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 are now 2 new types of codes:

  • 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.
  • z – No baseline for pace figures – The race was run on a track configuration that hasn’t been used before or has been used sparingly. The configuration consists of the distance and surface of the race, any temporary rail setting that may be in place, the run up for the race, and the “about” designation used at some locations.

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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Aqueduct Horses in Focus for Sunday, December 8

RACE 5: BANKERS DAUGHTER (#9)

There are some intriguing first-time starters to consider in this wide-open maiden special weight for New York-breds, including Makingcents, a daughter of stakes winner Mischief Maker for the powerful Jeremiah Englehart barn. However, I want to primarily focus on those with experience. The horse to beat is probably New York Supreme, who did everything but get her nose down on the wire in her initial start in November. She actually broke a step slowly in that 12-horse field but showed good speed thereafter to lead through swift opening fractions. She appeared to have opened up an insurmountable advantage past mid-stretch, but those early exertions took their toll in the final sixteenth. The slight cutback to six furlongs figures to suit her, but I wonder if last time was the right time for her, as she was apparently cranked up for her debut. I’m actually interested in a different horse out of that race. Bankers Daughter didn’t attract as much tote support as New York Supreme, but she actually ran fairly well to be fourth. Breaking from the outside post position, she advanced into contention on the turn and briefly loomed a threat before she got to lugging in through the lane. The addition of blinkers should help straighten her out for a barn that isn’t known for getting horses to win early. Though, Mike Miceli is having a fantastic season and I think this daughter of Central Banker can take a step forward. I would also use Dancing Kiki, who improved second time out when second to the promising Playtone. She gets a rider upgrade to Joel Rosario, though I wonder if that’s a product of Dylan Davis electing to ride Bankers Daughter instead. I prefer those runners to Aubrey Tate, who has had her chances at short prices and is stepping up to meet a tougher field here.

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RACE 7: NEWLY MINTED (#4)

If Bridlewood Cat repeats that 108 TimeformUS Speed Figure she earned in her maiden victory, even main rival Newly Minted might have trouble beating her. Yet, while she was visually impressive in that score, she had a lot working in her favor, racing on the best part of the track while setting a slow pace against inferior competition. Furthermore, there’s some doubt about the legitimacy of that last speed figure. Runnerup Rapido Gatta returned to lose at 1-5 odds next time with a 28-point regression and the fourth-place finisher regressed by 17 points next time. There are obviously expectations here given the $750,000 purchase tag, but she gets a major class test. It’s also doubtful she’s going to work out the same soft trip with speeds Stonesintheroad and Fangirl signed on. I prefer her main rival Newly Minted, who took a scary fall after the wire of the Empire Distaff. However, she walked away unscathed, and has reeled off three quick workouts since. They tried routing with her twice now and she’s probably just a bit better going shorter trips. While this turn-back to six furlongs may seem pretty drastic, she showed a lot of speed as a younger horse and doesn’t necessarily need the lead to be successful, as she displayed in the Bouwerie. It wouldn’t be a major shock to see her finally take that next step forward and I believe she’s the horse to beat.

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RACE 8: CONTROL GROUP (#2)

This race became even more complicated on the redraw, as original favorite Turbulence wasn’t entered back, and you have some intriguing new additions to the line-up. Doups Point should inherit the favorite’s role, but he’s starting to run out of chances for me. While he got the job done three back, he’s disappointed at short prices more often than not. Furthermore, I’m not convinced that added distance is really his friend, as he’s shown a more effective late kick going one turn. Some might consider the horses exiting the Nov. 8 race at this level, in which Singapore Trader ran well to be second. He also has some stamina questions to answer, but at least it appears that Todd Pletcher has gotten him back into top form. I’m most interested in a couple of horses we know can handle the distance. One of those is Calculated Risker, who returns from a layoff for Ray Handal. He has to get a little faster to beat this field, but he fits the conditions well. I’m using him in exotics, but he was done no favors by the post-position draw. My top pick is Control Group. Consistency has been a major issue for this runner lately, but I can’t ignore the claim by Jason Servis. I acknowledge that Control Group has been in some live barns recently and his poor effort last time is definitely a concern. That said, he’s bounced back before and I think he can rebound again under these circumstances. Two things have always been true about Control Group: he prefers two turns and he relishes a wet track. He’s definitely getting the first in his favor this time and he’s likely to get both. It’s a good sign Irad Ortiz is back aboard after easing him last time and it’s also a positive indicator that he’s returning just five weeks after that last effort. The good version of Control Group will beat this field and I think there’s a strong chance we’ll see that horse again on Sunday. I also would throw in new face Blugrascat’s Smile underneath, since he can handle this distance and might be rounding back into top form.

