Archives for April 18, 2018

Trainers Who Win Early in the Woodbine Thoroughbred Meet

Which trainers actually had a winner in the first five days of the meet each year for the three years selected? Here is the list…

By Art Parker

It is often hard to gauge trainer effectiveness at the beginning of a long meeting. Some trainers come with runners ready to go and others are more patient to strike. Trying to determine what trainers show up with fit horses and good intentions makes things hard for a horseplayer.

Woodbine

is no different. The long meet at Canada’s premier track starts April 21 and lasts until December 16. The Toronto track doesn’t swing into a full week schedule with four days of racing per week until mid-May.

 

Wager on WoodbineThe very early part of the meet, which some may view as a workout meet. The first few days offers almost nothing but sprint races, most of which are short at 5 furlongs or 5 ½ furlongs. I suppose there are several reasons for this, but I imagine the track gives trainers a chance to get a work into some of their horses coming off the winter months. Also, several trainers have a reduced amount of stock on hand since they are camped out at Keeneland, Gulfstream or other southern venues.

So the question at Woodbine is who shows up and of those who has the guns loaded?

I examined the first five days of the last three meets (2015, 2016 and 2017). There were some not so surprising revelations but some others that got my attention. The first thing I wanted to find out is consistency. Which trainers actually had a winner in the first five days of the meet each year for the three years selected? Here is the list and total winners including maiden wins (number of maiden wins in parenthesis)

Mike Depaulo – 10 wins (2)

Mark Casse – 8 wins (1)

Nick Gonzalez – 8 wins (5)

Norm McKnight -7 wins (4)

Bob Tiller – 6 wins (4)

John Ross – 4 wins (1)

Roger Attfield – 3 wins (1)

Kevin Attard – 3 wins (2)

These eight trainers are the only ones that meet the specifications. During the time period Woodbine held 140 races. These trainers won 49 races, or 35%. Of the 51 maiden races, this group won 20, or 39%.  Noteworthy stats, to say the least.

Here are the other trainers in the same time period that averaged at least one winner per year but failed to score in all years:

Vito Armata – 4 wins (1)

Josie Carroll – 3 wins (2)

Dave Cotey – 3 wins (2)

Denise McClachrie – 4 wins (3)

Nick Noswenko – 4 wins

William Tharennos – 5 wins (3)

Wesley Ward – 4 wins (2)

Add the two groups together and 15 trainers collectively won 76 races, or 54%. The same two groups won 33 of 51 maiden races, or 65%.

All trainers do some things better than others. That is true with the Woodbine trainers mentioned. Casse, Depaulo, Ross, Armata and Noswenko seem to have greater success with their horses who are winners, where Gonzalez, McKnight, Tiller, McClachrie, Tharennos (and others to a lesser degree) have demonstrated that their maidens are ready for battle.

Pletcher Derby Prospects Work Well

“To me it’s always really key who handles the Churchill surface,” Pletcher said

Florida Derby (G1) and Holy Bull (G2) winner Audible continued preparation for the May 5 Kentucky Derby Friday morning (April 13) when he worked a half-mile in :48.74 at Palm Beach Downs.

Owned by China Horse Club, Starlight Racing, Head of Plains Partners and WinStar Farm and trained by Todd Pletcher, Audible galloped out in 1:02.22 while working alongside the 4-year-old stakes winner You’re To Blame. It was Audible’s first work since winning the $1 million Xpressbet.com Florida Derby March 31.

Churchill winner's circle“For him I thought it was outstanding,” Pletcher said. “He’s not always an overzealous work horse, but today he seemed on his game and focused. I thought he did very well. He’s coming back in five weeks off a 1 1/8 mile race so I think we’re just trying to have him peak on the day and keep him fit without overdoing it. I thought this morning was an important step in that direction. I know sometimes he doesn’t work as well as others but leading up to this race you’d like all three of his works to be good and the first one was excellent.”

Approximately 30 minutes before Audible hit the track Pletcher watched his Louisiana Derby (G2) winner Noble Indy work five furlongs in 1:01.19 with blinkers. Noble Indy, owned by WinStar Farm and Repole Stable, broke his maiden at Gulfstream Dec. 3 before winning an optional allowance over the track on Jan. 11.

“It was a good, solid five-eighths,” Pletcher said. “He’s never been a horse that’s a fantastic gallop-out horse, but I think today was solid.”

Pletcher added the blinkers to “keep him a little more in tune, a little more focused.”

Pletcher has four horses preparing for the Kentucky Derby. Along with Audible and Noble Indy, Pletcher has Vino Rosso, who won the Wood Memorial (G2) last weekend, and undefeated Rebel (G2) winner Magnum Moon, who won Saturday in the Arkansas Derby (G1).

Pletcher said his current plan is to work Audible, Noble Indy and Vino Rosso next weekend before shipping to Kentucky on April 23.

“To me it’s always really key who handles the Churchill surface,” Pletcher said “It can be pretty quirky, so I think that final breeze at Churchill will give us a big clue as to who likes it. Hopefully they all do. That’s always one of my concerns because you see some horses who get there and don’t get a grip of that track. So I think the final work there will be something we’re looking forward to seeing.

“The good thing about the group of horses we have going is they have run over all kinds of dirt surfaces….none of them appear to be horses that need a certain surface in order to be successful.”

Source: Press Release

The Dubai World Cup, a Story of Horses and Money

Little Mike in Dubai

Little Mike in Dubai

The Dubai World Cup, a Story of Horses and Money

New York Times article was written prior to the 2018 Dubai World Cup but it’s an interesting look at the event and horse racing in Dubai.

Source: The Dubai World Cup, a Story of Horses and Money