Where to Buy Past Performances
Despite all the variables involved in handicapping horses, the process focuses on what the runner's past performances suggest the animal is capable of doing on a given day, at a given track, and against a given field. With the 2017 Breeders' Cup rapidly approaching, the past performances of its participants are sure to receive ample discussion. To frame the key question in the simplest of terms, what do the past performances say about this year's bunch?
Breeders' Cup has a way of turning people with only a passing interest in horse into hardcore fans. And when racetrack fever hits, its does so with full force. For the uninitiated, buying past performances a few days before the race allows the bettor to develop a deeper understanding of each horse's abilities. The vast majority of intermediate and advanced players prefer the Daily Racing Form's past performances which are available online and at selected liquor and convenience stores around North America, although the printed version is much harder to come by and usually only available in racing communities such as Louisville, KY.
With the creation of an account and credit/debit card, however, the DRF past performances are simple to download and print. Newcomers can access the Form in a simplified version called the "Easy Past Performances." Equibase, Brisnet and other companies also offer digital past performances, giving players easy access to reliable handicapping tools.
Key Breeders' Cup Past Performance Notes
With the Breeders' Cup being held at the famous Del Mar Thoroughbred Club for the first time in the history of the event, it makes since to be aware of which horses have performed at Del Mar and which runners will be testing the surface for the first time. While being unproven over a given surface doesn't necessarily mean a horse won't run well, the conventional and logical angle known as "horses for courses" has plenty of cache.
HORSE FOR COURSE ANGLE
In a limited sample size - one or two races per horse - we've seen that in the Classic division Collected and Accelerate get over the local dirt extremely well. Conversely, Del Mar has made Arrogate look like a normal horse instead of the superhorse many supposed he was prior to fourth and second-place finishes respectively in the San Diego Handicap and Pacific Classic. Gun Runner, the likely favorite in the BC Classic, is untested over the Del Mar dirt, but has performed exceptionally well at many different tracks including Maydan, Churchill Downs and Saratoga.
In the sprint, Drefong has trained extraordinarily well at the seaside oval, while Ransom the Moon and Roy H - the 1-2 finishers in the Bing Crosby - are certainly comfortable at Del Mar. It will be worth watching the Del Mar Debutante September 2 and Del Mar Futurity September 4 for insights on the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies and Breeders' Cup Juvenile respectively. While we're listing horses who like Del Mar, add likely Distaff favorite Stellar Wind to the list and make note of her close rival Vale Dori. The pair of talented mares threw it down impressively in the Clement Hirsch July 30 with Stellar Wind earning another hard-fought victory.
As simple as it sounds, fast horses usually beat slower horses. Players looking at speed figures in the past performances are sure to love some of the most eye-catching numbers of 2017 listed below (last race or fastest 2017 Beyer Speed Figure included along with Breeders' Cup event the horse is likely pointed towards).
- Gun Runner: Whitney Handicap/112 Beyer
- Collected: Pacific Classic/115 Beyer
- Arrogate: Pacific Classic/114 Beyer
- Accelerate: Pacific Classic/110 Beyer
- Dirt Mile
- Mor Spirit: Metropolitan Handicap/117 Beyer
- Sharp Azteca: Monmouth Cup/110 Beyer
- Roy H: True North Stakes/111 Beyer
- Drefong: Forego Stakes/107 Beyer
- Turf Sprint
- Green Mask: Troy Stakes/110 Beyer
- Zhukova/Man o'War Stakes/107 Beyer (defeated male rivals)
It's not unlikely for horses to win a Breeders' Cup race following a loss, but it's quite rare to witness a horse who has been trending in the wrong direction suddenly get it together for the big race. Thus, how well a horse has performed in their final two or three starts may seem an obvious handicapping angle in Breeders' Cup races - or any race for that matter - but it's important to reinforce the concept that these are the best horses in training running for the biggest purses, so go with a runner who is doing well.
Owners and trainers often stubbornly pursue Breeders' Cup races even when it becomes obvious they have a slim chance of winning. Arguably they do this for two reasons: 1) They've planned on running in a BC race all year and 2) the horse is likely to get a long break after the race anyway, and there's no other logical spot to run. Neither are good reasons and betting on runners who appear to be trailing off at the end of the year is an equally bad idea. Try to ignore the flashy performance such a horse might have delivered several months ago and focus on what's happening now. You'll occasionally be wrong, but more often than not, recent form is trumps past success.
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