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The Conscience of Thoroughbred Racing

REFRESHER COURSE IN DOSAGE THEORY YIELDS A UNIQUE PEDIGREE PERSPECTIVE FOR DERBY-148

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, 2021GUN RUNNER STAKES – Fairgrounds

EPICENTER

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:

EPICENTER

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.

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⚠ Before you comment

Our staff likes nothing better than to engage with the HRI Faithful and provide a forum for interaction on horseracing and sports. In that spirit, please be kind and reasonable; keep the language clean, and the tone civil. Comments from those who cannot comply will be deleted. Thank you.

30 Responses

  1. I have long been an outspoken critic of Dosage Profiles, when used as stamina predictors for the Derby, etc. And when I say long, I mean dating back to the ’80s.

    There were two obvious, and very deep flaws, which remain if one were to use the DP alone. They are that the Chef-de-Race sires often do not appear in the first generation, and plenty of times even in the second. Coupled with that, is the ludicrous omission of any female influences.

    There are many examples that expose the absurdity of relying on such a system, but a good one is the 1991 Derby winner Strike the Gold. He was dismissed based on his DP, despite the fact that both his sire, Alydar, and dam-sire, Hatchet Man, were relative stamina influences.

    Now, it is clearly a good thing that Lisa De Michael “felt”, or grasped, the blazingly obvious point relating to the importance of the influence of the female side of the pedigree. But frankly, I see a lot of dubious claims, to put it kindly, in the above excerpts. In fact, there is a remarkable amount of nonsense packed into this quote:

    “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 first sentence is gibberish, and there really should be no need to elaborate. The second and third are almost as silly, so let’s cut to the chase:

    “Epicenter is bred with long standing soundness and longevity. He is the best bred colt in this field without question.”

    Epicenter’s sire raced four times before being retired due to injury, and his dam-sire raced six times. In other words, his two most important male influences by far, weren’t sound enough to have raced more than an aggregate 10 times! His sire’s oldest offspring are four, so it is impossible to accurately judge what kind of influence he will have either in terms of soundness, or stamina (BTW, his dam was a pure sprinter). Candy Ride, on the other hand, Epicenter’s dam-sire, has more than 1700 foals of racing age. So, to get a feel for the soundness of his stock, I’ve subtracted his ~120 2yos, and divided his runners’ ~16,000 starts by the remaining ~1600 foals of racing age, which neatly results in an average of ~10 career starts. Yes, he has runners still out there, and they will add to the total number of starts, but not enough the radically change the basic result. And what that number means is that Candy Ride is average at best, and nothing like a notable influence for soundness.

    As for Epicenter being “the best bred colt in this field without question”, I’m afraid that it is further nonsense. With the exception of he himself, there isn’t a single Group/Graded race winner produced by his first four dams!

    I’ll stop there, as the above should be sufficient to raise questions about whatever other analyses Ms. De Michael may have on her members only site.

  2. So I take it you disagree with De Michael’s research…

    Then there’s no veracity in the notion that recent winners have been speed oriented, or that the influence of the stallions involved produced,, when combined with the mares, whether it be speed to stamina or stamina to speed, accounted for 90% Derby winners since 1980?

    Understanding the intricacies of De Michael’s research is above my pay grade.

    Count me among those who impressed with something she saw on DEC 26 and went on record. I, and most others outside Epicenter’s orbit, didn’t know. Future races resulted in one visually impressive and fast effort after fast effort. So no red-boarding results, Her research was predictive, based on successful results.

    I should note that I had a choice of using Epicenter or Simplification as an example for this column and I chose the Epicenter because I think he is the most likely favorite and most likely winner, pre post-draw. Long story short:

    Simplification also earned a 5-star Derby rating. something penned when that one was 2 and before he started two-turning. More good results. All I do know is that De Michael walked her talk. Wish I knew what she knew then and I might have been alive at 170-1 futures, too.