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Saturday TimeformUS Highlight Horse: Added distance of the Demoiselle should benefit Daphne Moon

Aqueduct | Race 8 | Post Time 3:13 p.m. (ET) | Go to the TimeformUS PPs 
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Maedean (#2) is simply the horse to beat off her last two efforts. She got a great trip to break her maiden two back and then improved on that effort when taking down the Grade 3 Tempted last time. In both of starts, she earned TimeformUS Speed Figures that are among the highest in this field. The stretch-out to 1 1/8 miles is not supposed to be an issue given her pedigree, and she’s drawn a great post position. As long as she continues to move forward, she’s going to be a handful.

Pace-Projector.png

Her main rival Alandra (#5) won what appeared to be a live maiden race at Saratoga in her debut. It’s always significant when Shug McGaughey runners win first time out, as they tend to go on to do nice things from there. She completely altered her running style in the Alcibiades and that may have worked against her. She probably can do better than that, but she’s going to take plenty of money even though she hasn’t yet run as fast as some of her main rivals.

Lake Avenue (#12) earned the highest TimeformUS Speed Figure in this field when walloping a small group of maidens by over 12 lengths last time. Now she stretches out for the first time, and she’s bred to handle added ground. However, she had no luck with the post position draw.

Daphne-Moon

My top pick is DAPHNE MOON (#10), who also drew a wide post but figures to take back from there. She overcame a poor start to circle the field and win going away over a demanding 7 furlongs in her Saratoga debut. She was understandably was bet down to 3-1 odds in the Grade 1 Frizette subsequently, but another poor break compromised her chances in a race dominated on the front end. That performance isn’t nearly as bad as it seems, and she feels like one who should continue improving with added ground. The Pace Projector is predicting she’ll get a fast pace to close into.

THE PLAY

Win: 10
Exacta Key Box: 10 with 1,2,5,6,12
Trifecta: 2,10 with 2,10 with 1,5,6,9,11,12

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Aqueduct Horses in Focus for Saturday, December 7

RACE 8: DAPHNE MOON (#10)

Maedean is simply the horse to beat off her last two efforts. She got a great trip to break her maiden two back and then improved on that effort when taking down the Grade 3 Tempted last time. In both of starts, she earned TimeformUS Speed Figures that are among the highest in this field. The stretch-out to 1 1/8 miles is not supposed to be an issue given her pedigree, and she’s drawn a great post position. As long as she continues to move forward, she’s going to be a handful. Her main rival Alandra won what appeared to be a live maiden race at Saratoga in her debut. It’s always significant when Shug McGaughey runners win first time out, as they tend to go on to do nice things from there. She completely altered her running style in the Alcibiades and that may have worked against her. She probably can do better than that, but she’s going to take plenty of money even though she hasn’t yet run as fast as some of her main rivals. Lake Avenue earned the highest TimeformUS Speed Figure in this field when walloping a small group of maidens by over 12 lengths last time. Now she stretches out for the first time, and she’s bred to handle added ground. However, she had no luck with the post position draw. My top pick is Daphne Moon, who also drew a wide post, but figures to take back from there. She overcame a poor start to circle the field and win going away over a demanding 7 furlongs in her Saratoga debut. She was understandably was bet down to 3-1 odds in the Grade 1 Frizette subsequently, but another poor break compromised her chances in a race dominated on the front end. That performance isn’t nearly as bad as it seems, and she feels like one who should continue improving with added ground. The Pace Projector is predicting she’ll get a fast pace to close into.

 –––

RACE 9: PRINCE JAMES (#7)

