• What Makes a Horse Great?

    POSTED Sep 21, 2011
    After Winter Memories flopped in the Lake Placid following an ultra-impressive effort in the Lake George — what a difference a lake makes — the filly’s defenders were out in force. According to her adoring fans, many of whom were present at her foaling bearing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh (just a hunch), the “real” Winter Memories didn’t show up that day, but would in the Garden City.

    Her supporters were right.

    The real Winter Memories came… saw… and kicked the snot out of all comers at Belmont Park on Saturday, including Hungry Island and Kathmanblu — two (of the three) horses that defeated her at the Spa.

    Despite another troubled trip, in which she was blocked and steadied repeatedly, the daughter of El Prado proved much the best once clear in the Garden City. In less time than it took nervous fans to mutter “you say Lezcano, I say Castellano,” the gallant gray zoomed from last to first in the final furlong of the 1 1/8-mile test and notched her first Grade 1 victory by a long neck.

    2011 Garden City Stakes



    And with that visually impressive performance, trainer Jimmy Toner's stable star is once again being showered with the kind of praise that would have made Sunday Silence or even Spectacular Bid blush… but is the hype justified?

    Look, I’m the first person to tell anybody who’ll listen (usually my psychiatrist, reluctantly) that part of what defines talent in a racehorse is the ability to do the extraordinary. Clearly, Winter Memories has that kind of ability, as evidenced by the career-best +9 late speed ration (LSR) that she recorded in the Garden City. Yet, shouldn't Father Time have a say in all of this “greatness gab?”

    Of course, I’m aware that, to some horseplayers, the clock is irrelevant: “Time only matters when you’re in jail,” they like to proclaim. Well, not only are those folks lousy dinner guests (again, I’m guessing), but they are also dead wrong.

    Damon Runyon, the fabled turf writer, once said, “The race is not always to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, but that's the way to bet.”

    Given such a philosophy, I think it's safe to say that Runyon would be no fan of Winter Memories.

    Some veteran racegoers will remember the old Daily Racing Form speed ratings. They were based on the premise that every track record was worth 100 points; for each fifth of a second a particular race was slower than the record, one point was subtracted — ditto for every length a horse was beaten in that contest.

    Hence, a six-furlong dirt race timed in 1:08-4/5 at a track with a six-furlong dirt record of 1:08 would net a 96 speed figure for the winner, a 95 for the second-place finisher that was beaten by a length, and an 84 for the nag (is it still OK to use that term?) that straggled home 12 lengths behind.

    This method was very simple and not tremendously accurate — a lack of quality/consistency of the track records, abhorrent surface conditions and other factors could lead to some wild results — but the speed ratings did prove one thing: good horses run fast.

    From 1960 until 1989 (the last year the DRF speed ratings were based on track records), the eventual Horse of the Year recorded a figure of 95 or greater in 30 of 32 cases (there were two Horse of the Year winners in both 1965 and 1970), while 21 of the 32 champions set or broke at least one track record during the year in which they were honored.



    (Click on image to enlarge)



    (Click on image to enlarge)



    (Click on image to enlarge)

    Ironically (or, perhaps, not), the only horses that failed to garner a speed rating of 95 or better during their Horse of the Year campaigns — All Along in 1983 and Ferdinand in 1987 (see above) — both went winless the following year.

    With that in mind, let’s take a peek at the past performances of Winter Memories (the numbers in red represent the old DRF speed ratings):



    (Click on image to enlarge)

    Notice anything? Yeah, not exactly a speed demon, is she?

    Now, it’s only fair to point out that Winter Memories has, to a certain extent, been handicapped by extremely slow paces; and that 55 speed rating in the Lake Placid can be ignored completely as it was earned over a “yielding” turf course (the same track condition that led to All Along’s subpar numbers).

    Still, the data is hardly encouraging. And while we’re on the subject, how about that other “super steed,” the one named after a reality TV star — or, possibly, her dad (a famous trainer) — that competes across the pond?



    (Click on image to enlarge)

    In this case, I used the existing UK records for the tracks involved and, again, the results are not inspiring. Although Frankel received the fourth-highest Timeform figure in history for his win in the Sussex on July 27, his final time for that one-mile event was nearly two seconds off the track record and the slowest since 2008. Yet the 91 speed rating he garnered at Goodwood that day ranks as Frankel’s best as a three-year-old.

    Just to show that I don’t have an axe to grind here — after all, this isn’t the first time I’ve opined that Frankel and Winter Memories may be overrated — let’s take a gander at another UK superstar: 2009 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe winner Sea The Stars.



    (Click on image to enlarge)

    Unlike the other two, Sea The Stars does fit the criteria of greatness established by previous American Horse of the Year honorees. Not only are all of his (rated) races fast, he also set a new track record at York when he won the Group 1 (the European equivalent of Grade 1) Juddmonte International.

