The magnificent quote from the infamous Sunny Jim Fitzsimmons:
"It's what you can't see that matters most"
is one of the most important sentences a handicapper should grasp.
The beauty and majesty of the thoroughbred horse usually takes center stage. His past performances and class give him his distinction. But the unseen traits, characteristics, attributes and optimums that he inherited from his ancestors are truly the most important asset that he carries. The outside shell encapsulates the magic flowing inside. The speed/stamina balance that a young one inherits from his chefs and his mares is unique to him and him alone. They must be combined together and consulted together in order to find out what matters most.
In the first 7 generations, there are 254 contributors to one newborn’s chart. That is 127 sires and 127 mares who have a share in this one colt. In order to successfully navigate through all of these 254 participants and ultimately gauge the potential and capabilities of the young horse, one must first extract the proven and dominate ancestors. The listed Chefs are verifiable, proven and dominant within those 127 sires and they are easily identified. In the same vein, the listed Conduit Mares are the chosen ones because they are proven to be a tested and dynamic conduit through the bloodlines as they pass through these champion genes from the past.
With all of the technical backdrop aside and with full focus on the dominant players themselves, chefs numbers are utilized through the first 4 generations while the mares comprise years from 1900 and not before that date. In this regard, one can understand that more emphasis and structure is placed on the influential mares. Not only can we connect them through more generations but the fact that they outnumber the chefs by over 4 to 1 as well gives them more influence when looking at their numbers. The mares, it would seem, have more to say than meets the eye, however, heavier criteria was placed on the coveted Chef title as they needed to be both “conduits” and also champions as well.
In order to extract and analyze these major influential sires and mares, two simple sets of numbers depicts each one them within the category of distance that they represent. This is not to say that any unlisted sire or mare could not be influential to the new colt. They absolutely could, however, if the sire or mare in question has not proven to pass along champion attributes in a specific distance consistently, then they would be somewhat unreliable in determining these factors for any one particular colt. In other words, it is safer and more consistent to look at the proven and tested ones as opposed to any random sire or mare.
The layout of the mare’s numbers is based on the same principles as Chefs numbers. The mare’s profiles will ultimately be more “over-loaded” than the chef’s profiles due to the fact that there are many more listed mares than chefs, therefore, a colts profile will usually be weighted heavier from the female side as opposed to the male side. Nothing changes except that the influences may rest stronger with the females. These mare influences have a great deal of power, especially in the Kentucky Derby.
Speed and Stamina wins the Kentucky Derby. When a colt has an overabundance of both coming from both sides, he will have the advantage. The more speed that a colt inherits over the others will obviously give him an edge. The more stamina he receives will allow him to carry it further than the rest, therefore, a knowledge and understanding of the mare configurations hold more importance than anything else. Furthermore, it is safe to conclude that all of the listed mares within a colts chart may or may not contribute to the colt, so it would seem that having more would give greater chance of receiving at least a partial of what the numbers depict. More is always better.
Although it is also important to understand that any configuration, be it chefs or mares, will in no way identify an absolute winner, but it will in fact identify an advantaged runner within a given distance.
Using two contenders from the 2018 Kentucky Derby who possessed very high speedy Chef Indexes to explain why one stood out over the other with regard to the 10f distance and to demonstrate the importance of consulting the numbers prior to the race itself:
9.00 PROMISES FULFILLED Chefs: Dosage Profile = 3-5-2-0-0 (10) DI = 9.00 CD = 1.10
Mares: Dosage Profile = 8-3-2-6-8 Speed = 11 Stamina = 14 Index = 0.88 Triads = 13-11-16
5.00 AUDIBLE Chefs: Dosage Profile = 3-1-2-0-0 (6) DI = 5.00 CD = 1.17
Mares: Dosage Profile = 7-7-8-8-3 Speed = 14 Stamina = 11 Index = 1.32 Triads = 22-23-19
The totality of the placement of numbers across each line is imperative. Picking and choosing one area to focus on will not tell the story of the colt’s capability. Each section feeds off of the other. The very first section that should be looked at is the DI (Dosage Index) of both the top and bottom.
Promises Fulfilled - 9.00 from the Chefs and .88 from the Mares.
Audible - 5.00 from the Chefs and 1.32 from the Mares.
Chefs Indexes are straightforward and easy to read. They set the stage as your starting point for everything else that follows. To understand how the index is derived and what it means, you must grasp the workings of the 5 digit profile itself. Promises Fulfilled Chefs profile 3-5-2-0-0 and his Mares profile is 8-3-2-6-8. The “speed wing” is the first two digits (Brilliant + Intermediate). The center is Classic. The “stamina wing” is the last two digits (Solid + Professional). The index arrives by the ratio of the speed wing points to the stamina wing points.
Brilliant + Intermediate + ½ Classic <divided by> Solid + Professional + ½ Classic = The Index.
The technical calculations are a sideline and meant only to give meaning to the placement of numbers within the profile and how they combine to give us the index. In its simplest terms, a chef index will most likely always be much higher than a mare’s index. For handicapping purposes, everything revolves around that chef’s index and when combined with all of the other areas around it, one should be able to pinpoint a clear picture into the capabilities and deficiencies within the colt.
Promises Fulfilled gained 9 times more speed than stamina from his chefs. Audible gained 5 times more speed than stamina from his chefs. Both are very high numbers and depict a ton of inherited speed from the few chefs that dot both of their charts. One does not need to consult the chart to see that both Promises and Audible have a very low cast of Chefs dotted throughout their generations. The low amount of combined points depicted within the parenthesis clearly reveals that fact and tells you that the mares most likely will be the influential force.
