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Points vs Earnings for Derby Eligibility: Grading the Road Ahead


By Indulto

The $766.40 trifecta payout for $.50 on the 2012 Kentucky Derby suggests that very few fans found the first place finishers of the five final G1 Derby preps a solid foundation for constructing their tickets. The fact that three of them finished in the top three on Saturday is a triumph for points-based eligibility advocates. The Team Valor plan put in motion again this year was the exception as they finished fourth; coming from last place in points and 17th in earnings-based eligibility rankings.


I’d never play poker with Barry Irwin who played a pat hand – waiting for others to drop out, minimizing his colt’s exposure to the hazards of racing while optimizing the effort to accumulate earnings. His Graham Cracker-Jack still had the horse ready for 10 furlongs. I predict the Spiral Stakes will be over-subscribed next year with copy-cats. That another synthetic surface victor finished third probably cements that strategy.

The curse of not running as a 2yo is still alive and well. Some blame the presence of an entrant with an absence of distance races in its resume, but the impact of the supernatural is more likely found in the severe case of second-it suffered by his owner who sold a minority share of the horse in the nick of time.
So what happened to the two highest points-ranked horses, Creative Cause and Union Rags, who finished 5th and 7th, respectively? Well, both could have had better trips, but the former may have found the final furlong hard to fathom without blinkers. Anyone liking the Californian, however, should have liked the winner as well. Indeed, the 5 top-ranked points-qualified starters were among the first 9 Derby finishers, and 8 of the top 11 finished among the first 11.

As this is the last in the series of our comparing eligibility systems, I want to give readers a sense of how the alternatives fared not only in 2012, but in 2011 and 2010 as well. Consequently, only the TR-PTS sequence chart will be included for all three years. Thanks to Mr. Pricci for helping me acquire partial earnings lists for previous years

Unlike previous charts in this series, all ratings, rankings, and tie-breakers are included for each rated horse, starter or not, and only the TR-PTS rank sequence will be used for each year. The names of actual Derby starters and their order of finish are bolded. The number preceding the name is their rank within gender. Rank column values reflect ranking without regard to gender.

Following each chart is a list of starters in finish order. The rankings referred to in those lists for both earnings and points are relative to starters only. Each starter list is followed by a summary of how points fared against earnings for that year.

Earnings vs Points-based Rankings for Kentucky Derby Eligibility
Through May 05, 2012 *** TR-PTS Seq ***
HorseEarnings Total Earn
Rk.
BCpt
Rk.
TRpt
Rk.
BCpt
TOT
TRpt
TOT
TRpt
TOP
#GS
WPS
1.Creative Cause (5)$836,0007114049107
2.Union Rags (7)$1,170,0004223238105
3.Drill$300,00027762225103
4.Hansen (9)$1,550,0001872224104
5.Dullahan (3)$855,0005682223103
6.I'll Have Another (1)$601,0001610112022103
7.Secret Circle$670,000131212182184
8.Trinniberg (17)$324,500241313182184
9.Alpha (12)$380,000211514162083
10.Majestic City$170,000522015141883
11.Gemologist (16)$703,8551014171617102
12.Optimizer (11)$184,7084825*19121663
13.Bodemeister (2)$660,0001417201415102
14.Rousing Sermon (8)$270,0003332*23101483
15.Daddy Long Legs(20)$1,294,03032424121472
16.Wrote(IRE)$756,630822251213102
17.Take Charge Indy(19)$698,4001223291212102
18.Liaison (6)$393,0002027*351010101
19.Currency Swap$150,0005629*371010101
20.Excaper$240,7363838*3881082
21.El Padrino (13)$250,0003740*3981072
22.Jack's in the Deck$105,0007642*4181072
23.Sabercat (15)$701,4291143*4281062
24.Mark Valeski$260,0003645*4381052
 
25.Reveron$220,0004247*447982
26.Prospective (18)$367,3272339*458972
27.Daddy Nose Best(10)$545,5581737*479943
28.State of Play$90,0009248*537872
29.Hero of Order$617,3751554*556771
30.O'Prado Again$120,0006857*586771
31.The Lumber Guy/$150,0005758*596771
32.Yang Tse Kiang(FR)$422,2111985*804551
33.Done Talking (14)$311,00025100*1034441
34.Went the Day Well(4)$282,00031102*1054441
 
1.Grace Hall(f)$740,0009432630104
2.My Miss Aurelia(f)$1,350,0002342627103
3.Weemissfrankie(f)$522,12018552426103
4.Stephanie's Kitten(f)$850,4466992023103
5.Reneesgotzip(f)$200,000441110182383
6.On Fire Baby(f)$286,729291616161873
7.Eden's Moon(f)$186,0004719181416102
8.Willa B Awesome(f)$264,0003518211414102
9.Killer Graces(f)$284,2003021261313103
 
10.Believe You Can(f)$369,7342233*32101172


Starters ranking higher on points than on earnings are bolded. Four starters were highly qualified on both earnings and points.

