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Handicapping - Pedigree - History - Dosage

Pulling it Apart - The Pegasus

Six posted bullets at Payson Park with a forward running style - Art Collector

The approach that we take to handicapping here at the Dirty Horse Club is unlike anything you will find elsewhere. As hard as it is to put yourself out there in the pursuit of the big superfecta payouts, it is also a validation of the concept - even in defeat. I want you to understand, while we do grab those hits from time to time, there will be times when the approach is spot on but the outcome is just outside the insight.

In other words, I do not want anyone to get discouraged because of this race. There are learning moments when we hit and there are learning moments when we don't. Buried underneath it all, the Dirty Horse Approach, combining the breeding with style and bias - and adding in HISTORY - is correct over and over again.

Let's dive in.

The Gulfstream bias, coupled with those who run in the top tier 3 positions, lead to 3rd, dominate this race every year. This we knew going in based on HISTORY. The winner was 101% advantaged while running in those spots on that bias.

Point #1 "He has a proven lead or 2nd or 3rd stalking style."

DEFUNDED and STILLETO BOY had the highest propensity to grab the first and second positions. If you watch the replay closely, Irad Ortiz was pulling Defunded back waiting for Stilleto Boy to cross for the lead. This is exactly how it was read prior as well.

Based on the PP's and the home field winning ways of Skippylongstocking, he was the logical third stalker to occupy that advantaged top tier. He was a no show. Doomed at the 1/4 pole.

The fourth most logical was also a horse with that running style on his home field, White Abarrio. That horse had no shot at the superfecta which is exactly how it played regardless. He never saw his preferred spot. He was running out of his league, regardless of the bias preference.

The fifth horse who had a very high probability of grabbing that 3rd spot was Proxy. Based on his trainer's words and based on the fact that whenever Proxy drew the one-hole prior, he ran forwardly placed and excelled. He was in 11th place at the 3/4 pole on a speed favoring track. Ten seconds after the bell rang, I knew Proxy was not hitting anything on that tote board. The fact that he charged up to 5th was commendable on that track but why in the hell would you save ground on a speed track with a full history to back the known advantage?

Both Proxy and Skippy reminds me of Epicenter in the Preakness and it really makes me wonder. I'm just being honest. If some girl out in the boondocks of Pennsylvania can understand the advantage of a track, how in the world are they not seeing it? Why would you strip that advantage away right out of the gate when the horse has proven that he can do it and that exact spot is where he does his best running on a speed favoring track? Coming out of the one hole, no less.

I will go out on a limb and say that if Chad Brown was training either one of those horses, they would have been at the front tier of that pack early on.

The top three tier runners in the Pegasus should have been Defunded, Stilleto Boy and Skippylongstocking. If Skippy wasn't there, it should have been Proxy. With the way that Proxy eventually ran in that race, if he was positioned properly, he was crossing that wire first.

With the 5 horses who were most probable to hit that top tier - coupled with the proper advantaged bias - Defunded, Stilleto Boy, Skippy, Abarrio and/or Proxy - only two did the right and readable thing. Then comes Art Collector.

Art Collector failed on the only speedy bias that he ever ran on, however, he always ran on the lead or by stalking close - the Pegasus favorable spot. He grabbed it and so all advantages flipped in his favor. Who would have guessed that 3 out of the favored 5 would NOT be ridden in a normal manner on that bias?

Looking at it deeper, while Art Collector did not have success on a speedy bias on the West Coast or even up North, he did do something else that was looked at but neglected because, again, 3 other horses had to let the position go for him to get his shot.

Art Collector apparently was ready to explode in Florida but that was overlooked based on what he did out West. With 7 posted workouts at Payson Park in Florida, the horse posted 6 bullets. Looking at it in hindsight, with those workouts, coupled with his running style on that bias, maybe he was more advantaged and more apt to grab that lead tier over Proxy. Over Skippy. Over Abarrio. Obviously he was the one to explode at 9f on a speed favoring track.

I can't go back in time, but the fact that he bombed at Delmar overtook the insight over the posted works. Regardless, the approach of what to look at, was correct. It just fell on the one hole and Joel - the wrong one to explode UP FRONT - without a ton of ground to make up running against the grain, which is exactly what Proxy ended up doing. He went from 11th to 5th in the blink of an eye and ran out of track.

When looking to isolate a winner in a Grade 1 or 2 race; the bias, the breeding, the style is the correct way to go. All evidence including the workouts and where they are held will always coincide with the history of that race. How it is won - who benefits - what that bias is telling us - EVIDENCE.

The winner came from the top three tier. This year, all 3 front runners held for their spot on that super, regardless of odds and regardless of who the favorite was. Regardless of home field advantage. Regardless of previous beyers or timeform figures. In these types of races, as stated numerous times, past beyers hold no meaning. Odds hold no meaning. Breeding, bias and style is all that matters with seasoned horses.

Art Collector aside, Defunded's running style and bias preference gave him the advantage for the win. He failed but he did what he was supposed to do. Stilleto Boy, with his training on the AWS at Golden Gate Park - DID IN FACT enhance his staying power and was a sure use longshot. He did not disappoint.

Cyberknife was absolutely a major disappointment not hitting something on that tote board. The insight on the favorite was based on his previous reactions to that particular bias - correct in going against him for the win. He was not properly built for a bias like Gulfstream and all evidence pointed directly to that fact. But his class should have given him at least a small piece. He really regressed to his Derby performance. Pace dependent while relying on lead speed dying - the story of his career.

Fourth place on a superfecta IS ALWAYS and WILL ALWAYS be a crapshoot. Nine times out of Ten, the 4th place board-hitter will either come from the lead speedy fast runner who holds on for his piece or it will be a stamina player who comes from the back while passing retreating horses. The other 1 out of 10 times, it is the luck of the draw. In this race, the horse who made zero movement on that track, Last Samurai, grabbed his 4th place, 14-3/4 lengths behind the winner.

When it comes to a 4th place on a super, most bettors will hit that ALL button, but the likelihood in this particular race stood squarely with the evidence. Cyberknife with his class and speed. Simplification with his (normal) running style and determination. Again, why was his advantage pulled out from under him? Riden with Biden's clear dominant stamina in case of a meltdown up front. And then, of course, high praises with Stilleto Boy who stayed longer.

The reason for this article is to reiterate the power of reading the dynamics of the track, how the horse is built for it, his style and the bias, even though it was off with Art Collector ON MY PART - NOT THE PREMISE PART. I am not averse to admitting that "my insight" into all aspects of what we concentrate on here is not infallible. I had isolated the 5 horses with the highest probability of hitting that top tier, too many to begin with, while only 3 could possibly end up doing it. Three of them were ridden into disaster on that bias, while Art Collector's works and style were overlooked in favor of class, post position and home field advantages.

ALL EVIDENCE from the past must be taken into consideration from every single horse in that gate and forecasted into your handicapping for the race. One misstep will throw the entire exercise into a tail-spin. Reliance on who was the probable 3rd horse to grab that favorable spot was MY downfall here, not the premise behind it. Style, Bias, Breeding absolutely prevailed as it does over and over again. Don't get discouraged. We live to fight another day.


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