top of page

Handicapping - Pedigree - History - Dosage

Profound Words: Dr. Steven Roman

Ribot - The Masterpiece

"Our opinions and values are shaped and developed largely by our life experiences. Since those experiences are unique to the individual I have no expectation the opinions and values of others will necessarily agree with mine. And that's fine. It's how it should be. Our differences are what make life interesting. In other words, what follows is the result of my 70+ years living on planet Earth and it is irrelevant that others may disagree. Our experiences entitle us to our own understanding of the truth". – Dr. Roman

Dr. Roman’s book “Dosage – Pedigree and Performance” is the best read for understanding the inside of the thoroughbred that was ever written. As much as this man gave with his words and his work while in his prime, he also had the forethought and the vision to see where everything was headed. He was 101% correct. Irrelevant are those who put themselves up on a high “horse racing pedestal” with over-bloated perceived audiences who disagreed with this man. We could only laugh now at their narrow minds and their complete ignorance.

There is no greater contribution to the horse racing industry with regards to the HORSE than the valuable insight and teachings of Dr. Steven Roman. From the magnificent and perfect list of the chefs, which took amazing dedication and work to identify for us, to highlighting how the excess of speed-oriented young colts would climb as the decades passed. He was 100% correct in his evaluation of the decline in stamina and the evolution of inclining speed that would eventually dominate our Classic races.

While it has been five years now that Dr. Roman walked away from certain aspects of horse racing, his words are hauntingly and ever so relevant more-so today. When he walked away, he freely handed his work to us in downloaded form, which shows exactly what type of a special man he truly is. That version can be found on our website on the Chefs-de-race tab and I would encourage everyone on this site who truly loves horse racing to download it and read it over and over again. Dr. Roman left a very important “Farewell Message” at the very end of his masterpiece which is so captivating and so profound that it needs to be front and center now more than ever.

With a rather ignorant media to contend with along the way, one could only imagine the frustration of a man who gave freely, worked tirelessly and who left us with a goldmine of information that far exceeds the mundane musings of those who know little or nothing at all concerning this vast subject.

The focus of this article is that farewell message which is complete confirmation that none of the “big-name” horsemen in the media, from the past until now, came close to the knowledge that he held and none quite as prophetic by any stretch of the imagination. His words are in perfect sync with what is occurring on our USA tracks, in the breeders shed, the incline of the index and most importantly, behind closed doors. All of this makes perfect sense as we look at what occurred over the last several Triple Crown Series all the way up to the 2021 edition. Everything that I have studied over these past decades as far as perfect consistency and uncanny accuracy with regards to Dr. Roman’s dosage theories has truly taken the exact path that he writes about in that Farewell Message.

"As only an occasional recreational horseplayer (I haven't visited a race track in almost 20 years) I don't really know how the trend toward ever-increasing speed affects the side of the game that supports and sustains it - betting. And as a casual and infrequent horseplayer the wagering part of the game isn't nearly enough to keep me involved. However, there is another component of the sport that does impact the wagering side and that is the seemingly indiscriminate use of medication, both legal and illegal. The industry, clearly driven by short-term motives, has failed to properly address this serious issue even though many racing venues outside the United States seem to thrive while exercising strict control over the use of drugs".

- Dr. Roman

The revelations of these drug violations over the last several years does explain why the undeniable accuracy of Dr. Roman’s dosage theories has taken a slight left turn. I know the exact date that my eyes started to open up wide. It was June 6, 2015. Exactly one year to the exact month before Dr. Roman gave us his departing words. I can only imagine that he saw it too. That was the day that American Pharoah won the Belmont Stakes and took home the Triple Crown Trophy. The very horse who sat in the same barn as Justify, Gamine, Charlatan and Medina Spirit – under the training and supervision of Mr. Bob Baffert.

American Pharoah, the celebrated and once in a lifetime monster. The "beast" who was only able to give us 3 more races before retiring in October of the same year. The speedster who ran wire to wire traveling 12f.