I'll Have Another (1) was 5th in points and 10th in earnings
Bodemeister (2) was 10th in points and 9th in earnings
Dullahan (3) was 11th in points and 4th in earnings
Went the Day Well(4) was 20th in points and 17th in earnings
Creative Cause (5) was 1st in points and 5th in earnings
Liaison (6) was 14th in points and 12th in earnings
Union Rags (7) was 2nd in points and 3rd in earnings
Rousing Sermon (8) was 11th in points and 18th in earnings
Hansen (9) was 3rd in points and 1st in earnings
Daddy Nose Best(10) was 18th in points and 11th in earnings
Optimizer (11) was 9th in points and 20th in earnings
Alpha (12) was 7th in points and 13th in earnings
El Padrino (13) was 15th in points and 19th in earnings

Done Talking (14) was 19th in points and 16th in earnings
Sabercat (15) was 16th in points and 7th in earnings
Gemologist (16) was 8th in points and 6th in earnings
Trinniberg (17) was 6th in points and 15th in earnings
Prospective (18) was 14th in points and 17th in earnings

Take Charge Indy(19) was 13th in points and 8th in earnings
Daddy Long Legs(20) was 12th in points and 2nd in earnings


1) 9 of 20 starters were ranked higher on points than earnings or were equal.
2) 10 of 20 starters were points qualified, and 4 of the top 5 finishers, 5 /7, 6/9, and 7/12
3) 4 of the 15 highest earners did not start
4) 3 of the top 10 points accumulators did no start
5) 3 of the 1st 4 finishers ranked higher on earnings than points, and 7/10
6) The best finish among the top 8 earning starters was 3rd; of 9, 2nd
7) The best finish among the top 6 points-qualified starters was 1st; of 4. 3rd
8) The highest points-rated starter finished 7th
9) 3 starters were earnings-qualified from a single WPS race
10 All starters raced within 6 weeks of the Derby; all but 1 at 9 furlongs


Earnings vs Points-based Rankings for Kentucky Derby Eligibility
Through May 07, 2011 *** TR-PTS Seq ***
HorseEarnings Total Earn
Rk.
BCpt
Rk.
TRpt
Rk.
BCpt
TOT
TRpt
TOT
TRpt
TOP
#GS
WPS
1.J P's Gusto$544,00010223439106
2.Zazu$238,18531542429104
3.Uncle Mo$1,360,0001452426103
4.Jaycito$250,00027872023103
5.To Honor and Serve$250,00026118182374
6.Comma to the Top (19)$671,0006692022103
7.Santiva (6)$242,397301512162083
8.Mucho Macho Man (3)$370,000161713162074
9.Soldat (11)$540,000111617161874
10.Archarcharch (15)$780,000412181617103
11.Riveting Reason$147,5004026*21121763
12.Dialed In (8)$840,000319241414102
13.The Factor$272,500242425121472
14.Premier Pegasus$228,0003325*26121473
15.Nehro (2)$400,0001435*27101382
16.Rogue Romance$288,0002243*30101363
17.Stay Thirsty (17)$260,0002537*32101282
18.Toby's Corner$625,000728*351111102
19.Master of Hounds (5)$441,8841350*3981162
20.Midnight Interlude (16)$600,000930*421010101
21.Brilliant Speed (7)$450,0001231*431010101
22.Sway Away$111,5004751*4881052
23.Gourmet Dinner$780,000545*4991053
24.Twinspired (17)$197,5003552*507982
 
25.Pants On Fire (9)$623,000848*518972
26.Willcox Inn$141,1434271*536962
27.Shackleford (4)$212,0003458*566881
28.Watch Me Go (18)$235,5003253*607872
29.Anthony's Cross$182,0003754*617872
30.Flashpoint$140,0004369*736771
31.Brethren$157,5003974*756742
32.Dance City$100,0004882*784661
33.Mr. Commons$120,0004583*794661
34.Twice the Appeal (10)$400,00015100*1054441
35.Animal Kingdom (1)$285,00023101*1064441
36.Derby Kitten (13)$120,00044104*1094441
37.Decisive Moment (14)$301,00020128*1304422
 
