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Five Derby Contenders

Samraat DR 615 X 400
Photo: NYRA / Adam Coglianese
With 47 days to go until the big race in Kentucky, approximately fifty young guns have come to the forefront to stake claim to one of those coveted gates at Churchill Downs where Champions are born and legends are made. It is the day where horse players from around the world become the most opinionated, the most passionate, the happiest or the most dejected of the year. Every angle is poured over, every historical nuance and even every superstition is considered without bias. It is our own ways of what we choose to use in selecting winners that adds to the ultimate enjoyment of the rosy Show of Shows. No way is right and no way is wrong. It’s all about your way which gives the entire day its own special flair and a memory that never fades away. Cashing in is the ultimate goal of the big day.
 
For those who have the hunger to consider every detail, I have compiled just five potential contenders with a very short synopsis as to where they stand concerning those debatable dosage numbers. The difference here though is that they are read as they should be in the year 2014 and not as if it were 1982. If dosage is beneath your ideals, there is no need to dive further. No harm, no foul. If it interests you, I am more than happy to compile another bunch with your requests. It is no secret, I live for this sort of stuff. As with anything that you use to aid in your final picks, dosage is just one small component of the whole. And most importantly, dosage needs to be considered in conjunction with Track Bias and Pace Scenario, that which is an entire article unto itself and it is not addressed here.
Keep in mind (if you decide to read further) that dosage shares with the handicapper the POTENTIAL of the horse, his inheritance, and by no means dictates that the horse will run to his numbers. In reality, these numbers actually belong to the 4 generations of Chefs (and Reines) within a chart and are assigned to the offspring. Just because they are numbers does not mean they are fool proof, just as nothing in handicapping is fool proof. As history shows, many young thoroughbreds actually far surpass what they inherited where as some would never come close even if any of their sires, mares, dam sires or 4th generation stallions ran backwards against them. The proof of the worth in these numbers comes from their performances on the track over time. Sometimes it reveals itself right after the debut race and sometimes not until the distances of the races entered increase.
Also, keep in mind, the Index is the least important number to consider. Unlike the days of old when it was considered the golden rule. The PROFILE is dosage present day. Just like all other aspects of horse racing, times change, ideas evolve and the animals themselves are bred differently. The Index grows higher decade after decade as stamina falls by the wayside. However, the profile reveals the snapshot of what the prominent sires and mares within the chart accomplished and these number stand true to form. These changes affect old ways of thinking and sometimes all that is necessary is to grow with the times, take the work that they graciously handed to us way back when, and bring it up to present day reality. 
More often than not, at this stage of the game, the cream rises to the top and the others fade away. These numbers show where they are going. The first five I have chosen below have the potential to be superstars. With this 2011 crop, there are many more, as for some unknown reason, stamina seems to have made a huge comeback.
 
Samraat
·        Chef Profile:  1-0-9-0-0   (10)   Index:  1.22  CD:  .20     Classic Dominance
·        Reines Profile:  11-4-8-5-4 (32)   Index:  1.62  CD:  .37    Brilliant Dominance
·        Combined Profile: 12-4-17-5-4  (42)  Index:  1.40  CD:  .33   Classic Dominance
 
Easy to see how Samraat remains undefeated winning at 6f all the way through to his last race at 8.5f. The short fast wins come directly from his Mares who were loaded in speed in short 4-6f races as indicated by that 11 in the Brilliant category. The sustained stamina is coming directly from his Chefs who practically all excelled in the Classic distance. The combination of the two produces early speed with the necessary power and jets to conquer the 10f distance at Churchill. The number soars in the Classic distance category to 17 while the short early speed remains high as well. The added bonus of this Champ is that he is now hard-wired to have his nose up front where it counts, undefeated at the finish line. 
 
