There is no surer sign of spring in Central Kentucky than the opening of the Keeneland meeting each April. Spring comes day earlier in 2019 with the track offering up it's opening day card on Thursday, April 4.
Turf racing also springs back into action on the Kentucky circuit after a winter competing on the all-weather surface at Turfway Park. With that in mind we once again fired up the Betmix Angler handicapping database, which allows for queries by sire for all race types, to revisit and update the analysis of Keeneland turf sires originally published last fall. The three charts below show the returns generated by the progeny of some of 2018's top turf sires over the Keeneland grass course.
Keeneland bettors should definitely be on the look out for the progeny of Artie Schiller, whose sons and daughters have an incredible $106.40 Win Return over the Keeneland lawn. The progeny of the Breeders' Cup Mile winner already showed excellent returns prior to the 2018 Keeneland fall meeting and then went 1 for 4 in October with the winner, Holly Go Lightly, paying $12.20. Among the other three was Salvator Mundy who completed the trifecta in the Bourbon Stakes at 29-1.
Keeneland Turf Sires by Win Return
Keeneland Turf Sires by Win %
Keeneland Turf Sires by In the Money %
There have been a little over 500 North American races for juveniles going 8 furlongs or longer in 2018. Pedigree can be a prime factor in determining which horses are likely to excel when released from sprint compeition. Luckily the Betmix Angler handicapping software provides Betmix handicappers the option of analyzing sire performance.
The charts below show some of the top active sires by 2YO distance Win % and 2YO distance Win Return.
Juveniles by the great Ashford Stud stallion Uncle Mo should definitely be given a long look when stretching out. His progeny have won at a strong 27% clip in 2018 posting positive returns across the board.
The first crop sire Cairo Prince, based at Airdrie Stud, is another to watch when his sons & daughters get added distance. He's tied with Kitten's Joy with 65 2YO distance starts, an indication that trainer's feel comfortable sending his progeny long. Five of his 11 2YO distance winners have paid double digits, including Silent Surprise who lived up to her name with a $50-1 victory in an 8.5F turf Maiden Special contest at the Keeneland Fall meeting.
WinStar Farm's Paynter is another whose Win Return figure got a big boost this autumn at Keenelend when his juvenile son Knicks Go sprang the 70-1 upset in the Breeders' Futurity. He has six other 2YO distance winners in 2018, all but one also paying double digits. So longshot players might want to be on the look out as the sons and daughters of the 2012 Haskell Inv. (G1) winner/Belmont Stakes (G1) runner-up stretch out.
2018 2YO Sires by Distance Win % (for races at 8-furlongs or longer)
2018 2YO Sires by Distance Win Return (for races at 8-furlongs or longer)
The Belmont Stakes Racing Festival has quickly emerged as one of the most compelling racing and handicapping weekends of the year. With 10 of the 15 stakes events contested on the main track, we used the Sire Analysis feature within Betmix Angler to look at the progeny of all stallions with starters in the Festival dirt stakes. Full results are shown below, sorted by Win Return. An additional chart with the qualifying stallions listed alphabetically is provided for reference below that.
There are four runners by 2007 Belmont Stakes runner-up Curlin this weekend and they certainly merit extra consideration based on this data. Over one quarter of Curlin's Belmont main track runners have found the winner's circle and at a fantastic $134.10 Win Return. Among those is his first crop star Palace Malice, who won the 2013 Belmont Stakes at nearly 14-1 and returned to take the 2012 Met Mile as the $1.35-1 favorite.
To search Betmix Angler for sire progeny data for any race type:
Open Betmix Angler>Set Race Conditions>Click Expand Horses & Sires>Type in Sire Name>Click Search>Click Off Box>Click Start Search Button
Late last year we took a look at the progeny performance of the leading 2017 Turf Sires from a handicapping perspective.
This time we'll be a little more specific and delve into the data for Turf Sprints (grass races under 7.5 furlongs). We started with the top 25 sires by 2018 turf starts and then analyzed the progeny performance of those sires in all Turf Springs from January 1, 2017 to May 30, 2018. The chart immediately below shows that Scat Daddy and Broken Vow have been the most profitable sires over the past 17 months.
The late Scat Daddy is better known to racing fans as the sire of Triple Crown hopeful Justify, but breeders know him as an extremely versatile sire. His Win Return has been buoyed by eight winners paying $20 or more, ranging in class from Grade 3 winner Mr. Roary (2017 Eddie D. Stakes at 22-1) to the $92 Maiden Claimer winner Escarpela.
Broken Vow ranks second by Win Return but lands on top by Win % and in second again by In the Money %. These stats make his runners in Turf Sprints worth a long look.
To access Sire information, click Expand Horses & Sires within Betmix Angler.
Perhaps the biggest question when handicapping the Kentucky Derby is whether or not a young three-year-old is up to the challenging mile and a quarter distance. Their pedigree, starting with the sire, can provide important clues.