Chefs: DP = 2-3-3-0-0 (8) DI = 4.33 CD = 0.88

Mares = 7-4-4-9-4 Speed = 11 Stamina = 13 Index = 1.05 Triads = 15-17-17

It doesn’t take a genius to put two and two together.

"Looking back, I am fortunate to have seen many of the great Thoroughbreds that followed. I recall the excitement of watching Swaps, Nashua, Round Table and Ribot in the 1950s; Kelso, Dr. Fager, Damascus, Buckpasser and Sea Bird II in the 1960s; and, of course, Secretariat, Forego, Ruffian, Seattle Slew, Affirmed, Spectacular Bid and Brigadier Gerard in the 1970s. Then I sensed a change."


"Good American horses still came along on a regular basis but none, at least for me, generated the magic of those earlier years until Ghostzapper appeared in the first decade of the new century. There really haven’t been any since, although I have enjoyed a few such as Rachel Alexandra and California Chrome. Lest the reader think that I'm blinded by nostalgia, consider that the best colt and the best filly I have ever seen over seven decades both raced within the last half dozen years. However, neither one was American-bred and neither one was American raced. Some latter day American horses have been prematurely proclaimed as racing's next saviors, the horses that will rekindle fan interest and return the game to its glory days. It has never happened and it never will. The slow decline of racing in the U.S. has been ongoing for years and if Secretariat couldn't reverse the trend I doubt any individual horse ever can."

- Dr. Roman

Again, Dr. Roman is 100% correct, although I would add Shared Belief in with Rachel and Chrome. Horses like Ribot, Secretariat and Damascus were the epitome of true class and talent and they were the master champions of horse-racing. Built with raw speed and endurance, trained by authentic horsemen and treated like the kings that they were. Not today. Not in the United States. Money is the impetus and driver and the horse is simply a means to an end. How many false trophies and roses can the horse gain at 3 years old and how much does that translate in the breeders shed and their bank accounts is the goal by any means necessary. Soundness and longevity means nothing and the false translation of their speed and stamina balance as it pertains to their offspring is meaningless.

The 2021 edition of our Triple Crown was stolen again by greed. The suspension of Bob Baffert does not alleviate the damage that has occurred to both this sport as a whole and to the horse himself. It trickles all the way down to the handicapper, but most importantly, it falsifies the important data gained from Dr. Roman’s theories. It changes the historical value. It falsely alters the perfect alignment of these numbers. It corrupts the breeding sheds and it renders the gold mine of information obsolete.

There is a reason why our "real" stamina horses of today struggle against speed as opposed to how they far excelled in decades past. The demand for speed in the breeding shed has altered not only the perfect teachings of Dr. Roman, but it has adversely altered the American Thoroughbred. Add in the potions and the enhanced magic of ruthless trainers with ridiculous excuses and one can finally open their eyes and see that the Dosage Theories and Calculations SHOULD HAVE REMAINED perfect all along. The impossibility of that is NOT due to an incorrect premise of the dosage theory. It is due to hyper speed in breeding and also enhanced stamina by the implementation of drugs.

In simple terms, how does a colt like American Pharoah travel wire to wire at 12f with his breeding and a colt bred like Rock Your World can’t keep pace with the speed demons and gives in before the final turn?


DP = 3-4-8-1-0 (16) DI = 2.20 CD = 0.56

Mares = 2-3-4-7-8 Speed = 5 Stamina = 15 Index = 0.41 Triads = 9-14-19

Even with race results staring me in the face for the past week, Rock Your World still remains as the best built colt on that field for the Belmont Stakes. Between the history of the numbers and the speed/stamina balance between his mares and his chefs, none came close to his credentials. When we had a full and loaded gate, my analysis was NOT TO RELY ON HIM in any given spot on your superfecta because of the great potential of that enhanced speed bias in the Santa Anita Derby. It takes speed to win a race, of course, but to run 12f, you need stamina as well. Both components are necessary to win a race - not just one. Rock gave the impression of displayed speed and coupled with his stamina, was a recipe for easy success. But we still had to be wary that it was falsely recognized. When the field dwindled and the payout was extremely bleak, there would have been ZERO profit with spreading any horse with the likes of Tapit's Essential Quality in the gate. It became chalk. The only "gamble" was to take the best bred horse with better odds, place a very cheap wager and hope that the "bias" theory was incorrect. Well, it was not incorrect.

