Derby Point Races 2018

Tessablue
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Sun Apr 22, 2018 9:27 pm

I don't know how he usually works, but all of Bolt's splits would have been a bullet this morning. He went pretty insanely fast given how slow the track apparently is and I thought he looked okay doing it, but I have no idea if this sort of work is a good thing two weeks out from the race.

Other thoughts- Justify and Good Magic looked fine, I expected a bit more from Vino Rosso given his morning glory reputation, Hofburg's work was kind of weird and not terribly encouraging, and I thought Audible's was fantastic compared to his pre-Florida Derby works and the way he usually runs. Happy to see him on the bridle early.
Somnambulist wrote:I used to be this huge ulta believer of having a work over the track but I think I got off that ship. They school and jog over the track. Most horses run over everything.

Unrelated, but I think this will be a stellar betting race.
Agreed on both counts, although I do suspect that Mendelssohn would be better-served if he came over here earlier. Pretty sure O'Brien always sends them very late, and his record in dirt races here is... not great.

And yeah this is shaping up to be an unbelievable betting race, especially if you aren't sold on Justify and/or Mendelssohn. And while I don't really care about the win odds in the Derby, Gronkowski is going to attract a lot of win money.
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Treve
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Sun Apr 22, 2018 9:33 pm

Somnambulist wrote:I used to be this huge ulta believer of having a work over the track but I think I got off that ship. They school and jog over the track. Most horses run over everything.

Unrelated, but I think this will be a stellar betting race.
I agree, I guess I was confused about some of the hand-wringing I've seen about Mendelssohn not getting a work over CD, as if that will make a difference? I like Baffert's logic on this: if a horse hates the track, shipping early is not gonna make him like it more... all it will do is give you unproductive works (maybe) and you won't come into the race in top shape.

Plus they tend to soup it up on Derby day anyway, the surface is different than what horses will likely be working over in the coming week and a half.
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Sparrow Castle
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Sun Apr 22, 2018 9:57 pm

In general, I agree with having a work over the track not being a necessity. The things that would most concern me would be acclimating to such things as weather and time zones. Mendelssohn didn't seem bothered by that though when he went to Dubai. I haven't yet ruled him out of my bets, waiting to see how he looks in the days before the race.

I was disappointed by Hofburg's work too. Didn't suggest to me that he was getting close to peak form, but I trust Mott to get his horse ready for a race.

On the other hand, I'm confused by Bolt's long quick work today after his slower 5f work on the 1st. I just wish I had more confidence in his trainer.
Somnambulist
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Sun Apr 22, 2018 10:11 pm

Everything I've read by Mott seems to indicate that 70% ready for this race is 100% ready enough, comparatively to decades past. How do we really like any horses who have barely any races to them?

I honestly like the idea of Mendelssohn a lot. AoB knows what he's doing. I don't underperform in a gym I'm not familiar with. Kentucky is humid too but it is in Europe also.
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Sparrow Castle
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Sun Apr 22, 2018 10:27 pm

Somnambulist wrote:Everything I've read by Mott seems to indicate that 70% ready for this race is 100% ready enough, comparatively to decades past. How do we really like any horses who have barely any races to them?

I honestly like the idea of Mendelssohn a lot. AoB knows what he's doing. I don't underperform in a gym I'm not familiar with. Kentucky is humid too but it is in Europe also.
Yeah, Mott's not going to destroy a horse's future just to get him to the Derby. And three races likely isn't enough to prepare him for the Derby. That's why I think it's important to watch for signs of readiness.

I'd be delighted to see AoB and Moore win the Derby. Right now I'm just deciding if that's where I'll put my money, lol.
BaroqueAgain1
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Sun Apr 22, 2018 10:35 pm

The remarks I've read from various trainers, who have chosen to keep their horse home while they prep for a big race, seem to be that they'd rather keep their horse happy and healthy in a familiar environment. There may be less chance for some unknown element(s) in new digs to start bringing his/her physical and/or mental health down.
Tessablue
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Sun Apr 22, 2018 10:51 pm

Personally I don't really mind a lack of experience if the horse got a lot out of their previous races and demonstrated some ability to handle adversity. Having a deep foundation is always a bonus because it gives the horse more chances to experience different race shapes and situations, but if the horse already has the ability and the mind when they break from the gate, I don't think it particularly matters how many races it took for them to get there. Hofburg broke his maiden from an impossible post and a wide trip, then he dropped back and took a ton of dirt in the Florida Derby. He idles a bit in the stretch but that's correctable, and I like knowing that he can handle different trips. It's the inexperienced horses who just gallop along in the lead or press cheap speed outside for their entire abbreviated careers that I try to stay far away from.

