURT - 93 - Honey Fox Stakes (G2) - 1 Mile (Turf) - Gulfstream
17. KINGS OVER - 93 - OC50k/SAL32k - 1 Mile - Calder
17. SINGING MY WAY - 93 - Alw 5000s - 1 1/16 Miles - Laurel
21. GRAND CONTENDER - 92 - Borgata Stakes - 1 Mile - Delta
21. RUNFASTERELSE - 92 - OC 62k/N2X - 1 Mile (Tapeta) - Golden Gate
23. HOLD ON SMOKEY - 91 - OC 40k/N2X - 5 Furlongs (Turf) - Tampa Bay
23. MAL GUAPO - 91 - Clm c-(30-20)N2L - 1 1/16 Miles - Oaklawn
23. PART'N PARCEL - 91 - OC 30k/N$Y -N - 1 Mile 70 Yards - Hawthorne
23. STORMY LUCY - 91 - Santa Ana Stakes (G2) - 1 1/8 Miles (Turf) - Santa Anita

*SOCIAL INCLUSION's lifetime past performances are available at the bottom of this blog post.

*AUSSI AUSTIN was claimed for $50,000 by trainer David Jacobson from Rudy Rodriguez.

*MAL GUAPO was claimed for $30,000 by trainer Kim Puhl from Kellyn Gorder.


i always feel like i can ask you for some perspective, so here goes:
as good as game on dude was saturday, he was not aided by the track?
Todd Saunders

We all know if you give a good horse an easy lead over a speed-friendly track, that good horse becomes a very good horse. I do think the track was speed-favoring on Big 'Cap afternoon and it probably aided GAME ON DUDE and CALIFORNIA CHROME in their front-running scores. In praising Game On Dude, I wasn't saying that he's going to be Horse of the Year or anything. Heck, I won't blame anyone that tries to beat him at a short price in the Charles Town Classic. I do think we should recognize horses that are consistently good over a long period of time, however, and Game On Dude's record warrants such respect. By winning the Big 'Cap again, he proved that he shouldn't be put out to pasture just yet.


What happened in race 10 at Gulfstream? I missed the race, and I still can't find out why it was declared no contest.

Edgar Prado was unseated in the first turn and was still down as they turned for home so they declared it a "no contest".
AZ Wildcat


belmont is closing the second and third floor clubhouse...write something about that

If what you write is true, my main concern is where the Elmont Yodeling Club will now practice on weekday afternoons.


The weekend handicapping previews should be available in the video player on the homepage soon.

You can follow me on Twitter @DRF_DanIllman


Congrats to Gary Peacock for finishing first in last week's HandiGambling race.

Rick M's scoresheet is available at the bottom of this blog post.

Let's go with Saturday's Spiral Stakes at Turfway Park for this week's exercise.


SR Vegas and Rick M. have graciously decided to streamline all of the HG rules in order to make them an easier read for everyone...

With so many new people attending Dan's Formblog we thought it would be a good time to update the Handigambling Guidelines and Rules as we go forward in 2014.

Let's remember WHY we began the HandiGambling races in the first place. The goal was to share ideas on why we like these horses and why we're betting them the way we are. We are not asking for a novel but if you could spare a sentence or two outlining your handicapping angles and thought processes about wagering, it would be appreciated.


-  Please start your post with  HG or HANDIGAMBLING to better recognize and find your entry.

-  You have a mythical $100 to wager in whatever format you choose and that is available for that HG race.
Anyone going over the $100 limit will be disqualified.

- Post your WAGER and ANALYSIS to the blog WITH YOUR NAME/OR MONIKER AT THE END OF THE POST.  Remember that posts may start as 'anonymous' or an 'alternate name'. You MUST sign yourself at the end (even if it is the same) This enables the scorekeeper to recognize you .

- (1) ONE ENTRY per person for the Handigambling contest. If you have multiple email addresses, use just ONE for contest purposes.  Multiple entries will be cause for disqualification.

- Separate your analysis from the wager and use the horses # in your wager. Just like you would do in a real wager. No horse names.

-In the event of a tie, the earliest post gets first preference. Dan reserves the right to approve or deny any entries.

