Price hunting at Keeneland: the Breeders' Futurity

Keeneland Fall, one of the most challenging and entertaining meets of the year, opens Friday here in Lexington. Keeneland will host nine graded stakes from Friday through Sunday, with many of them having implications for the Breeders' Cup.

This week's race of the week will be the Breeders' Futurity (G1), for two-year-olds going 1 1/16 miles on the polytrack. Carded as Saturday's 8th race, it is the third leg of a 50-cent pick-5 wager that also includes the Thoroughbred Club of Amercia S. (G2), the First Lady (G1), and the Shadwell Turf Mile (G1), and ends with a maiden special weight race for fillies and mares going 1 1/16 on the polytrack.

Speaking of the Polytrack, the main track surface at Keeneland is a huge handicapping variable. Unless a horse is proven over the surface, I recommend demanding extra value. Favorites have performed extremely poorly in graded stakes on the polytrack since it was installed in 2006.

Here is my take on the Breeders' Futurity:

 1 Joha likes Polytrack with a combined career record of 3-1-1-1 sprinting over the synthetic surfaces here at Keeneland and at Woodbine. He was alone on the lead stretching out to 1 1/16 miles on the turf at Saratoga in the With Anticipation Stakes (G2) and he held until the final yards, when Balance the Books ran him down rather impressively. Joha is likely to be sent from this rail post. Forwardly placed horses do well on this track layout (very short stretch), but unless there is a speed bias on Saturday, I won't be using him on top. 

2 Are You Kidding Me broke his maiden impressively in his third career start at Woodbine, looking like a horse who would love more ground. His next two were on turf. He stepped up to the allowance ranks and beat a good filly (Nancy O, who ran third in the G2 Natalama), then was a closing second in the Summer Stakes (G2). He got shuffled back in that race but still came with a steady rally on the yielding turf. I view him as a win threat, but he'll need to keep in touch with the leaders and work out a trip from the inside.

3 He's So Fine gets first-time Lasix after running a  non-descript 5th in the With Anticipation. Previously he picked up the pieces behind a pace duel to finish a distant second in the Saratoga Special (G2). Not convinced he fits here.

4 Java's War looked great breaking his maiden at Ellis Park, and the horse that finished third to him (Sonofasamurai) came back to win impressively at Saratoga. He was last early in the Sunday Silence Stakes at Louisiana Downs but worked his way through traffic like a men among boys. He delivered a powerful late burst and wore down stakes winner Brown Almighty to get the win. Some questions about the quality of field he beat, but no question about the style in which he did it. His final time was more than a second faster than 2yo fillies ran in the sister race on same card. Java has some natural speed to stalk the pace in here, and I think he's a win threat making his first start on the Poly.

5 Tizracer earned the top last-race Beyer speed figure with his 10+length win breaking his maiden at Belmont. He was alone on the lead and steadily drew away in that small field. Progeny of Tiznows are gallopers, and they often like synthetic tracks. He only beat four horses in the maiden win, and he'll face 13 rivals here. Mixed feelings.

6 Pataky Kid broke his maiden in a key heat at Arlington Park, then stepped up to win the Arlinton-Washington Futurity (G3) by three lengths, going one mile on the Polytrack. Steady mover looked like he will handle more ground no problem and he was not extended. He's a little slow on speed figures, but he still has some upside. 

7 Craving Carats stole a maiden race on the front end at Saratoga, then was a troubled 8th in the With Anticipation. Expect an agreesive ride from Desormeaux, who rides this track configuration as well as any rider, but this one would need to jump forward significantly on the poly to compete for the win.

8 Dipsy Drew looks overmatched coming off the maiden win at Kentucky Downs. He is likely to be sent by rider Jon Court.

9 Charming Kitten looked good breaking his maiden off a wide, pace-pressing trip at Saratoga. He got an even better trip in the With Anticipation but couldn't quicken enough in the lane to catch Joha, then got his doors blown off by Balance the Books. He could be ready to take a small step forward 2nd time vs. winners. Castellano staying on board is a plus.

10 Positively returns off a 90-day layoff following a good three-race campaign at the Churchill spring meet. He looked like he would appreciate more ground in the maiden win going 5 1/2 furlongs. He produced a wide rally from last in the Bashford Manor (G3) and absolutely lookd like a winner mid-stretch, before flattening a bit to get second. The winner (Circle Unbroken) came back to finish second in the Mountaineer Juvenile, in what was probably an above average edition of that race. Positively showed some high leg action in the Bashford Manor, and sometimes horses with that motion adapt well to Polytrack.