Candy Boy
·        Chef Profile:  1-2-4-1-0    (8)    Index:  1.67  CD:   .38     Classic Dominance
·        Reines Profile:  4-5-6-6-8  (29)   Index:  .68  CD:    -.34     Professional Dominance
·        Combined Profile: 5-7-10-7-8  (37)  Index:  .90  CD:   -.16     Classic Dominance
Candy Boy is all Stamina from both sides. His debut race at 5.5f was doomed from the start as early speed is not part of his inheritance and also his least favorable distances. His second race on the AWS at 1 mile was still too short as he is limited in the Intermediate category as well. His next three starts at 8.5f where he won two and came in second to the Champ Shared Belief is just the beginning of his optimum and preferred distances. With each added 1/2 furlong, Candy Boy will begin to show his best stride as his preferred distance runs past the Classic clear over to the Professional category with everything leaning to the right. He will be very hard to catch starting at Churchill and ending in the Belmont. It would seem that if he could, he would probably take them both simultaneously. The further the better for Candy Boy.
 
Schoolofhardrocks
·        Chef Profile:  10-5-12-3-0  (30)    Index:  2.33    CD:  .73     Brill/Classic Dominance
·        Reines Profile: 6-4-3-10-7   (30)    Index:  .70    CD:   -.46    Solid Dominance
·        Combined Profile: 16-9-15-13-7 (60)  Index:   1.18   CD:  .16   Brilliant/Classic/Solid
Out of the 2011 crop, Schoolofhardrocks has the craziest configuration and wildest results of them all, which is where the fascination begins. Tossing surface preference aside for a moment, this one has inherited short early speed from his sires as well as dominance at the Classic distance. His mile debut at Del Mar on AWS showed him leaning towards his sires dominance and the stamina from the Reines as a late runner but also showing his speed inheritance where it counted, down the stretch. Early high speed inheritance from the sires coupled with dominance in the Solid category from his Mares is a winning combination and shows that Schholofhardrocks can run behind the pack, with the pack or out on the lead if he chooses to. Should the story stop at this point, there would be no doubt that if School ends up with an affection for dirt racing, he would be well on his way to a gate in Kentucky. The story continues however, and when combining his inheritance he shows something extraordinary. There is somewhat of a dominance in the short Brilliant category with a lopsided CD exhibiting unbelievable stamina with everything leaning straight across the board in his profile. An enigma. Loaded. But here is where the numbers show how special he truly is. The speed he inherited is perfect and coupled with the absolute and undeniably overwhelming stamina inheritance will show that School can sustain or hold back his speed as far as the track can go. This makes Schoolofhardrocks stand out like a sore thumb. He is loaded on both sides with a clear and precise dominance from both sides of the sexes. Because of his apparent running style, the trick here is to get him as far as possible away from that Santa Anita track if there is to be any chance of getting Rock Hard Tens son into a coveted gate in May. Either way, if he can find an affection for dirt (which is still in the air) he would shine in the Belmont alongside Candy Boy. He has each category covered like no other with a definite dominance from both sides.
 
Cairo Prince
·        Chef Profile: 2-4-2-0-0  (8)  Index:  7.00    CD:  1.00     Intermediate Dominance
·        Reines Profile: 6-3-5-12-3  (29)  Index:  .87   CD:  .41       Solid Dominance
·        Combined Profile: 8-7-7-12-3  (37)  Index: 1.00  CD:  0.00     Solid Dominance
Cairo Prince has the exact configuration of three out of the four Derby winners from the past who touted high Chef-inherited speed. The difference is that he actually inherited more speed than any of them. The similarity is that Mine that Bird, Giacomo and Real Quiet all had high indexes from their Chefs coupled with a clear dominance in the Solid Category (13-14-15f) from their respective Reines. Charismatic was the only one to win the Derby with a 5.22 Index from his Chefs and an equal dominance in the Brilliant, Intermediate and Professional Categories from his Reines (7-7-3-5-7) Charismatic was beyond special. Although rare for the win but not so rare to hit the board, the configurations of the profiles has shown up three times in the past, this means it could happen again with Cairo Prince. With his graceful wins at 6f, 8f, and 8.5f, and a nose loss to Honor Code at 9f, it is safe to assume that Cairo is utilizing what he inherited from both sides and if he could manage to lean on his Mares a bit more, just like his predecessors did for the big show in Kentucky, he has every shot at hitting the board, if not taking down the big trophy altogether. No doubt, he has inherited the mother-load of speed from his sires and he captured just enough Stamina from his Reines, historically, to get the job done.
 
