Originally the subject of this the 7th issue of Horseracing Info Newsletter was going to be “The Profile of a Kentucky Derby Winner.”

I even wrote 7 plus pages on the subject, which includes proof of just how difficult and special this one race is that’s coming up one month from today. It is truly the “test of champions”, and unlike any other race an equine athlete will ever be asked to participate in.

And to win this incredibly unique race a horse must meet certain criteria, a lack of which will narrow down the field significantly on May 3rd this year as they have in all of the past fifteen or so years.

So why have I changed my mind about the subject matter of this month’s newsletter?

To answer that, I’ll have to go back to last September. That is when the option of publishing a monthly ezine or newsletter was made available to me by the fantastic software called SBI that I used to build my website, information about which can by found by clicking here.

On the sign-up web page to become a new subscriber to this monthly newsletter I mention this and the fact that I like to write articles on horseracing. But for those of you who have wondered at any point during the past 6 months why I would want to give away so much valuable information for free, there was a long-term plan involved.

That was to have the monthly newsletter remain free for six months, after which time I would begin charging a nominal monthly fee for those interested. Since this is the 7th issue of Horseracing Info Newsletter, obviously that has not yet occurred.

The reason for this is that SBI has not yet made available the necessary credit card merchant account, which is imminent and should be in place within a month or two.

Reasons for subscribing to this monthly horseracing newsletter are, I’m sure, many in number. They range from simply accepting something for free, to wanting to learn more about what makes horses win races, to liking the material as well as the idea that there are free picks included.

Here are some stats concerning subscriber numbers provided to me by SBI:

** To date around 1500 of you have subscribed

** From that number between 65% and 70% (currently 975 to 1050) actually open the email each month. The other 450 to 525 delete it without opening the email or viewing the newsletter. This is understandable as in this day and age many of us subscribe to free newsletters and without as much of a current interest as we first may have had, we simply delete rather than view or even unsubscribe.

** From the 1000 or so of “actual” subscribers, about 250 to 300 view the daily free selections with regularity.

Now you know my long term plan, and I’ll let you know if and when I will actually begin charging the nominal fee for this newsletter.

As far as the daily free selections are concerned, those of you who view them will have noticed by now that they have been reduced to a standard of one per racing day, rather than the 3 or more I used to post.

On occasion I will put up more than 1 race, but for now that is the standard.

Before making this decision, I was going to reveal some extremely important information about the profile of a Kentucky Derby winner in today’s newsletter, and go over my thoughts, analysis, and selections for the big event, which would coincide with the May 3rd issue.

But as I have said, that is now not the case. My plan to begin charging a nominal monthly fee for this newsletter of about $10 per month, which would include daily free picks back at the usual 3 or more races per day number, has been pushed back.

In the interim I have a proposal for those interested. At a cost of $10 you can obtain my 7-plus page Kentucky Derby Report, that was originally going to be the topic of today’s newsletter. This will also include updates from now right up to the day of the Kentucky Derby, with of course full analysis and selections for the big race.

I will be offering the same arrangement for the subsequent 2 Triple Crown races, The Preakness and The Belmont Stakes.

Those interested can pay for any one or all 3, one by one or all at a time. Noteworthy updates, analysis and selections for any one event will cost $10, and an advance purchase of all 3 will be discounted to $25.00.

I fully expect that all subscribers to this service will make their money back on the Kentucky Derby alone, with a whole lot left over, since I’ll be on top of all the prep races and rating each contender by the criteria discussed in the initial report.

Subscribers to this or these special event(s) will be updated frequently. Whatever I know, you will know, and again, I expect to make scores on all 3 of the spring classics, including the first and biggest a month from today.

There are 3 options for payment, 2 of which will get you subscribed immediately. To subscribe and get not only my 7+ page Kentucky Derby Report (with updates after the 5 remaining major Derby prep races), but also 3 or more races daily with analysis and selections (including key Derby prep race The Santa Anita Derby) beginning with the day you subscribe to well beyond the final leg of the Triple Crown series, please click here.

Now I'll go over a couple of races from 2 weekends ago that will hopefully shed some light on how we can make steady profits from this game of horseracing.

