12/06/2008 2:12PM

Weekend questions


want to start a 'capping journal, using PPs and recording my picks, be it for HGs or the DRF's Race of the Week, and then see how I did.
So, for those of you who do keep such records, what should I keep track of?
The condition of the race of course, but what about the horse choice itself? How excruciating detail do you go into?  And is there any value in the "Pretty Grey Horse" factor...you just like it?

My record keeping is extremely anal as I have a spreadsheet with these categories:

Date, Track, Class of Race, Distance/Surface/Track Condition, Odds of Selections, Amount invested, Profit/Loss:

I'll also keep a Winner's Book spreadsheet that chronicle angles by winner whether it be stretchout, medication or equipment switch, drop in class, bullet workout, Pretty Gray Horse, etc.

You can get into as much detail as you want, but I think it's an important recording tool that isn't used enough by handicappers.  Once you get enough data, you may find that you do much better in turf sprints than in maiden claimers on dirt.  Sometimes, handicappers have a speciality, and don't even know it.


Have been so sick with pnuemonia that i did not handicap the whole weekend. Since everyone else is talking about derby horse, i have a question that my young, inexperienced mind self cannot answer. Can ALDEBARAN sire a derby winner? More specifically, can POSITION A win the derby with his pedigree?
I ask because both my early derby horses scratched over the weekend. (DISCREET STREET didn't draw in at CD)
Has any sire ever had 2 derby winner from his three crops? I'm wondering if this has ever happened before.

Hope you're feeling better.  Aldebaran is a son of the fleet Mr. Prospector out of Group 1 miler Chimes of Freedom, and was named Champion Sprinter in 2003.  He was best in races up to a mile, but there are some stamina influences in his female family.  His fourth dam is the granddam of Jazil and Rags to Riches, and some familiar 1 1/4 names in his pedigree include Hollywood Derby winner Denon .
Position A, a $100,000 yearling purchase, resold for $675,000 earlier this year.  He is a full brother to Grace Anatomy, a sprint winner that placed in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies at 1 1/16 miles.  There are a mixture of influences in the female family.  The Storm Cat dam, Propriety, is a half-sister to the dam of sprinter Diabolical while the second dam is Yellow Ribbon winner Plenty of Grace, a half-sister to Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare turf heroine Soaring Softly. 
I don't see why the pedigree would be an impediment to Position A's chances, but I guess we'll find out in the next few months, won't we?
I don't believe any sire has had two Derby winners from his first three crops, but I'm not 100% sure.  In the 1920's, I think that The Finn sired two Derby winners from his first four crops, but it's a much different ballgame in the 21st Century.


2. Dixieland Band was not a superior racehorse by any means. Being by Northner Dancer back then was a lot like being by Storm Cat today, but I wonder how he got support at stud and developed into the classy sire he became.
3. On Filly Beyers, I'm pretty sure Princess Rooney ran a big one in the inaugural Breeders' Cup Distaff. Was it 119?
Steve D

Dixieland Band received support at stud because he was a multiple graded stakes-winning son of Northern Dancer (arguably the greatest stallion of all time) and Mississippi Mud, a Grade 1-winning half-sister to multiple stakes-winner Northrop (by Northern Dancer).  He was a stakes-winner every year from two through four, won a third of his 24 lifetime starts, and had the pedigree to boot.  Certainly a good horse with an above-average pedigree.

I only have Beyer information since 1996.  It's possible that Princess Rooney ran a bigger number than 119, but I don't have access to that data.


I noticed Nicanor is 100/1 in the futures. Has he run yet and does anyone have any info on him? Also, what are the thoughts on Mr.Hot Stuff...

Nicanor, the full brother to Barbaro, breezed three furlongs in 38.00 earlier this morning at Palm Meadows.  If all goes according to plan, it's possible he'll debut at Gulfstream. 
Mr. Hot Stuff, the full brother to Colonel John, hasn't run very well in two sprint races in Southern California, but he should do his best running going long.  It's too early to give up on any two-year-old so I'd give him another chance when he stretches out around two turns.


Hey Peacerules!
Does Brett Calhoun like Indygo Mt, better than Silver City?  I was at C.D. when both ran on different days and they both have Derby written all over them in my opinion. Does anyone kow what Beyers they received?

