10/14/2009 11:00PM

Keeneland roundup




Rajiv Maragh had won with 5 of his 15 mounts. Exacta players have been doing well with his horse, since he also finished second five times, giving him 67 percent success in the exacta. One would expect that a jockey whose mounts have been that consistent is probably succeeding with several low-odds favorites, but none of Maragh's mounts was favored. He owns a $7.07 return on investment from those five winners.

Robby Albarado had ridden 28 mounts and was the leading rider with 6 wins. That's 21 percent wins and 39 percent in the money, with a slight profit on win bets at $2.17. That profit did not come from his lowest-odds mounts; he showed 1 win from 5 rides aboard favorites.

James Graham was tied for fifth in the standings with 2 wins from 12 mounts. Those winners yielded an $8.70 ROI. He also rode two horses to second, which gave him 33 percent success in the exacta.


Ken McPeek led the standings with 3 wins from 17 starts. That's 17 percent, and bets on his horses have a $2.60 ROI. He was not as effective for exacta players, with no second-place finishes, but five of his runners finished third. His ROI success had not come from his lowest-odds runners; he showed 1 win from 7 starts with favorites.

Rusty Arnold was tied for second in the standings with 2 wins from 5 starts, or 40 percent. None of his runners was favored, and they produced a $11.12 ROI on win bets. He was also a good friend to exacta bettors, with three second-place finishes, giving him 100 percent success in the exacta.

Trainer-jockey combination

One early trend emerged in the first three days of racing. Leading trainer Ken McPeek used leading jockey Robby Albarado on two of his three winners. Their ROI together was $2.73.



Julien Leparoux was tied for third in the jockey standings, but he had ridden 3 winners from 27 mounts (11 percent). His ROI was poor at $0.56. Besides a scarcity of wins, the reason his ROI was so low is his three winners were favorites.

Jamie Theriot won with 2 of 19 mounts, slightly better than 10 percent, with a $1.03 ROI.

Kent Desormeaux, with whom Leparoux was tied for third in the standings, had ridden 3 winners from 19 mounts, for a shade less than a 16 percent win rate. Nothing wrong with that success rate, but his ROI was subpar at $1.23. He showed 1 win from 8 tries aboard favorites.


Looking only at trainers showing five starters or more through the first three days of racing:

D. Lukas showed no in-the-money finishes from 15 starts.

Eoin Harty and Eddie Kenneally both showed no top-three finishes from five starts.

Trainer-jockey combination

Ken McPeek and Kent Desormeaux had not been effective as a combination after three days of this meet. Exacta bettors had yet to collect a bet on this team. They showed no wins, and no second-place finishes from seven tries. They did, however, have three third-place finishes.

D. Lukas and Terry Thompson don't have a top-three finish from five tries together. The same statistic applies to Lukas and Theriot.


The Oct. 9 opening-day card offered 10 Polytrack races, since the two races originally scheduled to be run on grass were moved to the synthetic surface after the course became very soft from heavy rain.

There were five winners from the front-half of the field and five from the rear half. One front-runner won, and one other winner came from last place. That sounds like a perfectly bias-free surface, right?

Wrong. This was actually a significantly biased track. The winners of all five of the sprints came from the front half of their fields. And the winners of all five of the route races came from the rear half.

Form didn't hold up as well on the Polytrack surface as chalk-players would have liked, with the two winning favorites producing a $0.94 ROI.

The Oct. 10 card favored closers on Polytrack. Three of the four sprint races on the synthetic surface were won by horses located in the rear half of the pack at the first call. Two of them were among the last three in their field at that point. Two of the three Polytrack routes were won from the rear half of the pack.

Favorites and the handicappers who bet on them on Polytrack had another difficult day. Only one favorite prevailed from seven chances. The $3.40 payoff didn't help much, resulting in a $0.48 ROI.

Both of the turf routes were won by closers. The lone turf sprint was won by a horse who tracked the leaders in third.

