New Format, Detail for our “Question Mark” Speed Figures gives you an edge (updated with a new code)

Our customers bet off of TimeformUS Speed Figures, and we do not want them unknowingly placing faith in the occasional number that we are not yet confident in. From time to time, our figures are under review because the evidence that is ordinarily available to create them has somehow been compromised. What’s the best way to handle this challenge to help our customers?

The Origin of Question Mark Figures

One of the helpful features that Timeform Ratings (from the mothership in England) offer when assessing horses overseas is a question mark symbol when a horse’s rating is considered suspect. With that as inspiration, we implemented question mark symbols in TimeformUS Past Performances in the spring of 2015. An example of how Question Mark Figures were initially displayed in TimeformUS  is below:

Screen Shot 2015-06-03 at 12.49.56 PM

Beginning today, Question Mark Figures are being displayed in a new format, with a new level of detail to give TimeformUS Customers an advantage when betting.

Moving to The Left

Question Mark Figures are now shifting to the Race Rating field, to reflect that they apply to the entire race, not just the Speed Figure for one horse. Additionally, instead of the general question mark symbol, you will see  a specific one-letter code that indicates the main reason for the question mark designation. Here’s how these races will look for question mark figures assigned for races beginning January 25th or later:

Screen Shot 2016-06-27 at 5.26.52 PM

Understanding The Codes

Most of the time a tough race to evaluate with a speed figure is marked as such for more than one reason.  The code identifies the main one. Here are the seven possible codes that you will see:

f – First Timers/Lightly Raced – The race was loaded with horses racing for the first time or with very few starts. If a turf or synthetic track race, there could be little to no form on the surface. This is never reason alone to mark a race as questionable. It is usually combined with other factors. For example, a 2yo maiden special weight race with first time starters only and it is the only dirt sprint on the card.

o – Only Turf / Sprint / Route – This one is exactly as described…only one race on the card was run under similar conditions. Much like the f code, this is never a sole reason for marking the race. Most times this is used the race was an “only” and comparing the performance of the horses in the race to the projections varied quite a bit from horse to horse.

p – Pace – There will be some races run with the pace so aberrantly fast or slow that it will cause the horses to all run unreasonably slow final times. Since TimeformUS Speed Figures combine pace and final time figures into one overall number, we’re typically able to capture these nuances, but sometimes the situation is so extreme that we don’t feel we’re able to properly measure it. These races are already flagged via color coding for the fractions/pace figures, but we will go a step further and apply this coding.  It is probably a good idea to ignore races coded “p” from a speed figure point of view.

t – Timer – Unfortunately this is becoming more common in the sport of horse racing. Timer malfunctions are way more prevalent than they should be and races where there was an issue are marked as such. In many cases these races are missing one or more fractional times. We do not attempt to make pace figures for points of call that are missing fractions. Also, there will be no final time figures for races that are not timed at the finish.

b – Breakout – The race appears unusually fast or unusually slow compared to others on the card, including those that come before and after it. Using the same variant as the other races would cause all the top finishers in a race to have aberrant numbers that don’t seem realistic.

n – Possible BreakoutThe race was strongly considered as a “breakout,” code b above, but in the end was left as is with reservations. This is the preferred choice between the two.

c – Track Conditions – Track conditions can change drastically during a card, usually due to weather, and the figures for the race are primarily based on only the horses in this one race.

There is now an eighth type of code–for races we can’t give a figure for at all:

  • i – Insufficient data – There simply isn’t enough data to generate a speed figure with confidence. These races will be almost exclusively races for two-year-olds from days when there were no similar races on the card and the two-year-old race was hard to compare to the other races due to things like timing problems, changes in weather, or rarely run distances. As the horses run again, these races will be re-visited to see if enough data has come in to allow us to go back and make a figure with confidence.