Indygo Mountain, a $600,000 yearling by A.P. Indy out of a sprint stakes-winning half-sister to Grade 1 winner Siphonic, earned an 85 Beyer for his second-out maiden win at Churchill Downs. 

Silver City, a $700,000 yearling by Unbridled's Song, is a half-brother to stakes-winning sprinters Elope and Initiation.  Silver City earned a 101 Beyer for his 'n1x' win at Churchill. 


Any opinions appreciated......
I didn't get to see the Generous. Was Mr. Rod just a speed freak loose on the Hollywood turf course, or was that a legitimate 1:35? I know that the fractions in the Matriarch were snail like, but for a two year old to beat Cocoa Beach by 2/5 as well as Hyperbaric's one mile fraction in the Citation by the same 2/5, is still pretty amazing. Is he strictly a turf horse or could there be some dirt and disance in his future?

Mr. Rod's race gave me mixed feelings.  He was very professional the entire way around the track, and kicked it in nicely when given his cue turning for home.  He did shake loose the early part of the race, and it will be interesting to see what happens when he's looked in the eye with more pressure during the opening quarter-mile.  When I spoke to Mr. Hendricks prior to the Del Mar meet, he specifically mentioned Mr. Rod as a two-year-old with talent, and the horse does have ability.  He's an interesting prospect, but I think a mile to 8.5 furlongs may be his limit.  His dam was a precocious sprinter, and Scrimshaw's limit was 1 1/16 miles.  It's too early to tell if he's strictly a turf/synthetic horse, but the connections may be leaning that way due to the recent success on the spinach.


one question I have is, how did you find out Megadeed had been sold at auction in November? I saw the DRF notation about the change in trainer but where does one find the information you came up with. Or did you just make that up about Megadeed?
chicago gerry

The owner listed for Megadeed in yesterday's PPs is Ben McElroy. He is actually the previous owner. The filly was sold to Tom Gentry. The information concerning sales would be considerably easier to look up on the internet if the new owners were listed in the PPs because they are the buyers, and the buyer is listed on the various sales websites. Can we bring this to someone's attention at DRF, or is it another reporting problem?

I was just curious when I saw the trainer change, and wanted to find out if Megadeed had raced for a different owner in her previous race.  Formulator has the charts for each horse's last three starts, and Megadeed's previous owner was "Elite Racing Company."  The owner listed for the HandiGambling race was "Ben McElroy."  Hmmm.  I then googled "'Megadeed' + sold," scrolled down a few links, and found this page:

Voila!  Megadeed was purchased by Tom Gentry, Agent for $100,000.  'C' let us know that Ben McElroy is a partner in Elite Racing Company so it's a possibility that this purchase may have been to dissolve the partnership in this particular horse.  Either way, the horse was sold.  I'm sure I could have found the information faster by going to either the Keeneland or Fasig-Tipton websites, and doing a "find" for the recent sales results.  This time of year is particularly ripe for finding "secret" auction nuggests because horses of racing age go through these mixed sales (sometimes as breeding prospects, sometimes as racing prospects), and the DRF doesn't catalogue the results very well (it aggravates me to now end that we have weanling, yearling, and two-year-old in training results, but not for older runners).

As for the identity of the owner, the DRF will go by the name listed on the track's overnight sheet.  I'm assuming that McElroy was the name listed by NYRA.   


Here's a question, I'm looking at a mile race here at Retama Park tonite and there is a horse who ran a mile and a half last time out. Most of his previous races were at a mile. Should I be looking at this as a turn back race? In my reading (which is probably dangerous) they are generally talking about going from 8 to 6 as turnbacks, can a miler also have turnback races?
Peter Vescovo

It's a good question.  You could look at it both ways.  It's possible that the horse's previous 12 furlong race was an anomaly - the trainer was looking for a different spot, gave the horse an experiment, and is back to the norm now. 
I would look at the move as a turnback because the pace will likely be much faster in the mile heat than in the 12 furlong marathon.  General handicapping wisdom states that horses turning back from a mile to six furlongs will be forced to rate (or come from farther back) in the shorter race because of the difference in the opening fractions.  Half-mile times in six-furlong races are likely to be in the 45-46 range while mile and 8 1/2 furlong races may be clocked in 46-48.  Longer races, especially on grass, may be clocked in 49-52.  This horse was probably chasing slower fractions last time out, and could be well back in this mile run.  If the pace is hot, he could pick up the pieces. 
You probably won't see this too often, but a quarter-mile move (whether going up or down in distance) can be construed as either a stretchout or a cutback.


