Saturday, November 4, 2017

The Nomination Is In: The Breeders' Cup Turf

Highland Reel (Ire)- Jesse Caris, Eclipse Sportswire

Welcome Friends to The Turk and the Little Turk blog.  Friends, I'm a handicapper and gambler first and blogger second, and its days like today when I'm handicapping a lot of races with a bunch of racetrack capital in play that the needle moves more towards degenerate and less towards writer.  I wanted to at least blog my full thoughts about one race before I get lost in the gambling action and I choose one of the harder mysteries for players, the G1 Breeders' Cup Turf.  What makes it hard?  Usually a very big field of outstanding Euro invaders along with the best in the division from North America.  It's complicated by Euros that mostly run on softer ground, speed figs that don't align Beyer's and pace projections that can be challenging to predict.  I find the complexity of the issues the fun part and armed with two sets of Past Performances, a US Timeform and a DRF Formulator, I try to tackle this one head on.  Let's get it on!

I'm looking to the best from North America this year, Beach Patrol, as my chalk.  Chad Brown has Rosario up again (29% winners) and they have won two straight, including last time out Belmont Turf Classic G1 and the Arlington Million G1 before that.  I love the 4 YO's drive and acceleration.

I see little difference in my next group.  Ulysses (Ire) is a very classy 4 YO Galileo (Ire) son with impressive Sir Michael Stoute training and Dettori, up.  I expect he will be the chalk:  6 of 6 in the money in 2017 with $2.2 MM in earnings.  His Juddmonte International G1 win in late August was impressive.

Hunt (Ire) I have more forward that I possibly should have him but I love his two summer 2017 Del Mar Grade 2 wins.  No, he didn't really beat anyone in either win.  I did like Itsinthe post (Fr) in the Del Mar Handicap.

Highland Reel (Ire) and Oscar Performance make up my next grouping.  Highland Reel (Ire) is the defending champ for Trainer Aidan O'Brien, and his last strong performance was Prince of Wales Stakes G1 in June.

Oscar Performance is 4 of 6 in the money in 2017 with $1.1 MM in earnings.  6 wins in 10 turf starts but winless at the distance in only 1 try.  I don't like 3 YO's in this spot.

Fanciful Angel and Sadler's Joy have nice late turns of foot and should be moving forward near the end of the race.  Decorated Knight and Bigger Picture round out my contenders to hit the board.

Have fun with it friends.  Good luck with the gambling.

Turk Out!

I'd be remiss to not remember George Washington, who died at the end of the Breeders' Cup Classic 10 years ago. Gorgeous George was one of my all time favorites and it bothered me to see him brought out of retirement and then run over that sloppy course.  He deserved better.  Rest in Peace George.

George Washington as I want to remember him

Monday, October 23, 2017

Post Race Analysis of the Maryland Million Classic

Bonus Points

Welcome Friends to The Turk and The Little Turk Blog.

This past weekend's handicap of the Maryland Million Classic was pretty spot on and produced $695.80 on Trifecta and Exacta wins and unfortunately I left a very winable $627.50 Superfecta in the register.

As I said pre race, I mostly assembled value exactas around my base handicap, focusing on Ghost Bay, Clubman or Southside Warrior for value and Bonus Points taking the wire late.

It was a good read of the field on my part, especially when I announced I was very confused, mostly because of my first attempt to handicap using Timeform US PP's.  I will admit I am intrigued by them, but I was very out of my comfort zone and ended up buying a DRF Formulator PP as well.  I guess I jacked up the takeout from my own pocket buying two PPs for one race!

Pace/Class/Current Form.  That was the decoder ring for this race.

This was a nice handicapping day that provided my mind lots of good race puzzles to solve.  I've been on a gambling sabbatical since mid September so the reawakening of my red pen was planned and now it's onto the Breeders' Cup!

Turk Out.

Friday, October 20, 2017

The Nomination Is In: The Maryland Million Classic $125K

Welcome friends to The Turk and the Little Turk Blog, a race handicapping and gambling venture now in our 9th year with well over 600 blog postings to our credit.  I'd like to thank the good people of The Thorofan for allowing me to share my thoughts on the Maryland Million Classic, a $125,000 Stakes race restricted to horses sired by a Maryland standing stud.

That dapper gentleman pictured is Jim McKay, a legendary broadcaster,  horse racing owner and fan.  Mr. McKay was inspired by the first Breeders' Cup to hold an event similar in Maryland focusing on Maryland's breeding.  It's hard for me to believe (maybe accept) that Jim McKay has been gone from us since 2008.  He was a big part of my childhood, a voice that was calming, passionate, credible and likable.  It was a different era in sports, perhaps a more naive era, arguably a more enjoyable time, when sports were a release, a purer pleasure.  A time when boxing and horse racing were still relevant.  The Turk digresses, but at 50 something I think I have enough depth of perspective to say that the commercialization of sports, the politicization of sports, the marginalization of horse racing, have all left me waxing poetic for a bygone time, when men like Jim McKay came into our house to educate, inform and inspire us.

I've been handicapping for a long time.  I took red pen to the Form for the first time in 1986, 31 years ago.  I've been using DRF Formulator PPs for the past several years but today's race was the first race I've handicapped using Timeform US PPs.  Working with both pieces of information was overwhelming in many ways, perhaps information overload best describes it.  I still lack a feel for the speedfigs and the pace adjusted speedfigs of Timeform, but as an information handicapper I was quite impressed.  I also liked how I could add notes to each runner, as well as identify where I thought each horse might slot, win-place-show-toss.  I'm using the next few months to experiment with tools like Timeform US and Thorograph.  I'm a life long learner, and while I have a very comfortable comfort zone with DRF products,  I'm committed to looking at my methods and tools as I take my craft to the next level.

