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Handicapping - Pedigree - History - Dosage

How to Read a Debut Race

It's back to business. Let's dissect one maiden winner together in order to capture the fundamentals of reading a 2 year old prior to his debut and then analyzing that evidence for subsequent races in the future.

Saratoga will run through to September 4th. DelMar opens on July 21st. These two opposing tracks begin the prelude to the Breeders Cup Juvenile and then onward to the Road to the Kentucky Derby.

Before getting to the Sanford and Hopeful Stakes at Saratoga and the Best Pal and Del Mar Futurity at Del Mar, where important names will begin to emerge, understanding the debut sets the stage for what is to come.

The Breeders Cup Juvenile will be held at Santa Anita this year. Because of the two distinct biases between Santa Anita (and DelMar) and Saratoga, suffice it to say that any speedy colt who shows prowess between his debut and the stakes races out west, he will walk into the Juvenile with a very strong advantage. In other words, unless a monster exits Saratoga this year, Baffert will be highly favored at the 8.5f distance on Breeders Weekend.

It then becomes a matter of projecting those abilities (whether negative or positive) back to the east coast for the 10f of the Derby, especially if you dabble in the Futures bets. Beginning on the day of his debut, understanding his speed on certain biases at 5f to 8.5f to 10f is how you begin your handicapping for the Kentucky Derby.

With Baffert's ban continuing on for this year at Churchill Downs, it does appear that the trashing of the Derby Prep points will commence with the American Pharoah Stakes in October, a prelude to the Breeders Cup Juvenile for the advantaged Baffert at Santa Anita and then on from there.

For the third year in a row, we will not have the luxury of a known Baffert clone setting the pace in the Kentucky Derby, which means that part becomes a guessing game yet again. This affected the Kentucky Derby handicapping for the past two years. Trainer's strategies, beginning now, will take precedence. The irony is that while Baffert is banned, his horses are not. They can easily show up in Yakteen's barn in April yet again.

The trick is to spot them early and to understand the meaning of 10f at Churchill Downs. It begins the second after a 2 year old crosses his first finish line - either winning or even in defeat.

For now, we will leave out the mare's contributions and deal strictly with the chefs and the chart itself. The mares are not "as big of a factor" in the early stages, their time comes later. The chefs and the chart takes precedence for a two year old. This means that everyone on this site can participate in pin-pointing potential as we move forward.

Always remember, a good handicapper will seek out specific races to gamble on based on the individual horse. He will not simply gamble on random races. Save that for a fun day at the track with friends. Commit to betting on the SPECIFIC HORSE along the way with the insight you have gained from his maiden.


You must consider both the distance of the maiden race and the bias of the track for not only the winner but for those who competed under him. This will give you proper insight for future races with each of the contenders, not just for the Derby, but for knowing where to bet your money on a subsequent races as well.

You must consider the running style of the colt as it pertains to his breeding. Is it in line with that breeding or is it in opposition?

You must consider any negative circumstances for the other competitors at the conclusion of the race. Along with that, the breeding of the other competitors in relation to their disadvantages against the winner. In essence, exactly what competition did the winner face?

You must consider the Face Value of his breeding and how it aligns with the performance. You can then project all of this information onto a future race. This will tell you WHEN to bet him, when NOT to bet him, when to keep him, when to toss him. Use your Virtual Stable at Equibase to note this pertinent info and when you receive notification that he is entered into a race, you can easily see if this is a race for you. Stay organized and stay on top of your gambles, especially with two year olds.

Let's take an example from a recent maiden race with a group of first time starters. Remember, perfect insight for any maiden runner will come AFTER the first race, NEVER BEFORE.

Parameters of the Maiden Race - June 18th, 2023

5f at Santa Anita, Clear Sunny Day, Track listed as Fast, 6 Competitors on the Field

Before any analysis into the horse himself, you must gauge the race itself. Santa Anita has a fast slick bias and the race is only a 5f contest. Obviously, these parameters would tend to be highly favorable to a speed demon who breaks well and runs out front. At a distance of only 5f, which is simply a normal workout distance, those horses who break from the gate with ease and get into stride up front will always hold the advantage.