    Again, math is not my area, but your formula for assessing the relative merits of Candy Ride as a sire seems arbitrary, but maybe that’s just me.

    “Ludicrous omission of female influences?” Seems to be common ground there that, in fairness, was never acknowledged.

    Finally, I’m not defending nor criticizing here. I learned in 47 years as a public handicapper that this game keeps you humble and handicappers should strive to never stop learning, even when different approaches defy convention.

    Thus, I’m taking a learn and wait and see approach. Besides, I’ve always been a “class in the dam” kind of guy.

    I made De Michael’s approach known to our readers so that they can decide for themselves whether or not her methodology has merit.

    But it seems your mind was made up before you started this thread. Thank you for that, even if I found the name-calling needlessly gratuitous.

    But, hey, that’s horse racing, right Tink?

  3. We can all decide for ourselves indeed. I recall having great success over the years keeping an open eye in evaluating dosage, and theWe impact of breeding lines on the triple crown races. Some of the names from the past that yielded great results in cashing a few lucrative exactas included obscure names like Stephan’s Odeysey, and the more memorable battles of Alysheba and Bet Twice. Often horses mentioned as dual qualifiers in the Ray Kerrison articles of the past listed names like Lemon Drop Kid as dual qualifiers as well. I recall cashing on him in the Belmont Stakes at quite exorbitant odds. In fact, another event I recall was cashing tickets in the Belmont with Birdstone over Smarty Jones. Smarty was 3-5 that day. Birdstone was sent off at 35-1. They were the only two grade one winners running in the race. Using the dosage lines, I know how I wagered that day. Keeping an open mind to it all, I am once again this year. I have simply cashed too many tickets in the past not to. Besides, for some of us, it really has never been about only the money. For me, it has always been about the beauty of the sport, and the thrill of the competition we witness. I suspect with less and less of the race day medications in play, dosage analysis will once more be a great added addition to any evaluator’s handicapping tool set.

    With the HRI Editor’s permission, I humbly submit my personal appeciation of Lisa De Michael’s efforts with the following commentary that I recently submitted to Lisa on TheDirtyHorseClub website. I am grateful that I discovered De Michael’s DHC site, and also the expanded reviews on dosage offered there, that now include the additional reviews and also weighs in the importance of the female line’s influence.

    Humbly, I offer my recently scrolled blog in support of DHC and Lisa De Michael’s work, passion, and most importantly, his generosity.

    “Thank You For Your Service” is a statement I often hear when checking out at Lowes, Home Depot, and also many other retail outlets, reverting back to an appreciation of my time served in uniformed service to our country. Well I would like to now borrow and extend the very same phrase to you as well Lisa, for your service in restoring a somewhat diminished faith of late, in the sport of thoroughbred racing. Your forty hour marathon of service to the “purist fans” of racing is so greatly appreciated.

    The race day med crowd hopefully have had their run, and a proper stewardship of the sport can once more be put back into play. I equate it all to a mindset of “Innocence Lost”. “The Cat and Mouse in Partnership” and “There’s never enough to be had” attitudes have hopefully come to an end. Anyone not familiar with Brother’s Grimm, should give the Cat and Mouse” fable a spin….only three or four pages long, it captures so many of the failures that has taken place in our existence and time, including the malaise that swept across everything we know, from the business world, to the political world, and even to what was the simplicity of a baseball game. And thoroughbred racing was not exempt as well. I offer the case of Justify as my example. He was gone before we ever really had chance to view him, and without the meds, was he really ever that great anyway? I so missed the greatness of the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s. Both equine and human….the Slew of Gold’s, the Mac Miller’s. Anyhoot, I digress…

    Your analysis brings me back to the times of “simplicity” when the subset cards of a baseball card collection, the Mantle’s, the Snider’s, and the Willie Mays types were treasured, but still all other cards had value in our lifes as well, even if only with the use of a clothspin and the front rim on our hand-me-down Schwinn bike tires. You have me back to that era Lisa, watching in my mind my very first horserace on an old black and white TV in the family room growing up… Must have been 5th or 6th grade….Carry Back charging from the very back on the far turn that day had me “hooked” forever. Well I am back there this morning, and want to thank you.

