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Afleet
07-10-2017, 10:01 PM
Watchmaker: Lack of honest paces frustrates bettors

http://www.drf.com/news/watchmaker-lack-honest-paces-frustrates-bettors


ELMONT, N. Y. – Horseplayers are prone to endless frustrations, from onerous takeouts to odd betting menus, and short fields to uninspiring cards, to name just a few. But nothing is getting the goat of horseplayers more these days than races that look like they will have honest paces devolving into paceless processions.
If you can’t depend on Horse B to go up and keep Horse A honest on the front end like he’s supposed to, then how do you handicap? When this happens, how can racing distinguish itself as an intellectual form of gambling?
This comes to mind after Saturday’s Belmont Derby. Oscar Performance won the Belmont Derby, which itself was not a surprise. Oscar Performance is a good horse. He won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf last fall, and won it honestly. But Oscar Performance also turned in two dud performances to begin this year, and then won the Pennine Ridge in his most recent start, which may or may not have been the rebound many trumpeted it to be. It was difficult to tell for sure considering Oscar Performance was allowed a walking, uncontested lead in that race. In other words, the jury was still out on the 2017 version of Oscar Performance.


thought this was interesting:



"It is valuable information to know when one speed horse will not challenge another early, and it is damaging to the game when that valuable information is kept to only a few select insiders."

Afleet
07-10-2017, 10:03 PM
Full disclosure I had the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th place finishers. Couldn't believe when the :3: opened at 21-1-thought I wrote down the wrong#.

Mc990
07-11-2017, 11:09 AM
Watchmaker's assessment of Keen Ice is hilarious. Does it really matter what level a horse is eligible for? To me, this continues to be a huge blind spot for many public handicappers... KI was the fastest horse in the race on at least some figures and when you factor in weight, he had more than one race that made him a serious contender. Pace is obviously not irrelevant but he had every right to win that race even with a slowish pace.

Regarding pace on turf... I wonder if some astute connections will ever decide to consistently take advantage of the flow of turf racing (slow early, fast late). IMO it would stand to reason there is value in sending your horse to the lead because unlike dirt racing, it would seem to be well within most horses natural speed capabilities to make the lead if asked.

We see strategical changes in sports all the time.... Given how slow even mlb and the NFL are to adopt new creative thinking, I doubt racing would adjust to this very quickly. Call me crazy but 30 years ago defensive shifts in today's mlb would have been mocked too.

cj
07-11-2017, 11:46 AM
I keep hearing about the slow pace, and it was a slow pace, but the ride on Keen Ice was great. He was third early, not like he was last 10 lengths behind. He was never more than 3.5 back.

Robert Fischer
07-11-2017, 01:39 PM
Oscar Performance kind of became the inverse of a 'wise-guy horse'.

bad morning line + being scenario dependent + overemphasis of assumptions on O'Brien tactics

Although he became a sort of 'wise-guy toss', Oscar Performance was a deserved 'B' on any semblance of a serious ticket.

It was a challenging betting race, and the result was disappointing. We may see trainers entering a sacrificial rabbit in future stakes. Oscar Performance will remain a highly-debated horse, and provide an opportunity in his next start.

Broad Brush
07-11-2017, 08:27 PM
The Belmont Derby was a 1 1/4 Turf race for 3y/o most of whom
never ran that far, was he expecting a half in 44 & change???

That's Turf racing.

For every race you see a front runner set a slow pace and win on the
Turf--you will see 5 to 8 races where they get run over down the stretch.

I bet "Called to The Bar" and thought he was sitting perfect at the 3/8s,
oh well.....

Afleet
07-11-2017, 11:39 PM
Oscar Performance kind of became the inverse of a 'wise-guy horse'.

bad morning line + being scenario dependent + overemphasis of assumptions on O'Brien tactics

Although he became a sort of 'wise-guy toss', Oscar Performance was a deserved 'B' on any semblance of a serious ticket.

It was a challenging betting race, and the result was disappointing. We may see trainers entering a sacrificial rabbit in future stakes. Oscar Performance will remain a highly-debated horse, and provide an opportunity in his next start.

