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PostPosted: Wed May 17, 2017 10:20 pm 
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Joined: Wed Aug 27, 2008 10:29 am
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My tendency in handicapping for many years has been to focus on pedigree.
For turf races, I look for runners whose breeding suggests a preference for that surface.

For classic-distance dirt races, my preference has been for runners whose dam sire has produced progeny who have succeeded at longer distances.
Using the typical DRF or Brisnet past performances, I would focus on runners with higher dam sire average winning distance (Brisnet) or Tomlinson distance figures (DRF).

Results over the last couple years have me questioning this approach.
My past experience leads me to prefer runners with higher dam sire stamina, but now it looks like runners with sprint pedigrees on the bottom side have been quite successful in recent years in Classic races, particularly if they have a bit of stamina on the top sire.

Your thoughts on this, from a current handicapping perspective? Have "the times changed" for good?


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PostPosted: Thu May 18, 2017 6:51 am 
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Darley line
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Joined: Thu May 03, 2007 7:54 am
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Location: FL, NY
Aug27 wrote:
My tendency in handicapping for many years has been to focus on pedigree.
For turf races, I look for runners whose breeding suggests a preference for that surface.

For classic-distance dirt races, my preference has been for runners whose dam sire has produced progeny who have succeeded at longer distances.
Using the typical DRF or Brisnet past performances, I would focus on runners with higher dam sire average winning distance (Brisnet) or Tomlinson distance figures (DRF).

Results over the last couple years have me questioning this approach.
My past experience leads me to prefer runners with higher dam sire stamina, but now it looks like runners with sprint pedigrees on the bottom side have been quite successful in recent years in Classic races, particularly if they have a bit of stamina on the top sire.

Your thoughts on this, from a current handicapping perspective? Have "the times changed" for good?

Hi Aug,
I think a direct result of what we see in today's classic distance race handicapping is due to the breeding industry's need for speed. They breed more and more to speed and much less towards stamina. Partly because the big outfits who bred and raced their own looking for classic winners, like the old Calumet, Darby Dan, Cragwood Stable, Harbor View, Elmendorf Farm, Buckland Farm, Greentree, the old Claiborne, Rokeby and so many others (that I no longer remember their names) are no longer involved. They kept stamina bred TB's on the front burner, because they wanted to breed classic distance horses. Since breeding is big business now and for profit...the industry wants speed, because speed sells. They want them to go out there and work very fast to get the big bucks...like The Green Monkey debacle. We've seen this for so many years now that it is normal when looking at a 4 generation pedigree to see it leans to speed. It is at a point that trying to understand who will get a classic distance is no longer determined by breeding, but recent form. That and a trainers ability to bring to the fore whatever inherent distance ability was bred into them, through a solid stamina building training program.
I don't know if you read my response to you on May 15...but it kind of touched on what you mention here and fits...especially since American Pharoah and Always Dreaming were produced by mares who were speed bred. Let us not forget the breeding world has been doing this so long that this change will not go away quickly (and may never go away)...think back how long we've heard this...remember when they said Secretariat would not be able to win at a mile and a quarter due to his sire being Bold Ruler:>) Here's my response to your previous post:
Aug27 wrote:
What a very interesting perspective!
Thanks for posting that link, TJ.

The more I see this guy, the more I respect his chances.
In the late 70s, we had Seattle Slew then Affirmed then Spctacular Bid. Three great horses.
Can history repeat itself!?: California Chrome, American Pharoah, Always Dreaming?
(And where do we put Arrogate in there ... Maybe the best of the bunch!)

Hi Aug27,
I'm glad you enjoyed it...I'll look around today, hopefully we will get to see more than just Always Dreaming in these video links. Pimlico has been covering the Preakness hopefuls training at their track very well...disappointed with the way CD and Keeneland handled videoing those training at their tracks .
I remember the 70's well, it was an exciting time for racing...though we must add Secretariat to that list. When the dust settled everyone was of the opinion the TC was an easy task....with 3 TC winners in a row. But after 37 years of hopes being shattered, the tune changed. The same people who thought it was easy began saying we should change the amount of time between the TC races, it's too hard to accomplish. It's unfair to the horses. The horses are too soft and speed bred...unable to stand up to the rigors of the TC test.
BUT, here we are again after American Pharoah gave us hope...now looking for more TC winners. Always Dreaming will have his work cut out for him, but he seems to be going in the right direction since his Derby win. Yet it seems his major competition are also heading in the right direction...not to mention AD did get a perfect trip...while others encountered troubled trips from less then favorable post positions. Truth be told, AD was responsible for that perfect trip with his sharp speed and his ability to relax, rate and go the distance. Quite amazing considering he, as American Pharoah are both out of mares who were sprinters. The link seemed to be, both are sired by sons of Empire Maker who finished 2nd in the Derby....is that key to getting sprinting mares progeny to go long? Who knows:>) ...but I'm just glad to see us starting out with visions of sugar plums in this years Preakness.
By the way Aug...I agree, Arrogate was a victim of circumstances or Baffert would have had 2 TC winners in a row:>) TJ


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