Race 7 at Aqueduct on Saturday March 22nd was a field of 10, including the 1 entry, of three year olds & up going 6F at the N.Y.S.B. 2nd allowance level, also described as NW2X.

You can view and/or print the p.p.'s for this race by clicking here.

And the results chart is here.

This as well as the next example illustrates how we can get good payoffs (on the races in which we are correct) if we have just one of our contenders go off as an overlay (higher odds than we originally project).

I'll list the field in post position order, after which I'll go through my thought process during the handicapping procedure and then the all important wagering procedure. I'll list the horses by name, followed by the running style I have labeled each, the last out Beyer speed figure, the last out final fraction (raw/actual), and any last out "moves within a race" made.

2. Say Cousin Lenny P 49 Stale --

3. Infinite Justice EP 75 24.3/25.1 --

4. Mister Bravo P 77 25.3/25.3 --

1. Beyond Chance P 81 24.3/24.4 D/P

5. War Paint P 66 25.3/25.1 T/M

6. Bags Are Packed P 64 25.3/26.4 --

7. What's What EP 80 25.0/25.0 --

1A. Pure Amazement EP 73 26.3/26.3 --

8. Artistic Awareness EP 72 24.3/25.4 Prof./W.O.

9. Mecca's Pal S 65 Stale --

My selections listed on the Horseracing Info Newsletter subscriber's free picks page for this race were:

8. Artistic Awareness (8-1) (4-1)
3. Infinite Justice (3-1) (5-2)
1. Beyond Chance (7-2) (3-1)

The first part of my basic 3-step handicapping process, as outlined in my book, "Calibration Handicapping - The Next Level", details of which can be found by clicking here, is pace shape analysis.

The pace shape of this field was 4 early or 4EP - (10). Again, I lump all the speed horses, those with E and EP running styles, into one group I label EP. My order of the speeds was 1A-3-8-7.

Was there an advantage to either basic running style, early or late runners? I didn't think so, because from among the 4 early speeds, I didn't see one that I thought was that dominant early over the others.

And I did not see a closer with an obvious big advantage over the others.

So as far as pace shape analysis went for this race, I thought it was neutral and not a strong factor in this match up. The winner was not projected to be aided by a pace shape advantage in favor of his running style.

Here's a closer look at each of the entries:

2.) Say Cousin Lenny was stale, having not run in 5 1/2 months. There are 2 things I look for when deciding whether or not to consider such a layoff horse, and normally I will toss from contention a stale horse (one that has not raced within 90 days). How well it was racing before the layoff, and how well it has worked out recently.

Although Say Cousin Lenny did have a pretty good workout line with the 1:01.1 breezing, followed by a better 1:00.3 handily, a 1:18.1 breezing, and a good 47.3 breezing from the gate, he had not run well enough at this level in his last couple of outings before the layoff. He finished 8th in this try at odds of 12 to 1.

3.) Infinite Justice was a top 2 contender. The keys for him were the following. First of all, he along with the 1 horse and the 8 horse were exiting the race with the best last out raw final fraction of 24.3.

Secondly, in his last race which was his first since a 5 month layoff, he got into a bumping incident at the start with Artistic Awareness, which didn't help the cause of either.

And finally, his races prior to the layoff indicated that he would be a close to the pace force to deal with in this match up, having won the $149K NY Breeder's Futurity at Finger Lakes (against top NY Breds), and having been involved in early splits of 22.3 and 45.4 in a 7F ungraded $83K stakes race that had a raw final 8th of 12.2.

4.) Mister Bravo was a fringe player in this group because of his last couple of efforts, both 3rd place finishes. If he had recorded a slightly better final fraction in his last, say 25.0 or 25.1 vs. his 25.3, I may have listed him as a periphery play to be considered for an "underneath" slot in exacta or trifecta plays. In hindsight, his prior race in the mud did reflect such a FF when he got the last quarter in 24.4, which although on an off track, did equal the best last out final 440 yards among these.

