For my handicapping friends. I was asked why I liked City of Lights over Accelerate in the Pegasus, so here you go.
Though many public handicappers were quick to point to the fact that City of Lights had never run in the mud, while Accelerate had already proven himself in the mud, the Bloodstock data I use indicated he would have no problem on an off track, and his pedigree for the off track was actually better than Accelerate's.
Secondly, after long “race” layoffs, workout patterns are a key and both horses showed what I wanted to see. They dominated their workout groups every week for the prior month or so. Lastly, City of Lights had a somewhat better trend based upon speed ratings with his Breeders Cup Mile being his best in his career
City of Lights was an easy, non-favorite, winner.
In another race Saturday, I found very similar patterns related to the layoffs. Amy’s Challenge ran in an Oaklawn stakes race. I was lucky I handicapped the race only because the horse is trained by Mac Robertson, who we know from Minnesota racing.
Amy was an even easier bet going off at 7/2 because she was the only horse with the outstanding workout pattern running the bullet three times against 180 horses over the prior month! Both she, and the big favorite, had run 2nd and 3rd in prior graded stakes races. Her pedigree also suggested she was slightly better at 6 furlongs than the big favorite, and she had run 7 furlongs or more in 4 of the last 5 races.
She crushed the field beating the second placed horse by about 6 lengths.
Anyway, handicapping good stakes horses after long layoffs requires entirely different techniques, which is a hard variation lesson to learn for many. I hope this old man experience helps those who were interested.
Dave Astar is a race horse owner, stallion owner, breeder, 40 year business executive, and 50 year handicapper.