Derby Lists 2017

Re: Derby Lists 2017

Postby Tessablue » Fri Apr 21, 2017 12:51 pm

After finally looking at PPs, I'm cooling on McCracken considerably (and I was already pretty ambivalent towards him). I don't trust the Sam Davis at all, and if you're critical of that race he ends up fitting the profile of a nice 2yo who never moved forward at 3 (as an aside, Practical Joke looks like a classic stuck-in-neutral 3yo, in the same vein as Mohaymen and Nobiz). While I worry that he's going to sneak up underneath and ruin everything, he isn't brilliant and I'd rather take a shot with a closer who has more potential upside at much better odds (Hence and Patch).

Always Dreaming is favored offshores right now, but Pletcher horses tend to project at low odds until they show up at Churchill and look terrible during their works. If AD instead impresses, he may well stay around 5-1 or 6-1. Classic Empire does appear to be the likely favorite right now and may be bet down more than expected, given the public's apparent love for 2yo champions. Irish War Cry will likely be the third choice unless Always Dreaming drifts up a lot, with McCracken fourth.

Here's is the resource I use to check international odds- https://www.oddschecker.com/horse-racing/ante-post-racing/international/kentucky-derby/winner. In my experience, it is not good at predicting race-day win odds. However, Derby win odds are often bizarre and difficult to project, and these odds are good for estimating value in the exotic and multirace pools. Notably, Hence hasn't moved at all despite all the buzz after the AK Derby.

Question for those who like Irish War Cry- any concern that he will have only one work prior to the Derby, and that it won't be at Churchill? Animal Kingdom was a very different horse, but I do recall that his brilliant CD work put him on a lot of radars prior to the Derby.
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Re: Derby Lists 2017

Postby Somnambulist » Fri Apr 21, 2017 12:59 pm

Concern, yes. Maybe he's just real fit right now.

Perhaps my faith in Motion is over rated.
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Re: Derby Lists 2017

Postby peeptoad » Fri Apr 21, 2017 2:21 pm

Tessablue wrote:

Question for those who like Irish War Cry- any concern that he will have only one work prior to the Derby, and that it won't be at Churchill? Animal Kingdom was a very different horse, but I do recall that his brilliant CD work put him on a lot of radars prior to the Derby.

I wouldn't say that I "like" IWC any more than other candidate really, but the reports from all sources I can find post-Wood were that the AQ strip was very slow and tiring that day. I think it might be one reason why the closing pace was slow and why, possibly, he might only have one real workout, but I'm just hazarding a guess.
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Re: Derby Lists 2017

Postby MySaladDays » Fri Apr 21, 2017 2:31 pm

Tessablue wrote:Question for those who like Irish War Cry- any concern that he will have only one work prior to the Derby, and that it won't be at Churchill?


Ever look at the stats on this?

I have.

Horses that don't work at CD either win the KY Derby, or quite often, they don't hit the board.

chrome and a number of others only had one work and not at CD when they won

Some with only 1 work at CD win, like Orb, Animal Kingdom, Fusaichi Pegasus, Smarty Jones, Big Brown, Mine that Bird, American Pharoah, tc. seems to be the sweet spot!

Interestingly, and separate from that, workers at CD comprise the superfecta about 25% of the time.

This is a pretty potent angle, actually. Hope it helps somebody.


Speaking of works, I am busy moving, and don't have TV or internet for at least 3/4 of the week now, can somebody tell me who is ON THE GROUNDS and working at CD yet? Thanks!
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Re: Derby Lists 2017

Postby Kennedy » Fri Apr 21, 2017 4:08 pm

I can take a crack (is that a pun?) at the defense or explanation of McCraken's Derby prospects. I don't mind sharing what I see in him.