1.) Beyond Chance was my 3rd choice based on his Double Play status, having the best last out Beyer speed figure along with the best last out final fraction of 24.4. Why wasn't he listed in my top 2? Because he had a couple of gaps in his racing schedule that weren't normal for a sound race horse.

If you'll notice, he had a break from August 2nd to December 27th, when he ran dead last up the track at a route in the mud, and then another 2 month break before his last good try. Because of his D/P status, however, and the race he was exiting, I had to consider him a top 3 candidate.

5.) War Paint was a non-contender for me, despite his having made a last out "move within a race" I call the T/M play. That score at the NW1X level was in the mud, and although one could see the race he won had already produced next out wins for the place and show horses (by the italics used in their names in the Daily Racing Form past performances), he would really have to step it up a few notches (as a 3 year old facing older for the first time) to compete with these off his last out Beyer speed figure of 66.

6.) Bags Are Packed won his prior (with a FF of 26.0) and then finished a remote 5th in his last at this level, and according to the factors I stress, did not figure to threaten in this try.

7.) Whats What was similar in some respects to War Paint. He had won his last at the NW1X level, and was stepping up to the next level to face older for the first time. The main reason why I eliminated him from contention was the fact that he showed that he wanted the lead. He had gone wire to wire in his only 2 outings, with good FF's of 25.0 in both.

But as I said earlier, I had him projected as the 4th speed horse, meaning he was a horse that showed only wire to wire wins in his brief career who very likely could not get to the front in this match up. Look at his last out early splits of 23.2 and 47.2 and compare them to the common race from which my 3 selections were exiting (including 2 of the speeds in here) of 22.4 and 46.0. Without the ability to get to the front in this contest, I thought he was a good bet against at what may be low odds, and on this occasion I happened to be right as he never got close to the lead and finished 7th at 7 to 2.

1A.) Pure Amazement was a good entry mate for Beyond Chance. He figured to press the pace early and set things up for the late run of the latter. If he was the only part of the entry to run, however, I would not have had him on my top 3 contender list. His last outing, although a win at the NW1X level, simply did not match up with my top listed entries.

As can happen when we try to visualize how the race is going to be run, during the actual running of the race things can unfold quite differently than we expected. Beyond Chance did not lay off the pace as I thought he would, but went head to head with the eventual winner for 4F before fading back to 6th, while Pure Amazement nearly saved the trifecta play by running a strong 4th.

8.) Profile/W.O. play Artistic Awareness was the value horse among my selections with a M/L of 8-1, my value line of 4-1 and actual post time odds of 9-1. I made him a top 2 contender off his last two outings, in which he first made a good middle move, followed by the kind of fade back effort I promote in my book. Again, he did not run as the 2nd speed as I had anticipated after dropping back sharply early due to being crowded at the start. But because of the energy produced by his prior 2 performances, he came on strongly to complete the exacta behind 4 3/4 length winner Infinite Justice.

9.) Mecca's Pal was even more of a non-play stale horse than was Say Cousin Lenny, having not run since June 12th, at which point he was out of form, and he didn't show a good workout line.

The elimination of the two stale horses effectively reduced this field of 10 to 7 entries.

I made a good profit on this race playing the exacta, but lost the trifecta wagers when I used only my top 3 selections. In 20-20 hindsight, the proper trifecta play would have been to key the top 2 picks in the win slot with all 3 plus Mister Bravo in the 2nd and 3rd slots. The $1 play of 3-8/1-3-4-8/1-3-4-8 would have returned half of the $305 payoff for a $12 outlay.

For each race I have under consideration to play, in addition to adhering to the wagering plan that I reviewed and included in Newsletter #002, which can be found by clicking here, I ask 3 simple questions.

Which are the contenders? Which contenders can win this race? What are all the wagering options available to me in this contest?

For this race, the answers I gave to these 3 questions were: #'1 8, 3, #'s 8 and 3, and win, exacta and trifecta wagers.

Since my top choice was a strong overlay, I bet him to win. I then played exactas keying my top 2 picks in the first 2 slots, mostly in the win position. My exacta plays were: 3-8/1-3-8 for 5 units, 1/3-8 for 3 units, and 3-8 box for 6 units. If the unit of play was $1, which it is not for me, but we'll use it as an example, the cost of these exacta plays would be respectively $10, $6, and $12 for a total of $28.