1.R Heat Lightning(f)$910,0002113440105
2.Kathmanblu(f)$328,525181814162074
3.Joyful Victory(f)$345,000172119141773
 
4.Daisy Devine(f)$300,0002165*696771
5.Bouquet Booth(f)$326,00019102*1074441


No starter was highly qualified on earnings and points.
Animal Kingdom (1) was 17th on points 13th in earnings
Nehro (2) was 9th in earnings, 7th on points
Mucho Macho Man (3) was 3rd on points and 11th in earnings
Shackleford (4) was 14th on points and 18th in earnings

Master of Hounds (5) was 9th on points and 8th in earnings
Santiva (6) was 2nd on points and 15th in earnings,
Brilliant Speed (7) was 11th on points and 7th in earnings
Dialed In (8) was 6th on points and 1st in earnings
Pants On Fire (9) was 13th on points and 4th in earnings,
Twice the Appeal (10) was 16th on points and 10th in earnings
Soldat (11) was 4th on points and 6th in earnings
Stay Thirsty (12) was 8th on points and 14th in earnings

Derby Kitten (13) was 19th on points and 19th in earnings
Decisive Moment (14) was 19th on points and 12th in earnings
Archarcharch (15) was 5th on points and 2nd in earnings
Midnight Interlude (16) was 10th on points and 5th in earnings
Twinspired (17) was 12th on points and 18th in earnings
Watch Me Go (18) was 15th on points and 16th in earnings
Comma to the Top (19) was 1st on points and 3rd in earnings



1) 9 of 19 starters were ranked higher on points than earnings or were equal
2) 4 of 19 starters were points qualified
3) The first two finishers, and 7 of the first 10, were ranked higher on earnings than points
4) 4 of the 9 highest earners did not start
5) The 5 highest points accumulators did not start, and 8 of the top 14
6) The best finish among the top 8 earning starters was 8th; of 9, 2nd
7) 5 of the top 6 points accumulators did not start
8) The best finish among the top 6 points-qualified starters was 3rd; of 7, 2
9) The highest points-rated starter finished 19th and last.
10) 6 starters including the winner were earnings-qualified from a single WPS race
11) All starters raced at 9 furlongs or longer within 6 weeks of the Derby


Earnings vs Points-based Rankings for Kentucky Derby Eligibility
Through May 01, 2010 *** TR-PTS Seq ***
HorseEarnings Total Earn
Rk.
BCpt
Rk.
TRpt
Rk.
BCpt
TOT
TRpt
TOT
TRpt
TOP
#GS
WPS
1.Lookin at Lucky (6)$1,480,0001225258107
2.Noble's Promise (5)$738,0004442429104
3.Sidney's Candy (17)$630,0006882224103
4.Dublin (7)$373,20817991821104
5.Discreetly Mine (13)$340,000201210162083
6.Beautician$484,866111311162084
7.Make Music for Me (4)$218,750331712141983
8.Aikenite$221,750321813141984
9.Eskendereya$600,000810151617102
10.Super Saver (1)$363,832182217131683
11.Interactif$307,950242119141654
12.Jackson Bend (12)$230,0002925*22121583
13.Rule$645,000528*28121463
14.Paddy O'Prado (3)$250,9502629*29111383
15.Backtalk (20)$225,9163030*32111273
16.American Lion (11)$378,0001641*35101143
17.Line of David (18)$600,000731*361010101
18.Ice Box (2)$457,5001232*371010101
19.Stately Victor (8)$450,0001333*381010101
20.Homeboykris (16)$250,5002734*391010101
21.Setsuko$180,0003842*4281082
22.Caracortado$153,0003944*4381072
23.Awesome Act (19)$285,0002545*4481062
24.A Little Warm$180,0003747*4581052
 
25.Conveyance (15)$386,0001540*47101043
26.Pleasant Prince$189,2783550*487982
27.Dean's Kitten (14)$326,4752143*508972
28.Mission Impazible (9)$485,9341052*587872
29.Northern Giant$132,0004366*606852
30.Connemara$138,5004169*696742
31.First Dude$97,5004578*744661
32.Endorsement$400,0001493*954441
33.Odysseus$183,7503694*964441
34.Eightyfiveinafifty$131,5144495*974441
35.Alphie's Bet$90,0004697*994441
36.Yawanna Twist$147,00040116*1204422
37.Schoolyard Dreams$137,50042117*1214422
38.Uh Oh Bango$237,95228118*1224422
 
