• And the Horse of the Year Is…

    POSTED Nov 10, 2011
    The 2011 Breeders’ Cup is in the books and, with the conclusion of the two-day turf extravaganza, the year-end Eclipse Awards have all but been decided… or have they?

    Is Musical Romance, 20-1 winner of the Filly & Mare Sprint, the best female sprinter in the land? Is Perfect Shirl, the 27-1 outsider that captured the Filly & Mare Turf, the top female grass horse?

    And, of course, the ultimate question: Is Drosselmeyer, an animal with one previous visit to the winner’s circle this year, really the top older male? Is he the Horse of the Year?

    Yikes. I don’t know about you, but to me, this year’s Horse of the Year competition is kind of like a showdown between Amber and Gary of MTV’s “Teen Mom” for the title of “best parent” — a loser-loser scenario.

    Look, I’m not saying that Drosselmeyer is a bad horse; on the contrary, he was a logical winner of the Classic and a former Grade 1 winner (he won the Belmont Stakes in 2009).

    But there’s no escaping his record of futility prior to American racing’s biggest event this year.

    Not since Cat Thief — that’s right, the legendary Cat Thief — has a horse won the BC Classic with a lower lifetime winning percentage than that of the mighty Drosselmeyer.

    In fact, since 1991, there have been three Classic champions that entered the big event with career winning rates south of 30 percent… not one of them was named Horse of the Year.

    In addition to Cat Thief and Drosselmeyer, Arcangues (1993) and Concern (1994) also shunned the winner’s circle prior to scoring in the Classic.

    Win Factor Report Overlays Score Again

    The Breeders’ Cup overlay betting method that I detailed on my Nov. 3 podcast performed spectacularly well last weekend (which was much appreciated given my own less-than-stellar analysis). The rules of the system are listed below:
    1) Horse must be an overlay on the morning line, i.e. its morning line odds must be greater than or equal to my Win Factor Report (WFR) fair odds.
    2) Animal must have a WFR Form Rating of 20% or greater.
    3) Horse must have at least 10 Rated Starts.
    4) Entrant’s last race must be less than 60 days old.
    5) Eliminate any horse that was the betting favorite in its last start.
    Even with rule 5 tossing 41-1 overlay Afleet Again, who was listed at 11-1 on my Win Factor line, the results were amazing, as the following chart attests to:



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    Now, on the show, I suggested an across-the-board (win/place/show) wagering strategy. Since 2003, a mere $5 win/place/show bet on each of the qualified plays would have produced a profit of $2,017.75.



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    Signs of Hope

    In a recent Facebook post, I mentioned that I saw some encouraging signs regarding the future of the Sport of Kings this past weekend. No, it had nothing to with attendance… or handle… or the television coverage of the two-day Breeders’ Cup event. It had to do with the horses themselves — and the way they are being handled.

    This year, only 11 horses competed in a BC race immediately following a layoff of 60 days or more — the lowest number since 2007. Given the horribly negative ROI that these horses have produced over the past nine years, it seems apparent that a “fresh” horse is a Breeders’ Cup no-no; alas, that message appears to be getting through.

    Oh, and how did this year’s layoff horses perform? Similar to those of years past… they were a combined 0-for-11.



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    Weekend Wagers

    FRIDAY (11/11/11)



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    BET(S): WIN on 2 at odds of 3-5 or greater.



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    BET(S): WIN on 3 at odds of 5-2 or greater.

    SATURDAY (11/12/11)



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    BET(S): WIN on 2 at odds of 2-1 or greater and/or WIN on 9 at odds of 5-1 or greater.

    Visit http://bit.ly/v2Waf3 to get my FREE handicapping reports for this weekend.

    Derek Simon’s 2011 Free Selection Statistics

    Races (Selections): 59 (65)
    Wins: 22
    Rate: 37.3%
    Return: $156.60
    ROI: +20.46%

    (This year's published selections through 11/10/11.)

    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).
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