02/12/2009 4:29PM

Vineyard Haven, Blog Problems


Also Dan, i noticed that in your initial derby list Pioneerof The Nile was no where to be found. Although he was a G1 winner at the time you came out with the list. I think his last race made believers out of everyone although people still try to find a hole in him while other than his talent he has been the most consistent and continuos 3 yo running in the country. Every other horse got beaten, threw a clunker, or missed time because of something.
Sobhy Sonbol

You'll be glad to know that my most recent top 10 list (published Monday morning on nycotb.com) has Pioneerof the Nile in the lucky seven spot.  After today's dismal performance by Vineyard Haven, I'll probably bump Pioneerof the Nile up one when I post in tomorrow's blog entry.
That being said, I'll have to respectfully disagree with some of your comments.  Being a Grade 1 winner in this day and age isn't the accomplishment it was even ten short years ago, and certainly doesn't automatically make one a Grade 1 horse.  Cases in point include Da' Tara, Frost Giant, and Champs Elysees.  All Grade 1 winners, but certainly not Grade 1 horses.  The jury is still out on Pioneerof the Nile's potential, but I, like most handicappers, wasn't very enthralled with the Hollywood Futurity, and thus didn't place him in my original top ten rankings. 
Granted, the Bob Lewis was a much better performance, and Pioneerof the Nile now deserves to be listed with the best of his generation at this point.
I'd say he is one of the more consistent three-year-olds, but to say he's more so than the undefeated Old Fashioned, champion Midshipman, multiple graded winner Friesan Fire, or Square Eddie is pushing it a bit.
Anyway, best of luck with the colt, and we're all rooting for you here on the blog.


  I came up with the winner based upon a close Byer but with a red hot trainer. Dan what percent is horse racing the trainer what percent the jockey and what percent the horse.

It's my opinion that the horse is 90% if not more of the equation.  You could have a top trainer and jockey, but if they're sending a cow out onto the track, it's not going to make the difference.


Does anyone happen to know anything about trainer Mark Tsagalakis, won 4th at SA yesterday 2/11/09... won his first start at the SA meet.
Dave S

Here are Tsagalakis' numbers from the last few years:

2008:  1-14 (7%, $1.77 ROI)
2007:  2-23 (8%, $2.23 ROI)
2006:  0-13
2005:  2-10 (20%, $2.60 ROI)
2004:  2-14 (14%, $3.94 ROI)


Talk to you tomorrow.



