03/01/2011 6:38PM

Formulator Thoughts, Short Horses, Field Size, Beyers

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Let's get down to business.

Here are the top 25 winning Beyer Speed Figures from last week's races (2/21/11 - 2/27/11):

1.  Sunrise Smarty - 104 - Alw 43120N1X - 6 Furlongs (Inner Dirt) - Aqueduct
2.  Flashpoint - 102 - Hutcheson Stakes(Grade 2) - 7 Furlongs - Gulfstream
3.  Little Mike - 101 - Canadian Turf Stakes(Grade 3) - 1 Mile (Turf) - Gulfstream
3.  No Advantage - 101 - General George Handicap (Grade 2) - 7 Furlongs - Laurel
5.  R Heat Lightning - 98 - Davona Dale Stakes (Grade 2) - 1 Mile - Gulfstream
6.  Hoorayforhollywood - 97 - Md Sp Wt 55k - 5 1/2 Furlongs - Santa Anita
6.  It Happened Again - 97 - OC 65k/C -N - 1 Mile - Oaklawn
6.  J J's Lucky Train - 97 - Miracle Wood Stakes - 7 Furlongs - Laurel
9.  Quick Enough - 96 - Sensational Star Handicap - 6 1/2 Furlongs (Turf) - Santa Anita
9.  Soldat - 96 - Fountain of Youth Stakes (Grade 2) - 1 1/8 Miles - Gulfstream
11. Be Bullish - 95 - Hollie Hughes Stakes - 6 Furlongs (Inner Dirt) - Aqueduct
11. Christmas for Liam - 95 - Alw 40500N1X - 1 Mile - Gulfstream
11. Funny Sunny -  95 - Alw 42700N1X - 6 Furlongs - Gulfstream
11. Hud's Rebel - 95 - Alw 54000NC - 6 Furlongs - Fair Grounds
15. Cozi Rosie - 94 - Buena Vista Handicap (Grade 2) - 1 Mile (Turf) - Santa Anita
15. Major Billy - 94 - OC 25k/N1Y - 6 Furlongs - Sunland
17. Five Grand Girl - 93 - Patty's Positive Stakes - 6 Furlongs (Inner Dirt) - Aqueduct
17. Mr. Porter - 93 - Alw ---s - 7 Furlongs - Delta Downs
19. Count On Lou - 92 - Clm 20000(20-18) - 1 Mile - Laurel
19. Honkytonk Stomp - 92 - Grasmick Stakes - 4 Furlongs - Fonner
19. It's Never to Late - 92 - OC 20k/ -N - 6 Furlongs - Gulfstream
19. Kelly Leak - 92 - OC 80k/N3X - 6 1/2 Furlongs (Turf) - Santa Anita
19. Lydia's Last Step - 92 - Clm c-(25-20) - 1 Mile - Sunland
19. Stand - 92 - Clm 17500(17.5-15) - 1 1/16 Miles (Turf) - Fair Grounds 
25. Hallelujah Trail - 91 - OC 50k/N2X - 6 Furlongs (Tapeta) - Golden Gate
25. Keepinonestepahead - 91 - Clm 30000(30-25) - 6 Furlongs - Fair Grounds
25. Jack On the Rocks - 91 - OC 50k/N2X - 6 Furlongs (Inner Dirt) - Aqueduct
25. Really Uptown - 91 -Clm 22500(25-22.5) - 6 1/2 Furlongs - Santa Anita
25. Snow Fall - 91 - Md Sp Wt 41k - 1 Mile 70 Yards - Fair Grounds

Sunrise Smarty's past performances are available at the bottom of this blog post.

*Does Bob Baffert have another late entrant on the Kentucky Derby trail?  Hoorayforhollywood, a three-year-old son of Storm Cat out of multiple Grade 1 winner Hollywood Story, won his debut at 5 1/2 furlongs by 3 1/4 lengths.  Hollywood Story won the Hollywood Starlet at 1 1/16 miles and the Vanity at nine furlongs. 

*Snow Fall, a three-year-old filly by red-hot sire War Front, won her maiden by 5 1/2 lengths with a 91 Beyer in an off-the-turf event on February 25.  It was the first dirt, and first route, start for Snow Fall, a $14,500 short yearling trained by Michael Stidham.  Snow Fall is a half-sister to Upperline, the winner of the Grade 3 Arlington Oaks at nine furlongs.  The dam, Snowflake, was multiple stakes-placed going long on grass.

