“The Redboard” takes looks back at past race results and analyzes my picks for the Steam tip sheet–the good, the bad, and the ugly. While I may make some excuses, I won’t gloat on past scores after the fact, as the definition “red board” implies. This column is more of a handicapping exercise–to determine track biases, horses that had bad trips, overlays that ran deceptively well, and underlays that had no excuses for running poorly–with the goal of picking profitable winners in the future. So here it goes . . . the Redboard, issue eight:
Churchill Downs, Saturday, November 24, 2018
The results for Steam‘s top-pick selections were as follows: five wins, one second, and two thirds on the 12-race program for a 42 percent win clip and in-the-money ratio of 67 percent. Return on investment (ROI*) was +19%, or a profit of 38 cents for each two dollars wagered on its top picks on the card.
RACE 1: $78,500 “a other than” allowance for two-year-old fillies. 8.5 furlongs on a SLOPPY/SEALED track (originally scheduled for turf). Weather CLOUDY, 56 degrees.
Steam started the day on a positive note, as top selection Boxwood (1-1) broke alertly, angled over to the rail, was allowed to set a soft pace (:24 4/5, :49 2/5, 1:14 2/5, and 1:39 flat), and cruised home a 10-length winner under jockey Corey Lanerie. The homebred daughter of English Channel covered the mile and a sixteenth in this sloppy off-the-turf affair in 1:45 1/5.
RACE 2: $76,000 maiden special weight for two-year-old fillies. 8.5 furlongs on a SLOPPY/SEALED track.
Steam doped out a chalky early double ($4.30 for a buck) when top pick Naughty Joker (1-1) annexed the second on the program. The bay daughter of Into Mischief broke well from her inside post, stalked pacesetting She’s Got It All (10-1) throughout slow early splits (:24 3/5, :50 flat, and 1:15 3/5), engaged that rival at the five sixteenths-pole, poked ahead at the quarter-pole, and gamely held a determined Bess (6-1) to her outside and a surging Web o’ Gold (13-1) to her inside at bay to win by a clear length on the wire. She covered the mile and a sixteenth in 1:48 flat under jockey Johnny Velazquez. Web o’ Gold and Folk Legend (24-1) came out at the start, Blunt Force (12-1) was bumped at the start, and Mucho Mas (8-1) was distanced.
RACE 3: $76,000 maiden special weight for two-year-olds. 9 furlongs on a SLOPPY/SEALED track.
Game Day Decision (9-2)–the top pick–broke well, settled in mid-pack in a strung out field off a :24 flat opening quarter, and a :48 4/5 half-mile carved out by Better Charge It (7-1), was asked for run on the far turn near the five sixteenths-pole, was four-wide at the quarter-pole but had no late kick while exchanging bumps with Johny’s Bobby (3-1) in the stretch run to finish a one-paced sixth of 10, beaten nine lengths and change for all the money. Split the Wickets (44-1) broke slowly and was in tight quarters early, and Audubon Wood (40-1) came out at the start.
RACE 4: $76,000 maiden special weight for two-year-olds. 6.5 furlongs on a SLOPPY/SEALED track.
Steam garnered its third win on the day when top selection Jersey Agenda (8-5) won his dirt debut by a widening four lengths under jockey Ricardo Santana, Jr. The son of Jersey Town was away from the stalls in good order, overhauled Valid Exchange (13-1) early, dueled with Brother Aaron (18-1) from the four-furlong marker until the sixteenth-pole before putting that foe away and drawing off to an open-length score in the final sixteenth of a mile. The homebred covered the six and one half-furlong trip in 1:17 2/5. I Will Persevere (93-1) broke slowly and Luna’s in Charge (25-1) broke awkwardly.
RACE 5: $78,500 “a other than” allowance for two-year-old fillies. 8 furlongs on a SLOPPY/SEALED track.
Top pick Marvelous Martina (8-1) broke alertly and was allowed to settle off the pace from the outset, advanced on the rail under jockey Chris Landeros at the five furlong-pole, made an inside bid from the half-mile marker to the quarter-pole but flattened out in the lane to finish fifth or nine, beaten seven lengths and change by Maryland raider Needs Supervision (37-1), who parlayed a stalking trip into a five-length win, reporting home in 1:36 2/5 for the flat mile journey.
RACE 6: $76,000 maiden special weight for two-year-old fillies. 8.5 furlongs on a SLOPPY/SEALED track (originally scheduled for turf).
Grandaria (4-1), a $170,000 Curlin filly out of an A. P. Indy mare, is a horse to keep an eye on moving forward, as she took to the “off” track, demonstrated a eye-catching late turn of foot, and overcame a speed bias early on the card to win from off the pace going away by five lengths. Top pick Macabre (4-1)–making her main track debut in this off-the-turf heat–saved ground from the one-hole, stalked a slow pace set by La Monse (125-1) and Cairo Cutie (4-1), angled off the rail into the three-path just before the quarter-pole, and lacked a decisive finishing move to be a well-beaten third of 11 in a strung out field at the wire. First-time starter Viva Per Lei (97-1) broke very slowly.
RACE 7: $75,000 optional claiming, “a other than” allowance for two-year-old fillies. 6 furlongs on a SLOPPY/SEALED track.
