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Handicapping - Pedigree - History - Dosage

Performance and Numbers

A recurring question that I receive regularly is about which numbers are the most important and how do you get the insight through those numbers. It is not an easy question to answer in just one paragraph. It is much easier to use a couple of examples in order to go through it properly.

Each and every number within each set of configurations are equally important for a variety of reasons. These numbers tell you:

1. Where the colt falls along the distance spectrum

2. How the horse is built.

3. What his limitations are.

4. Which side he is favoring.

5. How his style of running fits in.

6. His distance potential

7. How they apply to his past performances

8. Which specific race(s) is he built for

9. Is he failing because he is not a strong player or is it because the distance is too short

10. Will his speed or his stamina get watered down based on how things are configured

11. What clues come from his works or his past performances?

12. How is he balanced – Speed favoring, stamina favoring or Evenly Balanced.

13. What previous runners have the same type of balance and configurations and how did they relate to their past races.

14. How SHOULD the horse perform with these configurations?

We’ll look at four colts on the Derby Trail right now, in depth, which will give you a bit of insight on how the numbers reveal almost everything you need to know about the horse. Two "speed" horses and two "stamina" horses. Evidence is pulled from a Past Performance sheet, either to the positive or to the negative outcome in conjunction with his breeding, which allows the handicapper to project what SHOULD happen in each consecutive performance. Each item will be broken down using common sense and fair reasoning as it pertains to the Kentucky Derby.


DP = 4-3-5-0-0 (12) DI = 3.80 CD = 0.92

Mare Profile = 6-5-6-9-7 Speed = 11 Stamina = 16 Index = 0.79 Triads = 17-20-22

When calculated, Morello's complete mare line gives him -0.18 CD (that is, negative .18).

Mare's alone give him 11.75f. (major stamina)

Chef's alone at .92 CD gives him 7.8f. (major speed)

Combined at 50/50 = 10.1f

The next step is to look at the points total within the chefs profile. Morello has only 12 points. This is the cut-off. When chef points total 12 or under, you can assume that the influence will be greater from the mare's side because he is not holding a ton of chef influence. The mares will be dominate if there is evidence to justify it. This will change that 50/50 distribution in favor of the mares. Therefore, you can assume that Morello will gain more stamina from the dominance within his configurations. This SHOULD enable us to hike that 10.1f at least up to 10.5f. Remember, each number feeds off the other. But first we need the evidence that he is favoring the mares.

Now we look at his performances to justify what his numbers are telling us. If you look at each of his 3 sets of pace figures in every one of his past races, his figures are slower in the first call of the race, and they are faster at the 2nd call of the race, and they are either even with the first call or better at the tail end. This is how he consistently runs no matter the distance. This is a clue that confirms his preferences and leanings towards the stamina side - falling directly with the mares heavier influence. If he favored his chefs, he would burst out of that gate and sprint in the early stages, eventually heavily winding things down towards the end. His chefs are saying sprinting speed (3.80 index and 7.8f distance) but he only has a minimal amount of chef influence (12 points) and he does not run like that. The evidence is presented that he is closer aligned with his mares influence and therefore we can assume that he will indeed grab more stamina and lean closer to the attributes passed to him from his mares. His chefs speed does not go away but the mares dominance is allowing him to sustain that sprinters speed past the 10f.

The next clue is the progression of his performances. He won each of his races by 4+ lengths with the first two calls much better as he progressed in distance, with his last being the longest distance and best performance yet. He is sustaining his chefs speed with major help from his mares.

The next clue is the track where these performances are taking place. Morello is easy because he has only performed at Aqueduct. This track is not a sprinters paradise. It is a rough track. Again, this points to favoritism towards the mares heightened stamina influence and so we can assume that Morello will run further than the combined 50/50 of 10.1f. It will be closer to 40/60 in favor of the mares. Each colt will tell us which side he is favoring by the clues that are given to us within his performances and adjustments are made separately for each individual colt. It is never an exact figure; it must be dictated by the horse himself and he will tell you exactly where he stands with each and every performance along the way.

The next thing to consider is that Morello will still hold on to whatever influence comes from his chefs. That portion does not go away, it gets blended into the entire package. He inherited major speed from his chefs side even if we consider only 40% influence. It takes a severe amount of speed coupled with enough stamina to sustain it in order to be a player in the Derby. Considering the fact that his chefs passed down 7.8f capability, that is screaming major speed influence but the way that Morello has performed, he is not letting it take over - he is accepting it within the dominance of his mares inheritance. His performances prove, in this case, that he is running exceptionally in line with his inheritance and accepting both sides, allowing them to blend together. His sire, Classic Empire, also balanced in the same manner with even more inherited chef speed, ran this way as well and managed 4th on a sloppy tack in the Derby. Morello is actually balanced with more stamina than his sire.