***

Hi Dan, someone had requested the pp's for Pulpit and I was surprised to see 6 races with beyers all over 100...can't say I've seen that too often. He has certainly left quite a legacy as a sire
I was wondering if you could post the lifetime pp's for two Canadian champs, With Approval and Izvestia. thank you kindly
Greg

The past performances are available at the bottom of the blog post.

***

Tejano Run or Dan
Tejano Run did a Formulator search for some of Kent D's statistics recently. I also use Formulator, currently the Unlimited version which I got for signing up to DRF Bets, and the trainer and the jockey both are highlighted and can be clicked on, but for the life of me I cannot get anything to change to research J/T combinations. I mess with the filters but that doesn't help me much. A quick lesson or tip? Gracias.
Ron Zuercher

Let's take the Wednesday "Race of the Day" (with free Formulator Past Performances) as an example.  It's the fourth race at Gulfstream.

1.  Click on Todd Pletcher's name (#2 Holiday Flare)
2.  Click MODIFY FILTERS
3.  Choose your time frame (I will keep it at the PAST FIVE YEARS DEFAULT)
4.  CLICK TRACK/JOCKEY/OWNER
5.  Under TRACK, scroll down to TODAY'S TRACK
6.  Under JOCKEY, scroll down to TODAY'S JOCKEY
7.  Click OK

The stats come up with Pletcher and Velazquez going 110-427 (26%, $1.77 ROI) at Gulfstream over the past five years.

What if we want to see how Pletcher does with another rider at Gulfstream?

1.  Click MODIFY FILTERS
2.  Click TRACK/JOCKEY/OWNER
3.  Click INCLUDE JOCKEY LIST
4.  Highlight a jockey (I chose CHRIS DECARLO)
5.  Click OK
6.  The stats come up with Pletcher and Decarlo going 34-170 (20%, $1.79 ROI) at Gulfstream over the past five years.

The more you play around with Formulator, the more confident you'll get in the program.

***

Dan,
One of the thing I noticed in this race was that several of the horses were coming off of their maiden victories. Is there any place that shows the trainer stats for first off of a maiden victory?
Normally they are horses whose chances I will dismiss but wonder which, if any, trainers have positive numbers in this regard.
mpm101

Again, let's look at Formulator.  Wednesday's "Race of the Day" (a maiden race) won't apply, so let's go for Thursday's scheduled event (Race 7 at Santa Anita).  The "Race of the Day" Formulator past performances and video analysis are available at the below link:

http://www.drf.com/#rod

Here are the steps I would use to find out a trainer's record with recent maiden winners:

1.  Click on Doug O'Neill's name (#2 Hughesy)
2.  Click MODIFY FILTERS
3.  Choose your time frame (This time, I'll scroll down to PAST TWO YEARS):
4.  Under WINNERS, ETC., scroll down to MAIDEN WINNER LAST OUT
5.  Click OK.

O'Neill is 15-107 (14%, $1.17 ROI) over the last two years with horses coming out of a maiden win.  As with the trainer/jockey statistics, you can narrow your search by playing around with the filters.

***

Didn't Da Hoss debut with 1:07 1/5 for 6 furlongs back in 1994? I know he ran that fast as a 2 year old, I just don't know if it was his debut race.
Erin

Erin,
Da Hoss ran his 107.1 in his 3rd lifetime race @Turf Paradise on 10/30/94. The (WORLD) record now is 106.49 on 11/21/09 by Twin Sparks...
Curt V.

***

I saw Manicero win an early Derby Prep then seems to have dropped of my radar.
Anybody have any news on this Florida based 3YO?
Alfredo

Manicero ran eighth in the Grade 2 Hutcheson Stakes at seven furlongs at Gulfstream on February 26 with a 55 Beyer.  He looks to be listed stakes-class at sprint distances.

***

Dan,
I might have been hibernating too long this winter but can you tell me what happened to Joe Woodard?
Bob R
P.S. Nice haircut!

Woodard has been suspended since early December for a medication violation.  His assistant, Tony Scott, has been handling the barn. 

***
Dan or anybody else
Any word on WinStar's intentions regarding my MKB horse BLUE LASER? I see that he is still in the top 20 money earners and has been working out (including a work on the turf.)
Do we think he is pointed at the Derby since he has not been racing?
Thanks
Ned Daly

Please refer to Marty McGee's story at the below link:

http://www.drf.com/news/blue-laser-will-make-3-year-old-debut-battaglia-memorial-turfway

***

dan, can i get pp's for simply majestic, restless con, never-rust, iheardavoice, paired and painted thanks again!!!
marc

The past performances you requested are available at the bottom of this blog post.