- The winner will receive a "Monthly Enhanced 60-Card Past Performance Plan"

As an example :

HG 2014
The speed in this race goes to  horses # 1, 4 ,6 ..Ennie , Meenie, and Mo
Since it's a sprint I don't see any closers catching them.. like # 9 Miney.
I think trainer Groucho with the #6 Mo has the best stats in this condition, route to sprint.. just a gut feeling at large odds ML 20-1

HG wager
50$ Ex box 1-6
total $100

Thanks Dan!




Best of luck to all.


Copy of Formblog Tampa Bay Maiden 3-14-14.xls70 KB
HGSPIRAL.pdf179.5 KB
Rick Carnelli More than 1 year ago
Sometime horses figure out what they are supposed to be doing. In this race there is so much speed and if speed is not holding maybe a closer can steal this at a big price. All speed horses going an extra distance! I With that said I like the #1 Kid Cruz, will need a big race but his last big time close could set up well in this race. And at a big price!
Okiesharp More than 1 year ago
Mike A. Coffee Clique in race # 8 on 3-26. Looked like the # 4 who broke late or slow was lacking racing room around the far turn. Once clear he was full of run and just missed. The # 2 appeared to steady repeatedly after drifting out on the 1st turn and carrying Coffee Clique wide as well. Couldn’t tell what the problem was but the jockey didn’t look right to me. Maybe the horse wouldn’t settle or the jockey couldn’t control him. Maybe he was rank or something? He drifted out some coming out of the turn as well. The # 1 on the rail may have gotten shut off in the stretch? His jockey wasn't very enthused in the stretch just before the wire. I didn’t look at anything but the live replay. Okiesharp
Okiesharp More than 1 year ago
Mike A. Thanks Mike, I'll take a look & get back to you. Okiesharp
mike turfmonstr More than 1 year ago
Okie, Don't read the chart, just watch the race as many times as you'd like...read the chart and I'll know it......Mike A
mike turfmonstr More than 1 year ago
Okie, One more thing......watch horses that specifically do well at tracks that are next in line. that's to say when a horse is coming back from a layoff......say a few weeks out from a meet where they've run well before it pays to watch how they run and against who......I watched a race today at Gulf that I saw at least three horses to watch coming back.......it was the 8th race won by Coffee Clique.....go to Gulfs website and download the race replay....watch all the horses and tell me what you saw.......and how you would grade them coming back...........Mike A
SR Vegas More than 1 year ago
Congrats TBTA on your HG win this week ! SR Vegas
mike turfmonstr More than 1 year ago
Okie Cont...... Most races are run true by average horses......that's why I've posted about ten races t guld since Jan 1st out of hundreds.....but some races are better than others and knowing which ones makes you money...... With horses that I've seen run it's easier...I know what to expect from them. With maidens you have to judge by what you know TB's are capable of.....which shouldn't be hard because you've seen it a thousand times whether you realize it or not. You have to decide who is good and who isn't by the horses themselves not the conditions of the race. Just because it's a stake doesn't mean they are stakes horses......Just because your horse won after being back 5 at the 1/8th pole means little if he came home in 30+....on a par course..it just means he was better than the horses he ran against that day...the you need to break it down further.....were the horses he ran against bred more for shorter distances, was he beating sprinters going 1 1/16th.....there is and endless amount of things to look at. How did the horses he beat do when they came back...how'd he do and does that give the horses he beat a leg up when they come back. You see from where I sit it's always who you beat and how.....it's how you judge. If horses ran back to good races without that consideration Governor Charlie would have won a boat load of stakes instead of...well not doing so. Track records mean little when you do it against average horses over fast courses. Anyone who thought Afleet Alex wasn't winning the Belmont after that Preakness was crazy....or delusional...which is about the same......It's why I can say I'm not a fan of Native Dancer...because he never beat anyone I would consider above average......just because he did so in a race that was a stake means little to me........ The Spiral was a thrilling race, like hundreds that are run every week.....some may have liked Asserting Bear closing down 3 lengths, but the simple fact is that race was an average race......no one did anything that any average horse of some ability couldn't do also.......Take the fact that most of them are bred for turf what would you expect come the first Saturday in May? Wee Miss Artie was able to run down two horses who are probably better at Middle distances, over a course he likes.....he ran slow then and ran slow again.....but he won. If he wins on poly again some will hail him the "chief".....but wait till Oct. when he's entered against older horses that like poly....all one can hope is they bet him...because he has no chance. Always look at a race for what it is....never by what you see....because