Next item to look at is the workouts. Based on his preferred running style and his dominant inheritance, he runs faster late which means his short 4f and 5f workouts should not depict bullet sprinter times. However, Morello did throw down a few bullet workouts, which then gives evidence that the mares are still allowing his chefs 3.80 speed to pour through. Nothing is getting watered down and they are blending beautifully. He is running the way he should for each and every scenario and distance required. Everything goes hand in hand. He is combining beautifully.

With a 4-point spread leaning to stamina in the mares balance coupled with packed up 17-20-22 triads, in addition to the probable speed bias of the Churchill track on Derby day, with a fair trip, this horse will be a major player in the Kentucky Derby.

3.80 Speed plus ample stamina to sustain it is what the Derby requires.

Forbidden Kingdom

DP = 5-3-2-0-0 (10) DI = 9.00 CD = 1.30

Mare Profile = 7-4-2-11-3 Speed = 11 Stamina = 14 Index = 1.05 Triads = 13-17-16

When calculated, FK's complete mare line gives him 0.04 CD.

Mare's alone give him 10.6f. (stamina)

Chef's alone at 1.30 CD gives him 6.75f (major speed)

Combined at 50/50 = 8.63f

Again, we look at the points total from the chefs profile. Only 10 points. This means that the mares SHOULD be more influential and therefore raise that combined 8.63f capability. But first we must look for the evidence to justify adjusting it and by how much.

Based on his past performances, this one is extremely easy to figure out. He is a lead runner with the first calls of each of his races following a sprinters form. Major outward speed with 1st call figures that are screaming that he favors his chefs along with the 7 points gained in the mares Brilliant slot in the profile. If you look closely at the chefs profile (5-3-2-0-0) - the dominance is coming in the Brilliant slot and the inheritance to the Classic distance decreases. Additionally, the mares profile (7-4-2-11-3) is pointing to an influx of short early speed as depicted in the 7 in the first slot. Being separated from the 11 in the profile, everything gets shifted and most likely he is capitalizing from the 7 influence adding even more speed. Evidence justifies that clue.

Chefs at a 9.00 index which means he inherited 9x more speed than stamina from those chefs with an extremely high CD of 1.30. Inherited crazy speed that he is flaunting right out of the gate and producing very high early pace figures in his PP's. That is all coming from the chefs. The only place where there is a sign of "stamina" is one number that is sitting in the mare's profile. The profile reads 7-4-2-11-3. The 11 in the Professional slot is the only sign of any inherited stamina and that stamina against all that speed will get watered down substantially. The evidence for that is showing up in the final calls of every race he has run.

The horse is throwing bullet work after bullet work - again, depicting his allegiance to the chefs major speed influence. Would it be warranted to allow more influence from the mares in this case? Not really. However, there is one slight piece of evidence that could possibly be a reason to give this guy the benefit of the doubt. Even though he substantially gears down in each of his races in the final call, he did manage to win by almost 6 lengths traveling 8.5f. Although Santa Anita is notorious for lead speed advantage and always kicks their numbers up a few notches, his early figures have increased as the distances lengthened and he sustained the same in the final call between the San Vincente and the San Felipe, going from 7f to 8.5f. He also didn't come in last place when he ran on turf.

If we hand him a bit more influence from his mares based on only having 10 points in the chef's profile, that addition still gets him nowhere near the 10f required for the Derby anyway. Herein lies the dilemma with this horse. Do you take the numbers at face value and place a nice hefty bet on him in the Breeders Cup Dirt Mile? Do you assume that his sire American Pharoah, (who had the same type of speedy configurations, especially for the Belmont), was ultimately a recipient of the Baffert Stamina potions like most all of his other speed monsters? Or do you assume that something is lurking in these charts that is going highly unnoticed when it comes to stamina? Or finally, do you disregard the chefs altogether, disregard his style in relation to his chefs influence, disregard every piece of evidence that is pointing to a sprinter based on his sire? That plan usually always fails.