Question Mark Figures: Why We Include This Data in Our Product

To review these suspect figures, we will typically wait for additional evidence to come in, in the form of horses from that race returning to race again. But even that has its limitations. Some figures are questionable when made and remain questionable months later or in perpetuity–because the runbacks do little to clarify the situation. This is rare but it does happen, and we believe it to be true for all Speed Figure makers. When a figure is under review, you deserve to know it.

As a player, you can then incorporate our lack of confidence in the available evidence into your own handicapping and assess additional elements of a horse’s form before placing your bets.

Additionally, if you refer to other speed figures when handicapping, the TimeformUS Question Marks will alert you to difficult conditions that likely affected other figure makers as well. They may not tell you, but we will. And now we’ll tell you why, too.

Related:

>How To Use TimeformUS Race Ratings

>Color-Coded Bias Indicators in TimeformUS Race Ratings

>How To Use TimeformUS Speed Figures

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Welcome to the TimeformUS Blog

Hello and welcome to the TimeformUS blog!

The purpose of this blog is to explain features of TimeformUS Past Performances, a new horse racing product which is optimized for tablets and the web. Currently, you can purchase TimeformUS Past Performances at TimeformUS.com or in the the TVG Handicapping Store.

This blog is also a great place to ask questions and provide feedback about our new product. Use the links below to get started, and if you have questions, email us at  Support@TimeformUS.com

Visit TimeformUS.com

More TimeformUS How-To Videos

How to use TimeformUS Past Performances
TimeformUS Help Legend (PDF)
The Fast PPs
• Result Charts
• The Race Finder Tool

How TimeformUS is Different
TimeformUS Speed Figures
TimeformUS Spotlight Speed Figures
TimeformUS Pace Projector
• TimeformUS Running Lines
TimeformUS Pace Figures
• TimeformUS Bias Indicators
Full Result Charts
Trainer Ratings
• Pedigree Ratings
• Race Ratings
Enhanced Foreign Running Lines
• Running Style and Early/Late Ratings

 

 

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How TimeformUS is Different

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TimeformUS
 is a new kind of horse racing Past Performances, optimized for tablets and PCs. At TimeformUS, we’re focused on helping you understand races faster. We’re perpetually refining the site and PPs: New features will be introduced regularly.  To start: here’s a top 10 list on how we’re making it easier to play the game; click the links next to each item for a deeper description or a video on how it works.

First thing’s first: if you’re looking for a PDF legend labeling all of our features, click here

1) How we make our Speed Figures
Our state-of-the-art, single-number measure of all-around performance.
Watch The Video>>
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2) Our Pace Projector
The breakthrough timesaver that tells you where they’re gonna be early in a race, and more.
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3) Race Ratings
The TimeformUS Race Ratings help you quickly understand the quality of any race.
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4) TimeformUS Pace Figures
Based on the fractional times run by each horse at each point of call in a race, TimeformUS Pace Figures give you a clear sense of the pace scenarios that a horse has faced in prior races.
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5) TimeformUS Color-Coded Bias Indicators
When we see a surface that favored frontrunners or closers in a horse’s previous race, we flag that running line with red or blue coloring.
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6) Timeform Foreign Running Lines for shippers
TimeformUS PPs offer unparalleled info on horses who previously ran overseas.
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7) TimeformUS Result Charts
One-click access from the 1-2-3 section of every running line,  TimeformUS Result Charts are color-coded  and fully customizable.
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8)  Simplified but smart TimeformUS Trainer Ratings
Our Trainer Ratings show you instantly how a trainer performs overall and in specific situations.
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9) TimeformUS Race Finder
Use our Race Finder to quickly and easily find the types of races you like to play.
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10) TimeformUS Pedigree Ratings based on today’s surface/distance
On a 100-point scale and based on the surface/distance of today’s race, factoring in the TimeformUS speed figures assigned to the horses in the family of today’s runner.
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Visit TimeformUS.com, or see below for even MORE ways in which TimeformUS is different:

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Sunday TimeformUS Highlight Horse: Eddy Dirt should move forward with added distance in second start

