01/21/2011 9:41PM

A Zillion Thoughts (Part 1)

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Let's start our two-part blog dedicated to your questions and comments (Part 2 should be posted on Monday or Tuesday).

Dan-
A Question
Who decides which ROI Categories to include at the bottom of each of the PP's? And do you know the primary criteria (most starts, highest ROI, ect.)? A case in point: today's 7th at GGF: Lloyd Mason has two entrants-some of the categories are the same, and some are different. I know DRF has well over fifty categories for most trainers and that only five are shown for each horse, but I'm curious as to who selects what and why.
Thank you
blackstone

I'm not 100% positive, but I believe it is a computer-generated listing based on ROI as it pertains to the specific situations of the race in question.

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Where can I get a "Disabled Listing" or a I.R. List that is kept current?
Thank you
~Papa Bear~

In the next few weeks, or so, I will be re-releasing the link for the "FormBlog Disabled List."  I am still not 100% caught up, but it's coming along rather nicely.  Until then, if anyone has a question regarding a runner, post it to the blog, and I'll find out what I can.

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ALL :
Before i move on to other things...... Does Saint Liam have any progeny out there? I had Buddy's Saint in my virtual stable but he passed.....
Patrick

Upgrade, a four-year-old colt trained by Chad Brown, recently finished second in an entry-level allowance race on turf at Gulfstream Park with an 84 Beyer. 

Saint Isabelle, a four-year-old filly trained by Mike Puype, finished second in the Palomares Stakes at Fairplex on September 24, and has been working this month at Santa Anita.

Four-year-old Westshore, second in the Curlin Stakes at Saratoga over the summer, recently returned to the worktab at Gulfstream Park for trainer James Baker. 

Sheltowee, a half-brother to Giant Oak, may return soon for Chris Block.

Battle Royal, a four-year-old gelding trained by Michael Stidham, won a 'n2L' claimer at Fair Grounds on January 6 with an 82 Beyer. 

Cutter just finished second in an entry-level allowance race at Charles Town on Thursday evening. 

St. Vickie's Charm is preparing for her four-year-old debut at Oaklawn for Bret Calhoun.

Christmas for Liam, a 93 Beyer maiden winner last year, is working at Gulfstream for Todd Pletcher. 

Heavenly Choir just won her maiden by eight lengths at Laurel on January 11 while Seeking the Point took a claimer at Laurel earlier today. 

Courtesy Title won a 'n3L' claimer at Hawthorne on December 29. 

As for unraced progeny of Saint Liam, Unbridled Saint breezed at Palm Meadows on January 16. 

***

Dan,
You asked for us to post the horses we were looking for updates on, here are some that I wonder about:
Where Are They?
Conveyance
Connemara
Sierra Sunset
Coast Guard
Medaglia D’Amour
Misremembered – never mind, he worked yesterday.
Point Encounter
Take Control
Compari
Steve T.

Conveyance worked once in mid-October at Hollywood before being shipped to Dubai.  He is currently under the care of trainer Satish Seemar, and is being considered for one of the major races on Dubai World Cup evening.  The plan is for him to return to the United States after Dubai.

Connemara was shipped to Qatar after finishing tenth in the Lexington at Keeneland.  He is 0-3 on grass there with his most recent effort a fourth-place finish in the $11,000 Thoroughbred Stakes on January 13 at Dohar Racetrack.  

Sierra Sunset was preparing for the Alamedan Stakes at Pleasanton in July, but missed the race, and hasn't been heard from since. 

According to the work tab, Coast Guard, unraced since finishing fourth in an entry-level allowance race on April 30, 2008, went four furlongs in 50.20 at Portland Meadows on December 19. 

Medaglia d'Amour suffered a foot injury after winning the Wilshire at Hollywood in May. 

Misremembered injured a foot after winning the Big 'Cap.  His goal is to defend his championship at Santa Anita on March 5.

Point Encounter suffered a soft-issue injury, and hasn't worked since July.  He is expected to return to training this year.

Take Control came down with sore shins after winning his maiden late in 2009.  He last worked on November 10 at Hollywood.

Haven't heard anything about Compari.  He last raced in July.