Those poor horses were obviously not cut out to be race horses. Since they don't run hard enough to get hurt, they should be retrained as show horses while they are still sound.  Can anyone figure out what a Beyer would be for a race like this?
Turn Back The Alarm

Exoticn'wild's final time of 54.26 for 4 1/2 furlongs at Charles Town earned a 35 Beyer Speed Figure.  Not exactly "racehorse" time, but the filly will always have something The Green Monkey failed to earn.  A victory.


Enjoy your weekend!


Steve T. More than 1 year ago
Paseana, Alan and I have been after this for over a year - I agree it is a serious necessity to be able to get watches by sires as well as individual runners.
Steve T. More than 1 year ago
C, You are correct that you cannot look at a single work and derive any concrete facts – just as you cannot look at a race time, race result, Beyer, Tomlinson or any other numeric quantifier in a vacuum. It is the trend and situational analysis that makes handicapping the ultimate puzzle. In our previous discussions I think the one thing we agree on is the ultimate (and exclusive) arbiter of horse racing is the finish line, without exception. That being said, I believe you can draw general truths from the aggregation and comparison of individual data points. In the case of works, a 1:10 at the SoCal tracks is an extremely positive event that, while it cannot guarantee success, can give you another piece of the puzzle. A single 1:10 by itself among a series of poor works has to be discounted; conversely a series of works such as 1:10, :46/2, 1:11/2, 58/1 does indicate that the horse is fit and ready. I use works in the following situations: 1. For maiden runners – to ascertain their ability and potential precocity before any race data is available and to provide evidence of an impending progression for runners on their second and third attempts. 2. To determine whether a horse coming off of a layoff is fit and prepared for a return to racing. 3. For those that are trying a new track surface for the first time. A series of fast works at Belmont followed by a series of slow works at Santa Anita is a valid indication that the runner is probably going to have issues with the new surface. I produced the work ranges, averages and charts to provide information for those that are unfamiliar with a particular track the same information that is readily available to those that routinely play that track – specifically the ranges, averages and time curves. I mean I have probably seen 100,000+ work lines for the SoCal tracks, I should know what the range and averages look like. I suspect you are the same for the New York tracks. It also satisfies my curiosity for all things data; I want to know what the ranges and averages are for each track and to try to establish equivalent works across multiple tracks. I also am getting a much clearer picture of the differences in training techniques for each region of the country. Six furlong works are very common in Southern California; they are rare in the East. I am also fascinated that 3 furlong work times are almost identical at Calder and Hollywood, yet there is a logarithmic increase in time as distance increases at Calder versus Hollywood. One of my hypotheses has been that horses run in a much narrower time band on synthetics, resulting in a compression of the field at the finish. This narrower time band and compressed finish are what I believe throw Beyers off for synthetic tracks (and turf). I think we also agree that anyone who takes any single data point at face value in this sport is going to be frequently disappointed. You cannot just use Beyers, or times, or works or any other single fact or figure to pick the winner – it is the preponderance of evidence, the situation, and even more importantly the trends that gives us the “target lock” on a specific runner. The next logical data add is to tie the trainer to the works to get a clearer picture of how each trainer works his horses. We have to admit that a horse that runs three 1:01 works at Calder and then moves to Santa Anita and runs 1:01 works is probably up against it. The real key is the series of works, e.g., it is the works that matter over a single work. If I see a first time starter who has middle of the road works then runs his first race finishing 5th in a ten horse field and then his works start improving significantly I can tell you with 90% accuracy that they will have a quantum improvement in their second run. So I think your caveats are valid but there is also validity in using works (and understanding what a “good” work looks like) in helping you pick the winner.
SR Vegas More than 1 year ago