Two year old form only has a mild impact on my ultimate Derby selection but it generally has a major impact on my Derby lists especially in the early part. I watch races and just try to evaluate horses based on things I like. McCraken certainly caught the eye in his rise to prominence as a 2yo. Not only was he winning but he was able to do it from off the pace and he was really driving past horses and doing it with a sense of ease and professionalism you don't see in many horses. I think most people recognized that and he was understandably one of the few really well thought of 2yo's from a Derby perspective.

His 3yo campaign is maybe a little harder to read but I thought the Sam Davis was one of the best preps overall. The speed figures were solid by every measure. His closing fractions were great, the projected times were excellent and the form held up completely through the next round of preps. He showed nice improvement of his 2yo form by achieving his best lifetime BSF, BRISspeed, and LP figure. So in my mind the trajectory of improvement was set and the talent level as a 2yo confirmed.

Then the wheels came off a bit and he had the physical setback. Almost no one has a setback in the spring and comes back solid enough for the Derby so the hopes of catching up enough to win the Bluegrass seemed remote to me. Then the way the Bluegrass unfolded made the race basically a throwout for me. He didn't run with his usual off the pace style and I think he was put into the race far too early and never allowed to properly settle and make one run. The pace was also slow so that tactic likely wouldn't have worked anyway.

So now you have to either take his BlueGrass as a true reflection or as a throwout. I think the pattern of prepping, the history of the Bluegrass and the way the race unfolded are all strong arguments for a toss. We all know it but Nafzger/Wilkes horses often run below their best in their final race. Street Sense, Unbridled, Unshaded and Fort Larned all won the major races they targeted whether it be the Derby, Classic or Travers and all of them ran poorly in their final prep with many of them being many lengths adrift of the winner offering little. Even Banshee Breeze from the same system ran a dull third while well backed in the Ashland only to miss winning the Oaks by a neck. There is a live pattern going here.

It's not only the trainer pattern. The Bluegrass itself has a history littered with well backed horses running poorly or losing and running well in the Derby while the winners failed badly in the Derby. Bluegrass Cat, Closing Argument and Invisible Ink are perhaps foremost among that group because of how bad they were in the Bluegrass and how remarkably they turned it around at CD.

McCraken wasn't even that bad. The average last BSF among the probable Derby starters was 89, he got an 88. The average Derby wining prep BSF for this field is 94, his top winning fig this year is 95. I use a calculation to evaluate a runners last 2 races ((avg prep winning fig x 2) - avg improvement of Derby winner from their last prep) and McCrakens last 2 race combine to be right in line with the field expectation. Horses like Always Dreaming, Classic Empire, Gormley, Hence and Practical Joke are his inferior by the same measure.

Someone mentioned that they would throw out the Sam Davis and I think if you choose to do that he definitely loses some appeal. However I would say that very few horses in this Derby look very good if you toss their best race. Also if I were choosing one race to toss in his career it would not be the one where he took yet another step of logically expected improvement over a field that confirmed his form next time out. I'd prefer to toss the race where he was coming off an injury facing a slow pace in a race that has traditionally yielded odd results.

I have every reason to think that he will return to top form over a surface he certainly handled in the past and show the improvement that is normal for a good horse at this stage in his career. That puts him in the 101 BSF range if you want to express it by speed figures and I think that will be enough to win this race amongst an inconsistent group with a lot of speed that should play into the hands of the closers.

I have no idea if any of my above assumptions will prove to be true but for now they are what guide my opinion.
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Re: Derby Lists 2017

Postby MySaladDays » Fri Apr 21, 2017 4:22 pm

Kennedy wrote:Then the wheels came off a bit and he had the physical setback.


ANY interruption in a horse's training, for something like the KY Derby, is concerning to most people. I think that is pretty normal. It is concerning to the trainers, too, I'm sure.

OTOH, Big Brown was running on a hoof that was practically not there, held together with wires and plastics, etc.