what may be visually impressive is not always the case in reality. When a horse closed down a bunch on turf after 6f's in 13 or so that's what they should do......they get no points for doing it......it goes a long way to deciding if they are a good bet at odds first time against winners......Lochte broke his maiden in a nice time while 3 to 4 w the entire race and was drawing away. His race against horses who love distances was good too since he's not a true distance horse.......he came right back and tattooed a good field......winning that stake next out wasn't a stretch considering the competition and you got 39-1 for you trouble.....out of all of that his maiden win was the one that made me watch him.....because good thoroughbreds win even when things don't go their way......I'll finish up with some of the other things you asked about later...Mike A
mike turfmonstr More than 1 year ago
OKie Cont...... There were three races that day at that rail placement 36ft).....all were won by horses 3 and 4w.....the early speed and anyone on the fence faded. The favorite and co favorite in the early race both faded after running exclusively on the rail......Kitty Wine a nice mare and Exclude both faded out after running exclusively on the rail.......So with the course already being slow and the rail slower yet I deduced that anyone who should any signs of life along the rail had to be given points......Also anyone who ran outside who ran well also had to be included if they managed to be in contention at some point, especially if I felt they were over matched to start . Watching the race I saw Hard Enough on the fence and after a layoff actually make a nice move into contention along the rail before the real running started......He was included off of that effort. Next was Grand Tito.....I felt he was outmatched, but after running inside for almost 6f's shifted out, made a run around the turn to reach contention before fading out.....another good effort considerin these were the toughest he had ever faced....I mentioned a slight drop in class for him. Sky Blazer closed well after running wide......He tends to be better after a mile, but if there ever was a poster child for underachiever it's him and I wasn't as sure he'd duplicate that effort...he'd done it before a few times. Nine O Wonderful I said may not come back and I'd wait for Belmont where he likes it.....he hasn't run back. Then there was A P Elvis who at 7 was running a mile for the first time against a salty group....he rode the rail and actually took the lead briefly mid stretch before backing out late.......His subsequent run at 7.5 was disappointing and he hasn't worked since, which is also disappointing, but Laurel opens soon and he likes it there so I'll watch where they bring him back.......and how. The last horse was Humble And Hungry, he by virtue of his rail run for 6f's and a late switch out to close nicely.....he was entered at Tampa and 12-1 ML but the race came off the turf and he was scratched...he's been working but hasn't been entered back yet. So of the horses I mentioned 3 won back all paid double digits.....AP Elvis ran out, but I will watch him...his race was too good that he shouldn't do well....unless he's hurt. Humble And Hungry, Nine O Wonderful haven't run back yet. So what I saw has produced 3 winners in 4 races. Okie...how I saw this as they were running goes like this...I know those horses and what they are capable of on their best day...it was a good field. When horses I know don't perform I look at why......it's easy to say "they're older, they're done" but saying so without backing it up is not smart...especially on turf where sprinters run up to 10 years old. Right away I see a horse struggle on the rail I immediately look at who else is on the rail and how they look, then the next..,then I see how the run when the real running starts......Being the rail was at 36ft and it had recently rained I figured there may be something to the rail being deep so I looked at the other two races and it played out the same. Given the "class" of the horses and how the race was run I figured anyone that had any trouble especially rail "trouble" was a good bet back. They have been so far........ What you need to do before a race is get a good line on how good the horses you're watching are....so you know what to expect time wise ( per course speed).....See who the speed is, who will get the lead, the Post Positions.....in almost any race I will be pretty accurate as to how a race will be run, even tell you if a horse will have trouble. watch to see who may be wide.......what may be trouble spots for individual horses.....I can do that pretty fast because I've been doing it since the Civil War....it take practice but do it.....When the gates open you will already have a leg up on what may happen to the first turn. Then watch....who's wide, who is having trouble, who's rank.....what's the first split, who's moving...what's the fraction....are they moving fast or just catching up because everyone up front is slowing down......who moves out at the far turn, who's making up ground around the turn,who's getting shuffled back around the turn and did they recover.......I see all of this as I'm watching.....the stretch run is easy...I think it's the only time most folks really watch, but the race is won or lost before that........Your eyes should instinctively pick up on anyone moving faster than the horses around them.....where are they at the time...what was the quarter, the 1/8th split....slow? fast? imagine me snapping my fingers...that's how fast you have to decide.....that's what makes you look back to see it again.......I'll be back...Mike A