Not that I'm trying to convince anyone to bet Hofburg, because it's a totally valid concern and he's more likely to be a sucker bet than a winner, but that's a large part of why I'm so interested in him but so distrustful of Justify. I think it was katmandu who earlier pointed out that we have essentially no means of interpreting the way Justify looked in the stretch of the SA Derby because there's just no points of comparison. He's also literally never raced inside or behind another horse, so we have no idea how he'll respond to either situation.

re: Mendelssohn, I wish I could find O'Brien's dirt statistics again because from what I recall they are really poor (something like 2-for-60 with an abysmal ROI). There's no way to know if that record would be better or worse if he changed up the way he ships, but it's not very comforting and I actually don't love that Moore will be on him either. But O'Brien's horses do sometimes pop up and run huge races on the dirt here- poor Master of Hounds ran remarkably well in the Derby.
Somnambulist
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Sun Apr 22, 2018 10:59 pm

We have no way of best interpreting any of it... Hofburg or Justify included. I guess over the course of time how could anyone really trust any 3 year old so early in their 3 year old year? The idea that American racing has it's identity so rooted in something as asinine as this grows more insane yearly. Having a TC winner becomes more mind-boggling by the year for me. Of the two, I'd probably go with a Baffert than I would a Mott/Juddmonte.... yuck.

I guess in addition to what TB said above that maybe none of them have foundation, so out of said no foundation, who looks the best.

Stats are stats. They're wonderful until they're not and vice versa. This crop is loaded with talent but the stats for any of them can't be great.
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Spahny
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Sun Apr 22, 2018 11:05 pm

Hofburg's work is interesting because we get to see it. Otherwise it would just like any other 5f work in the form. 1:01.60.

They wanted him to finish inside of his workmate. Maybe he was being schooled as much as he was being worked? It's possible he did exactly as asked.
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Sparrow Castle
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Sun Apr 22, 2018 11:19 pm

That brings to mind this Tweet. Maybe adjusting the breeding season would put them more on even terms? Although I don't think a few weeks would really make any difference in building foundation. But yeah, none of them really have much of a foundation or consistency. That's what makes this race so hard/fun to figure out. What is the record of January foals in the TC races?
https://twitter.com/TomRyanKY/status/988068373786488832

Tom Ryan@TomRyanKY
12h12 hours ago
May foals & likely starters in the 2018 @KentuckyDerby

Combatant May 2
Free Drop Billy May 3
Magnum Moon May 8
Promises Fulfilled May 11
Mendelssohn May 17
———————————Northern Dancer May 27*
Thunder Gulch May 23
War Admiral May 2

IMO Season should start march 1st & end in July
BaroqueAgain1
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Sun Apr 22, 2018 11:36 pm

It was Declaration of War's good run in a BC Classic that make me think O'Brien is getting better with his dirt runners.
Of course, most of his racehorses are Galileo's who just don't want anything to do with the brown stuff. :lol:
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Treve
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Sun Apr 22, 2018 11:44 pm

Oh I definitely agree there are questions about Mendelssohn, but I found this whole hand-wringing with regards to working over the surface instead of just jogging or galloping to be an odd thing to obsess over, since it certainly won't be a unique factor come Derby day, and hasn't necessarily impeded good performers. I remember around the DWC AOB stated in an interview that their method of shipping late is specifically to avoid acclimation issues (it sounds counter-intuitive but he explained that basically what can end up happening is the longer the horse is in a new climate, and the more negatively the horse can be affected if the climate doesn't gel well with him, whereas if he were only there a few days he wouldn't have the time to get 'counter-habituated'). Regarding the Dirt stats of his trainer, I wouldn't be too worried, how many actual dirt horses has he started with? How many dirt horses has he trained as such right from the start with a long term goal of a big dirt race? Has he ever had a horse that was not only specifically bred for dirt, but trained on dirt, and ran on dirt before a big dirt race? Without looking it up I'm pretty confident the answer to that number would be 0... Ballydoyle does not have a dirt training track, and they don't run on real dirt in Europe, logically any exclusive dirt runners that Coolmore (or Magnier, Tabor) have owned have been US based. I do find it interesting that he says when Coolmore purchased Mendelssohn the target was the Kentucky Derby, yet they chose to send him to AOB instead of a US trainer. I'm not entirely sure what that says, but I think it says a fair bit and I think it's mostly positive (but I could be dead wrong :lol: )