My craft?  I don't have a clue about today's race.  Maybe it was the PP info overload, maybe it's the parity of class and quality in the 12 horse field, but I am not afraid to say I'm a bit stumped.  Let's get after this and maybe through typing clarity will grace my thoughts.

Right off the bat I liked how the first quarter pacing was laid out for me before I even had to dive into the PPs.  You can also see in the screen capture "My Picks" which saved me scribbling them out later.

I'm backing a closer, Bonus Points, to win.  The 3 YO Pletcher trainee has been running in graded stakes company all year, hitting the board three times in 8 starts.  I think he will have plenty of speed to target and the one I think he'll be taking late is John Jones. Making a turf to Dirt switch, the 5 YO gelding has 7 wins in 13 Laurel Park starts and is a pretty consistent effort horse.

I think the more interesting group of horses are my next three: Ghost Bay, Clubman and Southside Warrior.  I think I could have made a good case for any of them to win-place.  Ghost Bay is another deep closer whereas Clubman and Southside Warrior should be racing mid-pack and steady.  Southside Warrior has declining Beyer Speed Figures over past three races (90/84/75) and while the pace adjusted figs illustrated the same decline, it did not appear as severe.  I'm intrigued at the price.  Clubman put up a 5f bullet :59 3/5ths on October 13 and has raced well at Laurel, 6 of 8 in the money and 7 of 9 in the money over fast dirt for the 3 YO.

Admirals War Chest and Jerandson round out my potential board hitters.  Admirals War Chest will go to the front, but I'm gambling the 6 YO wont be able to stay there and there are some quality closers entered.  The two time champ will get sentimental betting interest but I'm dubious.

Jerandson goes blinkers off for Trainer Pletcher (24% wins on 34 blinker off races) but the three year old so far hasn't flashed much speed.  I think a very minor prize, if anything.

I think I'll be looking to build Exacta Combinations using some of the longer prices on the board and in my handicap.  The weather should be good with no rain so we should assume a fast track.  I'm going to use some combinations of 5-2-11-9-12-1-3.  I won't box: That's a $1 Exacta for $42.  I'll use the toteboard and piece together no more than 8-10 $2 bets for $20 of betting interest with Ghost Bay-Clubman and Southside Warrior mixed with others from the group.

Have fun with it friends and enjoy the Maryland Racing Showcase.

Turk Out!

Friday, September 22, 2017

Happy 9th Birthday Turk and the Little Turk

Happy 9th Birthday to The Turk and the Little Turk Blog. 

September 2008 was a long time ago.  Long read personal blogs, as an expression of individual thought, were at a peak while mediums like Facebook and Twitter were still in their infancy.  The Turk was born during a rain delay on a business trip through Chicago.  Inspired by established blogs, we wrote our first post and tried to find our way.  What is our way?

The Turk and the Little Turk is a niche blog that handicaps horse races and occasionally picks winners. period. We don't have witty commentary, we aren't a must read, most mainstream turf writers ignore us, and we don't honestly make much of an effort to be social and network.  We handicap races and we try not to be smug jerks while cashing tickets and stacking dollars.  To the 2,000 or so page viewers per month that visit this blog, we thank you. 

What can you expect into our 10th year?  More of the same.  Handicapping, more video analysis and bet construction using fair money lines.  If you find that interesting to read, I hope to hear from you in comments here or on Twitter.  The Turk appreciates the friends he has developed over the years even if he is too socially stunted and time limited to do normal friend stuff, you know, like talk. 

Thank you for reading!

The Turk

The Nomination Is In: The Kelso Handicap G2 at Belmont

Sharp Azteca- Jessie Holmes/Equisport Photos
Welcome friends to The Turk and the Little Turk.  I'd like to begin by thanking The Thorofan and the Handicapper's Corner for allowing me to share my thoughts with you today about Saturday's Kelso Handicap at Belmont Park.  I  appreciate my new readers and the rabid pack of hardcore degenerates that read my work regularly.

The Kelso will be a six horse affair.

Keep your eye on the scratches and changes as well as the track condition at this linkWeather does not seem to be an issue and I would expect the track to be fast.

At first take I think the heavy chalk will be Sharp Azteca (pictured above).  Trained by Jorge Navaro with Paco Lopez up, this classy 4 YO Kentucky Bred Freud will become a millionaire the next time he hits the board, is 11 of 13 in the money lifetime, 6 of 6 in the money with 4 wins at the distance and has 9 Win-Place finishes in 11 starts on fast dirt.  Well rested and training very sharply since winning the Monmouth Cup G3 at 1 1/16 Miles by 7+ lengths it's concievable he draws off and no one catches him.

I started fast and jumped ahead.  Let's take a step back and look at some of the other runners.

Let's Get after this!

The Forego G1: 7f  on Fast Dirt at SAR  26 August

Four runners exit The Forego who chased DrefongRoss(Ire) was a non factor in the The Forego and I see no reason to make him a factor here.  Tom's Ready really came at the end and Divining Rod was gobbled up at the wire.

The Polynesian $74K: 7F on sealed slop at LRL on 12 August

Divining Rod over off track. Eh.

Monmouth Cup G3: 1 1/16 Miles on Fast Dirt at MTH 30 July

Sharp Azteca in a romp.  Not sure how I feel about the field but he fired well off The Met Mile.

The Vanderbilt G1: 6F on Fast Dirt at SAR 29 July

Bird Song.  Have to go back to early year efforts at Gulfstream to envision a win.

Belmont Sprint G2: 7F on fast Dirt at BEL on 8 July

Tommy Macho- No match for Mind Your Biscuits.