The Santa Anita speed bias was meant for Medina Spirit, but Rock Your World capitalized. His win in that race affected this year's Triple Crown adversely from a handicapping perspective. He lacked true inbred speed to "balance out" his overabundance of mare stamina. He had no chance. Full stamina horses suffer in the Belmont. Every year. A balanced horse succeeds. The gamble on his "apparent" speed (running through his numbers) was false based on the bias of the S.A. Derby. Breeding-wise, his balance was completely off up against those who consistently win the Belmont. Dr. Roman's numbers were spot on again - along with the Tapit Factor (3.00 index) but the top two did lean more to speed in their balance. (Especially Hot Rod Charlie)

"I think there are parallels between the trajectories of Thoroughbred racing and professional boxing. From the 1940s and into the 1960s boxing reached its zenith of popularity when the Gillette Cavalcade of Sports was one TV's most successful series, bringing the best of boxing into millions of homes every Friday night. A short time later Muhammad Ali came along and his skills transcended those of all who came before. One could even argue that Secretariat was racing's Muhammad Ali. Then boxing changed. People's tastes changed. Why the public began to view boxing as excessively violent and corrupt is worthy of discussion but is not the point. What is the point is that our perceptions of the sport did change and that over time it lost favor with the general public even if retaining a hardcore base of followers. The American public seemingly has developed a similar attitude toward Thoroughbred racing. A growing number believe it is cruel and dishonest. This belief is continually reinforced when a prominent horse dies on the track or a well-known trainer or jockey is accused of cheating. I would argue that boxing's and racing's decline is the direct result of the respective industry's policies and internal activities."

– Dr. Roman

Internal activities. Dr. Roman knew many years ago that he was fighting a lost cause. The perfection of his theories, especially as it pertained to graded stakes races and the Triple Crown, only reveals the grotesque state of affairs within the American horse racing industry. The absolute demand for speedy two year olds coming out of that shed coupled with unnatural endurance that can only come from the human hand, makes it so easy to see how trainers like Bob Baffert have massacred our sport on this side of the ocean.

Dr. Roman’s theories were spot on from day one. His numbers read as they should for decades but our present day “horsemen” and those on racing boards and in the ignorant and silent media crushed everything that was pure and right with this sport.

"True latter day giants of the turf are becoming rarer as Thoroughbred racing has moved in a direction that has failed to sustain public interest. Today we are feeling the effects of Thoroughbred racing's persistent shift toward breeding for speed and early maturity in the hope of quick returns on investment. Since the 1980s the annual percentage of major North American stakes races contested beyond a mile-and-an-eighth on dirt has fallen dramatically. In 1987 there were over 50 major stakes races on dirt beyond nine furlongs. The leading horses among the winners were Alysheba, Bet Twice, Broad Brush, Creme Fraiche, Ferdinand, Java Gold, Personal Ensign and Snow Chief. In 2015 there were about half as many such races. The best horses included American Pharoah, Beholder, Shared Belief and Tonalist, hardly a comparable group in my opinion. For me, racing today is less diverse and less interesting."

"The emphasis on speed is reflected in the evaluations of classic races produced by many of the organizations that generate such ratings. For example, when Daily Racing Form's Beyer Speed Figures for American classic races are plotted by year, the trend line shows that the typical figure for the winners of those races has fallen from 111 in 1990 to 103 in 2015. Similarly, Equibase speed figures have fallen from 115 to 109 over the same time frame. My own Performance Figures (PFs) reflect an identical pattern, falling from -65 in 1997 to -56 in 2015. Even the Racing Post in the UK has noted a decline in their trend figures for the Kentucky Derby from about 123 in 1997 to about 120 in 2015. Horses, with some exceptions, apparently are winning the American classics at lower levels of quality than expressed two, three and four decades ago. It shouldn't be a surprise considering how excessive speed in a pedigree limits ability over a classic distance. This seems like the wrong direction for a sport that promotes classic racing as the ideal. It is not a coincidence that no major American record on dirt beyond a sprint distance has been broken in almost 30 years while records at 5 1/2, 6 and 6 1/2 furlongs all have been set since 2009."