Regarding lack of foundation in certain runners... I do think though that running 10f requires a certain level of fitness, that I have a hard time seeing possible achieving without prior adequate running and/or to palliate actual starts, training. Of course as Som says if they all lack foundation that levels off the playing field but I wonder if that could potentially mean we will see less and less impressive and/or fast KY Derby performances in the coming years. At this point I'm going to be a bit more biased to the few horses that are more seasoned than the others. Will be interesting to see what happens in the next 13 days. So close yet so far, still a long way to Louisville, a lot can happen. I believe Quip still isn't confirmed at this point for example.

About foaling dates dunno the overall record for tc races individually but as far as actual triple crown winners we have:
February: 3 (Seattle Slew, February 15th) (Affirmed, February 21st) (American Pharoah, February 2nd)
March: 5 (Gallant Fox, March 23rd) (Omaha, March 24th) (Count Fleet, March 24th) (Assault, March 26th) (Secretariat, March 30th)
April: 2 (Sir Barton, April 26th) (Whirlaway, April 2nd) (Citation, April 11th)
May: 1 (War Admiral, May 2nd)

It is interesting that the last three triple crown winners have been born in February, and while March boasts the highest number overall of triple crown kings, never more than two March winners in a row. Of course to get a real sense of whether this stat is significant or not, you'd have to compare the foaling dates of the horses they ran against. In the mean time... When it comes to KY Derby winners, since the points system, all winners except for Nyquist (March 10th) had February foaling dates (Orb, California Chrome, American Pharoah, Always Dreaming). Going beyond the points... One notable May winner they missed is Mine That Bird (May 10th) but going back from the present to Fusaichi Pegasus
January: 0
February: 9
March: 3
April: 5
May: 1

... I might be bored enough tonight to keep working back through the decades and then compare to Preakness and Belmont Stakes winners, please hold :lol:
Last edited by Treve on Mon Apr 30, 2018 8:44 am, edited 1 time in total.
A filly named Ruffian...

Eine Stute namens Danedream...

Une pouliche se nommant Trêve...

Kincsem nevű kanca...


And a Queen named Beholder
tcw
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Sun Apr 22, 2018 11:51 pm

While there's still a lot to consider at this point, such as post positions, etc., the more I size-up this field, the more (like Haskin) I like Vino Rosso. Another who looks good is Audible, although one area with him that looks questionable is his pedigree (even though he's closed well). Overall this field looks very good, with some who appear very talented but lack experience, while there are others that have more racing experience but look suspect in other areas such as speed figs, pedigree, etc.
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Sparrow Castle
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Mon Apr 23, 2018 12:31 am

Ooo...nice stats, Treve! This below doesn't factor in the change to a points system, which I think is significant, but I found the Derby winners by month of birth through 2016 and the 2017 starters. Not the other TC races. (I had to stop and eat dinner, it was past 8pm and I was about to faint.) With the limited number of years it's been in existence, it looks like the points system may have taken away the advantage that January foals had. There sure aren't many May foals in there.
http://www.bettingmarket.com/kdymonth.html

Kentucky Derby Winners by Month of Birth 1966-2015(%).
Jan Feb Mar Apr May
35% 23% 22% 13% 8%

I do remember them talking about Mendelssohn was always thought of as a Derby contender, which I thought odd until I remembered how much Darley wants to win the Derby with a UAE-trained horse. Could be something similar with Coolmore. I'm not too worried about the dirt. This horse seems to one that can run well on any surface.

I also remember them talking about the reason for shipping in late, just not sure I agree with it. But that might be because it takes me almost a week to adjust to severe time changes. But I've heard old-timers say that racing right off the van/flight is a betting angle.

When I think of foundation, I think of race experiences more so than fitness. Once a horse is fit, I think a good many can stay fit through workouts (though some horses are harder to keep fit than others). Some of these contenders have had more experiences than others in their few races and that's why Justify concerns me still, which has been mentioned.