If you were to bet on this race, it is IMPERATIVE to at least note the chef configurations of the competitors to garner those with an advantage at this miniscule distance on a speed favoring track. You are looking to find the colts who were bred for speed, which is one with a very high index that coincides with the parameters. After the race, you must analyze the results to fully realize true potential and where to bet your money going forward.

A standout performance coming out of this particular 5f maiden race would obviously be a horse who was loaded in stamina with a rear-running style. Opposite of the obvious advantage. Under that, another standout type would be a stamina horse who ran up front. The easy advantaged colt (who by the way are a dime a dozen) would be a speed demon on the lead.

Now that you know the type of horse that would FIT the specific debut race, realistically, there are only two measures to consult before the bell rings in a maiden:

1) His Full Chef Breeding (Roman and ANZ) to match the parameters.

2) His Workouts

The Field:

1) Harry Houdini DP = 1-4-4-1-0 (10) DI = 2.33 CD = 0.50 ANZ: 2.33

2) El Mero Mero DP = 4-1-13-6-0 (24) DI = 0.92 CD = 0.13 ANZ: 0.94

3) El Magnifico DP = 4-4-18-0-0 (26) DI = 1.89 CD = 0.46 ANZ: 1.89

4) Pleaseusetheportal DP = 4-2-3-1-0 (10) DI = 3.00 CD = 0.90 ANZ: 3.80

5) Osage Creek DP = 4-4-10-0-0 (18) DI = 2.60 CD = 0.67 ANZ: 2.60

6) Muth DP = 1-3-4-0-0 (8) DI = 3.00 CD = 0.63 ANZ: 7.00

The Workout before the race - All at Santa Anita:

1) Harry Houdini 49.20 49/77

2) El Mero Mero 49.00 52/82

3) El Magnifico 49.00 52/82

4) Pleaseusetheportal 50.40 20/26

5) Osage Creek 48.00 20/82

6) Muth 47.00 3/82 (from the gate)

There are two chef indexes to consult. One is Roman and the other is the ANZ. ANZ indexes come out of Australia and the sire additions they recognize are basically Roman's Prominent Non-Chefs within the chart. This makes it very easy to determine any additional speed and/or stamina that should be consulted, especially for maidens.

To find the ANZ number, simply toggle between the Roman and ANZ on the Pedigreequery Chef List.

Insight before the race:

There were two entries who had breeding that aligned with the parameters of the race. Muth with his 7.00 ANZ index and Pleaseusetheportal with his 3.80 ANZ index. Speed dominant in breeding for a short 5f run on a fast track. However, Muth goes even further with advantage at almost double the inherited speed. Muth gets the first check mark within the field.

Notice how Pleaseusetheportal has the 3.80 ANZ number, which is 2nd best for the 5f field, BUT he posted the slowest final workout on the same track among all competitors. This easily tells you that the horse is NOT running in conjunction with his speed inheritance. It tells you that he most likely would never capture the advantaged lead and would probably trail the rear of the field within the race. In short, his index does not match his workout. Turns out, he did end up positioning himself in the back which is easily defined as disadvantaged. He was the easy toss of the field prior to the bet.

For the parameters of this debut race, Muth stood out like a sore thumb. Highest inbred chef speed. Fastest 4f workout and obvious to secure the advantaged lead spot against 4 others with indexes under 2.90.

Muth annihilated this field by 8-3/4 lengths in a final time of 57.29, gate to wire.

Insight after the race:

MUTH Good Magic - Hoppa (Uncle Mo)

Trained by Bob Baffert

With a Roman chef index of 3.00 which inclines to an ANZ 7.00 when adding in the prominent non-chefs, Muth gains incredible inbred speed. Competing on the Santa Anita track only enhances what he has. It is the perfect bias for him. The 9 length win against that particular field is truly not as impressive as it looks. He had ZERO competition. Four of the entries did not have the proper breeding for a 5f race on a fast track. All four are "stamina dominant" and entered into a race that was completely against their breeding. The other one with his 3.80 index showed no allegiance to it in his workout on the same bias.

In addition, two of his competitors had awkward starts. This race was a cake walk for him. Look at the figures of El Mero Mero. DI = 0.92 CD = 0.13. If this horse ran out front, or even won from the rear at 5f at Santa Anita, he would have been a substantial standout. His breeding was completely against the parameters of the race, 100% stamina. You are always looking for the one who runs successfully against the grain. Muth did not run against the grain, he ran to his advantage and had zero excuse if he lost.

