Kentucky Derby Championship Series Kickoff

We kicked off the Kentucky Derby Championship Series on Feb 23 with a huge upset in the Risen Star Stakes at Fair Grounds along with the loss of Violence who was injured when 2nd in the Fountain Of Youth at Gulfstream Park.  These two races produced fast times and numbers for the level and it will be interesting to see if these runners can keep their form as the distances get longer. Risen Star:  Outsider I’ve Struck A Nerve rallied from the back to win at 135/1 in what was a blanket finish Feb 23.  The first eight runners in the field finished within 3 1/2 lengths of each other and that usually suggests it was a weak race.  However, the numbers were solid as was the pace for the top three finishers as you can see below: I’ve Struck A Nerve:    CPR=169          FIRE=112         Pace Rating=111         Final Time Rating=159

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Much like the old highwaymen who looted carriages and stagecoaches in the days of yore, a track bias can pop out of nowhere to pillage your bankroll.  When a bias emerges from the bushes without warning, all the prep work done beforehand becomes meaningless as a normally rational thought process becomes a one-way trip to oblivion. Gold Rush Day at Hollywood Park (oh, sorry, Betfair Hollywood Park) was just such a day.  The track had opened Thursday and raced at night on Friday and nothing that happened during either program could have prepared handicappers for the flurry of rally/wide winners that dominated over the weekend.   Suddenly, being in front early became folly and racing along the fence was a double dose of disaster.  No horse in first or second at the first call was able to succeed on Saturday and just one pulled it off on Sunday.  Traditional pace-and-trip handicapping

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When a horse pays $91, it behooves all handicappers to revisit the animal to see if something was overlooked or if the victory was simply an unpredictable fluke. In the case of Pocket Prince in the Saturday lid lifter at Santa Anita, it seemed more the former than the latter. It’s not as if Pocket Prince should have been the 8/5 favorite or anything but his credentials were far better than the 44/1 odds blinking on the tote board at post time. The race itself, a straight-maiden affair for Cal-breds going a mile on the grass was a bit of an anomaly to start with.  After all, it’s rare that we see an 11-horse field that features eight horses that had competed against each other in a recent event under the same conditions.  That was the case here as seven of the colts and geldings had last started in Race

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