    Your analysis, and all of the other voices and opinions expressed on DHC are like witnessing Secretariat’s overwhelming effort in his Belmont Stakes all over again. The analysis is a display of “never ending story” excellence. Let me see if I can recapture some of what I perused with a poetic one liner:

    The simplification of your shared analysis and all other views and comments expressed on DHC are indeed epicentric and amazing.

    Let me thank you so much for your sharing all of your work, but mostly thank you for restoring my faith and turning me away from some of the Baffert era distrust that had crept into the cobwebs of my mind. I so want to pass forward the passion I have held in my heart for this sport to my grandsons. I now look forward with your herculean shared efforts in mind, to the days of Innocence Restored.

    “Riders Up”. “Readers Up!

  4. Thanks John.

    “Then there’s no veracity in the notion that recent winners have been speed oriented, or that the influence of the stallions involved produced,, when combined with the mares, whether it be speed to stamina or stamina to speed, accounted for 90% Derby winners since 1980?”

    American breeding has largely been “speed-oriented” for the past ~25 years, or since breeding to sell unfortunately became the dominant market force. Which does mean that there have been few Derby winners during that period that were stoutly bred. But “speed-oriented” is a bit of a confusing characterization. Most Derby winners during that period (and plenty before) have been bred to be mile to nine furlong horses, not “speed” horses, per se.

    If she means that having tactical speed is an advantage, and that plodders are disadvantaged, well, that has always been the case.

    Nothing wrong with using Epicenter as an example of her work, as it exposes important flaws in her approach, and that would be the case even if he were to win the Triple Crown. Among other problems, and beyond those that I have already highlighted, she falls into the same, basic trap of most Dosage devotees, namely that she overvalues distant relatives. One need not have any special understanding of genetics to recognize that the influences close up in a horse’s pedigree are far more likely have an impact on performance than those which are remote.

    I’m not suggesting that there is no value in assessing more distant relatives, including Chef-de Race sires. But when, going back to Strike the Gold again, the sire (a solid 10f. influence) and dam-sire (also stamina-leaning) are completely ignored, and Chef-de-Race influences (e.g. Raise a Native – speed) are emphasized, the approach is obviously and deeply flawed. And she is doing something similar in her evaluation of Epicenter.

    De Michael has taken a useful step forward by including female influences into her analyses, but without emphasizing the most important genetic influences (i.e. those close-up in the pedigree), the value of her work is, by definition, dubious.

    Finally, I am going to quibble a bit with your objection to my “name-calling”. In fact, I didn’t directly address her in any way. What I did was to characterize her work in very unflattering terms, and I’m sorry to say that it is warranted. This type of hyperbole

    “The type that could run 2 or 3 times a month if allowed”

    greatly diminishes any credibility that she might otherwise have. Again, Epicenter’s two most important male influences raced an aggregate 10 times, and Candy Ride’s average runner is retired after roughly the same (meager) number of races. Yet Epicenter could race two or three times a month? Based on what, exactly? The genes relating to durability should be expected to skip a few generations in his case?

    Cheers,

    Tink

  5. Enjoyed the article and discussion, but have never been able to apply or dismiss the concepts referenced.

    All I know about Epicenter so far is that
    1) While Fairgrounds preps have produced among the most multiple prep winners since 2013, they have yet to produce a first place Derby finisher, though both winners by DQ ran in at least one Fairgrounds prep.
    2) Gunrunner did not become a 1 1/4 m horse until he was 4.
    3) With Asmussen 0-23 for the Derby, Epicenter is not certain to be the favorite.

    1. So happy you enjoyed it, I, that was the intent for all.

      It’s fascinating stuff. Will have time to learn more post Derby, time moving quickly for me now…

      Thanks for weighing in.

