11/10/2010 8:33PM

Top Female Beyers, Gallop-outs, Handicapping Euros, etc.

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Let's get to some of your questions:

*acording to looking at luckys PP's I noticed that his distance line shows 2 starts with 1 win at 1 1/4 miles. His past performance lines shows 1 start {derby} with no wins at the distance. typo error?
*curt v & sherrif dan: take a look at fly downs distance line.it shows 2 races at the so called over the mile & 1/8 distance. the last time i looked the jockey gold cup,the travers & the belmont are all runlonger that 1&1/8 miles. typo?
gordon perlee

The "Distance" box in the DRF for 1 1/4 miles will include 1 3/16-mile (such as Lookin At Lucky's Preakness) and 1 1/4 mile races, but not races at 12 furlongs.

Fly Down's stat line for 1 1/4-miles was correct.  The Belmont Stakes, at 1 1/2 miles, would fall under a different category.

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I was just wondering if anyone knew if there was a detailed clocker report for BC horses training at keeneland. I am very interested in Harlan's Ruby, who has fired 2 bullet works since the Alcibaides at Keeneland. Thanks in advance
mr velvet

For future reference, you can access the "Keeneland Clocker Report" on the track website at www.keeneland.com

For October 23, the report remarked that Harlan's Ruby and stablemate Rogue Romance worked together, "both finished with plenty of horse and galloped out 1:10/4."

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Dan, I am having trouble capping races when there are Euros in the race. I do not know how
to cap a race with one call. I do not know the other horses the horse ran against. I don't know
the quality of the race, every race is a stake. I know you are a great handicapper. Any suggestions?
Henry B

Hi Henry,

Thanks for the kind words.  I believe you're the only one that believes it, however.  This evening, one of the suits introduced himself to me...and then asked what I do here.  I wanted to tell him I fix lightbulbs. Instead, I was simply stupefied.

You're not alone so don't despair.  We're used to handicapping off "full" past performances (running lines, fractions, etc.) and it can get confusing when we have to compare "our" runners with the Europeans. 

My advice would be to read some of the foreign racing sites. 

I'm a big fan of the following:

www.racingpost.co.uk
www.attheraces.com

There are some excellent news stories that can help you assess the abilities of the invaders.  Also, with a free login, you can access some race videos to give you a better feeling of how these horses "stack up."

From a class standpoint, the breakdown is similar to ours:

Group 1
Group 2
Group 3
Listed
Allowance/Handicap
Claiming
Maiden

The races in France, England, and Ireland are generally superior to those in Germany, Italy, and elsewhere in Europe.  Attempting to find a Beyer conversion formula may be akin to comparing apples with oranges, but you can compare RPR's to other RPR's to look for a "superior" European.

I would pick up Alan Shuback's GLOBAL RACING available at drf.com, or some of Shuback's work in the BEST OF THE BEST series for more handicapping tips.

Hope this helps.

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Dan
Is anyone going to be fined or suspended for the Life at Ten fiasco. Do you think there should be punishment, and if so, who should be punished? This horse should not have run and cost bettors millions of dollars. Saturday was a great day of racing, but Friday with Borel's insanity and Life at Ten performance after public statements from both jockey and trainer that she wasn't right, kept this from being racing's greatest weekend. I bet Unbridled Belle so this is not a loser's rant. Your thoughts?
DSully

There won't be a punishment as it pertains to fines or suspensions, but the racing game has to take a good, hard look at itself.  If we are going to promote the sport as an intelligent alternative to other forms of gaming (slot machines), we have to protect the bettors.  If there is no public confidence that the interests of the bettors are being upheld, then there is no game.  Considering the horrible press our sport received following the breakdowns of Barbaro, Eight Belles, George Washington and others, protecting our equine and human athletes must be of the utmost importance.  We don't have many chances to promote this sport on national television.  Any hint of impropriety must be eradicated. 

Dr. Bramlage's statement on the Life At Ten situation was published as follows:

"Life At Ten, along with all of the other horses that started in the Ladies’ Classic, was observed on the track prior to entering the starting gate by three veterinarians.  The vet team did not observe any physical problems. She was examined again after the race and again no physical problems were observed. A more in-depth examination will be conducted this evening and tomorrow."

Here's Todd Pletcher's comment after the race:

“I told him (jockey John Velazquez) when we left the paddock that I was concerned about the way she saddled. She was abnormally quiet; almost sedated-like. I told him to make sure and warm her up well. Unfortunately, she’s either had some sort of allergic reaction to her Lasix treatment or she’s had some severe cramps, or tied up before she ever went out there.  That’s a tough position for Johnny to be in. He asked the vets to look at her. It’s unfortunate because of all the horses we brought over here today none were doing better than her. At the last minute, something went wrong."

Here's Velazquez' statement following the Ladies' Classic:

"She seemed okay. She felt okay. I don’t know. She didn’t feel like running today. She never put in any effort whatsoever. I tried to warm her up and wake her up, and she just never felt like running."

