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Handicapping - Pedigree - History - Dosage

Race Results and the Bias


With Rocket Can showing off his raw talent in the Holy Bull Stakes, many may be wondering what exactly happened to Cyclone Mischief, Lord Byron and Mr. Bob. What happened to all of this stuff about breeding and bias?


Contrary to complaints, the bias and the breeding actually did work beautifully, only one thing was amiss - the actual bias on February 4th changed dramatically.


It is very rare that Gulfstream Park would toss its favorable speed bias, but that is exactly what occurred. The dirt races hated speed, especially front tier speed, as seen in the Swale Stakes, the Forward Gal Stakes and the R8 Allowance with Tapit Trice.


With the flip of the bias, West Coast Cowboy and Shadow Dragon capitalized against the "norm" and it shot down Cyclone, Byron and Bob, who had the other bias in the bag. Rocket Can did end up showing his incredible breeding with the ability to run magnificently on the contrary bias. The only one in that gate with the ability to do so. That was Tapit hard at work.


FIGURING OUT THE BIAS


When handicapping any race, you have to start with the "known or constant bias" and go from there. Just like Holy Bull day at Gulfstream Park, you have a "base" which is a "known speedy bias." This bias will naturally always be the starting point, but it could also turn on a dime.


In order to become the handicapper that you want to be, the ONLY way to completely get a handle on the EXACT bias of the DAY is to consult every race results sheet from the day prior and especially on the very day leading up to the race - without assumptions. Every race run on the same dirt surface must be picked apart and analyzed to see if the "natural bias" is still the same. It is the ONLY way.


The Gulfstream track is notorious for being a slick fast track based on the humidity factors of the location. 95% of the time, regardless of season, that track will cater to speed. The other 5% of the time, it will change due to many factors including strong headwinds, weather, - and even the exact participants of the race, but that is a completely separate article unto itself.


The reason it is so important to consult the race results charts as opposed to simply watching a replay is because you need the insight to gauge the factors of the race. This would include bad breaks among the group, any who were steadied or trapped, if there were any patterns where speed disintegrated or of most importance - who were the final lead tier and what exactly were they holding as far as their breeding. This goes both ways, whether it is speed dominant or stamina dominant - with all circumstances surrounding the final result.


In essence, why did the final results end up the way they fell in all races prior that day. You must read the race results just as strongly as you read the PP's. This will tell you two things -

  1. The PP's - Who has the advantage on that specific natural known bias?

  2. The Race Results throughout the day - Is that specific bias still playing the same? If not, what specific traits has been advantaged and who should it cater to now? Are there any trends that can be isolated within those results?

This is one of the main reasons why it is so difficult to cast projections and post picks days before a race. It is the reason why you should only place a bet just minutes before post time. Biases are generally going to stay the same over the course of a meet on highly biased tracks, however, there are times when they will do a 180.


Studying each posted race results chart as soon as they are posted at Equibase (usually within 30 minutes) is the only way to know EXACTLY what that bias is doing. Only then can you know for sure, even though it is very rare. Don't rely on what you read posted here at the site. The analysis are posted way in advance and looked at through the microscope of a known and consistent bias. That does not mean that it will stay that way.


This is why many seasoned handicappers will bet both sides of the bias and sometimes, I even recommend it on certain occasions. If it is catering to speed or if its killing speed - you have both sides covered. Tracks like Gulfstream Park, Santa Anita, Tampa Bay, Aqueduct, have fairly steady tell-tale biases, however, things could change that easily, even if for a single day.


On February 4th, the Gulfstream bias flipped its normal and rational gears starting at exactly 6am in the morning, gaining momentum at 12 noon and steadying in that manner just past 6pm. It started from the west and whirled its way to northeast with a high headwind, at 19mph for a time, drastically affecting certain areas around that track. It beat the lead tier speed to its core. It beat speed types. It catered to raw stamina who forged through it - opposite its norm. It affected the areas between the 1/2 mile pole and the 3/4 pole as well as the outside paths grew stronger.


It is not simply about gauging if the lead(s) held up front when figuring out the bias - it is also about HOW THE HORSE IS BRED as well. Why he was able to stay on top or why he disintegrated so badly. You have to marry both together in order to understand exactly how that track is helping or hindering, and who it is giving advantage to, be it with his style or his inbred qualifications.