Aqueduct | Race 2 | Post Time 2:05 p.m. (ET) | Go to the TimeformUS PPs 
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Our Honor (#1) is going to be a heavy favorite based on his 2018 form, which is vastly superior to that of his rivals in this $20,000 maiden claimer. While he unquestionably would get to the winner’s circle if he runs back to those efforts, I’m skeptical that we’re going to see that same level of performance off a seven-month layoff. This is the third time Linda Rice has attempted to get this runner into the starting gate after claiming him, as he has been a vet scratch in January and again in February. If he starts in this race, I find it hard to believe that he will produce a top effort given owner/trainer Rice’s insistence on dangling him for a bottom-level tag. He’s a horse you have to use defensively, but I’m trying to beat him.

Seediskid (#3) and Bourbon Boy (#5) are viable alternatives, assuming that Our Honor regresses significantly. I’ll use them, but my top pick is second-time starter EDDY DIRT (#2).

Eddy-Dirt.png

Eddy Dirt debut was not nearly as poor as it might seem. He broke from the gate without major issues but seemed to react badly to kickback soon thereafter, climbing as the field crossed onto the main track from the chute. He soon lost contact with the field and was hopelessly beaten at the quarter pole. Yet if you watch the head-on replay, this horse really picked up the pace in the stretch once Gutierrez set him down. According to Trakus, he ran his final quarter-mile in 25.19 seconds and his last eighth in 12.38 – the latter figure being more than a second faster than any other horse in the field – before galloping out strongly. This son of Violence should have no problem stretching out to nine furlongs. Rudy Rodriguez often conveys his intentions through rider switches, and this move to leading rider Manny Franco has to be considered a positive sign.

THE PLAY

Win: 2
Exacta Key Box: 2 with 1,3,5,9
Trifecta: 2 with 1 with 3,5,9

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Aqueduct Horses in Focus for Sunday, March 17

Race 2: Eddy Dirt (#2)

  • Raced greenly soon after the start in his debut, taking himself out of contention in the opening furlongs.
  • Was running fastest of all through the lane, achieving a final eighth clocking that was over a second faster than any other horse in the field.
  • The switch to leading rider Manny Franco suggests that the barn expects a better effort this time.

5-1 on ML

———

Race 7: Flatexcel (#7)

  • Will appreciate the turnback in distance to his ideal 6-furlong trip.
  • Puts blinkers back on after changing his running style and performing poorly without them.
  • The Pace Projector is predicting that he will be on the lead in a situation favoring the front-runner.

5-2 on ML

———

Race 8: Speightful Kitten (#2)

  • Was unwisely rated last time in a spot where he could have been the primary speed.
  • The 116 TimeformUS Speed Figure that he earned two back suggests that he’s fast enough to beat likely favorite Ready to Escape.
  • Projects to sit a good trip stalking a speed duel up front.

5-1 on ML

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Saturday TimeformUS Highlight Horse: Startwithsilver should be sharper second off the layoff in the Correction

Aqueduct | Race 3 | Post Time 2:40 p.m. (ET) | Go to the TimeformUS PPs 
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This race could be significantly affected by scratches, depending on which runners Linda Rice leaves in the race. She has entered four of the six betting interests, and as of Saturday morning all of them are expected to participate. If the race holds together as is, there is a fair amount of early speed signed on. Sower, Yorkiepoo Princess, Sounds Delicious, and Filibustin all do their best work when able to secure the lead.

The Pace Projector indicates that Sower (#1) is the one most likely to revert to stalking tactics, as she has done in the past, yet that still leaves a trio of mares contesting the pace. Yorkiepoo Princess (#3) finished behind Sower in the Interborough last time, but I thought she had the slightly tougher trip while setting the pace nearest a rail that was disadvantageous. She should appreciate the slight cutback to six furlongs here. I’m using both of them in some capacity, but I prefer the two Rice runners drawn to the outside.