***

*LSD , you probably know this. What Active North American Rider is currently 2nd behind Russel BaZe in total winners and how many 1000's of winners do they trail him by ? My guess is nobody is within 6500 winners of him.
*Dan, thanks for putting Petes request for pp's of Fit to Scout up. She was the horse I thought . She paid me $21 not $51 . LOL. A clear case of the older I get the better I was. LOL. Maybe you can find a horse named Cyclone Jimmy or Jimmy Cyclone ? He ran his final race in '83 or '84 and it was a winning one at a big number in a cheap claimer.He was DEAD before he crossed the line, but he made it, with a little HELP of course. Also GritZ and FritZ please if possible. He ran in the same time period. Thanks either way.
*Last I heard top bsf clicked at near 29 % not sure if that has changed. LSD probably can answer that as he is the answer man.
*Anybody out there that can tell me the last race surface & distance of the Downhill winners and placers on 1/13 . I would be grateful for the info
*I say Haynesfield is the only GR.1 winner Quitter road EVER beat in a winning effort. If someone knows different please tell me I'm wrong and name the other (s)
blackseabass

Russell "The Muscle" easily leads active riders with 11,125 victories.  Edgar Prado is second with 6,433.

The two past performances that you requested are at the bottom of this blog posting.

I don't know about any recent trends, but Andy Beyer wrote this in his 1993 book, BEYER ON SPEED:

"...This, of course, is what happened to speed figures.  In the past I have collected odds as high as 50 to 1 on horses with the top figure.  I would guess as recently as 1990 a bet on every top figure would have yielded a profitable ROI.  But the inclusion of speed figures in the Daily Racing Form has inevitably depressed the odds on horses with good numbers.  In view of this reality, how should handicappers use speed figures today?
To find the answer, I asked the Racing Form's computer experts to examine the performance of speed figures in a large sample of races.  I was not looking for gimmicks - for example, filly sprinters who have an advantage of 6 to 10 points in the figures and made their last start in the last 15 to 24 days will produce a positive ROI.  I wanted facts about the strengths and weaknesses of speed handicapping today.  These were the ground rules of the study:  Only races on dirt were considered, because turf events are confused too often by the presence of horses who haven't raced on grass before.  Only races on fast tracks were used.  Races were not considered unless every horse had at least two career starts, so that first-time starters wouldn't confuse the study.  If the horse with the top figure had not run within the last 45 days, the whole race was disregarded.
After looking at the most recent figures of each horse in more than 10,000 qualifying races, the Racing Form's computer produced a surprisingly unambiguous answer to one's question:  What constitutes a meaningful advantage in the figures?  The answer is:  A top figure is significant when it is at least three points higher than the second-best figure in the field.  In sprint races, three points translates into a margin of a length or more.  But in just about every category the computer examined, an edge of only one or two points proved to be relatively inconsequential. 
This was the overall performance of top-figure horses with an advantage of three points or more over the competition:

Number of horses       Win Percentage    ROI

3,710                           29                          1.85

It might seem logical that wagers based on the speed of horses would be more productive in shorter races than in longer ones, and, indeed, this was the case:

Distance  Number of horses    Win Percentage    ROI

Routes     1,972                       28                         1.80
Sprints    1,738                       30                         1.90

There was also a difference in the predictability of the sexes:

Sex            Number of horses      Win Percentage       ROI

Females    685                             26                             1.64
Males        3,025                          30                             1.90

Although betting blindly on every horse with a top figure can no longer produce a net profit, these results underscore the enduring power of speed handicapping.  An ROI of 1.90 in sprints and races for males, or 1.85 overall, is a loss of only 5 to 7 1/2 percent - overcoming much of the 17 percent tax bite to which bettors are typically subjected.  And this study did not attempt to weed out weak horses by applying any handicapping logic (except the exclusion of horses laid off 45 days).  If a p lodder had earned his top figure running at two miles and was now going five furlongs, he still counted in the sample.  If the rivals of the top horse seemed certain to improve because they had an excuse for a poor recent figure, the computer didn't recognize that face, either.  Nor did these statistics take into account the most important consideration in gambling:  value.  A horse who is a good bet at 3 to 1 might properly be shunned at 6 to 5.  And, of course, the ROI statistics generated by the Racing Form's analysis are based only on win bets, which are not necessarily relevant to exactas, trifectas, and other exotics and which can offer much more attractive opportunities...Yet without the application of any skill, judgment, or intelligent betting strategy, speed figures can take a horseplayer to the brink of profitability. 
Moreover, the broad Racing Form study looked at a sample that included plenty of marginally superior top figures.  If it was possible to achieve an ROI of 1.90 with this large group, surely a bettor could make a healthy profit by waiting for powerhouse double-fig and triple-fig situations..."

