Early Speed Going Long – A Method to Profit?
"Luck goes to those with speed."
"Speed kills in football. Speed kills in horse racing."
I think everyone reading this article understands that early speed is critical in sprint races. What I am going to present today are some rules and concepts using ‘early speed’ to find value in 2-turn route races on the dirt. The data used will come directly from the Brisnet.com "Ultimate PP’s." In particular, we are going to focus on "Early-type" route horses that are either E-horses (front-runners) or E/P horses (very close to the pace).
Our ideal 2-turn route "win candidate(s)" will follow the above criteria:
The Method in Action on the Triple Crown Trail (March 15 and 16, 2003)
Florida Derby: Trust N Luck was the lone speed in the Fountain of Youth in February, 2003. He got little respect, despite a 110 Beyer at Calder in December, and went off at 9-2 odds. Breaking from his 6th post position, with a solid trainer, jockey, and proven record, he was an excellent bet that day, drawing off to win by 5 lengths over an overmatched field. The key number was Trust N Luck got the first ¼ mile in 23 3/5. In the Florida Derby, Trust N Luck was still lone speed, but now he was at 4-5 odds. Plus he was facing several new shooters in Empire Maker, Indy Dancer and Senor Swinger. Add in Bobby Frankel’s comments that "Empire Maker would be at Trust N Luck’s throat" with blinkers added and things did not bode well for Trust N Luck in the Florida Derby. Trust N Luck was pressed through a much faster first quarter (22 3/5) and "never got a breather," according to jockey Cornelio Velasquez. This is an example of how the favorite can get pressed on the lead. Empire Maker came up to Trust N Luck and blew past him, winning by nearly 10 lengths. It would be charitable to say Trust N Luck was a bad bet at 4-5, and maybe even a terrible one.
Gotham: Due to inclement weather, the Gotham was run around 2 turns. There were 3 legit speed horses:
No matter how you cut it, Alysweep and/or Torre and Zim figure to dominate the race. Case closed. The only question is if Alysweep and Torre and Zim will get into a speed duel, but in this case I say take your chances because the value was there. If you are a pick 3/pick 4/pick 6 bettor, I would recommend you use both of our top horses. You might also want to consider using both horses in an exacta box. Since the odds are so high overall, I would also recommend betting all three speed horses to win. If "Mustbe" got loose early (let’s say Alysweep broke poorly), his speed figures were competitive with everybody else in the field.
Result: Alysweep went wire to wire, winning by 4 and paying $21.00. Torre and Zim made a challenge at the ¼ pole and faded. Betting $2 to win on all three of our speed horses would have netted +$15.00.
Santa Anita Derby: The betting in this race was very strange, because the closers took all the money. Here are the speed horses:
Note first that there are no "E" horses. There are all E/P. This means there are no "speed crazy" horses in here, aiding to the chances of the speed horses to win. The most likely leader was Siberland, with his 8 speed points, but his pace figures in his last race were poor and he came from Turf Paradise, making him an unlikely winner of a Grade 2 race at Santa Anita. Buckland Manor is bred for turf and is also unlikely. That leaves Buddy Gill and Brancusi. Buddy Gill came off a turf sprint, but had a dirt pedigree and had a 57.4 work prior to the race. Brancusi’s last race is very competitive on both speed and pace and is monster odds. Both Buddy Gill and Brancusi should be used.
Here are the top 3 closers:
I think this race shows people were betting on emotion and not "on the numbers." Domestic Dispute was the slowest horse of the top six contenders, by whatever metric, and was coming off a 2- month layoff. And he’s the 2-1 favorite. Man Among Men and Domestic Dispute were the 2 fastest horses (final speed) in the race, but figured to get caught behind a moderate pace.
Betting/Result: I have to admit I really screwed this one up. I "fell in love" with Man Among Men at 5-2 odds, using the logic he was the best horse because he beat Peace Rules and Empire Maker. Bad mistake. When one has a solid method and it gives you solid returns, stick with the method, especially when the odds are so well stacked in your favor. Siberland went to the front (as could be predicted), but he packed it in on the turn (also relatively predictable). Brancusi (my second pick) took over and looked like the winner inside the sixteenth pole, but he got a little tired, getting passed by winner Buddy Gill (paying $21.60) and the hard-closing Atswhatimtalknbout, who may have been best. A $1 tri box using the two top speed horses and the top 2 closers would have cost $24 and returned $1,475.90. Betting $2 to win on all 4 speed horses would have netted +$13.60.
A method for identifying live long shots using early speed in 2-turn route races was identified. The method was based on early speed horses getting a "soft" first quarter mile going into the first turn. The method was shown to be successful in identifying win candidates in the Gotham and the San Felipe stakes. A flat bet on all "overlaid" early speed horses in 2-turn route races shows the potential for profit.
-- Tony Kelzenberg is a long time Brisnet.com member who relies on BRIS performance ratings in his handicapping.