The debut race is 100% common sense when you combine their chef figures with their workouts on the specific bias. It is the only information you have before placing a bet on a maiden.

With the addition of Good Magic (stamina) coupled with his running style, Muth will have SEVERE advantage if he is entered into the Breeders Cup Juvenile. The track is his home base. He is trained on it daily. At 8.5f at Santa Anita, he is well-equipped with a balanced scale WITHIN HIS CHEFS ALONE. High inbred speed coupled with Good Magic's Stamina.

Moving onto the 10f Derby if he is loaned to Yakteen, this is where the entire chart needs to be consulted. The mare's contribution is imperative now.

Knowing the chefs and prominent non-chefs coupled with the sire and where he stands there, we now need to add in the mares:

Mare Profile = 6-7-3-6-7 Speed = 13 Stamina = 13 Index = 0.96 Triads = 16-16-16

The addition of the mares is completely even and balanced across the board. In essence, this type of mare configuration enhances both sides of his scales EVENLY. It pumps the hefty speed side up even further and it also pumps the lacking stamina side up at the same rate. Based on his style of running, he has shown his favoritism to that enhanced speed side, however, we have only a speed favoring short biased track to consult in both his singular performance and his workouts on the same bias.

With the mare's even scale, Muth will need to rely on his sire, Good Magic, a great deal. As the combinations of both sets of numbers stand, the speed side of his scale remains weighted. He needs Good Magic to sit upon the stamina side of that scale and we need to see proper evidence of it for clarity.

Without the prominent non-chefs added, Muth sits at 9.9f optimum distance. Adding in the sire's propensity, that distance capability should shoot up to at least 10.2f.

With the prominent non-chefs recognized, that optimum drops down substantially, ending at 9f even. With Good Magic's propensity of imparting additional stamina, that should upgrade to approx 9.2f. Since the mares lack with proper stamina figures, it will all fall on Good Magic's shoulders.

So which figures are we to consult in this instance? As with every 2 year old colt, it is the EVIDENCE that we gather along the way to the big show. Importantly, we would need to see a performance on an 'opposite" track. Since his hefty speedy side is being enhanced on the Santa Anita track, this gives us the "lop-sided" evidence that he is strongly favoring that 7.00 side. That side of the scale is easily identified. We need to know if that balanced scale from the stamina side moves him to that 10.2f capability.

The only way to garner that evidence is if he does any of the following in the future:

1) Performs from off the pace. (This would show that he is not relying solely on that 7.00 index)

2) Can perform the same outside of the slick Santa Anita (or DelMar) track. (Speedy side not enhanced)

3) Workout times remain consistent at different facilities.

At the moment, the only evidence that we have is that Muth is highly favoring all of his prominent non-chefs which dumps an enormous amount of inbred speed into his mix. This would keep him at the 9 to 9.2f range. Since he has an evenly balanced scale from his mares, no additional stamina will come from them. The only way to get a handle on Muth's true capability with exact evidence for the insight is AWAY from Santa Anita.

This will not happen in 2023 because the Breeder's Juvenile is at Santa Anita. Baffert will "race train" on that exact track. Not only is the 8.5f perfect for the horse but he will also have every advantage on that bias. He will have a conditioning race at the same distance on the same track in the American Pharoah stakes. If he performs well, we'll see him in the Los Alamitos Futurity or the Sham Stakes. The only real test this horse would have and the only clear picture of his true scale would come from a starting gate in the El Camino Real Derby on AWS in February. If we don't get that, we remain blind on which way his scale truly tilts.

If you decide to put Muth into your virtual stable, note to use him from this day forward to the Breeders Cup Juvenile. Any race he is entered at Santa Anita or DelMar. Rain or shine. Do not back him as heavily outside of those two tracks. Wait for any evidence procured from a different bias, especially at 9f and over. If he performs well after one of those races, then Good Magic is tipping that scale and we will know his endurance capacity outside of the mare's "even" input.

All must be on the look-out and I ask everyone to post POTENTIAL on this very thread. No stone left unturned, whether right or wrong, we need to analyze them all as early as possible.


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