Fifteen stallions have sired the 20 horses likely to break from the Derby starting gate on May 5 and we used the stallion data within Betmix Angler to analyze the success of their progeny at distances of 9 furlongs or longer. The full results, sorted by Win % are shown in the chart below.
Of the stallions with over 25 runners to sample it's no surprise to see Tapit and Awesome Again leading the way in Win %. While the Derby has eluded Tapit so far, he is the sire of three of the past four Belmont Stakes champions. Awesome Again won the Breeders' Cup Classic (at Churchill) and has long been known as sire of later-developing two-turn types. His distance runners have been much more profitable for bettors too with a positive Win ($34.30) and Place ($13.50) flat bet profits.
Perhaps the surprise among the top three is Into Mischief who is known more as a speed influence. His signature win came in the CashCall Futurity (G1) at 8.5 furlongs, the longest distance he ever raced. He's truly become one of North America's top stallions but his best runners so far have excelled around one turn: Canadian champion sprinter Miss Mischief, two-time Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile winner Goldencents, Champagne/Allen Jerkens Memorial S. winner Practical Joke, etc. The latter posted his sire's best Derby finish when 5th last year. Into Mischief's two other Derby starters Vyjack and Vicar's in Trouble finished 18th and 19th, respectively.
It's obviously a small sample size for Take Charge Indy, whose first crop are just three-year-olds this year. In fact his first Derby contender, Noble Indy, is also his lone distance winner from four starters after taking the 9-furlong Louisiana Derby in late March. Creative Cause also has a smaller sample but there's reason to believe this distance success will continue as he's a son of Giant's Causeway and a full brother to Destin, a Grade 2 winner at 14 furlongs and the nose runner-up in the 2016 Belmont Stakes.
Handicappers have heard the adage 'horses for courses' to signify a thoroughbred that seems to run best over a certain racetrack. But what about 'sires for courses'?
Since Betmix Angler features stallion data we can attempt to answer that question. With Kentucky Derby 144 on the horizon we took a look at the sires of this year's prospective runners to see how their progeny have performed on the main track at Churchill Downs (since 2012). The full results, sorted by Win %, are shown in the chart below.
The Storm Cat grandson Creative Cause (sire of My Boy Jack) leads the way narrowly over Into Mischief (Audible), a Storm Cat great grandson. Creative Cause has only two full crops on the track currently so his sample is limited, but still encouraging. This seems legitimate as he performed reasonably well under the Twin Spires during his racing career, finishing 3rd in the 2011 Breeders' Cup Juvenile (behind Hansen and Union Rags) and 5th in I'll Have Another's Kentucky Derby the following spring. His sire, the great Giant's Causeway, ran Tiznow to the wire in that dramatic 2000 Breeders' Cup Classic in Louisville. Into Mischief raced exclusively in California but his sire, Harlan's Holiday, was based in Louisville during his early career with trainer Kenny McPeek and captured the 2001 Iroquois S. (G3) at Churchill during his juvenile season. He later finished 7th as the favorite in the '02 Derby.
Awesome Again ranks third in progeny Win % over the track on which he conquered one of the best Breeders' Cup Classic fields ever assembled in 1998.
Creative Cause and Into Mischief are among the four stallions whose progeny have produced flat win bet profits on the Churchill main course over the past several seasons. Arch (Instilled Regard) and Take Charge Indy (Noble Indy), whose oldest runners are three-year-olds, are the others.
Younger or regional stallions like Lucky Pulpit (sire of California Chrome), Uncle Mo (Nyquist) and Bodemeister (Always Dreaming) have sired the past few Kentucky Derby champions so finding reliable past test samples of this approach to Derby handicapping is a little tricky. However, the Bodemeister runners had produced a $6.80 flat bet win profit (2 winners from 15 starters or 13.3%) and Pioneerof the Nile had sired 19.4% winners at Churchill ($18.40 flat bet win profit) prior to American Pharoah kicking off his Triple Crown tour in the 2015 Kentucky Derby.
In recent posts we've been highlighting some of the powerful pedigree data that can be mined within the Betmix Angler handicapping software. This time we take a look at some of the most successful sprint sires of 2017. We started with the top Top 20 sires by 2017 North American earnings and then used Angler to gather sprint race figures for those 20 sires.
Into Mischief is the leader by 2017 sprint win % at 18.82% followed closely by Ghostzapper (18.56%) and Tapit (18.55%). All three sires have a better sprint win % than their overall 2017 win % as well (noted by green shading in chart below).
Medaglia d'Oro is next in line with a 17.86% win rate and he's the only sire in this sample with a positive $2 Win ROI. That number is buoyed by $135 Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint upsetter Bar of Gold, but his sprint runners also won at an higher clip than his general runner population in 2017.