DP = 0-0-9-1-2 (12) DI = 0.60 CD = -0.42

Mare Profile = 1-10-5-8-5 Speed = 11 Stamina = 13 Index = 0.74 Triads = 16-23-18

When calculated, Epicenter's complete mare line gives him -0.21 CD. (that is negative 0.21)

Mare's alone give him 11.8f. (major stamina)

Chef's alone at -0.42 CD gives him 12.6f (major stamina)

Combined at 50/50 = 12.2f (major stamina)

Again, we look at the points total in the chefs profile. 12 total points (the cut-off) could mean that the mares have a bit more influence over the chefs. In this case, it really doesn't matter. He is between 11.8f and 12.6f either way. We can still gauge what his performances are telling us to see about the speed side which is so important for the Derby. The #1 thing that stands out easily in those configurations is both the chefs and mares five digit profiles. With the mares, 1-10-5-8-5, the 10 points in the Intermediate slot (7,8,9f) is standing out. This is where he gained all of his speed influence. His chefs profile, 0-0-9-1-2, shows absolutely zero speed influence from his chefs. Those 10 speed points from the mares is positioned perfectly. It is obvious that he needed that desperately because everything else is pointing to extreme stamina. When you look at his performances, he is posting seriously fast opening call figures which is highly against what he inherited, but it is in line within the mares profile. He also winds down in each of his races as it states in his PP's.

Besides his 7f maiden, which was way too short for his breeding in the first place, he has always either been geared down in the stretch or in his loss by a head in the Lecomte, not pushed to run. This is not the horse gearing down on his own because he has lost his steam, it is because he is done with the race and his jockey is telling him he doesn't need to run anymore. Each increment in further distance, his final call rises to meet the distance at hand. The evidence is there. In spite of the strong stamina influence from both sides, he is displaying early speed that is just showing up in one number in all of his configurations. That fact depicts a beast in the making. His numbers are saying he should be slow early and possibly to get himself on the grass. The combination of his ingredients from the top and the bottom are blending perfectly and allowing this horse to capture it all. This is very rare and points to something very special.

Based on his performances, this guy is favoring his immediate sire to a very high degree and with the crazy amount of quality horses that Not This Time has been revealing, there is very strong evidence all over Epicenter's past performance sheet that coincides directly with his sire and the chefs and mares that are included with him on the top of that chart. All the rest is icing on the cake.

Contrary and in spite of his obvious stamina inheritance, he is displaying speed that is only found within those 10 points in the Intermediate slot from his mares. That's it. This means that the stamina portion could never get watered down and this horse will sustain any amount of speed he shows in the first 2 calls as long as the track dictates. He is weighted heavier in stamina than speed in his inheritance. Seeing how fast he performs on the lead is nothing compared to how far he can go because of what he inherited. The evidence is in black and white, and he is running directly in line with his configurations as well as counter to those configurations to his ultimate favor. This horse is the ultimate major player for the Kentucky Derby.

Ethereal Road

DP = 2-4-9-1-0 (16) DI = 1.91 CD = 0.44

Mare Profile = 8-5-4-5-7 Speed = 13 Stamina = 12 Index = 1.09 Triads = 17-14-16

When calculated, Ethereal Road's complete mare line gives him 0.07 CD

Mare's alone give him 10.7f. (stamina)

Chef's alone at .44, gives him 9.25f (no major influx on either the speed or the stamina side)

Combined at 50/50 = 10.2f

Ethereal Road has 16 points total in his chefs profile so we keep everything at 50-50. We can still check to see which side he favors through his performances. His style of running - rear runner with very low figures early and better figures late points directly to his chefs entire profile. (2-4-9-1-0) Barely any inheritance in short early speed and gradually gains as the distance go further. Based on that alone and looking at the distance capability from his chefs, if he truly is favoring his elite sires at a higher degree, they are only giving him 9.25f capability. This is not a good sign for the Derby. But he does have 16 points so keeping it at the 50/50 is still justified but you can start to see how the horse is leaning. We can continue though to look for more clues based on his numbers and how they relate to his PP's .

The mares balance is weighted one point higher on the speed side. That is not so bad as to give major pause, however, those triads certainly are. Weighted at 17 in speed and decreasing in the classic and professional distances, this horse has more influence on the speed side than the stamina side. He is displaying it late if at all. His chefs are saying he has more in him late so if the mares were giving him any speed influence it would be shown early.

All areas of his mares numbers are saying that they are giving him early speed:

The mares profile (8-5-4-5-7) highest influence is depicted in the 8 in the Brilliant slot (4-5-6f).

The balance is higher on the speed side. (Speed = 13 Stamina = 12)

The triads are weighted in speed. (17-14-16)

Even though it is not by much, the fact remains that the mares are going the speed route early and Ethereal Road is doing the opposite. Everything, between his chefs contribution to the way this horse runs, is counter to any speed influence that the mares gave him as depicted in those triads. There is no speed early, there is no attachment to the high 1.09 mare index. It is all chefs.

In keeping with the 50/50 rule here, even though the Derby distance is technically here, he is showing no attraction to the balance. He is favoring his chefs and it works in the opposite direction here. His 10.2f combined capability must fall back to favor the chefs. He may come flying late but his thunder will end at the stretch. This horse has no chance at all in the Kentucky Derby.


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