Thursday, July 16, 2009

Battle For Virginia

Over the years my handicapping for big events has come to rely partially on the historical profiles of past winners. The project started with an interest in and then a detailed review of the so called "rules" for the Kentucky Derby. I found that some were valid and some weren't. Stats had some value but you had to be careful to side step the myths and jinxes. I started looking into Breeders' Cup profiles back in 2002 and decided to create a system that could be used for handicapping. I named the project the "20-20 Profiles". The intent of the project is not only to identify horses that fit the profile but to get a view of the entire field. Exacta's and Trifecta's can be hittable as well. It took years to develop my first few profiles because I was developing everything from scratch and I had only bits and pieces of data.

Now that I've been doing this for a while I've been able to create some methods for noticing patterns better. All the statistical factors I use have to do with one of 7 areas that I consider to be key: Speed, Fitness, Form, Class, Experience, Suitability and Breeding. Virtually every factor is derived from the DRF Past Performances.

It has now been six and half years since I first started working on this project and I finally have enough data to begin expanding the Profiles beyond just the Derby and Breeders' Cup. My goal is develop profiles for most of the biggest races in North America. I now have 16 different profiles finished and at least 4 more in the development stage. I only recently finished the 20-20 for the Virginia Derby. Since the Virginia Derby is this weekend I thought I'd share the results a bit.

Most people wouldn't think of the Virginia Derby as a major race worthy of close scrutiny but it has a few key things going for it. It has full fields, a few high class contenders each year and most importantly it's a race that connections point to. The Virginia Derby is rivaled only by the Secretariat for biggest race of the year for 3yo Turf horses. Connections mark this spot on the calender and begin looking at how to get there once they figure out that their horse is better suited to the sod than the twin spires in May.

Here is what this year's 20-20 Profile for the Virginia Derby looks like.

As you can see the 20-20 ranks the field in order of their adherence to the historical profile. Battle of Hastings is the only horse in the race that fits every criteria. He is likely to be well backed but hopefully the "Fans of Barbaro" will prevent him from being favored.

The morning line favorite Nicanor is ranked 5th in this field. Nicanor fell short on factors 4 and 7 which both have to do with form and factor 8 which has to do with class. Specifically I'm not thrilled about his lack of a stakes win and the regression his figures showed last time out. I think Nicanor is a poor gamble for this race. The 20-20 Profile has picked against Sailor's Cap, Circular Quay and Kip Deville who were all favored in past renewals.

If I were betting the Virginia Derby based on the recommendation of the 20-20 Profile I'd have money to win on Battle of Hastings as well as an exacta box with Florentino, Straight Story and Lime Rickey.


peeptoad said...

Interesting... substitute El Crespo for Florentino and your top 4 would match the top 4 I had capped for this race. I get the feeling that Florentino might be less than ideally suited to 10F with the projected pace scenario in this race. I know that pace is not reflected in the 20/20, but is that something you account for?

Kennedy said...

Pace is something I consider on my own, but there is no way I can get it to show up in the system.

I think our own judgment always needs to be applied.

bbyhill said...

Nice work Kennedy,will be tracking these plays to see how good the system does.

The_Knight_Sky said...

peeptoad makes a good point about pace and trips.

This is why I've weaned myself away
a hard-and-fast rules that Kennedy espouses. Not that Ken is barking up the wrong tree. He may very well be onto something profitable.

But my own handicapping repertoire
did not come to fruition until I was able to visualize the setups of the races.

This is so important that I dare anyone have long-term success without eschewing the pace of the race and the resulting trips.

Good looking GoogleDocs by the way.
The possiblities are endless.

bbyhill said...

20-20 picked it str8 up.