***

*LSD probably can tell us Avg field siZe for any given year by looking it up in his American Racing Manuals ?
*Speaking of books . I've been meaning to ask you how you liked the Secretariat book you were reading LSD ?
blackseabass

From the 2010 American Racing Manual:

Average Field Size:

1950 - 9.07
1955 - 9.06
1960 - 8.95
1965 - 8.59
1970 - 8.62
1975 - 8.82
1980 - 8.70
1985 - 9.03
1990 - 8.91
1991 - 8.75
1992 - 8.62
1993 - 8.56
1994 - 8.31
1995 - 8.20
1996 - 8.31
1997 - 8.20
1998 - 8.17
1999 - 8.21
2000 - 8.11
2001 - 8.18
2002 - 8.27
2003 - 8.30
2004 - 8.28
2005 - 8.17
2006 - 8.17
2007 - 8.17
2008 - 8.17
2009 - 8.24
2010 - 8.19*

While the average field size has declined slightly from 1950, the big drop off is in Average Starts Per Runner (listed below):

1950 - 10.91
1955 - 11.10
1960 - 11.31
1965 - 10.88
1970 - 10.22
1975 - 10.23
1980 - 9.21
1985 - 8.28
1990 - 7.94
1991 - 7.98
1992 - 8.03
1993 - 7.86
1994 - 7.84
1995 - 7.73
1996 - 7.59
1997 - 7.54
1998 - 7.29
1999 - 7.19
2000 - 7.10
2001 - 6.97
2002 - 6.80
2003 - 6.62
2004 - 6.57
2005 - 6.45
2006 - 6.37
2007 - 6.31
2008 - 6.20
2009 - 6.23
2010 - 6.11*

2010 Stats taken from The Jockey Club Online Fact Book.

The Secretariat book was a good, quick read.  It detailed the intense anticipation for Secretariat's first crop, the initial disappointment of the foals, and chronicled the ups-and-downs of the breeding game.  Next up is "Horse Chestnut, The Story of a Legend," by Mike de Kock.

***

In his previous blog....Runflatout. Dan was answering a question as to whether the Timely Writer Stakes on March 12 was a Graded Stakes Race. In his answer he noted that he and Mike Beer would be at Gulfstream on that day for a seminar. Those are all the details I am aware of at this time. If Dan takes me up on my breakfast and or dinner offer and you can come down and join us that would be great.
P.S.
At the present moment my plans are to go out to Gulfstream on Saturday. However, I don't plan to arrive until the start of the 7th race. I will look for you at the Tiki Bar unless you inform me that your plans have changed.
bobc

Dan,
I missed the original post. You're coming to FL? When? Where?
Laura

I'll let everyone know what our schedule is when we get closer to the date, but Mike Beer and I are still heading to Gulfstream for the Timely Writer on March 12.  Again, if any blogger is in the area that day, head on out to the track.  We'd love to chat. 
bobc, I'll write you back when I know more about our timetable.  Thanks for your kind offer.

***

Hi Dan,
I've been wondering about something for the last couple of days, and haven't seen it mentioned in any of the post-race articles I've read. Hoping you could touch on it here, and my apologies if this has been brought up earlier in the thread. My problem is this:
Soldat went into the gate showing 2/1, then came out the other side showing 7/5. How does that happen in a race as large as the FOY??? We can debate about whether Soldat deserved to be favored (I think he did), but that's not the issue here. How did Soldat drop past 9/5, 8/5, and 3/2 in the span of about 30 seconds, with that kind of money in the pool?
Discreet Picks

It wasn't me, I swear.  After I got my bet down, I greedily rubbed my hands together feeling that 2-1 represented value (I had Soldat at 3-2 on my personal odds line).  Going into the first turn, I realized my overlay was now an underlay (I'm not redboarding, blog readers know I liked Soldat, and I still lost money on the weekend with my other awful selections). 
How does this happen?  Either somebody dropped a ton of money on this horse, or something more nefarious was responsible (like past-posting).  I'll think positively, and guess there were some whales that believed that 2-1 was a good price with 0 minutes to post, and bet accordingly.

