I think I should crack open one of those cheap $10 bottles of 14 Hands Kentucky Derby 2013 Red Blend Wine that I have refused to open since my sister gave them to me 5 years ago. Why not? I'm living large today! After all, this is the first article I am penning for opening day of The Dirty Horse Club. It has been a long time coming.
A couple of decades to be precise. There has been plenty of numbers, calculations, notebooks, binders, small articles written here and there, email inquiries and a few petty fights along the way. The years of studying has toughened me up enough to take this plunge. Cheers and welcome!
This is the Dirty Horse Club. Yes, it is a cool name, but then again, horses are cool and handicappers are cool. Actually, "handicappers that cash" are just about as cool as you can get. This is what this website is all about. Cashing in on Graded Stakes Races with a tremendous emphasis on our beloved Kentucky Derby and including the Belmont Stakes, the Prep races, the Breeders races and everything else in between.
You’re probably thinking this is just another "wanna-be horse player" that thinks they are the best in the country and thought a blog would be a good idea. Far from it. And there is no catch. This is a free and open place where all are welcome. And if you drop that attitude that we all know you have before hitting the Log-In Button and enter with an open mind, be ready to learn something innovative and new. (Well, a little attitude never hurt anyone!)
This site is brand spankin’ new. There will be growing pains and things will evolve but the main focus will always remain the same. It is about learning how to read each and every colt in any given field with one goal in mind - to pick the top 4 and cash that superfecta ticket. It is not just about talking about the favorites, it is about every one of those magnificent creatures in that gate, including those silent money horses, the longshots. It is about reading their capabilities. It is about understanding their advantages and disadvantages. Mainly, it is about knowing the colt’s optimum distance and if he is displaying the true potential that he was conceived with. It is about knowing when that longshot has finally been entered into a race where his optimum distance is finally realized. It is understanding his speed/stamina balance which was passed down to him through his Chefs (sires) and his Reines (mares) COMBINED. It is about taking all of the documentation of all of the greatest runners over the past century, digging deep into what they have passed down through the generations, without guessing, and determining the hotshots who stand above all others within the race at hand.
It is about remembering and honoring the giants of the past who were handed the title of Chef-de-Race because of their brilliance on the track and their prowess in the breeders shed. These superstars are the conduit to our future champions, who then can be read through their combined numbers.
To those reading this who haven’t known me for years like some of my friends from other sites, you are probably thinking, “Is she talking about that stupid dosage stuff from the 80’s?” Or the old stand-by, “But what about Giacomo and Mine That Bird?” And here’s another good old standard comment, “But dosage only considers the sires and not the mares, so it’s useless!” Well, to all of the nay-sayers, I will bluntly ask that you hit that back button and be on your way. I am not here to convince you and I am certainly not here to argue with you. My time is dedicated to cashing at the track, not to debating the fruitless and endless chatter over the past performances of first generation sires. Those sites are a dime a dozen. That won’t happen here. Guesswork on untested sires is obviously not part of this venture and so it will remain that way. So, if this isn't your thing... more power to you, enjoy and good luck.
For those who are intrigued, let’s move along.
I will tell you now, the big difference is that I do add the mares and you will learn how to as well. Their numbers are just as important, if not, more important than the chefs. That was always the missing puzzle and that is the key to reading the capabilities of a horse without any guesswork. You will learn how to read any horse and this will be invaluable when handicapping young ones in their short early maiden races all the way up to reading the potential superstars who will pop out at you as far back as early February for placing Future Derby Bets without guessing about their 10f potential. The full field of runners of any given big race day will be analyzed, dissected and pitted against each other so that you will go to the windows with the most advantaged set of runners on that field. This is more than reading dosage numbers, this is a whole different ballgame.
That is just one aspect. There are two more. The next is dealing with the specific race at hand. It is easy to determine which horse within a given field would have a greater advantage in a short race as opposed to a longer race based on an overabundance of inherited speed having a greater chance of outrunning his opponents who have inherited less. I do not believe that other factors such as track, bias, weather (etc.) effect this very much. This is a common sense approach and certainly has produced fairly realistic results throughout the decades.