Sounds Delicious (#4) merits plenty of respect off her dazzling victory in this race last year, but it’s been a bumpy road since then. She was off for a long time following a poor effort in May and disappointed in her return last fall. While she lost as the favorite again last time, I thought she took a significant step forward. Her 113 TimeformUS Speed Figure for that effort puts her in the mix here, and she will appreciate getting back to six furlongs. She’s dangerous in her third start off the layoff, and I’m using her prominently.

Startwithsilver.png

My top pick is STARTWITHSILVER (#5), who is also trying to reclaim her top form following a layoff and a disappointing return. While she lost by seven lengths to stablemate Holiday Disguise last time, that effort is not quite as poor as it seems. Feb. 16 featured a strong rail bias, and Startwithsilver was forced to go widest of all around the far turn while racing too close to a pace that fell apart. This mare was ridden like that race was merely a prep, and I expect her to take a big step forward as she switches back to regular pilot Junior Alvarado. This 6-year-old does best when she can be reserved at the back and launch one explosive rally, and Alvarado rides her that way.

 

THE PLAY

Win: 5
Exacta Key Box: 5 with 1,2,3,4
Trifecta: 4,5 with 4,5 with ALL

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TimeformUS Kentucky Derby Prep Analysis: No easy task beating Baffert in either division of the Rebel

Oaklawn | Race 8 | Post Time 4:57 p.m. (CT) |Go to the FREE PPs
Oaklawn | Race 10 | Post Time 6:06 p.m. (CT) |Go to the FREE PPs

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Due to an unfortunate series of events in California, this year’s Rebel Stakes has been split into two divisions, with each featuring a sizable contingent from that West Coast track. Bob Baffert sends out the star attractions in each race. Last year’s 2-year-old champion Game Winner makes his return in the second division, and highly regarded Los Alamitos Futurity winner Improbable returns just over an hour earlier in the first. The original plan had been for these stablemates to face off against each other in the now-cancelled San Felipe. Yet now they will each go to post as heavy favorites in separate spots.

 

DIVISION 1

The first division of the Rebel, which goes as the 8th race on Saturday’s card at Oaklawn Park, is generally considered the weaker of the two divisions. While many of the front-runners entered for the Rebel wound up in the second division, this race is still predicted to feature a fast pace by the Pace Projector.

Div1-Pace-Projector.png

Only two horses are expected to be in front of Improbable in the early going, as Classy John (#7) and Galilean (#8) figure to contest the early lead. The former has flashed plenty of speed in sprint races, so it’s unlikely that any of these rivals will challenge him in the early stages. Galilean and Improbable (#9) should relax into a good stalking position. Despite the fast pace characterization, this heat does not feature any formidable closers and is likely to be dominated by horses racing close to the pace. In fact, Improbable’s Late Pace Rating of 84 is one of the highest in the field.

Let’s start by sorting out the main contenders in Division 1, beginning with the heavy favorite:

#9, IMPROBABLE (3-5): Many regard this colt as Bob Baffert’s leading Kentucky Derby candidate, despite the fact that Game Winner is the reigning champion in this division. That may be partly due to the fact that there are some parallels to be drawn between this colt and last year’s Triple Crown winner Justify. On a superficial level, both are robust chestnut colts whose faces are marked by striking white blazes, and each is campaigned by a WinStar and China Horse Club partnership. Yet, the similarities do not end there. Improbable enters the Triple Crown prep races undefeated and largely unchallenged. Like Justify, Improbable is sired by a stallion known for getting speedy progeny, yet his female family features strong stamina influences. Improbable has been sent off as the odds-on choice in each career start, and that trend is unlikely to change in the Rebel.

Improbable

Following a workmanlike maiden score at 6 furlongs, he has been untouchable ever since Bob Baffert stretched him out in distance. Racing fans were buzzing following his visually impressive score in the Street Sense over the Churchill Downs strip, and that hype was then validated when he put forth a dazzling effort to take the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Futurity in December. The 118 TimeformUS Speed Figure that he earned for that performance is the highest in this field, and Improbable was not even fully extended in that victory. Reports of this colt’s training regimen at Santa Anita are glowing, and all indications seem to be that he is primed for a peak effort on return. I’m not trying to beat him. The obvious selection.