Let's look at what February 4th actually revealed throughout the day, keeping in mind that the headwinds on that track were between 19mph and 12mph coming in head on between the 1/2 and the 3/4 mark.


RACE 3 - Maiden Optional Claiming - 6.5f


In normal Gulfstream tradition, the lead runner traveled Gate to Wire in this short 6.5f contest. If you were to look simply at that lone race and believe that we are on course as usual, you would be sorely mistaken if you didn't consult the actual race results in depth for this one or the ones to follow.


This race foretold the state of affairs with that bias for Feb 4th. Although it is not such a huge tell in that the results couldn't have easily been the same on a very fast bias as well, but at 6.5f on a normal Gulfstream bias, an 18 to 1 longshot with his breeding should certainly raise a bit of suspicion for the day going forward.

Gun Maestro entered the race as an 18-1 longshot against 5 horses who would "normally be" the advantaged in a 6.5f maiden race. He bombed in his last race on the Gulfstream bias as well, running from the rear against a very strong speedy fast bias that day. This time, he took the lead and never looked back.


His numbers read:

DP = 3-0-9-0-0 (12) DI = 1.67 CD = 0.50

Mare Profile = 3-5-3-10-7 Speed = 8 Stamina = 17 Index = 0.52 Triads = 11-18-20


This horse is drenched in stamina. No other on the field came close. On a normal fast Gulfstream bias, these configurations would have the absolute highest disadvantage against all of that speed at 6.5f. Again, this may not be the absolute finest gauge for the day to come, but it should put up a red flag and give you a certain heads-up to continue to look thoroughly at each race to follow. The explanations at the bottom of the race results chart are major when it comes to Race 3 and the beginning of the end of a fast speedy bias and who will be the recipient of "extra help" throughout the day.


Since this race was only 6.5f, the strongest headwinds were hitting closer to the top of the stretch. As you can see, that is when the entire group below Jackson's Web started to take a step back. Also, outside was playing good in this race.


RACE 6 - Claiborne Farm SWALE STAKES - Grade 3 - 7f


Another short race, this time at 7f. Out of 5 horses in the gate, it turned into a 2 horse race, as both General Jim and Super Chow left the other three competitors in the dust, 12 lengths back. Super Chow attempted to wire the field, but the Into Mischief boy, General Jim, who settled early in 4th position and steadily took his inbred stamina to crush the entire field of advantaged speed. Into Mischief is a Prominent Non-Chef who bestows additional stamina on his offspring.


Now at 7f, notice the positions drop after the 1/2 mile mark, before the top of the stretch, with all except for General Jim.


If the Gulfstream track was at its norm, Keanu, the horse who came in 23 lengths behind the winner, at odds of 32-1, would have actually had a strong propensity to find some favor with his breeding at this distance. The highest in inbred speed on the field, Aaraj, went absolutely nowhere on a track that is supposed to be speed favoring. Major red flags.


Both General Jim and Super Chow had the best stamina figures of the bunch which means, so far, there had better be some stamina showing up through the mares or at least through chefs in some capacity for these competitors in the next races - this is not a normal fast speedy bias.


RACE 8 - Optional Claiming Race - 8f

Regardless of any bias, Tapit Trice was never losing this race. With his incredible combination of raw speed from his mares, Tapit's Stamina and 32 points in his profile, none compared. It was Goliath vs. Tiny David's.

DP = 5-15-11-1-0 (32) DI = 3.92 CD = 0.75

Mare Profile = 10-6-1-7-7 Speed = 16 Stamina = 14 Index = 1.23 Triads = 17-14-15 (1st generation Tapit)


Lead runner, Live is Life, again, just like the previous 2 dirt race, hit a wall between the 1/2 mile mark and 3/4 mark. His speed died on the bias, 13 lengths behind the winner, burning out running into winds. Raw Tapit stamina dominates the race, but with his speed and top notch configurations, it didn't matter. All that matters is the tale of the tape with the bias reading and how it affected the top 2 in the lead. By the 1/2 mile mark, they were done. This is quite a strong difference in how a truly speedy bias would react. The fact that it took the credentials of a Tapit son to beat others by 8 to 29.5 lengths, (with some who were also holding pretty nice mare stamina) is a testament to the staying power of Tapit's offspring.