The question will always be "is the horse a good enough CHAMPION to overcome just about anything?" Some get a tummy ache and can't compete. Others are like my labrador retriever, the "hardest" dog I've ever owned, you couldn't make him wince if you tried (not that I would try). He is just hard as nails.....he split his leg open from ankle to groin on a barbed wire fence, 200 staples in surgery, and acted like nothing was wrong the whole time. My other one was a wimp....you could barely cut his toenails, the least bit of anything he would practically melt down :lol: ).

And everyone will have differing opinions about that.
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Re: Derby Lists 2017

Postby Kennedy » Fri Apr 21, 2017 4:35 pm

MySaladDays wrote:
Kennedy wrote:Then the wheels came off a bit and he had the physical setback.


ANY interruption in a horse's training, for something like the KY Derby, is concerning to most people. I think that is pretty normal. It is concerning to the trainers, too, I'm sure.

OTOH, Big Brown was running on a hoof that was practically not there, held together with wires and plastics, etc.

The question will always be "is the horse a good enough CHAMPION to overcome just about anything?" Some get a tummy ache and can't compete. Others are like my labrador retriever, the "hardest" dog I've ever owned, you couldn't make him wince if you tried (not that I would try). He is just hard as nails.....he split his leg open from ankle to groin on a barbed wire fence, 200 staples in surgery, and acted like nothing was wrong the whole time. My other one was a wimp....you could barely cut his toenails, the least bit of anything he would practically melt down :lol: ).

And everyone will have differing opinions about that.


But the question from a Derby perspective is not "are they a champion" but rather "how good are they going to be TODAY?"

"Today" is all that matters in the Derby and plenty of non-champs win the race. We don't really need to figure out who might get the hall of fame nomination. Animal Kingdom was as much a winner as American Pharoah.
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Re: Derby Lists 2017

Postby Kennedy » Fri Apr 21, 2017 4:55 pm

Big Ten wrote:I don't usually agree with Kennedy's top pick. I wasn't around when Orb won it. I haven't agreed with his top pick since 2005 with High Fly.


This is generally a wise stance with few exceptions. Most of my best work came before I became so "smart"

Single selections in the Kentucky Derby
1997 - Captain Bodgit (2nd)
1998 - Victory Gallop (2nd)
1999 - Charismatic (1st)
2000 - Fusaichi Pegasus (1st)
2001 - Monarchos (1st)
2002 - Private Emblem (14th)
2003 - Empire Maker (2nd)
2004 - The Cliffs Edge (5th)
2005 - High Fly - (10th)
2006 - Brother Derek (4th)
2007 - Dominican (11th)
2008 - Colonel John (6th)
2009 - Papa Clem (4th)
2010 - Conveyance (15th)
2011 - Soldat (11th)
2012 - Creative Cause (5th)
2013 - Orb (1st)
2014 - Dance With Fate (6th)
2015 - Upstart (18th)
2016 - Creator (13th)

I've basically been hopeless for 15 years. Amazingly I still show a flat bet profit among the 20 renewals where I've chosen a single horse but it has been a barren run. I think i tend to outsmart myself with all the facts and figures. This years promises the same allure because while I like McCraken with my senses the more I dig into the numbers the more I would find myself going for a horse like Gunnevera or perhaps Girvin. They likely better fit the profile that often attracts me however a cursory glance at the results shows that I have pretty terrible time figuring out the profile that leads to winning :)
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Re: Derby Lists 2017

Postby MySaladDays » Sat Apr 22, 2017 4:24 am

Kennedy wrote:But the question from a Derby perspective is not "are they a champion" but rather "how good are they going to be TODAY?"


I should have defined terms when I said "champion". To me, any horse who gets out on the track and gives their ALL, courageously and 100%, and takes on obstacles and setbacks, is such a one.

As far as "today", what are they going to do, that's every race. :lol:
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Re: Derby Lists 2017

Postby Ballerina » Sat Apr 22, 2017 10:14 am

$1 super box Classic Empire, Irish War Cry, Gunnavera, and McCrakin. Won't pay much, but it'll pay something.
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