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The racetrack is a treasure trove of stories, and many writers, insiders and fans relate to this world in literary fashion. Short stories cross the editorial desk at HRI from time to time, and so it is our intention to share the most entertaining of them with you.

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The Kentucky Derby: Grading the Road Ahead: Part 2


Since our inception in 2007, HorseRaceInsider always has encouraged readers to engage honest dialogue with HRI authors and with each other. More than just a great opportunity to vent, it’s humbling to learn that this game boasts many passionate experts, not just those fortunate enough to derive a living from Thoroughbred racing.

From time to time, a reader will write a position paper so interesting that we are compelled to share it with our loyal followers. We also hope that this is a way for our fans, as well as paid journalists, to give back to the sport they love. After all, the game’s practitioners need all the help they can get.

This recent contribution written by well recognized racing websites contributor Indulto is a studied approach to a more equitable Kentucky Derby qualification system, a methodology that is much more learned than the present graded earnings model. Hopefully it will help provide a method to insure that only the most worthy 3-year-olds punch a ticket into the Churchill Downs starting gate on May’s first Saturday.

The piece is lengthy, and its weighty material. We think and hope you’ll agree that it’s worth your time and effort. Part 2 of 2.


The chart below consists of 4 sections which collectively contain the top 24 earnings –qualified horses, the top 24 points-qualified horses, and the top 24 earnings-qualified colts and/or geldings: 1) The top 24 earnings-qualified males of which 12 would not qualify on points. 2) The next 2 males who would qualify on points 3) The top 10 earnings-qualified females of which 3 would not qualify on points 4) The next 4 females who would qualify on points.

Top 20 Derby Eligibles and 4 Also-eligibles as of 2/26/2012
Earn RankHorse Earnings
PtBC Total
PtTR Top
#GS WPS
PtBC Rank
2Hansen$1,160,000
12
10
2
10
3Union Rags$1,070,000
28
10
4
1
5Sabercat$600,000
4
4
1
**54
7Wrote(IRE)$540,000
10
10
1
20
9Creative Cause$506,000
28
10
5
2
10Dullahan$375,000
12
10
2
12
11Liaison$375,000
10
10
1
21
12Drill$300,000
22
10
3
5
16Excaper$240,736
6
8
1
**42
17Algorithms$240,000
4
4
1
**56
19Basmati$220,000
2
2
1
*100
21El Padrino$200,000
8
7
2
**25
23Alpha$180,000
10
8
2
17
24Majestic City$170,000
14
8
3
8
25Secret Circle$170,000
6
4
2
**28
26Rousing Sermon$164,000
8
8
2
**27
27Prospective$155,452
2
2
1
*102
28Finale$153,345
___
____
____
____
30I'll Have Another$151,000
10
7
2
14
31Castaway$150,000
4
4
1
**58
32Currency Swap$150,000
10
10
1
22
33Daddy Nose Best$145,558
4
4
1
**59
36Animal Spirits$120,000
4
4
1
**61
37Battle Hardened$120,000
4
4
1
**57

Canadian G3 Summer Stakes turf winner, Finale, was not in the thoroughbredreport.com data base. The 12 horses that would not qualify on points are Sabercat, Excaper, Algorithms, Basmati, El Padrino, Secret Circle, Rousing Sermon, Prospective, Castaway, Daddy Nose Best, Animal Spirits, and Battle Hardened. Conversely, the following 2 horses qualifying on points would not qualify on the basis of earnings:

60Trinniberg$84,500
10
8
2
19
63Optimizer$81,375
8
6
2
23

Note that Sabercat, a lone G3 winner of an inflated purse, is preferred over lone G1 winners of smaller purses, Currency Swap, Liaison, and Wrote. In this case, the 8.5-furlong Delta Jackpot may be a better qualifier than the 7-furlong Hopeful, but what about the 8.5-furlong Hollywood Futurity? How do both 8.5 furlong races on dirt compare with Wrote’s BC Juvenile Turf at a mile? Similar questions will surely arise as we progress further along the "Derby Trail."

1My Miss Aurelia(f)$1,350,000
26
10
3
3
4Stephanie's Kitten(f)$800,446
16
10
2
7
6Grace Hall(f)$560,000
20
10
3
6
8Weemissfrankie(f)$522,120
24
10
3
4
13Now I Know(f)$300,000
4
4
1
**55
14Killer Graces(f)$266,200
12
10
2
11
15Yara(f)$260,000
6
7
1
**32
18Stopshoppingmaria(f)$240,000
10
8
2
16
20On Fire Baby(f)$211,729
12
7
2
9
22Self Preservation(f)$183,040
6
8
1
**46

My Miss Aurelia is the top earnings qualified 3YO, and the four top earnings-qualified females are among the top 7 3YOs of either sex that qualify on points.

41Millionreasonswhy(f)$120,000
10
7
2
15
44Charm the Make(f)$116,400
10
8
2
18
55Say a Novena(f)$90,000
10
5
3
13
86And Why Not(f)$58,253
8
6
2
24

The incongruities of purses relative to grade level, the variance in their distributions combined with the impact of a dead heat mentioned earlier, the relevance of the distance and surface involved, and the timing of the race relative to the TC events -- all cast doubt on the viability of earnings-based eligibility. Hopefully, increased exposure and presentation of alternatives will eventually fuel reform for 2013 along with the anticipated absence of Lasix.

My goal for the final 2012 Derby Futures Pool is to deploy Mr. Brandow's methodology to create an eligibility system intended to maximize the likelihood of getting a Triple Crown Candidate into the Derby starting gate by assigning points giving preference to 1) W-P-S finishers in the seven final 9-furlong G1 and G2 Derby preps 2) W-P-S finishers in any other graded 3YO Derby preps at 8.5 furlongs and over 3) W-P-S finishers in graded 2YO races at a mile or over. I plan to give the system workouts against the thoroughbredreport.com database starting with the 2009 2YO crop.

If results from that exercise show promise, I intend to apply what I learn from it to Breeders' Cup eligibility preferring 1) Prior BC winners (only prior BC events would be WAYI races) 2) W-P-S finishers in divisional G1 and G2 BC preps, internationally, after August 31. 3) W-P-S finishers in G1 races for 3YO at 9 furlongs and over in the same year (BC Classic only) 3) W-P-S finishers in other divisional G1 and G2 races during the year

| Comments (12)




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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