Met Mile G1:  1 Mile Fast Dirt at BEL on 10 June 2017

Tom's Ready, Tommy Macho and Sharp Azteca.  I liked Tommy Macho's chase more than anything in this race.  No shame for Sharp Azteca on this day.

What's it all add up to?

Sharp Azteca seemingly has the angles and has picked the right spot and avoided the right competition to add a win to his already impressive credentials.  While anything can happen on any day (blah blah blah ....fill in the blank CYA handicapper stuff) I'm going to single Sharp Azteca in my base handicap and look for a vertical betting opportunity if it presents itself, otherwise I'll stick to the horizontal Pick 3 that has potential with Race 7 a 12 horse field MSW $75K and Race 8 a 12 horse field N1X $90K.

The morning line placed Divining Rod second at 2-1 but I like Tommy Macho here.  The Pompa runner for Trainer Pletcher is 5 of 6 imn the money at Belmont, 5 of 6 at the distance, fired off a 105 career Beyer this calendar year, set a 101 in a good chase of the front running Mor Spirit and Sharp Azteca in the Met Mile, and I don't think the differences in current form justify the spread in values between Tommy Macho and Divining Rod.  So what of Diving Rod? Two starts in 2017 including a lack luster Forego and a win over no one at Laurel Park over sealed slop.  I loved his game beat by head in the Cigar Mile but that was a year ago, the fourth effort in three month stretch and he built towards that.  I like the horse, respect the connections, but if looking for value, I'm, shading him into Show or Exotic on the ticket.

Tom's Ready can hit the board anywhere from Win to 4th.  Not overly fast, he does have tactical speed and a late turn of foot, but I think he'll be too far back to rally to Win, but rally onto the board not unrealistic.

Bird Song is a bit of a wild card.  He was no match at 6f  in The VanderbiltHe was no match to Tommy Macho in the Hal's Hope in early 2017.

Ross (Ire) seems to be entered in the wrong race.

If you're compelled to bet this race, and you feel like I do that Sharp Azteca will win, you could try this:

$1 Super:  5 OVER 2-4 OVER 2-4-1 OVER 1-2-6 for $7.  It's not a big commitment and avoids a big bet and poor risk/reward.

If you feel that Sharp Azteca is vulnerable, and let's be real, this is a Grade 2 and no one here is invulnerable then possibly try $1 Super: 5-2-4 OVER 5-2-4 OVER 1-2-4 OVER 1-2-6 for $16

OR....if you like high risk/high reward...

$1 Super:  2 Over 5-4 OVER 5-4-1 OVER 1-4-6 for $7.

I think that extinguishes my current thoughts on this edition of The Kelso. Whatever you do, have fun, keep the betting real, don't lie to yourself about your losses, and don't waste money on other people's thoughts.

Turk Out!

Sunday, September 17, 2017

The Nomination Is In: The PID Mile $200K

War Correspondent

Welcome Friend to The Turk and the Little Turk.  Between family commitments and my school work resuming (yes, a 50 something college kid), I wasn't much of a handicapper or blogger this weekend.  I handicapped the Northern Dancer and Woodbine Mile yesterday but only placed one bet on each race, a $10 win bet on Noble Thought and Glenville Gardens in the respective races but no joy.  Both were 10-1 and I liked their chances and have no regrets about taking a shot.  Most on Twitter that I respect thought both races would go to the chalk and Johnny Bear (who I rated very similar to Noble Thought) who also was about 10-1 nipped Hawkbill at the wire while World Approval really impressed me and I haven't been that high on the grey/roan previously.  He answered questions for me yesterday to move to 4 wins in 5 starts in 2017 for Trainer Mark Casse.  I am getting very excited about Breeders' Cup and he'll present a real dilemma for me. Anyway, my ROI was negative and I lost $20 of investment capital.  It happens and its important to remember that if you don't swing for vulnerable chalk you'll be passing up about a 68% chance of winning.  Vulnerable is relative, obviously!

I'd like to see Presque Isle Downs improve.  The product has been mostly bottom tier for a long time now.  They have a nice 1 mile oval of fake dirt that plays fair.  They have one big race Monday night in the Grade 2 PID Master, the 5th race on an otherwise blah card.  Pick up your game and connect with your audience and don't just collect slot money.  I don't want to be negative.  This was a nice start 5-6 years ago, but no progress is no progress.  The racing seems solely to exist for simulcast feeds. 

Let's get after this!

This should be competitive with War Correspondent and Ghost Hunter on top.  War Correspondent is a very classy 7 year old War Front, lightly raced with only 14 career starts while Ghost Hunter is also 7 and has 48 career starts. 

The next five could finish in any order but my base handicap is my best view of the order of finish.  If going towards Tri's and Super's I think Black Tie Event or Downtown Cowboy, with 14 PID wins between them, could keep running where others ease and get into those last few spots on the ticket.  I am wary of that but I don't think either can win. 

Have fun with it friends.  I think Sister Turk and I are headed South to The Masters tomorrow and I'd love to meet any of you that will be there, but unfortunately, most will just be watching a feed. 

Turk Out!

Saturday, September 16, 2017

The Nomination Is In: The Grade 1 Northern Dancer and Woodbine Mile

Glenville Gardens
Welcome Friends to The Turk and the Little Turk.

Today the Little Turk is running in a cross country race, so this will be an abbreviated look at a fine Woodbine card.

I'm sensing from Twitter that others like myself are going through Kentucky Downs withdrawal this weekend.  I thoroughly loved those six races days as a race fan and as a bettor.  I thought the track played fairly, the fields were deep and interesting, and I love the quirkiness  of the product that is presented, at least through the Twinspires TV feed that I watch.  The track announcers and the rest of the on air commentary is good, not intrusive, and I somehow survived without Trakus or better camera angles.  Of course I'd like to see continued improvements, but a few more race dates would be at the top of my wish list.  Good luck with the politics team Kentucky Downs!

