HALLANDALE BEACH, FL, April 26, 2022 – When new generation handicappers are asked what they think of Dosage Theory, the gob-smacked answer is “what’s dosage, does it have anything to do with drugs?”
But when old school horsemen are asked to describe the Kentucky Derby as a horse race, their wise guy answer is “a mile and a quarter without any water.”
In reference to the latter, I recently was reintroduced by HRI Faithful member Dennis McDonald to the work of Dr. Steven Roman, Emeritus Professor of Mathematics at Cal State-Fullerton and the author of 40 books on mathematics and computer programming.
Dr. Roman was a devoted Thoroughbred racing fan and a horseplayer until recently, leaving the game and his pedigree work behind because of the indiscriminate use of raceday medication, legal and otherwise.
With Roman’s talent set and devotion to the sport, he devised a breeding model known as Dosage Theory, a pedigree classification index system to be used by breeders, buyers, and horseplayers to best advantage.
Roman formulated a list of sires noted for their prepotency, i.e. horses that stamp their offspring in terms of physicality and running style, and believed that the mare was of little influence.
Based on Roman’s research, these exceptional stallions were termed chefs-de-race, sires that over time have shaped the course of breeding, selling, and betting, too.
Dosage Theory enjoyed popularity as a predictive Kentucky Derby tool for more than a decade but fell out of favor when less sophisticated handicappers made rules out of the exceptions rather than the other way around, finding reasons to debunk both bath water and baby.
McDonald sent a link to a website created by Lisa De Michael, a devotee of Roman’s pedigree work who took his research to the next level after reading the works of legendary Italian breeder Federico Tesio. “I felt as if something was missing, the pedigree of the mare” said De Michael by phone Monday.
Pedigree analysis of the mare’s bloodlines is a compilation known as reines profiles. It is the combination of the chefs, time-tested historic sires, coupled with reines’ work that completes the pedigree profiles appearing at www.thedirtyhorseclub.com.
Dosage Theory breaks down chefs-de-race into five categories reflecting the demonstrable traits of the offspring and assigns a numerical rating for each category. This exercise produces what’s known as a Dosage Profile.
The Brilliant category defines the speed of the speed, true sprinters from 4-Furlongs to 6-Furlongs. Intermediate chefs produce horses in the 7F to 9F range. Classic horses comprise the 10F to 12F category. Solid chefs will get marathon distances from 13F to 15F. Professional chefs can run all day, 16 Furlongs and farther.
For a primer, more detailed definitions, and illustrative examples, a treasure trove of information and statistical data is available on De Michael’s thedirtyhorseclub.com site.
The website is free but since the information is proprietary and has been lifted at times by cut-and-paste journalists, the site is now protected. Mention HRI when making your subscription request and Lisa will provide password access.
Because three-year-olds are asked to race 10 furlongs in top class company this early in the year, Dosage Theory has stunning applications with respect to the type of style a horse benefits from in America’s Race.
From 1940 through Justify, 42 winners were STAMINA horses with indices of 2.10 and lower, winning 53% of the time. Twenty-eight winners were from SPEED sires, with an index of 3.00 and higher, or 35% of the Derbies.
Finally, there were nine MID-RANGE horses, an index of 2.10 to 2.90, or 11% of the winners. (all percentages rounded down).
Only four MID-RANGE horses won during this period: the filly Genuine Risk (Dosage Index 2.57); Sunday Silence in 1989 (DI of 2.56); Street Sense in 2007 (DI, 2.14), and I’ll Have Another in 2012 (DI, 2.11-borderline Stamina).
From 1980, however, speed or stamina won 90% of the time (rounded up), 19 SPEED horses and 16 STAMINA horses.
Notes De Michael in one blog post: “The other important aspect is that high speed indexed colts that have shifted into the higher percentage win ratio is mainly due to weather factors.
“Any time it rains and the track is wet and sloppy, the dominating speed horses prevail. They have the edge over stamina in that scenario.
“In order for the speed colt to win or hit the board in the Kentucky Derby he must have a few specific things in his back pocket: A chef’s index that is 3.00 and over, past-performances consistency, and the mare’s stamina influence to carry speed the 10F distance.”