*ginevra More than 1 year ago
Hi all - as far as the comments go, we can help Dan out with getting some of this fixed up. Thanks for all of your emails and concerns! We're listening and want to help. :)
Alan More than 1 year ago
UPDATE - FORMBLOG KENTUCKY DERBY DREAMING: Congrats to the many winners today!!! Updated spreadsheet - please check your picks for accuracy: http://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?key=p0punDkqmTL6-vxV9onbJbw Updated Leaderboard: http://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?key=p0punDkqmTL6-vxV9onbJbw&gid=2 "SHOW ME THE MONEY" Greg!!: http://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?key=p0punDkqmTL6-vxV9onbJbw&gid=5 Next weekend is the Fountain of Youth and the Sham stakes. Thank you all for participating!!!
Steve T. More than 1 year ago
Here is another tidbit from the post position stats (both SA and GP) - even though it flies in the face of what most people think - post really doesn't matter much. Add to that the misinterpretation of the percentages and you have a false data point. Here is what I mean - if their are 6 horses in a race, the 2 post would need to win 17% (1 of 6) to be "average". But in a 12 horse field the "average" would be 8% (1 of 12). So the fact that the 2 post is involved in almost all short field races means that the percentages for the 2 post should be higher than the 12 post. So when you see that the 2 post is 17% and the 12 post is 8%, it doesn't mean that the inside post is twice as good as the outside post, in fact they are the same. Does that make sense? We routinely discount horses on the inside and the outside, and from the data I think it is a huge mistake to take the post into consideration. This is another of those experience to reinforcement to attribution scenarios.
C More than 1 year ago
Slew, Annie, Another 2 cents on exotic plays. I make a big distinction between backups in multirace bets (where only winning counts) and underneath plays in exactas, tris, etc. For me, those horses are not necessarily the same. Of course, because the field size is usually between 7 and 10, my underneaths and alternates are often made up of a lot of the same contenders. Typically, I start by looking for the best WIN play (even though I'm not a huge WIN bettor). This is usually just the most likely winner, but sometimes can be the best-value overlay in less cut-and-dry race. I'm only looking for 1 horse, at least initially. There are a few times when 2 horses appear to have about the same chance of winning. For me, they often have the same running style and the uncertainty is just a question of which one will get up first or survive to the end. But more often than not, I'm able to find a single horse as the one to beat or most likely. From there, it depends on what kind of bets I'm looking to make. If there are vulnerable favorites or tough races in a multirace sequence, I play those; if my selection is a nice price, I'm looking at intra-race exotics too. So what about alternates versus underneaths? In the multirace bets, the horse I selected becomes a primary play (equivalent to an "A" in Crist world), but may not be the only one in that role, even though I only looked for 1 (maybe 2) horses initially. If there's another 1 or 2 horses that have a decent shot of WINNING (probably above 30%) IF my selection doesn't win, then I consider them as primary plays also. These "add-ins" may have the same running style (ie, the "other" closer that gets up instead) or in some cases, may be sort of a hedge in case I'm completely wrong about what happens in the race (pace, quality of my most likely winner, etc). Sometimes, there are no other primaries. The other secondary choices ("B" and "C" in Crist's approach) are other contenders who have something going for them and have some kind of shot to WIN if I'm totally off-base with my primaries. I try not to go too far and cover every possibility. Every horse CAN win a race, but it is gambling, so you have to take a chance somewhere. I won't go lower than, say, 10% on secondary plays, depending on how I decide to weight them and how much I think of my original "most likely" selection. In the exactas, tris, supers, etc, once I have my primary selection(s), I throw out the DRF when thinking about underneaths. Well, not really, but I don't necessarily look for the same qualities the second time around. When scanning for underneaths, I'm mainly looking for a few things: (a) horses who have shown "heart" or determination on a consistent basis (replays help here)... classy horses who try hard may not win all the time, and may not always be my primary play, but are game enough to overcome most disadvantages related to pace, trip, or speed-- enough to outgame the field for the minor awards; (b) horses who look fit in the post parade, provided their best previous effort make them a logical enough player; (c) I want to have a good feeling about the pace scenario... the clunker may not be a high percentage WIN play, but could get a piece because the majority of the rest of the field are faint-hearted types or may be compromised by the pace. I find a lot of high-price underneath plays this way. They are sometimes not in line with the "high-figure" low-odds types that the public think have a good shot to win. The public is not technically wrong, by the way. The important thing to remember is that the tote board is showing WIN odds. However, for some horses, if they don't WIN, their chances of running 2nd or 3rd may not be that great, relatively speaking. The hard part is when the "underneath" steals the whole thing at a big price and the primary play runs second, but that's gambling.
p ensign More than 1 year ago
thanks to uncle Steve for the great jockey lists of 09 and to John C for the great time saver of 09
Steve T. More than 1 year ago
Peter, Last I heard Pedroza (broken Pelvis) was shooting for opening day at Hollywood, but that is probably a tad aggressive as a broken Pelvis is a big deal. He has always been one that gave you his best ride but somehow is only known as the "King of Fairplex".
Calvin Carter More than 1 year ago
John C., Thanks for the tip on navigating the FormBlog.
slewofdamascus More than 1 year ago
Personally, I wouldn't put a lot of time in trying to interpret the final time of the Southwest. I think the top 2 finishers got everything out of the race they could have asked for by virtue of how it was run. They sprinted for a mile, without a single worry that a quality horse was going to come off the pace and knock them off. I thought both camps assessed the situation pretty well, both jockeys anyway, understanding that this was a match race, so they flew early, going 22 and change, 45 and change. Silver City had to work early to gain some clearance and OF had to work early to both push SC into fast splits (a smart, tactical decision by OF's rider), and to stay within a length of him. If I was training either horse I'd be very pleased with what I think my horse got out of the race, which was fast, race-type, conditioning, the final time was bound to be off based on the early fractions, and that none of the other entrants could take advantage of that speaks to the quality of those runners. This prep was a 2-horse match race, where the final time was predictably slower, but I suspect Larry Jones is still smiling. Jmho, of course.
Blue Horseshoe More than 1 year ago
Steve T, That is some excellent stuff on Jockeys!!! You raise awareness to some of the practical realities of individual jockey character and motivation, not to mention skill set, in the context of the race condition and expected success of the mount. Any exoctic player has to consider which jockeys will be motivated to finish through the line and which jockeys might ease up on the effort... It can make all the difference in the world in hitting Tri or Super!
Caseyjeaux More than 1 year ago
Annie, Nice training job with that Chocolate Candya$$ horse. I was trying to use my cooking knowledge and thought that when Chocolate Candyboy met the Bay area humidity again, he would seize up. Wish I could trash talk a little more, but my Breakwater boy needs to re-prove himself before I can mouth too much In the Ya' can't teach an old dog anything category........ Being the dumb a__ that I am, I tried the same Baze again today on Gato Go Win. He rode about the same race; finished a decent third instead of a crappy fourth. All, Unless LJ didn't have OF wound tight, Rachel's Sunday performance is really impressive(it was a stakes record by about a second and a half). I asked Gary West if he thought Wiggins might test the boys. He thought Wiggins was too conservative for that; that the connections really wanted to win the Oaks. Mary Rampellini has an article on the DRF main page Caseyjeaux