11 Balance the Books got going a little too late in his debut when finishing second behind wire-to-wire winner Craving Carats. Despite his maiden status, his connections put him in the With Anticipation (Grade 2), and he showed why, producing a fierce rally to run down loose-on-the-lead Joha. Balance the Books ran his final 5/16 in a fast 28-4, and looked like he would love more ground. If he can duplicate that move on the Poly, he is very dangerous, but two caveats. This course layout does not favor deep closers, and I often seen big turns of foot dulled a bit on the Poly. Expect him to come running.

12 Dynamic Sky debuted in a Canadian-bred stake at Woodbine, where he finished third after getting repelled by the very good two-year-old Uncaptured. Dynamic Sky came back in another restricted stake and took a nice step forward. He produced a sustained, wide move and wore down Honorable Guest (whom Joha also beat by a head in his maiden win) to get the win. The race came back fast (90 Beyer speed figure), but he looked a little green lugging in during that stretch run. He has some running ability, but I think he'll need another step forward in the maturity department to take this from out here.

13 He's Had Enough looked green but promising when he broke his maiden in his debut going 6 1/2 furlongs on the Del Mar polytrack. Stepped up and stretched out to one mile on turf, he ran an ok 6th in the Oak Tree Juvenile. In both races he shied from close space competition with other horses. The connections are going blinkers on here, no doubt to try to improve his forward efficiency. 1 1/16 miles on the poly looks like a good trip for this Tapit colt, but there's no margin for error from this wide post and he'll need a forward move.

14 Tree of Life looks slow on Beyer speed figures, too slow, but I really liked the intangibles in both of his wins. Undefeated Lion Heart colt handled a lot of chaos and showed good presence in both of his races. Note his restricted stakes win at Fairplex was a two-turn race. He's stepping up in class a few levels and drew a terrible post. I like this horse, but I can't endorse him for the win on the cross-country ship and move to G1 company.


Pete's Picks

Java's War

Balance the Books

Are You Kidding Me

Pataky Kid


Leave a Comment:


First off, I just want to say that I love Keeneland. Second, as you stated Pete, there is sometimes a huge speed bias on this track. I will have to review all of the Friday races to see how the track is playing.

Looking at the card for Saturday, there are some loaded races. The Shadwell has 6 horses that could win, even if Wise Dan fires. I am going to play the pick 5

Race 6 Honey Chile and Groupie Doll

race 7 Daisy Devine Summer Soiree

RAce 8 Pataky Kid, Charming Kitten, Joha

Race 9 Wise Dan, Silver Max, Dominus, Double Partner, Swift Warrior

Race 10 Gloat.

60$ for a buck

May change slightly if/if not speed bias...

04 Oct 2012 9:41 AM

and if you bet breeder/owner/trainer combo's, just bet the hell out of he Ramsey's and Maker. You will get more than a few nice priced Kitten Joy's come thru. they always do...

04 Oct 2012 10:05 AM
Pete Denk


If u r going that deep in the Shadwell, I think u r flirting with disaster by not using Data Link.

04 Oct 2012 12:44 PM

I can see where you can like Data Link being 1-1 over the course and turning in some nice races, but in this race, I think there will be too much for him to do turning for home. He typically comes from off of the pace a touch, and I think Dominus, Silver Max, Swift Warrior and Wise Dan will be forwardly placed in relation to Data Link turning for home. I dont/cant see him runnig by all of those above. I think Silver Max has the best opportunity to win, he won 6 in a row until he tried to go 10 panels. but Wise Dan may play the role of Gio Ponti, and class just wins out regardless of pace.

04 Oct 2012 1:51 PM
Monarchos Matt

Great write up here Pete. The Futurity is definitely the best value race of the day in my opinion. I'm a bit frustrated that the Pick 5 ends with a MSW race rather than including the earlier Turf Sprint Stakes race, as I don't have a stong enough feeling about that race to play it (although it looks like Billy found a single!) I'll probably play some rolling Pick 3s instead. My early picks:

WOODFORD STAKES- The pick here is GREAT MILLS, who has run well at Keeneland previously and should be able to carve out reasonable fractions from outside the speedy Will's Wildcat. I expect Bridgetown to be there as well and can never discount the closing Chamberlain Bridge. Will go three deep in the Pick 3.


FIRST LADY STAKES- The last time Tapitsfly and Daisy Devine met up on the front end, it set up perfectly for HUNGRY ISLAND, and I expect a similar scenario Saturday, especially with the added speed presence of Summer Soiree. Of the pace horses, I suppose I like Tapitsfly the best, although I'm not really sure what to make of her last effort, a 6th place finish in the Ballston Spa where she never really got going. Daisy Devine concerns me a bit coming off the layoff and really has never won without getting an easy lead which won't happen here, although admittedly she has beaten Tapitsfly over this very course. Summer Soiree figures to flame out first under light 2012 seasoning and was easily beaten by the top choice in her last outing. So, I'll go two deep here with Hungry Island the top choice over Tapitsfly. Chalky...but better than betting Daisy Devine or Summer Soiree at 3-1 in my opinion.