I'm focused on turf running over the past month.  I love the late turn of foot and the big fields that contest these contests.  It brings a bit of special to things when the Euros invade, even if its tier 2 Euro.  I'll be playing more vertically then horizontally today, mostly because of the circumstances of my day and my time constraints.  I do dig the NYRA/Woodbine mixed Pick 5 at the Woodbine entry level price of $0.20 and while you're reading about the bet, read Buffalo News Turf Writer Gene Keshner's take on the days events.   I was listening to HRN this morning and they seem to think these Woodbine turf races are chalky.  I'll get to it, but let's peel back the combatants and I think there may be some interesting value that pops, like Glenville Gardens pictured above.  The gelded 5 YO Street Cry was very game in the Grade 2 Play King, a race he won a year previously at Woodbine.  Let's not sleep on a Street Cry that has won 4 times at the distance and 6 times over this track, with local jock and trainer combo.

Let's Get after it!

I don't anyone beating Hawkbill in the Northern Dancer.  On Lasik, this 4 YO Kitten's Joy has won five of his last 12 and is 5 of 6 in the money at this marathon distance. Has the class and the tactical speed. I'm only tossing two and I could have made a case for multiple scenarios below Hawkbill but I think Noble Thought and Mesi (Ger) will compete for Place and Show with Pumpkin Rumble an interesting candidate for a minor prize. Noble Thought was 10-1 and ran a game Place in the Grade 2 1 1/2 Mile Sky Classic here at Woodbine in late August. 

I'm feeling contrarian in the Woodbine Mile.  I like World Approval but others to like as well and I'm not sure how much I like him on firm turf.  This would be Glenville Gardens biggest score but I think Trainer Attard has the 5 YO peaking.  Deauville is my tepid chalk and a case for 3 YO Lancaster Bomber can be made:This classy War Front was in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf and has run a demanding campaign from the UAE to the UK.  Hope we see him at 4. My Show/Exotic Group and my Win/Place Groupings could easily flip flop which makes this field very interesting as a gambler and fan. Conquest Panthera and Tower of Texas could surprise and the classy Mondialiste has nothing to prove.

More on this one past race, I'm off to see Little Turk run.

Turk Out!

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Post Race Results: Kentucky Downs Late Stakes Pick 4 including Turf Cup

Hogy- Photo by Reed Palmer/KY Downs

Welcome Friends to The Turk and the Little Turk.

The stars aligned for me yesterday:  I had time, quiet and a real desire to engage with Kentucky Downs, which has quickly become one of my favorite tracks.  I'm a turf racing/handicap division handicapper to begin with, and this is like a short stay in heaven.  

I spent quite a bit of time inside the past performances of the late all Stakes-
Pick 4, perhaps because I was looking for hidden gems.  Quite frankly, all I saw in everyone of these races was a dividing line in Class, Speed and Form, and I think you'll see visually my handicaps were pretty much dead on with only St. Louie sneaking up on me (as much as a Michael Maker/ Arch son can be ignored) and the lack of response from Enterprising, both in the Turf Cup.  

My ROI on the day was +16% which is well below my opportunity cost of 40%.  You can win and lose, and I know that I may have ended the day a bit up, it's not enough earnings to offset the inevitable losses.  

What did I do wrong:

  • Not singling Miss Temple City.  My personal money line was 1.8-1 and the two additional covers I made cost me $40 dollars in earnings and was the difference between a 400% ROI and 16%.  
  • Undervalued Happy Mesa in Race 8I had her at 40-1.  The Michael Maker was coming in off a very sharp 4F in :47 2/5ths over CD Turf and was making a deep cutback.  
  • before mentioned St. Louie.
What I did right:
    • I had Race 7 dialed in:  Cold Exacta paid $11.80 for $2 bet.  It wasn't complicated and you do get credit for not overthinking. 
    • A four horse Tri Box in Race 9 would have paid $109.80 for $48, $2 bet.  
    •  A five horse Tri Box in Race 10 would have paid $231.20 for a $120, $2 bet. 

Watching Kentucky Downs on Twin Spires TV is like stepping back in time with the quality of the video, the graphics, the lack of camera angles, but I can't say I minded it.  There was something liberating about not having some smarthty talking head rambling non stop.

Happy Sunday Friends.  I'm off to watch my Buffalo Bills (I know, laugh now).  Also, please pray for everyone affected by Hurricane Irma, especially the horses and backstretch workers at the various tracks and farms.

Turk Out!

Saturday, September 9, 2017

The Nomination Is In: The Late Pick 4 at Kentucky Downs

Welcome Friends to The Turk and the Little Turk. 

The Turk loves turf racing, but I was very late to the game with Kentucky Downs.  Coming on the heels of summer meets at Saratoga and Del Mar, my attention normally turns to Presque Isle, Belmont and Santa Anita as I start to think about my biggest gambling weekend of every year, Breeders' Cup.  It wasn't until two years ago that I embraced this quirky track and it's quirky meet that is both race fan friendly, bettor friendly and incredibly forward thinking in comparison to most of what I see from horse racing "thinkers". 

I've spent the better part of 3 hours handicapping the last four races of the card today, a pick four sequence that kicks off at 5:18 ET.  The scratches and changes can be found here and my picks represent the best knowledge of scratches at around 11:00 ET.  It should be dry today.

I'm going to watch the races before finalizing my P4 selections.  I've provided my possible covers in my chart and I'll be using my base handicaps to fashion my vertical bets. 