Likely favorite Forza di Oro is yet to run as fast as some others in here, but the potential is certainly there. He ran much better than his 88 TimeformUS Speed Figure would indicate in his debut, as he completely blew the start, leaving the gate 3 to 4 lengths behind the others. He showed real talent to run so well thereafter, and followed that up with a facile maiden score, despite the relatively slight margin of victory, never fully set down in the lane. He is by Speightstown, but there’s plenty of stamina on the dam’s side of this pedigree, and he acts like one that should get the 1 1/8 miles. Pletcher has a pair contenders in here, and the one that I prefer is Alpha Sixty Six. His debut was better than the speed figures would indicate, as he made up ground into a relatively slow pace and did so while racing wide against a rail bias. He was thrown into a tough spot in the Champagne next time out and he did some himself no favors by blowing the start. All things considered, he did well to only miss second place by 3/4-length that day. I’m using both, but I think we can get a bit more creative in this wide open affair. I prefer Prince James at a big price. His last race is quite slow from a speed figure standpoint, but he ran a bit better than it looks. The eventual winner got loose on the front end through slow-to-moderate fractions and this guy was the only horse making up significant ground at the end. He ran well in his debut at Monmouth, earning a number that puts him in the mix, and he’s bred to appreciate added ground as a son of Tiznow out of a half-sister to Grade 1 CCA Oaks runner-up Don’t Forget Gil. There isn’t much pace in this race, and he can be forwardly placed with the addition of blinkers.

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RACE 10: MAXIMUM SECURITY (#5)

I’m not going to overcomplicate this Cigar Mile. The two main players are obviously Maximum Security and Spun to Run, and I prefer the former. Maximum Security is such a versatile horse, one that is as effective sprinting as he is going 1 1/4 miles. He doesn’t need to carry his racetrack around with him, winning on a variety of surfaces, and he’s shown the ability to adapt to a wide array of pace scenarios. The Pace Projector is predicting that he can get in front of Spun to Run early, and I think that’s going to make him awfully difficult to run down. As long as Maximum Security merely holds his form, I believe he’ll win, and there’s a strong chance that he could actually step forward considering that he’s making his second start off a 3-month layoff. Spun to Run will attract support on the basis of his two recent flashy speed figures, and those numbers are totally legitimate. However, he had a lot working in his favor in both of those starts. He was allowed to set a slow pace at Parx two back en route to that dominant score, and then last time he made the lead through fairly moderate fractions in a race where the expected pace competition never materialized. Getting out in front of the kickback was important during that week at Santa Anita, so he had all the best of it. I think he faces a more difficult task having to chase down Maximum Security this time.

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Friday TimeformUS Highlight Horse: Fair Lassie can get back on track off the layoff

Aqueduct | Race 7 | Post Time 2:46 p.m. (ET) | Go to the TimeformUS PPs 
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The lightly raced Gilda Marie (#2) may go favored here, but she definitely comes with some flaws. She’s been seen just once since the summer of 2018, but at least that one appearance resulted in a victory. The word was out that day at Saratoga, as she was astoundingly bet down to 2-1 off some pretty dubious prior form. She’s clearly best on dirt, but she needed a long time to recover from that last effort and I have some concerns that she might not run back to that performance as she returns from layoff.

One of her main rivals is Sweet Meadow Mist (#4), but this deep closer’s running style tends to work against her. She’s failed to catch much pace to close into in her recent starts, and it’s unclear how much more speed she’ll get in front of her here. Finger Lakes shipper Eye’s On You (#5) comes in with the most robust résumé, having finished in the exacta in 18 of 26 career starts. That last out-out TimeformUS Speed Figure 97 makes her a player and it’s not like she was beaten by some slouch, as Victorias Fire is a 14-time winner. However, Eye’s On You’s prior efforts aren’t quite so strong and it’s often difficult for these Finger Lakes runners to transfer their form to NYRA.

Fair-Lassie.png

I’m intrigued by a bigger price. FAIR LASSIE (#3) has been something of a Jekyll and Hyde sort, winning one day and putting in a totally uncompetitive effort the next. She ran well enough to compete here when winning over a fast track back in June, and the filly she defeated, Mary’s Girl, has since won at this level. While Fair Lassie fell apart when meeting tougher starter allowance foes at Saratoga, she was notably hindered by racing on an extremely dead rail on July 26. It’s taken her a while to get back to the races, but at least there’s no scary drop in class.

At bigger prices, I also want to throw the speedy Overtime Olivia (#1) and the deep-closing Carlisle Belle (#9) into the mix, as both can grab a piece of this if their respective trips work out.

THE PLAY

Win: 3
Exacta Key Box: 3 with 1,2,4,5,7,9
Trifecta: 3 with 2,9 with 1,2,4,5,7,9

 

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Thursday TimeformUS Highlight Horse: Danny California should improve second off the claim

Aqueduct | Race 8 | Post Time 3:44 p.m. (ET) | Go to the TimeformUS PPs 
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With racing taken off the turf on Thursday, this becomes a completely different race. However, I’m sticking with the same top pick that I would have chosen in a turf event.