DIXIANA FUTURITY- Lots of value here. I lean towards the stalkers as again there looks to be a lot of pace from Joha on the rail, Tizracer outside of him and to a lesser extent Craving Carats and Dipsey Drew. The fastest winner in the field on synthetic to date is PATAKY KID who I don't think has shown his best yet. Gomez flew in to ride him specifically at Arlington a few weeks back which has to count for something. I also like Java's War who made a similar move over the turf and should relish the distance. I'm looking to play a 3 horse exacta here and then go 4 deep in the Pick 3. Will probably throw Tizracer in to the exacta with the above two to keep some speed on the board and use Balance the Books as my last horse in the Pick 3. Although I'm scared to death of Dynamic Sky and don't like leaving Joha out either if the rail is playing towards the speed. I like others better than Are You Kidding Me moving off the turf, and Charming Kitten was beaten without excuse over the turf by a couple of these here and I find it hard to make a case for him.

SHADWELL TURF MILE- I actually disagree with Billy here and think that Silver Max and Dominus are going to kill each other on the front end and get added pressure from cheap speed types like Skyring and Worthadd. This will set up for somewhat of a pace meltdown which should fall right into the hands of the always consistent DATA LINK and over a course where he has previously won. 8-1 will be stealing. Of course, you have to respect Wise Dan as well in this spot who should get first run on the pacesetters and will admittedly be tough to run down if Data Link drops too far out of it. A wildcard here is Doubles Partner coming off the layoff who also always fires and likes to move late as well. Corporate Jungle is less intriguing having not actually beaten top class horses but isn't impossible at a nice price. So, I'll be betting to Data Link outright and will use Wise Dan and Doubles Partner in the Pick 3.

04 Oct 2012 5:39 PM
Pete Denk

I'll either single Cerce Cay or go DEEP in the final at Keeneland on Saturday.

04 Oct 2012 11:05 PM

Thanks Pete, looks like a fun weekend with Keeneland opening and the Arc running.  Nice write ups, yours and Matt.  There's also some nice races at Belmont and the first leg of the Late P4 looks to be a single.

TCA : Groupie Doll looks to be really tough, only hope of upsetting her is the giant killer so I'm going to throw Emma's Encore in there just in case.

Shadwell : Had to single one race, might as well be Dan.

Late Pick 5 and Pick 4 ($20.00 P5 /  $10.00 P4) :

06th : Groupie Doll / Emma's Encore

07th : Tapitsfly

08th : Are You Kidding Me, Tizracer

09th : Wise Dan

10th : Ocean Bertie /  Bird Swing / Gloat / Song Of Bernadette / Cerce Cay

BELMONT PARK  Late P4 ($30.00 ) :

07th : Dreaming Of Julia

08th : Fortify / Shanghai Bobby

09th : Cogito / Unbridled Command / Dullahan

10th : Springcourt / Copper Tiger / Trumpet Man / Acadian Blues / My Man Dan

05 Oct 2012 1:19 AM
Pete Denk

JayJay, I think u should follow Monarchos Matt's lead and single Hungry Island (great pace setup, best closer) instead of Tapitsfly (off form, pace pressure).

05 Oct 2012 8:46 AM
Pete Denk

My play today at Belmont -- Reach for a Peach -- in race 6 will probably SCR because the race is off the turf.

05 Oct 2012 8:47 AM
Pedigree Ann

Don't know how it will be this fall, but usually you do not want to be on the lead until well into the stretch on the Kee turf course. Yes, even in the turf sprints. Watch the turf races today for a clue; looks like there is lone speed in the 7th - if he is swallowed up late, it won't look good for Silver Max, et. al.

Conversely, the shortened main-track stretch in 1 1/16 races (1/16 short of the usual finish) is generally good for front- or close-up runners. Which is why in today's Alcibiades, I am looking at La Song, who ran very fast early in the one-turn mile Arl Lassie and was just nailed at the wire. Wire-to-wire is quite possible.

Worthadd is cheap speed? You are aware that this horse won the Italian Derby and Guineas, then at 4 gave the very smart Canford Cliffs fits in the G1 Lockinge S last year? His form has been less stellar this year, so he is coming to the North America looking for weaker competition. Don't know what happened in the Woodbine race; maybe he didn't ship well or wasn't ridden to best use by the new jock. Worthadd's best is pretty decent by Euro standards.

05 Oct 2012 9:52 AM

Pete : Yeah I thought about that for a long time but my angle (and praying I'm right) is that she'll be able to pull away from Summer early on and build her lead coming into the homestretch and hold off HI's charge.  I'll probably have Hungry Island in my P4 depending on the odds.  I think HI will go off at 3-2 at least.