My top selection–Kajawa (9-2)–gave a good account of herself, but was only third best in the 12-horse field, finishing four and one half-lengths and change behind the Munnings filly Fancy Dress Party (5-2)–a full sister to the stakes winner Will Munnings–who stalked the pace and drew clear in the stretch drive to win by a handy two and a quarter lengths, improving her record two two-for-two in the process. Kajawa, a gray daughter of Cross Traffic, attended a quick early pace (:21 2/5, :45 3/5) in the third phalanx, was fanned into the five-path turning for home, stayed on in the lane, but found her best stride inside the sixteenth-pole. Dreaming Diamonds (19-1) came out at the start.
RACE 8: $75,000 optional claiming, “a other than” allowance for two-year-olds. 6.5 furlongs on a SLOPPY/SEALED track.
Super Steed (3-1), a Super Saver colt out of the useful racemare Totally Tucker, became the second horse on the program to notch a decisive off-the-pace victory, as the bay colt was well off the early lead after getting away to an awkward start, appeared on the scene at the five-sixteenths-pole, collared pacesetting Jack Van Berg (5-1) while seven-wide at the eighth-pole, and drew away to a six-length win, covering the six and one half-furlong journey in 1:17 1/5. Top pick Distant Shore (2-1) had no viable excuse, as he had a great trip stalking a quick pace (:22 1/5, :45 3/5, and 1:10 4/5) in the vanguard, ranged into contention between rivals at the quarter-pole, then retreated at the eighth-pole to wind up fourth of 11, beaten eight and one half-lengths for al the marbles.
RACE 9: $200,000 Golden Rod Stakes (G2) for two-year-old fillies. 8.5 furlongs on a SLOPPY/SEALED track. VIDEO
Jockey Channing Hill and front-running longshot Liora (27-1) used a soft pace (:24 4/5, :49 3/5, 1:14 3/5, and 1:39 3/5) to their advantage and staved off a late charge from heavily-favored (and Steam‘s top selection) Restless Rider (3-5) to win the Grade 2 Golden Rod Stakes by a nose, covering the eight and one half-furlongs in 1:46 1/5. High Regard (26-1) was two and a half lengths back in third in the field of eight. Restless Rider ran too good to loose, as the daughter of Distorted Humor stalked the pace in the three-path, was roused at the quarter-pole by jockey Brian Hernandez, Jr, collared Liora at the eighth-pole, had a nose in front in the shadow of the wire, but came up o the wrong end of a head bob on the line.
RACE 10: $75,000 optional claiming, “a other than” allowance for two-year-olds. 8 furlongs on a SLOPPY/SEALED track.
The Chicago invader Forloveofcountry (23-1) broke well from the nine-hole, stalked a legit pace of :23 1/5 and :47 flat carved out by Moonster (9-1), was set down for the drive at the quarter-pole under jockey Tyler Gaffalione, squeezed through a narrow opening on the rail at the three-sixteenths-pole, and edged clear to win by a length and a quarter at the finish. Top selection King Ford (9-2) was one-paced at the back of the back, failed to fire, and was never in contention, finishing tenth of 12, beaten 17 lengths for all the money.
RACE 11: $200,000 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (G2) for two-year-olds. 8.5 furlongs on a SLOPPY/SEALED track.
Steam’s fourth winner on the program came in the form of Signalman (7-2), who tracked a quick early pace (:23 flat and :46 4/5) set by Topper T (45-1) with favored Knicks Go (3-1) glued to that foes’ flank, made a nice middle move on the rail at the four and a half-furlong marker, angled off the fence while awaiting a seam at the head of the stretch, then split a tiring Topper T to his inside and King for a Day (9-2) to his outside, and out-finished Plus Que Parfait (14-1), who was rolling late down the center of the racetrack, by a neck in the shadow of the wire. Limonite (20-1) was another length and three-quarters back in third. Signalman, a bay son of General Quarters, covered the mile and a sixteenth distance in 1:45 1/5. It’s worth nothing that Roiland (42-1) broke slowly but rallied to be fifth, beaten just five and three-quarter lengths for the win. Royal Urn (198-1) came out at the start, and Current (7-1) was bumped and bothered at the start.
RACE 12: $76,000 maiden special weight for two-year-olds. 8.5 furlongs on a SLOPPY/SEALED track.
Steam knocked out the “get out” race on the “Stars of Tomorrow II” program in addition to the late double ($16.70 for a buck), when top pick and “Play of the Day” War of Will (2-1) notched an easy five-length victory in the 12th race nightcap. The well-bred bay son of War Front, making his dirt debut, stalked the early pace set by Candizar (41-1) with Locally Owned (2-1) in close attendance in second throughout opening fractions of :24 2/5, :49 1/5, and 1:14 flat, engaged the leaders while three-wide at the three-eighths-pole, took command at will at the top of the stretch, and drew away convincingly in the lane to win as he pleased. Locally Owned was second, six lengths to the good of Bundibunan (7-1), who ran well considering he broke tardily yet rallied to be third of 11.
While the racetrack was officially listed as “sloppy” and “sealed” throughout the program, the surface started to dry out during the back half of the card (races 6-12) with sun and wind prevailing later in the day . . . On the whole, the program favored front-running types . . . Jockeys Tyler Gaffalione and Ricardo Santana, Jr. had two wins apiece on the card . . . Gaffalione would go on to win his first-ever Churchill Downs riding title on Sunday, November 25, with 21 wins, edging out Corey Lanerie and Brian Hernandez, Jr., who each had 20 wins at the tilt . . . The Curlin filly Grandaria and the Super Saver colt Super Steed overcame a speed bias early on the card to win the sixth and eighth races, respectively, in stylish fashion–add both to your horses to watch list. . .
*Return on investment (ROI) is calculated by dividing the net profit by the total amount invested.