top of page

Handicapping - Pedigree - History - Dosage

And That's a Wrap...

... on the Breeders Cup Classic

Flightline - The Pacific Classic

August 24, 2003 Winner: Candy Ride Final Time: 1:59.11 (Track record)

September 3, 2022 Winner: Flightline Final Time: 1:59.28 (Eased to the Wire)

Largest Margin of Victory: Flightline - 19-1/4 lengths

One Maiden. One 40k Optional Claiming Race. Two Grade One Races. One Grade One Massacre.

Tapit has been on the precipice for quite some time and has produced numerous superstars, but he outdid himself with Flightline. He was able to combine all of the spectacular speed and stamina attributes that he usually divides up among his offspring into one perfectly synced machine.

The bias at Del Mar will usually accentuate lead speed but what Flightline did today, bias or no bias, was beyond anything that it could have ever enhanced to that degree. You can take every race won by Life is Good, Olympiad and Epicenter and combine them all together and it would never match the power of what Flightline did today. Even if you subtract half of the margin of victory in consideration of the Del Mar bias it wouldn't make a bit of difference.

The reason why all of Tapit's boys under 3.00 have a very difficult time in the 10f Derby and excel in the 12f Belmont Stakes is because he dumps a ton of stamina on them and this, in turn, affects their speed, and most importantly, the balance of that scale. It evens up and balances favorably for the Belmont but it tips it too far over for the Derby. Those over that 3.00 mark can compete at the 10f because they are given the excess speed to counteract all of that stamina, which is the favorable component for success in the Derby.

Flightline is a 2.71 Tapit beast. What he did today at 10f was nothing short of staggering. We expected a monster performance, a very high beyer, a significant win, but this Tapit stamina steam engine of a horse went completely beyond, and he is untouchable on the Keeneland bias because of it. If that bias was truly out of control, then others with speed on that track would have followed suit to some extent as well. They did not. Only that one monster did.

Based on the dynamics of a 2.71 Tapit offspring index, even if this horse finds himself running 7 wide, even if the track is deep and tiring, and even if he misses his break, it doesn't matter. He has 12f+ in him and added to the way he exhibited speed on the slick track today, there is zero competition for him in the Breeders Cup Classic. ZERO.

This year, the superfecta will turn into the Super High Five. Handicapping the 4 stragglers who will be lengths behind him will end up competing for the second spot. With the single of Flightline, who will go off at the shortest price in history, the only way to go this year is the Super High Five. Basically, Flightline becomes a non-issue on top - singled and forgotten - and we handicap the field under him.

Saratoga and the Bias

On August 6th, Olympiad had a "poor" showing in the Whitney Stakes. As discussed in the JCGC analysis, Todd Pletcher, Steve Asmussen and Brad Cox made it known that they were quite displeased with the way the Saratoga track was playing. This was from the very beginning of the meet on July 14 all the way through to mid -August.

It was described as very deep and this track bias affected not only Olympiad, but many "speed dominant" contenders on a daily basis. There is no doubt that Olympiad is speed dominant based on his configurations (and his performances) and understanding his downfall in the Whitney vs. the incredible ability he demonstrated at 10f distance in the Jockey Gold Cup today proves this to be so. Based on his numbers and the combination of 9.3f, this horse either favored the 30 points (slightly low by the standards) or latched on to the excess of Medaglia d'Oro, or he is one of the favored few who runs completely through his numbers. I would guess it to be the 30 points, but how he actually had it is not of issue. Olympiad is dripping with inbred speed. Based on how that horse worked that speed on the bias of the Saratoga track today, makes him the top under Flightline. Life is Good is another matter altogether. Epicenter is going to need serious luck for that second place trophy.

Getting back to the adverse bias of Saratoga during the meet. Many of the short maiden races that were run on that track and won by the mid-range and stamina first-starters are very questionable now, but this works both ways. Early maidens at that distance are usually won by the speed-dominant entries. When a mid-range or stamina dominant first timer wins over them, they become standouts because they obviously displayed enough speed against the favored and are packing enough stamina to continue through to the Derby. The wins were false. This includes Echo Again.

It would be in your best interest NOT to bet on Echo Again in his next race. Should he win that race, then yes, he is a keeper after all. If he gets beat by a speedster, the maiden win was false.

It would also be in your best interest to make sure to check the numbers on any second-time starter who won their maiden at Saratoga. If the horse is sitting in the mid-range or stamina category, he MUST prove himself on a "normal bias" one more time. His speedy competition was just as disadvantaged as Olympiad was in the Whitney.

If the winner was indeed a "speedster" after-all, he could be a monster because he was able to conquer that type of bias, displaying killer stamina to go along with his speedy profile. It works both ways. This is very important to remember before placing your bets going forward.

At the very least, when studying any of the past performances for any race that you bet in the coming months, make sure to check the numbers of any who ran on that bias at Saratoga between July 14 and Mid August as you work on the PP's. Those with serious speed (like Olympiad) had breeding that was at odds with their race that day. These are the ones who lost, who showed lower beyers and pace figures, which in turn, will offer higher odds in their next race. These are the ones who could explode in their next race - just like Olympiad. This is one angle that you should aggressively search out. It is a gift. But remember, bypass the ones who sit below the 2.90 cut-off in their next race. That win was more the bias working, not the horse.

With Olympiad, his numbers are configured in such a way that fall below the 10f. Eighty to ninety percent of the time, these numbers will be spot on. There are a few reasons why 10% to 20% will exceed their configurations. Packed chefs profiles, additional stamina or speed from prominent non-chefs or the horse just plain runs straight through them.

In Olympiads case, he hits all three of those possible reasons but no one could ever know which one was the main factor or if any would even latch on prior to the race. There are going to be times when a horse "exceeds" his numbers, whether gaining richly in speed or gaining extra endurance.

When this occurs in a stamina-dominant horse, it sometimes is viewed as a super-horse. He has extra speed in him that is not present in his profile. Horses like Epicenter, Gun Runner, Shared Belief, Le Vent Se Leve, Wise Dan, Animal Kingdom, even most overseas dirt runners, etc. etc. There are so many of them that could be listed. With these types, we can easily see if the speed is present from outside of his numbers from day one of his debut. Those types are the easy ones to spot. The speed side is lacking in their profiles but they exhibit it starting with their debut. Easy to spot with no problem. In reality, these types are "running through their configurations" but the narrative that surrounds it goes silent because we can see it with our own two eyes.

On the other side of the coin are the speed-dominant horses that are holding additional hidden stamina. Horses like Always Dreaming, Mohaymen, Authentic, even California Chrome among many others. Unlike their counterparts listed in the above paragraph, these types are impossible to gauge because the stamina evidence has never been presented, leaving it hidden until they finally attempt the distance. It is never impossible to view a stamina drenched horse to see if he has hidden speed, however, it is impossible to know if a speed demon has hidden stamina. This will rear its head from time to time, as it did with Olympiad's profiles. Again, these configurations are not 100% infallible. They sit at an 85% to 90% accuracy rate. Most every time, that 15% inaccuracy will be found in the speed profiles when gauging additional stamina that is hidden in their numbers.

In hindsight, discarding Olympiad from the top spots on my super ticket was reckless and ignorant based on the possibility that any of those points could have been true. In most cases, (especially when it comes to a Baffert entry or any of the fillies) I would be more apt to spread that type - just in case. I didn't do it this time because of the odds and that was incorrect.


bottom of page