"...Here was the performance of one category of standouts, double-figure horses who had an edge of ten points over the field in both of their last two starts:

                        Number of horses      Win Percentage       ROI

All                   188                             39                             1.96
Sprints           82                               41                             2.15
Males             160                            39                              1.98

One might think that a purely mechanical handicapping system that picked around 40 percent winners would be stunningly profitable.  But when the public identifies a simple, obvious winning situation - as it did with Oscar Barrera claims - it will bet enthusiastically enough to destroy the odds.  Other types of overwhelming speed-figure standouts had similarly impressive winning percentages and unimpressive ROIs.  The only such horses who may occasionally produce decent value are those who have arrived from a lesser racing cirucit...and those who are stepping up sharply in class.
There is an important lesson to be learned from these statistics.  The quest for the most profitable uses of figures is not going to be answered by looking for obvious standouts.  Bettors need to interpret and apply speed figures with a bit more subtlety - to find horses who have strong speed-handicapping virtues but who aren't the obvious no-brainers that anybody can spot..."

As for the downhill runners on January 13 at Santa Anita, here's what I found:

Race 2:
1. Ain - 1 1/8 miles - Dirt
2. The Unusual One - 6 1/2 Furlongs - Cushion Track
3. Take a Yard - 1 3/16 Miles - Turf

Race 5:
1. Advantage Player - 5 Furlongs - Cushion Track
2. Ricketyracketyruss - 1 Mile - Turf
3. Working At Night - 6 1/2 Furlongs - Cushion Track

Race 7:
1, Celestic Night - 1 Mile - Turf
2. Metropolitan Man - 5 Furlongs - Turf
3. Diamond Geezah - 7 Furlongs - Turf

I didn't do an exhaustive look at all of the horses that Quality Road defeated, but he beat Capt. Candyman Can (2009 King's Bishop) in the 2009 Fountain of Youth and 2009 Amsterdam.  He also vanquished Warrior's Reward (2010 Carter) in the 2010 Metropolitan Handicap and Mine That Bird (2009 Kentucky Derby) in the 2010 Woodward.

***

Hi Dan....Thanks for for helpful insight to handicapping races !!! Loved your betting maidens book too. had a different type of "lost but not found" question ive had for a while...One of my favorite top handicap horses was a horse named"DYNEVER" ive oftened wondered where he is now,and if he was a gelding,or did he pass away...dont ever see him in stallion registry anywhere
Thanks in Advance
Tampa Wayne

Thanks for the kind words.  Dynever was sold to Saudi Arabian interests after finishing second in the 2005 Hal's Hope at Gulfstream.  Renamed Ittasak, he finished second in the 2005 Dubai World Cup, and was last standing stud at Al Janadriyah Farm in Saudi Arabia.

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in my opinion for what its worth I think having watched thousands of races over the years that the jockey is the key to the horse winning a race.
I have seen a horse ( as we all have) go from a plodder to a winner with a positive jockey change. of coarse if the trainer does not have the horse
ready then nothing can make a winner out of that senario. I have watched much to my chagrin Kent D. give up on his steed if he thought he could
not win and deprive the bettor from a better placing. Big Brown for example imo . of course we all know that Pace makes the Race.
its food for thought and appreciate the feedback, Dan what do you think? god luck all as Harvey Pack said "May the horse be with you"
MH01

If you put a gun to my head and asked me the percentages, I'd say it's 85% the horse, 10% the trainer, and 5% the rider.  Just my opinion, of course, but I don't think Zippy Chippy would have done better if Jerry Bailey and Bill Mott took over his handling from Willie Belmonte and Felix Monserrate.  Conversely, I think any competent jockey in the world could have rode any of the greats when they were at their very best.  There has to be inherent talent in the horse if it's to be a prolific winner.  There will be cases when an underperformer moves into another barn, and improves by leaps and bounds.  While it's possible that the horse "finally realized his potential," or was simply trained correctly, or was given time to work out its issues, it's also been argued that underhanded practices (illegal drugs) were the cause of the improvement.  I think most jockeys would tell you that the difference between a 12% rider and a 20% rider comes down to which gets the better stock to ride."

