09/30/2008 6:06PM

HandiGambling 103 review; 104 Preview; some questions


...I looked at Commentator's pp's and they certainly are impressive, however I don't see an obvious indication that he can get the mile and a quarter of the B.C. Classic.  But what makes me idiotic is please could somebody tell me what those two numbers are that come after the odds and are separated by a hyphen? Pretty please?...

From the past performance tutorial on drf.com:

Speed Rating, Track Variant: 78-18. The first number is the speed rating, a comparison of this horse's time with the best time at the distance at that track in the last three years, which is represented by the par value of 100. For each 1/5th of second slower than the best time, one point is deducted. Hence, if the best time is 1:10 and the horse in question had run the race in 1:10 and 4/5ths, the speed rating would be 96. The second figure (18) is the track variant, which shows how many points below par the times for all races at the distance on the same surface were that day. The lower the track variant, the faster the track, or the better the overall quality of competition was for that day. Note: The track variant process is one of the most sophisticated, complicated elements of a past performance. But as a simple tool, it can help the user to analyze whether an incredibly fast final time or fraction is really as impressive as it seems.



...The 1986 Breeder's Cup Classic is also a reminder to us this year that there are more than 1 or 2 horses in this year's ProRide version.
Turkoman and Precisionist were very nice horses, but that is why they ran the race...

Another interesting tidbit about the 1986 BC Classic from Joe Hirsch's "1987 Racing in Review" column:

"The third Breeders' Cup Day also set championship seals for several other divisions but the 3-year-olds were missing from the scene and many of their owners regretted their absence.  There is no dedicated Breeders' Cup event for 3-year-olds, but in the past they have had a good deal to say about the outcome of the Breeders' Cup Classic, competing against their elders.  Gate Dancer, for example, was one of the three horses who so bitterly contested the finish of the first Classic at Hollywood Park in 1984 and a 3-year-old, Proud Truth, captured the second classic at Aqueduct in 1985."

"Ferdinand, the Kentucky Derby winner, was freshening for his 4-year-old season.  Snow Chief, the Preakness winner, chipped his right knee during the summer, underwent arthroscopic surgery, and was recuperating.  Danzig Connection, the Belmont winner, also chipped his right knee while finishing third in The Jockey Club Gold Cup and would soon be sold and retired.  Broad Brush, the Kentucky Derby and Preakness third who won the Ohio Derby and Pennsylvania Derby, concluded '86 with a victory in the Meadowlands Cup, two weeks prior to the Breeders' Cup.
The other leading 3-year-olds were also among the missing.  Ogygian, the brilliant colt who won the Dwyer and the Jerome Mile, was injured and recuperating; Wise Times, hero of the Haskell Invitational, the Travers and the Super Derby, was freshening after a moderate showing in The Jockey Club Gold Cup; Badger Land, runner-up in the Florida Derby and winner of the Flamingo, hadn't started since the Preakness; Rampage, the Arkansas Derby winner, was finished by midsummer, and Bachelor Beau, the Blue Grass winner, lost his form during the summer and was on holiday."

That Classic really would have been super if some of those horses weren't knocked out of action.  Hopefully, we won't have any late defections this year.


Does this seem like a good year to run Zenyatta in the Classic?  Is that possible?

Do they dare run Zenyatta vs. the boys?

I'm guessing that Zenyatta's connections are going to go the traditional route, and stick with the Ladies Classic.  If she goes there, she'll likely go off as a strong favorite to keep her unbeaten record intact.  The Classic is a much tougher race, obviously, and she'll have to deal with a big field of proven males.   I think Slew put it best when he wrote "In the Classic, she'd also be facing a FULL FIELD of runners, and that means traffic, in and amongst the boys (men)."
Given her running style, she'd have to weave her way through and/or around 13 other rivals in the Classic.  The Ladies' Classic may have less horseflesh to navigate around, will be a softer spot, and may throw up an easier all-around pace and trip scenario.