05 Oct 2012 10:21 AM
Monarchos Matt

Pedigree Ann,

Point taken on Worthadd. Admittedly, I got a bit lazy on that one, looked at his 2012 races and didn't dig any deeper than that. Still, it sounds like you would agree that his best racing days appear to be behind him based on his recent form. And, if he turns out to be "real" speed as you say, then that only strengthens my handicapping angle anyway.

05 Oct 2012 10:41 AM

I don't usually play Keeneland because I think the track is quirky.  But what the heck.  

4) Big show bet on the 3

5) PIck 3 6/1,5,9/1,4,5

7) Pck 3 1,4,5/5,6/2,12,13

There is a lot of buzz on the 3 in the 9th for dominating wins at Calder, but the horses he beat were beaten double digit lengths next out also.

05 Oct 2012 10:49 AM
Dr Drunkinbum

Excellent write-up and analysis Pete. I don't see how there won't be some big odds winners opening day, today at Keeneland. That Futurity tomorrow is a tough one.

05 Oct 2012 11:00 AM
Pete Denk

I'll be on the race chat with Tom Le Marra today at noon eastern. Here is the link:

05 Oct 2012 11:17 AM
Mary Zinke

Kevin, if I have your p3's right, I'm also going with Sum Of The Parts in the Phoenix, as he's looking quite good lately(and GL to Aikenite in his return)and The Kitten's Joy going from turf to awt in the Alcibiades, Kitten's Dumplings.

05 Oct 2012 11:21 AM

Kevin : Which date are your picks for ?  Is it for saturday ?  I'm wondering who your big show bet is (3).  Is it Big Sam with Graham on ?

05 Oct 2012 1:56 PM

first race, the connections come thru, Maker, Ramsey, Leparoux not a bad price at 7-2.

05 Oct 2012 2:12 PM

Today's Keeneland P5 :

06th : 2,11

07th : 2,11

08th : 5

09th ; 13

10th : 3,1,8,12

Looking forward to seeing Exothermic run - he was one of my very early TC horse this year.  Glad to see him back.

05 Oct 2012 3:23 PM

JayJay, my picks are for today. It was Hogue in the 4th (got 2d).  Got the 6 winner in the 5th.  Both my runners flattened out in the 6th.  

05 Oct 2012 3:59 PM

Kevin : Still nice for the show bet.  My wallet was flattened starting in the 6th race lol.  At least I was consistent with my P5 bet, I managed to pick 5 out of 5 losers.

05 Oct 2012 6:40 PM
Pete Denk

If Broken Spell (whom I gave out on today's chat) gets up in the Alcibiades at 20-1, I would have had a HUGE day. I did hit the exacta under Spring in the Air a couple times...

05 Oct 2012 7:13 PM
Pete Denk

tBalance the Books is running in the Bourbon Stakes on Sunday at Keeneland instead of the Breeders' Futurity on Saturday.

The horses that could draw into the Breeders' Futurity (Hightail or Zoloto) look like non-factors to me.

Balance the Books on the other hand is a major player in the Bourbon.

05 Oct 2012 8:49 PM

Pete, great pick with Broken Spell.  My Keeneland picks for today.

5) Pick 3 2,3/2,5,6/2,4 (chalk)

6) Pick 4 2,5,6/2,4/1,6,10/,5,7,10

8) Pick 3 1,6,10/5,7,10/3,4,9 (9 is my upset special and big show bet of the day).  

Also have a $10 tri box with 5,7,10 in the 9th.  

06 Oct 2012 10:02 AM

CHAMPANGE___  #1 golden sense.......came home 5 3/5!!!

06 Oct 2012 4:47 PM

pataki kid

06 Oct 2012 4:49 PM

pataki kid horse... will be great later.....

06 Oct 2012 4:51 PM


06 Oct 2012 5:19 PM

Shadwell......prices? you want prices?  i will have great day if either DOUBLes partner or DOMINUS wins!!!!

06 Oct 2012 5:29 PM

My best PRIME BETS coming up....INDY DERBY>>>big win/place on NECK n horse no one talks about........SANTA ANITA sprint champ.....COIL........w/p....

06 Oct 2012 5:57 PM

Great day at Keeneland.  

Hit both my Pick 3s, my Pick 4 and the big show bet on the #9.  

But I gave back a lot of the profits with the big tri box in the Turf Mile.    

06 Oct 2012 7:08 PM

YUM!  Just got back from nice steak dinner....bill 189.00....You dont wanna know how much i won today...................Two words...................SLUMP OVER!!!           Cream always this game!

06 Oct 2012 8:42 PM
Monarchos Matt

Haha wow Kentucky way any of those posts were sober ones but great calls on Neck N Neck and Coil nonetheless!

