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Handicapping - Pedigree - History - Dosage

Saudi Crown - Built for the Race?

With the exception of the Juvenile races, the distance capability of most of the starters in each of the Breeder's Cup races is a non-issue. There will only be a handful of these "Breeders Cup Worthy" contenders who are first time starters at the distance.

There are two components that take the forefront with well-seasoned, experienced, and tested competitors for each of these Championship races, regardless of distance; Breeding for the Bias and the Lead's Energy Capability with the expected pace.

Santa Anita (dirt) caters to speed but this bias works in two opposing ways. It enhances a "speedy" competitor's ability to glide easier on the surface, which elongates their endurance to a greater extent. They gain additional lengths because they are not exerting as much early energy as they would at say a track like Keeneland.

This side of the equation allows for a heightened advantage for the lead tier. The track is doing some work for them and those who reside closer to the front will also be traveling closer to the rail. Less distance traveled than those passing on the outside with extra enhancement and less tiring strides up front. They are ensured more competition time with the ability to sustain a quicker pace for a longer distance.

This could also allow them to move much faster (earlier) than norm, which takes us to the other side of the equation. If they are not built properly, they will not be able to sustain at a speed that the surface itself is enhancing. Their energy distribution "may" get disrupted and go too far off course, taking them too far away from their normal ways. It is a double-edged sword.

A competitor who came from the back and overtook a speedy lead at a track like Aqueduct or Keeneland had a completely different dynamic than what would occur if that same race was held at Santa Anita. The speedy lead at Keeneland was up against a bias that did not enhance him, was not conducive and took too much of his early energy on that surface. Therefore, he caved. Not because he couldn't travel the distance, but because it took extra energy to run on that specific ground. In essence, he handed one who saved ground a trophy on a silver platter.

It is the job of the handicapper to dissect WHY a horse won (or lost) on one track and how that will relate to this specific track.

A line used quite often here at the Dirty Horse Club: An advantaged horse who wins at one facility could just as easily lose that advantage at another. It revolves around his exact breeding and how it relates to the new bias.

Parameters of the Race:

What type of track will the new contest take place? What is the exact bias he will perform on?

What type of track has the entry excelled on based on all of the evidence found in his past performances?

At what point does the specific horse prefer to extend his strides and engage at his full capacity?

Does his preference coincide with how that track has been playing throughout the day?

In other words, is he running with the grain or against it?

Was it steady going early on and fast late or was the lead tier fast early and also fast late? Which horse(s) have shown ability to match the parameters of the exact bias?

Is the track playing evenly around the full oval? Can you assume 5 lengths per second around the entire track or is it giving a swifter and more advantaged stride at different points, be it late, mid or early?

At which call(s) has the previous Breeders dirt races shown intensity? One may assume that the upgrade in strides would occur as the pack nears the stretch, but assumptions never give the true picture. You must know which side is actually enhanced by the bias or which side is too enhanced by the bias where energy factors begin to come in to play.

Sectional Times:

Based on previous Breeders races run on the exact track, how do the calls coincide with comparison to the consistency of the way an individual horse has run in his previous races? This part may be very obvious, however, you must dive in to understand a flipped advantage.

The son of Always Dreaming, Saudi Crown, is being considered for both the 8f Dirt Mile and the 10f Classic.

The first order of business is to determine the following:

1) Does his post position give him his opportunity to secure his preferred lead spot?

2) Which exact horse(s) in that gate also prefers that spot and how do their previous strides out of that gate (early calls or beyers) compare to his?

3) At what point (call) in his previous races has he shown the most intensity and power and how does that compare to any speed bias shown in previous Breeders races? Does he get enhanced or does it adversely affect his best area of power?

4) Is his speed and intensity at the short 8f overmatched or undermatched across the board?

5) Does his inbred qualities allow sustainable endurance for the additional distance for the Classic and will the "late" bias enhance or hinder that effort?

The most telling area of his past performances as it pertains to his lead running style is that Saudi Crown has consistently poured it on in the middle of his races, not the first call.

He secured the lead in all but his short maiden (gate 8) from each of the following post positions: 6, 2, 4, and 3. Evidence shows that posts 1 through 6 are ideal for securing his lead spot, ample first call pace with extreme and enhanced second call regardless of the actual full distance of the race.

Based on the probable contenders in the 8f Dirt Mile (overseas aside), the assurance of an easy lead regardless of gate is a given. His first two calls are consistently and incredibly stronger among the potential group. Zero competition early - (unless Lemon Pop joins the fray.)

Since there is not one who matches his previous early pace figures, Saudi does not need to expend as much early energy as he has shown he is capable of already. This in turn, will heighten his 2nd call, which is where he thrives anyway. If you look at the Dwyer race, 8f at Belmont, the 116 and 124 first two calls would not be required.