The Polytrack surface was fair to all running styles in sprints and routes Oct. 11. All three of the turf route races were won by closers. Two of them were deep closers.

Once again, favorites were a bad bet on Polytrack - 1 of 7 won and paid $6 for a $0.85 ROI.


The one favorite who won on Polytrack on Saturday was a Polytrack specialist. Coming into the Grade 2 Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes, Informed Decision was 5 for 5 on synthetic tracks. Four of those wins came on Polytrack, three at Keeneland and one at Arlington. She flew home late to win the TCA going away by three-quarters of a length, earning a spot in the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint. She received a 99 Beyer Speed Figure.

Diamondrella won the Grade 1 First Lady for IEAH Stables. Two races later, stablemate Court Vision won the Grade 1 Shadwell Turf Mile and earned a berth in the Mile on turf. Diamondrella earned a spot in the Filly and Mare Turf but might run against the boys in the Turf Sprint or in the Mile on turf. They both earned 102 Beyers.

Noble's Promise rallied from fifth to win the Grade 1 Breeders' Futurity by a half-length and earn a spot in the Juvenile. His Beyer was 91.

Swift Temper was the 3-1 favorite Sunday in the Grade 1 Spinster. Based on her dirt form, she figured to be very hard to beat. But she had raced on Polytrack only once, finishing eighth, beaten by 22 1/2 lengths, with a 20 Beyer at Turfway while stretching out from a sprint to a route for the first time. That performance came in September 2006 in her second career start. The added distance was probably not a factor, since she earned a 78 Beyer on dirt going a mile and 70 yards a month later.

Swift Temper was either a big overlay at 3-1 in the Spinster if that old race did not pertain to her current form, or a very vulnerable underlay. She turned out to be the latter and finished 10th of 11, besting only a 55-1 longshot.

Proviso crossed the finish line first in the Spinster but was disqualified for veering out and impeding second-place finisher Mushka in deep stretch. Mushka was moved up to first and earned a berth in the Breeders' Cup Ladies Classic. She received a 97 Beyer.

Interactif rallied from 11th to win the Grade 3 Bourbon stakes, a 1 1/16-mile turf race, by one length. He'll have a spot in the starting gate in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf if his connections choose to run him there. He earned an 88 Beyer.


Battle of Hastings

Trainer: Jeff Mullins

Last race: Oct. 10, 9th

Finish: 4th by 6 1/4

Matched against elders for the first time in the Grade 1 Shadwell Turf Mile, he ran evenly throughout before being beaten by Court Vision. Although he was largely a nonfactor, handicappers should upgrade his performance. He raced on the inside, and throughout the weekend outside paths were favorable over the rain-soaked course. Expect an improved effort if he returns against his age group in the Grade 2 Oak Tree Derby at Santa Anita on the Breeders' Cup undercard Nov. 7.

Stately Victor

Trainer: Michael J. Maker

Last race: Oct. 10, 8th

Finish: 6th by 7 1/2

After winning a maiden race on turf at Saratoga, he tried a synthetic surface for the first time in the Grade 1 Breeders' Futurity and handled Keeneland's Polytrack without difficulty. What he could not overcome, however, was being drawn in post 14. He was hung wide and, according to the data-providing service Trakus, raced 111 feet more than the horse who saved the most ground, Dixie Band. Taking the ground loss into account, he performed well to finish sixth.


Trainer: Jeff Mullins

Last race: Oct. 10, 6th

Finish: 2nd by 3/4

She proved her quality in the TCA Stakes despite failing to contain the onrushing Informed Decision. Rating for the first time in her career in a speed-laden field, she had a difficult trip, getting bounced around between horses and forced a bit wide. She still led Informed Decision until the final 50 yards of the race. She is reportedly bypassing the Breeders' Cup but should dominate on the West Coast in other races this fall and winter.

- Byron King