If I hear one more "expert" offer asinine analysis about American Pharoah I think I'll go crazy. If they can't even analyze a race properly after it's run, how can they possibly analyze a race before it's run!!!
First, most of these same experts failed to see American Pharoah as the clear Derby pick because they couldn't evaluate his leisurely win in the Arkansas Derby, and his other earlier races. Then after a complete 5 wide trip in the Derby, most of these "experts" never even mentioned the fact that he ran between 80 to 100 feet farther than horses like Dortmund in the Derby. In other words, proper analysis made his Derby performance dominant against one of the best Derby fields in years. It was also obvious that Espinoza was told to keep him "in the clear" throughout the Derby because the connections knew he was by far the best. They knew he could handle the "extra" distance and still win!
Then Saturday he dominated the Preakness field so easily it was amazing. He was barely touched with the whip (I think he may have been touched once based on the replays) and was only slightly shaken up with the reins. However, I hear the same "experts" say he was lucky it rained. They actually think Pharoah went to the front to secure a big advantage because horses hate having sloppy track mud getting kicked in their face.
THE RAIN WAS ENTIRELY IRRELEVANT. He was going to go to the front no matter what. Espinoza wanted to keep him clear (again) throughout, since he was easily the best horse in the race. Pharoah didn't need any advantage to win that race or beat those horses. Pharoah would have run the exact same way had the track been faster than spit, and would have won just as easily.
So what does this mean? It means, Pharoah has the very best chance in the last 37 years to win the Triple Crown. The other 13 who tried since 1978 were no where as good as him. I say this not because he has won but, and here's the secret, IT'S HOW HE WINS! This is why some gamblers win at the track, or in sport gaming for that matter, and others don't. They analyze the crap out of the sports by watching the replays. They then properly gleen "correct" information that the common gambler will never find in the Past Performance data. It's also why so many people are so poor at prediction. They only analyze the available data results, never the effort required to produce those results. Oh well, such is life.
Now the only question is this. Can American Pharoah overcome breeding that includes a sire whose Average Winning Distance was 7.4 furlongs, and a mare's sire who had an Average Winning Distance of 6.3 furlongs? There are good horses entering the Belmont with averages between 1 to 2 furlongs longer than Pharoah's, and The Belmont 1 & 1/2 mile distance is extraordinarily long for these young 3 year olds so distance breeding matters. This is the same issue Smarty Jones, Chrome and others faced. It's also why Birdstone, Tonalist and others were such good long shot bets in their respective Belmont wins.
The difference this time with Pharoah is that his fractions seem to indicate that his substantive speed fade point has not yet been found. (FYI, all horses fade to some degree.) More importantly, "how he has won" indicates that he is an anomaly beyond the other first two leg Triple Crown winners seen in times past. Don't believe me? Study normalized fractions, watch the replays and even look back at Affirmed or Seattle Slew. Watch the races and understand what you are watching! You'll be happy you did.
Dave Astar is a race horse owner, stallion owner, breeder, 40 year business executive, and 50 year handicapper.