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Handicapping - Pedigree - History - Dosage

Mage and The Triple Crown

Mage's inheritance gives him a real shot at the Triple Crown because he is built to handle the last race in the series.

The Triple Crown is a series of three contests, held at three separate tracks with competing biases, and at three different distances. Only thirteen colts in its long history have been able to tackle each set of factors within the short period of time.

The Triple Crown is so elusive due to the many obstacles between each segment. With the insurmountable and rigorous quest condensed into a very short period of time, demanding adeptness on three separate biases with the ability to conquer 9.5f through 12f against talented horses. The colt must have endurance and a certain chemistry within his inheritance to find three separate optimums.

The three races cater to three distinct and opposing advantages. The main reason why the the Triple Crown Trophy is so elusive.

The first leg, the Kentucky Derby, is usually run on a very fast bias and has handed advantage to those with dominating speed coupled with just enough endurance to carry them just past the 10f distance repeatedly.

The second leg, the Preakness, is much more neutral and does not cater one way or the other on its speedy bias. Those exiting the Kentucky Derby and competing here do have a tendency to carry a bit more stamina in line with the turn-around time, but most are fresh horses with the ability to conquer the Mile and 3/16th test. This is more of a pace race and does not differentiate one way or the other.

The third leg, the Belmont Stakes, consistently demands equal balance on the speed/stamina scale with the ability to distribute their energy equally throughout. This is in contrast to what wins the other two races.

The first listed Triple Crown winner was Sir Barton in 1919, 104 years ago. Since then, only 12 others were able to find the endurance within themselves to tackle the 3 races in such a short period of time with the inbred qualities to be adept on the 3 separate biases with no specific optimum. The Triple Crown is so elusive because what wins in one race, certainly finds no advantage in the next.

That is, unless the Kentucky Derby winner is built against the grain of that particular race.

1919 - Sir Barton (Too far back in history for configurations)

1930 - Gallant Fox DP = 0-0-16-8-4 (28) DI = 0.40 CD = -0.57

1935 - Omaha DP = 0-0-8-4-4 (16) DI = 0.33 CD = -0.75

1937 - War Admiral DP = 0-12-2-22-6 (42) DI = 0.45 CD = -0.52

1941 - Whirlaway DP = 0-12-20-8-0 (40) DI = 1.22 CD = 0.10

1943 - Count Fleet DP = 0-2-1-1-0 (4) DI = 1.67 CD = 0.25

1946 - Assault DP = 6-6-8-1-3 (24) DI = 2.00 CD = 0.46

1948 - Citation DP = 12-0-24-6-8 (50) DI = 0.92 CD = 0.04

1973 - Secretariat DP = 20-14-7-9-0 (50) DI = 3.00 CD = 0.90

1977 - Seattle Slew DP = 7-6-4-5-0 (22) DI = 2.14 CD = 0.68

1978 - Affirmed DP = 8-6-26-0-0 (40) DI = 2.08 CD = 0.55

2015 - Pharoah DP = 2-3-3-0-0 (8) DI = 4.33 CD = 0.88 obvious outlier

2018 - Justify DP = 5-6-8-1-0 (20) DI = 3.00 CD = 0.75

As the decades pass, you can easily see how the stamina driven indexes have risen over the years, as speed in the breeding shed has become the ultimate goal. Discounting the obvious outlier that bucked over a century of historical records in the Belmont, American Pharoah, the configurations of these TC winners depict ability to conquer the last race at 12f. That is the race that is counter to what wins in the Kentucky Derby and shows why only 13 horses were able to cross the barrier successfully.

As discussed extensively over the last decade, present day shows that colts in the 2.00 to 3.00 range hold a spectacular advantage in the Belmont Stakes. Historically, that category holds the least advantage in the Kentucky Derby. When circumstances such as an adverse track (not present this year) or an extreme pace (present this year) sets it up for the advantaged speedy colts to falter at Churchill Downs, this is when their Triple Crown aspirations rise enormously.

Favoritism in the 2.00 to 300 category this year in the Kentucky Derby is completely opposite of norm, opposite of the entire weekend at Churchill, and also opposite throughout the preps. This year was flipped.

This is when the Triple Crown Trophy becomes more attainable. Colts who can conquer the 12f test at Belmont Park were given the shot to compete in the stretch at Churchill. Rare, but all 4 entered slammed it.

This is why the scratch of I'll Have Another back in 2012 was such a harsh turn of events. He conquered the Derby against the grain of his breeding. He displayed his speed in the neutral contest at Pimlico. He was built for the Belmont Stakes but was unable to enter the gate.

For 12f runners, the Derby is wholly against them, year after year - but not this year.

With the insurmountable and rigorous quest condensed between May 6th and June 10th this year, three races in thirty-four days, there were four colts entered into the Kentucky Derby who have the ability within their inheritance to conquer the Belmont Stakes against their advantage at Churchill.

Two Phil's DP = 2-7-11-0-0 (20) DI = 2.64 CD = 0.55 // Speed = 7 Stamina = 13 Index = 0.69 Triads = 15-20-21

Hit Show DP = 2-5-6-1-0 (14) DI = 2.50 CD = 0.57 // Speed = 8 Stamina = 14 Index = 0.69 Triads = 12-12-18

Disarm DP = 1-4-7-0-0 (12) DI = 2.43 CD = 0.50 // Speed = 10 Stamina = 15 Index = 0.85 Triads = 15-17-20

Mage DP = 2-4-8-0-0 (14) DI = 2.50 CD = 0.57 // Speed = 15 Stamina = 17 Index = 0.89 Triads = 17-19-19

(This is not accounting for any other Tapit offspring as well.)

If you notice, Mage's mare's scale is heightened on both sides, which in hindsight, could have been the difference at Churchill. More speed present. But all four did capitalize off of the fast pace and all four clearly adept with the 12f for Belmont. Mage's inheritance gives him a real shot at the Triple Crown because he is built to handle the last race in the series.

Based on the numbers above, notice the difference between the mare inbred speed of Two Phil's and Mage. Mage has double. Notice the difference in the mare's indexes. Based on the two performances of both colts, on the two extremes of the mid-range category, Two Phil's actually had a much greater disadvantage between the two as far as inheritance, but not in style. Mage was at a much greater disadvantage in that regard and those two dynamics will be flipped in the Belmont Stakes.

Two Phil's will find that his breeding helps him much greater at 12f because he is built with more mare stamina. Mage's ground saving style will boost his energy late. Both built with the endurance for the quick-turnaround as well. Hit Show and Disarm both capable as well at Belmont Park. Based on the balance of all 4 scales, the first three do have a bit extra in their favor at Belmont. The mares do offer them more endurance.

Mage gained an attainable shot at the Triple Crown when he jumped the hurdle in the Kentucky Derby with his breeding. If Angel of Empire prevailed, that would not be the case. He had the advantage at Churchill and that would have been forfeited at Belmont Park - which is normally the case year after year.

Because of the insane pace with the lead in the Kentucky Derby again this year, Mage is now set up to at least compete for that Crown with a strong advantage based on his breeding. This is rarely the case year after year and puts him in a strong position for a reasonable shot.

Now he must secure that win in the neutral contest against First Mission at Pimlico. If he pulls the Preakness off, he certainly would have a realistic shot for that elusive Crown.


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