By Keith Pettyjohn — As Founder and Chief Figure Maker at GradedStakesRaces.com, I review the Graded Stakes Races from the previous weekend.
At the end of that review process, I compile many data points that eventually become the Grades for each graded stakes race and a Class-Based Performance Ratings for each winner.
One additional step I take for further examination is to compare my figures with those from other top services.
And now I’m going to share some information that I found to be rather intriguing from this research.
On Sunday September 20 they ran the Grade 1 Summer Stakes at Woodbine. It was a one mile event for two year old colts and geldings on turf rated firm. The race went off at 4:31pm.
The winner of the race was Gretzky The Great. He completed the race in 1:34.53. For this accomplishment, he received an 83 Beyer Speed Figure.
Well, at 5:38pm, 67 minutes later, they ran the Grade 1 Natalma Stakes, for juvenile fillies at the same distance and the course condition did show a discernable change.
Lady Speightspeare was the winner in a final time of 1:34.61, just eight one-hundredths of a second slower than the earlier race. Yet she only received a 76 Beyer Speed Figure.
For two races to be so close in their final times, I was left scratching my head as to why the BSF’s would have this seven point gap.
Continuing my investigation, I decided to take a look at the figures given to each horse from another popular speed figure service, TimeformUS.
Gretzky The Great was assigned a figure of 96 and Lady Speightspeare rated a 92, a four-point gap. The Chief Figure Maker there addressed this disparity on a popular podcast on Tuesday.
He explained that the difference in figures was greatly attributed to the pace difference, especially since pace is a major part of their figures.
Let’s take a closer look at the pace of each race. The Summer Stakes went 24.1 for the opening quarter, 47.82 to the half-mile and 1:11.11 for six furlongs.
By comparison. the Natalma fractions were 23.77, 47.92 and 1:11.59 for six furlongs; very comparable and compatible yet such a difference in the final ratings.
As a result, I can only suggest that this is a “Caveat Emptor” scenario or, paraphrasing, “let the bettor beware”.
There six Graded Stakes Races from this past weekend. Below you will find their letter grade and the winner’s Class-Based Performance Rating.
Please note that both of the aforementioned stakes races received a C- grade, indicating that they were of the same quality competitively.
And also note that the difference in the GSR Ratings was only one point:
Grade 1 Woodbine Mile (A) // Starship Jubilee–104
Grade 1 Salvator Stakes (A) // Pirate’s Punch–102
Grade 3 Singspiel (A-) // Count Again–97
Grade 1 Belmont Oaks (B) // Magic Attitude–89
Grade 1 Summer Stakes (C-) // Gretzky The Great–75
Grade 1 Natalma Stakes (C-) // Lady Speightspeare–74
PLAY AT A PRICE
The Brad Cox barn has been red hot. They’re winning races at Churchill Downs at a 21% clip and have won multiple graded stakes in the last few weeks.
This year’s edition of the G3 Ack Ack looks like an excellent spot for his 9/5 morning line favorite, #1 Warrior’s Charge. This horse has a ton of early speed and could possibly have things his way throughout.
However, I expect some pace pressure from #6 Pioneer Spirit and #12 Home Base. Even though these two horses lack his class and current form, they should at least keep the pace honest.
Warrior’s Charge has a major class edge over this field having competed in four straight graded stakes. In February he won the G3 Razorback Handicap with a Class-Based Performance Rating of 100.
He ran second in May in the G2 Oaklawn Handicap behind By My Standards, earning a GSR of 103. He was able to match that figure in his next start, finishing second fourth behind Vekoma in the G1 Metropolitan Handicap.
In his most recent start, the G3 Philip Iselin, he encountered some late traffic troubles, only able to post a 97.
That brings us to our price play. For that, I’m turning to Steve Asmussen trainee #9 Bankit (10-1). This horse loves to come from off of the pace. And with three horses capable of setting fast, honest fractions, he should get a desirable set-up.
In his last graded stakes effort, the G3 Razorback, he only lost to Warrior’s Charge by a head. Also like to note that Bankit does his best running in the stretch. And with Churchill Downs having one of the longest stretches in the game, it should suit him well.
EXACTA: #1 Warrior’s Charge over #9 Bankit
TRIFECTA: #1 Warrior’s Charge on top , with #2 Bourbon Calling, #4 American Anthem, #8 Ebben and #13 Everfast in second and #9 Bankit singled in third.
SUPERFECTA: I’ll take my Trifecta ticket, use “ALL” for third, and single #9 Bankit in fourth.