      JP

  6. The comment from the person known as Tinky is representative of the vast amount of people who have a very hard time grasping the concept of dosage. While the main argument against Dr. Roman’s incredible work revolves around the fact that the mares are not present is the very reason why his chefs are the epitome of the masters of the breed.

    They were identified as chefs for their consistent ability to pass down pre-potent characteristics WITHOUT any infiltration of the mare with which they were mated. This identifies an elite sire’s undeniably consistent ability, based on his own merit, to pass along HIS traits, and his traits alone, without question.

    The numbers theory considers the position of the generations, giving more emphasis to those closer in generation and recedes to the 4th. The numbers, in essence, take the place of a sire’s name and turns it into mathematical precision as opposed to simple guess work. It wraps ALL the ingredients of ALL the chefs based on the generation he falls into and leaves not one of them out.

    While the vast majority of horseplayers put most emphasis on the immediate sire or grandsire, there is no concrete evidence suggesting that sire could or would be responsible for passing anything through. How he performed on the track and how he performs in the breeding shed are two separate issues. He is not time-tested. One cannot distinguish whether the mare’s line was indeed responsible for the colt’s limitations or prowess. In addition, a sire and his offspring are the owners of two separate charts and the separate sets of contributors coming from the bottom of the chart. This will affect the new colt and turns him into the individual that he has become.

    The idea that a 1st or 2nd generation unlisted random sire could be identified with any amount of confidence that he passed along his same exact-distance optimums is full of irrationality, and that depicts the true concept of mindless cherry-picking. That appears a ridiculous proposition at best.

    Federico Tesio, arguably the best breeder of his century, believed that a colt is made up of 60% sires and 40% mares. What better set of sires could ever be consulted than a pure, time-tested listed chef? Adding in the reines factors tells the complete story of the potential of the new colt. The media did grave harm when THEY made the dosage “rules” – which did not come from Dr. Roman. Ignorance on the subject corrupted the mastery of it and obviously continues to rear its ugly head. Some things never change.

    My work is not about trying to change minds. I do what I do because I see the results. No proof to non-believers is necessary. I enjoy it and I do not impose it where it is not wanted or appreciated.

    As to Not This Time, an injury on-track is different from a speed demon who was pressed to his limits and either succumbed to early retirement or to his untimely demise. Hyper-speed is the demand of the breeding marketplace. Hyper-speed not only sells well but it can kill by affecting the soundness of the horse.

    This approach has given rise to the speed index, slowly but surely, an issue that Dr. Roman spoke of extensively and predicted as much many years ago. Unfortunately, those in the media and certain pedigree “gurus” who do not have a solid knowledge of the subject have corrupted the purity of the facts of his theories.

    Historically, Epicenter’s over-exaggerated stamina configurations are a thing of the past in the USA. They mimic European turf configurations that are still prevalent to this day overseas. They are, historically, the type that graced our tracks decades ago and they are exactly what dominated our Classic races at the turn of the century to mid-century. Hence, the best bred on the field in terms of longevity as opposed to hyper-speed demons who will last a year or so. Many more American buyers are supporting sales in Europe and elsewhere.

    I have no desire to defend something that has proven to be quite successful in my handicapping career, that which my subscribers can attest to and why they have followed for years. It is another tool in my arsenal and the results have been successful. I have no “hostility” towards the handicapping rituals of others and wish not to impose my track record with identifying potential two year old superstars or 10F players for the Kentucky Derby months before the big day. I have no desire to argue the point. It is irrelevant to my enjoyment of the exercise and its record of concrete results.

    Those who are interested in learning how to use these numbers to their advantage in conjunction with their normal handicapping regimen are more than welcome at the Dirty Horse Club. If the motive is to argue, it is obvious that horseplayer is not interested in something new, which is fine, however, it will not be imposed on my readers. It is for those who follow their own north star and enjoy the races. I hope they cash welI and enjoy themselves. I know I certainly will continue to do so.