#8, GALILEAN (3-1): This California-bred runner is widely regarded as the primary threat to Improbable, and some would even go so far as to suggest that he is the one horse most likely to prevent a Bob Baffert sweep of both Rebel divisions. While I acknowledge that Galilean has been visually impressive in his two most recent victories, I would advise his supporters to temper their enthusiasm. The two 109 TimeformUS Speed Figures that he was assigned for those two-turn victories are significantly lower than the best numbers that Improbable has achieved. Some may argue that Galilean could have run faster had Flavien Prat set him down to an all-out drive in the stretch of those races, but such assertions rarely come to fruition. This colt gets a significant class test in his first start against open company. While he’s been dominant in his recent victories, all of those who finished behind him are probably bound for the claiming ranks in the near future. I would prefer to look elsewhere in search of an alternative to the favorite. Unappealing as the likely second choice.

#1, EXTRA HOPE (6-1): This son of Shanghai Bobby was no match for Improbable when they met in the Los Alamitos Futurity last December, but it is worth noting that Extra Hope had significant trouble heading into the clubhouse turn. He was carried wide by a rank rival to his inside, whereas Improbable was unaffected by that disturbance. All things considered, Extra Hope recovered well to rally for third that day, confirming that he has ample stamina to put forth a top effort going today’s 1 1/16-mile distance. His connections set their sights a bit lower for his 3-year-old debut in late January, as he dominated a group of allowance horses in fast time over a sloppy track. For a colt that had been somewhat sluggish in the early portions of his sprint races last summer, it was encouraging to see him flash such improved early speed last time. The 114 TimeformUS Speed Figure that he was assigned for that performance represents a significant improvement on his 2-year-old form and puts him in the mix here. I get the sense that this runner is just starting to figure things out and he may yet have another forward move in him. Given the lack of depth after the favorite in this division, Extra Hope has an excellent chance to fill out the exacta. The main threat.

#2, LONG RANGE TODDY (10-1): While I have not been thrilled with the local 3-year-olds that we have seen at Oaklawn Park so far this year, I do get the sense that this son of Will Take Charge may be the best of the lot. He may not have appreciated getting pinned down on the rail for the short stretch drive in the Smarty Jones, and then last time he was very unlucky to lose the Southwest. That race was dominated by horses that made outside moves when the race was falling apart at the quarter pole, and Long Range Toddy got caught inside behind tiring runners. He lost valuable momentum and actually did extremely well to gather himself and get back into contention at the wire. I have little doubt that he would have won that race if he had been positioned outside in upper stretch. His speed figures are a little light compared to some others, but this colt is game and always seems to show up with a competitive effort. I certainly prefer him to Galilean, and he figures to be a much bigger price than both of the aforementioned alternatives. Adds value in exotics.

There are a couple of fringe players in this division: EASY SHOT (#4) closed for a minor award in the Robert B. Lewis last time, but that was among the weaker prep races that we have seen. His running style should ensure that he works out a favorable trip from off the pace, but he is likely not fast enough to land a serious blow. CLASSY JOHN (#7) should lead this field for a long way as he stretches out to the longest distance of his career. He earned some impressive TimeformUS Speed Figures in his first couple of starts around one turn, but he had trouble handling the stretch-out against inferior rivals at Delta Downs last time and would be hard-pressed to last against this classy bunch. The remaining horses in Division 1 are not likely to factor in the outcome.

 

DIVISION 2

The second division of the Rebel, which goes as the 10th race, features numerous confirmed front-running types. Horses such as Market King (#1), Parsimony (#3), Jersey Agenda (#4), and Omaha Beach (#6) have all been most successful when racing on or near the early lead. Furthermore, Our Braintrust (#7) is adding blinkers for the first time, which could incite him to show more speed than he has in his prior races.

