2018 Belmont Stakes Analysis
The 2.10 to 3.00 Guys
6-11-16-1-0 (34) DI = 2.78 CD = 0.65
Mare Profile = 12-4-0-5-11 Speed = 16 Stamina = 16 Index = 1.04 Triads = 16-9-16
Hofburg is a great example of the type of set-up that is not good for the Kentucky Derby but much better for the Belmont Stakes. The average 2.78 index is not historically speedy enough for the 10f of the Derby, but it is nicely balanced for the 12f in the Belmont. Too much speed, of course, is detrimental after 9.5 to 10f and where they would begin to wind down. Too much stamina and the colt would lack in the necessary speed needed down the lane. Average, in the middle inheritance from the chefs is very good for this distance at Belmont Park. Hofburg's .65 CD is nicely placed for an added shot of stamina. The high points and loaded profile is a bonus. From the mares, a split profile is not something you want to see for the Derby, however, it is not bad for the Belmont. It is perfectly balanced on both sides. Not lopsided to the far extremes. This guy has a very good configuration for the Belmont within this field. Since the Derby was run on a sloppy track, the race is basically a toss for him. The 2 previous races where he ran very well were both at Gulfstream. Belmont Park is not Gulfstream Park. Gulfstream is speed favoring. Hofburg has a 2.78 chef index. He is not a speed horse. So his performances, especially against the speed demon Audible, are very impressive. His mares gave him a nice shot of sprinters speed and hopefully he will reserve that as long has he can. He's a keeper.
DP = 5-8-13-0-0 (26) DI = 3.00 CD = 0.69
Mare Profile = 6-6-1-8-7 Speed = 12 Stamina = 15 Index = 0.83 Triads = 13-15-16
Enough speed from the chefs coupled with a low CD is very favorable. His mares lean to stamina. The mares profile is weighted to the right. This is the type of profile that does not have a ton of early brilliant speed that would allow him to show off at shorter races against the speedy group. It is more balanced. His past performances check off that he is running fairly close to his numbers. The fact that he competed on the sloppy track at Pimlico (while running wide the entire time) showed excellent grit for a horse bred like this. The previous race, the Arkansas Derby, was too slow up front for his breeding. He managed to come home with a 108 late while he ran 3 wide the entire time. The only negative in that race for him was the whip after the final turn. He was really being heavily urged along to keep up. In his first two wins, he came home strong. His beyers are steadily going up with each race and distance conquered. Out of the 5 who have the correct Chef index for a win in the Belmont, Tenfold gained the least amount of speed, which means he has the greatest amount of stamina among these 5. His mare’s index is the lowest of the group here. If the Belmont is very speedy early, Tenfold will have a great advantage. If this year’s Belmont resembles American Pharoah’s race, he will struggle. He has the distance, he needs a fast race.
DP = 6-8-16-0-0 (30) DI = 2.75 CD = 0.67
Mare Profile = 9-3-3-8-5 Speed = 12 Stamina = 13 Index = 1.14 Triads = 15-14-16
He did not have Kentucky Derby numbers but his performance in that race was very impressive after all is said and done. His second place in the Preakness, also very impressive. Now he tries to beat Justify for a third time. This guy is the clone of his half-brother Oxbow in more ways than one. Both sons of Awesome Again. Both took 6th place in their pursuit of the Roses. Both right at the wire in the Preakness. Here is the set of Oxbow’s numbers:
Oxbow: DP = 6-8-16-0-0 (30) DI = 2.75 CD = 0.67
Mare Profile = 8-3-4-10-3 Speed = 11 Stamina = 13 Index = 1.15 Triads = 15-17-17
Same chef numbers. Mare’s numbers of course a bit different, but fairly right on target. The 2.75 index from the chefs is spot on for the Belmont Stakes. Right in the middle, where it is evenly balanced between speed and stamina. Not too much and not too little. The mares both lean to stamina (Oxbow’s triads a little better than Bravazo) and both given the speed to compete with that higher mare index. Oxbow took second in his attempt to win the Belmont and fell short by a little more than 3 lengths. No chance of leaving this guy off of a super bet. No chance at all.