    I will be forever grateful to the incredible work of Dr. Steven Roman and the goldmine of information he gave to this industry. My wish is to keep it alive, moving full steam ahead with the times. It is a very difficult and extensive exercise. The numbers are incredibly dependable, year after year, decade after decade, if one understands the power of the combinations. What a gift Dr. Roman gave us all.

  7. The above response to my original criticisms is riddled with straw men, and some inaccuracies, which further underscore fundamental problems with Ms. De Michael’s approach.

    The first three paragraphs are essentially a straw man, as I was never talking about what classical Dosage theory is, or what it purports to be able to predict. I made it clear that I was referring to it solely within the context of predicting stamina, and more specifically at the 10f. of the KY Derby, which is also the context of John’s original post.

    The third of those three paragraphs confirms that the Chef-de-Race sires are considered exclusively when a pedigree is viewed through a Dosage lens:

    “The numbers theory considers the position of the generations, giving more emphasis to those closer in generation and recedes to the 4th. The numbers, in essence, take the place of a sire’s name and turns it into mathematical precision as opposed to simple guess work. It wraps ALL the ingredients of ALL the chefs based on the generation he falls into and leaves not one of them out.”

    The fact that more emphasis is given to those in closer generations is a positive, but at the same time, it highlights my central criticism, namely that other influences, often more important genetically, are typically ignored.

    Ironically, she talks about “mathematical precision as opposed to simple guess work”, yet at the same time ignores fundamental genetic science. Horses, like all mammals, receive 50% or their DNA from each parent. Of course that doesn’t mean that more distant relatives have no influence, or that a prepotent sire may not be more important than the dam of a given horse, but to suggest that a “1st or 2nd generation unlisted random sire” is unlikely to have much, if any influence, is patently absurd. One could purchase a yearling which has speed influences throughout its first two generations, and hope that it may stay beyond nine furlongs effectively, based on stamina influences further back in its pedigree. But while the desired outcome would be possible, it certainly wouldn’t be probable, and for simple, genetic reasons.

    Next, we come to this:

    “While the vast majority of horseplayers put most emphasis on the immediate sire or grandsire, there is no concrete evidence suggesting that sire could or would be responsible for passing anything through.”

    Presumably most readers can immediately see the problem. It’s basic genetics, and the understanding of the topic is hardly confined to horseplayers. The vast majority of owners, breeders, bloodstock agents, and horsemen make decisions everyday based primarily on the sire, dam, and dam-sire, rather than fourth or fifth-generation male influences, no matter how prepotent they may have been. Those decisions range from planning a mating, to purchasing an unraced horse, to developing a runner on the track. Etc.

    There is some truth to this:

    “The media did grave harm when THEY made the dosage “rules” – which did not come from Dr. Roman. ”

    though while it was convenient, Roman did, in fact, offer some support of its use in that manner.

    Back to the essence of the problem. Ms. De Michael asserts with great confidence that Epicenter will display both exceptional soundness and stamina, while ignoring the fact that his closest, and most genetically important ancestors, displayed neither. It is true that his sire is early in his stud career, and that he may pass on characteristics that he himself did not show while racing. But Candy Ride has a significant record at stud, and is clearly neither an influence for stamina, nor soundness.

    Finally, no one disputes that the Chef-de-Race sires were exceptionally prepotent. But like ignoring the female influences in pedigrees, assuming that such sires are likely to be more influential than those influences close-up in pedigrees is dubious, at best.

    1. Tink, apparently you simply won’t accept that Ms De Michael added the mare’s influence into her model, hence when you write at the end “…But like ignoring female influences in pedigrees…” that’s intellectually dishonest, making this more of a trolling exercise.

      De Michael is not a writer but would make a good reporter. I contacted my IT people and asked if they let me know what IP address is associated with this account. De Michael found that your IP entered the open access area pf her site and read Part 1 of her Derby analysis.

      If her conclusions have no merit, are “dubious,” then why bother and simply move on?