Tapit Trice has no bias preference and as Brian pointed out in the days before the race, this horse has Kentucky Derby written all over him. There is a certain quality in a "rear running" Tapit boy who has a very advantaged 3.92 index (over the dreaded 3.00 cut-off) with 32 points in his profile that truly stands out among his half brothers. Between Victory Formation and 2nd generation Rocket Can, all three are superstars for the May race. But Tapit Trice, coming from the rear, appears that he will be able to run wherever he pleases, with no bias or style requirements.


RACE 10 - Forward Gal Stakes - 7f


Another dirt race where the leads disintegrated and the top two to hit the board were between 11 and 30-3/4 ahead at the finish line, leaving them all in the dust. Major tell-tale sign that Gulfstream was completely dead set against leading speed, throwing its normal bias out the window.


Both the lead runners with ample configurations for the 7f contest, hit a wall again between the 1/2 mile and 3/4 mile mark, headed straight into the strong winds. Red Carpet Ready and Undervalued Asset were there to pick up the pieces. Both with stunning amounts of mare inbred stamina, they were able to forge through it.


RACE 12 - The Holy Bull Stakes - 8.5f


Just like Tapit Trice in Race 8, Rocket Can was the absolute horse to beat, regardless of bias. With the perfect combination of raw speed and inbred Tapit stamina, both him and his half-brother have no bias preference. They are going to run the same race regardless.


DP = 1-4-3-0-0 (8) DI = 4.33 CD = 0.75

Mare Profile = 5-7-7-8-2 Speed = 12 Stamina = 10 Index = 1.26 Triads = 19-22-17 (2nd generation Tapit)


Even with the 2nd generation Tapit Factor, those triads for an Into Mischief boy are spectacular. Throw in the favorable 4.33 index and nobody was passing this horse in that race, no matter the bias. He has both sides covered and we have already witnessed the pure evidence that he has captured both.


But what happened to the rest? Based on the eventual "now known" bias of the day, with the winds now head on closer to the 3/4 mile mark and top of stretch, all the speed guys fell at the same time. Those who would have naturally had the advantage on a normal fast and slick Gulfstream bias were greeted with something they had to press through, but with clearer dominance on the speed side, that stamina part was missing to help them through.


From Legacy Isle on down to Mr. Bob, each one had already shown an advantage when coming back to the Gulfstream Bias. Each one ran to their breeding on a normal fast track and each one disintegrated on the adverse bias.


(Going forward, do not dismiss them if they return to a truly normal fast bias - but they showed us that they are speed dominant. All of their extra stamina faltered, which means, they should each be off the radar for the Derby itself.)


Shadow Dragon and West Coast Cowboy capitalized off of failing speed and were the recipients of some luck with those winds. Between the two of those, Shadow Dragon has a shot to get to Kentucky if he can exhibit raw speed on a truly speed favoring track going forward. West Coast Cowboy is even paced and evenly balanced, sub-par for the Derby otherwise.


Rocket Can is a star who has shown both sides of his breeding, with a scale that is perfect for the Kentucky Derby. This we have known for a couple of months, but it is wonderful to see the horse consistently show both sides with less than 90 days to the big show.


WRAPPING IT UP


When it comes to reading biases, the best handicappers will always check the preceding race results and study the following with a fine tooth comb:

  1. What did the lead two horses end up doing?

  2. What breeding did they have for the actual distance?

  3. What configurations and notable breeding points did the eventual winner have?

  4. Were there any patterns in the exact spot on the track where all of the lead and speed runners began to falter?

  5. Did leads and speedy types hold up as usual?

On most days, especially at Gulfstream Park, lead speed and speedy types will run their race with ease. Stamina types will only win if the speed in the race is not bred for the distance. They will capitalize off of that. This is why most races are won consistently and at a higher rate between the "higher" speed and the "higher" stamina horses. One capitalizes if the other is bred to be a sprinter and can not hold his endurance for the further distance. One capitalizes if he is a fast bred runner up front who has the distance easily.


Some days, like February 4th, the bias will turn on a dime and speedy types, whether they have the distance or not, will face something that they have never touched on before and their speed actually makes them fall.

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