I substituted Joha into my Pick 3 when Balance The Books scratched as I was fearing the speed on the rail, and had Tapitsfly as my earlier post indicated...was live to Wise Dan, Data Link and Doubles Partner for the Pick 3 and obviously the least profitable option came through and allowed me a scratch on the day...but Data Link was my big play and he just didn't fire, and had no excuses as that pace up front was hot just as I predicted it would be.

Went 4/5 on football games at least but still dreaming about the Pick 3 that could have been- but in reality no one was going to beat Wise Dan at a mile on Turf in that race and they probably won't beat him at Santa Anita either...he's running, right?

07 Oct 2012 1:07 AM

Ideas on what the odds will be on Balance the Books after joha winning yesterday?  Shocked if its as high as 2-1.  But I'm rolling over yesterdays minor winnings for BTB to win.  

Other bets:

4) Pick 3 7,10/1,6/6,7,12

7) Pick 3 6,9/3,5,6,7,11/5,9,10

Also putting win bet on the 5 in the 7th.  

07 Oct 2012 9:40 AM
El Kabong


Your ticket did very well. Gloat single was outstanding call and Joha ran like a champ. You had value in there. Nice job. I am still learning Keeneland. Not an easy track at all but the pools are outstanding. I will be paying mind to your plays. Keep it up.

07 Oct 2012 10:07 AM
Pete Denk

Mostly NFL for me today, but I do like #1 Channel Isle in Race 6 at Keeneland.

07 Oct 2012 12:59 PM
Pete Denk

Noble Tune goes in the Pilgrim on Monday at Belmont.Hedonemewrongsong in the Jessamine on Thursday at Keeneland.

Both were subject of previous blog on herd dynamics.

Apparently/unfortunately Chad Brown has been talking up Noble Tune to the press and may hurt our price.

Hedonemewrongsong should be live at a good number on Thursday at Keeneland.

07 Oct 2012 1:22 PM
Pete Denk

And Balance the Books wins the Bourbon if he takes to the course.

07 Oct 2012 1:25 PM

BEL 4 #4 acc first

07 Oct 2012 2:27 PM

race 6 keenland....wide open race...w/p on #10 SCAT SCAN...

07 Oct 2012 2:40 PM

bel.....race 5 longshot special...#3 w/p WICKAPECKO

07 Oct 2012 2:59 PM

keen...race 5  pletcher horse bridgeloan....looks like 1/5 shot..

07 Oct 2012 3:08 PM

1st prime bet of the day kee race 6.....#6 W/p MO JO!!!!! big!!!!!!!!!

07 Oct 2012 3:43 PM

ALRIGHT PEOPLE!!! The race we have been waiting for......Balance books is even money!!! Watch balance's 1st how FREDERICKSBURG looked better! got left at start/ wide/ finished strong!!! Then easy mdn win........8 to 1 today!!! ODDS!! Huge win place bet/ key in exotics!!!!!!!SUPERPRIMEBET!!!!!!!

07 Oct 2012 4:14 PM

Spinster HUGE superprime W/p TIZMIZSUE!!!!!!!!!!!!

07 Oct 2012 4:21 PM
El Kabong

Ky Vet,

I wanna believe, I really do, but you gotta throw us a fricken bone. :)

Look at Gambling Girl in 9th at Keen. Should be a tough battle with 10 but I am looking at an exotic that will include 9,10,4, then 11,12,4. Shooting for a tri and a super. Good luck. get some coin back.

07 Oct 2012 5:11 PM
El Kabong

Did I say 6, I hope not. I meant 5, gambolling girl for the top. 6 should be tossed in under though.

07 Oct 2012 5:14 PM

dinner at arbys........

07 Oct 2012 5:40 PM
El Kabong

dagnabbit. wrong johar. no soup for me.

07 Oct 2012 6:35 PM

KY Vet, I admire you for the guts to post your bets, but your picks are awful.  

Pete, will take a look at your Chad Brown horse for Monday at Belmont.  Do you think the horse runs if its off turf?

07 Oct 2012 7:11 PM
Carlos in Cali


07 Oct 2012 8:06 PM

people.....ive been in slump. but won 2700 yesteday...lost 936 today...this has been worst last 30 days of the year....dont worry, its like baseball....i'll get hot again.

07 Oct 2012 10:40 PM

So I got Tapitsfly right as the winner of the First Lady S stakes but man I didn't think she would win coming from off the pace like that.  I thought that was an impressive win for her.

Wise Dan is just a freak, it was so effortless that it seemed like a workout.  So Wise Dan in the Mile and Point Of Entry in the Turf... could it be that US horses might take both races this year ?

KY VET : You were hot at some point ??

07 Oct 2012 11:53 PM
Pete Denk

KY Vet-

Wish I would have seen your post on Fredericksburg yesterday, but I was watching my Chicago Bears.