If we take Saudi Crown's 8f performance at Belmont and compare it to Cody's Wish 8f Met Mile at the same track (apples for apples) where does he stand?

Saudi Crown:

Cody's Wish:

At first glance, Cody's Wish has every point over Saudi Crown for the 8f distance. He won, whereas Saudi came in second. Final time was 1 second faster. Final beyer for Cody was 110 and Saudi was 104. Based on the "easy figures" it would be Cody's Wish who looks to be the more equipped of the two.

In reality, there are several points that change everything drastically and it has to do with the pace, the bias and the upward growth, class and experience with Saudi Crown.

The Dwyer was Saudi Crown's 3rd race of his career. The Met Mile was Cody's 13th race of his career. Major class and experience difference. In each of Saudi's subsequent two races, he has upgraded his figures, which horses will tend to do as they gain more competing time.

The Met Mile for Cody's Wish was the ultimate performance of his career and he has downgraded since. In addition, Dr. Schivel and Slow Down Andy were responsible for pushing the 22.76 and the 45.86 calls. They both caved due to the crazy energy they both exerted and handed the win to the rear runner on a silver platter. Different dynamics heading into the Dirt Mile.

Saudi Crown has upgraded with each after the Dwyer. He is moving forward, not backwards.

The first two figures for Saudi in the Dwyer, 116/124, were a result of Harrodsburg and then Fort Bragg's pressure within .5 to 1 length of Saudi's tail. Based on the early pace figure capabilities of the potential entries for the Dirt Mile, the horse will have no need to expend that much energy, especially with the first call. Remember, Saudi Crown does his best running mid-race, so his 2nd call will rise, but it will not need to go anywhere near 124.

His first two calls will most likely be closer to his last two races or somewhere in between:

If you condense the 8.5f down to match the one mile mark, stride for stride, on the Santa Anita bias, even though Saudi does not have to exceed 1:08.84 by the third call and can spread those additional 10+ lengths with the same power in the late stages, he cruises to victory, gate to wire.

The next point is the running style as it relates to advantage at Santa Anita, especially when there is ample evidence that a horse has that distance easily. Advantage goes to lead tier speed at 8f over rear runners. Add another check mark to Saudi Crown.

Let's compare Saudi Crown with Zozos - both with a "need to lead" running style:

Saudi Crown:


Note the early energy for two lead runners in the first and second calls. No comparison. This means that Zozos will never get his lead that he prefers and will be thrown completely off his game. He has no chance against Saudi Crown in a gate to wire scenario. None. It's not even close.

The next point is the breeding for the 8f on a Santa Anita bias.

Saudi Crown:

DP = 2-5-3-0-0 (10) DI = 5.67 CD = 0.90

Mare Profile = 6-7-2-7-6 Speed = 13 Stamina = 13 Index = 1.00 Triads = 15-16-15

This horse has the best configurations at this stage so far of the entire field as it relates to the Dirt Mile when held at Santa Anita. Highest inbred speed with even distribution from the mares. In other words, the mares do not steal anything from his speed with hefty stamina numbers. The speed remains pure and undiluted.

This scale works to his complete advantage on the lead at 8f at Santa Anita, but the mares configurations fall woefully short for 10f on the same track.

Based on the bias, the breeding, the upward trajectory, the given field (less the potential overseas contenders for now) Saudi Crown is built perfectly for the Breeders Cup Dirt Mile and would walk into that race with a very heightened advantage with an easy ability to sustain ample pace throughout, traveling gate to wire.

All of this would work in the opposite direction for the 10f Breeders Cup Classic.

The capability of early and mid pace figures from several potential contenders WOULD NOT allow Saudi Crown to notch down his early energy in the same manner. He would be engaged in this race from his first stride to his last. Opposite the Dirt Mile.

Capable evidence of strong early pace figures from Arabian Knight (106/105 and 103/113) and Arcangelo (115/126) would push Saudi Crown to a faster pace in the early to mid calls than in the Dirt Mile. Based on his breeding and past performances, his energy would not be able to sustain a gate to wire win at 10f with the cast of characters he has in this particular gate because of that unavoidable pace.

His energy would need to be somewhere in the middle of his Dwyer and Jim Dandy figures now if he wants that lead in the Classic. His second call will be heightened because that is where he does his best running. Based on his breeding for 10f, that energy would tend to taper after the 3rd call.

The Santa Anita bias will kick his pace up as well, which should be closer to his sloppy performances than his clean performances as well. Saudi Crown has an easy advantage and would be a major player in the Dirt Mile. He loses that advantage if entered into the Classic. Breeding, Bias and Pace tells his fate.


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