Because the total of the odds of my 3 contenders was 14, I opted to play the trifecta also, this way: 3-8/1-3-8/1-3-8 and 1/3-8/3-8, the $1 2 unit cost for each being $8 and $4 for a total of $12.

Here were the results:

3. $6.20
8. 2nd - 3-8 Ex. $48.00
4. 3rd - 3-8-4 Tri. $305.00

The following day on Sunday March 23rd there was another value situation created by an overlay horse that was part of the exacta and trifecta. This one was a field of 8 (including the 1 entry) after part of the 2 entry, 2B Knock Again was scratched. They were four year olds & up going 6F with claiming tags of $45K down to $35K.

You can view and/or print the p.p.'s for this race by clicking here.

And the results chart is here.

Here is the field that went to the post for this race.

1. He Did It His Way P 85 25.1/25.0 --

3. City Of Peace P 83 24.0/25.1 SRE

2. Max Jones EP 84 25.4/26.4 --

4. Whitewaterspritzer P 43 24.4/26.0 --

1A. Pelican Beach EP -- 25.4/--- --
                100 25.1/25.1 --

5. Pagan Place EP 82 Stale --

6. Dancer's Wish EP 81 25.4/25.4 --

7. Nevada Strip S 75 24.0/24.1

My selections listed on the subscriber's free picks page for this race were:

1. He Did It His Way (2-1) (2-1)
3. City Of Peace (4-1) (3-1)
7. Nevada Strip (12-1) (5-1)

For this match up of 7 entries (obviously short fields can produce solid payoffs) I had the order of speeds as 2-1A-6-5 and the order of final fractions was 7-1-3.

The pace shape of this race was 4EP - (8), and like the previous example did not show a horse that was dominant early over the other speeds.

Here's a closer look at the field:

1.) He Did It His Way had earned the 2nd best last out final fraction of 25 flat running an even 4th in his last when in for $55K. Off the drop in class and post position differential of the rail vs. the 8 slot for my 3rd choice (which did, however, have a FF advantage of 4/5ths) I made him my top selection.

3.) City Of Peace was an SRE play and the lone last out "move" horse in the field, that being in his prior score at the $25K claiming level. Since he was dropping from having made a middle move in his last at the NW3X allowance level, and his prior win included a strong 24.0 FF, after a June to January layoff, I made him my 2nd choice in this match up.

2.) Max Jones was one of the keys to value in this race, and his presence was one of the main reasons why I chose it to put up on my Horseracing Info Newsletter Free Picks page, as well as considering it a potentially good betting proposition myself.

The reason I say this is because Max Jones was projected by me to be the main speed, as well as one of the top public betting choices because of his recent record and being trained by one of the top trainers Richard Dutrow, Jr.

But I'm not usually enamored by a horse that blows a 3 length lead at the furlong marker. In his last he lost 5 lengths in the final 220 yards when finishing 2nd by 2 lengths.

Yes, he did stumble at the start, but if the 1A part of the entry stayed in and competed in this race, Max Jones would be hard pressed to take this field all the way on top.

Obviously, I was eagerly anticipating the late scratch report on the NYRA web site. Since I had #1 He Did It His Way as my top pick, I wanted his speedball entry mate to not be scratched and put early pressure on Max Jones.

And of course I was very happy to see that he was not a late scratch.

One could see that when Max Jones did hold on and go all the way on top in his 3rd start back his final fraction was a good 24.4, but that was not a whole lot better than the last out FF of my top choice; 1/5th, and not as good at all as the last out 24.1 FF of #7 Nevada Strip.

Here was a case in which the public saw a hot trainer, who was engaged in a battle for top honors for the current meet, with a horse who was sure to get to the front, and with gaudy 95 Beyer speed figures showing in 2 of his past 5 races, was a solid bet to take this field all the way on top for the six furlongs.

But the figures told a different story. And the results show that speed figures are not the whole ball game when it comes to handicapping the thoroughbreds.