DP = 5-7-12-0-0 (24) DI = 3.00 CD = 0.71
Mare Profile = 6-6-5-7-7 Speed = 12 Stamina = 14 Index = 0.88 Triads = 17-18-19
At first, this profile looked pretty good for the Belmont, but when pitted against this particular field, it’s seeming to fall a little short. It has to do with the two indexes. Just like Tenfold, they are too close together. His chef’s index is fine, but the mare’s index is too basic for this field. It’s not low enough where it would give him a ton of extra stamina and it isn’t high enough to offer him a ton of extra speed. A huge shot one way or another is very advantageous. Looks like he may have missed his shot in Kentucky. These numbers appear to be configured better for that race over this one.
DP = 5-6-8-1-0 (20) DI = 3.00 CD = 0.75
Mare Profile = 9-4-4-7-8 Speed = 13 Stamina = 15 Index = 0.96 Triads = 17-15-19
I left this guy for my last analysis of the field. I did not want him on my brain when trying to concentrate on distance capabilities of those going up against a Triple Crown guy. So, I left him for last. The first thing that I must say is that these numbers, both top and bottom, are much better suited for The Belmont Stakes than they were for the Kentucky Derby. He is on the lowest end of the speed spectrum. Colts who are bred with a ton of speed like Audible or bred with a ton of stamina like Mendelssohn tend to be the advantaged ones to beat in that particular race. But Justify did it with his lower end speed index. In the Belmont Stakes, Chef index numbers between 2.10 to 3.00 have the advantage. With six entries out of eleven on this field being in that range (very rare) it is difficult to distinguish only one who will stand out above all if just utilizing the chefs. There are some years where it is so easy and nice, when there were only 2 or 3 true competitors that fell into that category. We do not have that pleasure this year. What we do have is a Kentucky Derby winner and a Preakness winner who has the right set-up from his chefs to go the 12f distance. Hard to turn your back on that even though those odds are going to be horrendous for bettors this year. His mare numbers swing perfectly as well. So we are dealing with a tested and true champion who has the right breeding for the race at hand. One of the main reasons why it is rare to see a Triple Crown winner is because the type of colt that wins the Kentucky Derby at 10f at Churchill is NOT the same type of colt that wins the Belmont Stakes at 12f at Belmont Park. The only monster who went against that grain was American Pharoah. Prior to 1948, Triple Crown Winners were all stamina but breeding has shifted over the years to lean more speed. Until Pharoah came along, Secretariat was considered the “speed freak” who won the Triple Crown with such a “high” index. It is not high any more. That 3.00 index is now the mark for the Belmont Stakes, but it is considered low now to win the Derby. This is why Justify has a solid shot at taking the Crown. Let’s look at the chart before moving on:
Prior to Secretariat, horses were bred with more stamina and if they beat the speed they were up against in both the Derby and the Preakness, they had a huge advantage with their breeding at the 12f Belmont. After Secretariat, it took two guys who had the correct breeding for the Belmont to be so magnificent as to beat the speed in the Derby with their average numbers and their disadvantage in that race. Then Pharoah came along with his perfect Derby numbers and against all odds with the same, somehow and miraculously wires the field at 12f. Now we find ourselves in the rare situation of a Derby winner with an advantage with his numbers to win the Belmont. This is truly rare. We could consider vulnerability. He has been pushed hard these passed weeks starting with his Santa Anita win, all the way through until now. Any horse, no matter how great, no matter all of his accomplishments, is always vulnerable at any time. No race is a lock but with these numbers, you have to sit up and take notice. Personally, I will be using Justify on top but being the gambler that I am, I will take a shot with the vulnerability and add one or two right next to him on top on that super. With the certain odds he will have, how could you not?!
DP = 4-5-9-0-0 (18) DI = 3.00 CD = 0.72
Mare Profile = 10-4-3-4-6 Speed = 14 Stamina = 10 Index = 1.42 Triads = 17-11-13
This is a great profile… for one to understand what does NOT work for 12f in the Belmont Stakes. The entire mare profile is way off. The 10 in the brilliant slot is simply too lopsided. The Mare index is way too high and the triads fall off the cliff. His chef CD would need to have been way below .60 to counteract all of that speed. Unfortunately, the .72 does not cut it. His optimum is closer to 9f.