As a horse jumps up in class and in distance, the dynamics within each specific race changes considerably and the quality and pre-potent attributes begin to spread out for each specific horse within the field. The bias changes for each specific track as well. So results for any random longer distance race will have many different factors, each having their own specific advantages and disadvantages for any given horse. Results then are spread across the board at this broader parameter, as opposed to speed horses generally excelling at short distances.
In addition, prior to 1970, the stamina factor within breeding was at a higher level than it is now and much greater prior to the 50’s. The goal in the breeders shed had turned to speed so index numbers have slowly risen since then.
For instance, twelve horses with an index under 1.00 have won the Belmont Stakes since 1940. All twelve of those winners came prior to 1975. None since 1975. Only 5 horses with an index over 3.10 had won the Belmont Stakes between 1940 and 1970.
Breeding has changed considerably since then, so the history of these numbers are skewed to an extent and hardly reliable when looking at results from the past to evaluate predictability for the present. Therefore, much harder to determine especially in the context of random longer distances run at a variety of tracks with different conditions and with different bias. Additionally, the mares were never factored in. That is one major disaster at the betting windows just waiting to happen.
Each specific distance will have its own specific advantages. With that, each race track will also have its own specific advantages. With smaller relevance, the weather will also play a factor as well. The broad spectrum of just looking at any random longer distance race will never produce concrete results. Each scenario will play out differently, however, each given scenario does give fairly accurate results when looking at that particular race. Since 1970, these results for specific races and specific tracks have produced very similar outcomes and not necessarily the same outcome for a race run at the same distance at a different track. So, one can make that determination that longer races are much harder to predict and surely have difficulties in determining the performance of any given horse on any given track at any given distance.
With regards to say the Breeders cup races, where we are looking at top performers within a specific distance, the outcomes over the years are fairly consistent across the board. What is of major importance though when looking at the breeding and trying to determine advantage are the factors within the race itself. Which track are they running at? What bias plays to their inheritance for that track? Sloppy or fast track? How is the rail playing? Advantages are consistent with longer distance races at say, Santa Anita, and may not at all be pertinent at say, Keeneland or Churchill. The advantages will be consistent for that particular track and produce different outcomes for each longer distance.
With regards to the 12f Belmont stakes, run on a normal fast track, the advantage SINCE 1940, with no change after 1970, consistent all the way through, has been substantially higher for horses between 2.10 and 3.00 to not only win the race but to hit the board. This advantage is also overwhelmingly true when the horse also had a fairly even inheritance from his mares as well. If this longer race was not run at Belmont Park and moved ever year to a different track, I would bet everything I had that the outcome would in fact be completely different and totally inconsistent.
This is the main reason why many do not buy into dosage and breeding factors. They tend to look at it as a whole and fail to realize that each longer distance race, with its own specific quirks and track bias, will produce its own set of consistent results. They also fail to realize that the mares can be easily added with just a little work.
Therefore, at the Dirty Horse Club, we will trace the history of that particular race and we will determine what type of colt has predominantly had the advantage on that track, at that distance and with that bias in terms of their breeding through both their chefs and their mares. This is the keystone to cashing when coupled with the colt’s past performances in order to determine if the horse has shown in the past that he is running true to his numbers or if he has shown that he has surpassed his numbers or, in some cases, not running to his capability at all.
Think of it this way, with all of this extra insight in your back pocket, the odds that your handicapping skills take a major jump up in ranks is a fairly good bet.
And now the final aspect of The Dirty Horse Club. The History. The Greats of the Past. It is one thing to know their names, it is another to understand what they accomplished and who they really were. These are the thoroughbreds that continue to shape our sport year after year. They are the Champions who tell the story of who is running today. They determine our future Derby winners, our Breeders Classic winners, our Pegasus winners. They are the lifeline to handicapping. They will always stand center stage.
I do hope that you will take the plunge and join us. A new venture needs to grow and develop and with the contributions of fellow horse players from across the globe, the sky is the limit.
It’s “Post-Time” at the Dirty Horse Club.
Now let’s get down and dirty and hit these races!