      You have been and remain an interesting commenter here and are free to discuss any racing matter you choose, including this one. That’s what HRI is supposed to be about.

      I will parry with you on any racing subject but no longer engage on this issue. #Out

  8. On the mathematical and theoretical side, I admire Edward Tufte and his work on information design, but instead of going into detail about various aspects of his work, I will break it down to this: $2 ROI is the stat that counts to a guy like me, so………

    Can anyone give me a Win, Place or Show bet to consider for the Kentucky Derby ?

    1. I have some ideas Dan but can’t be definitive until after the 20-horse post draw. Be a little patient, there’s still time…

      1. I am considering Slow Down Andy. He is sired by Derby winner Nyquist, but the dam, Edwina E, was 0 for 2 lifetime (4th, 8th). If I bet Andy, I sure hope there is none of that “infiltration” from his mom.

  9. Boy you have people up in arms over this, while I do understand the math and have been looking at dosage for decades, but while giving you something to go by I have noticed too many horses with a DI of 3.00 ran two miles and win. You cannot look at numbers to predict a winner, there are too many other factors going on today. First I do not think Epicenter will win and you will see this will come true. There is something about a horse when you look into his eye that tells you everything, I can pick over 90% winners in the paddock without a piece of paper or the form, you have to know horses to see it. Class is what the horse thinks of himself, people would not believe how smart most horses are. I can teach a horse to count, but can’t do anything with these humans. We will never know truly who the best horse due to almost all trainers having drug positives, ALL. One more thing a colt can only inherit his heart size from the dam, it’s called genetics, a proven science. Sorry John it’s not Epicenter, I feel nothing about this horse. There is also the fact that some races are fixed, not fair to anybody. The Derby was fixed in 1953 because my dad knew about it, he bet Dark Star like my uncle told him to do that morning, so who is the best horse? Kat

    1. Certainly a lot to unpack here, Pat.

      I have always told the story of Turkoman in the Hialeah paddock before the Tallahassee sprint in his four year old year. I know something of equine body language but far from an expert.

      He walked up and down as the competition was being saddled and stopped in front of each stall, in an act of intimidation. I’ll never forget his bearing, his absolute class.

      Drugs are a part of the game that must be addressed as the public won’t stand for it anymore and many players have walked away. Haven’t heard much defense of Bob Baffert’s plight from the fans, quite the opposite, actually.

      However, I do not accept that the game is fixed as a matter of fact. Of course, any race can be fixed but I can’t cover the entire canvas in one brush stroke, it’s unfair. Horsemen take edges, just like coaches, managers, players, etc. It’s human frailty.

      But trying to figure who’s the best horse on the day? Well, that’s the fun of it, no? Have a Happy Derby. If your uncle calls, give us a shout, won’t you?

  10. John,

    This is an incorrect interpretation of of what I wrote:

    Tink, apparently you simply won’t accept that Ms De Michael added the mare’s influence into her model, hence when you write at the end “…But like ignoring female influences in pedigrees…” that’s intellectually dishonest, making this more of a trolling exercise.

    I was drawing a taut analogy, and had specifically given her credit several times for taking the female side into account. Why on earth would I have previously said:

    De Michael has taken a useful step forward by including female influences into her analyses

    and then imply otherwise? You interpreted the sentence incorrectly, and did so while ignoring most of the substance of the post.

  11. One further note, re: my IP address.

    You linked to her site in your original post, yet somehow find it odd that I would have used the link? Really?

    If you want to try to defend Ms. De Michael’s work from my criticisms, arguing the substance of the matter would be far more interesting, and, at least potentially, effective.

  12. “I can pick over 90% winners in the paddock without a piece of paper or the form …”

    Wow! Until now I thought only Francis the Talking Mule could make that claim. LOL

    Once I realized that Epicenter won the Gun Runner as opposed to being a son of Gun Runner, I decided to get my sires straight and saw that Not This Time (stud fee: $45,000) could be represented by 3 starters: Epicenter, Simplification, and In Due Time, as could Gun Runner ($125,000) with Early Voting, Taiba, and Cyberknife.