Div2-Pace-Projector

The sheer volume of speed horses should not have a negative impact on favorite Game Winner (#5), who possesses a versatile running style. His Late Pace Rating of 84 is identical to that of Improbable’s, an indication that both of these horses are strong finishers regardless of running style. If they go too fast up front and a pace meltdown ensues, deep closer Gunmetal Gray (#7) should be picking up the pieces in the late stages.

Let’s sort out the main contenders in Division 2, starting with the 2018 Two Year Old Champion:

#5, GAME WINNER (4-5): He is everything you want in a Derby horse. He has no discernible weaknesses. This colt was fast enough to win his debut sprinting 6 furlongs at Del Mar, yet possessed the stamina to seamlessly transition to two-turn route races later in the fall while using a variety of running styles. He chased a moderate pace in the American Pharoah before taking over at the quarter pole, yet he rallied from well behind when winning the Del Mar Futurity and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. Despite a slight dip in his speed figures, that most recent score was arguably his best effort to date. After sustaining a bump at the start, Game Winner found himself traveling in mid-pack, trying to catch up while racing wide around both turns. He covered far more ground than his two nearest pursuers in deep stretch, relentlessly rallying past Knicks Go after withstanding a hard bump from that rival in upper stretch. Surely that performance was stronger than the mediocre 114 TimeformUS Speed Figure indicates.

Game-Winner

Game Winner remains a serious force to be reckoned with as he steps onto the Derby trail, yet there remains some doubt as to whether he is primed to put forth a top effort in his 3-year-old debut. This colt has never been the most enthusiastic work horse in his morning training, and that lack of flashy drills has led some to conclude that his highly regarded stablemate Improbable is more likely to win on Saturday. Perhaps that is true, but I have not seen any convincing evidence that Game Winner is going to take a backward step off his 2-year-old form. While not pertinent to today’s discussion, I do have a great deal of confidence that Game Winner will continue to improve as the distances increase. Candy Ride is a versatile sire and the stamina influences stemming from his A. P. Indy-sired dam are quite solid. This streamlined colt gives every impression that the Derby distance will be well within his ideal range. With all of that in mind, perhaps Bob Baffert does not have him fully cranked to win going into today’s trip, instead content to let him race into fitness. I do not believe this horse is quite as vulnerable as some are suggesting, but there is at least one rival in this field who could mount serious challenges. Deserves respect.

#6, OMAHA BEACH (7-2): If I were Bob Baffert, this is not the horse I would fear most. Omaha Beach is likely to be the second choice in the wagering, yet I feel that this well-bred colt still has much to prove. He did earn an eye-opening TimeformUS Speed Figure of 118 when he broke his maiden last time out, but I think it’s important to place that victory in context. Omaha Beach was sent off as the 3-5 favorite that day and absolutely dominated an overmatched field in the slop. While the early fractions appeared to be dazzling upon first viewing, the sealed main track at Santa Anita was playing extremely fast on Feb. 2, which contributed to the fast times. That pace is not color-coded red in TimeformUS PPs, indicating that the fractions Omaha Beach set were actually moderate relative to the final time. It’s notable that none of his prior speed figures makes him remotely competitive with this field. Furthermore, the Pace Projector indicates that there are other fast runners in this field, so it is not guaranteed that he will even be in front heading around the clubhouse turn. As a son of War Front, I would have preferred to see him finish off his two-turn races with greater energy. While he may be quite talented, I just have not yet seen the evidence that this colt possesses the stamina to make the transition into graded stakes company going a route of ground on the dirt. A likely underlay.

#7, OUR BRAINTRUST (6-1): This overachiever seems to be the forgotten horse in the Rebel. I find it curious that he’s dismissed at 6-1 on the morning line and is lightly regarded by many handicappers. That 121 TimeformUS Speed Figure that he earned for his third-place finish in the Withers is the highest in the field and is strong enough to win most of the Derby preps that we have seen so far in 2019. I realize that some horseplayers are skeptical of the surprisingly high numbers that the Withers received, but we have yet to see conclusive evidence that the number should be lower. Those pointing to Not That Brady’s last-place finish in the Gotham as a reason to disregard the Withers are making a mistake. That horse had physical issues heading into the race and melted down on track prior to the start. Of greater significance to me are the two runners who ran back in the Tampa Bay Derby last weekend. The Withers fourth-place finisher repeated his number in that race, and the fifth-place finisher returned to earn a speed figure that was two points higher.