– Dr. Roman

With the statistics that Dr. Roman presents above, speed figures have decreased over the years but these same speed demons are grabbing Triple Crown Races trophies. Speed decreases while hidden endurance magically sees them grabbing that 10f Kentucky Derby and that 12f Belmont Stakes. Taking nothing away from the performance of Hot Rod Charlie in the 2021 Belmont, (who very well could be that one in a million colt who runs like those past champions and through his numbers) - there is nothing that stands out within the historical and consistent dosage configurations that would have ever pointed him out as a prominent major player.

"Apart from the potentially damaging long-term physiological effects of any pharmaceutical, their application could be considered abusive to the extent such drugs mask physical deficiencies that in their absence would preclude the horse from being able to race effectively if at all. Yet we still hear the argument that such drugs are not performance enhancing. That may be strictly true in that they don't allow a horse to run faster than it is physically capable of running. However, they undeniably enable physically compromised horses to run that probably shouldn't be running in the first place. I would consider that performance-enhancing in the broadest sense. It's a virtual certainty that the overuse of race day medication contributes to injuries and fatalities on the track. Yet it appears that the quest for short-term profitability inhibits any serious attempt to find a meaningful solution. Because of this economically-driven, self-induced paralysis we are continually subjected to the infuriating and obscene meme following any on-track fatality that "it's sad but its part of the game." We've all heard this reprehensible comment even from the most successful trainers, riders and owners. In my opinion such comments are a disgrace and reflect poorly on those who make them. I doubt they would make similar statements about high school football. I guess in the end most people either don't really care or are in denial. It's also likely they are unaware of the Associated Press study conducted almost a decade ago that identified at least 5,000 track related horse fatalities in the U.S. between 2003 and 2008, an average of about three per day. I'm as guilty as anyone who tolerates these activities without protest."

– Dr. Roman

In handicapping, the accuracy seen from years past with Roman’s dosage theory, it is beginning to become quite clear that it is impossible to have any confidence with the present day race in the United States. His numbers consistently read like a script and over the last several years, the push for speed coupled with drug enhancement investigations across the country has rendered the perfect tool almost obsolete. Again, Dr. Roman was 100% correct. This is only one side of the coin though. The main implication is the adverse effects, or in many cases, the premature deaths of these majestic animals. This is the culmination of what men have done and it cannot be reversed.

"An obvious step is the complete elimination of race day medication with severe penalties for violators, up to and including criminal prosecution or a lifetime ban depending on the severity of the infraction. This protects not only the athletes but the interests of the horseplayers as well. I've never understood why any transgressions by trainers, owners, riders or veterinarians that could affect the outcome of a race and, consequently, the bankrolls of horseplayers are tolerated at all. Which other gambling outlet permits similar behavior? What would the penalty be if the ownership or staff of a Las Vegas casino was caught cheating? Would it be a slap on the wrist? I doubt it."

– Dr. Roman

Dr. Roman wrote that 5 years ago. Where was the commentary on his profound words back then and where is it now? How many horses perished at the hands of greedy men over the last 5 years? Where are the racing pundits with the microphones? They simply prefer to cover up for these ruthless practitioners as opposed to aiding in its repair.

Just the other day, I made a rare reply on Twitter on a thread posted by Jay Privman and I spoke up. This is the exact tweet made by this man who truly believes his opinion should be gold and anyone who disagrees will be called out and disparaged. This is coming from a "voice in horse-racing." Copied and pasted directly from Twitter...