Life At Ten was found to have spiked a temperature the day after the race.

So, in the case of Life At Ten, who's to blame?  Velazquez, while being shockingly, and refeshingly, forthcoming with his televised comments, needed to inform someone at the gate that his mount wasn't feeling 100%. 
The track vet needed to better study the horses as they paraded in the paddock and during the warmups.  Even if the horse visually checked out fine, the televised comments had to throw up a serious red flag. 
If Pletcher was concerned about the horse in the paddock, he should have notified the veterinarian.  
Yes, there is a great amount of money involved in this.  Still, track vets, and those closest to the animals, must err on the side of caution, not only in the Breeders' Cup, but on an everyday basis.  The safety of the participants and the integrity of the sport must be preserved at all times.

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Dan,
Could you please get the pp's for a couple horses from the Maryland circuit in the 80's: No More Bills and Leehawk. I was only 6 or 7 around the time they ran and am interested to see their records now that i can understand them. Thanks!
Dan

The past performances you requested are available at the bottom of this blog post.  The only Nomorebills I could find was foaled in 2000.

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Dan:
Could you possibly post lifetime past performances for Zenyatta, Blame and Goldikova?
Am interested to see what their best Beyers are, and if/which of them ran their best on Saturday.
Thanks!
- Dan Baedeker

They're at the bottom of this blog posting.

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Dan-A Question
How significant to you is the gallop out of a horse? I'm asking, of course, in reference to Seth Hancock's now constant chattering about how Blame wouldn't let Z pass him "even during the gallop out". I also remember after last year's Santa Anita Derby how Mike Watchmaker fell in love with a horse, and it became his pick for the Kentucky Derby, based on the gallop out. The horse ran poorly. My own uninformed opinion is that it is largely a bunch of phooey, ranking down there with how much of their feed bucket they ate up a few hours later. Is not the gallop out largely a function of how much of the reins a Jock lets out after passing the wire? I'm in over my head here, though, and thus am curious what a professional thinks about all of it. I sure don't think it has any place in the discussion of the outcome of Saturday's race, although perhaps I'm wrong. thank you in advance.
blackstone

Different strokes for different folks.  Some people, myself included, use extreme cases of gallop-outs as handicapping factors.  For example if a winning horse shuts it down immediately after the race, and we see that runner passed by half of the also-rans in less than a half-furlong, well, let's just say I'm not happy to see it.  I do believe that horses, as they need warm-ups before a race, benefit from a gradual "warm-down" period (i.e. the gallop-out) afterwards. 
Conversely, especially in races with young and inexperienced runners, when a horse that finishes fifth with some late interest gallops out strongly after the race, perhaps past everyone else that finished ahead of him, that runner may be worth following down the road. 
In the case of the Breeders' Cup Classic, I'm not sure it told us anything.  I do believe that Blame is above-average in terms of grit and courage.  Possibly, he "refused" to allow Zenyatta by.  It's also possible that Smith shut Zenyatta down earlier than usual.  Plus, I've noticed from previous races that Zenyatta isn't the greatest "gallop-out" horse in the world (she sometimes hesitates at the clubhouse turn and is passed by horses she's just beaten). 
Zenyatta gave a terrific effort in defeat and showed us, once again, her amazing will and athleticism.  As has been stated in this space before, Blame is a blue-collar warrior.  He is professional, capable, talented, and very courageous. 

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Am wondering how the 111 BSF Zenyatta and Blame got stacks up against the top BSFs ever given to female horses routing on the main track. I know she got a 112 last year.
Kyri

Here are some top (winning) historical Beyers for fillies and mares going long on the main track (since 1990):

120 - Mariah's Storm (120 - Turfway Park Breeders' Cup - 1995)

119 - Hidden Lake (Hempstead - 1997)
119 - Inside Information (BC Distaff - 1995)
119 - Sharp Cat (Beldame - 1998)

118 - Mossflower (Hempstead - 1998)

117 - Lakeway (Hollywood Oaks - 1994)

116 - Dream Scheme (Churchill Downs Distaff - 1998)
116 - Heritage of Gold (Fleur de Lis - 2000)
116 - Jade Flush (Allowance - 1994)
116 - Jewel Princess (Vanity - 1996)
116 - Rachel Alexandra (Haskell - 2009)
116 - Surfside (Clark - 2000)

115 - Banshee Breeze (Spinster - 1998)
115 - La Feminn (Alcatraz - 2000)
115 - Riboletta (Ruffian - 2000)
115 - Riboletta (Beldame - 2000)
115 - Sightseek (Go For Wand - 2003)
115 - Silverbulletday (Alabama - 1999)

114 - Banshee Breeze (Apple Blossom - 1999)
114 - Educated Risk (Churchill Downs Budweiser Breeders' Cup - 1994)
114 - Escena (Vanity - 1998)
114 - Exotic Wood (Santa Maria - 1998)
114 - Halo America (Apple Blossom - 1997)
114 - Icon Project (Personal Ensign - 2009)
114 - Jewel Princess (BC Distaff - 1996)
114 - Jewel Princess (Santa Maria - 1997)
114 - Paseana (Apple Blossom - 1992)
114 - Serena's Song (Jim Beam - 1994)
114 - Urbane (Delaware - 1997)

