08/08/2008 6:03PM

Million, some questions


I have a question for the other handicappers (including Dan):
At what point do you no longer consider a class drop? For example you have a runner in a $32K maiden claimer whose last run was in a $53K MSW. If they fail to hit the board in their first run on a drop, do you consider the drop significant in their next run?

Not unless the horse had a legitimate excuse that prevented him from performing at his best (trouble, track condition, bias, etc).  If a horse drops, does nothing, and is entered back at the same level for his next start, I don't even factor that he was in a tougher spot two back. 

My next class drop question is at what point do you consider a drop as significant? For instance do you consider a drop from $12.5K to $10K a factor? Or should the spread be wider, like from a $32K maiden claimer down to a $25K?

I view most class drops with absolute suspicion unless the horse is conditioned by a trainer that knows how to play the "claiming game," and is a whiz at placing horses where they can win.  For me, the only exception is in maiden races.  Here, any class drop is extremely powerful and potent.  It doesn't matter to me if it's from a maiden special weight to a maiden claimer, or from a $16 MCL to a $12.5K.  The levels of competition drop off significantly with each level of maiden claimer. 

Last question. At what point do you become suspicious of the drop? For example a horse was running well in open company allowances, is on a layoff for three months and now is back in a $25K claimer? I could see a $40K claimer at the low end. At what point does it become a "bridge too far"?
Steve T

I'm suspicious of all drops.  No one is giving anything away in this game.  Again, if the trainer has shown a great deal of success with his dropdowns, I may give the runner a mulligan.


...With regards to my earlier post, the evidence which I have has been available to anyone close to New York racing during the 1990's. It is circumstantial, yet completely damning.
There were three trainers during the early-mid '90's who, to put it kindly, had achieved only modest success up until that point. Then, suddenly, they began to ascend the standings and started to win at a startling rate. They enjoyed a golden period, winning plenty of races, including some important ones with good horses.
They also had another thing in common: they all employed the same veterinarian.
The trainers I'm referring to are Gary Sciacca, James Bond, and Leo O'Brien. Their golden period continued until Dr. Galvin was caught milkshaking one of Sciacca's horses. This was well reported, but because of of the ineptitude of the NYRA investigators (and lawyers, perhaps), the case was blown, and, of all things, Galvin won a lawsuit, and NYRA had to both pay him off and allow him back onto the grounds!...

Here's some information from the Galvin case:










I was wondering what the historical Beyer par is for the Secretariat Stakes?

According to the 2008 American Racing Manual, the Beyer par for the Secretariat (1991-2007, race not run in 1998-99) is 103.80.


If you have any stats through formulator or whatever, on 1st time Levine acquisitions I would be interested to know (and ROI).
Steve V

Here's what I found from Formulator 4.1:

Bruce Levine
(first time after trainer switch - includes off claim - past five years) - 61-209 (29%, $2.43 ROI)
(past year) - 13-37 (35%, $3.99 ROI)


Can anyone tell me whether the evolution of Indian Blessing into a relaxed stalking specialists was by design or did she just finally figure it out. She seemed like the need the lead type and after Proud Spell got to her early in the year, I thought Baffert said she was a free runner and they were going to just let her go. She is on the verge of being something else, now how far can she go?

I think it's a combination of both.  Baffert has always wanted to get her to rate, and he's done a wonderful job in getting her to do so (not an easy task to be sure), but I also think Indian Blessing woke up one morning, the "light came on," and she realized what she had to do.  We know she can go 1 1/16 miles, and that's probably her limit, but she's so good sprinting right now that I would keep her going short.


Dan what ever happened to Vaudeville, one of my earliest handicapping successes in the Sec?  Did he ever produce any quality horses?
jim tully

Here are Vaudeville's lifetime past performances:

Download vaudeville.pdf

Vaudeville entered stud in 1998, and passed away in 2007.  His best performers include V'ville Lady (stakes-placed at Turf Paradise, earned $151,362), Night Dash (multiple stakes-placed at Turf Paradise, earned $67,641), Mr. Playwright (stakes-placed at Turf Paradise, earned $67,318), and Night Gig (multiple stakes-placed at Turf Paradise, earned $57,713.  Currently, he has 87 starters, 45 winners, and 0 stakes winners.


How do racing post ratings equate to beyer numbers? I know the rough estimate with timeform numbers was to subtract 12-13. Info would be useful in getting a jump on the Arlington card.

In theory, they don't equate at all.  RPR's, like Timeform Ratings, are an all-inclusive number that uses speed, class of race, pace, etc.  Beyers are all about final time and variant.  If you absolutely must attempt a conversion, perhaps a 10 point subtraction would be effective, but there really isn't anything scientific about that number (just happens to be what I look at).


Great job with picks and analysis over the last week.  I appreciate it.

Take care,