Fredericksburg's debut was a classic case of a horse breaking slowly in its first race, then chasing, giving the appearance of a strong stretch run. He did not look better than Balance the Books in that race (and certainly not yesterday of course).

Here is the herd dynamic write-up from Fredericksburg's maiden win:

8/29/12 Saratoga Race 5 MSW 8.5f turf

Fredericksburg (Speightstown), who broke poorly and rallied late in his debut, showed his true profile in here.

He asserted himself from the start in this race, displaying a strong individual dynamic, as many progeny of Speightstown do. He was the best horse in this race, but we think he will be vulnerable if he tries to climb the class ladder at this distance due to his propensity to engage in one‐on‐on space battles.

We don’t think he would

stack up too well against top level colts who have a strong group dynamic (such as Balance the Books, who he ran behind in the debut on 8‐4 Saratoga Race 5)

08 Oct 2012 1:25 PM

Pete, know you like Noble Tune in the 5th at Belmont, but how can the 3 not be a play after what Joha and Balance the Books did this weekend?  

08 Oct 2012 1:29 PM

Thanks El Kabong. I will try to post a few more picks. I handicapped those races before the odds came out, and I was pleased I had a nice mix of favorites and a few prices on the M/L. I was pumped when Gloat went off at 5-1, b/c after I missed with Tapitfly, I loaded up on Joha and Gloat. I laughed when 4 out of 5 paid 7 bucks in the pick 5. In the bourbon, I had to bet Balance the Books regardless of odds b/c I had a dream on Friday that he won. That race BTW was nuts, that 3 horse almost took out about 5 other horses, got back into the bit, and almost nosed the winner.

I was dissapointed in the Spinster. Tiz Miz Sue hated the track, and still got 5th. Keeneland is not kind to closers on the main track. Of all the races this weekend, I only see a few races where the winner came from well off of the pace, and they were all in 2yo races.

08 Oct 2012 1:34 PM
Pete Denk


Notacatutallama is ok. He is not on the level of Balance the Books or Joha.

Not sure if Noble Tune is either, but today will tell us a lot. His debut was extremely promising. His ceiling is higher than Notacat's.

Here is his herd dynamic profile from the maiden win:

8/20/12 Saratoga Race 7 MSW NY‐breds 8.5f turf

Notacatbutallama (Harlan’s Holiday) destroyed this field of statebreds with physical speed. As much he

dominated this field, the other horses behind him seemed to buddy up and release him. He is a good New York-bred.

He tilts slightly to the individual dynamic, but he is not overly powerful in that area. This was his best trip, forwardly placed. He is unlikely to thrive in a situation where a bunch of high dynamic horses are battling for supremacy, but he can probably do well in the statebred ranks.

08 Oct 2012 2:05 PM

Noble Tune was impressive.  Usually don't see that kind of acceleration past horses with such a slow early pace.  My 3 came up for 2d, making it an easy Tri to hit.  

08 Oct 2012 3:13 PM
Pete Denk

Noble Tune ran to his herd dynamic profile beautifully there.

Hope u smashed the ex/tri Kev.

For those who missed the initial blog where I wrote about Noble Tune, see "Nurturing the Equine Athletic Mind" in the recent posts area, upper right.

08 Oct 2012 3:29 PM
Pete Denk

Here is Noble Tune's herd dynamic profile from his maiden win:

9/3/12 Saratoga Race 1 MSW 8.5f turf

Noble Tune (Unbridled’s Song) showed an excellent group dynamic, settling into herd motion beautifully for a horse on debut. He was pushing the other horses with presence, naturally commanding space, from the start.

He has a big herd dynamic and is able to command a lot of space around him. He interprets other horses’intentions very well. He showed excellent release points when the real running started. Ear articulation on the gallop‐out was beautiful. He is very sure footed and shows excellent surface interpretation. He has potential to

run on other surfaces, and there is additional distance potential here.

This horse has the earmarks of a high-level horse. He can step up, and look for those who lose to him to run better when out of his shadow.

08 Oct 2012 3:39 PM

Ok. Sure, you people dont believe i didnt win almost 3 grand the other day. Thats expected. And yes, the other day i was at home, instead of the track, betting on my comp. And have been hoping , that someone, SOMEONE! Would take up my challenge......never any takers....2 race cards. every race! You pick the track. ANY day. ANY time. LOSER LEAVES BLOG FOR 3 WEEKS.......why wont anyone take me on?  And this "we knew this horse, or that horse would climb the ladder", ..........JOKE......So you are saying FREDRICKBURG cant win a stks? or beat that horse? HERD SCHMERD!

