Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Talking Derby: Link Dump

By: T.R. Slyder,

Since I have a lot of research to do before the Derby now that my future's exactas are rubbish, I figured I'd pass along what I'm reading. It's worth noting, and I think you'll read it a few times if you read all these links, that Derby workouts sometimes foretell the winners. You'll read that Barbaro and Street Sense's worked leapt off the track and screamed "I'm going to win!" to the likes of Steve Haskin and Mike Welsch. Big Brown didn't have any off-the-charts works, but was the best horse by far, and his win was not shocking. So we'll be on the lookout for any jumps off the page of course, but we'll also be looking for any works that seem to defy a horse's poor odds. Last year Denis of Cork went off at 27-1, but finished third. I was not nearly as surprised by this as were many others, not because I detected this on anything I read in his Past Performances, but because I read Haskin oogling his recent Churchill works.

Another thing to think about when handicapping this race is where the pace will come from? Quality Road was the presumed pacesetter in this race, or at least the class of the speedsters. Now that he is gone every other favored horse will be in the same spot in the race- coming from just off the pace. There are no legitimate speedsters and no legitimate deep closers, only stalkers. Being difficult to differentiate between the stalkers, and financially, lacking any incentive to, it may be worth looking for a longshot to go wire-to-wire. IF a long shot wins, I think he'll do so leading throughout the race and getting away with slow fractions, and still having enough stank in the tank to fend off the late running stalkers. I can't foresee a 30-1 shot out kicking Dunkirk, Friesan Fire, I Want Revenge, Pioneer of the Nile and Desert Party, but I could see one getting loose on the lead end fending them off like happened in the 2008 Arlington Million. So far I think only Regal Ransom has that capability, but I'll be looking for more. It may also happen that a stalking-style horse is sent to the lead and surprises everyone. Pace makes the race, so deciphering that is square one.

The Derby Field

Derby contender Past Performances (this was done before the field was drawn. So the Post Positions are not listed and not every horse listed is running. If you use this, you'll have to cross-reference it with the above link).

This chat transcript from last night They will have another chat on Wednesday and on Thursday will have one with Andrew Beyer, who is basically the Yoda of handicapping.

Wednesday's chat (here's the transcript) is with this guy, that the NYT did a piece on. Untrue to NYT form, this article is not 87 pages long. It's one webpage long, informative and good. Short, sweet, but complete.

Steve Haskin's Derby Report. If you've ever wondered why I call him the Bob Ross of Horse racing, you'll see why here. Its how he describes the horse's strides, body language and their coat. The "human" element of the horses themselves as animals is what makes horse racing unique. Gotta love it.

Same goes for his Derby Dozen report as of 4/27

DRF's EIC Steve Crist showing why he's among the very best.

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