JAY PRIVMAN: "Jockey (allegedly) admits to having used CBD oil before riding horse that tests positive for substance so Hall of Fame trainer whose biggest vice is Bordeaux gets dragged through mud because, you know, rules. Cool."

Reread the words of that tweet again. Jay Privman thought he was a big man in his clear attempt to disparage the jockey and his admission to positive drug test and kisses the ass of the trainer.


LisaHorseClub: "There should be only 1 perspective. Zero tolerance. Even inadvertently putting any substance into a horse's bloodstream is negligent and the effects, knowingly or unknowingly, could potentially endanger the horse or the jockey who sits on top. Yes, rules help our dying sport."

After my reply, I received the normal hatred from other ignorant “Bob Baffert and the like" defenders and I replied right back, defending THE HORSE with several tweets thereafter. Well, Mr. Privman did not like my commentary on Bob Baffert invading his thread one bit and he let me know it. Needless to say, I blocked Jay Privman because those who are the most unworthy and uninformed are the ones with the loudest mouths. They are as transparent as they come. Those with a perceived audience will defend trainers like Bob Baffert, dismissing the fact that the trainer is responsible for everything that goes on in his barn. Men like Jay Privman who find it necessary to shut down any opposition or argument against Baffert (or those like Baffert) and to those who defend the safety of the horse and the jockey. Perverted outward allegiance and defense with an audience is lethal and it adds to the downfall of the sport. In my opinion, Jay Privman is just as repugnant as Bob Baffert. The media does grave harm to horse racing now just as it has done back then…

"In retrospect I believe we have made some valuable contributions to our understanding of Thoroughbred pedigrees. We have confirmed Vuillier's original hypothesis that the aptitudinal evolution of the Thoroughbred can be adequately expressed through the influence of a very small number of the stallions at stud in any era. We have developed statistical tools that allow us to monitor the evolution of Thoroughbred speed over time, clearly confirming the continuous shift away from stamina. And we have shown that the patterns of inherited prepotent speed found in pedigrees correlate in a statistically significant way with performance characteristics on the track for large populations. We have also tried to broaden our understanding of speed figure methodology by shifting the emphasis away from final time to the notion of total energy expenditure while intimately incorporating pace into the figure calculation. And at all times we have tried to present original and current data that the owner, breeder and horseplayer would find valuable. Hopefully our efforts have been useful to some."

"My biggest regret is not having been able to properly frame the connection between Dosage and the American classics, a failure that has tarnished Dosage theory for many despite the fact that the classics were just a minor component of the research. The original observation made in 1981 that no Derby winner since at least 1940 had a DI over 4.00 was immediately misinterpreted by the turf media led by Andrew Beyer and others as a declaration that no horse with a DI over 4.00 could win the Derby. That's the erroneous message a lot of people took away and it is a misperception that persists even to this day. Earlier, in the original Daily Racing Form series on Dosage, we had highlighted the increase in inherited speed in Thoroughbred pedigrees over time as reflected in increasing DIs among divisional champions since the 1940s. Projecting ahead and assuming no dramatic shift in breeding patterns it was clear that the DI 4.00 Kentucky Derby guideline figure was relevant only to that era. The chart on the left below, a version of which originally was published soon after the DRF publication, displayed the DI trend for Derby winners decades into the future and clearly showed that by today (chart on the right) we might reasonably expect an increasing number of Derby winners with DIs exceeding that 4.00 figure. In fact, the current trend line suggests that in the absence of a dramatic shift in breeding direction, we could expect half of all Derby winners to have DIs over 4.00 within the next decade. More Derby winners with high DIs were predicted 35 years ago but the prediction was ignored by a lazy or uninformed turf media."

– Dr. Roman

"Beyond just the DI “inflation” factor there is the further statistical correlation between the DI of the Derby winners and their performance in the premier American classic, as alluded to earlier. Ironically, it is Beyer’s own data that confirm a decrease in the quality of performance with increased speed in the winner’s pedigree, captured in the final chart below displaying the relationship between the Derby winner Beyer Speed Figure and its DI. In fact, the average BSF of the Derby winners since 1991 with DI less than 2.00 is 110.2 while the average BSF for the Derby winners with DI over 4.00 is 105.3, a difference of up to four lengths on the Beyer beaten lengths scale at ten furlongs. Additionally, the difference is statistically significant whether we use the DI at the time of the race or after any changes made since then by the addition of new chefs-de-race. This concept, as well, never made it into the public consciousness."