Our-Braintrust

Not only did Our Braintrust earn a massive speed figure in the Withers, he actually might have run the best race that day despite finishing third. The track at Aqueduct was starting to favor horses racing on the rail during the latter half of that Feb. 2 card before we observed a true inside bias on the following Sunday. Given that situation, Our Braintrust ran exceptionally well to lose by only a neck after chasing 2- to 3-wide throughout. His pedigree does not inspire confidence that he’s going to relish added ground, so this slight cutback to 1 1/16 miles can only help. Mark Casse has already sent a few live runners to take down stakes at this Oaklawn Park meet, and I could see Our Braintrust working out a favorable trip from a stalking position. If he merely repeats his last effort, Game Winner could have a real fight on his hands. The selection. 

#8, GUNMETAL GRAY (10-1): I suppose it’s possible that they go so fast up front as to create the kind of pace meltdown that we’ve become accustomed to seeing in these prep races. Horses such as Harvey Wallbanger and Haikal were not necessarily the best horses in their wins in the Holy Bull and Gotham, but closing trips into extremely fast paces put them in the winner’s circle. Supporters of this gray colt will hope the same phenomenon occurs here, as his 105 Late Pace Rating stands out from the rest of the field. Yet I remain somewhat skeptical that this runner is good enough to claim the top prize. After all, a fast pace would also benefit Game Winner, and that rival has previously asserted his superiority. Gunmetal Gray has failed to step forward off his 2-year-old speed figures, and some would argue he has even regressed in 2019. In exotic wagers, I think he’s one that you want to include on the bottom rungs of exactas and trifectas, but I’ll be surprised if he can pass them all. Using underneath.

The remainder of the field would have to improve to unseat the aforementioned rivals. LAUGHING FOX (#2) merits some consideration on the basis of his impressive 115 TimeformUS Speed Figure, earned on the Southwest undercard. The fast pace of that optional-claiming race led to the relatively quick final time, and this colt certainly benefited from the dynamics of that race. Yet, he may be improving for Steve Asmussen and is worth a look when constructing trifecta and superfecta wagers. JERSEY AGENDA (#4) was cooked in the pace of the Southwest, which was a strangely run race that was dominated by closers. He has some ability, but it seems unlikely that he will encounter a more favorable scenario this time. The rest of the runners in this division are difficult to support.

 

THE PLAYS 

Race 8

In the first division of the Rebel, I’m not trying to beat likely winner Improbable (#9), who figures to be a heavy favorite. My strategy will be to play against Galilean in exactas and trifectas, instead using Extra Hope (#1) and Long Range Toddy (#2) and the second and third slots.

Exacta: 9 with 1,2
Trifecta: 9 with 1,2 with 1,2,4,7,8

 

Race 10

In the second division of the Rebel, while I respect Game Winner’s (#5) talent, I’m taking a shot against him with Our Braintrust (#7), given that he is likely to be a massive overlay. I’m primarily focusing on this pair, and will use the rest to fill out the lower rungs of exotic wagers.

Win: 7
Exacta Key Box: 7 with 5,6,8
Trifecta: 5,7 with 5,7 with 2,4,6,8,10
Trifecta: 5,7 with 2,6,8 with 5,7

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Aqueduct Horses in Focus for Saturday, March 16

Race 3: Startwithsilver (#5)

  • Should get an honest pace to close into with four speedy rivals in the field.
  • Was wide against a strong rail bias last time out in her return.
  • Gets a rider switch to regular pilot Junior Alvarado, who has gotten the best late kick out of her.

