Today in Racing, Dec 18, 2013

Got a note to check out the race conditions for the 7th and 8th races at Laurel today, told that they are worth a chuckle.  Here’s the conditions for the 7th:

FOR THREE YEAR OLDS AND UPWARD WHICH HAVE NEVER WON TWO RACES OTHER THAN MAIDEN, CLAIMING, STARTER OR WAIVER CLAIMING OR MD SIRED STAKES OR MD BRED STAKES OR CLAIMING PRICE $25,000.

The 8th is even more convoluted.

FOR FILLIES AND MARES THREE YEARS OLD AND UPWARD WHICH HAVE NEVER WON FOUR RACES OTHER THAN MAIDEN, CLAIMING, STARTER, WAIVER CLAIMING OR MD SIRED STAKES OR MD BRED STAKES OR WHICH HAVE NEVER WON $32,000 THREE TIMES OTHER THAN MAIDEN, CLAIMING, STARTER OR STATE BRED OR CLAIMING PRICE $40,000.

Whew!  That’s a mouthful. Have to be honest: I don’t even know what a “waiver claiming” race is. Maybe you can put the horse on a waiver list, and trainers have a chance to claim it, with the ones at the bottom of the trainer standings getting first shot?

Race conditions have gotten more complex, seemingly with each passing year.  Used to be that a claiming race was a claiming race, period.  Now, they are open, restricted, beaten, optional, and waiver, whatever the hell that is.  We feel that these complicated conditions are one of the many blockers in place for potential new fans.  One look at something like this, and they could be off to the far simpler worlds of slot machines and NFL betting lines.

That is the main theory behind our race ratings (the numbers that appear to the left of each running line, and in the conditions oval of today’s race).  Instead of trying to decipher a monstrosity like the conditions above, we strive to boil the class down to a single number.  I discussed the methodology behind them in some detail in this post. As with all of our tools, we believe they are quite accurate and useful, but would never recommend their exclusive use in lieu of additional footwork, if you have the time and are so inclined. For one thing, there’s our result charts, which will soon include additional tools with which to evaluate the competition in a race (next-out figures, drilling down to each runner’s past performance lines).

So, instead of the above, and as you can see below, we would say that the 7th at Laurel is a 94, and the 8th is an 85.

While we’re on the subject, let’s take a brief look at these two races.  And we’ll start, as always, on the Preview page, for the 7th.

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Couple of things stand out.  For one thing, Pace Projector shows the #3 horse, Pearl of Wisdom, in front at the half mile pole (in route races) in a race favoring early speed. Yes, this has proven to be one of our more powerful angles.  But it doesn’t necessarily mean that one should infer, without a closer look, that the horse will win.  In this case, upon further inspection, we see that the winning efforts by Pearl of Wisdom have come against fields of lesser quality than today’s race FOR THREE YEAR OLDS AND UPWARD WHICH HAVE NEVER WON TWO RACES OTHER THAN MAIDEN, CLAIMING, STARTER OR WAIVER CLAIMING OR MD SIRED STAKES OR MD BRED STAKES OR CLAIMING PRICE $25,000 94. When he races in fields with race ratings in the 90s, the results have been pretty dismal.

Screen Shot 2013-12-18 at 10.52.09 AM

(Today I have the fractions/pace line set on ‘Pace Figures / This Horse.’)

Also, we see that the top Spotlight Figure horse, Wild Louis (100), the #5 horse, is the second choice at 9-5 in the morning line, behind the #7 horse, Souper Knight (92), the morning line favorite at 8-5.  A look at the PPs shows that, according to the TFUS speed figures, Wild Louis is simply the faster horse.  Each of his last two races is easily faster than anything Souper Knight has run; and he’s done it around two turns as well. Additionally, the trainer and jockeys of Souper Knight are going through rough spells; and his pace figures indicate that he may have trouble staying in contact early here in a race, again, projected to favor early speed (if not necessarily the projected early leader…..now watch him run off and win by ten!).

Screen Shot 2013-12-18 at 10.59.05 AM

Screen Shot 2013-12-18 at 10.59.55 AM

Here’s the Preview page for the 8th:

Screen Shot 2013-12-18 at 11.15.29 AM

Here we have the #4 horse, Red’s Round Table, as the even money morning line favorite, and he has the trifecta of top Spotlight Figure, being the leader at the quarter pole in Pace Projector (in sprints) in a race favoring early speed, and the top choice in our automated Power Picks selections.  Looks on first glance to be a race to perhaps pass by….but hold on here, Mr. Morning Oddsmaker!

Screen Shot 2013-12-18 at 11.18.46 AM

Screen Shot 2013-12-18 at 11.24.10 AM

This horse has one race in 669 days! And she didn’t do too hot, at 6-5, when she returned off the last lengthy layoff.

Whats more, her trainer’s rating for layoff horses stands below his general ratings.

Impressed by her workouts?  Our workout tool allows you to go back in time with a single click and see how she was working before her failed comeback race of  12/15/12.  She worked pretty well for that race too.

Screen Shot 2013-12-18 at 11.27.19 AM

So, you can have this mare at that price, and she can beat me if she so desires.  If I was going to bet a horse coming off a layoff here, it would be #2, Exclusive Warrior.

Screen Shot 2013-12-18 at 11.29.40 AM

She comes from a barn with a solid rating of 97 with horses running first off a layoff (amongst solid ratings overall).

Screen Shot 2013-12-18 at 11.29.54 AM

And, since our lifetime past performances allow you to quite easily peruse a horse’s entire history, we can go back some 20 races to the last time Exclusive Warrior returned from a lengthy vacation.  And we see it was rather successful.

Screen Shot 2013-12-18 at 11.32.53 AM

Slower speed figure, yes, but she’s improved over time, and at least showed the ability to return with a quick start out of the gate, earning pace figures that would put her closer to the front today than indicated by Pace Projector.  Best of luck and have a great day!

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