05/22/2013 1:53PM

Preakness Questions, Top Beyers, Workouts

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Let's look at some of your questions regarding last week's Preakness.

Dan,
As we all know your article for the blog for this week will be about Oxbow. Good to see Gary Stevens get a TC race win from coming off retirement. However, I have a few questions that hopefully you can answer or offer some insight on your thoughts.
1) On Paper Orb was the horse to beat. Do you feel that Social Media played a huge role painting Orb as a cinch for this race basically leaving us to just pick the horses behind Orb??
2) Do you think there was too much hype on the pace of this race? Seemed like everyone was screaming that TT5, Goldencents, LuckyDay, Gov. Charlie would dictate that pace, but it was only Oxbow.
3) Follow up to Question 2: Do you think the inexperience with some of the jocks may have compromised the performances of their mounts?
Thanks Dan!
Rick

Rick,
Saw your question to Dan about "too much hype on the pace of the race". I wonder if I can add a secondary question, possibly controversial, but genuine.
Do you / Dan / anyone else ever wonder whether US handicappers waste too much of their lives thinking about the pace in the race? As long as you correctly identify the horse that is going to run fastest between the Start and the Finish (ignoring all points in between), the time of the run (and the early, mid race or late fractions) are completely irrelevant.
The only essential is to be in front at the Winning Post. There is no extra prize money (or betting rewards) for leading all the way. Nor for coming from off the pace. One purse, one starting price.
Just think how much of your lives you could reclaim by not worrying about the likely pace scenario?
Best Regards - Bernard Downes


Rick,
Your first question is fascinating.  It is quite possible that the avalanche of tweets proclaiming ORB as the next Triple Crown winner affected the tote, but I'm not sure what role that played in the horse being bet off the board.  With GOLDEN SOUL, NORMANDY INVASION and REVOLUTIONARY skipping the race, it left the media, and many racing fans, to talk about ORB and, to a much lesser extent, the Derby also-rans.  The new shooters weren't particularly glamourous with DEPARTING having been beaten by Golden Soul and Revolutionary at Fair Grounds, and GOVENOR CHARLIE an inexperienced runner that hadn't competed since the Sunland Derby.  Plus, Orb's Derby win was very good for popular connections, albeit with the aid of a pace collapse over a sloppy track.  Although OXBOW certainly ran well in the Derby, there were questions that he, and horses like GOLDENCENTS, MYLUTE and WILL TAKE CHARGE, had to answer on the track. 
The Kentucky Derby hero is usually going to be bet hard in the Preakness.  In this year's running, though, Orb was not only the horse to beat, but really the only "story" that the mainstream media could digest.  Newbies are fascinated by the Triple Crown chase.  So are hardcore fans, although they may have devoured the Shug/Phipps "tradition" angle with the same fervor.

I'll address both Rick and Bernard with Rick's second question.  I don't think pace analysis is ever overhyped.  In Europe, early pace is, perhaps, a less important handicapping factor than in the United States.  Here, however, pace analysis is an extremely powerful tool.  To me, figuring out how the race is going to be run is just as important as determining the fastest/best horse.  Many of us were wrong in thinking the Derby pace would be slow/moderate and the Preakness pace would be swift.  Bad handicapping, I guess.  Oxbow fans took heart in his Derby performance.  Heck, he could have been beaten like fellow pace-presser Goldencents.  Instead, he was in the thick of things turning for home and wasn't disgraced with his finish. Pace analysts liked his chances at Pimlico if they thought the fractions would be slower.  They were right.   Orb, and the rest of the closers, benefited from a quick Derby pace and many folks thought a similar scenario would occur in Baltimore.  It didn't, and Orb had to work harder to rally into more moderate fractions. 
The "best" horse, on paper, may be a one-way speed horse.  If there are other early types in the race, that horse will have to work harder than if he was the lone speed.  Conversely, a top-flight closer could be beaten by an inferior speed horse if he didn't get the flow of the race to his liking.  Don't underestimate the value of pace handicapping.