The next important set to look at is the Mare Index and how it relates to the Chefs index. Since both Audible and Promises have extremely high chef indexes, their mares index will ultimately appear very low no matter what they are. Since the profile itself will usually be more packed and loaded, the arrangement and ultimate index outcome will be more powerful. Every race will have different advantages and needs as far as inherited stamina and speed. Since the further 10f distance of the Kentucky Derby is still generally run at a faster pace, the colt will need to possess an overabundance of both for this particular race. In its opposition is the Belmont, which is generally run at a slower pace, and at 12f, the colt will need to possess an overabundance of stamina with the speed wing generally much lower so as not to water down the stamina. For the Derby, since both wings have great importance, more of both sides is the key.
Audible, gaining 5x more speed from his chefs coupled with the higher 1.32 index depicts the necessary overabundance of speed that is BALANCED from both sides and therefore showing that his speed will not get watered down when combined. On the flip side, Promises starting with that high 9.00 chef index matched against the lower .88 index from the mares shows that his speed will get watered down when combined. So, as far as the speed side goes, Audible retains the upper hand.
Since Promises is beginning with a 9.00 chef index, that watering down is not as detrimental to him as it may be to some others. He still retains a great deal of speed but it is only coming from the chefs. Audible's is combined from both.
The final set is the Mares Triads. This triple set of numbers is arranged by adding together the speed wing plus the classic center and the stamina wing plus the classic center.
Mare Profile = 7-7-8-8-3
Brilliant (4-6f) = 7
Intermediate (7-9f) = 7
Classic (10-12f) = 8
Solid (13-15f) = 8
Professional (16f+) = 3
Triads = 22-23-19
1st Slot is Brilliant + Intermediate + Classic – 7+7+8=22 (The Speed End)
2nd Slot is Intermediate + Classic + Solid – 7+8+8=23 (The Middle)
3rd Slot is Classic + Solid + Professional – 8+8+3=19 (The Stamina End)
The Triad arrangement therefore reads Speed to Center to Stamina. Again, for the Derby, high and overloaded inheritance of both speed and stamina is extremely advantageous because this particular race demands both. The race is still run at a faster pace (speed) and the colt needs to sustain that faster pace going 10f (stamina). Those who have acquired more than the colt in the stall next to him will have the advantage over the others in this race. That does not mean every race at any distance, it means in the Kentucky Derby itself.
Since Promises Fulfilled and Audible were peers in the higher Chef Index group, those two would be pitted together and analyzed together. There would always be the possibility that both “speedy” type colts would have the proper configurations for the standards of the Derby and since Speed is a main ingredient to hitting the board, these 2 colts would be the two prime candidates to zone in on first. Both Audible and Promises gained the highest amount of inbred Chef’s speed on the field and the importance of that cannot be overstated enough.
Speed wins the Kentucky Derby only if the mares passed down enough stamina to sustain that speed.
Promises Fulfilled Triads – 13-11-16
Audible Triads – 22-23-19
Recall that Audible’s mare index is a higher 1.32 than Promises lower .88. If consulting only the indexes, the data would be deceiving. The triads pinpoint two things – amount and arrangement. As stated previously, the Kentucky Derby demands extreme inheritance from the mares. Clearly, Promises falls short in that regard which denotes one pitfall, however, the arrangement is also just as important. He is still lopsided to stamina from his mares which takes his 9.00 extreme chef index, generally considered a sprinters index, a bit further than norm. If you were to simply look at his chefs index, you may come to the conclusion that he is capable of 7 or even 8f sprint races. Since he has a very low amount of chefs (as depicted in his low 10 points total) the mares will have a greater effect on his capabilities. When adding in the mare stamina which is dominant in his triads, this allows him to sustain that wicked speed inheritance further than just the normal sprinters distance, however, not nearly enough to sustain it to 10f. The spread of his triads dips down in the center which steals some of that stamina giving him his 2nd pitfall. The third and most obvious pitfall is the lower numbers across each slot which means that there is not enough mare influence in his chart for the standards that win or hit the board in the Derby. Again, not every listed mare within the chart is ultimately going to be a strong contributor so having more to pull from becomes essential for this rigorous Derby race.
Remember that in the Kentucky Derby, overabundance of both speed and stamina are the key, Promises did not gain enough inheritance in the 2nd and 3rd slots to sustain his speed AGAINST what he was next to in those gates. He would cross that finish line at some point, that is inevitable. Since he cannot sustain his speed far enough and at least four others in that gate can, he must be a toss. He did not inherit enough stamina from enough mares in his chart to compete against a colt like Audible who obviously did. Even if a quarter of Audibles special mares did not in fact pass anything down to him, he still has more than enough who did.
For the Kentucky Derby, there is no greater tool than the mares numbers. With all of the technical mumbo jumbo cast to the side, anyone can look at a Chef Index and then match it to a set of mares numbers in order to conclude if a colt inherited extreme speed and/or extreme stamina. This does not conclude that the horse will win, but it will highlight if he is a player among the other 19. No matter what he did in his past performances prior to tackling the 10f distance he must have it within himself to run fast and consistent at that distance in the first place. It is all about the feminine side when it comes to racing, especially in the Derby and the Belmont.