Have fun with this card friends.  Will focus a bit more on each race in the Post Race review.

Turk Out!

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Songbird: All 15 Race Video Retrospective

Songbird- Mary Cage

Welcome Friends to The Turk and the Little Turk.  

Horses. Handicapping and Hijinks. That has been the subtitle of this blog for nine years.  While I focus quite a bit on handicapping, I am first and foremost a fan of the horses and the people that campaign them.

Fox Hill Farms, Mr. Porter and family, have given this horse racing fan much to cheer about.  Eight Belles. Old Fashioned. Kodiak Kowboy.  Harve De Grace.  Hard Spun


15 Starts.  13 Wins.  2 terribly close Place finishes.  A Breeders' Cup Champion.  Nine Grade 1 victories.  In an era where the word great has been watered down, she was great.  A great champion.

I wanted to remember her as the great Champion she was, and words aren't how I'll remember her but it's through the video of her game and determined efforts that she will live on for me.

Enjoy retirement big girl, you earned it.

Saratoga; 26 August 2017; The Personal Ensign Stakes G1

Delaware Park 15 July 2017;  The Delaware Handicap G1

Belmont Park; 10 June 2017; The Ogden Phipps Stakes G1

Santa Anita; 4 November 2016; The Breeders' Cup Distaff G1

Parx Racing; 24 September 2016; The Cotillion Stakes G1

Saratoga; 20 August 2016; The Alabama Stakes G1

Saratoga; 24 July 2016; CCA Oaks G1

Santa Anita; 18 June 2016; Summertime Oaks G2

Santa Anita; 9 April 2016; The Santa Anita Oaks G1

Santa Anita; 5 March 2016; The Santa Ysabel Stakes G3

Santa Anita; 6 February 2016; The Las Virgenes Stakes G2

Keeneland;  31 October 2015; Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies G1

Santa Anita; 26 September 2015; The Chandelier Stakes G1

Del Mar; 5 September 2015; The Debutante G1

Del Mar; 26 July 2015; MSW

Friday, September 1, 2017

Kentucky Downs: Handicapper Homework with Video

Kentucky Downs
Welcome friends to The Turk and the Little Turk.  The weather has denied all lovers of turf racing the first day of the Kentucky Downs meet.

The entire first day of the card was moved in its entirety from Saturday 2 September to Wednesday 6 September.  The move will set up a furious five days of racing, with September 6 and 7th, followed by Saturday/Sunday September  9 and 10, and ending with Thursday September 14.  

The weather delay should just be used to familiarize yourself with this unique and interesting course.  
From the Kentucky Downs website you'll find buried some very good statistics and observations on how the course has played over past several years.  My takeaway of the following is the track plays pretty fair when truly firm, producing winners with equal distributions from inside and outside posts, but produces abnormalities favoring inside and outside posts and speed versus closers depending on track condition and level of dryness near rail. The data was complied by Dick Downey of the Downey Profile.


The following focuses on on how post positions and early speed impact the outcomes of races at Kentucky Downs. 

All statistics are from one-turn races with distances ranging from six furlongs to one mile 70 yards. Races going two turns (1 5/16 mile and 1 1/2 mile) are not included due to the small sample size.

For the most part, there is a recurring theme showing winners on firm ground having good early speed and coming, in many instances, from post positions in the inner half of the gate. The corollary is that on softer ground, early speed is not as effective, and outside posts produce a higher percentage of winners.

2016 Summary

In races going a mile and 70 yards or less, horses that started from the six inside posts won at double the rate of those who started from the six outside posts. There were 29 winners from 246 starters in posts 1 through 6 (11.8%), and there were 12 winners from 202 starters in posts 7 through 12 (5.9%).

Win %17%5%15%12%10%12%13%NA10%6%NA5%

Day 1 of 2016 -- Sept. 3 (Saturday)

The track was rated firm. The area took lots of rainfall in July and the first half of August but dried out afterward. By opening day the track had just a little bit of give to it and played fair.

From the inside half of the gate there were five winners from 54 starters (9.3%), and from the outside half of the gate there were four winners from 46 starters (10.9%), so the distribution could hardly have been more even.

From nine races, two were won by horses on the lead at each call, and five were won by horses either on the lead or stalking within 3 1/2 lengths of the lead after a half-mile. The other four winners closed from 5 1/4 to 6 1/2 lengths off the lead after the first half-mile.

Win %11%NA22%44%NA11%22%NA13%NANA20%

Day 2 of 2016 -- Sept. 8 (Thursday)

The track was rated firm, and it was firmer than it was on Day 1.

From the inside half of the gate there were four winners from 48 starters (8.3%), and from the outside half of the gate there were four winners from 41 starters (9.6%), so the distribution was pretty much even like it was on day 1.

From eight races going less than 1 5/16 mile, two were won by horses on the lead at each call, two were won by horses only a head back after a half-mile, two were won by horses within two lengths of the lead after a half-mile, and two were won by horses that were 5 1/4 and 11 1/2 lengths off the lead after a half-mile

One of those races kind of fell apart at the end. In two races going 1 5/16 mile, one winner led all the way and one was only a couple of lengths back after six furlongs.

Win %25%NA13%13%NANA13%NA25%17%NANA

Day 3 of 2016 -- Sept. 10 (Saturday)

The track was rated firm, and it was firmer than it was on Days 1 or 2 -- until it rained after race 6. Afterward, the track was rated yielding.

From eight races going less than 1 5/16 mile, from the inside half of the gate there were six winners from 48 starters (12.6%), and from the outside half of the gate there were two winners from 32 starters (6.3%), so the distribution clearly favored the inside half of the gate. 