 Ring Weekend
·        Chef Profile:   6-8-9-1-0  (24)    Index:  3.36    CD:  .79      Classic Dominance
·        Reines Profile:  8-2-4-5-10  (29)   Index:  .70     CD:  -.20     Professional Dominance
·        Combined Profile: 14-10-13-6-10  (53)  Index: 1.53   CD:  .30     Brill/Int/Class/Prof
These three profiles are very tricky to say the least. Since Graham Motion is associated here, Ring Weekend deserves some attention. His numbers go from one extreme to the other and then come together in a highly diverse way which resembles Schoolofhardrocks to an extent. However, the two share completely different outcomes. School has a definite point of origin from both sides. Ring Weekend has inherited a very strong left sided profile from his Chefs. Speed fairly distributed from short to Classic without a definite and clear dominance. It appears a bit muddled even though he hits the Classic Distance by just a mane's breath. The Reines inheritance shows heavy as well on the far right (8 in the Brilliant category) and a bit heavier on the far left (10 in Professional) with a fairly weak center. Even though the CD shows major stamina, the profile itself is pulling that Professional Dominance all the way back to the 4-5-6f category and not stopping in between. When everything gets combined it distributes in a way where there is no true optimum distance. With this type of combined profile the optimum distance could fall dead center at 11f, or a colt could gravitate to one side or the other. Rarely both. In these types of cases, that optimum distance will fall where and when Ring Weekend finally comes into his own. This could take longer than May. He could very well take every distance and excel or he could gravitate to one or the other across the board. In this instance, faith in Graham Motion to pull the proper distance out of his charge will be the only answer here. Only time on the track will tell. (As a side note, Ring Weekend resembles California Chrome as far as configurations go.)
Lisa De
3/17/2014

 

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Older Comments about Five Derby Contenders...

Hey All- been following this site for about 2 years and finally decided to create an account - I'm fairly new to the game but an avid fan and handicapper - I got really into it last year when I won the TVG kentucky derby contest and qualified for the NHC -I'm excited to follow these colts for the next month and a half en route to the Derby and look forward to discussing my thoughts with all of you.
@Beast... The next one will be with California Chrome, Honor Code, Tapiture, Hoppertunity and Tamarando and Im gonna throw in two oher personal favorites, Constitution and Noble Moon. I appreciate the kind words from you and from all. And Beast, I did get that message you sent but never able to find you when I'm logged on. If you have any questions at all you cane email me at belmontgirl111@aol.com. Same goes for Allen Payne. It is easier that way than to try to discuss it here thats for sure!! Anyway, glad you all liked the article. I appreciate it very much.
Very appreciated that you posted this. Plus you're such an elegant writer. Looking forward to more.
Lisa...This is fantastic. I love it but I want to play devil advocate here...Can you add California Chrome?
Great Lisa. I hope you post your blogs regularly on here. It takes years of experience to be able to post knowledgeable and trustworthy information like this. Keep up the great work and hopefully we'll see more from you.
Nice Lisa... my 1st girlfriend liked to say “sometimes always”… so cute.
Thanks Lisa. Look forward to another article on other contenders.
No pedigree would trump on the track performance, usually ever
A very interesting article. Thank you for writing it.
TV.. I agree, but when you're "on the fence", this can help push you to one side or the other.
It is the individuals that we wager on. EVer see champions have full sisters/brothers of the same parentage not capable of beating a fat man down a hill. Interesting research btu completely theoretical
Good information/analysis, Lisa, as always; and nicely stated as well.
Tremendous Analysis Lisa! This is the best I've seen to date. Thank you! I'd love to see more about Honor Code, Tapiture, Hoppertunity and Tamarando.
I see California Chrome is absent from this list... does that mean he outran his pedigree?

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