Rick, correct me if I'm wrong, but I think your third question refers to Kevin Krigger's ride on Goldencents. You have to give Doug O'Neill credit for being a loyal guy, though.  After the race, he told track publicity that "I thought Kevin (Krigger) had him in a great spot and when the winner kicked there, we just couldn't keep up with him. I'm very proud of Kevin and the horse." Considering Goldencents' preference for being on the lead and his inside post position, it was shocking that Krigger didn't make the pace.  Maybe he was afraid that Oxbow was going to pull a Palace Malice but he conceded the lead, and some soft splits, to Gary Stevens.  Goldencents probably wouldn't have won the Preakness if he controlled the issue from the get-go anyway, but he might have stood a better chance.

***

*STAKES HORSES ON THE WORKTAB:

May 19:
JACKSON BEND (back swelling, soreness, possible concussion, returned from stud):  Calder - 5 Furlongs - 1:00.60 b
RILEY RIPASSO (undisclosed):  Woodbine (training) - 3 Furlongs - 37.20 b
RYDILLUC (bruised foot):  Belmont - 1 Mile (Turf, Dogs) - 1:42.09 b
TIZ A MINISTER (bruised foot):  Betfair Hollywood - 5 Furlongs - 1:01.20 h

May 20:
BIG BAND SOUND (undisclosed):  Woodbine - 5 Furlongs - 59.00 b
SOUTH FLOYD (scratched during warmup of BC Juvenile Sprint - lame left fore according to BC vets):  Santa Anita - 3 furlongs - 37.00 h
VALID (infected quarter right front foot):  Greentree - 3 Furlongs - 38.20 b
WAVE THEORY (suffered cuts when unseating rider in Edgewood at Churchill on 5/3):  Belmont - 5 Furlongs (turf) - 1:01.76 b

May 21:
CALIDOSCOPIO (sore foot):  Santa Anita - 7 Furlongs - 1:30.80 h
ENDORSEMENT (aggravated old problem):  Keeneland - 5 Furlongs - 1:00.80 h

May 22:
EXECUTIVEPRIVILEGE (quarter cracks):  Betfair Hollywood - 4 Furlongs - 48.80 h
FURY KAPCORI (knee surgery):  Golden Gate - 3 Furlongs - 36.20 h
MY HAPPY FACE (virus):  Belmont (training) - 4 Furlongs - 49.68 b (now with trainer Chad Brown)

Plus, Zenyatta's unbeaten half-sister, EBLOUISSANTE (foot abscess), breezed a half-mile in 49.17 over the Belmont training track.

***

Here are the top 25 WINNING Beyer Speed Figures (5/13/13 - 5/19/13):

1. GENTLEMEN'S BET - 107 - OC 80k/N3X -N - 6 Furlongs - Churchill
2. OXBOW - 106 - Preakness Stakes (G1) - 1 3/16 Miles - Pimlico
3. SAGE VALLEY - 105 - Maryland Sprint Handicap (G3) - 6 Furlongs - Pimlico
4. MY STAR RUNNER - 104 - Clm c-(25-20) - 6 Furlongs - Prairie Meadows
5. ZEE BROS - 103 - Chick Lang Stakes - 6 Furlongs - Pimlico
6. LUCY'S BOB BOY - 102 - Alw 32000NC - 7 Furlongs - Charles Town
7. LAST GUNFIGHTER - 100 - Pimlico Special Stakes (G3) - 1 3/16 Miles - Pimlico
8. SAINT AGGIE - 98 - OC 25k/N2X - 6 Furlongs - Calder
9. CLOSE IT OUT - 97 - Champali Stakes - 6 Furlongs - Calder
10. SKYRING - 96 - Dixie Stakes (G2) - 1 1/8 Miles (Turf) - Pimlico
11. BOURBON COUNTY - 95 - Md Sp Wt 30k - 5 1/2 Furlongs - Canterbury
12. SWEET SWAP - 94 - Alw 67086C - 6 Furlongs (Turf) - Betfair Hollywood
12. TEAKS NORTH - 94 - Good Reward Stakes - 1 1/4 Miles (Turf) - Belmont
12. TIGHTEND TOUCHDOWN - 94 - OC25k/SAL20k - 6 Furlongs (Turf) - Belmont
12. ZA APPROVAL - 94 - Red Bank Stakes (G3) - 1 Mile (Turf) - Monmouth
16. BEN'S CAT - 93 - Turf Sprint Stakes - 5 Furlongs (Turf) - Pimlico
16. MAJESTIC NUMBER - 93 - OC25k/SAL25k - 6 Furlongs - Belmont
16. NO DISTINCTION - 93 - Alw 43147N1X - 6 1/2 Furlongs - Churchill
16. STAR CHANNEL - 93 - OC 62k/N2X - 1 1/4 Mile (Turf) - Belmont
20. AUSSI AUSTIN - 92 - OC 25k/N2X -N - 1 1/16 Miles - Pimlico
20. BATTI MAN (Arg.) - 92 - OC 62k/N2X -N - 1 1/16 Miles (Cushion Track) - Betfair Hollywood
20. CHEROKEE LORD - 92 - OC 100k/N4X -N - 1 Mile (Turf) - Arlington
20. DANCE TO BRISTOL - 92 - Skipat Stakes - 6 Furlongs - Pimlico
20. EVENING SHOW - 92 - Md Sp Wt 35k - 6 Furlongs - Penn National
20. FIFTYSHADESOFHAY - 92 - Black-Eyed Susan (G2) - 1 1/8 Miles - Pimlico
20. LET'S GET MARRIED - 92 - Alw 37030N3L - 6 Furlongs (Tapeta) - Presque Isle
20. MARSH DAWG - 92 - Clm 10000(10-8)B - 6 Furlongs - Finger Lakes
20. NIGHT OFFICER - 92 - Around the Cape Stakes - 6 Furlongs (Turf) - Belmont
20. PIANIST - 92 - Gallorette Handicap (G3) - 1 1/16 Miles (Turf) - Pimlico
20. SILVER SUMMATION - 92 - OC 62k/N2X - 5 Furlongs - Churchill

