• A Statistical Look at the Fountain of Youth and Risen Star Stakes

    POSTED Feb 21, 2014
    It’s no secret that I love numbers. I love them on a plane; I love them on a train; I love them… well, I think you get the picture. So what better way to prove that love than by sharing it with all of you (in a strictly platonic way, of course)? Below is a numerical look at this weekend’s big Kentucky Derby preps:

    Risen Star Stakes (Grade II)
    11th Fair Grounds. 1-1/16 miles.

    Brisnet Speed Figure Par: 101

    Fair Grounds Dirt Averages 
    Median Early Speed Ration (ESR): -7.5
    Median Late Speed Ration (LSR): -17.0

    Routes
    Wire-to-Wire Win Rate: 18%
    Lengths Back at First Call: 3.4
    Lengths Back at Second Call: 1.1

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    COMMENTS: Not sure the son of Istan wants to go this far, but he’s certainly eligible to improve after a wide trip in the LeComte.

     
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    COMMENTS: Tom Amoss trainee looked great winning the Delta Downs Jackpot, but that race was over three months ago; worse, the colt’s ESRs look too low (fast) for this particular race and track. At 4-1 on the morning line, the cons outweigh the pros.

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    COMMENTS: Hollywood Park shippers won four of 20 starts and lost six cents on the dollar in 2013. What’s more, Bond Holder’s speed and pace figures are competitive against the likes of these.

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    COMMENTS: Trainer Bob Baffert has a three percent ROI with recent maiden graduates and this guy recorded a stellar -5 LSR in his Jan. 30 win.

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    COMMENTS: It’s worth noting that 39 percent of all races run at the Fair Grounds are won by the post-time favorite. In handicaps and stakes, that figure rises to 56 percent — with a positive ROI to boot. This bodes well for 14-Vicar’s In Trouble, the winner of the Grade III LeComte and the 5-2 morning-line favorite. The Into Mischief colt pressed a moderate pace in the LeComte and drew clear late while earning an 88 Brisnet speed figure and a (very solid) -4 late speed ration (LSR). He looks like the one to beat.


    Fountain of Youth Stakes (Grade II)
    11th Fair Grounds. 1-1/16 miles.

    Brisnet Speed Figure Par: 101

    Gulfstream Park Dirt Averages
    Median Early Speed Ration (ESR): -5.3
    Median Late Speed Ration (LSR): -13.6

    Routes
    Wire-to-Wire Win Rate: 22%
    Lengths Back at First Call: 1.9
    Lengths Back at Second Call: 0.9

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    COMMENTS: Both the morning-line odds and the presence of John Velazquez in the saddle suggest that this guy is trainer Todd Pletcher’s best hope, but the lack of early speed is a huge concern. On the plus side, the son of A.P. Indy has been improving with every start.

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    COMMENTS: Pletcher’s “other” horse looks intriguing. True, he’s only won on turf and all-weather, but his race in the BC Juvenile was encouraging — featuring a -13 ESR. Obviously, We Miss Artie was too close to the pace that day, yet he still finished within four lengths of the winner.

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    COMMENTS: This guy’s versatility is impressive and the fact that he lured Javier Castellano from the Todd Pletcher barn is duly noted. The colt’s speed and pace figures add to his appeal.

     
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    COMMENTS: Top Billing’s median ESR of +5 is over 10 lengths slower than the track par (-5.3) and the 7-2 morning-line odds are hardly enticing.

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    COMMENTS: He’s the most experienced runner in the field and appears to have the numbers to compete against these.

    Early Speed Ration (ESR): A measurement of a horse’s early energy expenditure in relation to the total race requirements. The lower the figure, the greater the horse’s early exertion in that event.

    -15= Demanding.
    -10= Brisk.
      -5= Moderate.
       0= Soft.

    Late Speed Ration (LSR): A measurement of a horse’s late energy expenditure in relation to the total race requirements. The higher the figure, the greater the horse’s late exertion in that event. Because late speed is calculated at a time when a horse is being asked for his/her maximum effort, LSRs can be a great indication of form as well.

       0= Excellent.
      -5= Good.
    -10= Fair.
    -15= Poor.

    Pace Profile: A simple comparison between a horse’s LSR and the ESR of the race in which it was earned. Positive profiles are greatly desired.

    Note: ESRs and LSRs recorded on turf or all-weather surfaces tend to vary by 5-10 points from those garnered on dirt tracks.

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