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Handicapping - Pedigree - History - Dosage

Reading Results and Forecasting

First, I will state that I am extremely pleased with the posted analysis of the Haskell this year. Each and every horse on that field was accessed accurately. We did have the superfecta - boxed though it may have been - but correct none the less.

The key did turn out to be Awesome Strong who gunned for the lead taking Arabian Knight with him. Before a big race, you must always concentrate on the probable lead - not by assumptions as to who "usually" takes the lead, but based on early consistent pace figures and post position.

Knowing Awesome Strong's horrible energy distribution, as he had made abundantly clear in his past performances, it was easy to see that he would never see the top of the stretch. Unfortunately, he caved just after the 1/2 mile mark. That was way too soon, which gave Arabian Knight a bit of a breather after running 22.80 and 47.11. Had Awesome Strong held for a bit longer, Arabian Knight would have never seen 3rd place.

Make no mistake, Awesome Strong was entered into that race by Jorge Delgado, the nephew of Mage's trainer Gustava Delgado, as was easily read before the race, for a reason. Unfortunately for that family, Geaux was in the perfect position (which should have been Extra Anejo's obvious and preferred position!) Mage had more ground to make up over that advantaged 3rd spot stalker - even though he is faster late. Kept in with 2nd place as was anticipated, just in case. This is exactly how it was read and exactly how it played out. Unfortunately, Anejo's perfect spot was handed to Geaux Rocket Ride on a silver platter.

This entire exercise makes it that much more apparent to always look for the "strategy play" in any race while handicapping the figures. There is always a strategy and 9 times out of 10, it will be a lead runner (the rabbit) - the one who is bound to a rear runner. Always look for the connection, strategy plays a bigger part in these races than one may realize.

Mage did his thing, rallying from the back with a fast pace from a potential quick rabbit, just as expected.

Geaux Rocket Ride, the Candy Ride boy who excelled at Santa Anita "against his breeding" and found his best footing at Monmouth resulting in a fantastic win while sitting in the perfect spot. As is the usual case, Candy Ride offspring AFTER the Triple Crown season tend to explode and he did not disappoint.

Now, Extra Anejo.

The most disadvantaged horse on the field sitting with quadruple the amount of stamina over all of his peers. The most inexperienced of the field up against a Derby winner and Stakes players but holding the most impressive chart out of them all.

He lost that race in the first 20 seconds out of the gate.

Three prior races, all positioned in the top tier, in the exact running style that the Haskell demands every year, and he was thrown yet another serious disadvantage on top of everything else right out of that gate. Dead last and 4 wide in the early and mid stages. This spells D-I-S-A-S-T-E-R.

He was taken away from his preferred running style. He ran the furthest of the field. His position was switched with Mage. DeJa'Vu with Epicenter in the Preakness. If the race history is easily read and that history tells you the bias of that particular race has continuously catered to the lead tier, why would you switch the perfect running style to the complete opposite?

Handicapping a big race with a group of big players is just as much proper insight to the backstory as it is to the breeding and past figures. Everything boils down to common sense and projecting what those figures will do as soon as that gate opens.


Geaux Rocket Ride sat in the perfect stalking position behind Awesome Strong and Arabian Knight. This is the position that was projected for Extra Anejo given the evidence found in his first 3 performances coupled with the early pace figures of Awesome Strong. Geaux ran 9f steadily, he never passed a horse outright in the race - he was passed by two retreating horses.

For a future race, at the 9f mark, Geaux will run steadily and evenly tracking a projected fast pace (in the .22 range) and with his stamina breeding, will roll easily to 10f at the same pace.

Mage will remain pace dependent on a fast track. His advantage excels (up to 10f) with a projected early pace in the .22 range.

Arabian Knight can run an opening quarter of .22 BUT, in normal Baffert fashion, would need to have the lead on his own to control that pace while decreasing the speed at the 1/4 mile mark. In a future race, if it is evident that there is NO OTHER RIVAL for the lead spot, Knight will be able to glide to 9.5f. As with the Haskell, Awesome Strong made Arabian Knight work harder for only 1/2 mile, not 3/4. This gave him just enough of a breather to continue a steady hold, retaining the third place.

Extra Anejo is a superstar. Yes, could have been one race too soon but then again, he was taken out of the advantaged spot for no reason and still made up ground after running 4 to 5 wide for the entire race. What is evident is that he needs that front to excel and if he doesn't get it, he will not perform to his standards. This is a major takeaway for the future. It had appeared that he was the type to run from any position, but this is not the case. He proved that he can run a 10f distance, which we already knew, but getting the evidence is always better!

Based on the race results, only two horses in the Haskell excelled AND PASSED other competitors after the 3/4 mark - The Kentucky Derby Winner, Mage and Extra Anejo.

With Mage, this was expected based on his preferred and normal running style. With Extra Anejo, even though he just hit the board as an Allowance runner, it showed extreme promise for 10f on the Saratoga bias - IF RIDDEN TO HIS APPROPRIATE RUNNING STYLE.

Given the race results and how it unfolded with the pace, had Anejo been in 3rd or 4th position, where he should have been, and not dead last running 5 wide, based on his late move and excelleration even after the extreme early run - this horse would have ended much better than 4th place.

Finally, we must mention Tapit Trice. We gave him a shot for 4th place given the fact that this horse obviously does his best running at a much longer distance. His breeding leans him away from excessive speed which is against the grain on a fast track at 9 to 10f. He made no move forward on that Monmouth track and only held for 5th place because Howgreatisnate, Salute the Stars and Awesome Strong all retreated behind him. He went absolutely nowhere on that bias. If Pletcher decides to give him a shot on AWS or turf, that is when we jump on it! At the very least, a much further track in a race that caters to stamina.

For the upcoming 10f Travers Stakes at Saratoga, the horse to beat will absolutely fall onto Forte. His performance at Belmont was spectacular for how he is built. Based on his breeding and on the Belmont winner, Arcangelo, it is apparent that Belmont Park was catering to excessive inbred speed. The bias of the Saratoga meet in conjunction with the time that bell goes off will offer us a goldmine of information for putting that puzzle together.

Again, I am very pleased with the reading of the Haskell as it pertained to pace projection, bias, advantages, who to toss and who to keep, so I remain optimistic that the breeding numbers are on course as they should be. Let's just keep our fingers crossed that it remains.


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