08 Oct 2012 11:24 PM

JUst what you want people.......You WANT a horse to get left at the gate, move 5 wide all the way around turn....close and lose by 2 lenghts.......IT JUST MEANS THE HORSE RAN DECEPTIVELY GOOD.....OH! And he ran bad. SO HE IS NOT VERY GOOD..................GENIUS!

08 Oct 2012 11:32 PM
Pete Denk


The above profiles were made available on BRIS three weeks ago.

The analysis of Fredericksburg was based on the debut 3rd and the maiden WIN. Not off of a "bad" performance.

And you completely missed my point that the slow break-and-chase in the debut concealed who Fredericksburg was.

There is a subtle difference between the debuting maiden who breaks slowly and chases, and one who has the mindset to consistently come through traffic and pass horses.

Rewatch the Bourbon and note how Fredericksburg reacts when Balance the Books goes by him in the stretch. The lower level horse erupts with body language when the higher level horse takes its space and passes.

09 Oct 2012 10:19 AM

Its like the guy who bets horses that have a white left hoof.....SEE? i knew that horse would win! he has a white hoof! Look.... you can believe the horse ran bad. he did. youre reason is BUNK! WACKY! And just plain ignorant! PETE BUNK

09 Oct 2012 8:17 PM

BALANCE THE BOOKS was what? EVEN? I took a chance on a shot to beat him. Horses run bad. But your reason is laughable. If fred comes back and runs in stks well, youll say he LEARNED huh?

09 Oct 2012 8:20 PM

KY VET :  So let's say someone does accept your challenge and you get lucky and you pick more winners, what then?  What does it prove?  Because I know you'll post your picks the next day and the next day and the next day and you'll pick more losers than winners.  What then ?  You're back to being a loser ?  Why are you so desperate to be a pro ?  

Pete : Did you guys do a herd dynamic analysis on Union Rags ?

10 Oct 2012 1:17 AM

As long as the current medication rules are what they are, and KY Vet actually has a valid license to practice, then Ky Vet will be just fine losing $$$ on the ponies. KY Vet can pass the losses onto owners by giving horses unnecessary medication and the owners exuberant vet bills.

10 Oct 2012 9:34 AM
Pete Denk


Union Rags was the #1 rated colt in last year's 2yo class on herd dynamics.

We updated the rankings right before this year's KY Derby and ranked Union Rags #1 and I'll Have Another #2. So our top two swept the Triple Crown, at very nice odds.

Here is a link to the IHA profile. There are links to all the Derby horses. Bodemeister's is a fascinating read for anyone who wants to dive into the psychology of a racehorse. His emotional conformation was the main reason he could not rate and was susceptible to a rabbit like Trinniberg or a monster group dynamic like IHA. Note this all was published 4/29/12, before the Derby of course.

10 Oct 2012 10:31 AM
Pete Denk


There is no magic bullet, but herd dynamics are a piece of the puzzle. These are animals after all, not racecars. (That point shouldn't be lost on someone who works with horses as much as a vet)

Or do u mean vet as in veteran?

Anyway, feel free to disbelieve. The more people who do, the higher our odds.

BTW, we crushed the KY Derby with Animal Kingdom too.

10 Oct 2012 10:55 AM


I will have to respectfully disagree about the reason Bodemeister did not rate.  I believe it was the training of Bob Baffert and the ride by Mike Smith.

While I do believe that horses all have their own personalities and idosynncrasies, I also very strongly believe that they are also products of their environment.  This all goes to the nature/nuture debate. I feel they are both important.  However, if someone wants to screw a horse up a horse, it is not very hard to do so. Horses have a very good memory when it comes to traumatic events.

Neither Bodemeister or Paynter were rank, need the lead, type of horses.  They both showed this early in their career before Baffert ruined them.  Bode didn't look rank while sitting 3rd and 2nd in his debut, nor the San Felipe where he sat 2nd. Paynter came from last to win his debut.  Both horses rated very high on talent, but were both very low on experience.  Baffert knew this, so he figured he didn'ta want to get them caught in traffic, so he trained them to go to the front and hope that their god given talents were enough to carry them through the triple crown.  I see very few Baffert horses that are not on or near the lead in their races.

Where is Bode and Paynter now anyway?  Bode is a cripple and Paynter is still in the hospital fighting for his life. I do not think nature was responsible for this and that it is any coincidence that these horses were both trained by Baffert.

I do believe in emotional confirmation and nature; however, I think it is more important to think about the environment they have been in and what they have been trained or asked to do.

10 Oct 2012 11:16 AM
Pete Denk

One of Kerry Thomas' favorite sayings is that "horses learn in motion."

In other words, what happens to them in races and in training can really stick with them, affecting a horse's psychology and emerging traits.

When we profiled Bodemeister in spring of his 3yo season, Kerry saw a horse that wanted to run away from herd chaos. He wanted to be in front.