I love that you're bored enough to do some stat making!
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Treve
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Mon Apr 23, 2018 12:40 am

EDIT: Sparrow Castle thanks for the link! It doesn't seem to line up with the information I found manually, but I am going to crosscheck into equibase, I am thinking some horses have been mistakenly attributed to January.

Kentucky Derby
Total (from 1940 to 2017)
January: 2
February: 20
March: 27
April: 20
May: 8
Unknown: 1

2000 - 2017
January: 0
February: 9
March: 3
April: 5
May: 1

1990-1999
January: 1
February: 1
March: 6
April: 1
May: 1

1980-1989
January: 0
February: 3
March: 4
April: 1
May: 2 (Spend a Buck, Pleasant Colony)

1970-1979
January: 0
February: 4
March: 3
April: 2
May: 1 (Cannonade)

1960-1969
January: 1
February: 1
March: 4
April: 2
May: 2 (Lucky Debonair, Northern Dancer)

1950-1959
January: * Hill Gail is marked as being foaled on January 1st, in equibase but there is no date on wiki which I take to mean his actual foaling date is unknown.
February: 0
March: 2
April: 6
May: 1 (Tomy Lee)

1940-1949
January: 0
February: 2
March: 5
April: 3
May: 0

I started looking at the 30s but at least half the horses are missing a definitive foal date, and I figure it'll be even murkier the further back I go. Overall it seems March is the most dominant month in the majority of decades except for the last two (i.e. the aughts and our current decade) and the 70s which have been dominated by February. Perhaps the most interesting aspect is that while May has produced few winners... January has only produced two Derby winners in 77 years! Gonna take a look at the Preakness and Belmont next.
A filly named Ruffian...

Eine Stute namens Danedream...

Une pouliche se nommant Trêve...

Kincsem nevű kanca...


And a Queen named Beholder
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Sparrow Castle
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Mon Apr 23, 2018 12:56 am

Yeah, the link I posted has screwed up data. Just by spot-checking, a lot of horses they have foaled in Jan were actually foaled in other months. Perhaps, January is the default setting unless an actual date is entered.
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Treve
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Mon Apr 23, 2018 1:22 am

Yeah I cross checked into equibase and unfortunately that list is inaccurate as for the January horses... not sure why so many of them ended up marked as January? I guess either the person entering data didn't look very far and the program defaults to January as you suggest. I could find only one horse from 1990 to the present had an actual January foal date that won the Kentucky Derby. That was Grindstone (January 23rd). And the only other horse with a definitive January foal date going back to 1940 is Proud Clarion (January 19th).

Preakness Stakes
Total (1940 - 2017)
January: 1
February: 14
March: 23
April: 24
May: 8
Unknown: 8

2000-2017
January: 1 (Rachel Alexandra)
February: 6
March: 4
April: 5
May: 2 (Lookin At Lucky, Afleet Alex)

1990-1999
January: 0
February: 1
March: 6
April: 2
May: 1 (Pine Bluff)

1980-1989
January: 0
February: 1
March: 5
April: 1
May: 3 (Tank's Prospect, Deputed Testamony, Pleasant Colony)

1970-1979
January: 0
February: 3
March: 2
April: 4
May: 1 (Personality)

1960-1969
January: * Greek Money's foal date on Equibase is marked as January 1st which I am going to take as meaning it is unknown... at least not definitively.
February: 1
March: 2
April: 5
May: 1 (Northern Dancer)

1950-1959
January: * Hasty Road, Blue Man, Bold and Hill Prince's foal dates on Equibase is marked as January 1st which I am going to take as meaning it is unknown... at least not definitively.
February: 0
March: 1
April: 5
May: 0

1940-1949
January: *Capot, Faultless, Alsab's foal date on Equibase is marked as January 1st which I am going to take as meaning it is unknown... at least not definitively.
February: 2
March: 3
April: 2
May: 0

Preakness winners are less well documented than Kentucky Derby winners, unsurprisingly. The Preakness stakes seems to favour April foals slightly over March foals. May foals fared the same as in the Kentucky Derby. February winners lost a little bit of ground here. There was a much larger number of unknown birthdates although given how those tend to be in older decades I'm going to guess that they are definitively not January foals, simply because I strongly suspect that the further back in time we go, and the more foals will have been born during the natural breeding season, instead of our current man-made one including inducing heat in mares. Next stop, Belmont.
A filly named Ruffian...

Eine Stute namens Danedream...

Une pouliche se nommant Trêve...