6-1 on ML

———

Race 5: Disquiet (#6)

  • Gets significant class relief as she drops out of a tough maiden special weight into this bottom-level claimer.
  • Raced wide against a very strong rail bias on Feb. 3.
  • Is bred to stretch out in distance as a half-brother to graded stakes-winning router Recpaturetheglory.

7-2 on ML

———

Race 6: Rockin Jo (#4)

  • Was never on the rail despite leading last time while the eventual winner rode the rail over a track that featured an inside bias.
  • The Pace Projector is predicting that he will lead the field early in a situation favoring the front-runner.
  • Gets a positive rider switch to Kendrick Carmouche.

8-5 on ML

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Race 9: D’ambrosio (#6)

  • Never had a fair chance last time when he raced 5-wide around the far turn over a track that was favoring runners with inside position.
  • Ran a competitive speed figure against tougher company on Jan. 18 in his first start for the Rudy Rodriguez barn.
  • The rider switch to leading jockey Manny Franco suggests that he’s expected to put forth a better effort here.

7-2 on ML

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Friday TimeformUS Highlight Horse: Carthon’s early speed gives him an edge as he turns back in distance

Aqueduct | Race 8 | Post Time 5:21 p.m. (ET) | Go to the TimeformUS PPs
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Vincento (#2) has to be considered the horse to beat after racing competitively against open N1X allowance foes in January. Yet when Rudy Rodriguez dropped him back down to the New York-bred $40,000 optional-claiming level off that encouraging performance, Vincento failed to attract the interest of the public at curiously inflated odds and finished an uninspiring third. This gelding was claimed out of that race by Linda Rice, who keeps him at the same level in his first start for the new barn. Rice has very good numbers off the claim in this situation so this horse obviously merits respect.


Main rival Blugrascat’s Smile (#5) actually finished ahead of Vincento when they met on Jan. 26, and there’s little doubt the Charlton Baker trainee ran the superior race after chasing wide throughout. Blugrascat’s Smile is in very good form right now, but he’s finished second in three consecutive starts and is beginning to pile up the minor awards. I’m using him prominently, but he’s not the most appealing win proposition.

I could say the same thing about Uncle Sigh (#7), who had been in very good form throughout 2018, but has never been the most reliable win candidate. While his form has not deteriorated as drastically as some might assume, he will have to run better than his recent performance in late February when he had no excuse to miss third.

Carthon-Pace-Projector.png

I’m taking a shot against these horses with the likely speed CARTHON (#3). The Pace Projector is predicting that he will be clearly in front in the early stages in a situation that is forecast to favor horses on or near the lead. Carthon showed how dangerous he can be when given an aggressive ride on Dec. 20, as he chased an honest pace and drew off impressively going today’s distance. I wasn’t thrilled with his loss to the two aforementioned runners on Jan. 26, but I thought he came back with a deceptively strong effort last time at 1 1/8 miles. He set some taxing opening fractions, outdueling a rival who eventually finished last, before battling on gamely to be third. Eric Cancel has been riding him well and this gelding should be difficult to reel in if he flashes that same speed over the flat mile.

THE PLAY

Win: 3
Exacta Key Box: 3 with 2,5,7
Trifecta: 3 with 2,5,7 with 1,2,5,6,7

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Aqueduct Horses in Focus for Friday, March 15

Race 6: Lucid Dream (#2)

  • Raced wide against a rail bias in his return effort on Jan. 27
  • Faced considerably tougher rivals in his first two starts against maiden special weight company.
  • DRF Formulator Fact: Over the past 5 years, Linda Rice is 8 for 16 (50 percent, $3.20 ROI) in her first start off the claim with maidens in dirt routes.

8-1 on ML

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Race 8: Carthon (#3)

  • The Pace Projector is predicting that he will be clearly in front early in a situation favoring the leaders.
  • Ran deceptively well last time after setting a fast pace and hanging for third while his early pace rival faded to last.
  • Should appreciate the return to a flat mile after running well to win at this distance three back.

3-1 on ML

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