    Proven Pioneer of the Nile ($110,000) could have 2: Tawney Port and Pioneer of Medina as could Race Day ($7,500) with White Abarrio and Barber Road.

    Reliable Tapit ($185,000) has Charge It, and Uncle Mo ($160,000) has Mo Donegal; both trained by Todd Pletcher.

    Upstart ($10,000) could be an even bigger bargain than Race Day when you consider that with any luck Zandon might have gone undefeated in 4 starts at different tracks.

    I won’t be looking them in the eye on Derby Day, but I suspect I’ll be focusing on White Abarrio, Charge It, Zandon, and Mo Donegal on top with Early Voting and Epicenter joining them underneath along with any perceived tote value.

    1. Yeah,I stopped taking it seriously when I read that a person wins 90% of the time by just watching horses prancing around the paddock.Wish I had a Half Dollar coin everytime Ms Maggie and former jockey Migliore picked the wrong one before a race.Personally,I Got To Have a pencil,or pen !! There are so many angles to consider when it comes to picking-betting in a Derby and sometimes having too many notes on the race would drive many into making impulsive,last second bets. I look like my mother but have my late father-s temper..Hmmm.. Never read so many shared opinions about a race from a group of horseplayers,usually a group not known for sharing subjective input because when our opinions are factually wrong,and we lose money and trust, we usually are able to find a place to hide or blame the horse,jockey,trainer and race conditions,,,but not ourselves. We need larger,clearer Mirrors !

      1. Agree or not, sharing pre-race opinions is what the game’s about, that’s why some people still go to the races–to socialize, share opinions, and study equine body language. Some have a gift for it, most to not.
        Not all facts or variables are alike, winners are in the eye of a beholder and his methodology.
        I do not know this, but the commenter may have used that 90% statement as a figure of speech. I once worked with a woman on the Capital OTB television network who pick winners off the screen when we were on-set.
        It’s horse racing, anything’s possible. What’s unnecessary is to disparage other horseplayers. No one goes undefeated.

    2. “I can pick over 90% winners in the paddock without a piece of paper or the form, you have to know horses to see it.”

      Winners of what ? A person who makes such a statement cannot be taken seriously.

      Picking 90% losers is difficult enough, but it is achievable. I have gone 1 for 10 several times during my 50 years of wagering on horse races. Even had a few 0 for 10 days.

  13. Sounds like a reasonable approach, I.

    I cannot knock up to eight top contenders, this thing is so open. Don’t get me wrong. On a fast, dry track, I believe Epicenter is the most probable winner, the “best horse.”

    As for who to bet on straight, like you suggest for your money horses, that could be a game time decision for me…

  14. The great part of this Sport of Kings of ours is that it allows for friendly participation for and from all of us. In a way, it allows the opportunity for me to “steal” a few nicklels out of your pocket, or maybe you out of mine. If everyone of us was always right, well none of us would ever be wrong. And If none ever wrong, it would be a quite a “tiresome” game. At the end of the day, I just try and have some fun, and try to stay respectfull of others views, and humble enough going in, to know that not one of us can always be correct. Sometimes we will I suspect maybe even find each other high fiving mentally at an old cashier’s window. Best we keep our demeanors in check in our comments to one another is all. My youngest son would simply say “Simmer”, and my oldest would simply close with “Peace Out”. Brothers Grimm might have comented sagely “Play Nice”. There’s no off track surcharge in expressing an opinión politely or even whem in disagreement. Riders Up and a safe Journey to all. I hope that if I am ever wrong, lol, I hope it’s one of you that gets my nickels. Riders Up.

