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Saturday, November 26, 2005

A Scrappy Saturday?

- Hope everyone is having a nice holiday weekend. Sorry for no posting the last couple of days, but the holiday season is upon is, for bettor or for worse, and the Head Chef is demanding my time and attention. I was at least able to make it to Aqueduct on Thanksgiving morning, and the sun seemed to break through just around the time I stepped out onto the apron around 11 A.M. It was all downhill from there from a betting standpoint anyway. There’s nowhere else I’d rather have been, but man, I was absolutely nowhere, up the track in races from four different tracks, as the lackluster live racing had me looking elsewhere.

Friday was a culture day, and one thing I can tell you is to choose a day other than the day after Thanksgiving to go to the Met, especially when Vincent Van Gogh l is in town. If NYRA got a hold of one of these babies, they wouldn’t need slots until 2009.

So I was out and away from racing, and wasn’t home in time for the Clark from Churchill and thus did not get a bet down on Magna Graduate ($10.00) nor on the exacta I’d picked right here. However, a mere cash reward is more than compensated for by not only being able to say I had it right, but having put it out there for all to see in advance of the race. I don’t bet in a way that my life is going to change whether I lose or win (though the upside is theoretically limitless, so just being able to tell people that I won is half the fun. (And on the other hand, don't you hate it when people ask you how you did, and you have no choice but to just go, “I lost,” because your colleagues at work wouldn’t understand about how your horse was five wide into a hot pace and was savaged by a filly in heat while rallying in the stretch.) So I was pleased to see that at least Walter in Las Vegas got a bet down.

While I unfortunately can’t buy any Xmas gifts with the satisfaction I earned, perhaps I can cash in today. Magna Graduate’s win is certainly flattering to Scrappy T, who he beat by ¾’s in the Discovery on Breeders Cup day. The 105 Beyer he earned that day equaled his career high, and I think he can move forward here in his first try against older horses....and he's 8-1 morning line, oh my! Certainly Badge of Silver would be tough on his best day, but he’s raced just once since April, a pointless 6th against Saint Liam in the Stephen Foster back in June. Frankel said, "He's ready.....He might be over-ready. He's breezing very good." [DRF] Sounds like he’s already making excuses.

As for the others, I’m just not scared of Host (0-1 lifetime on dirt), Imperialism (good money after bad), Mass Media (one for his last nine), Gygistar, or even Silver Wagon going first time for Dutrow (filling in, ironically, for the suspended Ralph Ziadie). I don’t think any of these are really in peak form right now, while Scrappy T, one of just two three-year olds here, could very well be sitting on a career best race in this, his third start off the layoff. I’ll be all over him if he’s anywhere near that 8-1 price.

- Too late for Indian Vale to jump into the muddled picture for three year old filly champion, but she easily handled the field of older mares in the Falls City at Churchill on Friday. When’s the next time we’ll see 2-1 on this one? Scary to read that she still has more to learn:

Velazquez said Indian Vale will be even better with maturity "and she gets a little more serious about things she needs to do." He said she still switches her leads back and forth. [Louisville Courier-Journal]

5 Comments:

Walter said...

...was just looking at the Golden Rod (2yo fillies @ Churchill), and noticed something i come across from time to time...i like to call it "Exhibit A" on why Beyers are simply not a good handicapping tool...now, we all know Beyers are based on final time, right???...fractional times are not used when formulating the number...so, try explaining this...French Park and Sabatini (both in today's Golden Rod) each ran over the same track/distance on Nov. 5th @ Churchill...here are their respective Beyer numbers:

French Park, 1:37 flat, 80 Beyer

Sabatini, 1:36 2/5, 74 Beyer

...so, Sabatini ran approximately 3 lengths faster than French Park, but gets a Beyer that's 6 points lower...ummm, okay...the only variable here (aside from pace, which again, is not included in the numbers), is that French Park was was running in a stakes race, while Sabatini competed in a maiden race...i believe that the Beyer Boys just gave French Park the better number because stakes fillies are "supposed" to run faster than maiden fillies (nevermind whether they actually do)...the fact that French Park had gotten a 95 in her previous race may have also factored in...i was looking forward to betting Sabatini here, but unfortunately she was scratched...but anyway, bottom line, Beyer figures are a bunch of garbage...at least to me they are...i could offer several other examples, but this one is as good as any, and it's right there in today's Form...the other thing about Beyers, and i'm sure you've all noticed, is that the horse with the best Beyers goes favored like 99% of the time...it seems that's all the public is looking at...i'll bet you could take out all the pertinent information out of the Form, such as pace lines, company lines, trainer info, etc., and just leave the horses name and their Beyer numbers, and the odds on every race would be much the same as they are now...i believe the race-going public has been brainwashed...which is a very good thing... 8^)

Dave said...

Walter,

Bris speed figures had French Park at 91 and Sabatini at 94 which is more in line with the actual race times. I prefer the Bris figures myself and the high figure horse certainly does get bet. I use figures (both speed and pace) in my handicapping but its only part of the big picture. I take it as evidence of a certain level of ability (with older horses) but I try not to take the figure too literally. And I do love the fact that the public bets the high figure horse hard in certain types of races where it doesn't apply well (like on the grass). Let's hope the public ALWAYS does this! Just my two cents...

Walter said...

...thanks for the Bris figures, Dave...it's interesting that they seem more in line with the actual on-track results, at least in this case...i don't use figures myself, i prefer to just use fractional times to identify horses with pace advantages...but mainly i concentrate on first-time starters, using my trusty workout reports...i really think our largest edge exists there, because, well, once a horse has accumulated past performances, anyone can look at the Form and identify the contenders...with firsters, far fewer people have pertinent information...if you're one of those people, then you have a definite edge...in addition to workout reports, i've also had a great deal of success with horses from the 2yo's-in-training sales...as you guys know, right before the sales they have under-tack shows, where the horses will work a furlong or two furlongs, to give the bidders a first-hand look at the merchandise...and the pinhookers know, the faster the horse works, the more money he'll bring...so if they've got speed, they're gonna show it (unlike many on-track workouts, where you don't really know if the trainer/jockey is asking for speed or not)...all you gotta do is keep a record of the fastest workers from the sales (OBS, Fasig-Tipton, and Barrett's), then sit back and wait for them to be entered in a race a few months down the line...they don't always win, but they almost always show keen speed, and they'll win more than their fair share, believe me...for example, three of the fastest workers from the Barrett's sale this year were Henny Hughes, Rivers Prayer, and the ill-fated What A Song...all three won their debuts...sometimes they'll get bet down to the point where you can't play them (like What a Song), but some will go off at very nice prices (Rivers Prayer paid 7/2, if i remember correctly)...just something to keep in mind for next year...

alan said...

Walter -

Have you seen or heard anything about the Form's Breeze Figs? They are based on the under tack shows, and supposedly use some kind of video analysis of the horses' strides in addition to the work time. They tout their results in their ads, but I haven't tried them myself.

The websites of the respecitive sales companies have the under tack show results posted on their websites, so with a little initiative, one can look up the breeze times themselves.

Walter said...

...i've heard about Breeze Figs, but i didn't know they had anything to do with under-tack shows...thought they were based on plain-old workouts...assuming you're correct, they sound very limited, because a large majority of unraced horses have never been involved in a 2yo sale...thanks for the heads-up though, i'll definitely look into it...