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Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Keeneland Speed Not That Easy

- I posted the other day about a column that Steve Klein wrote in the Form about speed at Keeneland. He was talking about the return on betting front runners and pointed out, for example:

Horses with early speed are very profitable in 1 1/16-mile races. The early leader won 27 percent of those races, and bettors more than doubled their money at an ROI of $4.04.
But now, looking at the races there today, I realize that that statistic is mostly worthless from a handicapping standpoint; it’s all after the fact. If it said the ROI was $4.04 on horses that had the best pace figures in their last start, then that would be something else. It doesn’t really help in determining who to bet other than to tell you to bet speed, which you already know. If it tells you anything useful, I guess it would be to don’t be afraid to bet longer-priced horses if you think it has a shot for the lead.

In the first today, at that 1 1/16 distance, Dark Cloud went wire to wire and returned $31.20. Could I have had him? I suppose; he did score in front-running fashion at Turfway in his last, but against much cheaper. On the other hand, he stumbled at the start before rushing up to the lead and won in a lifetime best Beyer that was competitive with everyone except even money Bail Out The King. Who’s a closer. There were three other horses who looked like it was possible they could lead. Those who bet on the plodding favorite could not have been happy when they saw the half go in 49 seconds, and he spun his wheels, finishing 4th.

All six dirt races went virtually wire-to-wire, including Dubai Escapade (Awesome Again) in the G2 Vinery Madison; bias or no bias, she was great. Ever Elusive was under a drive around the turn while Edgar Prado was just going easily on this $2 million Darley filly. It wasn’t until around midstretch that Prado got after her at all, and she was hand ridden home by almost five in 1:22.34; final eighth in 12.74 seconds.

Battle Won ran second in his return to Charging Indian; that’s probably enough to get him back on top in Watchmaker’s sprinters top ten. The winner is now undefeated in four starts for trainer Walter Bindner, and looks to be ready for stakes company. He’s a four-year old son of Indian Charlie out of a Marquetry mare. Storm Surge got bet again, this time finishing 5th at 7-2.