1.Blind Luck(f)$1,041,1503116067108
2.Amen Hallelujah(f)$318,6302273243175
3.Evening Jewel(f)$310,00023352428104
4.She Be Wild(f)$1,312,1002562428104
5.Devil May Care(f) (10)$363,0001911161617102
6.Crisp(f)$225,0003114231414102
 
7.Quiet Temper(f)$510,000927*30121373


Three starters were highly qualified on both earnings and points
Super Saver (1) was 11th on points and 7th in earnings
Ice Box (2) was 13th on points and 6th in earnings
Paddy O’Prado (3) was 9th on points and 16th in earnings
Music for Me (4) was 6th on points and 20th in earnings

Noble’s Promise (5) was 2nd on points and 2nd in earnings
Lookin at Lucky (6) was 1st on points and 1st in earnings *
Dublin (7) was 4th on points and11th in earnings
Stately Victor (8) was 14th on points and 7th in earnings
Mission Impazible (9) was 20th in points and 5th in earnings
Devil May Care(f) (10) was 7th on points and 5th in earnings
American Lion (11) was 11th on points and 9th in earnings
Jackson Bend (12) was 8th on points and 17th in earnings
Discreetly Mine (13) was 5th on points and 13th in earnings

Dean's Kitten (14) was 19th on points and 13th in earnings
Conveyance (15) was 18 th on points and 8th in earnings
Homeboykris (16) 16th in points and 17 in earnings
Sidney's Candy (17) was 3rd on points and 3rd in earnings
Line of David (18) was 12th on points and 4th in earnings
Awesome Act (19) was 16th on points and 15th in earnings
Backtalk (20) was 10th on points and 19th in earnings


* The favorite’s performance was compromised by the rail post position

1) 10 of 20 starters ranked higher on points than earnings or were equal
2) 8 of 20 starters were points-qualified including 4 of the 1st 6 finishers
3) 6 of the last 7 finishers ranked 12th or lower on points
4) The first 3 finishers were ranked 9th or lower on points
5) 3 of the 8 highest earners did not start, and 4/11
6) 3 of the top 9 points accumulators did not start, and 4/11
7) the best finish among the top 6 points-qualified starters was 4th
8) The highest-ranking starter on both earnings and points finished 6th
9) 3 starters were earnings-qualified from a single WPS race
10) 19 of 20 starters raced at 9 furlongs or longer within 6 weeks of the Derby



CONCLUSIONS

I. In all three years, roughly half the starters were ranked higher on points than earning. (all starters by definition are earnings-qualified), but in 2011, relatively few of them were points qualified, and no starter qualified highly on both points and earnings. There may be some correlation to the subsequent dearth of 3yos winning multiple G1 stakes, as well as to the relatively high number of points-qualified horses that did not start in the Derby.

II. Since fields with greater numbers of points-qualified starters tend to be stronger, then qualifying entrants on points rather than earnings should tend to strengthen Derby fields.

III. All Derby qualifying graded stakes for 2yos and 3yos should be run at one mile or longer. All starters must have finished third or better in a graded stake at 9 furlongs or longer within 6 weeks of the Derby.


REFERENCES

In a point system used by the Breeders' Cup (BC-PTS) to measure the value of finish positions across graded levels, the place and show points at each grade level match the win and place points at the next lower level.

BC-PTSWPS
G11064
G2642
G3421


In another point system (TR-PTS) defined at the “Thoroughbred Report” website (http://www.thoroughbredreport.com), finishing 2nd is also worth more than finishing 1st at the next lower grade level.

TR-PTSWPS
G11086
G2753
G3421


Each TR-PTS value is unique and will used to indicate a horse’s top–rated finish in any graded stakes race as well as to determine a TR_PTS rating. It will also be used as the primary tie-breaker in ranking identical TR_PTS or BC-PTS ratings. The secondary tie-breaker will be the number of Win, Place, or Show (WPS) finishes in graded stakes.

More details regarding the motivation for this effort, and previous ones on which it is based, may be found at http://www.horseraceinsider.com/The-HRI-Readers-Blog/02292012-the-kentucky-derby-grading-the-road-ahead

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Do you have a take on the state of the game, a favorite race horse, trainer or jockey? Share your ideas. Show the racing industry and media the folly of their ways. The HRI Readers Blog: "When you lose it, Use it." Submit your blog to HRI Webmaster.
 
 

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