This is mainly due to the fact that in the five races going less than 1 5/16 mile that were run before it rained, there were four winners from 30 starters (13.3%) from the inner half and 1 winner from 26 starters (3.8%) from the outer half.

Speed held up all day in the eight races going less than 1 5/16 mile. Two were won by horses on the lead at each call, and five were won by horses that were either on the lead or in second place after a half-mile. Only one of that group was more than 1 1/2 length off the pace at that point. 

Oddly enough, the two marathon races, races typically won by horses that are near the front pace, were both won by horses that were in seventh place after a mile -- one of them was 6 1/2 lengths off the pace (race run after the rain) and one was 11 1/4 lengths off the pace (race run before the rain).

Win %NA13%38%NA13%13%14%NANA20%NANA

Turf Cup

Day 4 of 2016 -- Sept. 11 (Sunday)

The track was rated good at the outset following rainfall the previous afternoon. There had been no rain prior to that day since mid-August, and it soon became clear that, for the most part, the track had absorbed the water and was firm. 

From eight races going less than 1 5/16 mile, from the inside half of the gate there were seven winners from 48 starters (14.6%), and from the outside half of the gate there was one winner from 43 starters (2.3%), so the distribution heavily favored the inside half of the gate.

Speed held up almost all day in the eight races going less than 1 5/16 mile. Two were won by horses on the lead at each call, and five more were won by horses that were within 2 1/4 lengths of the lead after a half-mile. One winner was four lengths back after a half, and one was 8 1/2 lengths back

In two races going 1 5/16 mile, one winner was second by two lengths after six furlongs and the other was sixth, 3 1/2 lengths back after six furlongs.

Win %25%NANA38%13%13%NANA13%NANANA

Day 5 of 2016 -- Sept. 15 (Thursday)

The track rated as firm. From eight races going less than 1 5/16 mile, from the inside half of the gate there were seven winners from 48 starters (14.6%), and from the outside half of the gate there was one winner from 40 starters (2.5%), so the distribution again heavily favored the inside half of the gate.

Speed held up in five of the eight races going less than 1 5/16 mile, and three of those races were won by deep closers, so the day was a bit unusual in that respect. 

Horses either on the lead at each call or within 2 1/2 lengths of the lead after a half-mile won five times. Three other winners were 7 1/2 or more lengths back after a half-mile

In two races going 1 5/16 and 1 1/2 mile, one winner was second by one length after a mile, and the other was sixth, 4 1/2 lengths back after a mile.

Win %25%13%NANA25%25%13%NANANANANA

Day 1 of 2015 -- Sept. 5 (Saturday)

The track was rated firm, but it's been firmer, and that's because it had been watered. The grass was green and lush. It was a hot, sunny day with a good breeze most of the time, and the track tightened up as the day progressed. Twice as many winners broke from from posts 1-6 as from posts 7-12, and the inner posts won at a higher percentage of starters as well.

Early speed was dominant. From nine races going less than 1 5/16 mile, six were won by horses that were no worse than third, 2 1/2 lengths off the lead, after the first half-mile. However, only one of those six winners led at each call.

Posts 1 - 6: There were six winners from 54 starters = 9.25%
Posts 7-12: There were three winners from 39 starters = 7.7%

Win %11%NANA44%11%NANA25%NANANA33%

Day 2 of 2015 -- Sept. 10 (Thursday)

The track was rated yielding. Races 3-10 were cancelled. Both winners came from inside posts but were well off the pace in the early going. One was sixth, 5 1/2 lengths back, and one was 11th, 8 1/4 lengths back after the first half-mile.

Posts 1 - 6: There were two winners from 12 starters = 16%
Posts 7-12: There were no winners from nine starters = 0%


Day 3 of 2015 -- Sept. 14 (Monday)

The track was rated good. It had dried out some from Sept. 10 but still had noticeable moisture in it. Consistent with previous findings under this circumstance, most winners came from outside posts and from well off the early pace.

From 10 races, six winners were from 4 3/4 to 8 1/4 lengths off the pace after the first half-mile, and they were positioned anywhere from seventh to 10th. Only one winner led at each call.

Posts 1 - 6: There were four winners from 60 starters = 8%
Posts 7-12: There were six winners from 49 starters = 12%

Win %10%10%10%NA10%NA10%NA20%11%33%NA

Day 4 of 2015 -- Sept. 16 (Wednesday)

The track was rated firm. Although it still had a bit of moisture in it, It had dried out and continued to do so as the day progressed. Winners coming from inside posts were equal to those from outside posts, but early speed played well. From 10 races, while only one winner led after a half-mile, seven more winners were within 2 1/2 lengths of the lead after a half-mile, and six of those seven were positioned anywhere from second to fourth.

Posts 1 - 6: There were five winners from 60 starters = 8.3%
Posts 7-12: There were five winners from 47 starters = 10.6%

Win %10%NA20%10%10%NA10%30%NA11%NANA

Day 5 of 2015 -- Sept. 19 (Saturday)

The track was rated firm, and times were relatively fast. A track record was set in one race, and we got pretty close in a couple of others. However, the day was an anomaly in our study because, despite these conditions, winners came from outside posts at almost double the rate of inside posts

In terms of early speed, from 10 races no winners led after a half-mile, but eight winners were within three lengths of the lead after a half-mile.

Posts 1 - 6: There were four winners from 60 starters = 6.7%
Posts 7-12: There were six winners from 45 starters = 13.3%

Win %NANANANA30%10%NA11%NA44%20%NA

Day 1 of 2014 -- Sept. 6 (Saturday)

The first day of the 2014 meet was pretty much the polar opposite of its 2013 counterpart. While the track was rated firm both days, it was very dry on the first day of the 2013 meet but had considerable moisture in it on opening day 2014.  Early speed won a hefty part of the time on opening day 2013. On opening day 2014, in races going a mile and 70 yards or less, not one horse that led after a half-mile won. Five of the eight winners at those distances were anywhere from 3 1/2 lengths to 7 1/4 lengths off the pace after the first half-mile.