mike turfmonstr More than 1 year ago
Okie, OK after a few fits and starts....I think I can begin. Websites been acting like a 3500 claimer today. First and foremost When it comes to how I do what I do or what I see there is no way I can tell you everything. So much was learned by watching at a very young age. I wasn't taught by reading or accepting things everyone else accepted as the "truth". I was taught by horseman......even my uncle was on his way to being a jockey when he decided he'd rather eat.......I learned from the inside out and the basis of what I learned was to always judge by what a thoroughbred is capable of in reality and work from there.........You have the everyday races with horses of average ability, then you have horses of above average ability.......of course you have some who have set standards that not many attain.....eve if just for a race or two....Like Secretariat's Belmont , Afleet Alex's Preakness....or even Winter Memories Garden City......those races are examples of what a Thoroughbred is capable of at it's absolute best. Knowing that you can have a focal point for judging others....especially when they have trouble....as Afleet Alex and Winter Memories did in those two races and what they did to win anyway.......So you could say when I watch a race I look for the things a thoroughbred can do that isn't the norm......It gives me a gauge to start from. I always judge turf horses by how fast they are able to "come home" after early fractions. As an example.....any TB worth his salt can come home in less than 30 (5/16 ths) after 6f's in 1:13......but it thins out a bit after 6f's in 1:12, further at 1:11 and further still the faster you go......Good older horses and younger stakes performers should be able to come home in a sub 29 after 6f's in 1:13.....of course depending on whether the course is firm or not.....but for arguments sake lets say a course that is par. So watching a race and knowing how fast the course is you can begin to see by come homes, PP....trip etc just who is better than whom. These are things I see everyday and are in my head......I can see every nuance as it unfolds......I can see enough to know whether the race was Bad/ Average/or good......In todays world it's easier to see if you are correct by checking the replays and trakus......I don't need Trakus to tell me what I saw, but it does verify it..... So I'll pick a race that is indicative of what I'm talking about......I wrote about this race both before it ran and afterwards as a race that first should be paid attention to ( before the running) and that it absolutely should be paid attention to after the running. That was Unbridled Oceans win back on Feb 2nd @ Gulf. 1 mile on the turf fro OC claiming 100,000 4 and ups. The time over a good course was ok.....1:37:3.....a time that most would have shrugged their shoulders at. Temp Rail was at 36ft and the run up was only 50ft. Three factors made that time very good.....1) temp rail at 36.....the course was slow down below 60 feet in early Feb. 2) There was a shorter run up.....that would reflect in the early times and final time..and 3) the course was rated good.....and it was at least 5-7 lengths slower than normal. Adding that fact to the shorter run up and a temp rail placing that was running 5 lengths slower than it's outer counterpart I figured that course was a total of about 15 lengths slow give or take.....that would have put them at about 1:34:3 over a par course....a very nice time. Unbridled Ocean was wide from the get go.....and it was there in trakus...he ran further than any horse in the race save Seal Cove ( who I'll bet dollars to donuts will run at Aqu on turf and win....but get your price). He raced an average of about 38 feet farther than everyone else......and still ran them down. Now it's easy to see why it was a good race for him, but what about the others I mentioned after the race....Grand Tito, Hard Enough, Sky Blazer ( who I said I probably wouldn't bet beack, he's been a money burner) Ap Elvis and Nine O Wonderful......During the running I noticed the horses on the rail didn't have the fluidity I've grown accustom to them having. You have to realize and this is one of the reasons it is hard to convey certain things, I've been watching these horses run time and again since they were 2 and 3 which makes it a minimum 3 years and as many as 5......So when they look absolutely fine to most people they don't to me. Because of that I deduced the rail was not a good place to be and considering only one horse was able to close a bit of ground while others who I know can run couldn't I decided to check the earlier races to be sure...... I'll be back...Mike A
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
TBTA, I just did. Thank you!!! Annie