By Keith Pettyjohn — Before we close the books on this year’s Kentucky Oaks and Derby, let’s take a closer look at the lessons that as horseplayer’s we should have learned.
First, let’s look at the numbers for the 3-5 favorite, Gamine. Many of the HRI Faithful will recall a piece I wrote here on August 12 [see archives]
We talked about Gamine running a faster time than Serengeti Empress yet earning a lower Class-Based Performance Rating. Gamine earned a 96 for her effort in winning the Grade 1 Test Stakes; Serengeti Empress earned a 101 for her Grade 1 Ballerina Stakes score.
Now let’s contrast what each horse earned for their last efforts this past weekend. As we know, Gamine took the lead in the Grade 1 Oaks but faded to finish third.
Gamine’s Class-Based Performance Rating was a 98, right in-line with her previous effort of 96 in the Test, actually even a slight move forward.
Serengeti Empress was just nipped at the wire in the Derby City Distaff and earned a 101, exactly what she earned previously in the Ballerina. Let’s look at a second Oaks runner, Swiss Skydiver.
Prior to the Oaks, she ran in the Grade 1 Alabama Stakes at Saratoga last month, earned a 100 Class-Based Performance Figure for the effort.
Swiss Skydiver was a good second behind rapidly developing Shedaresthedevil, beaten by one and a half lengths, again earning a 100 rating.
These are text book examples showing how Class-Based Performance Ratings are very solid.
Those of us who utilize information provided by HRI and at GradedStakesRaces.com can enjoy an advantage over those who use speed and pace figures alone. Class Figures add needed perspective to race clockings.
Armed with Class knowledge, there’s no way bettors ever should have taken such a short price on Gamine.
In full disclosure, I did not arrive on Shedaresthedevil as being the winner, although there’s something to be said about a horse whose numbers are improving and fits the Horse for Course angle and is now 3 for 3 at Churchill Downs.
As for the boys in the 146th renewal of the Derby, let’s begin with a look at second favorite and fourth place finisher, Honor A.P. HAP won the Santa Anita Derby on June 6th and earned a Class-Based Performance Rating of a 101.
In his next start, the Shared Belief at Del Mar, he finished second to Thousand Words, beaten three parts of a length and matching his SA Derby Rating of 101.
In the Derby, Honor A.P. finished five lengths back and earned a figure of 100. All his figures are solid and right in-line with each other.
Let’s move on 3-5 favorite, Tiz The Law. He earned a Class-Based Performance Rating of 104 winning the Grade 1 Travers Stakes on August 8th.
In the Derby, he finished second by a length and a quarter, earning a Performance Rating of 106, in-line and even slightly better than his Travers. He truly was gallant in defeat.
Finally, a review of Derby-winning Authentic: In each of his Graded Stakes Races when he was able to make the lead and set his own pace, he was able to move his Class-Based Performance ratings forward by sizable margins.
In the Grade 3 Sham in January he earned a 86, then a 97 in the Grade 2 San Felipe in March, and a Figure of 100 for the G1 Haskell Stakes in July.
Last Saturday, Authentic earned a Class-Based Performance Rating of 108 winning Derby-146.
Of note, I draw your attention to his last four Derby workouts. On August 13th, he worked a bullet 1:12 3/5 going six panels. Then came another six furlongs six days later, the fastest of three that day.
Six days after that, in preparation for a distance he had never won, Bob Baffert sent him one mile, reminiscent of the legendary Charlie Whittingham.
And, finally, just six days later, Baffert fired another bullet work going three-quarters of a mile, thus assuring that his horse would not come up short in the biggest race of his life. It was a brilliant blend of speed and stamina.
I went through this exercise of showing the numbers and breaking them down to say that there was no way bettors should have taken such a short price on either the Oaks or Derby favorite. They clearly were underlays.
Gamine was a 3-5 favorite despite not possessing the best Class-Based figures in the field. Had he won, Tiz The Law would have paid $3.40 straight. Yet he paid that exact amount for place, and a generous $3.20 to show.
If ever there ever was money laying in the street waiting for horseplayers to go pick it up, it was evident in the place and show pools, which often get swept up in the excitement of betting on a Derby winner.
So remember this the next time that we are faced with big fields, vulnerable favorites and potential overlays in all pools, Let’s, myself included, do a better job of paying closer attention to the Class-Based Performance Figures, finding value in each race, and get rewarded when we’re right.
The parimutuel examples above were opportunities we let slip though our fingers. There’s was money to be made betting these races. Those who made some money betting could have, with proper focus, made more.
“MAKING THE GRADE” Graded Stakes AUG 31 — SEP 5
A+ : Kentucky Derby, Woodward Handicap, Turf Classic Stakes
A : Alysheba Stakes, Derby City Distaff Distaff Turf Mile, Jim Dandy, Kentucky Oaks, Turf Sprint Stakes, Jim Dandy Stakes A- : American Turf Stakes, Glens Falls, La Troienne, Red Bank B+ : Eighth Belles, John C Mabee, Pat Day Mile, Smile Sprint, Vigil Stakes B : Edgewood Stakes, Prioress Stakes C : Iroquois Stakes C- : Pocahontas Stakes
Class-Based Performance Figures:
Authentic-108, Digital Age-107, Global Campaign-105, Beau Recall-103, Shesharesthedevil-103, By My Standards-102, Diamond Oops-102, Analyze It-101, Bell’s The One-101, Monomoy Girl-101, Mystic Guide-97, Civil Union-96, Fancy Liquor-96, Rushie-95, Cool Arrow-94, Pink Lloyd-94, Raymundo’s Secret-94, Frank’s Rockette-92, Sharing-89, Sittin On Go-82, Girl Daddy-77