4.) Whitewaterspritzer was coming off a real clunker when running 2nd to last most of the way and finishing in that spot in an 8 horse field. He was claimed for $40K from that non effort and stepped up to this level. Since his prior race 3 months earlier was nothing to write home about either, he had to be placed on the non contender list.

1A.) Pelican Beach as stated was the entry mate of my top selection, and he had shown a world of early speed in his past performances, most of which were run out of town.

It was notable, however, that the last time he did ship in to N.Y. he won in the mud for $18K. His last was the type of race that will make most handicappers eliminate him right away.

That's because he was eased in the stretch and never really finished the race, which was on the Aqueduct Inner dirt track at 6F against better at the $60K/$50K claiming level.

Scott Lake did think enough of this one to claim him as a part owner. When a horse is in some kind of distress like Pelican Beach was, he is required to have at least one public workout before racing again.

Pelican Beach did have that one workout 3 weeks before this race, and it was a good 48.2 breezing effort, a signal that whatever had bothered him in his last outing was probably a thing of the past. Before that last try in N.Y. he had won from on or near the lead 8 of his prior 10 outings.

So he was a worthy entry mate for my top selection.

5.) Pagan Place was stale, having not raced since August 4th of 2002, and although he was a horse that had historically shown good early presence, with a couple of solid final fraction horses going against him I tossed him from the top 3 despite the drop in class and a couple of decent works showing.

6.) Dancer's Wish was taking a slight drop in claiming price, and had won his prior 2 tries at this level with FF's of 24.1 and 25.1. He was exiting the same heat as Max Jones, and had run an okay 3rd after a wide trip in same.

But as a rule of thumb, when I see a horse that has a winning streak interrupted, and in his case it included an inferior FF of 25.4 (with the same raw FF), I don't generally expect to see such a horse come back again with a top try right away. I saw this one as a bet against.

7.) Nevada Strip was the value play for me in this particular match up. Because he was an S runner going from the outside 8 hole, I could not bring myself to list him as my top contender.

But he had good credentials. He had won his prior for $18.5K before being claimed for $25K from his last, in which the raw final fraction was a strong 24.0 and his actual was a very good field best 24.1.

Because of the projected quick and contested early pace up front, which did materialize as the early splits were 22.3 and 45 flat, he could have been thought to have a real good shot to be closing strongly through the lane.

As it happened, he did just that, and at 16-1 was the overlay that created nice exotic payoffs. The final point that put him in my top 3 contender list was the fact that he had a very difficult trip in his last when steadied on 4 different occasions as well as blocked at the 3/16ths pole.

His prior score signaled that he was in form, and the strong 24.1 FF with a darkened past performance line due to his traffic troubles, made him a win/place bet at those overlay odds.

My answers to the 3 questions I ask were: What are the contenders here? - 1-3-7; Which can win this race? - all of them; What are all of the wagering options? - win or win and place, exacta, and trifecta.

My value lines on the 3 selections were in order, 2-1, 3-1, and 5-1. The near post odds were 9-5, 5-1 and 16-1. There were therefore 2 horses that were overlays, and since Nevada Strip had the strong last out final fraction plus the other attributes I mentioned, he was the win play for me.

I play mostly to win, but I have a cut off point at which I will split the bet to cover the place also. That point is 15-1. Under 15-1 I'll go with strictly the win bet. At or over 15-1 I'll go with win and place.

Here were my wagers for this race: 10 units win, 10 units place on #7 Nevada Strip at 16-1.

Exactas: 3 unit box 1-3-7, 4 unit p/w 1-3/7

Trifectas: 2 unit box 1-3-7, 1 unit p/w 1-3/1-3-7/1-3-7

Here were the results:

1A. $5.60
7. 2nd - 1-7 Ex. $53.00
1. 3rd
3. 4th - 1-7-3 Tri. $192

For the free selections I post each racing day on my private web page for subscribers to this newsletter, you can bookmark this web page:


Or you can click here.

Until Kentucky Derby Day, Saturday May 3, 2003, I wish you Fair Skies and Fast Tracks.


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