What do you think was the reason O'brien entered Whitecliffsofdover? This horse never went further than 7 furlongs. Pace is generally slower and the ground less than firm in Europe, but his running lines state:

3rd race back
'straight to the lead, quickened over 1 furlong out, in command readily'
-while carrying 133 lbs

2nd race back
'chased leaders mild gain, kept on, held safe by winner'

1 race back
'led in center, tired 1 furlong out'

Belmont Derby Chart:
WHITECLIFFSOFDOVER two to three wide in mid pack behind the cover of YOSHIDA, came under coaxing three furlongs from home, spun four wide into
upper stretch and offered no response. BIG SCORE four wide into the first turn forwardly placed, tucked to attend the leader from the two path midway on

Afleet
07-11-2017, 11:42 PM
I keep hearing about the slow pace, and it was a slow pace, but the ride on Keen Ice was great. He was third early, not like he was last 10 lengths behind. He was never more than 3.5 back.

Think we are talking about a different race, but I hated Mattkingcoal, loose on the lead or not. I singled Shaman Ghost:puke:

Afleet
07-11-2017, 11:44 PM
The Belmont Derby was a 1 1/4 Turf race for 3y/o most of whom
never ran that far, was he expecting a half in 44 & change???

That's Turf racing.

For every race you see a front runner set a slow pace and win on the
Turf--you will see 5 to 8 races where they get run over down the stretch.

I bet "Called to The Bar" and thought he was sitting perfect at the 3/8s,
oh well.....

I was impressed w/him and had him in all my verticals, but made straight plays on the #3

Robert Fischer
07-12-2017, 11:27 AM
What do you think was the reason O'brien entered Whitecliffsofdover?

I can only guess in vague probabilities/possibilities.

I didn't happen to read anything from the horse's(O'Brien) mouth, prior to the race.

There was a fairly high probability that WCD would be a sacrificial rabbit. It was probably the optimal tactic for O'Brien to employ. In hindsight, it looks even wiser.
There are some tradeoff factors that go along with(rather against) the factor of the 'tactics'.

O'Brien and Euro-shippers in general have done quite well in the past with their 'B' entries.
It wasn't clear to me that O'Brien had discounted WCD's chances to contend.
Another minor related factor - Euro-shippers have generally stretched out quite well.
Occasionally handicappers dismiss a live euro-shipper as if the distances translate literally. (Although I wasn't crazy about WCD in general/total package, distance limits were not the major factor in that.)

It wasn't clear to me that O'Brien feared/respected Oscar Performance specifically, to the extent that he felt a sacrificial rabbit was the optimal strategy.
OP was considered by many good handicappers to be a secondary contender, and not entirely because of belief in the rabbit scenario as a certainty.

It wasn't clear to me that Wayne Lordan, even if he was in fact instructed to sacrifice, was completely aware of the gravity of the situation.
He was on a Euro-shipper, from a wide post, trying to tackle an American wire-to-wire horse, who happened to be under Jose Ortiz and from a better post. Wayne Lordan would have likely needed to 'quarter-horse' it from the gate to establish an accompanying position.

classhandicapper
07-12-2017, 01:28 PM
One of Oscar Performance's bad races was on a very tiring dead turf rail in a race that fell apart and the other was a disappointing but decent race off a layoff for a trainer that I've never thought of as someone that brings them all back razor sharp. There also wasn't a lot of speed in the Belmont Derby unless you were counting on one of the foreigners to go. But those can be tricky to evaluate because many don't even fire and who knows how much speed they actually have.

classhandicapper
07-12-2017, 01:48 PM
Everyone on earth knew Matt King Coal was going to be loose in the Suburban. The question was whether he could get 10F and whether he was good enough to hold off that quality of horse anyway. I thought he was way overbet. I didn't like Keen Ice much in there either because I thought Shaman Ghost was the best horse, would be sitting 2nd, and get first run. IMO he ran a subpar race. I don't see why Keen Ice would be that much of a shock on his best day once MKC was exposed and Shaman had an off day.

classhandicapper
07-12-2017, 03:51 PM
Everyone on earth knew Matt King Coal was going to be loose in the Suburban. The question was whether he could get 10F and whether he was good enough to hold off that quality of horse anyway. I thought he was way overbet. I didn't like Keen Ice much in there either because I thought Shaman Ghost was the best horse, would be sitting 2nd, and get first run. IMO he ran a subpar race. I don't see why Keen Ice would be that much of a shock on his best day once MKC was exposed and Shaman had an off day.

I should add that after reviewing the card, I think a reasonable case can also be made the dirt track was mildly tilted towards closers. Only a 4 race sample, but I think there's enough evidence to suspect that to be the case.