08/28/2009 4:14PM

Fun with numbers


    A couple of races on Saratoga's Travers Day card are tailor-made for pace handicapping.  Unfortunately, one of them isn't the Travers Stakes itself, where much of the pace scenario will depend on a cat-and-mouse game of jockey intent. 

    The Ballerina Stakes, for example, is a relatively paceless race in which Indian Blessing should control the running if she hasn't regressed significantly in form.  When Bob Baffert decided to focus on sprints midway through her 2008 campaign, Indian Blessing ripped through victories in the Prioress, Test and Gallant Bloom in which she recorded half-mile Moss Pace Figures of 99, 95 and 97, respectively.  Although Informed Decision is going for her sixth win a row, her last two half-mile pacefigs on dirt were 92s.  If those numbers hold, Indian Blessing would hold a five- to six-length advantage over Informed Decision with three furlongs to run.  To paraphrase Damon Runyan, that might not be insurmountable, but it's the way to bet.

    And remember our turnback conversations?  See Big Drama in the King's Bishop.  In his runoff escapade in the West Virginia Derby, Big Drama reeled off a six-furlong pace figure of 97.  That matches the best final figure by favorite Munnings, who must also deal with a No. 1 post position that is often a disadvantage at 7 furlongs.  The King's Bishop is a sensational race in which Capt. Candyman Can also rates highly numbers-wise, but the turnback angle has long been one of my pets.

     In the Travers, Quality Road clearly has the pace numbers to outrun the others - even Our Edge - to the front.  But coming off a single 6 1/2 furlong sprint, you'd have to think he'll be ridden more conservatively than that.  And if he is, who knows what will develop early between Our Edge, Quality Road and Kensei. Quality Road could be good enough to win, anyway, but is it really worth even money or 6-5?

Saratoga_Mike More than 1 year ago
Is it possible for you to publish a Moss Pace fig to Beyer Pace fig conversion chart on here for half-time splits? I'm not asking for the pars for each track, which I'm sure you consider highly proprietary. Instead, I just want to be able to convert your four-furlong pars into Beyer half-time equivalents. I typically bet on a track with very few shippers, so I simply use the Beyer four-furlong table contained in "Beyer on Speed" and adjust for the Beyer variant. I understand why you truncated your pars, but I think there are a lot of people accustomed to my simplistic single track approach. I'd gladly buy your Pace Moss figs everyday if you'd provide a conversion table--it will help me with the occasional shipper and speed up the process by taking the variant calculation out of the process. Thanks.
Joe Bartelli More than 1 year ago
Randy, Randy, Randy. I agree with you as far as the Indian Blessing race being paceless and she would have a tactical advantage over Informed Decision but why would you then not like Music Note on the cut back in distance?? Also, Big Drama is cutting back from a 2 turn 1 1/8th race. If he was cutting back from a mile race I would like him more but with Capt. Candyman a confirmed 7f specialist Big Drama was up against it. Nice call on the Travers. Although I had Charitable man on top I still managed to hit the tri with a 1-4-6 tri box as a saver. Quality Road will be very dangerous next time out. Thanks for you time looking forward to meeting you at the Breeders Cup!! Joe Bartelli
Monty Fisher More than 1 year ago
Geez Randy you did'nt even mention the very underated Summer Bird. He is the real deal, so watch out ! He gets better with every race, before this year's over, the "Bird" is the " word" ! The real question is, which one ?
Silver Charm More than 1 year ago
Randy when Kent D. brought Summer Bird by the set after the Travers for a moment did you think he was Mr. Ed?
peewee More than 1 year ago
How did Music Note figure in the Ballerina ? I wanted to use her on a class basis, but the rail at 7F without front end speed ? Tough to figure.
RocDoc More than 1 year ago
Randy, Nice thoughts I agree 100%...Love the Candy Man today and Blessing's PP's scare me a little...But as a solid second choice will allow us to spread out on Spa and Travers in P4 combos...Will be playing from CBY Park....Good Luck!! Keith
James More than 1 year ago
lol...ok it is late and I am tired please escuse the knew, when it should be "new", Thanks
James More than 1 year ago
Dear Randy, I am completely knew to adding pace figures into my handicaping formula for looking at an outcome of a race. Please give those of us who are new to this a reading list so we can make use of your figures. Thanks
Ron Cohen More than 1 year ago
Randy I noticed on one of your programs you showed the results and the actual distance of each runner. I thought this information would be useful in handicapping future races. Is this information available to the general public? If so, how does one obtain this data. Thanks!
Ron Cohen More than 1 year ago
Randy Who do you think are the five best race horses of all time?
Ron Cohen More than 1 year ago
Randy I would still like to see some type of contest in which the grand prize is the opportunity to spend a day with you at the races as your guest. Thanks!
Jim More than 1 year ago
Hi Randy, I thought the pace figs pointed out Music Note as a turnback so thanks for the figs. The quick cut camara work during a race on ESPN is not good. It seems over produced. Keep it simple just show the race, save the other camera angles for post race. Just my opinion, I will watch the OTB replay so I don't have to take dramamine to watch the Travers. Love the coverage, hate the way ESPN shows the race.
Al Placido More than 1 year ago
Re: The 3yr best time chart. I think the ave time at the distance would also be desired by us old salts. Please advise. PS What ever become of Tom Ainsley I use to be a record promotion man many moons ago. I certainly was jealous of your distributor in Detroit they made a fortune. Do you still have the bug?
Nick Briglia More than 1 year ago
Very few horses, if any, are really worth betting at 6-5 or less. Plus you have to factor in adverse weather. Big races are very often better watched than bet. The Travers might be one of them... I share your love for cutback horses.(especially if you have decent pace numbers) They are consistently underbet and often win...