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

*My Star Runner was claimed for $25,000 by trainer Chris Hartman from Chris Richard.

***

Dan-Got another question for you-with an Arlington horse first and third on the Beyer's list, would you be concerned that the Beyers from that week (or at least on those 2 days) may have been higher than they should be?
Stephen Taylor

I'm inclined to believe them.  Those polytrack sprints were won by solid, solid horses in very fast time.  Also, that week didn't feature the usual 100+ Beyers we're used to seeing from quality graded fields in graded stakes.

***

You can follow me on Twitter @DRF_DanIllman

***

Congrats to Bornstar75 for finishing first in last week's HandiGambling exercise.

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

Let's go with Friday's fifth race at Betfair Hollywood for this week's event.

PAST PERFORMANCES ARE AVAILABLE AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS BLOG POST.

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.

PLEASE GIVE YOUR NAME OR BLOG MONIKER AT THE END OF THE HG PLAY AND/OR ANALYSIS.
 
Please separate the play from the analysis and label the play "HG" with the program numbers (instead of the horse's name) for easier scoring.
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.

***FROM SCOREKEEPER PENN NATIONAL RICK***

I read some entries on here and there are some people who put their heart out on their picks(such as DavidM9999) and give you great analysis on who they like and why and then there are others who elect not to give any reasoning behind their entries. The rule I will implement EFFECTIVE 3/1/13 will be... any entry without ANY analysis will be ignored. We are not asking you to put out a novel, but again a sentence or two. Also, I will put communication out when Dan puts out new blogs.
My intent is not to be jerk on this, but what's fair is fair. I'm not taking away from this week or past winners regarding all of this, but we do need to make the change.
If you have any questions/concerns...please send an email to FORMBLOG@DRF.COM and it will get forwarded to me.
Thank You!
Rick

REMEMBER, IF YOU ARE DECLARED THE WINNER OF THE HANDIGAMBLING EXERCISE; PLEASE CONTACT FORMBLOG@DRF.COM WITH YOUR DRF LOGIN AND PASSWORD IN ORDER TO ACCESS YOUR PRIZE PACKAGE.

ALSO, IF THE WINNER WOULD LIKE TO SELECT THE FOLLOWING WEEK'S RACE, PLEASE CONTACT FORMBLOG@DRF.COM NO LATE THAN THE FOLLOWING WEDNESDAY MORNING (A FRIDAY RACE IS MOST IDEAL).

Best of luck to all.

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GENTLEMEN'S BET.pdf654.91 KB
Copy of Formblog Preakness 5-18-13.xls66.5 KB
HGBHP.pdf166.41 KB