Steve T,
You are so right. Would be hard for anyone to argue that the two best horses in the world right now happen to be fillys. What a coincidence that both have names starting with Z.....Zarkava and Zenyatta. the real scary part for their competition is I don't feel anyone has witnessed their best!

In keeping with the 'Z' theme, look out for Zacinto, a two-year-old colt by Dansili trained by Sir Michael Stoute for Juddmonte Farms.  He won his debut by eight lengths at Sandown on the Fourth of July, then finished second in the Group 2 Champagne Stakes on September 13.  He is reportedly being pointed for the Racing Post Trophy on October 25, and if he runs well there, he'll likely be considered one of the winter favorites for the English 2,000 Guineas.


Does anyone know if there is an aerial view of the track as it now exists?...
With the Breeder's Cup only a month away, I think Tyler Baze makes a stupid decision here, not a forward-looking decision, but a spontaneous decision (based on some high level of testosterone, no doubt) to let the reigns free as Cost Of Freedom explodes into the clubhouse turn, well AFTER the race. Stupid ....T!
Call me a stickler, but I want a horse safely wrapped up after a winning effort unless there is some reason not to (and there can be), because I've seen plenty of horses done in by careless gallop-outs by their next - lower odds - effort.


You may want to try Google Earth for aerial views of the track.  I believe that's one of the tools Randy Moss used in calculating run-up times for his pace figures.
I disagree about the gallop out as Cost of Freedom seemed to do it on his own, and he really looked good heading into the clubhouse turn.  With gallop outs, I think it's necessary for a horse to cool down properly after a taxing race, and Cost of Freedom didn't show a lot of fatigue for a horse that had just run a career-best effort.    I'd have been more concerned if Street Boss blew right by him in the half a furlong after the race, but Cost of Freedom just galloped away from Street Boss, and looked fresh as a daisy.  Anyway, trip handicapping is beautiful because it's so subjective.  We saw the same thing, and analyzed it in completely different ways.  Who's right?  Perhaps we'll find out in the BC.  Thanks for sharing some interesting thoughts!


hey bloggers. just wanted to see if anyone else was wondering, yet again, about the ride on In Summation sat. in the Ancient Title? i feel like every time he races, he is always pinned down on the inside, with nowhere to go, and he looks like a bet-back every time, but never delivers. I think i am done with him.

I don't think you can ever count In Summation out over a synthetic surface.  His career has been resurrected by the artificial stuff, and he always seems to give an honest effort.  In the Ancient Title, he was bottled up behind horses at the top of the stretch, and had to squeeze his way in between opponents soon after.  It looked like he was coming with a good run, but it seemed that he hopped onto his wrong lead and hit the wall at the eighth pole.  When he switched back to his right lead, he started running again.  I'm not going to play him if he runs in the Breeders' Cup.


Dan, what do you think of the race Fatal Bullet ran at Turfway on Saturday and also Bear Now, do either have a chance at the Breeders?  i thought they looked great-----Joe

Fatal Bullet is pretty quick, isn't he.  He set the track record at Turfway in gate-to-wire fashion after hopping at the start, and losing about a half-length right off the bat.  He was a bit late to change leads in the stretch, but turned the race into a procession.  The Breeders' Cup is going to be a tougher challenge, though, and I'll probably look for someone else in that spot.

Bear Now did everything right for the first six furlongs of her race, but I didn't like the way she came home.  She didn't change to her right lead until the eighth pole, seemed to drift out in the stretch, and I didn't like the way she galloped out after the race.  I think the Breeders' Cup will be a tall order if the big guns show up.


Does anyone know the story with Magnificence?  I saw that she finished third in a race over the weekend.  I thought she was just stellar last year and into the spring.  What do people think of her now?

I believe that the multiple injuries she's sustained throughout her career have taken their toll on the once-promising Magnificience.  It's a shame because her first few races were visually impressive, and hinted at great ability.

Back with HandiGambling 104 analysis and some more thoughts tomorrow.

Take care,