In addition, outside posts produced winners at a much higher rate than inside posts on this year's opening day -- the opposite of 2013. The portion of the track next to the rail was softer than it was in the middle.

Posts 1 - 6: There was one winner from 48 starters = 2.1%
Posts 7-12: There were seven winners from 34 starters = 34%

Win %NA13%NANANANA38%29%14%NA33%NA

Day 2 of 2014 -- Sept. 10 (Wednesday)

Day 2 of the 2014 meet was unlike Day 1 in three respects. (1) While the track was rated firm both days, it was much drier the second day. (2) Starters from posts 1-6 produced winners at a rate a little more than double that of starters from posts 7-12. Unlike Day 1, the portion of the track next to the rail was not soft; instead, it was producing a dusty kickback.(3) There was an equal division of winners in two groups: horses on or close to the lead after a half-mile won four races, and horses 4 1/2 lengths or more off the pace after a half-mile won four races.

Posts 1 - 6: There were six winners from 48 starters = 13%
Posts 7-12: There were two winners from 33 starters = 6%

Win %NANA25%25%13%13%NANANA17%NA33%

Days 3, 4 and 5 and of 2014 -- Sept. 13, 17, 24 (Saturday, Wednesday, Wednesday)

Days 3, 4 and 5 of the 2014 meet came on a firm surface, and no rain had fallen at the track since before Day 2. Thirteen of 25 winners came from posts 1-6, and 12 of 25 winners came from posts 7-12. This was a more even distribution than either of the first two days.

On Day 3, early speed was dominant, with seven of nine winners either on the lead or running in second position after a half-mile. Four of those seven were on the lead after a half-mile. Only two winners were 5 1/2 lengths or more off the lead after a half-mile, and one of those two was in second position at the time.

On Day 4, from nine winners, one led after a half-mile, and one was second at that point, but four more winners were 1 1/2 lengths or less off the lead after a half-mile, and another one was only 3 1/2 lengths off the lead at that point. That's a total of seven of nine winners flashing early speed.

On Day 5, from seven winners, two led after a half-mile and three more were 2 1/2 lengths or less off the lead after a half-mile. The other two winners after the first half-mile were fourth, four lengths off the lead and seventh, 4 3/4 lengths off the lead.

Posts 1 - 6: There were 13 winners from 150 starters = 8.66%
Posts 7-12: There were 12 winners from 102 starters = 11.76%

Win %8%8%8%8%4%16%4%24%4%19%9%NA

Days 1, 2, 4 and 5 of 2013 -- Sept. 7, 11, 18 and 25 (Saturdays and Wednesdays)

Early speed won a hefty part of the time during days 1, 2 and 4 of the 2013 meet, and early speed was seen in just over half the winners on day 5.  During these four days, inside posts won at a much higher rate than outside posts. The track was, for lack of a better way of expressing it, on the drier side of firm on days 1, 2 and 4.

On day 5, the track was not as dry, but it was firmer than it was on day 3 (see below). Five days before day 5, .86 inch rain fell in the area, and four days before day 5, .62  inch fell. Day 2 of the meet, a Wednesday, was curtailed after a lightning storm knocked out the track's tote system.

Posts 1 - 6: There were 24 winners from 204 starters = 11.8%
Posts 7-12: There were 10 winners from 140 starters = 7.1%

Win %21%6%6%6%15%17%9%10%3%4%15%NA

Day 3 of 2013 -- Sept. 14 (Saturday)

While the track was rated firm on this Saturday, it had taken good rains after the races on the preceding Wednesday and on Thursday. The results from Day 3 are similar to those of the 2012 meet, when wet conditions were dominant. Paths closer to the rail were softer, and so outside posts won more often and at a much higher rate than they did during the drier days 1, 2, 4 and 5.

Posts 1 - 6: There were 4 winners from 53 starters = 7.5%
Posts 7-12: There were 5 winners from 31 starters = 16%

Win %NA22%NA22%11%NANA13%33%40%NANA


The track took heavy rain at the outset of the meet, and more rain fell before its fifth and final day. One day of the would-be six-day meet was cancelled due to rain. Paths closer to the rail were softer, and so outside posts won more often and at a much higher rate.

Posts 1 - 6: There were 15 winners from 215 starters = 7%
Posts 7 - 12: There were 21 winners from 130 starters = 16%


Day 1 of 2010 saw good ground the first race and yielding ground thereafter, but only four races were run at one turn, so the stats for that day are meaningless.

Days 2, 3 and 4 of 2010 were run on firm ground. From 24 races, six were won by runners on the lead after a half-mile, and another 12 were won by runners within 3 1/2 lengths of the lead after a half-mile.

In 2011, days 1, 2, 3 and 4 were all rated firm. From 29 races, seven were won by runners on the lead after a half-mile, and another 12 were won by runners within 3 1/2 lengths of the lead after a half-mile.

During the two combined years, the inside six post positions were stronger than the outside six post positions.

Posts 1 - 6: There were 37 winners from 316 starters = 11.7%
Posts 7-13: There were 16 winners from 165 starters = 9.7%

All statistics are from one-turn races with distances ranging from six furlongs to one mile 70 yards. Races going two turns (1 5/16 mile and 1 1/2 mile) are not included due to the small sample size.  