  15. Mr. Ed, err Indulto: I would think that you also can pick winners at a 90% rate as you certainly can communicate verbally with Francis.
    ————-
    The Kentucky Derby, a race that lasts a bit over two minutes once a year, created by breeders and owners for their financial benefit, that is supposedly ‘America’s race’ that draws dollar and dime bettors across the country seeking to win a few bucks; a race that usually has a heavy favorite or is a complete toss-up that even Mr. Ed or Francis can’t decipher. Yet, the race gets commentary, such as above, that leaves me (an ole fart), who has bet on the ponies day-in and day-out for decades, knowing that few actually ever cash for serious money as they have no handicapping skills derived from analyzing numerous races and knowing when to pass races that simply are impossible to handicap (stake races being the most difficult). And usually, when the sunsets for the day, the hype now over, all utter ‘turn the page’.

    1. I was just telling Francis the other day that I hadn’t heard from Wilbur Wrong in a long while and, suddenly, here you are! LOL

      Apparently during your decades of wagering and judicious passing, you didn’t notice that Churchill Downs doesn’t allow
      dime supers on Derby Day. That policy is particularly galling this year when they are “offering” a 20-cent Pick Six wager.

      From their wagering menu:
      “NOTE: Trifecta and Superfecta wagering on all races that qualify under Kentucky statutes. Daily Double and Super High-5 wagers are $1 minimum straight bets. On Oaks Day and Derby Day the Superfecta is a $1.00 minimum wager. Trifecta, Pick-3, Pick-4 and Pick-5 wagers are $.50 minimum straight bets. The Derby City-6 is a $.20 minimum wager. The Exacta is a $2.00 minimum straight bet with $1.00 boxes and wheels. The special Oaks Day/Derby Day Pick-6 is a $2.00 minimum wager and will be a separate event from the regular Oaks Day card.”

  16. Well.i believe that since we àll can bet from our couches,man caves since there are several live cable outlets,the cramaderie that we used to share,esp. on Saturdays seems to be gone. I,most of us,are becoming more introverts,and some of us find sharing anything becomes a waste of words and time,besides feeling as an outsider,like most of the rest,since ,for many reasons ,less acquaintances are around us,unfortunately. Washington Street horse joint was great when I d venture there in my four yrs running a restaurant in Late George. Today,when I venture into a betting place it is better to concentrate on my *work* because just about anything else will be a waste of time and a distraction.Never ask* Who do you like* and never reply to that same question. Like the old NY lottery ad,*I enjoy losing my money my own way!* Winning at a 20% clip seems a goal that many public handicappers have,besides picking value winners.Strange that 80% is an acceptable way of losing..excepting myself,of course,of course,but it,still,should Not make sense !Cannot start betting thinking that you will be losing.Would anyone get married thinking that soon you will be divorced ?? Why bother ?See you at Belmont !

  17. If you think I can’t do it let’s go to the paddock, of course many will be favorites so not much money in it really, but look for the one nobody else sees for the money. Zandon has that look in his eye and I like Classic Causeway in the Derby. Most people don’t believe what they can not see but there are plenty of things unseen that no one can explain. Kat

  18. Mr. Ed: Very pleased to learn that you are ‘still kicking’. Always enjoyed your mellifluous way of writing.
    ————-
    As to the subject discussed above (dosage), I find its application to be an unrealistic approach to ‘picking winners’. No matter how one slices it or dices it, a horse player handicapping a race simply cannot ignore class (belong in race, Alice), current condition, distance, trainer/jockey, raced at track, weight, record to date, and track condition. Dosage?

    1. No one said that other things are ignored. In my response, it clearly says “It is another tool in my arsenal” – Using the configurations of both sets of dosage figures gives the handicapper an edge in understanding what the colt’s potential distance capability is, his preferred bias, and even his potential running style. After those colts who do not appear to have the distance are tossed from consideration and the field is chopped down to a more manageable size – then the real handicapping begins. I do not understand how or why that premise could cause so much ire and confusion. In addition, absolutely no one is forcing it upon anyone. How a handicapper goes about his business putting the puzzle together has no bearing on another. I’ll stick with what works .

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