Kincsem nevű kanca...


And a Queen named Beholder
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Treve
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Mon Apr 23, 2018 2:05 am

Belmont Stakes
Total (1940-2017)
January: 0
February: 9
March: 21
April: 30
May: 9
Unknown: 8

2000-2017
January: 0
February: 4
March: 5
April: 6
May: 3 (Palace Malice, Afleet Alex, Birdstone)

1990-1999
January: 0
February: 0
March: 3
April: 3
May: 4 (Lemon Drop Kid - May 26th!, Victory Gallop May 30th! Touch Gold May 26th, Thunder Gulch - May 23rd)

1980-1989
January: 0
February: 0
March: 5
April: 5
May: 0

1970-1979
January: 0
February: 2
March: 4
April: 4
May: 0

1960-1969
January: * Celtic Ash's foal date is written down as January 1st in Equibase for a horse foaled in Ireland... I'm going to guess the true date is unknown.
February: 1
March: 0
April: 6
May: 2 (Stage Door Johnny, Hail to All)

1950-1959
January: *Cavan's foal date is written down as January 1st in Equibase for a horse foaled in England... I'm going to guess the true date is unknown. As is High Gun, One Count and Counterpoint (USA).
February: 0
March: 2
April: 4
May: 0

1940-1949
January: *Capot, Phalanx, Pavot, Bounding Home
February: 2
March: 2
April: 2
May: 0

I'm sure this doesn't shock anyone if I remark that February foals seem to lose their advantage here, and March foals begin losing ground with April emerging as the dominant month overall. One statistical blip that piqued my interest at first was the 90s where 4 May foals won, and they were all late May foals, specifically. Out of the three TC races it is also the only one with 0 verifiable January foaled winners. My guess is that the average January foals probably have an advantage as 2yos, but quickly lose ground as their peers turn 3. I would also say that in older decades the more natural breeding seasons simply produced January foals less frequently.
Anyway this is cursory data... I should probably make a spreadsheet and then see if I can track down the birthdate of other starters to compare and see if there seems to be a real advantage to certain months, or if you simply just have more foals born overall to begin with, within certain months.
A filly named Ruffian...

Eine Stute namens Danedream...

Une pouliche se nommant Trêve...

Kincsem nevű kanca...


And a Queen named Beholder
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Sparrow Castle
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Mon Apr 23, 2018 2:16 am

Yep, good work, but looking at this from a betting angle, not sure how meaningful it is.

Four of the past five Derby winners (since the points system was implemented) were foaled in February and the other one was March 10 (NYQUIST).

April's well-represented in the historical charts, but we have only one April contender this year (SOLOMINI) and he was foaled late in the month (April 29). GRONKOWSKI barely held on for a February foal date, but close to American Pharoah's foal date (February 2).

If any of the January or May-foaled horses win it, they would be out of the ordinary. But I think it's likely there are more foals born in February, March, and April. But, hey, there's not a lot separating some of these contenders.

Here's the complete list of current contenders by foal date:

MY BOY JACK - 1/26
BRAVAZO - 1/29
GRONKOWSKI - 2/1
HOFBURG - 2/11
AUDIBLE - 2/19
QUIP - 2/19
FLAMEAWAY - 2/28
GOOD MAGIC - 3/1
BOLT D'ORO - 3/17
FIRENZE FIRE - 3/17
ENTICED - 3/23
JUSTIFY - 3/28
VINO ROSSO - 3/29
LONE SAILOR - 3/30
NOBLE INDY - 3/31
SOLOMINI - 4/29
COMBATANT - 5/2
FREE DROP BILLY - 5/3
MAGNUM MOON - 5/9
PROMISES FULFILLED - 5/11
MENDELSSOHN - 5/17
MySaladDays
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Mon Apr 23, 2018 3:56 am

Sparrow Castle wrote:I think a good many can stay fit through workouts (though some horses are harder to keep fit than others).
A very good point. Colonel John was notorious, according to Eoin Harty, to keep in condition. Horse would lose condition in the blink of an eye. Was very difficult to keep him fit on the derby trail .... was running 1st's and 2nd's and then that 6th in the Derby was heartbreaking..

I don't have time this year but in years past I have put together the #of furlongs raced/worked on the ky derby contenders. This often will give an idea of fitness. I don't go back to 2017, only do for the present year. If anyone has done it or feels like doing it. :)
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