DP = 9-0-6-1-0 (16) DI = 3.00 CD = 1.06
Mare Profile = 10-4-3-6-7 Speed = 14 Stamina = 13 Index = 1.17 Triads = 17-13-16
As soon as I pulled the numbers I felt a bit heartbroken. I truly like Aiden O’Brien and I really liked Mendelssohn for the Derby so I was hoping for a little revenge for the boxing match that occurred on Mendy in the Derby right out of the gate. Well, it doesn’t look promising. That’s not to say that it couldn’t happen but when you look at all of the numbers across both lines there are just way too many negatives. First, the chef profile itself. 9-0-6-1-0. Dominant in the Brilliant slot(4-6f sprinting). That hurts. The 0 in the Intermediate category keeps that dominance pure. Nijinsky in the 4th generation is the only chef found in that Solid category and that also gets split to the Classic slot. The 3.00 chef index is very good but it is completely offset by the high 1.06 CD. The mares fare no better. The mare’s profile 10-4-3-6-7 also dominate in short sprinter speed. The index is also high below the chef’s index. A lot of speed. And then finally, the triads. 17-13-16. The 13 in the Classic slot waters down the stamina end. I just can’t see this guy navigating 12f with any sort of ease. It appears from his inheritance that he would be completely running over and above his inheritance. It also appears by his his configurations, he would be a very good candidate to blast out of that gate and go for the front. He is all speed but he is content to hang back which is opposite of what his numbers show. The last race he won, which is 6 races back, was on turf. He closed like a freight train. Going 7f. Sounds about right.
The Two Overseas Guys:
DP = 3-2-5-0-0 (10) DI = 3.00 CD = 0.80
Mare Profile = 7-3-1-4-15 Speed = 10 Stamina = 19 Index = 0.51 Triads = 11-8-20
This one is tough because what we have here is an overseas guy (negative) who loves AWS surface (negative) and thrives at 8f (negative) with an unbelievable amount of inherited mare stamina (positive). The chef index is right where it should be too. So, what do you do here? Great Belmont numbers but what we have to go on from his past performances (he loves the mile) coupled with the track record of overseas invaders has to be carefully considered when handicapping this race. He appears to be well equipped to tackle the 12f but only the bettor can make that call on whether or not to take a chance and add him in. My thought, for what it’s worth, is a few extra bucks for the longshot bottom slots of a super may not be a bad idea here. With a shorter than normal cast of characters who are packing that amount of mare stamina (nod to Vino) coupled with a nice 3.00 chef index, the few extra bucks for the bottom of a Superfecta may not be such a bad gamble. He was targeted for this race for a reason. He has the breeding to go the distance. He likes to win. He has already been working with Chad Brown on our soil and posted a very nice 47.99 for 4 furlongs. He’s here already, getting acclimated with one of the best trainers around. That has to account for something. Being a glutton for punishment with these overseas guys is something I have come to grips with. But I could never toss a colt with the right set of numbers for the race at hand. He was not correct for the Derby, but the numbers are here for the Belmont. The fact that he is not showing up 3 days before the race like all the others in the past gives me a little ease. The stamina factor from his mares is too good to overlook.
DP = 9-3-12-0-0 (24) DI = 3.00 CD = 0.88
Mare Profile = 6-4-7-5-6 Speed = 10 Stamina = 11 Index = 0.96 Triads = 17-16-18
This guy looks like he’d be a monster in the Breeders Cup Turf in the fall. Two races, two massive wins. And now, after two races on turf, they are considering shipping this guy over to compete on dirt for the first time going 12f in front of thousands of screaming fans. His numbers are very closely aligned with Blended Citizen. Both set-ups are really similar. The big difference is that Blended Citizen isn’t winning 10f turf races like this guy. His connections chose the Belmont for a reason but I certainly could never even venture to guess as to what that reason would be. All of that aside, the Chefs numbers are very nicely arranged for the Belmont Stakes. The profile itself is beautiful. The mares profile is even across and appears to lean him towards speed but the horse is winning 10f turf races. So, in that regard, he appears to be outrunning his numbers. It would be a bettor’s call on whether or not to spend on an invader who has never run on dirt but has shown serious talent for a two time runner. The chef’s numbers are great, the mare’s numbers are so-so. The past performances are extremely impressive. His trainer and owners are either completely crazy or smart like foxes. I love overseas runners, I love everything about them but with this particular invader in this particular race, I have serious reservations. That would be a first for me in a very long time. I usually fall hard for them at first glance!
