Thursday, April 23, 2009

I Want....Speed?

I received a comment to my last post that I thought might be good to answer here.

Tony Bada Bing said...

"Thoughts on I Want Revenge possibly already running his best and peaking too soon. Do you think the two slow works following are an indication of this or if tosses a clunker in his final workout?"

I am personally not concerned about I Want Revenge having already peaked in the Gotham. Plenty of very good Derby horses ran their best prep race in their second last start before the Derby. Horses like Monarchos, Grindstone, Real Quiet, Victory Gallop, Smarty Jones, Closing Argument and Denis of Cork were all in their best pre-Derby form two starts away from the big dance.

So what might signal a regression? There is the danger that all his travel has caught up with him. I took a statistical look at horses that failed to better their worst workout time at their home track once they came to Churchill Downs.

Now there are plenty of problems with this measurement because trainers are looking for all different things once they ship their horses to CD from elsewhere. Also tracks play very differently so a :59 at one track is different from a :59 at another. That's why we have speed figures. I also only have the data that is available in the PP's. So it means comparing only the last 6 workouts and very often the distances don't match up. So horses mentioned in this statistic are specifically those that worked (for example) 5f at CD in 1:01 and a comparison of all their 5f works at other tracks showed that the CD workout was the slowest at 5f.

Horses that failed to turn in better workout times at CD than when they were at other tracks went 36-2-1-3 in the Derby. Results seem inconclusive but an interesting sub-stat is that 20 of those 36 horses were from California and those 20 went 2-1-3 in the Derby. Horses whose CD works compared poorly with central or eastern tracks went 16-0-0-0 in the Derby.

As I said before these stats have to be considered somewhat sketchy but if I am to draw any conclusion it's that horses tend to work faster in California than they do elsewhere. So it's not as worrisome if they fail to reproduce those raw times at Churchill Downs. Horses coming from Florida, New York and Arkansas might get a more wary eye cast over them if their CD works turn up slower.

For I Want Revenge specifically I'm not going to demand that he outdo his :58 1/5 workout from Hollywood to show that he's in good form. I would however demand that his next work be better than his last. His last was not particularly quick and I want all my Derby selections to have at least one really nice workout after their last prep. He hasn't had one yet so it'll have to come next time out.

1 comment:

Tony Bada Bing said...

Thanks for the response.