***

Dan, or anyone, I can't imagine that Florida, or any state, doesn't have a regulation such as this in California:
1692. Requirements for Horse, Trainer and Jockey.
Each horse starting in a race must be qualified for that race, ready to run, in physical condition to
exert its best effort, and entered with the intention to win.
As pertains to the Mott horse over the weekend and the subsequent NYT article, I wonder what your feelings/thoughts are on this longstanding tradition of "giving the horse a race or two?"
I have no memory of any trainer being in any way reprimanded for sending out a short or not well-meant horse anywhere, anytime, although jockeys, some more than others, have been sat down for things like "not persevering" etc.
Most realists understand that this occurs at every single level of the game every single day of the year, but why even have a regulation like that if it's NEVER going to be enforced?
thanks
pe

The NY Time reports Mott gave JV instructions -"Don't do too much" on To Honor and Serve. Mott was upfront before the race that To Honor and Serve was not ready. Given that,
it seems that alot of money, apparently money from people who did not know (uneducated money ?), or did not care, went ahead and wagered on To Honor and Serve to win. To Honor and Serve went of at 1.70 -1. It would have been lower than that, if a ton of money had not been dumped on Soldat at the last minute. Was 1.70-1 fair value, when the trainer said before the race, that he was not ready? Or was it poor handicapping, by those who bet To Honor and Serve to win?
chicago gerry

pe, it's a good point, and you're right that it happens every single day at every racetrack in the country.  But it's almost impossible to necessarily prove that a horse wasn't cranked up fully to win.  Mott, at least before the race, informed the public that the horse was short.  It's quite possible, however, that he believed that he could win with 80% in the tank.  Did he intend to win the race?  The major goal was to get a good run from To Honor and Serve, but I believe, wholeheartedly, that he wanted to win. 
This is one of those "let the buyer beware" cases that might not look so great to non-racing fans.  But, historically, some of the top graded winners were "raced into shape" by their connections.  The mighty Kelso almost always needed a start before he got going for the year.  On January 30, 1963, he finished fourth at 2-1 odds in the seven-furlong Palm Beach Handicap at Hialeah.  The following May (off a six-month freshening), he ran eighth at 17-10 to kick off his season in the seven-furlong Los Angeles Handicap.  In 1965, following a similar six-month break, he ran third at 1-2 odds in an allowance race at six furlongs.  Did his connections intend to win those races?  I'm sure they thought his class could overcome the rust, but the main goal was to get him ready for something else.
As for how this affects the player, well, one could analyze trainer patterns to see if the barn has their better horses cranked off the layoff.  Or, they could go by the old stand-by, that "if it looks like a skunk, and smells like a skunk, then it's a skunk."
Why does the rule exist if it isn't going to be enforced?  A jockey, if he's set down for "not persevering," may say that the horse wasn't ready to run.  That might spark an investigation on whether a trainer sent out a sound horse that was in the correct physical condition to compete, if not outright win.

***

Dan,
Was thinking about the La Canada and have questions about my thinking , answered at your convenience, if you so choose.
Meathead caught him in the exacta, but very few Formbloggers picked up on Little Mike in our conversations about this race. We have a talented group here lead by, and including yourself.
I don't think Mike Beer even picked up on this one, not totally sure but; WHY?
The final times for the La Canada were blistering. IMO, a speed did not develop in this race
at least in the way we usually think of them. IMO, front runners can and many times will win a 1 mile grass race. Closers and stalkers don't necessarily have an advantage in a 1 mile grass race, but handicappers in general are always looking for the stalker or closer to run down the speed in a 1 mile grass race to the detriment of the handicapper.
What I was thinking is, potential speed duals developing in a grass race are less likely than in dirt races. And, as a rule, handicappers overemphasize potential speed duals developing in grass races in general at a mile or more.
Was wondering what you think about the La Canada in genera,l and if you think my thoughts on
speed in a 1 mile grass races have any merit.
Thanks, Dan

Why didn't I like Little Mike in the Canadian Turf?  Bad handicapping compounded by bad pace analysis.  I, like many other handicappers, felt that there were other early speed horses that could compromise Little Mike.  I really thought that stretchout sprinter China would be a pace factor (really, how else could he win on paper?), but he didn't show anything and Little Mike grabbed the front, and free-wheeled through quick fractions. 
It may be a valid point that speed duels occur less frequently in turf routes as jockeys are intent on saving something for the all-important last quarter-mile.  Still, I would handicap each race on a case-by-case basis.

***

LDS
I asked in a earlier post about a horse called Rots a Ruck and I guess you did not see it. if you have any PPs of this horse who ran in the late 70s to the 80s would you please post them for me. thanks dan does any one else remember this horse? good luck all MH01

The past performances for Rotsa Ruck are available at the bottom of this blog post.  I'm not sure if it's the one you're looking for.