113 - Bayakoa (BC Distaff - 1993)
113 - Beautiful Pleasure (Beldame - 1999)
113 - Beutiful Pleasure (Shuvee - 2000)
113 - Cavada (Allowance - 1996)
113 - Escena (Fleur de Lis - 1998)
113 - Escena (Apple Blossom - 1998)
113 - Serena's Song (Black-Eyed Susan - 1995)
113 - Tough Tiz's Sis (Ruffian - 2008)
113 - Twice the Vice (Milady - 1996)
113 - Zaftig (Acorn - 2008)

112 - Azeri (Apple Blossom - 2004)
112 - Beautiful Pleasure (Personal Ensign - 1999)
112 - Dispute (Spinster - 1994)
112 - Fleet Indian (Sixty Sails - 2006)
112 - Halo America (Molly Pitcher - 1996)
112 - Imperial Gesture (Gazelle - 2002)
112 - Inside Information (Ruffian - 1995)
112 - Race the Wild Wind (Santa Maria - 1993)
112 - Sharp Cat (Ruffian - 1998)
112 - Sightseek (Ruffian - 2004)
112 - Sister Act (Hempstead - 1999)
112 - Sister Act (Oaklawn Breeders' Cup - 1999)
112 - Zenyatta (BC Classic - 2009)

111 - Azeri (BC Distaff - 2002)
111 - Biding Time (Affectionately - 1999)
111 - Carta de Amor (Allowance - 1999)
111 - Heavenly Prize (Beldame - 1994)
111 - Heavenly Prize (Alabama - 1994)
111 - Heavenly Prize (Hempstead - 1995)
111 - Heritage of Gold (Molly Pitcher - 1999)
111 - Inside Information (Shuvee - 1995)
111 - Jessica Is Back (Nancy's Glitter - 2009)
111 - Rachel Alexandra (Mother Goose - 2009)
111 - Riboletta (Vanity - 2000)
111 - Sharp Cat (Lady's Secret - 1997)
111 - Sky Beauty (Shuvee - 1994)
111 - Starrer (Santa Margarita - 2003)
111 - Visible Slew (Allowance - 1998)
111 - Wiggles Law (Allowance - 1992)
111 - Yanks Music (Beldame - 1996)

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Your pieces are always thoughtful and insightful.
A question - given the ordinary time for the Classic, more than two seconds behind at least a dozen other great horses, what is your assessment of both this year's field and Zenyatta's ranking in history?
Obviously, her race was visually astounding but ultimately, in view of the time for the race, not all that impressive.
Still, I wish she had won and there's no doubt in my mind that her performance was superior to Blame's.
jordan

I think her ranking in history is secure.  She's the best female racehorse I've ever seen, and it's quite possible she's the best overall racehorse I've ever seen. 
Obviously, it's very hard to compare horses from different generations.  Zenyatta vs. Ghostzapper. Zenyatta vs. Cigar.  Zenyatta vs. Skip Away.  Zenyatta vs. Tiznow.  Heck, Zenyatta vs. Citation or Secretariat.  Who's better?  It's a veritable pick 'em for many racing fans that observe different measurements for greatness.  Ghostzapper was fast.  Cigar won all of those races in a row against the top competition.  Skip Away and Tiznow were hard-hitters that campaigned at the highest level of the sport for lengthy periods of time.  Citation and Secretariat won the Triple Crown, and "Big Red" may have been the fastest horse of all-time.
Zenyatta may not be the "fastest," certainly not from a Beyer Speed Figure standpoint.  But, she did things that top, top horses just don't do on a consistent basis.  It's unthinkable that another horse will go 19 for 19 while winning the majority, if not all, of the races from dead-last.  Add in her undeniable charisma, and immeasureable "it" factor, and she's a horse for the ages. 

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All I want to know, Dan, is how did Olivia Catherine Duckworth take it when Zenyatta didn't win? Is she ok?
sherpa

Reportedly, she kicked Grandpa in the shins and ran away.  Amazingly enough, an hour earlier and many, many miles away, her uncle kicked a stranger in the shins and ran away after Morning Line was nipped on the wire at the conclusion of the Dirt Mile. 

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HG BC Classic-There seems to be enough speed to set it up for the stalkers and closers- so I'll try to beat Zenyatta for the win
$6 Super 5/6,8,/1,6,8/1,2,6,7,8,12----$96
$1 Super 6/5/12/1,2,7,8---$4
I really think she's the best of these but everyone will have her on top.
theo

Congrats to theo for finishing first in the Breeders' Cup Classic HandiGambling exercise.  He selects Friday's eighth race at Aqueduct as this week's race.

***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. 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.

Best of luck to all.

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Marylanders.pdf69.15 KB
Top racehorses '10.pdf84.81 KB
HG.pdf176.02 KB