Paseana80 "One service, though, that I haven't seen offered out there is workout, entry, and results notification by sire." Wow, I would love for something like this. As it is now, I check out http://www.pedigreequery.com/ for sires, & their upcomming 2 yo's. Then add them to my DRF.com horse watch list for workouts/entries. Very time consuming & alot of info comming back.(info overload in my inbox! he-he) I decided just to focus on the 2 yo's who I thought intriquing/promising, or who caught someone elses eye here on the formblog. SR Vegas
C More than 1 year ago
Steve, Danny It's also important to remember that workouts are not electronically timed and often do not end at the finish line, so there's a precision issue that even Beyers don't have to deal with. Anyhow, I usually look for the overall workout pattern and other clues, rather than the times or even distances. For me, they are most useful for maidens, particularly first-time starters: if I see a long gap on an otherwise steady tab, I go to the web to check for any info on an illness or physical problem; if there are a ton of gate works, the horse might be a nervous type and have issues loading, so I mark my Form to pay attention to body language before the race as much as I can; I'm also a little leery of the traveling workout star, showing a zillion works at every track on the circuit-- what's the holdup, they can't find a maiden race?
Danny B. More than 1 year ago
Steve T., I just wanted to let you know one other thing from the weekend... Ok, the gal is forcing me to tell you this after being forced to hear hour after hour of Joel Rosario ride description/talent assessment/general love which is only now allowed in MA. If Joel Rosario decides to ride in the Canterbury Park Claming Crown, on the advice of my attorney (ok my girlfriend), Mr. Rosario is going to need a temporary restaining order against a tall, slender guy who posts of Formblog from time to time and absolutely cleaned house on Saturday, 12/6/08 at Hollywood Park. Said male against who the TRO is filed is easily identified by a good-luck Bear Bryant chapeau worn while attending horse races and a willingness to go the windowns and wager heavily for the sole reason of Mr. Rosario being on the mount. Should Mr. Rosario require further assistance, it is recommended he consult with a Victsu or other Formblog poster with legal pedigree for further advice/action. I don't know if jocks read this, but if they do, that was a day of brilliant race riding Mr. Joel Rosairo. And then to fly all night from one sea to another and end a streak like this: http://sports.espn.go.com/sports/horse/news/story?id=3752835 I know we've touted this guy a lot on this blog, but hats off to you Mr. Rosario. A weekend that your fans will be remembering for quite some time.
SR Vegas More than 1 year ago
A P6 carryover story for HLWD Wed. I just couldn't wait until Wednesday night after the races. The REALITY NOW was just starting to sink in. It was with much PRIDE that my 'Pop would be involved. I had a very SUCCESSFUL FRIEND who sponsored a HOT CONTEST at a local bar for the best Jazz Players around. Even our neighbor FRANK THE BARBER would be there to hear my DIXIELAND POP wail away on his saxaphone....oh yes! What a night it would be. SR Vegas (ok, so I snuck out of the OLA in-patient center for a bit...Annie are you still in there?)
Annie More than 1 year ago
Steve T, LOL! I wrote my P.S. shortly after your suggestion. I sure could have used your Slew's Tizzy yesterday! To the tune of $14k. Groan. And you could have used my worry about Champs. lol We might as well give it a shot. Annie
Annie More than 1 year ago
Amanda, 36 would be considered "good" for 3 furlongs. But, Nicanor is probably just getting started on his breezes. 48 for 4 furlongs, less than a minute for 5 furlongs and 1:12 for 6 furlongs are usually what I consider good works. Anything faster is excellent. Annie
Annie More than 1 year ago
Johnny Z, I'm sorry, that's a 2 yr old filly allowance, not a stake. But, Pletcher's Pride is here. She just ran 3rd to Rachael Alexandra in an allow. Rachel just won a GR 2. Yes, I think this card looks very interesting! Annie p.s. Maybe Steve T would put in his input too.
Steve T. More than 1 year ago
TBTA, The entire Sunset High School football team used to eat "lunch" at my house every day during football season. The guys at Costco once said "wow, your restaurant must be doing really well!" After they both moved out I knew life had changed the first time I had to throw milk out because it had expired... Annie, We should play "team Pick 6" - my singles were Fire Wood and Slew's Tizzy (who was a drop dead lock). I got busted because I had Mr. Chairman, Winchester and Church Service with no Champs Elysees.