In a prior article we discussed the dynamics of a horse “stretching out” from a short race (sprint) to a longer race (route). In particular, we covered the paradox that often occurs when a horse closes in a sprint race, comes up short, and appears to just “need a little more ground.” Click here for review of that article.
In that article we provided an example of a horse named Pan Dulce, who finished 2nd in a 6-furlong race at Belmont, and subsequently was the 9-5 favorite in an 8-furlong race at Saratoga. Unfortunately, for supporters of this horse, she tired in that race and was a well beaten 3rd. But, the story doesn’t end there, and in fact her next move back into a sprint race provides material for the cutback angle. Read More >>
In a prior article we introduced the concept of Pace Figures and demonstrated an example with the Preakness winner Oxbow on how important they are in evaluating a race. Click here for a review of that article. On Saturday, July 27 I sent a text to my handicapper friend Vince saying “I think Kauai Katie is beatable today.” My thinking was based on the Pace Figures for the race, and my presumption that she is a “need to lead” type of horse. By that I mean a horse that needs to set an uncontested early pace to do their best running. Often, this type of horse gets discouraged if they are pressured early in the race.
First, in case you aren’t familiar with the race outcome, let me set the stage. Kauai Katie opened up at 1-9 odds, and remained that way for a long time. At post time she went off at 2-5 odds. A heavy favorite. Read More >>
In a prior article we explained that Sprints are short races (less than 1 mile) and Routes are long races (1 mile or more). We also opined that some horses are better suited to run in Sprints while others prefer a Route of ground. Frequently you will come upon a horse that has been running in Sprint races and is now stretching out for the first time in a Route race. You look at the Past Performances (PPs) and find in her Sprint races she has been steadily gaining ground at the end, but often falling short. You surmise (enter the Paradox) that “if she only had a little more ground” she would eventually catch the leaders and win the race. So when she is finally entered in a Route race, you think “Aha, perfect … this horse is going to win for sure.” Unfortunately, many times you will be wrong. Hence, completion of the paradox. Two examples follow. Read More >>
Hang around the race track enough and you’ll hear someone refer to a horse as one of those “Horses for Courses.” In fact I was sitting in the carousel (at Saratoga) on Monday when I heard a handicapper behind me say those exact words regarding a horse in the feature race. This is not unique to Saratoga, but it sure seems be a regular occurrence here. Some speculate that it’s the atmosphere, weather, or mineral water that does the trick. I’m not sure how many horses get to drink the mineral water, but maybe there’s something to that.
In four days of racing, I can identify three winners that can be classified as “Horses for Courses.” And, something they all had in common … they were double-digit odds. Here’s a recap of each horse, including their PPs for review. Read More >>
In a prior post we defined what we consider to be the Basic elements of handicapping: Distance, Form, Class, and Pace. Since that post we’ve provided an explanation of what each means, and how they are presented in the Daily Racing Form. In the first race of the first day of racing at Saratoga 2013, the winning horse Hardest Core provided a clear example of how a winning selection can be made using these Basic elements. Below is the Past Performances (PPs) for Hardest Core, complete with my markings. You can click on the PPs image for a larger view if you’re having trouble reading it. Read More >>