Kennedy wrote:March 12, 2018
1. Bolt D’Oro (1)
2. Audible (2)
3. McKinzie (3)
4. Catholic Boy (4)
5. Good Magic (5)
6. Bravazo (8)
7. Flameaway (new)
8. Quip (new)
9. Instilled Regard (new)
10. Vino Rosso (9)
On the Radar: Instilled Regard, Promises Fulfilled, Mourinho, Noble Indy, Combatant, Justify, Mendelssohn, Nero
Dropped: Tiz Mischief (6), Untamed Domain (7), Free Drop Billy (10)
One of the things I like to do as a personal discipline is to try and keep getting better by picking up on areas that have historically been a knowledge gap or weakness. Last year I started my focus on trying to understand pace a little better. I’m sure I have a fractured understanding but I am increasingly convinced that pace, projections and closing fractions do contain clues to true ability and forward progress. I’m not expert on how to really calculate and then harness those clues but I’m giving it a shot.
I say that to preface my perspective on some of the racing action that took place this weekend which I think means that I’m taking a stand on some horses that seems non-sensical.
My interest in any of the Gotham runners has been permanently ended. I added Free Drop Billy to my list last week because I couldn’t find anyone interesting but it was against my better judgment and I think the Gotham confirmed that while he and Firenze Fire will likely have the points to be in the Derby they shouldn’t go. They’re not going get better with distance and there just isn’t any point unless the owners really want to walk over and soak in the aura.
Enticed may have won but from a 10f projection and closing fraction perspective he was actually worse in the Gotham than he was in the Holy Bull. I think he’s not a Derby horse, he won’t like the added ground and he’s the kind of horse who, if he runs, would never get his name mentioned and run 16th.
Despite the hype and the nice looking BSF I’m not on the Justify band wagon. It’s not the two lifetime starts and lack of experience at two years old. I just don’t think his two turn debut showed the kind of special ability that points to Derby success. His closing fraction was 13.4. That is unbelievably poor for an 8f race. I know he was being eased like crazy but good horses don’t come home that slow. I’m not falling for him based on the evidence that exists and I would most definitely play against him in a 9f prep.
Bolt D’Oro and McKinzie were great and from a Derby perspective I actually don’t care about the bumping, the DQ and all the controversy. At the end of the Day both horses confirmed their status as elite contenders. Personally I thought that there was nothing to pick at in a negative way for either horse but I still do have Bolt D’Oro as the better Derby candidate of the two. I just think that there is so much more in the tank and he’s a powerfully built horse that will go from strength to strength. McKinzie is all talent but somehow I feel he is less robust as a 10f horse. We’ve seen Derbies won on talent alone so I think along with Audible these are the three who are well above the rest.
I thought the TB Derby was another example of what to expect from this crop and why all the other contenders aside from my top 3 are so hard to nail down. I think they’re all a touch ordinary and each one can have their day. Quip ran a good race and did what he had to given the way the race unfolded. The pace was really slow so closers were always going to be up against it. Quip finished up like a decent horse but seems like he is probably second tier.
I think Flameaway was probably the top horse coming out of the TB Derby just because he was given no chance based on the pace of the race the trouble he had and the trip they ended up with. The first half was in :49 and he was in 4th place at that time. Even a final closing split of 12.2 wasn’t enough to get him there but you feel like he was probably the horse with the best future prospects. My biggest concern is that he is a bit slow on the speed scale. You know he’s got to do much better than that to compete in prime time.
I haven’t dropped Vino Rosso yet for two reasons. #1 There isn’t a big list of horses I like that are just waiting to knock him off. And #2 I think the trip and tactics screwed him up in the TB Derby and he could do better. The blinkers, the up close trip, the slow pace..it all seemed to combine to take him out of his game. I don’t know if he’s all that good but I feel like this crop could eventually play into the hands of one closer and maybe he’s that closer.
Look at all the preps, there has been very little passing in general and on the lead or near the lead has been the place to be almost every time. I have to think that eventually we’ll get a race that implodes and sets up for a closer. I’m not sure if Vino Rosso is that closer necessarily but he could be.
Kennedy It so nice to see someone who look at horses and tries to improve on prediction the outcome of a race. I hate to see you drop Free Drop Billy he is on my list to play in 3rd and you are right he cannot win and he will take 3rd if he get the right post. You said you are looking into pace I for one look at true time yards per second.
As a race predictor you should have rules to play by sample:
(1) Kentucky derby play horses who don’t give up ground. Exception you can forgive a horse for one bad race but not two.
(2) Kentucky derby always play a horse who has never been out of the money in 2nd or 3rd.
(3) In K>D> watch for 1 3/16 pole horse on top will be there in 2 weeks.