***

Hey Dan,
*Who is the best older horse in the east for this year and who do you think we should keep and eye on coming off their 3 yo season?
Did you get to see Christmas for Liam's race at Gulfstream on Sunday and what did you think of his performance? What was his beyer figure?
*Hi Dan,
I hope you had a profitable weekend, do you have any statistics on the type of pace that is most advantageous to run on turf 2 turn routes depending on the temp rail placement? For example if the rail at say 24 ft favors speed, does the rail at further out distances magnify that advantage and do you feel that the rail has any effect on sprints? Also when you put your money down who are your top 5 jockeys on the lawn?
Thanks as always,
Don

It's such a wide-open and weak division on the East Coast that anyone can be the leader.  In alphabetical order, I would consider Fly Down, Giant Oak, Haynesfield, Morning Line, Rule, and Successful Dan.  I guess I Want Revenge, Apart, Tackleberry, Demarcation, and Mission Impazible could be on the radar as well.  They still need to sort themselves out. 
My sleeper is Winslow Homer.  I know that he's coming off a major injury, but he's working at Oaklawn Park and has talent.
Christmas for Liam earned a 95 Beyer for his win on Sunday, and I liked his race.  Off the layoff, he took a good bump at the start, and tracked the pace along the rail over a dirt strip that favored early speed.  John Velazquez was aggressive with Christmas for Liam on the backstretch, splitting horses to battle for the lead, and he took over at will on the turn.  He's not the prettiest mover in the world as he paddles badly with his left foreleg, but there's potential if he stays sound.

I'm not a big analyst of jockeys so I'm probably the worst person in the world to give an opinion on my favorite grass riders.  If I like the horse, I bet the horse.
There is a TEMPORARY RAIL SETTING option in the Formulator past performances where you can review results.  Also, you can go back through the charts to review running styles of turf races with the rails at x amount of feet out.  Again, I don't pay too much attention to the rail settings unless I've seen evidence of a strong bias.

***

The CHART from the San Vicente "The Factor" win looks impressive. BUT, the TIME shown on the
video is way more. Is the chart wrong about the splits and final time??
Paul

Paul , they had a clock malfunction that day I believe. The chart is right.
bsb

***

Dan,
After spending about an hour trying to find something suitable, I think that I want to use Thursday Race 5 at Santa Anita. The way the weather has been in "Sunny" CA, I may regret picking a grass race, but let's give it a shot.
Thanks again for the prize.
Yogi

Congrats to Yogi for finishing first in last week's HandiGambling exercise.  Yogi picks the fifth race at Santa Anita for this week's contest.

PAST PERFORMANCES ARE AVAILABLE AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS BLOG POSTING

Remember that you have a mythical $100 with which to wager on the race, and the entrant with the highest money total will receive a "Monthly Enhanced 60-Card Past Performance Plan." Anyone going over the $100 limit will be disqualified. Please post your plays and analysis to the blog. In the event of a tie, the earliest post gets first preference. One entry per person please. I reserve the right to approve or deny any entries.

I know that there is a time issue for some of you, but 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. I'm 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.


Some thoughts on the HandiGambling.  While I understand that the prize has, perhaps, changed the way some commenters approach the exercise, I have gone back through the last few posts, and see that the majority of the HandiGambling entrants give concise, reasonable analyses for their selections.  Some may merely post numbers, but there have been several excellent ideas brought forth by the players, and we could all learn something from a different point of view.  My current goal for the HandiGambling exercise is four-fold.

1.  The original goal of HandiGambling (to share ideas on handicapping a particular race, and how we're betting that race).
2.  To attract new players to the sport by giving them an opportunity to analyze free past performances, and try their hand at constructing wagers.
3.  To thank all of you for your commitment to FormBlog by offering a prize that may benefit a member of our loyal community.
4.  The most important goal of all.  To HAVE FUN!  We all work hard, and have problems and stresses.  We also love horse racing.  Let's enjoy the weekly challenge of solving the HandiGambling puzzle.  Let's all be public handicappers for a day. 
Let's all rejoice that we are some of the fortunate few that realize this game is the best in the world. 

Best of luck to all.

AttachmentSize
Canadian champs.pdf58.43 KB
Marc5.pdf101.81 KB
Rotsa Ruck.pdf42.81 KB
HG223.pdf191.71 KB
Sunrise Smarty.pdf615.26 KB