***

Meanwhile, The Factor's preparing new won-lengths records. Whatever will he do at a distance? Dan wrote in an earlier blog post that “While we never know until they try, his pedigree may be geared more to races up to 1 1/16 miles (1 1/8 miles, perhaps, at the most).” How can we tell that? Is it based on statistical study of the performances of his pedigree? I know it's a potentially enormous question and the proper answer is a library card, but basically what factors factor in Factor's far-factor?
Jonah

As with form, we can use past performances to make an educated guess as to the distance hopes of a runner.  Instead of speed figures and other handicapping tools used for everyday races, we can look to breeding.  The Factor is from the first crop of War Front, a Grade 2 winner at six furlongs that successfully stretched his speed to 1 1/16 miles around one turn at Belmont.  Unfortunately, we don't have enough data from War Front's limited progeny to determine what kind of stallion he will become.  It is heartening that War Front's Soldat won an entry-level allowance race at nine furlongs earlier this afternoon by daylight with a 104 Beyer (albeit in the slop). 
The Factor's dam also won at distances ranging from six furlongs to 1 1/16 miles. One of the dam's half-siblings, Chief Seattle, won at 5 1/2 furlongs, and was multiple Grade 1-placed at 1 1/16 miles. 
Considering the wicked early speed that The Factor possesses, it will take a heck of a job from Bob Baffert to get him to slow down enough to conserve his energy for longer-distance routes.  Is it impossible for him to stay the Derby trip?  Of course not.  But, it's too early to jump on the bandwagon of a maiden winner with a suspect long-distance pedigree. 
Body type should also be considered when analyzing distance possibilities.  Is The Factor compact like a sprinter?  Or, does he look more like a horse that would appreciate longer distances.  As I've never seen the horse up close, I have no idea the answer to that question. 
Stamina pedigrees are slowly disappearing from the American stud book.  Breeders mate for speed and precociousness as that is what sells at auction.  In recent years, we have seen horses with questionable "Classic" pedigrees win Classic races.  Perhaps The Factor will be another.  As for now, it is merely my opinion that The Factor's pedigree is geared to races up to 1 1/16 miles. 

***

Without doing a lot of research, because I know you are busy, I was wondering if you knew what the Public's ability to pick winners was, during the decades of the 1960's, 1970's, or 1980's.
In my view, if the Public was picking winners in those decades at a rate of less than 30%, then
I think one could study the possibility that the Beyers Speed Ratings have contributed to a rise in the ability of the Public to select winners.
chicago gerry

Indiscriminately, I picked up a couple of American Racing Manuals and found these statistics:

1967 - 34% winning favorites
1974 - 34% winning favorites
1986 - 31% winning favorites
1993:  33% winning favorites

There isn't much discrepancy.  Winning favorites generally win between 30-35% of the time.  In 2009, favorites won 37% in California, 33% in Canada, 36% in Florida, 36% in Illinois, 34% in Kentucky, 36% in Louisiana, 38% in Maryland, 37% in New Jersey, 39% in New York, 34% in Pennsylvania, and 41% in Texas.

***

Dan, will you please post the pp's of the top 5 stallions from 2010 ranked by earnings? I'd like to see what, if anything, they have in common.
Captain Bodgit

The top five stallions (by earnings) from 2010 were:

1. Giant's Causeway
2. Distorted Humor
3. Malibu Moon
4. Maria's Mon
5. Smart Strike

Their past performances are available at the bottom of this blog posting.

***

No time for real analysis for some of this weekend's stakes races.  Here are some quick and dirty selections:

Col. E. R. Bradley - Strike Again, Southern Anthem, Midnight Mischief
Lecomte - Wilkinson, Justin Phillip, Pants On Fire
Toboggan - Calibrachoa, Driven by Success, Temecula Creek
Palos Verdes - Smiling Tiger, Euroears, Hunch
Sweetest Chant - Tiger Girl, Kathmanblu, Nina Fever

More importantly, who do you like this weekend?  I want to know.

Enjoy the weekend!

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