The SPEED Guy:
DP = 5-4-7-0-0 (16) DI = 3.57 CD = 0.88
Mare Profile = 5-3-2-9-8 Speed = 8 Stamina = 17 Index = 0.56 Triads = 10-14-19
Unlike last year where we had just about half the field above 3.00, this year, just one lone “speed” guy. And even though Vino has a 3.57 index, he really isn’t a speed guy in the true sense of the word. He inherited a staggering amount of stamina from his mares which is probably the main reason why he did not perform to his standards on the sloppy surface in Kentucky. Historically, his 3.57 index would be in the category for a board hit and not a win. That is reserved for guys like Pharoah (4.33) going this distance, but not even the great Pharoah was packing this type of mare stamina. Far from it. His mares .56 low index is spectacular. This gives him the distance, without a shadow of a doubt. This also underscores the importance of knowing and adding in the mare numbers when dealing with dosage. His chef’s index is a bit high but not too out of control high. Again, that mare index balances him out very well. Vino and Gronkowski have the highest amount of inbred Mare stamina on the field. Vino’s is pure from those mares as shown in his triads, Gronkowski’s triads setup could actually get watered down. Vino is worth keeping and that is very unusual for me to say about a 3.57 index in the Belmont. The mare index and the triad configuration are truly that good. In hindsight, the serious amount of mare stamina probably overtook his chef’s speed on that sloppy track. This tells me that Vino is indeed favoring his mares which is exactly why this guy is getting stars and arrows all over his name on that Past Performance Sheet. With triads of 10-14-19 and a spread of 9 amazing points between the speed vs stamina inheritance of those mares, he becomes a complete stand-out (especially when the odds on him look to be very appealing.) It is important to note that it is very rare for me to point out any colt with a gate in the Belmont Stakes with a chef index over 3.00. They struggle to win this particular race, but there have been a few who have prevailed so it is not out of the question. The fact that he managed 9th on that sloppy track in Kentucky with all of that mare stamina tells me that this is a very talented horse and if the track is nice and clean come the big day, Vino Rosso is a serious player. One extra bonus with this guy as part of your line-up is that one speed guy and one stamina guy have a huge shot at grabbing a piece of the super underneath those advantaged 2.10 to 3.00 guys – And Vino is the ONLY speed guy entered. It is a gift.
The STAMINA Guys:
Free Drop Billy
DP = 4-4-17-1-0 (26) DI = 1.74 CD = 0.42
Mare Profile = 9-5-2-10-5 Speed = 14 Stamina = 15 Index = 1.14 Triads = 16-17-17
Toss the Derby for this guy because right off the bat the sloppy track gave him no shot there. He has very pretty configurations but it seems that Billy has not shown that he can run to those numbers. He is a stamina horse and his past performances show that he likes to win at 1 1/16th and under. Usually a stamina guy gets better as the distances get further. He seems content with board hits. With the high amount of 2.10 to 3.00 entries in this field, it looks like he has no shot here either. If this guy happens to wake up to the fact that he is stamina horse and runs the race of his life, that would be some great and miraculous timing on his part. If that happens, it would seem that a good portion of the other guys would need to help him along by either breaking bad or getting steadied or dodging flying birds or just plain not in the mood to run that day.
DP = 3-6-25-0-0 (34) DI = 1.72 CD = 0.35
Mare Profile = 9-5-2-10-5 Speed = 14 Stamina = 15 Index = 1.14 Triads = 16-17-17
Just like tossing the Derby for FDB, we would need to toss the Pat Day race for this guy as well. The .35 CD is way too low for the bias of that sloppy track that he competed in. That should not be held against him. Can’t help but think that the role of this guy is not so much to win the race but to help ensure another one does. That is just an initial side thought. He does not have "winning" Belmont numbers, but he certainly has "board hit" numbers. He generally gears down at the late stages of his longer races which is not such a good thing when considering a “stamina” horse for a 12f race. I am a firm believer in having at least one stamina guy in my line-up for the Belmont Stakes even if it is just for the longshot aspect. His chef numbers are really nice and between Free Drop and this guy, well, he might be the lesser of two evils but seems fruitless otherwise.
Outlook: After putting a field analysis together and before studying the PP's, I always jot down what appear to be the top 4 standouts with their pedigree for the race. Justify - Bravazo - Vino - Hofburg look to be holding the right stuff for this race. (It is very important to note, that the best bred for the race does not automatically mean they fill the super. Things happen in a race. Bad breaks, getting steadied, etc.) Tenfold and Gronkowski are very worth consideration underneath.
Kentucky Derby 2018 Analysis -