Whether that was instilled in him by his jockeys and trainer, I can't say for sure. Perhaps he could have been a different horse if say, Carl Nafzger trained him.

10 Oct 2012 11:45 AM

Thanks Pete, that clarifies things a bit. The entire nature/nurture debate is certainly intriguing.

I am glad that Kerry is putting more thought into pointing out that horses have different emotional confirmations. So many horses are thrown into a trainer's "system" and are not developed individually and appropriately.

I would say it is a very safe assumption that Zenyatta would not have been Zenyatta had she been trained by someone less patient than Sheriffs.

So many of these trainers that are given huge numbers of horses are like spoiled rich kids with toys... if they break them, they will just buy another.

10 Oct 2012 12:16 PM

EE 1st vee one rotate

10 Oct 2012 1:06 PM

UNION RAGS wasnt even in the same league as BODEMEISTER! And i wasnt even bodes big fan.  IF best herd dynamic means "hanger" then i guess RAGS is that....How fast did RAGS EVER RUN? NEVER EVEN A 100 beyer! ALW horses run that....BODE could beat most every 3 yr old from behind if they wanted to.....the horse i own, has 15 if he ran against stks horses, he would have a bad herd dynamic? ITS BAD SCIENCE!

10 Oct 2012 1:20 PM


10 Oct 2012 1:21 PM
Mary Zinke

Paynter was trained into having an infected lesion?? I can't buy that. And, KY, no idea, unless that is something about linear algebra. I can't decipher your comment, and it's what I do, so congrats on stumping the sleuth.

10 Oct 2012 1:55 PM
Pete Denk

Agree that Bodemeister was simply faster than Union Rags, who did not develop any further at age three.

But we were very well rewarded for our position on I'll Have Another.

10 Oct 2012 1:57 PM


ALL BETS 160w 140p




10 Oct 2012 2:03 PM


10 Oct 2012 2:07 PM

Mary Z. -

Sorry I didn't take the time to fully explain in previous point, as you completely missed the point...

It was not nature that caused Paynter's downfall, it was likely the TRAINER and more specifically, the AMOUNT OF DRUGS given to these horses.

When horses are pumped full of antibiotics and other drugs, this weakens their natural immune systems, making them more suspectible to colitis and other life threatening diseases that they can no longer fight off.  Had the horse's immune system not already been deteriorated by being pumped full of antibiotics, then maybe his system would now be responding to the antibiotics being given to him.  Rather, the veterinarians have been switching around antibiotics to try to find one that will now work.

10 Oct 2012 2:40 PM
Pete Denk

Yes, horses can improve or go backwards from a herd dynamic standpoint. But Union Rags never lost his herd dynamic. He ran to his profile every race of his life.

He failed to get PHYSICALLY faster at age three.

The Belmont was a much slower race than the Derby and Preakness, and that gave him a chance. I thought he acquitted himself quite well coming up the rail and reeling in Paynter for the win.

10 Oct 2012 2:48 PM
Mary Zinke

Thanks for the speculation. I get your point now.

10 Oct 2012 3:11 PM

Yeah, I'm not very good at making clear and concise points...

Typically blogging while at work, so switching back and forth between thoughts. I am not a very good multi-tasker :)

10 Oct 2012 3:30 PM

HEY! What the heck? 2 straight eased! 0-2 big bets down the drain....keenland is so strange.....

10 Oct 2012 4:22 PM

By the way.......Keymaster acually knows alot about this game........1 of not many on here..........

10 Oct 2012 4:24 PM

Thanks KY VET.

Keenland is certainly enigmatic.  I didn't have a very good start to the meet last week. Things will turn around.

10 Oct 2012 5:47 PM

Pete : Thanks for that link on UR's herd dynamic analysis.  The reason I asked about UR was because I noticed during the TC chase that UR seemed to be the type that didn't like to be crowded and when he does, he shuts down or stops running.  The current discussion made me curious as to what your analysis was on him.  This is a very interesting discussion and I'm learning a lot.  Thanks again!

KY VET : You see how KEYMASTER responded to Pete with his disagreement?  It wasn't that hard to post a mature comment, you don't need to be doing any name calling just to prove your point.

11 Oct 2012 12:38 AM
Pete Denk

QEII or Hawthorne Derby for race of the week?

11 Oct 2012 2:09 PM
Pete Denk

I'm gonna do HAW...

11 Oct 2012 3:57 PM
Pete Denk

Hedonemewrongsong is currently 7-1 in the Jessamine S. Betting WIN/PLACE.

11 Oct 2012 4:28 PM
Pete Denk

Hedonemewrongsong not good enough to overcome wide trip on the class rise....bombs away as #4 Moonwalk (36-1)may have just set up a double carryover in the p5. Will see...

11 Oct 2012 5:01 PM

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