    So, the next time somebody smugly asserts that Winter Memories or Frankel or some other flavor of the week is one of the best horses ever, grab some holy water — beer will work in a pinch — and brandish the past performances of Secretariat below.

    If that doesn’t exorcise their demons of delusion, nothing will.



    (Click on image to enlarge)

    Weekend Wagers

    Coming soon.

    Derek Simon’s Free Selection Statistics

    Races (Selections): 51 (54)
    Wins: 19
    Rate: 37.3%
    Return: $142.10
    ROI: +31.57%

    (This year's published selections through 09/21/11.)

    Note: Play is restricted to any horse(s) that meet my fair odds requirements (when listed). Multiple qualifying contenders will be bet separately, however, multiple bets will be adjusted to equal a single wager and the payoffs averaged. For example a winning WIN/PLACE wager paying $6.20 on top and $4.30 underneath would count as a single bet paying $5.25 (the average of $6.20 and $4.30).
  • 18 comments:

    David Kenny said...

    Does your cell phone have new ringtones?
    Your ringtones are old and boring. Ringtones are not good. I will introduce you to high quality and famous ringtones that you can install easily without wasting time. Here are the ringtones you can refer and install:
    - https://ringtonesmobile.net/let-me-love-you-ringtone-download.html
    - https://ringtonesmobile.net/shape-of-you-ringtone-download.html
    - https://ringtonesmobile.net/despacito-ringtone-download.html
    - https://ringtonesmobile.net/dilbar-dilbar-ringtone-download.html
    - https://ringtonesmobile.net/dil-diyan-gallan-ringtone-download.html
    Free ringtones for people around the world. Leave a comment for my post to improve better. Visit the home page below for more ringtones:ringtonesmobile

    harshak said...

    tweak box is Associate in Nursing outsider application installer which inspires iOS shoppers to achieve admittance to Cydia applications, hacked recreations, transfer Paid tweakbox ios applications for nothing, and alternative outsider applications while not Jailbreaking their gadgets.

    KaiZon said...

    Updated more information at RingtonesCloud

    Unknown said...

    This is an awesome motivating article. I am practically satisfied with your great work. You put truly extremely accommodating data. Keep it up. Continue blogging Hoping to perusing your next post.

    토토사이트
    온라인카지노
    파워볼사이트

    Unknown said...

    I think I have never observed such web journals ever that has finish things with all points of interest which I need. So sympathetically refresh this ever for us. This is very interesting,

    스포츠토토
    토토
    안전놀이터
    토토사이트

    Unknown said...

    I admire this article for the well-researched content and excellent wording. I got so involved in this material that I couldn't stop reading. I am impressed with your work and skill. Thank you so much.

    스포츠토토
    카지노사이트
    파워볼게임
    바카라

    sportstoto.link said...

    Thank you for sharing this useful article , and this design blog simple and user friendly regards. 토토

    yadongbiz.JDS said...

    Very good information. Lucky me I recently found your website by accident
    I have book marked it for later! Feel free to visit my website;
    야설

    yahanvideonet.JDS said...

    Admiring the time and energy you put into your blog and in depth information you offer. It's good to come across a blog every once in a while that isn't the same outdated rehashed material. Fantastic read! I've bookmarked your site Feel free to visit my website;
    일본야동



    koreayadongcom said...

    Best of luck with your future as your regular reader of your blog I am giving you the appraisal that if you get any ups down you can reach me out at any time. Feel free to visit my website; 국산야동

    chinayadongnet,JDS said...

    I like what you guys are up also. Such clever work and reporting! Carry on the excellent works guys I?|ve incorporated you guys to my blogroll. I think it will improve the value of my website. Feel free to visit my website; 일본야동

    japanyadongcom said...

    It’s always a pleasure to read your magnificent articles on this site. You are among the top writers of this generation, and there’s nothing you can do that will change my opinion on that. My friends will soon realize how good you are. Feel free to visit my website;
    한국야동

    GOSTOPSITE33 said...

    Undeniably believe that which you stated. Your favorite reason appeared to be on the net the simplest thing to be aware of. I say to you, I certainly get annoyed while people consider worries that they plainly do not know about. You managed to hit the nail upon the top as well as defined out the whole thing without having side effect , people can take a signal. Will likely be back to get more. Thanks
    고스톱

    TOTOSITEWEB33 said...

    I’m excited to uncover this page. I need to to thank you for ones time for this particularly fantastic read !! I definitely really liked every part of it and i also have you saved to fav to look at new information in your site.
    안전놀이터

    GUIDE1903 said...

    Learning is the process which I think never be ended because in every stage of life a person have able to learn new things, modify and implement to his life.
    성인웹툰

    TOTOSAFEDB33 said...

    It was a very good post indeed. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it in my lunch time. Will surely come and visit this blog more often. Thanks for sharing.
    토토사이트

    슬롯커뮤니티 said...

    슬롯커뮤니티

    Crown999 said...

    mtgumc

    Post a Comment