There are two examples of De Michael’s work on Derby-148 consensus favorite Epicenter that are noteworthy. The first was written when the colt was still a two-year-old. The second, updated analysis was posted at dirtyhorseclub.com APR 24:
December 26, 2021 – GUN RUNNER STAKES – Fairgrounds
Results 8.5f (Final Time – 1:44.19)
DP = 0-0-9-1-2 (12) DI = 0.60 CD = -0.42
Mare Profile = 1-10-5-8-5 Speed = 11 Stamina = 13 Index = 0.74 Triads = 16-23-18
St. Simon: 29.3% Trainer: Steve Asmussen
Rating for the Derby: 5 Stars
“…The configurations of this horse coupled with his running style will give you tunnel vision straight to the Kentucky Derby! This colt’s wins are not a product of a favorable bias… he has displayed raw talent and consistency so far and he will only excel even more as the distances travel further. Five-star stamina caliber for the Derby… The last stamina-driven colt to win the Derby was back in 2011, Animal Kingdom. Stamina has lost the upper-hand in recent years. But with the suspension of Baffert and his antics, things may actually get back to historical order. Epicenter has the capability of sustaining his speed up to 12.6f. He is all stamina top and bottom, and he is on course to showing us that he is capable of running directly in line with both sets of configurations. He is allowing his mare speed inheritance to pour through with his style even with all of that dominant stamina. Unbelievable that he is showing us that style on dirt and not on turf – which truly makes this guy stand out among the rest. The balance between the chef’s profile and the mare’s profile is spot on. From his chefs, he is ALL CLASSIC distance and beyond, with nothing to water that down at all. From his mares, the dominant 10 points in his Intermediate slot fits in like a glove. That is a beautiful amount of speed laying in the absolute perfect spot… Throw in Grand-sire, Giant’s Causeway, a listed Classic Chef and Dam-sire Candy Ride along with additional speed from Storm Cat and the balance is incredible. Tack on 29.3% linebreeding to St. Simon and you have the makings of a potential Champion far surpassing anything we have seen on dirt in a long time. The type with LONGEVITY and LONG STANDING SOUNDNESS. Standing ovations for the breeder. His configurations, his style of running and the fact that he thrives on a dirt surface with that negative .42 chef CD makes this guy the best-balanced stamina Derby player seen in years. His configurations even exceed Thunder Snow, and we all know the incredible successful career of that guy. Because of the running style and his sire, there is a very strong chance that a sloppy Derby will not have the same negative impact as it did with Thunder Snow, who was undoubtedly the best bred and most talented of the 2017 Derby. As of right now, the last week of 2021 – Epicenter stands completely alone on this side of the ocean with the best set-up for the distance coupled with displayed speed and style. His numbers even exceed Luxembourg’s [current Epsom Derby favorite] and he’s running on dirt, not turf! The category that he sits in is the only thing that is not especially advantaged of late. That aside, if he continues to grow and mature and if he continues to stay in line with his numbers and chart, he will be very hard to beat in the Derby. A stamina horse with his configurations running on the lead and beating up on his speedier foes is beyond phenomenal. Major, Major, Derby Contender.”
When De Michael bet him in Derby Future Pool 2, Epicenter closed at 24-1. The latest summation appeared in her Derby Analysis blog, including added historical research:
“Balance Comparisons: Dark Star, Gallahadion, Pensive, Hoop Jr, Citation, Jet Pilot, Ponder, Decidedly, among others.
Combined: 12.2f to 12.8f
ANZ Index: 1.13 (Additional Intermediate speed from Storm Cat, 3rd generation)
Sloppy Track Outlook: 85% chance
Analysis: This horse made it very easy to spot his elite potential after the Gun Runner Stakes and now is the probable favorite. There isn’t too much more to say that hasn’t already been said for months. The spot that he is sitting on this list is a highly advantaged spot to be in when it comes to hitting the board in the Derby. This spot is not advantaged for the win. The reason, besides Baffert and his carbon copy colts, is because those in this spot are so lopsided on the scale and weighted so far on the stamina side that they fail in competition with the advantage of speed in this race. What has always made this horse stand out with his breeding credentials is that he is accepting, using, and displaying the mares Intermediate speed inheritance, located in the absolute perfect spot. Stamina has definitely lost the upper-hand since 2011 is beside the point when it comes to Epicenter. What he has in his inheritance is extremely rare and when his chefs and his elite mares blend together, it gives him the ability to sustain wicked inherited speed as long as the track wants to go. This is the type of horse that was prevalent going back decades ago, something that most of us never had the privilege to bet on. Epicenter is exactly the type of horse that this country needs in the spotlight with a win in the Kentucky Derby. His success may actually cause other breeders to take note and stop with the hyper-speed breeding for at least one season. Epicenter is bred with long standing soundness and longevity. He is the best bred colt in this field without question. The type that could run 2 or 3 times a month if allowed, the type with endurance and killer speed like our champions of the distant past. This horse is a superstar and he is the one to beat.”
So, if you want to strengthen your handicapping arsenal for the Derby, Oaks, or a debuting juvenile, take out a free subscription to thedirtyhorseclub.com mentioning HRI and De Michael will provide password entrée.
Our take is that De Michael’s research is the kind that Roman and the late, great Tesio would admire and appreciate.