2016 Kentucky Downs Meet
$ RankJockeyStartsWins2d3dTotal $Win %Top 3Top 3 %
1Florent Geroux461293$1,767,77326%2452%
2Brian Joseph Hernandez, Jr.35715$812,06120%1337%
3Robby Albarado37414$721,36511%924%
4Julien R. Leparoux24451$658,23417%1042%
5James Graham39292$457,9115%1333%
6Flavien Prat29333$390,03310%931%
7Channing Hill18201$315,55111%317%
8Drayden Van Dyke9212$291,00122%556%
9Miguel Mena26221$271,0288%519%
10Corey J. Lanerie37305$257,1298%822%
11Carlos H. Marquez, Jr.6301$197,67850%467%
12Joseph Rocco, Jr.30132$166,1563%620%
13Declan Cannon21120$150,4915%314%
14Francisco C. Torres13121$150,3148%431%
15Shaun Bridgmohan14023$142,3980%536%
16Jose Lezcano10102$120,51710%330%
17Marcelino Pedroza1010$115,8000%1100%
18Jose Valdivia, Jr.12101$115,1538%217%
19Chris Landeros21024$108,3200%629%
20David Romero Flores10100$96,77410%110%
21Sophie Doyle15010$56,1570%17%
22Jesus Lopez Castanon6001$47,7310%117%
23Forest Boyce3011$43,0720%267%
24Jon Kenton Court7001$37,9040%114%
25Marlon St. Julien9010$34,2060%111%
26Kent J. Desormeaux2020$34,2000%2100%
27Joe Bravo7001$24,7820%114%
28Albin Jimenez6011$23,2430%233%
29Jack Gilligan10001$22,3780%110%
30Edgar S. Prado1000$16,9750%00%
31Fernando De La Cruz5001$16,7060%120%
32Julio A. Garcia1001$14,5000%1100%
33Ty Kennedy9001$10,4460%111%
34Vladimir Panov1010$8,4000%1100%
35Rodney A. Prescott1000$4,8500%00%
36Carlos Villasana3000$4,6420%00%
37Jacob Radosevich1000$4,5000%00%
38Rafael Mojica, Jr.4000$2,4660%00%
39Joe M. Johnson4000$2,4560%00%
40Tiago Josue Pereira1000$2,0710%00%
41David Moran1000$2,0000%00%
42Juan P. Vargas3000$1,5000%00%
43Calvin H. Borel2000$1,4730%00%
44Arturo Aparicio2000$1,2600%00%
45Sheldon Russell1000$1,1250%00%
46Odhair J. Mayta1000$7260%00%
47Yuri Yaranga1000$7060%00%
48Aaron T. Gryder1000$5000%00%
48Didiel A. Osorio1000$5000%00%
48Richard A. Bracho1000$5000%00%


Top 53 -- 2016 Kentucky Downs Meet
$ RankTrainerStartsWins2d3dTotal $Win %Top 3Top 3 %
1Michael J. Maker35865$1,469,33623%1954%
2Christophe Clement7320$479,12543%571%
3Michael Stidham13120$295,7678%323%
4Mark E. Casse16110$265,0156%213%
5Joe Sharp18252$260,13911%950%
6Ian R. Wilkes14213$259,22114%643%
7George R. Arnold, II12320$232,11225%542%
8Steven M. Asmussen12211$210,74217%433%
9Kellyn Gorder2100$207,24050%150%
10Aubrey A. Maragh1100$206,490100%1100%
11Brad H. Cox12131$177,1438%542%
12Pavel Vashchenko6211$159,50633%467%
13Larry Rivelli3201$134,50067%3100%
14Wesley A. Ward9101$131,89911%222%
15Victoria H. Oliver10101$130,76810%220%
16Anthony J. Granitz7112$124,27014%457%
17H. Graham Motion5110$122,78720%240%
18Thomas F. Proctor5111$119,25020%360%
19Tim Glyshaw1010$115,8000%1100%
20Thomas M. Amoss4101$107,98025%250%
21Dale L. Romans10111$102,95410%330%
22William I. Mott5011$102,5860%240%
23Charles LoPresti6101$102,50217%233%
24Brendan P. Walsh6101$102,44417%233%
25Chris M. Block7112$98,39014%457%
26Ben Colebrook17011$94,2060%212%
27Charles L. Dickey3100$90,64033%133%
28Gerald Russel Aschinger2100$89,44650%150%
29Arnaud Delacour2100$88,50050%150%
30Bradlee Rainwater1100$87,000100%1100%
31Neil L. Pessin2100$84,71450%150%
32Gregory D. Sacco1100$78,000100%1100%
33Eddie Kenneally5010$72,4260%120%
34Kristin Mulhall1010$65,8000%1100%
35Jonathan E. Sheppard2001$59,9000%150%
36Jack O. Fisher4012$54,7500%375%
37Neil D. Drysdale7000$50,8410%00%
38Pavel Matejka3100$41,42333%133%
39Rafael A. Fernandez2010$35,2000%150%
40Albert M. Stall, Jr.4010$35,0840%125%
41David R. Vance3100$34,80033%133%
42Randy L. Morse5010$33,3060%120%
43Murat Sancal3010$31,3500%133%
44James P. DiVito2011$31,0000%2100%
45Robert B. Hess, Jr.1010$29,4000%1100%
46Ignacio Correas, IV5010$28,2400%120%
47Rick Hiles2101$28,00050%2100%
48Scott Becker1010$27,9000%1100%
49Eoin G. Harty2010$26,7260%150%
50Lee J. Rossi1010$26,0000%1100%
50Philip A. Bauer1010$26,0000%1100%
52Mike Crowder1100$25,200100%1100%
53Michael E. Lauer2100$24,50050%150%


Downey, Dick.  (2017) The Downey Profile.  Web.  Retrieved from