The focus of the wagering public will probably shift to the Main Track Only runners now that this race is being contested over dirt. Pipes (#16) and Playwright (#15) look like the two strongest contenders among those. The former may inherit the favorite’s role after finishing second to the highly regarded Turbulence at the same level last time. He didn’t have any excuse to lose that race, other than the fact that he simply ran into a better horse, as he was racing up close to a relatively slow pace and was in position to win. He clearly improved off the claim by Rudy Rodriguez and he’ll be tougher if he continues on that trajectory.

Playwright is a bit more difficult to read as he was never a serious threat when closing to be third sprinting upon returning from a layoff last time. The stretch-out in distance figures to help him, but his form from earlier in the year was alarmingly inconsistent. His best effort clearly makes him good enough to win, but there’s some question as to whether or not we’ll see it.

Danny-California.png

My aforementioned selection, even after the switch to dirt, is DANNY CALIFORNIA (#3). This gelding made his first start off the claim for the Orlando Noda barn last time and he actually ran a lot better than his finishing position would indicate. He raced as a closer that day and was thus badly compromised by a lack of pace in that race. Furthermore, that disadvantage was compounded by the fact that the kickback situation on the main track was very detrimental to closers during that racing week, helping the first two finishers. While Danny California was intended to race on turf, his dirt form is actually superior to his grass résumé. If he runs back to the effort that carried him to victory against claiming foes at Belmont in October, he’s going to be a handful for the two aforementioned Main Track Only runners.

THE PLAY

Win: 3
Exacta Key Box: 3 with 14,15,16
Trifecta: 3 with 15,16 with 12,14,15,16

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Aqueduct Horses in Focus for Thursday, December 5

Race 4: Fabulous Fun (#6)

  • Was touted prior to his Saratoga debut and has trained well for his return this year.
  • Ran better than it appears last time, making a brief middle move after breaking slowly.
  • Should be fitter for his second start off the layoff.

8-1 on ML

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Race 5: H Man (#4)

  • Is confidently bumped back up in class off the claim for a barn that has been known to improve horses.
  • Gets a positive trainer switch to Gary Contessa (49 TimeformUS Trainer Rating) to Orlando Noda (82 Rating).
  • Has earned prior speed figures for Jason Servis and Jeremiah Englehart that would make him tough to beat here.

8-1 on ML

———

Race 8: Danny California (#3)

  • Was compromised by a slow pace and kickback that was hindering closers last time.
  • Possesses better tactical speed than he showed last time and should be more forwardly placed under Manny Franco.
  • Has improved significantly in recent months and would be tough if returning to the race he ran two back.

8-1 on ML

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Sunday TimeformUS Highlight Horse: Dawn’s Early Light can step forward in first try against NY-breds

Aqueduct | Race 4 | Post Time 1:45 p.m. (ET) | Go to the TimeformUS PPs 
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The $2 million two-year-old purchase Chestertown (#7) was bet down to 6-5 odds in his debut and just ran like a horse who needed that race. He was a little sluggish in the early going and steadily advanced on the turn, but ultimately hit his best stride too late. If he takes any kind of step forward he’s going to beat this group. However, you’re probably going to be forced to take another very short price and there are other intriguing options in this field.

True Grace (#3) would be a serious rival for Chestertown if he merely repeats his last race. He’s hard to love off his form prior to that, but sometimes these youngsters can improve quite a bit from start to start at the end of their 2-year-old seasons. It’s a good sign that Rosario stays with this runner instead of Hellbender, and Christophe Clement does well with maidens getting Lasix for the first time. I’m using him, but my top pick figures to be an even larger price.

Dawns-Early-Light.png

DAWN’S EARLY LIGHT (#4) ships in from Kentucky for Danny Gargan, who claimed Tax out of a maiden event at Keeneland last fall before that runner went onto achieve Grade 2 success this year. This colt has a long way to come to match that feat but this could very well turn out to be another astute claim for this barn. He is a $285,000 yearling who was oddly dropped in for a tag without ever taking advantage of his New York-bred status. He now makes his first start against statebreds off a pair of decent TimeformUS Speed Figures and he’s got the pedigree to be a nice horse as a half-brother to multiple Grade 1-placed My Happy Face ($583,000). Furthermore, Gargan does exceptional work in this situation. Over the past year alone, he is a remarkable 9 for 17 (53%, $4.02 ROI) first off the claim, and he’s won with six of his last eight of those.

THE PLAY

Win: 4
Exacta Key Box: 4 with 3,7
Trifecta: 4 with 3,7 with 3,6,7,9

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