– Dr. Roman

I would encourage everyone to read the full "WHY I LEFT THE GAME" by Dr. STEVEN ROMAN - in its entirety - which starts on page 331 and then follow it up by reading the entire book. Twice.

Dosage - Pedigree & Performance
Download PDF • 6.98MB

The theories of Dr. Steven Roman validate the destruction of American Thoroughbred horse racing. His dosage work is perfect evidence against those who obviously used drugs to enhance the colt's performance which is solidified by the amount of investigations into drug use in these past 5 years. His theories strike the media who defend it with their silence and their disdain for those who speak against it. It confirms the increase in inherited speed demands which in turn has given rise to the higher dosage index. With the use of enhancing drugs, the ability to give extra endurance to these speed demons has corrupted the historical value and accuracy and shifted everything upwards. It has destroyed the well-being and the soundness of the horse and many more who have perished at the hands of greed and by those who defend it. Those like the "Jay Privmans of horse racing" who would rather dismiss any talk of an obvious criminal than to step up like a man and guard against cruelty and the rapid destruction of this sport are just as guilty.

I spent over 20 years studying Dr. Roman's philosophy and was astounded by the accuracy and consistency in our Graded Stakes races year after year. I added in the ideology of the magnificent and incomparable breeder, Federico Tesio, and combined 40% of the Reines-de-Course which culminated in a near perfect potential optimum distance for young two years olds for many years prior to American Pharoah and the stream of Baffert's souped up speed demons. With their overabundance of inherited speed coupled with the conceivable use of enhancing drugs tilted towards endurance, my confidence has plummeted. Everything appears upside down in recent years. What was once a script has turned into guesswork and with silent investigations popping up all over the country, it has become close to futile.

The most recent edition of the Kentucky Derby saw every single horse who was built with the proper stamina fall to the bottom of the order of finish while speed endured and filled the top. In this year's Belmont, with the exception of Tapit's son, Essential Quality, speed persisted up top while those with the proper and readable stamina struggled to keep up - Rock Your World, Bourbonic, Overtook, Known Agenda and even Rombauer to an extent. Both races catered to speed demons which appears to be the sign of the times.

Between the extravagant speed bias of most tracks, the excessive amount of inbred speed, the enhancing drugs and the silence of those with the microphones, I have decided that I will give it one more year. The accuracy of Dr. Roman's profiles, indexes and CD's are still perfect for the two year olds and those on the Derby trail (and most Breeders Cup races) and I will continue to publish the potential optimums. The change has come with the Kentucky Derby and the Belmont Stakes. Many of these horses "magically change" for those two races. The history has changed in upward progression as well.

I understand the shift, but I cannot handicap a horse on drugs. I cannot flip numbers and reveal a speed demon who magically sustains stamina that is hidden in his chart. My passion and the excitement that I had for many years has dwindled, but I vow to give it one more year based on two points... the suspension of Bob Baffert from Churchill Downs, and two, mainly, due to the love of the horse. I hope to see another Ribot or Damascus before I die and although I believe that dream is highly doubtful based on the state of affairs in this industry, I cannot give up hope. I have been captivated by the talent and breeding of runners like Shared Belief, Wise Dan, Animal Kingdom, Honor Code and Gun Runner in recent years, so I do believe in the possibility of even greater successes.

My passion and dedication to Dosage and its principles will remain because that is the only true reality of the breeding potential of an "unaltered" horse. And thanks to Dr. Steven Roman, it is the only thing that keeps the history and the champion Masters of the Breed alive. The Chefs. Lucky are we to have Stephen Miller continue the only thing left in this sport that truly makes any sense.


bottom of page